Wednesday, December 22, 2021

being who, or whom

I never watched I Love Lucy very much - its original run was before my time, and it never seemed to show up much on rerun schedules that I paid attention to. But I enjoyed what clips from it I saw, it carries cultural weight to this day, and I liked Lucille Ball in Yours Mine and Ours, which is the only movie of hers I ever saw. So I guess I was a reasonable candidate to watch Being the Ricardos, which showed up on Amazon yesterday.

It was an OK movie, not too frantic as Sorkin vehicles sometimes are. Although reviews have commented that all the characters seem to be feeling miserable about everything, I thought it shone in displaying how, despite their conflicts, Lucy and Desi have tremendous respect for each other's artistic talents. And not just performing: when Lucy is spontaneously rewriting the episode's opening scene during rehearsals, Desi is just standing there admiring her doing it. Too bad it comes to nothing in the filming: what is the point here, that Lucy was wrong after all?

There was one horrible anachronism: when the show's executive producer objects to sharing his title with Desi, he says that he is the showrunner. Clang! The term "showrunner" wasn't invented until the late 1990s, to resolve ambiguities about the spread of the term "producer", which is exactly what he and Lucy are arguing about in that scene. They could have used the term, they just didn't have it.

As for the performances, I'm sorry, I didn't buy Nicole Kidman as Lucy. She just doesn't seem to fit the person, and I don't see her as a great comedienne, however much the script tries to sell her as perceived that way. Javier Bardem, however, was a perfect fit as Desi.

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