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Thumbs down!

So many things to criticize.  However, I'll confine myself to one gripe at this time: the way Bob Carroll, Jr. was portrayed as a no-talent riding on Madelyn's coattails.  I suppose the mere fact Madelyn was a comedy writer in such a male-dominated field in the 1940s and 50s wasn't enough of a "statement" for Sorkin.  

 

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Thumbs down from me too!

I'll follow suit and confine my criticism here to one thing: Sorkin's general disregard for I LOVE LUCY, exhibited in his script's failure to understand why the series worked then, and by proxy, why this film even has an audience now. His perspective is dramatically counterintuitive too, for if Lucille cares significantly about her work, but Sorkin says her work isn't worth caring about, then he's asking the audience not to care about a significant part of her, right? So, why bother? 

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For a film that has packed so much into it I felt like it didn't have much to say or tell us about anybody. Starting with the 3 main plots, Red Scare, Baby and Confidential article, the Red Scare should have been the only one used. It does create tension throughout the week of rehearsal and it comes to a conclusion. Getting the baby episodes approved by CBS and Phillip Morris is just more executives in Desi's office, which we already have for the red scare. The Confidential article has major issues though. It keeps coming up throughout the movie and goes back to Desi saying he was playing cards with the boys on his boat. What I'm never clear on is if Lucy knew he had cheated in the past.
This is crucial to know because it's something that ran through their whole marriage. Lucy knew. The Confidential article was the piece that now made it public.
 
I was never able to fully feel that Nicole was Lucy and still think she was miscast. They could have helped her if they even tried to give her similar Lucy hair. But what was more troublesome was how she is written. Nicole acted this fine but the Lucy we got was a hard nosed lady with a witty remark, a comeback or something cutting to say at all times. This was not Lucy. Never once did I get warmth, softness, lovable and she loved to laugh. I don't recall her laughing once in the film.
Javier is fine but unremarkable mainly due to the fact he felt like a supporting character. This is Lucy's movie. What my biggest problem in all the Lucy Desi scenes was is the lack of love. These are 2 people who deeply loved each other and were always showing it. The scenes at the studio felt more like business partners than lovers. I need to see this connection between them and why they believed in each other so much. I liked the first night they spent together but it lacked intimacy. An audience needed to see why under all these obstacles these 2 people stuck it out for 19 years.
 
The I Love Lucy scenes were completely unnecessary, cringy and Nicole's Lucy Ricardo voice was a bit scary. The movie uses the writers as they were talking in a documentary in the future. It gives us exposition I don't think we need and slows down the pacing. Take those scenes and the I Love Lucy scene out and the time could have been spent elsewhere. Everything moved at such a clip that very few scenes had room to breath. A few that I really liked did and I wanted more like that. Especially in the Lucy Desi flashback scenes that I thought were effective and enjoyable. And I wanted more of those too.. We could have got a much better sense of who Lucy and Desi really were deep down but I don't feel I got to know Desi and nothing about why Lucy was the way she was.
The rehearsal stuff on the set with the dining room scene is really tedious and as it went on just got annoying. Lucy would have never dressed down the writers at the table read or on the set. If she had script issues she went to Desi and he handled them. There are a lot of times Desi is talking to the writers and I saw none of his charm. The Cuban Arm as they called him. He knew how to get that stuff taken care of in a respectful way and this wasn't evident.
 
As for the writers. WOW. With all the interviews out there of Bob and Madelyn and Jess's book I don't understand why they came off as nothing even close to the real people. Bob seemed like a timid little boy who Madelyn kept picking on. And she was always trying to get the credit, I think because they were making her out to be some female crusader in a world of men? Jess and Desi had issues but Jess knew how to stand up for himself and he also knew how to control Lucy, where he doesn't in the film.
Bill really stole the film and that I think is because JK is a fine actor. I don't think it was necessarily entirely true to Bill's personality but I don't know him that well. Bill would often be the voice of reason but then that cramugeon side came out and it was funny.
 
Vivian I just felt bad for. She got saddled with this story of her looks and weight being an issue. There is a scene in her dressing room about Vivian not eating, Madelyn brings her food. Lucy comes in and they discuss the weight and that it matters that Ethel stays fat so Vivian should stop losing weight. For Vivian who in real life dealt with mental health issues it just got to me. That scene was the only time in the film I really lost it, tears down my cheeks.
Did I hate it, no but I didn't like it. I have so many emotions on how people were portrayed that I think it just leaves me sad for all those real people who worked on the show. But I don't think this will do damage to Lucy and Desi. That was a huge fear. They are too beloved that people hopefully will not believe this is who they were and reject this telling. Especially Lucy, because the Lucy I saw in this film was not the lady I've come to love.
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11 hours ago, Luvsbway said:

Those films are looking a whole lot better right now. 

The 2003 one in particular. Whatever license and timeline shifting that film took pales in comparison to what Sorkin did. And at least “Lucy” made an effort at nuanced and sympathetic portrayals of Ball and Arnaz, and tried to explain what made them tick in a non-salacious way. 

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Overall it was pretty boring. I was very anticipatory eager but it was a let down. In fact our internet went out during the last 20 minutes and my first thoughts were “good, I can go to bed and watch the rest tomorrow!”
Early in the movie they lost their credibility when the crew was getting ready to TAPE an episode. TAPE? There wasn’t any tape in 1953........Come on.  Nobody caught that?
Other funny things I noticed....like when they re-created Lucy’s radio show the original script said it was the “gay new family series starring Lucille Ball with Richard Denning.”  Of course they left the word GAY out! Too funny. 
The whole thing was very contrived. Lucy calling a “secret” meeting alone with Viv and Bill to go over a scene in the middle of the night at the studio.
The chemistry between Lucy and Desi was amazing in real life. Here Lucy was a driven bitch. Way too much bickering between the writers and the stars and between the stars themselves. I don’t think it would happen that way or they wouldn’t get anything done.
They obviously put together various events into one week that happened various years. Even the show they were shooting when Lucy was exposed as a Communist wasn’t the show they were actually doing that week. 
Westinghouse was their sponsor in the hour long shows. They made it sound like Westinghouse was a sponsor of the 1/2 hour series which wasn’t true.
The actor who played Desi was waaay too old. And too tall...Desi was much younger than Lucy and this guy looked like an older man.  Desi had to wear elevator shoes in real life on the show.
William Frawley was portrayed as Lucy’s chum and even took her to the bar...just the two of them. No way.....
That’s my take on it...They sure gave it a lot of publicity so it will probably win a lot of awards but as my wife said “Lucy would turn over in her grave if she saw this.”  I agree.   The truth is that most younger people don’t even know who Lucy is so to them this will be the new truth which is sad.  I recommend Lucie Arnaz’s Home Movies documentary. Much more interesting and not a bunch of hype.
 
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On 1/8/2022 at 2:38 PM, tropicjeff said:
Overall it was pretty boring. I was very anticipatory eager but it was a let down. In fact our internet went out during the last 20 minutes and my first thoughts were “good, I can go to bed and watch the rest tomorrow!”
Early in the movie they lost their credibility when the crew was getting ready to TAPE an episode. TAPE? There wasn’t any tape in 1953........Come on.  Nobody caught that?
Other funny things I noticed....like when they re-created Lucy’s radio show the original script said it was the “gay new family series starring Lucille Ball with Richard Denning.”  Of course they left the word GAY out! Too funny. 
The whole thing was very contrived. Lucy calling a “secret” meeting alone with Viv and Bill to go over a scene in the middle of the night at the studio.
The chemistry between Lucy and Desi was amazing in real life. Here Lucy was a driven bitch. Way too much bickering between the writers and the stars and between the stars themselves. I don’t think it would happen that way or they wouldn’t get anything done.
They obviously put together various events into one week that happened various years. Even the show they were shooting when Lucy was exposed as a Communist wasn’t the show they were actually doing that week. 
Westinghouse was their sponsor in the hour long shows. They made it sound like Westinghouse was a sponsor of the 1/2 hour series which wasn’t true.
The actor who played Desi was waaay too old. And too tall...Desi was much younger than Lucy and this guy looked like an older man.  Desi had to wear elevator shoes in real life on the show.
William Frawley was portrayed as Lucy’s chum and even took her to the bar...just the two of them. No way.....
That’s my take on it...They sure gave it a lot of publicity so it will probably win a lot of awards but as my wife said “Lucy would turn over in her grave if she saw this.”  I agree.   The truth is that most younger people don’t even know who Lucy is so to them this will be the new truth which is sad.  I recommend Lucie Arnaz’s Home Movies documentary. Much more interesting and not a bunch of hype.
 

Very astute observations.  Tape-Film...oh....Potato-Potahto.   'Desi was much younger than Lucy"--well 5 1/2 years isn't all THAT much younger.  When they got married, Señor Golddapper was still in high school!  (assuming he went).  Pardon me if someone has already mentioned this but Madelyn delivering a fattening-up breakfast to Vivian??  SHEESH!  Were they still using the "20 pounds overweight" gag contract as a basis for this scene?  Unless Madelyn had this hidden snarky streak in real life, she would never have made a crack about the RKO writing of Lucy's films.  

In his book, Jess didn't like Desi being named Executive Producer.  I'm not sure what an executive producer does.  There seems to be a dozen of them tied to every project from sitcoms to...this one (including Lucie and Desi Jr. credited with EP).  I don't know why Jess objected because as president of Desilu, wasn't Desi the de facto Exec Producer? 

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Quote

In his book, Jess didn't like Desi being named Executive Producer.  I'm not sure what an executive producer does.  

As you noted, shows today often have multiple executive producers - particularly since the stars often take "vanity" executive producer credits. (My understanding is that at the recent Friends reunion, for example, all 6 stars received EP credits as a courtesy, even though they weren't all involved on the creative side of things.) 

There is still usually once "main" executive producer, though, and that person is the showrunner. The showrunner selects the writing staff, reads over each script to make sure it comes from one "voice," and is in charge of planning that season's story arcs. The showrunner often has creative approval over the final cut of each episode before it is delivered to the network. 

Since, according to the Desilu book, Jess did all of the things a showrunner today typically does, he likely deserved executive producer credit. I'm not clear on why he and Desi *both* couldn't get EP credit, but I guess that wasn't done in the '50s. 

(As an aside, if the show were produced today, I have no doubt that Lucy would have gotten a producer credit as well. While Lucy wasn't as involved on the creative side as she would be in later years, Jess and Desi often deferred to Lucy when they had creative disagreements, and Lucy certainly wasn't shy about sharing her thoughts re: the scripts or how each scene should be played.) 

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  • 4 months later...

It’s interesting to consider the parallels this film has to The Eyes of Tammy Faye:

- Both are based on the lives of a famous TV couple, with the emphasis on the women
- Both couples we previously the subject of TV movies in the ‘90s of which their respective children disapproved
- Both sets of children were at least partially involved with the making of these films and have expressed more support, but are critical of certain decisions made
- Both films have been critiqued for their scripts and the historical license taken
- Both starred major actresses who won awards for their respective portrayals (Kidman the Golden Globe, Chastain the Oscar)

Hollywood sure loves its formulas!

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On 5/21/2022 at 12:59 AM, Mot Morenzi said:

It’s interesting to consider the parallels this film has to The Eyes of Tammy Faye:

- Both are based on the lives of a famous TV couple, with the emphasis on the women
- Both couples we previously the subject of TV movies in the ‘90s of which their respective children disapproved
- Both sets of children were at least partially involved with the making of these films and have expressed more support, but are critical of certain decisions made
- Both films have been critiqued for their scripts and the historical license taken
- Both starred major actresses who won awards for their respective portrayals (Kidman the Golden Globe, Chastain the Oscar)

Hollywood sure loves its formulas!

Except that from what I've read and seen (only clips so far, not the entire film), TEOTF is miles and away a much better -- and perhaps more accurate -- depiction of the lives of Bakkers especially as compared to the Dreck invented and propogated by Sorkin regarding the Arnaz legacy. Ugh! 

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12 hours ago, JoeySanJoaquin said:

Except that from what I've read and seen (only clips so far, not the entire film), TEOTF is miles and away a much better -- and perhaps more accurate -- depiction of the lives of Bakkers especially as compared to the Dreck invented and propogated by Sorkin regarding the Arnaz legacy. Ugh! 

I certainly found it more enjoyable.

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