Stan & Ollie Review - A Shining, Nostalgic, Sentimental Portrait of Early Hollywood Stars

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Stan & Ollie, from Sony Picture Classics, present the story of Golden Age comedic stars Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as they embark on a post war European tour hoping to reignite the Hollywood success they once enjoyed.

Directed by Jon S. Baird, Stan & Ollie stars John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan, with Shirley Henderson, Nina Arianda, Danny Huston, Rufus Jones, Susy Kane, Ella Kenion, Bentley Kalu, Greg Canestrari, Joseph Balderrama, Charlie Robinson, Callum Forman, Toby Sedgwick, Roger Ringrose, Harry Hepple and Andy Mihalache.

The film begins in the backlot of Hal Roach Studios, where comedic icons and business partners Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel, played by John C. Reilly and Steve Coogan, were talking shop; wives, parties, and of course raises, with their contract renewals staggered, Stan’s was up and he was not interested in reupping with Hal Roach, played by Danny Huston and Oliver was still bound.

Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle Review – Four Stars! Awesome, Stunning

Stars in their own right, with their pictures selling out in theaters around the world, the pair were undeniably golden age superstars and able to capitalize on the fame with little else to show for the years of physical comedy. Granted lifestyles played into the lean times and as we see a brighter tomorrow was genuinely only a signature away.

The film fast forwards 15 years as the two are arriving in Europe, for a post war tour of the United Kingdom. Stan has been working on a picture for the two of them with the producer in London, he was able to pull together a booking agent, played by Bernard Delfont, who worked to put together a tour schedule.

Once the tour starts without publicity the audiences are a bit sparse, and so the two are told, in order to book bigger concert halls, enjoy high end accommodations, and have a larger cut of the box office they will need to embark on a publicity tour also. The extra effort paid off and the concert halls were selling out. Instead of a no frills, no name they were staying at the Savoy.

As traveling together often peels back the layers, the pair after more than 25 years of working together finally had it out. And as we find out the contract negotiation, some 15 years ago, and the personal hurt that it caused had festered over the years in both men until it finally erupted.

Oliver, who hid his health problems from everyone for some time, suffered a heart attack the next day while on the tour. He decides, along with his wife, Lucille, played by Shirley Henderson, that his was it. He was done and when his health is better and he is cleared to travel he is quitting the business and returning to the states.

Stan and his wife, Ida, played by Nina Arianda, are also feeling the sting of the leftover frustrations which he believes cost the pair a piece of their pictures and left them financially beholden to others.

What follows couldn’t have been scripted.

The Favourite – A Devilishly Dark Comedic Drama

I really enjoyed Stan & Ollie on many levels. Of course as it is a historical account, a never before told story of one of the first and arguably the greatest comedic pairing in show business history and the forerunner to every great comedic pair since, is intriguing.

There were many elements about the film that I enjoyed. There is a real sense of the shift from the silent film star to the talkies and the squeeze those early talents were feeling. Laurel & Hardy were able to make the transition, which few did with any success. Abbott and Costello were following fast on the heels of the comedic duo, which made the comeback more difficult.

As a Hollywood history buff, the back lots scenes and early Golden Age movie making sequences are interesting.

The story is well told, as it moves between the past and present. The wives are also each the staunchest of defenders of their husbands, and each challenges the other as they try to understand the unique relationship, that drives the two men, as it has brought their husbands their greatest triumphs and deepest disappoints.

I Am Paul Walker Review – Honest, Heartfelt, Genuine

John C. Reilly was unrecognizable and Steve Coogan plays a perfect Stan.  The time frame of the film doesn’t really allow the men to show they care for each other, even if it intrinsically tied to their financial health, and as they go through the film one can see the masked attempts to show care and concern.

It isn’t until the health problems become full bloom and we see the dedication the two have for each other and the devotion to the audience that we understand how deep the bond is between the two.

Stan & Ollie is a tender, touching and ultimately heartbreaking story of the first comedic duo that captured the hearts of worldwide audiences and the fickleness of fame.

Stan & Ollie opens, in select cities, December 28, 2018. It has shown at The BFI London Film Festival, AFI Festival and will open in January 2019 globally. See it.

Haute Tease

  • Nutritionist Offers Secrets To Deciphering Food Labels

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Understanding food labels can help you make wise choices―if you know what to look for.   Jillian Tuchman, MS, RD and nutritionist at ALOHA can offer tips on how to decipher nutrition labels so you can separate fact from marketing. 

  • Beltway Insider: Trump Defeated; Immigration Ban Unlawful; INS; TEO’s; Russia; Israel; Germany; Paris Violence; SNL

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump suffered a defeat as the Immigration Ban was upheld and blasted his disapproval on Twitter while promising to be better as he voiced his frustration over his administrations stumbles and missteps.

  • The 11th Hour Review – Riveting, A Terrifying, Stunning Nail Biter

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The 11th Hour, from Brainstorm Media, brings to the screen a suspenseful allegory of an against all odds unshakable faith in a promise, and the dark, frightening, deadly ramifications of following our own ideas to fulfillment.

  • World News: A View of The Capitol Siege From France

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The invasion of the Capitol, temple of American democracy, reveals the divide that divides American society but also the fringe of the population distraught by fantasized threats that President Trump has organized out of conviction with cynicism and out of personal ambition.

  • Beltway Insider: President Justifies Iraq Action; National Guard Moves on Ferguson; Gov Perry Indicted

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama, on vacation in Martha's Vineyard, has made the unusual decision to interrupt his family holiday and return to the White House as global conflicts and domestic violence has escalated despite calls for calm and sustainable peace treaties. 

  • World News: Nine Dead, Dozens Injured in Russia School Shooting

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    A lone gunman opened fire in a school in the Russian city of Kazan during the mid-morning classes killing seven children and two adults and injuring twenty others, in what Moscow is calling a terrorist attack.

  • Money News: US, Asian, European Markets Rally; All Close Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The four major U.S. Indices, Dow Jones Industrial Average, NASDAQ, S&P 500 and Russell 2000 rallied over the past week as investors returned to the business of investing, regaining confidence set a rally in motion leading to a global recovery.

  • Robb Vices Luxury Subscription - The Haute Life Delivered

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Robb Report, a name synonymous with luxury lifestyles the world over, has initiated a new membership subscription service which allows those who pursue of the good life to have delicious, luxurious haute items delivered monthly.

  • Beltway Insider: Biden, Gun Control, COVID/Vaccine Totals, China, Russia, Prince Philip, Bernie Madoff

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Biden lashed out against gun control critics, after the Fed-Ex mass shooting, calling this epidemic of gun violence "a national embarrassment." His words fell on a deaf America as two attempted mass casualty shootings followed immediately.

  • Former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner Sentenced in Sextexting Case

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Former U.S. Representative Anthony Weiner, from New York, was sentenced to 21 months in prison, in a plea deal, for his role in the sextexting case in which he pled guilty to transferring obscene material to a minor.

  • The Wrecking Crew Review - A Fun, Captivating, Magical Music Trip

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Wrecking Crew, from Magnolia Pictures and Lunchbox Films, presents a trip back in musical time to the beginning of the California sound, the music which defined a generation and spawned peace, love and groovin’ freedom.

  • Beltway Insider: Ukraine/Russia; Copenhagen Shootings; Ebola Czar Exits; Media Industry Suffers Loss

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama acknowledging the U.S. Ebola crisis did not materialize to the extent originally thought has phased out the Ebola Czar Position created at the onset to manage the potential catastrophe and is focusing eradication efforts on West Africa.

  • Gifted Review – A Perfectly Balanced Film of Life, Love, Hurt and Hope

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Gifted, from Fox Searchlight Pictures, presents the story of balance, of finding the right place, of love, passion, hope, the cruelties of predestination, the mysteries of fate, the pursuit of betterment, and what to do when the worlds collide.

  • US Markets Take Sharp Dive; World Markets Follow

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The Dow Jones Industrial continued its downward trend falling sharply over the past week unable to rebound from the previous week long tumble as a lackluster July jobs report did little to bolster investor confidence.

  • Season of Salt and Honey Review - Charming Depiction of Twists and Turns Life Serves Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Season of Salt and Honey, a novel by Hannah Tunnicliffe, is another page turner penned with her skillful artistic strokes adding layers of human emotions intertwining untimely heartache and natural healing process with the magic remedies of culinary creations.