I’ll Always Be There When You Need Me: Anastasia (1997)

Romantic Moment #9

anastasia

Anastasia (1997)

So this film is based on two things, the person Anastasia and the 1956 film of the same name. Anastasia was the youngest daughter of Czar Nicholas II Romanov. With the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, the Czars were kicked out of power and later killed. The only body to not be found was Anastasia, which lead to a rumor that she wasn’t dead, but was still out there and would return one day. There was actually a woman who claimed she was the real Anastasia, going by the name Anna, but even though she knew countless details that only a Romanov would have known; it was later determined that she wasn’t Anastasia. The 1956 film, while starring the wonderful Ingrid Bergman and the very handsome Yul Brynner; was not very good. Yul Brynner was too mean and Bergman was too hysterical, etc. It just sucked. So about twenty years later Fox remade a animated version that had more likable characters, a more adventurous plot, and a collection of wonderful songs. I love the songs in this movie; Rumor in St. Petersburg, Journey to the Past, Paris Holds the Key (To Your Heart)and (my fav) At the Beginning.

That said, there is one other little thing I want to clear up. Anastasia is not a disney movie. I REPEAT! ANASTASIA IS NOT A DISNEY MOVIE! DISNEY DID NOT MAKE THIS MOVIE!!! It was 20th Century Fox! FOX MADE IT! FOX! FOX! FOX! FOX! It just urks me how people call it a Disney movie because it IS NOT A DISNEY MOVIE!

Anya

So the film begins in 1916 Russia, where the Czar is giving a party. His mother, the Dowager Empress (Angela Lansbury) is visiting from France. She and his youngest daughter, have a close connection and the Dowager gives her a secret music box and a locket that is a key, that have the saying “Together in Paris”. The ball is interrupted by their “holy man” Rasputin (he was a real creepo) played by Christopher Lloyd. Rasputin is mad at the Romanovs for trying to banish him, and has sold his soul to brung destruction on all of them. The Dowager and Anastasia are saved by a kitchen boy, who sneaks them out through a secret passage. They run for a train, but Anastasia trips and is left behind.

Fast forward ten years, the Dowager Empress has put out notice of a heavy reward to anyone who can bring her, her granddaughter. Dimitri (John Cusack), the kitchen boy, is all grown up and has been having tryouts to find someone to play Anastasia so he can get the money and be gone from Russia forever. He and his partner, Vladimir, an ex member of the Royal Court, both have the knowhow to get it done. Dimitri also has the music box.

Meanwhile, Anya (Anastasia), played by Meg Ryan, has been living with amnesia in an orphanage. Now being of age, she is being sent out to work. Instead of following the directions given to her, she decides to follow a stray dog she found and head to St. Petersburg and ultimately, Paris.

The two meet up in the old Romanov palace as Dimitri and Vladmir have gone there to lick their wounds, no applicants worked out, and Anya wants to get papers from Dimitri to get out of Russia. They notice her similarities to Tsarina Alexandra and offers it as a potential way to find her family, not telling her about the money (you know that old cliché). They board the train and are on there way

Meanwhile, Rasputin is rotting in Purgatory, as he can’t go off to hell until all the Romonavs are dead, and can’t go topside because he lost his glass vial of evil I guess (I’m not sure what its real name is), is lost. Bartok, his pet bat has found the vial and goes down telling him about Anastasia’s “rebirth”. Rasputin goes up to kill her.

Back on the train, Anya and Dimitri feel a little something for each other but are mean to each other not wanting to admit it. They have to move to the baggage cart as things have changed under Stalin. While there, Rasputin attacks and they have to switch to a boat. Rasputin attacks them, and Dimitri saves her. They eventually reach Paris, and Anya passes all the tests, solidifying it when she answers that she was saved by a kitchen boy. Dimitri hears this and knows that she is the real deal. The only issue is, the Dowager has decreed to see no one again. They decide to surprise her at the opera, Dimitri deciding to let her go and to do everything he could to help her connect to her family. Dimitri’s scheme has reached the Dowager’s ears and she really lays into him, with Anya overhearing. Anya is pissed that Dimitri lied to her and runs off to her hotel room. Dimtri then drives the Dowager over there and the two talk and are united. They have a ball to welcome her back, with Vladmir being reinsteated and honored with medals. The Dowager offers Dimitri the money, but he refuses (sound like someone you know?) and takes off. That night, Rasputin attacks Anya, Dimitri returns, and they defeat Rasputin. The two elope and run off, Anya telling her grandmother that she will see her again soon.

Most Romantic Moment:

Just like 10 Things I Hate About You it was hard to choose the “most romantic moment” as it was chock full, but I can only pick one.

So Dmitri has left. He could have told Anya what he did for her when she was a kid. He could tell her that  he was the one who saved her as a child. He could have told her that he figured out she was Anastasia and tried to help her at the Opera to get in to see the Dowager. He could have told her that he made sure that the two had a chance to talk because he wanted to reunite her with her family.  He could have told her he didn’t take the money. Instead, he wanted to make her dreams come true. She made him want to reform his conman ways.

better man

But Dmitri has no illusions. Even if he changed his ways, he knows nothing will happen between them.

Dimitri

So he leaves. He leaves because he knows that she needs more than he can give, she needs someone better. (Sound like someone else we know?)

you deserve better

Meanwhile, back at the ball Anastasia is being attacked by Rasputin. He has her down, and just when you think its over, Dimitri comes running in to save the day.

OMG

Yes! HE CAME BACK TO BE WITH HER! Even though it doesn’t make any sense. Even though coming back might not change anything, he DOES IT ANYWAY! Even though there is no guarantee that they will get together. Even though he knows she still might be angry with him and kick him to the curb. It doesn’t matter. He loves her so much he has to tell her how he feels. That’s so romantic!

So romantic!

So romantic!

And in the case of true love,  coming back always works out.

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He’s always been there for her.

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The Only Thing That Matters is the Ending: The Secret Window (2004)

You know, the only thing that matters is the ending. It’s the most important part of the story, the ending. And this one… is very good. This one’s perfect. 

So I watched this movie on recommendation from a friend and loved it. It is a psychological thriller from Stephen King’s book; Secret Window, Secret GardenKing got the idea for this novella from the many people who claim that that he has stolen plot ideas for different works from them. In this story, instead of the person being just delusional, they are also demented.

Now this film has had mixed reviews. I loved it and I showed it to some friends who adored it. However I have had friends who hated it. They thought it was too kitschy and predictable, but I thought the ending was very good, even perfect.

Johnny Depp plays Mort and is simply amazing as usual, although he has some real messed up and raggedy hair.

So the film starts out with Mort discovering his wife is having an affair. He decides to go to Maine, as they do in almost every Stephen King film, to an isolated cabin, another Stephen King Usual (SKU). Mort is a writer (SKU), and decides that he will be able to get over his writer’s block (SKU) in the middle of nowhere than at home (SKU). He also had to leave the house as his wife is getting the house in the divorce.

One day he is confronted by a man called John Shooter, played by John Turturro, who does an amazing job at being creepy.

Shooter has come to demand Mort to give him credit as he’s convinced that Mort stole his story, “Sowing Season”. Mort just blows him off, but Shooter leaves his manuscript and threats behind.

Mort tosses out the manuscript and moves on, but unbeknowest to him, his cleaning lady pulls it out and leaves it on the table. Mort than reads the story and realizes that Shooter’s story is just like his story, “The Secret Window”.

He stole my story!

The next day, Mort is out and aboout walking and runs into Shooter. They argue over who wrote it first; Mort happily telling him that his story was written and published a full year before. He has proof as he has a copy of the magazine it was published in at his home. Shooter is furious about this and tells him that he has three days to deliver the magazine as proof or else.

John Shooter: Do you wanna wake up from one o’ your stupid naps ‘n find Amy nailed to yer garbage bin? Or turn on the radio one mornin’ and find out that she came off secon’ best in a match with the chainsaw you keep out ‘n the shed? Do ya?

Mort doesn’t really care to listen to Shooter’s threats.

However, Mort quickly discovers that Shooter’s threats are not harmless. Shooter starts stalking him and his ex-wife. Bodies start piling up, as Mort goes down a road of insanity, trying to discover the truth of who is Shooter and why is he after him.

Just like in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and The Bad Seed, the end is too good for me to go into. This is a movie one has to see! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Hope you enjoyed Monday’s murderous tale. More to come!

Here’s a facebook cover I made for my countdown to Halloween.

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To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong in the World

To go to the previous post, go to A Tale So Strange It Must Be True

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For more on Stephen King, go to He Who Walks Behind the Rows

For more films based on a book, go to A Fright on Halloween Night

For more on Johnny Depp, go to Whatever You Do Don’t Fall Asleep

For more on serial killer horror films, go to Camp Blood

For more on affairs causing incredible emotional pain on a person, go to I Saw Goody Osburn With the Devil