Redemption: Bunny O'Hare

Redemption: Bunny O'Hare

This film about aging bank robbers disguised as hippies is as muddled and misguided as it sounds
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This is Bette Davis.

The two-time Academy Award winner ("Dangerous" - 1935 and "Jezebel" - 1938) is generally considered to be one of the greatest screen actors of all time. Her name is synonymous with films of substance and quality, and she managed to secure riveting roles well into her 50s and 60s in the 1950s and 1960s. She was one of those notoriously tough women in Hollywood who stood up to directors, producers, studio executives, and costars with unheard of regularity. She was an accomplished actress who is still heralded by many as the benchmark for cinematic quality.

Davis received her tenth and final Oscar nomination for her role as the titular antagonist in 1962's Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?, invariably proving her hireability as an actress well into middle age. Nine years after her historic tenth nomination, Davis starred in Bunny O'Hare, this week's film up for redemption. Starring alongside the formidable Davis is fellow Academy Award winner and former costar Ernest Borgnine (who many of you might recognize as the voice of Spongebob's Mermaid Man). Nine years, even for an accomplished and universally respected actress like Davis, is three eternities in the entertainment business. In that time, the greatest actor in the world can fall from grace, die, or, worst of all, be reduced to guest starring on CBS sitcoms, and this flimsy movie reflects Davis' quickly-diminishing hireability in Hollywood.

In the film's first scenes, Borgnine, a blue-collar worker later revealed to be a wanted bank robber, removes the toilet from the foreclosed home of Davis' character. In a demonstration of inexplicable kindness, he offers her a ride and then subsequently attempts to abandon her, repeatedly. After learning of his status as a wanted criminal, Davis blackmails him into helping her rob a bank. Naturally, they dress as hippies to pull off their robberies, because a dignified actress like Bette Davis could never act the role of a criminal without wearing bellbottoms and a poncho.

Borgnine and Bette case the bank on a motorcycle

Davis' Bunny O'Hare is an easily pitiable character; a bankrupt elderly woman whose ungrateful children cannot and will not help her. And yet the material is so offensively bad given the combined talents of the cast (including a post-"Addams Family" John Astin) that this pity quickly gives way to frustration. The jumbled elements of the film are equally insulting to the actors and the audience; from the contradictory elements of Davis' O'Hare (she cannot abide excessive drinking or swearing yet steals without remorse, though with substantial reason) to the banjo-laden soundtrack to the inexplicable friendship between the two leads. At one point, early on in the film, Borgnine attempts to leave Davis in the middle of a damned desert, and yet they still maintain a partnership. The biggest offense, ultimately, is the fact that their successful robberies are predicated on the fact that they can pass as youths, with one newspaper article referring to the pair as "classic examples of the 'Now Generation.'" I will concede that Borgnine's disguise is effective, he even resembles Jerry Garcia, but Davis' costuming reads "senile bag lady" instead of "Manson-esque minimal criminal."



Inevitably, a romance develops between the two, and it is the depiction of this kind of post-middle aged desperation that gives the movie its most power. Davis and Borgnine have precious little going for them, aesthetically, socially, or financially. Their moments together, at least when they aren't robbing banks, are spent reflecting on the poor quality of life for senior citizens. It is in these moments that the truth and poignancy of the film briefly shine through, but it isn't allowed to thrive against the backdrop of the movie's forced attempt at satirizing the countercultural movement. Davis' interactions with her children, both of whom only call when they need money, are heart wrenching, leading to a mildly satisfying ending where she hangs up on both of the ingrates, yet it's (very obviously) nothing compared to her stronger, earlier work.

Final Verdict: This little oddity of a movie could very easily be remade today. If it were to place more emphasis on the aspect of aging in America with competent dialogue and directing, it could be a genuinely amazing film, a quirky tale of two senior citizens on a crime spree fighting back against the commonplace cruelties the elderly face daily. This film, however, is a futile exercise which ultimately squanders its potential, one that feels more like a poorly made ABC Movie of the Week than a feature film. I would only recommend this movie so that you could imagine how spectacularly a remake done right would be; the movie's potential is so abundant that it outshines the film itself, even bolstering it in some scenes. Redemption Approved.




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10 Reasons Your Big Sister Is The Best Person In Your Life

"There is no better friend than a sister, and there is no better sister than you."
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As much as I hate to admit it, my big sister might be sort-of, slightly, cooler than I am.

Sometimes. She's the one I call when I can't call mom and the only one in the family who can properly handle my attitude. Big sisters are the people you'd choose if they weren't already family, and here's why.

1. She is your first and truest friend.

Big sisters are (literally) there from day one. They see every dirty diaper, every bad haircut, and every melodramatic breakup. They deal with every bad day and drama queen attitude and still love you in the most unconditional way.

2. Her closet is your closet.

For some reason, her clothes always look better on you. Funny how that works, huh? With a big sister comes a big closet, and who doesn't love having a double wardrobe? I'd also like to take this opportunity to apologize for the clothes I will never give back (but I'm not really that sorry).

3. She knows what it's like to deal with your parents.

Anything you could possibly be going through, they went through it first. It's kind of like having an instruction manual or a key to the future. Either way, it's always nice to have someone who will always understand the struggle.

4. There are no boundaries.

Wanna dance around in your underwear all day? Cool. Life talks while she's on the toilet? Also cool. There's no awkward moments or changing in the bathroom with the door locked. There's just the kind of freedom that only comes with siblings.

5. Thanks to her, you know about all of the cool movies/music/fashion trends from years back.

Thanks to my sister, I have every Too $hort and Ludacris song you could ever think of downloaded on my phone. I've seen every cheesy '90s movie, and when a fad from 10 years ago comes back in, I already have the hookup.

6. She tells you like it is.

We all have those friends who tend to sugarcoat everything. Yeah, sisters don't do that. She's the first person to tell me when I'm making a terrible decision and that I really shouldn't triple text that boy again. She keeps it real with me and deals with my attitude, and that's why she's the best.

7. Her home is always open.

Sometimes you just need to get away from life and binge watch Netflix, and sometimes you need all of that plus your sister. She always has her door open when you're two seconds away from losing your mind, and she also has good takeout and a dog.

8. She knows what you're capable of.

My sister knows exactly who I am and what I can do. She knows when I'm not doing my best, and when I need to be set straight. She's always there to remind me who I am and what I'm capable of accomplishing. She's always been my biggest fan.

9. She's a lot cheaper than therapy.

For some reason, my sister always knows just what to say. Even if I don't see it at the time, she's usually right (don't tell her I said that). Big sisters are like wizards, somehow they always magically make you feel like life's gonna turn out alright in the end. If she wasn't already awesome at everything else, I'd suggest she be a therapist.

10. She will always be your go-to gal.

No matter the situation, she will always be by your side. There is nothing you could say or do to make a big sister leave, and that's why they're the best. Whether it's a speeding ticket, a mean girl or you just need to laugh, big sisters are always going to be there to lift your spirits and set you straight.

I couldn't make it without ya sis, I'm sorry for ratting you out on Thanksgiving that one time, and for running away at the zoo. Thanks for taking me to see Aaron Carter even though he's way too old to still be singing "I want Candy," and thank you always for being the best role model, sister and friend I could ask for.

Cover Image Credit: teaser-trailer.com

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Poetry On The Odyssey: It's a Girl

An ode to the little girl raised to be insecure.

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They raise little girls to be insecure

Little girls grow to be big girls

People always ask big girls why they're so insecure

Big girls aren't quite sure

Day after day the big girl can't keep up

She's exhausted

Her soul feels worn

The big girl learns to grow hard

In a way, she's a bit stronger

People call her a bitch

Bitch

What is that?

How can she let that affect her

It's simply the only way to be her

She mourns that little girl

Hoping that one day

She'll be strong


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