What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
This movie is not on my list of essential films.
NOTE: This installment of Movies Everybody Loves That I Hate is being done strictly of my own behest. It isn’t part of a blog-athon, it isn’t part of MovieRob’s Genre Grandeur franchise, it’s just yours truly having a good, old-fashioned rant. In other words, there’s nobody else to blame; if you don’t like what you see here, there’s nowhere else to address your hate mail. All the contact information you need is in the footer of this post, so fire away.
Now that you know the genesis of this post, here’s why I would rather “French” kiss a light socket than sit through this movie again.
1) Mickey Rooney’s “Mr. Yunioshi”
I know right now there’s a big thing about actors playing characters that are not of their ethnicity. In all honesty, I don’t give a damn about that. I’ve long been on record about the silliness behind of holding old movies to today’s standards. But, holy shit…this is an awful character.
First of all, the make-up doesn’t even make Rooney look Japanese; it makes him look like he has Down’s Syndrome. But that’s not all which is completely retarded here. In my installment in this series about “South
Pathetic Pacific,” I said that craptacular found a way to make racism even dumber. But Mickey Rooney’s character in this movie is so dumb it’s beyond the stupidity of racism.
If you want to get hung up on that angle, be my guest; doing so misses the real problem. Simply stated, the problem isn’t the ridiculous “Asian stereotype” bullshit…the problem is why does this character exist like this at all? Think about it. There’s no reason for this character to be Asian, and even if you just wanted to make him Asian, and even if you had it played by an Asian, there’s still no reason for it to be so over-the-top stereotypical. It’s just the laziest excuse ever for “comic relief” ever.
But if you really want a character to go full “Krusty the Klown ‘Flapping Dickey,'” why not have Mickey Rooney do this shit in “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World?” Just imagine the “Airplane” scene with Buddy Hackett while Rooney is playing off the whole “Asians can’t drive” thing while he’s trying to fly the plane.
I mean…if you’re going to be brain-numbingly stupid, at least be funny, at least have the common courtesy to be funny.
2) Where There’s Smoke…
I completely understand the attitude towards cigarettes was very different lo those many decades ago. But, is it just me or does this movie have far more than its fair share of pounding the butts? In order to see more smoke than this movie contains, you would need to be in a ranger station in the middle of Yosemite during the brush fire season.
3) The Only Reason Anybody Cares About This Movie
It certainly isn’t because it’s a cinematic masterpiece. This all comes down to a clique of classic cinema fans who find a borderline-anorexic as some sort of fashion plate; those people have same sort of fetish for Holly Golightly. In all fairness, what I know about fashion could fit in a thimble and there would still be plenty of room left for one of my enormous fingers, but here’s what I do know…
4) Holly Golightly is a Twat and a Fraud
There…I said it. Let’s cut through the crap here; I have no idea why anybody would admire anything about this train-wreck of a human being. She’s shallow and superficial, super annoying, and quite possibly has a screw loose. Let me take the level of honesty up a notch here. She may be moderately attractive, but she’s nowhere “hot” enough to be this loony. For some reason, George Peppard’s “Paul” loves her “stick-figure” ass, even though she routinely treats him like something she would scrape off her shoe. Paul’s problems are a whole other story; I’ll come back to him in a bit.
Oh, by the way, Holly Golightly is a complete fraud. She’s no “happy-go-lucky” girl about town…even her fucking name tries to alliterate that. Instead, a she’s runaway hillbilly child bride named “Lula Mae” who’s too damaged to have a deep emotional connection with anyone but her brother. That sort of sexually-driven emotional baggage is the mirepoix for the classic recipe to create what Holly really is…
5) Holly Golightly is a Mob-Connected Prostitute
This movie trying to describe Holly Golighty “high-priced escort” is just a call-back to the “Breen Code;” it’s an overly-polite and completely transparent euphemism for “sucks dick for money.” I know this for a fact as a kid who grew up on TV westerns. Holly Golightly has the exact same “not supposed to figure this out” factor as “Miss Kitty” from “Gunsmoke.” I wasn’t more than 11 years old when I figured out the old saloon lady in Dodge City was a “madam,” and the reason why nobody ever got out of line in her saloon is she was giving Marshal Dillon a steady diet of “freebies.”
The same goes for Holly Golightly. I find it hard to swallow that she’s paying for her lifestyle by being just an “escort.” When that apartment used in that film went on the market in 2011, it fetched almost $6 million….or about $815,000 in 1961. When you consider in those days you could buy a fully-loaded brand new Cadillac convertible for less than $5,000, she was doing some serious swallowing on her own…if you know what I mean, and I think you do.
As a sidebar to the whole “high-priced hooker” bit, when she’s not turning tricks, she’s turning her services as a messenger for an imprisoned mobster to the outside world into another fat cash cow. This is the aspect which is used to hide a lot of Holly’s not-so-savory qualities; her lack of education and intellect is used to hide everything under a blanket of her alleged naiveté.
I’m not buying that…not even at Wal-Mart clearance prices. I mean…how obvious does it have to be? She charges men for “conversation” and asks for $50 for “powder room” tip money, and they follow her home begging for sex. Naturally, the movie never shows the commission of the actual deed, but don’t even try to tell be she doesn’t hunt like a high-end sex worker. She picks a flounder with a fat wallet, uses her charm to set the hook, and digests as much cash as she can extract.
If you doubt this, remember Truman Capote was the author of the 1958 novella this on which this film is based, and described the “Holly” as an “American Geisha.” Capote also wanted Marilyn Monroe to play Holly Golightly; he believed that character’s charm wasn’t just her “je nais se quois”…it also lies in her “overt sex appeal.”
Not to mention, Marilyn Monroe rejected the role because her advisor and acting coach Paula Strasberg said Monroe shouldn’t play “a lady of the evening.” That one change would have fixed so much of what is wrong with this movie, namely because…
6) Paul Varjak is a Prostitute, too…
George Peppard plays “Paul Varjak.” In theory, Paul Varjak is a writer, but we never know of anything he’s written, and we never come across anybody who’s read his work. There’s a brief bona fides where we get a glimpse of a few lines he’s scribbled inspired by Holly, but it doesn’t take long to see what Paul’s money-maker really is.
Unlike Holly’s whoring, Paul’s is damn near right out in the open. For every minute he spends banging his typewriter, he spends about four hours pounding the cobwebs out of the cervix of an older, married woman known only as “2-E Failenson” (played by Patricia Neal). He has an amazing amount of sex with “2-E” while showing almost no affection for her.
Not only that, but the money is also right out in the open. She clearly leaves cash for him on the nightstand, offers to bankroll a weekend away for him and Holly, and she talks to him like he’s a rented piece of meat. The bottom line is Paul’s income ain’t coming from his pen…it’s coming from his penis.
In other words, Holly’s vagina has one of those “Now Serving” signs like the customer service desk at Wal-Mart. Paul wears enough tread off “2-E’s” tires he should probably have a steel-belted radial Trojan…and yet nobody figures out how that complicates the love story between Holly and Paul. It boils down to Paul’s main attraction for Holly seems to be he wants to be the “shining knight” to her “damsel in distress.”
He wants to save her from being even more of a mess than he is, but he clearly has no idea how to do that. There’s a fun level of gallantry in his self-serving pointlessness. It’s almost like the relationship between Paul and Holly is an omelette made with eggs which weren’t broken; they were emotionally shattered.
To me, the two best examples of how truly scrambled their psyches really are come in the fact Holly makes Paul go to the train station to tell her “husband” Doc Golightly (played by Buddy Ebsen…more on him later) that she isn’t going back home with him…and Paul willingly does her “dirty work.” If that doesn’t paint the picture, then explain to me Holly’s obsession with trying to rename Paul after her brother Fred?
Oddly enough, that’s not the only “Fred”-related bit of weirdness here…
7) Did You Know Fred Flintstone was a Mobster?
“Sally Tomato” is the jailed mob boss for whom Holly plays messenger. When you watch this movie, every time you hear Sally say something, close your eyes and tell me what you hear. What you should be picturing is Fred Flintstone, because “Sally Tomato” is played by Alan Reed…who also voiced the iconic 1960s cartoon character. Now that you know that, every time you hear Sally speak, you’ll be waiting for him to order a rack of ribs so big it flips over his car.
That brings to something which always bothered me about “The Flintstones;” the size difference between Fred and Wilma. Fred looks like he’s two brontosaurus ribs away from a prehistoric lap-band. I mean, rule #1 of “portion control” has to be your entrée doesn’t flip over your fucking car, right? Not to mention, something isn’t right when you have that much food and Wilma still looks like Bedrock’s version of Karen Carpenter. But on the topic of eating disorders…
8 ) Was Audrey Hepburn Already Dying?
Yeah, I know she lived for three decades after this movie was made before cancer killed her in 1993. Despite that, her appearance in “Breakfast Tiffany’s” set the tone for the “heroin chic” fashion craze of the 1990s. This is one of those problems immediately solved by casting Marilyn Monroe in the role of “Holly.” As previously mentioned, Truman Capote intended for “Holly” to ooze sex appeal. “Sorry, not sorry” in advance to all you “Hepburn-o-philes” out there, but Marilyn Monroe had more of that in her left big toe than Audrey Hepburn had in the entirely of he 87 ½-pound body. Seriously, how can somebody who looks like they have the mother of all tapeworms be in a movie that has a meal right in the title? Maybe this film could have been more aptly titled “Bulimia at Tiffany’s.”
Having said all that, let’s get to the truly disturbing aspect here. A great number of the men who find Audrey Hepburn powerfully attractive are Italian fashion designers, pedophiles, and others who exhibit more than moderate turgidity at the physiques of 11-year old boys. There’s more evidence of that in Capote’s novella; Peppard’s “Paul” was changed significantly from the book. In the novella, Holly Golightly refers to Paul as a “Maude;” a slang term for a male prostitute.
Fret not, gang…before you sharpen your crayon to write me some pointed hate-mail, just wait…it’s going to get worse…
9) The studio wanted to remove the only good thing about this movie
Upon his preview screening of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Paramount executive Martin Rackin hated “Moon River;” a track composed by Henry Mancini and written by Johnny Mercer. To her credit, Audrey Hepburn was reported to have said the song would be removed “over my dead body.” The song would go on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Song.
What an idiot.
10) Another casting change that could have fixed this movie
I’m not going to spoil the ending for those of you whose curiosity might have been peaked here; after all, this is about a movie lots of people consider a classic. So, check it out and form your own opinions. The one thing I will tell you…the ending is total bullshit.
Once they couldn’t get Marilyn Monroe, director Blake Edwards wanted Steve McQueen to play opposite Audrey Hepburn. They couldn’t get him either because he was under contractual obligations for the television western “Wanted: Dead or Alive” despite the fact he was interested in the part. But putting McQueen could have allowed for the perfect setting for the conclusion which would have made perfect sense. After all the bullshit she’s put Paul through, the film ends with him punching Holly dead in the face and walking off in the rain…fade to black and roll the credits.
11) The Type-Casting of Buddy Ebsen
Yeah, I know most people younger than me never even heard of George Peppard outside of his role as Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith on the 1980s action-adventure series “The A-Team,” but short of possibly being a bi-sexual prostitute, his Hollywood career doesn’t offer the lurid possibilities that of Buddy Ebsen does.
A recurring feature in this series is noting a phenomenon I call “reverse typecasting.” This happens when when you see an actor who played a role in something which became part of this country’s cultural fabric, and even when you see them in something made before their face became associated with an iconic character, that’s all you can see. Fair or not, my first exposure to Buddy Ebsen was “The Beverly Hillbillies.” Yeah, I know the guy had a long career and was in a ton of stuff, but there’s just no way I can see him and not immediately think “Jed Clampett.”
The good news is “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” solved that problem. The bad news is now I think Buddy Ebsen might have been a “Level III” sex offender. Seriously, have you ever noticed that throughout out his career, Ebsen always has women around him who are creepily younger than he is?
Think about it. It starts with this movie. “Doc” is easily old enough to be Holly “Lula Mae” Golightly’s father, and yet he’s supposedly married to her. Flash the clock forward by a decade or so, and you have the geriatric detective Barnaby Jones and his former Miss America sidekick Lee “Catwoman” Merriwether, who is also unnaturally close at all times and may very well be one-third his age. But the best example is why Ebsen shows up in this category.
If you recall, Ebsen’s “Jed Clampett” was the patriarch of a piece-meal family unit consisting of two “stray cat” cousins, an elderly grandmother, and himself. Despite the fact that Donna Douglas’ “Elly May” was always belabored to be an animal-collecting tom-boy who WAS NOT Jed’s daughter, we were all reminded more often than necessary that she was really every bit the prototypical 1960s Monroe-esque voluptuous blonde sex-bomb. There’s tons of episodes of “The Beverly Hillbillies” in which Donna Douglas is shown in lingerie or revealing swimwear for some sort of quasi-gratuitous reason, and 10 will get you 20 she had to “model” all of them in Buddy Ebsen’s dressing room.
Too bad the gold-digger Holly didn’t hang on to Doc Golightly…if she had only waited a few years when Ol’ Jed’s a millionaire. Talk about a plan that didn’t come together…
The reason there were so many Wal-Mart references in this piece: Both Paul and Holly are both pretty low-rent human beings, and this movie isn’t worthy of being included in the $5 cheap DVD bin along with “The Bodyguard,” “Airplane II,” and pretty much anything with Steven Seagal.
FUN FACT: Alan Reed isn’t the only famous cartoon voice which appears in this movie. Mel Blanc (the voice of Warner Brothers) lends his pipes to an unseen drunk at Holly’s house party.
You can see all the movies I hate here.
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