In my last post, I bemoaned the tribulations of moving house. For most, the discomfort of the move is, at least, offset by the excitement of the new surroundings. However, Kat and I have unfortunately managed to experience that discomfort with no subsequent excitement. I won't bother with the frustrating - and somewhat humiliating - details, but suffice it to say, we found ourselves involved with a rather shady real estate broker. Luckily, the ordeal ended with no monetary loss on our part, but the annoying result is that we packed everything into boxes only to unpack it all at the same apartment. Yep, we're not moving after all.
I am now currently in Delaware to shoot a short film for a week (more details at a later time) but with my one day off yesterday, I shunned the Diamond State's sights to stay in my hotel room and watch the next of 1982's Best Picture nominees...
Larry Gelbart, Don McGuire, Murray Schisgal
Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman, Charles Durning, Bill Murray, Sydney Pollack, George Gaynes, Geena Davis
1 win, for Best Supporting Actress (Lange)
Michael Dorsey (Hoffman) is a struggling actor in New York City, making ends meet by teaching acting classes and working in a restaurant. His desperation is apparent on audition after audition, but his reputation as difficult to work with is perhaps his greatest barrier. Even his agent George (Pollack) has all but given up, claiming that nobody wants to hire him. Almost in defiance of his agent's words, Michael boldly transforms himself into Dorothy Michaels to audition for a female role on a popular soap opera, and winds up landing the part. Keeping up the charade is a constant battle as he begins to fall in love with his co-star Julie (Lange) who only sees him as a close girlfriend.
Tootsie is a lovable film. It is at once witty and heartwarming, the perfect balance of comedy and sentiment. Perhaps some of the farcical elements are a tad on the cheap side, but somehow the slapstick never gets in the way of the film's earnestness. The humour is always rooted in truth, so we remain invested even when Hoffman's character defends his antics on the set of a commercial in which he played a tomato by remarking, "I did an evening of vegetables on Broadway."
The cheesy theme song is a little hard to bear, but it is the 1980s, after all. Also forgivable are the somewhat unrealistic depictions of the entertainment industry. Perhaps it's just me, but after many, many years of auditioning, not once have I ever heard the producer confirm that I had the part three seconds after I finish the read. As much as I wish it did, it just doesn't happen that way. Nor would a soap opera ever decide to record an episode live to air with only half a day's notice. Logistically, that would be near impossible. In any case, the overall charm of the piece easily makes up for all of these sketchy and convenient plot points. Well, all but one. The all-important climax plays out far too quickly to be believable. Then again, considering the incredibly awkward and unforgivable situation in which our protagonist finds himself, I'm not sure there is any satisfactory way to resolve this story. At least Michael himself seems aware of the depth of his predicament when he confusingly confesses, "I was a better man with you as a woman than I ever was with a woman as a man." Funny, but not really enough to make me buy that Julie would forgive such a humiliating deception so instantaneously.