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Posts Tagged ‘Dan Aykroyd’

It’s really cold outside tonight for Texas (25 degrees, brrrrr) and with no Worst Movies Ever to do, I was looking forward to coming home and getting under the covers. This was mostly due to the fact that I spent an hour gridlocked in traffic, watching ambulance after ambulance come to rescue Texas drivers who freak at the mere thought of inclement weather.

My natural instinct was to come home, have peppermint hot chocolate, and cross stitch. Yes, I know. I’m two caftans and a lanai short of being a Golden Girl, but I do enjoy the needlework. On nights when I’m out of movies to review, I flick on TCM or pop in a movie for background noise while I put stitches in whatever I may be working on at the moment.

In retrospect, it was probably a mistake to put on Ghostbusters tonight. I should have known my attention would be drawn so much to the movie that I would keep stabbing myself in the thumb and index finger with a needle. Luckily for me, tapestry needles are extremely dull or my pricked fingers would be singing a far different tune. I really should have known much better and not been shocked at all when I looked down at my work and saw that I had miscounted everything I had done from paying too MUCH attention to Ghostbusters, thus leaving me the only option of ripping out everything I had just sat there and stitched. If you’ve never ripped out stitches before, and I am assuming quite a few of you have not, it is about as much fun as a root canal.

So here’s all those parts that I adore so much, even if they cause me bodily injury and/or cause me to swear a blue streak because they drive me to distraction…

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“My uncle thought he was Saint Jerome.”

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Ah, the days before Eddie Murphy was a total primadonna.

With Eddie Murphy’s career in a constant state of decline the past ten years or so, it’s hard for me to remember a time when moviegoers actually liked him. It’s hard to remember the Trading Places/Coming to America era when you’re deluged with The Nutty Professor II and The Adventures of Pluto Nash and…(gulp) Norbit. It’s hard to see the really good among the field of really crap movies Murphy’s put out in the past few years.

It’s also hard to remember a time when Eddie Murphy looked like he was having actual fun making comedies, instead of watching him sulk and storm off at the Academy Awards because no one gave him an Oscar.

Trading Places is the story of two very different men — the poor, thieving Billy Ray Valentine (Murphy) and the wealthy, pretentious Louis Winthorpe III (Dan Aykroyd) — who have their places in life switched by the morally lacking Duke brothers, who own the commodities firm that Louis works for. The Duke brothers are at odds. One argues that Louis has gained his wealth in life through his breeding and birth, while one argues that the only thing preventing Billy Ray from being where Louis is would be the nature of his place in society; that is, among the lowest classes. Together, they scheme to ruin Louis while elevating Billy Ray to test their theories — all for the bet of precisely one dollar.

Trading Places is a curious movie to watch nowadays. I actually stopped and restarted the movie about three times over. I love Dan Aykroyd, but with my prior experience with Eddie Murphy, I found this one draining and exasperating to sit through with regards to him. (Which is odd, considering I love Coming to America, which features a minor cameo by the Duke brothers.)

To be truthful, Jamie Lee Curtis as the compassionate prostitute Ophelia and Dan Aykroyd made this movie work for me. You have to be willing to sit through some essentially very depressing stuff (the ruining of Louis, while comic, gets really sad after a while) and watching Eddie Murphy ham it up as the penniless guy who’s now rolling in the money doesn’t really quite take the edge off of all of it, to tell you the truth.

In the end, the two wind up meeting each other and developing a plan to put the Duke brothers out of business for good.

All in all, Trading Places is an excellent movie, but it feels a little maudlin nowadays when you realize the direction Murphy could’ve gone instead of where he went. Then again, almost anything directed by John Landis is guaranteed to make me smile.

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