Thursday, April 23, 2020

Thursday Movie Picks-Verbal Altercations

I hope all of you are practicing social distancing because it’s the best way to prevent this virus from taking hold. Ok, let’s movie on before I possibly start a verbal altercation which is the theme this week over at Wandering Through The Shelves. I initially thought of 2 movies that I remembered I talked about before, so I changed things up. I am always dumbfounded how my 15 watt bulb dims even more when  I need to think up 3 films that suit the theme. I hope I did well and look forward to what everyone else chooses. Here are my 3...


Oh, this poor sucker of a medical student falls in love with a tawdry guttersnipe waitress who belittles him every chance she gets. He know in his brain( notice I didn’t say head) that she is not worthy but he can’t break free of her. They argue, or rather she berates and he takes it, until she leaves him. He finds happiness with a sweet woman but, well, bitch whore comes back and he goes to her. They argue and he has no idea why he keeps going to her but, well, we know. This is a great version of the book( obviously the book is much more detailed) that made a star of Bette Davis and was the one time where people wrote in an Oscar nomination when Bette was passed over come official Oscar nominations. Leslie Howard gives a sensitive, poignant performance as the student who can’t say no. A well acted film that is well worth a watch.


Jack Nicholson plays a gifted pianist, from a wealthy family, who decided to turn his back on his family and his gift, to work on the oil wells. When he gets word that his father is ailing, he heads for home with his girlfriend in tow. He has some big issues coming home and this film isdone in typical 70s style which, how shall I say, just pisses me off. This is not a favourite of mine except for one brilliant scene that takes place in a diner between Nicholson’s character and the stiff-haired waitress who's hair wouldn't move in a hurricane. It’s brilliant because I do remember how diners and restaurants would never budge if you asked to change up the order.


To say this is one #@‘! Up family is an understatement and the matriarch of this family, played by Meryl Streep, is the cause for most of the dysfunction. There are 3 daughters, each with their own issues, who come back home after learning their dad went missing. Others come along for the ride, from the granddaughter, husbands, boyfriends and their aunt, mom’s sister, to the sister’s son. The oldest daughter is play by Julia Roberts who is just as vitriolic as her mom and it comes to a head one fine dinner. You learn all sorts of surprises and you really hope people leave before they are sucked into the vortex called mom. It’s well acted and has surprisingly funny moments. Well worth watching.

What 3 films come to your mind?
Which 3 would you choose?


  1. My first thought was A Few Good Men when Jack Nicholson is on the stand testifying. I've only seen your first pick, not the other two.

  2. Denise is right - that's a good pick! And I'll go with it as my brain isn't thinking of anything else either.

  3. Nice choices!

    Bette fought tooth and nail to be loaned out for Human Bondage until she wore Jack Warner down. He hated the property but finally relented to get her off his back. She showed him. It's a BIG performance but effective.

    That's a great scene in Five Easy Pieces but I didn't enjoy the film much. I appreciated that it was a skillfully made picture with strong performances but it wasn't a pleasant view.

    I thought Osage County was only okay. The main problem I had with it was that I thought it was terribly miscast outside of Margo Martindale. I like Meryl Streep but she was wrong for a part that cried out for Sissy Spacek or Sally Field.

    I decided the easiest way to zero in on a set of verbal altercations was to do a theme within the theme using one performer. And she's the one featured in your first pick, the one and only queen of the verbal tongue lashing-Miss Bette Davis! She was Oscar nominated for all three of these pictures.

    The Little Foxes (1941)-At the turn of the 20th century in the deep South the Hubbard brothers and their sister Regina Giddins (Bette Davis) are rapacious jackals whose love of money overrides all things. The brothers steal bonds from Regina’s husband Horace, a good man who abhors their avarice, behind his back for a business deal he refused. When Horace and Regina discover her brothers plan to replace the value of what was taken and keep any profits for themselves Regina wants them arrested and all the profits. But the gravely ill Horace tells her he intends to let them do as they planned as a payback to her for all her meanness through the years of their marriage. It does not go well. They tear into each other, she telling him he resents her because he knows he’s dying and begrudges her having what she wants after he’s gone, he telling her he sees her and her family for the succubi they are. She turns to him and with deadly malice and says “I hope you die…I hope you die soon…I’ll be WAITing for you to die.”

    The Star (1952)-Margaret Elliott (Bette) was once a big Oscar winning movie star but now she’s fallen on hard times and is working as a sales clerk in a department store. Recognized by two customers who disparage her behind her back Margaret confronts them in an epic takedown “Take a good look ladies so there’s no doubt! It IS Margaret Elliott and it IS a disgrace! Margaret Elliott waiting on a couple of old bags like you.” One of them tells her they’ll call the manager. “Call the manager” Margaret says “Call the president….call the fire department! I won’t be here. I’m going back where I belong! I AM Margaret Elliott and I intend to STAY Margaret Elliott!”

    Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)-Jane Hudson (Bette) and her sister Blanche (Joan Crawford) were once great stars. Jane as a child in vaudeville and Blanche later in films by which point Jane had become a troublesome drunken has-been. It all comes crashing down when Blanche is crippled in a mysterious accident and now the sisters, estranged and bitter reside in Blanche’s fading mansion locked in a miserable existence. Almost their every conversation is a verbal conflict but as Jane’s grip on reality becomes ever more tenuous things escalate and when Blanche tells her she wouldn’t be able to do the awful things she does if Blanche wasn’t in a wheelchair Jane screams “But ya are Blanche! Ya are in that chair!”

  4. August: Osage County is the only I’ve seen and that was quite a fight. I can’t believe I forgot about it.

  5. The only pick of yours I've seen us August: Osage County and that definitely qualifies here. I had forgotten about that family.

  6. I'm growing weary of the social distancing and shutdown and all. I think there is something nefarious behind all of this, but I'm not going to vent here.

    I've seen your first two picks. I will say that a lot of films from the 70's don't hold up that well now. Maybe it was the drugs or politics or some combination that makes those films a bit of an incoherent bore. But there were some good ones too.

    Some of my picks (I think they'd fit into this concept) are Idiot's Delight(1939) which has a good confrontational argument scene about political ideology, (1992) which consists of all kinds of verbal altercation, and Network (1976) some tense back & forth in that one.

    Stay safe. Be happy.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

  7. Haven't seen any of these but might put them on my list to watch during these isolating days.


  8. I haven't seen these, but I've heard of them. When I think of verbal altercations, I remember this one Gilmore Girls episode...

  9. Hi, Birgit!

    I guess I'll be the first to say it: "She's got Bette Davis eyes." :) I don't think I ever saw Of Human Bondage because Bette wasn't one of my favorites, but now I'd like to watch it. I noticed in the credits that "The Skipper" - Alan Hale - is also in the film.

    I went to see Five Easy Pieces when it opened in theaters and have seen it twice since. That diner scene has one of the best verbal altercations in movie history. I enjoy every Jack Nicholson performance. Fannie "Match Game" Flagg is also in that film along with Sally Struthers, Toni Basil, who played one of the brothel whores in Easy Rider and had a hit single years later with "Mickey," and Karen Black, an actress I admired who played the other prostitute in Easy Rider and died seven years ago.

    I have Osage County on my watch list on Amazon Prime and want to watch it a.s.a.p. I'm not crazy about Julia Roberts or Juliette Lewis but Meryl Streep is one of my top faves and I also like Abigail Breslin, Julianne Nicholson and Margo Martindale, the latter from her role in The Americans.

    A great verbal altercation takes place in a movie I believe you told me you haven't yet seen - Anatomy of a Murder (1959) - starring James Stewart and Lee Remick. The blow-up takes place in the courtroom between the defense attorney (Jimmy) and opposing counsel, a brilliant scene and a great movie.

    Take care, dear friend BB. I'll be seeing you again soon!

  10. I don’t know one and three. I’ve seen Five Easy Pieces, I thought when it first came out, but it can’t have been. I’d have been too young. I remember not really getting it.

  11. I only know the last film. When I first read your title all I could think of are those staged reality TV shows which always seem to have people yelling and screaming. Hope you are doing well. Hugs-Erika

  12. So that's what Five Easy Pieces is about. I don't recall if I saw the movie or just that famous diner scene. If I saw the whole thing, it didn't make much of an impression on me. Seems that nearly any Jack Nicholson movie would fit this category.

  13. I'm surprised I haven't heard of August: Osage County, since it was filmed so close to Kansas. I've HEARD of 5 easy pieces, but that's it. I enjoyed reading your synopses, regardless. In my opinion, that was a tough category and you chose wisely.

  14. I have only seen one of these- August. And my- what a dysfunctional family it was!!

  15. Another three I haven't seen. Sigh.
    Stay safe. Be healthy.

  16. That scene from 'Five Easy Pieces' is a classic. Good choice, BIRGIT!


    So many really good options to choose from.

    I'm tempted to keep the Jack Nicholson thang going by mentioning 'ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST', which has too many great verbal altercations to even count!

    How about 'THE BIG SHORT', which is another movie that contains a collection of terrific verbal altercations?

    I'm also thinking of that fantastic scene with Michael Douglas in 'FALLING DOWN':

    [Link> 'FALLING DOWN': "What's wrong with the street?"

    My life would feel so diminished had I never seen this movie!

    ~ D-FensDogG

  17. If I choose film number 2 because Jack Nicholson's acting is good.
    He's a character player.

    Greetings from Indonesia

  18. No3 August County is one I'm gonna get cos like Meryl Streep is bang for buck when she gives her best at the movies and seeing her here will be no different. She gave such a genuine speech an the oscars and then all the academy awards, record breaking stuff really.

  19. Always with the older movies with you. Surprised you picked one made after 1980.

  20. August Osage County is certainly worth watching. Actually, I'd say that about any movie with Meryl Streep in it.

  21. Nicholson and Streep. Tremendous actors.
    Stay safe. Be healthy.

  22. Birgit,

    I don't know any of these films and right off the only movie that quickly comes to mind is 'Anger Management' with Jack Nickolson and Adam Sandler. Have you seen it? I'm sure there are a bunch of them out there but nothing comes to mind. Thanks for sharing these three features. :)

  23. I didn't realize Human Bondage launched Bette Davis. You always through in fascinating tidbits.
    Stay safe. Be healthy.

  24. The only one I've seen is August and I like it...the fight was good.

  25. 0 for 3 this time. A few good men did come to mind though.