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Saturday, 19 August 2017

Directorial Feature Spotlight: Garry Marshall





'Enjoyed Happy Days and Mork & Mindy, Felt Indifferent Towards His Movie Work'

Born in New York City, New York on November 13, 1934 - July 19, 2016, Garry Marshall was primarily known for directing so-called 'chick flicks' and romcoms with most of them receiving scathing reviews from critics (probably because they are terrible) and because they are the types of films many movie fans, particularly male movie fans, loathe and despise. Yet these same movies, the vast majority of them, still went on to gross millions of dollars at the box office.

His directorial movie debut came in the form of 1984's The Flamengo Kid, with Matt Dillion in the lead role, which to this day is still his most critically acclaimed movie. 

He was single-handly instrumental towards catapulting both Robin Williams and Julia Roberts into superstardom - if not for their Oscar-winning turns in Good Will Hunting & Erin Brockovich; after Mork & Mindy, Williams went one, - or make that 6 times better with Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Hook, Mrs Doubtfire, Aladdin & Good Will Hunting & with Roberts saying she grew up watching Mork & Mindy, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley: sitcom shows that Marshall was chiefly responsible for. Garry Marshall directed Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, Runaway Bride & Valentine's Day. 

I have had no real objections towards Garry Marshall's TV output; they were varied, as with the sitcoms, the romance element was less of a focal point of the plots.





But there are fewer movies of Garry Marshall's that I truly love; in fact, there hasn't been one movie of his where I went: ''that was amazing''. There is one movie that I enjoyed, which was Overboard. But other than that, nothing. Since the success of Pretty Woman, which is still his biggest commercial hit and a film I think it is overrated, and one he has been coasting on for years, I have felt nothing but indifference towards his movie output. 

As much as I do blame the scriptwriters sometimes for the low-quality scripts that he accepts and gets greenlighted, Garry's directorial style itself is uninspired with an over-reliance on one sub-genre: the rom-com. His style lacks the wow and excitement factor that he ends up leaving it to the likes of Julia Roberts to bring it to life. It happened with his TV show Mork & Mindy, & one where he was the original creator of the show, particularly the last 2 seasons which weren't as great, and it was only by the virtue of Robin Williams who managed to keep some viewers glued to their sets with his zaniness. When he has a script, Garry Marshall just doesn't do much to it to make me want to care for the characters and love the movie, but to constantly rely on lovey-dovey schtick & leave the rest up to his main stars. But even with this, it feels too predictable and one-dimensional. This has been a major issue I have with him, with regards to his romcoms, of whereby each and every one of them is insipid and are practically the same as the last. His last ever effort, 2016's Mother's Day with Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson and Jennifer Aniston received a mauling and the most negative reviews from both professional movie critics and general online movie review bloggers, all-round of his career. 

In contrast, his sister Penny Marshall, who coincidentally starred as Laverne in the Happy Days spin-off, Laverne & Shirley, directed way superior and more quality movies: Big with Tom Hanks, A League of Their Own, the fabulous Awakenings starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro, Jumpin' Jack Flash. & though she may not have an as extensive list of movies under her belt as her older sibling, at least she knows a quality script when she sees one. 

The bottom line and to wrap it up, I enjoyed Mork & Mindy and in some ways, through the Mork & Mindy will they/won't they romantic storyline, it was this setup that eventually paved the way for Garry Marshall's later offerings in Pretty Woman, Valentine's Day and other romcoms. 


But when it comes to his movies, they have been all, but for Overboard, forgettable (who practically knows duds in The Other Sister, Exit in Eden?), too predictable and aren't much to ponder and as they're horrible & as a movie director, he hasn't made much of a positive impression on me, personally to say I adore his films. 


Notable Favourites: Overboard (1987)
Notable Non-Favourites: Pretty much everything else he has done, but for his TV shows

Grade I Would Award Towards Garry Marshall:  F

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