Friday, October 10, 2008

Kathleen: A Hero On Screen and Off (plus a new movie recommendation)

I fell in love with Paul Newman when I was about twelve years old. I remember my mother telling me that he was the same age as she was--both born in 1925--and thinking that couldn't be. He was such a heartthrob! I seldom missed one of his movies, and he starred in several that became classis. He was the consummate hero in movies like Hombre (playing an Apache no less, but that's another story), the ultimate anti-hero in Cool Hand Luke, the delicious bad boy many times over, and a real thug in Hud, a character he played as a thug and was surprised when people still saw him as a hero. He was charming and handsome and women loved him no matter what.

He was gorgeous even as the years passed, and his 50 year marriage to Joanne Woodward is amazing by any standard. He enjoyed a long life, left us a wonderful body of work, and will always be the star who first made my pre-pubescent heart go pitty pat. Grey hair looked good on him. He made aging seem like the way to go.

Best of all, he did wonderful work off the silver screen. There is so much in today's news about greed these days. You look at the number of zeroes insome of the "compensation packages" paid to a single person, and you wonder, when is enough enough?

Paul Newman started a company because friends told him he should bottle his salad dressing. But he didn't need more money, so he gave all the profits to charity. His brand was successful beyond his expectations, and his foundation will continue to do good work beyond his death.

Paul Newman was a hero in the true sense--a man we can all look up to. In interviews his humility shone through, especially in later years. Robert Redford's statement--that Newman enriched his life and the life of the whole country--is a wonderful testimony. He will be dearly missed and lovingly remembered by people who knew him personally and countless more who wish they had.

What's your favorite Paul Newman movie?

(Note: I'm posting this now and coming back in a couple of hours to add a bit about the movie I saw last week: Appaloosa.)

Appaloosa came out last Friday, and I was there on day one with my Indian cowboy. (Today's our anniversary, by the way. Number 38!) No Western slips below our radar these days. They're all too rare. We had different expectations, and it was interesting to compare notes after the lights went up. We both really like Viggo Mortensen, for slightly different reasons. What turns us both on is his acting and the fact that he's a real horseman. We both love Renee Zellweger. I love Ed Harris. Clyde really liked him in this movie. And Jeremy Irons makes a killer villain. So two thumbs up on performances in this one. The setting is beautiful--can't go wrong with New Mexico--real Western feel, delicious atmosphere.

Best of all, the script is worthy of cast, setting and genre. It's based on a Robert B. Parker novel, and I have a feeling the author is pleased. While the story features elements we've all seen before in Westerns--gunmen hired to save a town from the powerful, greedy rancher, cowardly town folk, the "lady" and the whore--the script turns the obvious on its ear and drives the plot through its twists on the shoulder of evolving characters and fascinating relationships. The two men are business partners and close friends. Enter the woman, and here's where Clyde and I responded differently to character. I won't go into detail because that would be a spoiler. And that's what makes this so different. It wouldn't be a crime to spoil the plot. It's the unfolding of character and the development of relationships that make the film.

What a delight for a writer! What's really interesting is how differently Clyde and I responded to the story's resolution. It was a good ending in my opinion, but, again, turning the HEA on its ear. It might disappoint some people, even though...well, that's all I can say. I'll say this, it's a great one for a date, and it's not a chick flick. I loved the way it worked on several levels and still satisfied as a Western.

So let's talk...


Playground Monitor said...

Man oh man, I love Paul Newman. He was truly one of the good guys. I read a story after his death that said he was in a store once and a kid was holding a Newman's Own product. The kid looked the the label, looked at Paul and asked, "Are you lost?"

Favorite Newman movies are probably "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" and "Cool Hand Luke," even though the latter left me unable to eat boiled eggs for years. "What we got here is failure to communicate," has become a much-used line around the world (though Newman didn't say that line).

RIP Paul Newman. You'll be missed.


Liza said...

I love Paul Newman. I loved him in every movie I saw, but my 3 favorites are "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", "Cool Hand Luke", and "Cars". I didn't realize until I read it in EW that "Cars" ended up being Paul's last movie.

Debra Dixon said...

Ah, he was great. And your selection of pictures is just perfect for remembering him.

We used his Newman's Own dressing as a specific ingredient for one of the recipes in a MOSSY CREEK series book. They (the foundation) graciously gave permission and very quickly.

I'm not sure I have a favorite Paul Newman movie. I think I liked him best playing against type.

Cindy Gerard said...

Nice tribute, Kathy. I loved Paul Newman. He truly was one of the last Hollywood heroes. As to fav movie - of course, Butch and Sundance but I liked The Sting too.

Michele Hauf said...

Don't know that I've seen his movies, though I do recall perhaps seeing part of Butch Cassidy on TV as a kid.

I do love his products! Buy them whenever I can because I know the money does good things.

Can't wait to see what you say about Appaloosa! We saw it last weekend. I had one expectation as I went into the theater (I'll tell after Kathy posts) and the hubby's expectations were not met. I thought it was pretty good.

Kylie said...

Ohhhhh. His picture still makes my heart melt. I loved Cool Hand Luke, The Sting, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.

I remember when my second son was in high school and I was appalled that he'd never seen Cool Hand Look. I nagged for months until he and his friends watched it. They were blown away.

When I was growing up my mother and grandmother adored him. And even with my teenage scorn for anything/anyone old, that man made me melt.

He had true star quality, which you don't see so much today. When he died I just knew my mom and grandma were the first two to welcome him through the pearly gates!

Another Hollywood star of that era that personified dignity and has always had my admiration is Gregory Peck.

Those were the days.

Lee said...

I loved Butch Cassidy. We also did a great blog about him over at I think everyone can agree he was such a heartthrob and a true American hero, who put his money where his mouth is...He'll be deeply missed.

Helen Brenna said...

Awww. How can you not love this guy? I think Cool Hand Luke was my fav, but the Sting is a close second. Butch Cassidy was a great movie, but so sad.

Yeah, I love the pics too, Kathy. What a hero and what beautiful BLUE eyes.

Kathleen Eagle said...

"Cars" is a fav with my grands, and I love hearing Paul's voice. So fitting because he loved formula car racing (although I didn't think "Winning" was one of his best).

Kathleen Eagle said...

Michele?! I'll bet you've seen some PN movies and just don't remember. TMC is doing a Newman marathon this weekend--Sunday, I think.

Okay, "Cat On a Hot Tin Roof" and "The Long Hot Summer." Very 60's, yes, but classics.

"The Hustler" with Jackie Gleason--gotta see that one if you haven't yet.

"Fort Apache the Bronx" is a great cop movie.

catslady said...

It's hard to pick one but I guess I'd go with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. I can't wait to see Appaloosa.

Sean and Anna said...

Excellent Paul Newman tribute- he will be missed. I love all his movies and I also admire his dedication to philanthropy.

My husband really wants to see Appaloosa- I'm so so. However, I like the author so I might fork out the cash to see it. With money so tight I am increasingly more picky bout how I spend. At the moment I prefer books.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Anna, I'm with you on buying books over going to the movie theater. Those are our main forms of entertainment. We don't eat out very much anymore. I do the Blockbuster by mail deal--1 dvd at a time--and I think it's a good way to go. But some movies are so much better on the big screen. We go to movies before 6 pm when it's cheaper.

Estella said...

My favorite Paul Newman movie is Cool Hand Luke.
I am going to see Appaloosa as soon as it comes my way.

Dina said...

My fav was Butch and Sundance. :)

Michele Hauf said...

Kathy, I'm a Blockbuster chick too now. Two DVDs a month. I get my Torchwood fix that way. Good way to watch a whole series without spending even half what you would for the set.

We also hit the movies before 6. It's $5.50 for that last show before 6. And there's the 5 Buck club. After a movie has been out a couple weeks it'll go into the club and if you have your card (we do!) you get in any time for 5 bucks.

So I'm not a western fan. At all. Though I admit loving 3:10 To Yuma, but then Christian Bale may have had something to do with that. Ah heck, that was just an awesome super-paced movie!
My only expectation going in to Appaloosa was to see Viggo in some nice snug cowboy pants. :-) I was not disappointed. I love Viggo and Ed. They were awesome.
The hubby is a HUGE western fan, any John Wayne movie that flicks by on the TV will stop him dead. Even if he's doing something else, he'll drop it and veg out in front of the TV.
Half way through this movie I sensed his distaste. When the hubby doesn't like a movie he gets antsy. Leg starts twitching, shifting in his seat, sighing. I knew he didn't like it even before he declared loudly (and many times) after exiting the theatre how bad it was.
This movie is more cerebral than most shoot-em-up westerns, and I think that's what got the hubby. He wanted more blood, showdowns, whathaveyou.

He agreed the acting was excellent. Jeremy Irons rocked his role. But well, there you have it. He still hasn't stopped telling me what a waste of time it was watching it.

Go figure. I'd give it a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10. But then Viggo's snug fitting costume adds another point. ;-)

Michele Hauf said...

Oh, and another thing about Viggo... :-)

The man seems to embody any role he takes. He had such a lazy cowboy stance as if he were just hung in the air. His drawl and manner, too. Man that guy can act! I still haven't seen Eastern Promises, for fear it's too bloody and violent. Can anyone convince me it's worth a look?

Betina Krahn said...

Kathy, thanks for giving u s a chance to treasure Paul Newman one more time. My introduction to him was the movie "Long, Hot Summer" with Joanne Woodward (his wife of many years) and Orson Wells. We saw it on TV when I was just a young girl-- probably in upper elementary. it was the first movie televised that had a "this may not be suitable for all viewers" warning on it. Fortunately, my mom was out of the room when the warning came on and my sister and I didn't see fit to tell her about it when she came back. So when a certain shocking line came up, she flinched and said she wasn't sure we should be watching it. My sister and I just grinned at each other.
Talk about smoldering. And the dialogue was racy for the late fifties. Still provocative! And I've loved so many of his movies since. He will be cherished. . . and missed.

As for "Appaloosa," I saw it the day after it came out and thought it was great. Not your usual western-- a lot more psychological than that. But a great flick all the same. And authentic deluxe.

Interestingly, I've been thinking about it ever since. And finally realized that Renee and Viggo both attach themselves to Virgil cole for the same reasons-- he's the lead stud-- the top dog. Sort of a "takes one to know one" kind of vibe. Still may have to see it a second time!

Anonymous said...

I grew up watching Paul Newman. He was a handsome man to the end. And also a class act. He will be missed.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Michele, you don't want to miss the fight scene in the steam room in "Eastern Promises".

Kathleen Eagle said...

Michel, interesting that your hubby hated "Appaloosa" so much. Clyde is a huge Western fan, too, and his favorites are often pretty violent, like "The Wild Bunch." But "Lonesome Dove" might be his all-time fave, and that's really character driven. He liked "Appaloosa," but he was mad at the woman for...well, you know.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Betina, interesting comparison between the Viggo and Renee characters. I think you're right.

movie fan said...

I have always admired Paul Newman for putting his money to work in such productive ways...