The Morning After: Oct. 20, 2014

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

One Fine Day

Romantic comedies are a staple of American cinema, originating in the early days of the medium. In the 1930’s, the screwball comedy genre, a subset of which became a sub-genre of romantic comedies, took hold, shepherding in a new way to look at the genre. This period petered out after the 1940’s, but many attempts were made in the subsequent years. The genre shifted again under the guiding hands of screenwriter Nora Ephron. Since that time, numerous films have tried to replicate the success of films like When Harry Met Sally… and Sleepless in Seattle and were infused with screwball elements epitomized by the likes of Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. One Fine Day has more in common with the Grant & Hepburn films of the 1930’s than with the Ephron films in the decade prior, but clearly draws in heavy inspiration from both.

One Fine Day was one of three films starring Michelle Pfeiffer released in 1996, two of which were romantic films featuring women in their later 30’s, a staple of the modern genre. Pfeiffer is charming in a film that builds itself on conventional modes of humor. She’s perfectly paired with George Clooney playing divorced parents locked in combat with each other and circumstance as they try to rescue their vulnerable careers from sure destruction.

The gimmick works well, though it finds a lot of inspiration in past efforts, never finding a direction that is uniquely its own. There are some interesting quirks in the formula that resolve themselves in ways different from the typical, such as a scene late in the film (SPOILERS) where Pfeiffer and Clooney are supposed to share an intimate moment together, but a day’s worth of drama has tuckered them both out and they fall asleep before they can take their budding relationship to a new level.

Pfeiffer and Clooney were a compelling match that was unfortunately never replicated as both actors began to shift away from the romantic entanglements that had begun characterizing their 1990’s output and moved towards more serious and compelling roles. I watched this as part of my 1996 Anniversary Catch Up, so it ended up on my list primarily because it was an Oscar nominee. Nominated for a single award, the closing credits song “For the First Time” is a generic pop ballad that has a catchy hook, which may account for its nomination. Compared to everything that came out of The Hunchback of Notre Dame and the only original track from Evita, it’s a pale imitator that didn’t really deserve its mention.

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  1. A big reason why I love One Fine Day has less to do with the actual quality of the film than with my personal memories of watching the movie multiple times. I have very fond childhood memories of sneaking into my parents’ bedroom, slipping under the duvet where my mother lay half awake, and digging into a bucket of popcorn as the two of us watched reruns of this movie.
    One Fine Day may not be very original, but George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer have an amazing chemistry that brings the story to life. It’s a movie I deeply treasure, and one which I hope others will come across after reading your post and give a chance. It deserves a new lease of life.

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