Sunday, October 30, 2016

Like This? Try These! #4

Both Eva and Miss Meg requested I recommend movies similar to The Bourne Identity (2002), which is one of my favorite movies (and franchises), so here we go!

If you like The Bourne Identity, with its exciting chases, helpful and brave love interest, and confused hero who's not sure who's chasing him, or why, then you might like any of these:

+ Dark Passage (1947) -- A convict (Humphrey Bogart) imprisoned for killing his wife escapes from prison to prove his innocence.  Everyone knows what he looks like, so he gets plastic surgery to change his face so he can seek vengeance without being recognized all the time.  He recuperates in the home of an artist (Lauren Bacall) who becomes convinced of his innocence and tries to help him.  (This one has violence.  It's film noir, so some dark themes and stuff that might frighten kids.  Also, Bogie looks kinda creepy in his facial bandages.)

+ North by Northwest (1959) -- Classic Hitchcock :-9  Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is just an advertising executive.  But a bunch of spies are convinced he's also a spy, and they try really hard to kill him.  Over and over.  And they frame him for murder, so the police are after him too.  Then he meets Eve Kendall (Eva Marie Saint) on a train, they fall in love, and she tries to help him survive all this chaos.  (Lots of double entendres in this one, most of which will entirely fly over the heads of kids.  There's some violence, and intense/scary moments of danger and peril and suspense.  I think also some more traditional cussing.)

+ Charade (1963) -- This time it's a woman who is being pursued and doesn't know why.  Regina Lampert (Audrey Hepburn) learns, at her husband's funeral, that there are a whole bunch of people who want something that her husband had, but never told her about.  They chase her all over the place, trying to scare her into giving them what they want.  A CIA agent (Cary Grant) pops up to help her sort out the mess, and sparkage ensues.  This one has topnotch villains, especially James Coburn and George Kennedy.  (Mostly family-friendly.  There's a little bit of suggestiveness here and there, double entendres and this silly game where people have to try to pass oranges to each other without using their hands, and a little kissing.  Plus, Cary Grant in the shower.  Possibly a couple mild curse words, and lots of '60s-style violence where it's not gory but still, people die and get hurt.)

And today I have a BONUS for you!  Did you know there's another adaptation of The Bourne Identity?  Yup, it was made into a TV movie in 1988, starring Richard Chamberlain and Jaclyn Smith as Jason Bourne and Marie St. Jacques.  It sticks very closely to the plot and characterization in the original book by Robert Ludlum (which I reviewed here), and is overall very enjoyable.  If you're like me and enjoy seeing different adaptations of stories, I recommend trying it.  (There's some violence, no bad language I can recall but I might be wrong, and one love scene where Marie's in lingerie and Jason is shirtless and there's some rolling around on a bed or something-- I completely recommend that everyone skip that scene at all times, because although there's no nudity, it's embarassingly '80s-ish.)

What do you think?  Are there other movies that remind you of The Bourne Identity?  I've got a bunch of ideas for these posts, but as always, if you've got a request for something you'd like me to make recommendations based on, I love suggestions!


  1. I saw the Chamberlin TV adaptation when it first aired. It was made-for-TV (and that in the less liberal 80's, too) so there wasn't much that could be deemed offensive. But I imagine you are talking from a "family-friendly" parental point of view, and I know that POV has a tighter rein than I, as a single, childless male might have.

    1. Yes, I miss when made-for-TV meant pretty much anybody could watch something. The violence is mostly implied, and the love scene is very tame... but it's also filmed all soft-focus and with horrible '80s music, and isn't there some slow-mo too? It's like the epitome of all the things we left behind in the '80s. I mean, there are some kissing scenes I wouldn't skip if you paid me, but that one just begs to be skipped. IMHO, of course ;-)

  2. I'd love to see "North by Northwest"--it looks really cool, and of course I know it's famous too :-)

    Hey, so I have a weird random request: Could you review "Breakfast at Tiffany's" sometime? I've not seen it; and I've never really heard you or any of our other blogging friends talk about it; so I'm curious to know what people think of it, etc. Because I know it's one of Audrey Hepburn's more famous movies, and I'm thinking she's an actress I might enjoy . . .

    1. I actually prefer Charade to North by Northwest and have seen it waaaaay more times. Kind of waiting for Eva to jump in here and fangirl with me, as I know she loves it too.

      So... the thing is... I don't like Breakfast at Tiffany's. I've watched it twice and just really don't want to watch it again. It's depressing, to me. Many people do love it, and Audrey is charming in it, but she's charming in tons of films. I really love her in Roman Holiday and Charade and How to Steal a Million and My Fair Lady, and Sabrina is good too. I would watch all of those ten times in a row EACH before watching Breakfast at Tiffany's ever again.

    2. But here's my super-fast review: Audrey Hepburn is as charming as possible even when she's playing someone with loose morals and quirky lifestyle choices. George Peppard is not nearly as interesting as he thinks he is, and he definitely doesn't deserve Audrey. But Audrey also doesn't deserve him, in this role. And the faked-up, tacked-on "happy" ending that Hollywood smashed on it doesn't fool me for a minute -- these people Will Not Be Happy Together. Skip the movie, read the short story by Truman Capote, and go about your life.

    3. Thanks so much for your thoughts on "Breakfast at Tiffany's"! I wanted to know how you felt because I know you know way more about these films than I do . . .

      The story kind of intrigues me, honestly, in ways that the stories of her other well-known films ("Sabrina," "Roman Holiday," "How To Steal a Million") just . . . don't, really. I don't know why it is, but I just CAN'T get excited about the prospect of watching "Roman Holiday," even though so many of my friends love it and it looks like a really great film. Whereas, I read about "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and something inside me is like, "wow, cool! I want to see that!"

      Like I said, don't know why it is. I'm weird :-P

    4. You're welcome, Jessica :-) And honestly, there are millions of people on this earth who love Breakfast at Tiffany's. It's iconic, it's beloved, it's classic. I myself don't like it, but it's not "bad," it just irks me. So if you're drawn for it, by all means, watch it!!! No one can tell you for sure if you're going to like it or not. (I mean, my best friend and I have known each other for 11 years now, and we even know precisely what each other looks for in a film, and we still can't predict accurately whether the other person will like a movie or not.)

      And after you've seen it, come back here and tell me what you thought of it, because I'm very curious. If you liked/loved it, I will even try to do a "Like this, try these" post for it.

    5. I sure will!! I'll probably watch it over the holidays (AS SOON AS I FINISH THE SEMESTER ARGGGGGGGGGGGG), and then I'll be sure to tell you what I think!

      See, that's the thing--I don't know, specifically, WHAT I look for in a movie yet, because I didn't grow up watching movies and so it's not an art form that I'm totally used to yet. I just know there are some films I really love, others not so much . . . but I don't know how to put it into words, exactly, *what* I like and don't like. (One reason why I want to try experimenting with more different kinds of films, haha.)

    6. Makes sense to me! Do you get a break for Thanksgiving, at least? Sounds like this semester has been a tough one!

      This really fascinates me, to be honest, because I grew up watching movies. Lots and lots of movies. Kind of like I grew up reading books. My family would watch a movie together every Friday night pretty much from the time I was like 5 or 6 years old on up. In college, my friends and I would rent 5 movies for 5 bucks every weekend and inhale them (usually 2 Friday night, 2 Saturday night, 1 Sunday night). I've watched so many movies that, anymore, I can generally tell you if I've seen a movie, but not necessarily what it's about, or even have more than a vague idea of who's in it.

      So someone who is an adult and is just discovering films -- this is truly fascinating.

      But, to be honest, the same thing that I need from a book, I need from a movie. I need characters I want to be friends with. My best friend needs at least one character she wants to be. I wrote a whole lot more about that in this post a couple years ago, if you're curious.

    7. Yeah, we get a three-day Thanksgiving break (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday), so that's something. Grad school IS tough . . . Two nonfiction books a week, plus some extra reading, plus weekly writing assignments, plus 3 substantial final papers. #goodtimes But I've got great teachers and great friends and I'm learning a TON, so overall it's been a cool experience :-)

      I know--isn't it fascinating? I grew up reading voraciously (literally all the time) and I LOVED it--it was my favorite activity, hands-down; but my family almost never watched movies. So until I was eighteen or nineteen and got my own laptop (hence, my own DVD player), the only films I'd actually seen were "A New Hope," "The Sound of Music," a teeny bit of "Independence Day," parts of "Toy Story," and a few Star Trek films. (There may have been one or two others.)

      Then I went to college and decided that, since I loved written stories so much, I wanted to try films too :-) And since I have limited free time, what with homework and all, I've still only seen about 50 or 60 movies altogether, I think.

      I love your post about the "Realization" :-) I have no idea what, exactly, makes me love a story; but I could probably figure it out if I made a list, like you said . . . I already have a "favorites" shelf on Goodreads of books I really, really love, so that should help.

    8. I hope you can figure out what draws you to stories, because it has been so helpful to me, not only as a reader and movie-watcher, but as a writer too.

      Is there a particular reason your family didn't watch movies? Were your parents just not into them? I know people who don't read books, and that always mystifies me, so this feels a little like the same thing to me.

    9. My mom just really doesn't enjoy movies--even though she likes reading stories, it makes her uncomfortable to actually *watch* the story playing out before her eyes. It's more suspenseful that way, I guess you could say . . .

      And actually, as a small child, I was the exact same way--I HATED movies with a burning passion, because they scared the heck out of me. Whenever my teachers would show a movie in school, I would have what basically amounted to a panic attack. (It puzzled the poor teachers greatly, I'm sure.)

      Now that I'm an adult, though, I don't feel that way at all--I love watching movies :-) Although I still don't enjoy SUPER suspenseful stuff, and I've definitely been known to skip "scary parts."

      Exciting news: I think I've found that One Thing which makes me love/hate a story!!! I'm not 100% sure yet but I THINK I've got it :-) Basically, after looking over my top 30 or so favorite books, plus my top 10 favorite movies, I've concluded that in order to love a story, I have to feel like I can really trust the characters. They have to be reliable, somehow--I guess you could even say, they have to be "safe." If they are, then I'll love them--and probably love the story. Whereas, if I can't trust any of the main characters, I can almost guarantee you I'm going to hate it.

      It's funny, isn't it? It sounds so obvious to me, and yet clearly everybody else doesn't feel the same way! I mean, there are plenty of people out there who love villains of all sorts--while, to me, it's completely incomprehensible why you'd ever love (or even like) a villain, because you can't TRUST a villain. They aren't SAFE. But if trust *isn't* your criterion . . . then I guess it really is possible.

      I discovered something else while working on this project: My favorite book and my favorite movie are SHOCKINGLY similar--and I never noticed it before, because I never thought to compare them (!!!!!) My favorite book is "Shadows on the Rock," and my favorite movie is "Bernadette"--and they're both coming-of-age stories about French girls living in little French towns. Besides that, they're both stories about characters who are *literally* the embodiment of trustworthiness and dependability and responsibility--something I now realize I value very, very, very highly :-) Pretty wild, huh?

    10. I do get that. My son wants to know what happens in a movie before he watches it so it isn't so tense and suspenseful. A book, you can stop reading to process. A movie gallops on at a set pace. I have a friend who will pause a suspenseful movie and walk away for a while if it gets too stressful for her. My reaction tends to be to want to read/watch faster than ever to find out what happens. I don't watch scary movies, though -- can't handle them.

      It sounds like you're on the right track! Good for you.

      I don't get fond of villains much either, and the only ones I do like aren't really very villainous at all.

      Once you start looking for patterns, you can find all kinds of great stuff! It's very fun and instructive.

    11. I know, right? It mystifies me that horror is even a genre--why would anybody want to watch that?? Of course I know people DO, and it's totally fine . . . it's just hard for me, personally, to grasp.

      That makes sense, too--since you're drawn to helpful characters, it would be really weird for you to like a villain, since (most) villains aren't particularly kind or helpful ;-)

      Yes, it's already helped me to understand a LOT about why I like/dislike certain characters and stories--it's always seemed so arbitrary, but now I can see the patterns behind it :-) Like, I now see that I dislike Edward Rochester and Tony Stark for the same basic reason--I have trouble trusting them. I don't feel "comfortable" around them, exactly, so, naturally, I don't want to spend (fictional) time with them . . .

      I think, for me, I experience books and movies almost like I'm going on a car ride with these characters--I'm in the passenger seat, and they're driving, and they have full control over where we end up. That's why it's so important for me to feel like I can trust their character and their judgment, at least on some level--I don't want them to crash the car! Because then it hurts ME, as well as them . . . Okay, that was a weird metaphor, but I hope it made sense :-)

    12. I do have some friends who enjoy horror movies, and the reasons they give for liking them are stuff like it's exciting to get scared by something pretend, they like the adrenaline rush, they like seeing what people do in extreme situations, and so on. None of those work for me, though.

      Helpful villains are few and far between! Calverra in the original Magnificent Seven is one of the few, and that's totally why I like him.

      This is so fascinating! I actually do trust both Rochester and Stark. Even though Rochester spends most of his book behaving like a spoiled brat, and ditto for Stark, and I disagree majorly with them both over many things, I still trust them. I can see how they would be hard to trust, though. Your metaphor does make sense, and I think it plays into why you feared movies as a kid, because in movies you're so passive -- you can only see and hear what the moviemakers decide you will. Whereas with books, your brain can pick and choose much more. Like, I can read the section in The Hobbit with all the spiders attacking just fine, because my brain replaces the spiders with giant six-legged things that don't freak me out. But I can't watch that scene in the movie, and even the sounds of it are awful (I have a great loathing of spiders).

      I tend to love damaged characters because I want to help them, so I have really bad taste in characters, lol. I have five absolute favorite fictional characters, and they all have pretty major issues. Sgt. Saunders from Combat! cares too much and tries not to, and he will have major PTSD when the war is over; Angel from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel is a vampire wracked with guilt over his horrible past; Sherlock Holmes has a drug addiction and is a control freak; Sawyer from Lost is a conman and liar and all around terrible person for a long time; Wolverine from the X-Men comics and movies is the best there is at what he does, but what he does isn't very nice, plus he's got amnesia. But they are all helpful, and innately nice (which is hard to quantify, it's just something I feel about characters), and I am endlessly fond of all of them. And I trust them, even Sawyer ;-)

    13. Whoops, I completely missed your reply! Sorry about that!!

      Yes, I think that's exactly why I was so scared of movies when I was little; and it explains, too, why I'm still the MOST comfortable watching a new movie if I can do it by myself, in my bedroom, where I'm the one controlling the "on-off switch" and can skip anything I feel a need to. I'm slooooooooooooooooooowly getting used to seeing films in the theater, but if it's anything really frightening, I want to see it at home first.

      I like damaged characters SOMETIMES, but I have to trust them first. Like you said about which characters you see as "helpful" or "nice"--it's something you FEEL, not something you can necessarily explain or quantify. And the characters I feel are trustworthy wouldn't always be everybody else's definition of trustworthy, certainly.

    14. Jessica, that's okay -- thanks to the blogathon, I'm a bit behind in replying to comments anyway.

      My best friend stops stressful movies and walks away from them for a while. I usually want to just finish them faster to get the suspense over, lol. But anyway, I do understand that need for controlling the story. My son is the same -- he would much rather read a tense book than watch a tense movie, because he can control it better.

      My love of damaged characters comes from my own desire to help -- I want to help them become whole, or less damaged anyway.

  3. Wait. There's an 80s version of The Bourne Identity? I did not know that! Now I'm intrigued...

    1. Kara, YES! And it's actually good :-o


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