Guilty Pleasures

from Mary Jo Putney…             

Assuming all has gone well, by the time you read this I’ll have handed in my book and be cruising the Douro River in Portugal with my nearest and dearest.  And surely picking up a better sense of the countryside that was the setting for part of the Peninsular Wars. (Once a Regency writer, always a Regency writer….)

Because I’ve also been trying to finish a book, plus having computer problems, I’m going to keep this short and fluffy, or at least fluffy: I’m going to talk about movies we like even though we feel we probably shouldn’t.

Tops on my list is FIRST KNIGHT, an Arthurian fantasy that came out several years ago and centered the immortal romantic triangle of Sean Connery as King Arthur, Juliet Ormond as Guinevere, and Richard Gere as Lancelot.

 

Firstknightposter When FIRST KNIGHT came out, A writer friend told me about how she and her friends had howled out loud at the corniness; I can’t remember if I had the courage to say that I really liked it.  *g* 

But even though the story was highly stylized, set in a dark age world with strange mechanisms, no Merlin (no Merlin!!!), and a whole lot of peasants wearing bright blue clothing, it worked for me, largely because of the power of the three leads.  I’ll watch Sean Connery in anything, and he did a beautiful job as the war weary king who falls in love with the young and lovely Guinevere because he wants peace and love in the last years of his life.

Julia Ormond is a queen in her own right.  Though she doesn’t really love King Arthur, she accepts his proposal in return for protection for her small country of Lyonesse.  Besides being beautiful, she has a wonderful warmth that makes it clear why men fall in love with her.  It’s also believable that she can love two very different men in different ways.Firstknight

Most of all, I loved Richard Gere as Lancelot.  In most versions of the Arthurian legends, Woman is Evil and responsible for the sinning of strong, noble men.  The traditional Lancelot is the most honorable of knights who betrays his king and best friend because of his lustful love for the queen.  ‘Twas the woman who made him do it. 

But in this case, love is not the sin but the redemption.  A cynical and emotionally wounded man, Gere’s Lancelot is transformed by his love for a great man, Arthur, the idealism of the Round Table, and the love of a good woman.  This is a story of redemption, not fall, and the ending is remarkably satisfying for a story that is often rendered as a tragedy. 

So what movies do you love that you feel a little embarrassed to admit to?  I look forward to reading the answers when I’m back from vacation!

Marriagespell2comp200_4 Mary Jo, who might talk about Angelina Jolie in Lara Croft: The Cradle of Life, on another day 

36 thoughts on “Guilty Pleasures”

  1. ‘First Knight’ – sigh. Loved it. Unabashedly, I didn’t and don’t care who found out. Richard Gere never looked better, the villain was not only dastardly beyond redemption but lived in a ruined castle that utterly reflected his character ( the oubliette !! awesome !! ), the first meeting of the betrothed through torch-peaked, knight-held honour guard, but most of all – the heroine who was not at all useless and helpless when crisis loomed. Thwarting her own kidnapping and dispatching a hooligan/would-be rapist by crossbow. LOVED her. Where has Julia Ormond gone ? I haven’t seen her in years.

    Reply
  2. ‘First Knight’ – sigh. Loved it. Unabashedly, I didn’t and don’t care who found out. Richard Gere never looked better, the villain was not only dastardly beyond redemption but lived in a ruined castle that utterly reflected his character ( the oubliette !! awesome !! ), the first meeting of the betrothed through torch-peaked, knight-held honour guard, but most of all – the heroine who was not at all useless and helpless when crisis loomed. Thwarting her own kidnapping and dispatching a hooligan/would-be rapist by crossbow. LOVED her. Where has Julia Ormond gone ? I haven’t seen her in years.

    Reply
  3. ‘First Knight’ – sigh. Loved it. Unabashedly, I didn’t and don’t care who found out. Richard Gere never looked better, the villain was not only dastardly beyond redemption but lived in a ruined castle that utterly reflected his character ( the oubliette !! awesome !! ), the first meeting of the betrothed through torch-peaked, knight-held honour guard, but most of all – the heroine who was not at all useless and helpless when crisis loomed. Thwarting her own kidnapping and dispatching a hooligan/would-be rapist by crossbow. LOVED her. Where has Julia Ormond gone ? I haven’t seen her in years.

    Reply
  4. There are so many deliciously bad King Arthur movies but I’m afraid that I just find FIRST KNIGHT just bad. Period. Richard Gere came across unbelievably smug in the role.
    But yes, please, rhapsodize about TOMB RAIDER one of these days. Although if you ever want to talk about a terrific romantic comedy that Angelina Jolie was in, check out PLAYING BY HEART, also with Sean Connery and a cast of many. It’s sort of like LOVE ACTUALLY way before that sort of movie was popular.

    Reply
  5. There are so many deliciously bad King Arthur movies but I’m afraid that I just find FIRST KNIGHT just bad. Period. Richard Gere came across unbelievably smug in the role.
    But yes, please, rhapsodize about TOMB RAIDER one of these days. Although if you ever want to talk about a terrific romantic comedy that Angelina Jolie was in, check out PLAYING BY HEART, also with Sean Connery and a cast of many. It’s sort of like LOVE ACTUALLY way before that sort of movie was popular.

    Reply
  6. There are so many deliciously bad King Arthur movies but I’m afraid that I just find FIRST KNIGHT just bad. Period. Richard Gere came across unbelievably smug in the role.
    But yes, please, rhapsodize about TOMB RAIDER one of these days. Although if you ever want to talk about a terrific romantic comedy that Angelina Jolie was in, check out PLAYING BY HEART, also with Sean Connery and a cast of many. It’s sort of like LOVE ACTUALLY way before that sort of movie was popular.

    Reply
  7. My strange pick is MEAN GIRLS. My teenage daughter wanted me to watch it with her and I found it to be a sly take on the cliques you find in high school. My daugter and her friends loved this movie and watched it over and over.

    Reply
  8. My strange pick is MEAN GIRLS. My teenage daughter wanted me to watch it with her and I found it to be a sly take on the cliques you find in high school. My daugter and her friends loved this movie and watched it over and over.

    Reply
  9. My strange pick is MEAN GIRLS. My teenage daughter wanted me to watch it with her and I found it to be a sly take on the cliques you find in high school. My daugter and her friends loved this movie and watched it over and over.

    Reply
  10. Mary Jo, I hadn’t seen First Knight until last month. I went to my friend’s, who has an in-home theater complete with big screen, honest-to-goodness theater speakers, and a bank of recliners instead of theater seats.
    She and I and a third friend lay back in the recliners, porked out on homemade caramel corn, and got up close and personal with Connery and Gere. We loved the movie.
    I’ve a terrible memory, but romantic movies I loved that come to mind are LadyHawke, Bladerunner, Last of the Mohicans, all of the Jane Eyres, and one of my very favorites, The Princess Bride. I can’t remember others, off-hand. I’m sure the moment I post this, I’ll remember 20 more.

    Reply
  11. Mary Jo, I hadn’t seen First Knight until last month. I went to my friend’s, who has an in-home theater complete with big screen, honest-to-goodness theater speakers, and a bank of recliners instead of theater seats.
    She and I and a third friend lay back in the recliners, porked out on homemade caramel corn, and got up close and personal with Connery and Gere. We loved the movie.
    I’ve a terrible memory, but romantic movies I loved that come to mind are LadyHawke, Bladerunner, Last of the Mohicans, all of the Jane Eyres, and one of my very favorites, The Princess Bride. I can’t remember others, off-hand. I’m sure the moment I post this, I’ll remember 20 more.

    Reply
  12. Mary Jo, I hadn’t seen First Knight until last month. I went to my friend’s, who has an in-home theater complete with big screen, honest-to-goodness theater speakers, and a bank of recliners instead of theater seats.
    She and I and a third friend lay back in the recliners, porked out on homemade caramel corn, and got up close and personal with Connery and Gere. We loved the movie.
    I’ve a terrible memory, but romantic movies I loved that come to mind are LadyHawke, Bladerunner, Last of the Mohicans, all of the Jane Eyres, and one of my very favorites, The Princess Bride. I can’t remember others, off-hand. I’m sure the moment I post this, I’ll remember 20 more.

    Reply
  13. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Yep, you heard me. For whatever reason (and I’m by no means a Costner fan), that movie worked for me. Despite its many problems. Oh well – we all have to have our guilty pleasures *g*.

    Reply
  14. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Yep, you heard me. For whatever reason (and I’m by no means a Costner fan), that movie worked for me. Despite its many problems. Oh well – we all have to have our guilty pleasures *g*.

    Reply
  15. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Yep, you heard me. For whatever reason (and I’m by no means a Costner fan), that movie worked for me. Despite its many problems. Oh well – we all have to have our guilty pleasures *g*.

    Reply
  16. Hmmmmmm . . . recently it’s been SKY HIGH. It’s just too funny (though I spent the whole movie hoping the girl lead would forget about Will Stronghold and fall for the hot baddie Warren Peace (yeah, my love of the goth bad boy lives on even as an adult).
    I’ll second PLAYING BY HEART as a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours (way way way better than LOVE ACTUALLY, which I thoroughly disliked; they only characters I cared about got unresolved endings or bad ones).
    Spent last night revisiting THE MATCHMAKER (I just love that moive). If only I’d had time to pair it up with THE NEPHEW and WAKING NED DEVINE. It would have been a perfect All-Irish-All-The-Time fest!

    Reply
  17. Hmmmmmm . . . recently it’s been SKY HIGH. It’s just too funny (though I spent the whole movie hoping the girl lead would forget about Will Stronghold and fall for the hot baddie Warren Peace (yeah, my love of the goth bad boy lives on even as an adult).
    I’ll second PLAYING BY HEART as a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours (way way way better than LOVE ACTUALLY, which I thoroughly disliked; they only characters I cared about got unresolved endings or bad ones).
    Spent last night revisiting THE MATCHMAKER (I just love that moive). If only I’d had time to pair it up with THE NEPHEW and WAKING NED DEVINE. It would have been a perfect All-Irish-All-The-Time fest!

    Reply
  18. Hmmmmmm . . . recently it’s been SKY HIGH. It’s just too funny (though I spent the whole movie hoping the girl lead would forget about Will Stronghold and fall for the hot baddie Warren Peace (yeah, my love of the goth bad boy lives on even as an adult).
    I’ll second PLAYING BY HEART as a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours (way way way better than LOVE ACTUALLY, which I thoroughly disliked; they only characters I cared about got unresolved endings or bad ones).
    Spent last night revisiting THE MATCHMAKER (I just love that moive). If only I’d had time to pair it up with THE NEPHEW and WAKING NED DEVINE. It would have been a perfect All-Irish-All-The-Time fest!

    Reply
  19. I hardly ever watch movies, but my first thought is “The Princess Bride”, I absolutely love it. I don’t think I’ve seen “First Knight”, so I’ll have to check it out.

    Reply
  20. I hardly ever watch movies, but my first thought is “The Princess Bride”, I absolutely love it. I don’t think I’ve seen “First Knight”, so I’ll have to check it out.

    Reply
  21. I hardly ever watch movies, but my first thought is “The Princess Bride”, I absolutely love it. I don’t think I’ve seen “First Knight”, so I’ll have to check it out.

    Reply
  22. “A man who fears nothing is a man who loves nothing. And if you love nothing what joy is there in life?” King Arthur to Lancelot before he agrees to his place as First Knight.
    And I love what Guinevere says to Arthur after she is discovered with her Champion. “Lancelot owns my heart. You have my will. Know that you own the better part of me.”
    Yes, I love FIRST KNIGHT.
    But my favorite is MEET JOE BLACK. The music is so emotionally intense. And that love scene is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in a movie. Never mind the allegory of Death tasting one of the greatest joys of Life.
    Hope you have a great time in Portugal.

    Reply
  23. “A man who fears nothing is a man who loves nothing. And if you love nothing what joy is there in life?” King Arthur to Lancelot before he agrees to his place as First Knight.
    And I love what Guinevere says to Arthur after she is discovered with her Champion. “Lancelot owns my heart. You have my will. Know that you own the better part of me.”
    Yes, I love FIRST KNIGHT.
    But my favorite is MEET JOE BLACK. The music is so emotionally intense. And that love scene is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in a movie. Never mind the allegory of Death tasting one of the greatest joys of Life.
    Hope you have a great time in Portugal.

    Reply
  24. “A man who fears nothing is a man who loves nothing. And if you love nothing what joy is there in life?” King Arthur to Lancelot before he agrees to his place as First Knight.
    And I love what Guinevere says to Arthur after she is discovered with her Champion. “Lancelot owns my heart. You have my will. Know that you own the better part of me.”
    Yes, I love FIRST KNIGHT.
    But my favorite is MEET JOE BLACK. The music is so emotionally intense. And that love scene is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in a movie. Never mind the allegory of Death tasting one of the greatest joys of Life.
    Hope you have a great time in Portugal.

    Reply
  25. Hmm. I have this weird random fondness for DAVE and THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, despite the fact that dating a president or being First Lady is about as far removed from my fantasies as you can get.
    I remember that at some point between the 2000 election and the Bush v. Gore verdict, I wanted to watch one of the above movies for the sheer escapist presidential fantasy of it. My husband persuaded me to rent WAG THE DOG instead. I *hated* that movie. Not the kind of fantasy I was going for. Not even close.
    My *favorite* romantic movie is BULL DURHAM, but there’s nothing guilty about my pleasure there. AFAIC that movie is a masterpiece.

    Reply
  26. Hmm. I have this weird random fondness for DAVE and THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, despite the fact that dating a president or being First Lady is about as far removed from my fantasies as you can get.
    I remember that at some point between the 2000 election and the Bush v. Gore verdict, I wanted to watch one of the above movies for the sheer escapist presidential fantasy of it. My husband persuaded me to rent WAG THE DOG instead. I *hated* that movie. Not the kind of fantasy I was going for. Not even close.
    My *favorite* romantic movie is BULL DURHAM, but there’s nothing guilty about my pleasure there. AFAIC that movie is a masterpiece.

    Reply
  27. Hmm. I have this weird random fondness for DAVE and THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT, despite the fact that dating a president or being First Lady is about as far removed from my fantasies as you can get.
    I remember that at some point between the 2000 election and the Bush v. Gore verdict, I wanted to watch one of the above movies for the sheer escapist presidential fantasy of it. My husband persuaded me to rent WAG THE DOG instead. I *hated* that movie. Not the kind of fantasy I was going for. Not even close.
    My *favorite* romantic movie is BULL DURHAM, but there’s nothing guilty about my pleasure there. AFAIC that movie is a masterpiece.

    Reply
  28. My favorite romantic movie is GHOST. I can’t think of any movies that are guilty pleasures for me–mine are TV shows: JUDGE JUDY and her ilk.

    Reply
  29. My favorite romantic movie is GHOST. I can’t think of any movies that are guilty pleasures for me–mine are TV shows: JUDGE JUDY and her ilk.

    Reply
  30. My favorite romantic movie is GHOST. I can’t think of any movies that are guilty pleasures for me–mine are TV shows: JUDGE JUDY and her ilk.

    Reply
  31. I do love FIRST KNIGHT but until this summer my favorite was the SABRINA remake with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond (hmmm, is there a trend here).
    After seeing The LAKE HOUSE this summer, I think it passes SABRINA in my heart. There are some issues with the film but it satisfies that spot that films like FIRST KNIGHT and THE PRINCESS BRIDE fills.
    Beth

    Reply
  32. I do love FIRST KNIGHT but until this summer my favorite was the SABRINA remake with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond (hmmm, is there a trend here).
    After seeing The LAKE HOUSE this summer, I think it passes SABRINA in my heart. There are some issues with the film but it satisfies that spot that films like FIRST KNIGHT and THE PRINCESS BRIDE fills.
    Beth

    Reply
  33. I do love FIRST KNIGHT but until this summer my favorite was the SABRINA remake with Harrison Ford and Julia Ormond (hmmm, is there a trend here).
    After seeing The LAKE HOUSE this summer, I think it passes SABRINA in my heart. There are some issues with the film but it satisfies that spot that films like FIRST KNIGHT and THE PRINCESS BRIDE fills.
    Beth

    Reply
  34. If you love romance novels, I can guarantee you will love “The Big Easy” with Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barken. It has some of the most tender, sexiest love scenes I have ever seen. Plus, Quid’s Cajan accent is lovely. He’s the cop who is involved in dirty and corrupt practices in the NOPD. She’s the prosecuting, straight-arrow attorney who is attracted, against her will, to Quaid, who, in spite of his corruption, is a good man–and becomes a better one.

    Reply
  35. If you love romance novels, I can guarantee you will love “The Big Easy” with Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barken. It has some of the most tender, sexiest love scenes I have ever seen. Plus, Quid’s Cajan accent is lovely. He’s the cop who is involved in dirty and corrupt practices in the NOPD. She’s the prosecuting, straight-arrow attorney who is attracted, against her will, to Quaid, who, in spite of his corruption, is a good man–and becomes a better one.

    Reply
  36. If you love romance novels, I can guarantee you will love “The Big Easy” with Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barken. It has some of the most tender, sexiest love scenes I have ever seen. Plus, Quid’s Cajan accent is lovely. He’s the cop who is involved in dirty and corrupt practices in the NOPD. She’s the prosecuting, straight-arrow attorney who is attracted, against her will, to Quaid, who, in spite of his corruption, is a good man–and becomes a better one.

    Reply

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