Movie Reviews: Then and Now


Aidan McFarland

For this month’s issue, I will be reviewing some comedies that I have enjoyed in the past few weeks. I will be discussing Sullivan’s Travels (1941), Charade (1963), and The Mitchells vs. The Machines (2021). I enjoyed all these movies, and I am going to go in more depth about their plot and what I was fond of in each movie.

Let’s start off with Sullivan’s Travels (1941), a black and white film starring Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake, directed by Preston Sturges. The plot of this film is about a movie director, John Sullivan (Joel McCrea), who gets the idea to create a film for O Brother, Where Art Thou?, but to truly embrace himself with this new project, he decides that he must suffer. He decides to disguise himself as a homeless person and go into the real world to “know trouble” firsthand. This a film that I very much enjoy and one that I often revisit. It has a message at the beginning of the film that states, “To the memory of those who made us laugh: the motley mountebanks, the clowns, the buffoons, in all times and in all nations, whose efforts have lightened our burden a little, this picture is affectionately dedicated.” I truly admire this message with displaying the significance of laughing and comedy and how it can really make an impact on people. Great and fun performances from Joel McCrea and Veronica Lake. Sullivan’s Travels will without a doubt make you feel joy and goodness!

The second film I will be discussing is Charade (1963), directed by Stanley Donen starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. Charade is a romantic comedy-mystery-thriller about a woman (Audrey Hepburn), who is hunted by several men who want the fortune of her murdered husband that they believe she withholds. Although this may not sound like a very humorous and romantic film, it truly is! There is something for everyone in this film–from the romance between Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn to the suspenseful scenes and chases where you don’t know who to trust to humorous gags throughout the film that are hilarious and clever. This film also has such a fantastic cast, of course, including the amazing Audrey Hepburn and the suave Cary Grant, but also includes such stars as Walter Matthau, James Coburn, and George Kennedy. Charade is truly one of my favorite films and I also just love the look of this film with showing fashion, furniture, and the overall zeitgeist of the early 1960’s through magnificent Technicolor. This film is also one that I tend to revisit and one that gives me both thrills and laughs.

The final movie I will be talking about is The Mitchells vs. The Machines (2021), directed by Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe. The Mitchells vs. The Machines is about a dysfunctional family who goes on a road trip to drop their daughter, Katie, off at film school in California. Their trip gets interrupted when a robot apocalypse takes place and the robots attempt to reign the human race. This film was released earlier this month on Netflix, and I really enjoyed it! I had such a fun time with it and it is nice to see some original and unique animation for everyone to enjoy. The cast is filled to the brim with funny and talented people including Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Eric André, Olivia Colman, Fred Armisen, Beck Bennett, and Conan O’Brien. I can definitely see myself revisiting The Mitchells vs. The Machines in the future and it becoming a favorite to many families everywhere.