The Summer of Paul Wrap Up

I managed to finish up my Summer of Paul with The Sting this past week so I thought I’d share impressions of that movie, two of Paul’s sort of “epic” films, From the Terrace and The Philadelphians and one in his later years, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge, as a type of close out to my Summer of Paul movie watching. I’m going to place a spoiler here and tell you I did not finish Mr. and Mrs. Bridge for various reasons. Read on to find out why.

First From the Terrace.

Warning: There will be spoilers for this one, so if you haven’t seen the movie and are just dying to do so (I have no idea why you would want to, however), then don’t read on, or skip on to my impression of The Philadelphians.

If you don’t think you are a fan of Paul or of his amazing good looks then you need to at least see him in the beginning From the Terrace, specifically the scene with him and Joan Woodward (his wife by the time this movie was made) on a boat. Oh my. I’m not usually the swooning type but — swooooon. I felt the need to fan myself and then give my husband a kiss (lest you think my crush on Paul distracts me from loving my husband. Don’t worry. I’m not that far gone.)

Alfred (Paul’s character) certainly doesn’t have it easy in this movie, but he also doesn’t always make things easy for himself. He has an alcoholic mother, an angry and bitter father still mourning the death of a young son, his firstborn, who died some 20 years earlier. Alfred’s choice of work and then a few other bad life choices also don’t make his life easy.

I read some reviews that called it melodramatic garbage and it was, but it was also well acted by everyone involved, even the characters I hated. I think I hated them so much because they were so well acted.

I wasn’t fond of many aspects of the movie to be honest. At the end these words came to mind, “Wow. That was a pile of hot garbage.”

This movie was like watching a train wreck, since I pretty much assumed where it was going and I wouldn’t get a nice ending, and while I don’t usually really agree with the critics, I did this time. I see a lot of movie critics as stuck-up elitists and usually like what they don’t and hate what they do. This time around I had to agree with the critics who said the movie was horrible.

Despite this movie being so awful, it was progressive in many ways with themes that were unnerving and made me cringe a bit, similar to A Streetcar Named Desire, which I watched earlier in the summer.

If lines like “What does success look like when you turn out the lights?” isn’t enough to tell you that this movie is full of innuendos and suggestive moments, I don’t know what is.

In the end, though, this movie was two and a half hours of watching the destruction of a man and his marriage, and that’s not really a spoiler. It’s obvious by the movie’s description that it isn’t going to go well for the guy. They could have destroyed his life in an hour and a half and still reached the same conclusion, in my opinion. This is a movie where it’s normal to have a lover on the side if your wife or husband isn’t showing you the attention you think they should. Communication be damned, I guess.

 It was awkward and cringeworthy for me to watch Paul make eyes at a woman who was not his wife for the second half of the movie, so I ended up fast forwarding a lot. I guess we were supposed to feel sympathetic to his “plight” but I didn’t. He was the one who traveled all the time and left his wife behind.

 I couldn’t really get on board with feeling all swoony about that when he’d already invested his love in one woman and then went chasing after another as if she was now something special. Then the romantic music when he pursued a relationship with the new woman. Like this time it’s real love. Gag me.

Not only that, I’m beginning to get annoyed at Paul’s stoic way of acting. He doesn’t have a terrible lot of range in some of his movies.

Eek. I know.

How could I speak ill of my “favorite” actor? I don’t know but I guess watching this many movies of his in a row isn’t the best idea because now I am analyzing him too much.

The Young Philadelphians

This movie is pretty depressing as well with a lot of people who lie, cheat, and don’t communicate, leading to a lot of hurt and destruction.

The movie starts out with a huge lie that will shape all of Paul’s character’s life and made me sit and wonder when the lie would come out.

This is another movie where parents try to keep their children from marrying each other to protect the family name and reputation and all that jazz. This movie provided me with a lot of moments of yelling at the screen, “Why didn’t you just talk to him!?” or to her or whatever. It was full of tons of assumptions by the main characters, leaving them wandering away from each other for years and wandering based on the inferences of others, instead of the truth.

This movie was also about Paul working his way up the ladder to success to prove others wrong who said he couldn’t become successful. The movie was also sort of all over the place plot wise and got really odd at the end with a court case.

It definitely wasn’t one of my favorite movies of Paul’s, even though I have seen worse.

Mr. and Mrs. Bridge

This movie starred Paul and his wife Joan as a husband and wife.

I am going to be straight up and honest that I abandoned this movie part way in, though I should have much earlier, like after a scene where it looked like Paul was checking out Kyra Sedgwick, who plays his daughter, right before he finally does something not boring by sleeping with his wife in the middle of the day. The scene was very confusing and I don’t know if he attacked his wife because his daughter turned him on or because seeing her reminded him of his wife when she was younger. Either way, it was a really creepy scene. I thought maybe I interpreted it wrong, so I Googled for any other opinions on this scene and found this impression of it on a site called Vocal Media:

“I make this comparison because though I have described Mr Bridge as incredibly, remarkably dull, he does have one trait: he gets turned on by his daughter. Yeah, that’s a running through-line of this austere drama, dad is kind of incest-y toward his daughter. A scene in which Mr Bridge watches his daughter sunbathing leaves Mr Bridge so horny that he immediately has sex with Mrs Bridge.

It’s possible that this wasn’t the intent of the filmmakers but when you place the scene of him leering out the window, trying not to be seen while watching his daughter sunbathe, and then follow that scene with Mrs Bridge walking in and Mr Bridge is immediately (ahem), the implication is almost unmistakable. Either they intended this, or they are very bad at making movies and understanding how film language works.

Granted, this is as close to something happening in Mr. and Mrs. Bridge as the movie gets, but it’s not something that anyone should want to happen. In fact, I have to wonder why anyone thought that this was a good idea to include in this or any movie. In a movie this dull, livening things up should not include ‘my daughter made me horny so now I am having sex with my wife.’ I don’t care how boring your movie is, don’t do this.”

I agree with the assessment of the above reviewer.


The movie is based on a pair of books, one called Mr. Bridges and the other Mrs. Bridges, and I don’t think the weird incest-type stuff was in the books, from what it sounds like. They were much more innocent I’m gathering. The story I about two insanely boring people who are noticing the world is passing them by.

Mrs. Bridge doesn’t like this and wants to experience some of what she is seeing going on around her, while Mr. Bridges is very stuck in his ways and doesn’t want to change. He tries to change in tiny ways for her, only to fall back to his boring self with all his particular ways of doing things. The movie is just a series of boring scenes built on top of other boring scenes. It’s baffling why it was even made really, other than to wake people up and try to urge them not to be boring themselves.

Paul’s excellence at being boring was probably why this movie actually was boring. He’s a good actor and is even great at being boring when he needs to be.

It was so boring, I didn’t even care what happened in the end and didn’t finish it.

The Sting

This movie was much more exciting, and it was a good movie to end my Paul Newman movie binge.

Paul and Robert Redford playing conmen who work to pull off a huge con on another conman in the city.

Paul is a retired big-level conman while Redford wants to break into the big-time of con jobs.

While Paul is smooth, Redford is a bumbling idiot who screws up most of the time. By the end of the movie, you start wondering if Redford’s screw ups are going to be the end of him or if he’ll pull it out after all.

Robert Shaw plays the bad guy in the film (wait..they are all conmen so who is the actual bad guy? Hmmm…) and for those who don’t know he’s also in Jaws and unpleasant things happen to him in that movie. We had a hard time watching the movie without saying things like “Watch out for the shark!”

The movie is a lot more lighthearted than some of the Paul movies I watched during my binge. I loved Paul’s personality and seeing him a character who was allowed to, and supposed to, have a range of emotions, versus characters he portrayed in other movies, which were a bit more stoic.

No matter how old Paul got, he kept those amazing good looks and crazy blue eyes, which makes watching him fun no matter what movie he is in.

For the final wrap-up, here are all the Paul Newman movies I watched this summer and fall:

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Paris Blue

The Long Hot Summer

The Hustler

Sweet Bird of Youth

The Rack

A New Kind of Love

Cool Hand Luke

Torn Curtain

From The Terrace

The Young Philadelphians

The Sting

In the past I watched Exodus, Twilight, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and the Towering Inferno.

Now, while I did say in my post about The Hustler, that I didn’t enjoy the movie as much as I hoped, I do recognize it as being a very well-acted and well-written movie. It was just darker than I thought, and I would have liked more Jackie Gleason.

Movies I wanted to get to but didn’t included:

The documentary on HBO Max by Ethan Hawke (The Last Movie Stars)

The Color of Money

The Verdict


And Somebody Up There Likes Me

I also started The Prize but got interrupted and forgot to finish it before my rental ran out.

If you want to read the impressions of the movies I watched you can search for “Summer of Paul” in the search bar.

So, how about you? How many Paul Newman movies have you seen? Any on my list? Which one was your favorite?

The Summer of Paul: The Rack, The Hustler, and A New Kind of Love

Last week I watched three Paul Newman movies as part of my Summer of Paul — The Rack, The Hustler, and  A New Kind of Love. The Summer of Paul is what I am calling my plan to watch as many Paul Newman movies as I can this summer.

The Rack:

Ooh boy. This one was a tough one to watch. This is a very early Paul Newman movie, (his third only in fact) and it was loosely based on a play by Rod Serling (Twilight Zone fame). His acting skills aren’t sharpened just yet, but that is not why it was difficult to watch. It was difficult because it splayed open PTSD from war in a way most movies of the time never did. It showcased what really happened to prisoners of war and stripped away the idea that war creates only unmarked heroes who fought and died for their country and suffered only from being away from their family.

This movie was a very raw depiction of patriotism run amok, how military brass thought they would punish men who collapsed under the heaviness of months and months, if not years of brutal mental and emotional torture and call them traitors, all the while not admitting their own culpability in the mental, emotional, and physical ruin of these men (and later women as well). I support and absolutely stand by our military but our country’s politicians and military leaders are often blind to the hollowed-out husks they abandon when they deny the impact war has on those who fight it on the ground level.

As much as this is a commentary on the effects of war it is also about the stoic relationship between many military leaders and their families and how they can emotionally shut themselves off because of their training.

A lot of the movie features the court room drama of Newman being court marshalled for supposedly collaborating with the enemy, which were the North Koreans at that time. There was one point I wanted to climb right through my computer and absolutely thrash the prosecuting attorney. It is such a brutal scene and I’m guessing many a modern military courtroom drama scene was crafted after it. It certainly stirred up emotion in me. Enough I could have screamed and my heart rate increased at the cruelty of what was being done to Newman’s characters but also what is done to our own soldiers.

The topic of PTSD from our veterans is close to my heart because not only were there two suicides by Vietnam vets within a very tiny area around my house when I was young, in a little grouping of houses of less than 100 people, but after a local soldier was killed in Iraq, many of the soldiers who returned after his death either killed themselves or suffered horrible PTSD. It infuriates me to hear the prosecutor in this film mocking Newman’s obvious mental trauma after being tortured.

Sadly, this film ended in an off way for me. This is a little bit of a spoiler but Newman pretty much says he missed being a magnificent person because he was too mentally week. Ick.

I felt like soldiers with PTSD were made to feel like they are wrong for their actions under duress, but then again, maybe that was the point of the writing of the film (since the film actually changed Serling’s television play quite a bit) — to show that many soldiers will apologize for their weakness under mental stress, instead of admitting it is an actual issue.

The movie is still a good one that makes you think, so I definitely recommend it. It’s also fun to watch Newman start to become the great actor he later became (though he definitely is not there in this one).

If you want to know more about the movie, how it was made, and Paul’s part in it, you can read this story on Roger Ebert’s Blog (

The Hustler:

This movie did not have as much action in it as I had hoped. I wanted more pool playing and less melodrama between Paul and the woman in the movie. I think the only reason I felt like I didn’t like this movie is because I was expecting something completely different.

Paul plays a professional hustling pool player who travels the country pretending he doesn’t know how to play pool and then swindles people out of their money. The 1986 film, The Color of Money, which stars Paul and Tom Cruise, was the sequel to this film. Yes, it is also on my list of Paul movies to watch this summer.

In the middle of the movie the woman Eddie (Paul’s character) is living with yells, “What else are we going to do?”

And I said I hoped Eddie would go back and play pool because we needed some more action in this movie already. I seriously thought the movie was more about playing pool than Eddie just being a huge jerk.

At one point Paul asks his girlfriend after they’ve spent most of the movie drinking away their days, “So, do you think I’m a loser?”

The Husband, The Boy, and I all said, “yes” at the same time.

I sort of feel like if a movie director needed someone to play a mopey, depressed and moody guy in the 1960s he said, “Call Newman. This role is for him.”

But then I see a movie like A New Kind of Love and realize that Paul could play light characters as well.

The Hustler is a good film, don’t get me wrong. It is well written and well-acted. It was just quite a bit darker than I realized and I would have liked more scenes with Jackie Gleason, who was nominated for an Oscar for the 15 minutes he was on screen out of the 2-hour and 16 minute movie.

A New Kind of Love:

A New Kind of Love was much lighter, but as a self-proclaimed prude, I was bothered by how flippantly sex was regarded by Paul’s character. I wondered when all the STDs would catch up with him if he’d been a real person and not a character in a movie.

Despite my prudish views, I did enjoy the movie overall.

Paul plays a reporter who is also a womanizer, which is always getting him in trouble. His latest fling causes him to be sent into exile in Paris where he meets Joan who is a fashion consultant visiting Paris from New York. Joan has no interest in love. She acts more like a man than a woman and when she first meets Paul, she hates him, of course. The movie takes some unexpected turns when Joan decides that love might be interesting after all when she gives herself a French makeover.

The movie was a nice distraction from the depression in the world.

Sadly, I think I might be sinking into more depression at some point when I watched From the Terrace and Rachel Rachel this weekend. But I get to stare at Paul’s blue eyes, so I guess it is worth it.

Have you seen any of these movies? If so, did you enjoy them?

Summer of Paul: Sweet Bird of Youth

I decided about a month ago that I would start watching Paul Newman movies for fun this summer. I started with Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, at the suggestion of Erin at Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs, and then stumbled on to a list of Paul Newman movies on a movie site to sort of guide me.

I have a lot of catching up to do on this list and hope to get to as many of them as possible through August. So far this summer, I have watched Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Long Hot Summer, Paris Blues, and Sweet Bird of Youth. In the past, I have watched Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Exodus.

Up this week will be The Rack and The Hustler. The Husband wants me to watch The Hustler with him this weekend.

Before the summer ends, I hope to get to:

Cool Hand Luke (which I watched once many years ago),

Somebody Up There Likes Me

Rachel Rachel (which he directed and stars his wife Joan)

The Color of Money


Nobody’s Fool

The Sting

The Verdict

And the documentary series about him and his wife, Joan Woodward:

The Last Movie Stars

The documentary is on HBO Max, but I will have to get a subscription to watch it because we were sharing a subscription with someone, and they got rid of their subscription. We will see what can be done, but, man, a subscription to HBO Max is expensive now! Maybe they will have a sale.

I have digressed quite a bit here because I had planned for this post to be about Sweet Bird of Youth, which I watched a couple of weeks ago. This is yet another movie that Paul was in that was based on a Tennessee Williams play. I didn’t realize that Paul had been in more than one movie based on Williams’ plays until I started watching his movies this summer.

I had never heard of Sweet Bird of Youth before and for a movie made in 1962, it was quite dark and heavy and also seemed ahead of its time somehow. The acting was absolutely stellar all the way around. The overall story was gritty and raw, focusing on some serious issues, at least one of which I don’t want to share because it will be a spoiler. A couple of the issues I can mention are alcoholism, drug (pot) use, promiscuity, domestic abuse, power-hungry politicians, greed, and nepotism.

Paul’s shirt was off quite a few times in this movie, which wasn’t a bad thing to me but did drive my son nuts because every time he walked in the room, there was a shirtless Paul Newman.

“Just go back to watching your movie with that shirtless guy,” he told me one day to avoid discussing his need to eat healthier food (or maybe it was about his need to clean his room. I lose track of our discussions now that he is a teenager).

In addition to Paul, the movie starred Ed Begley (wow. His performance made me want to reach through the screen and slap him! Dang!), Shirley Knight (she was stunning and so perfect in that part), Rip Torn (didn’t even recognize him, he was so young), Geraldine Page, and Madeline Sherwood.

Here is a small description of the movie I found online: “After unsuccessfully trying his luck in Hollywood, charming gigolo Chance Wayne (Paul Newman) wanders back to his hometown, accompanied by Alexandra Del Lago (Geraldine Page), a movie star on the wane. Chance quickly falls back into his old rut — he’s still smitten with his former sweetheart, Heavenly Finley (Shirley Knight), but her thuggish brother (Rip Torn) and her crooked politician father (Ed Begley) both hate him. When Alexandra leaves town, Chance is left with little more than trouble.”

I do recommend the movie, but I will warn you that it is not a happy Paul and some of the topics are a bit uncomfortable. I am not giving rankings to the movies I am watching but if I was, I’d give this one a five out of five.

Sunday Bookends: Paul Newman movies and romantic comedy books dominate this week

Welcome to Sunday Bookends where I ramble about what I’ve been reading, doing, watching, writing and listening to.

What’s Been Occurring

Last week seemed busy even though we didn’t do as much as the week before. Sunday we spent the day at my parents again. Wednesday The Husband and I went out for dinner for our 20th anniversary. We went to a place we were familiar with and enjoyed a good meal and then came home and watched a show based on an Agatha Christie short story.

Friday it was my first time grocery shopping in person in several years. I hate grocery shopping, so we have been doing grocery pickups for years, even before it was a “thing”. Now that we live 45 minutes from any Walmart, and with the price of gas, doing grocery pick up has become too expensive, so Friday the kids and I drove 20 minutes to the new Aldi store. It looks like I will now be doing this every Friday or every other Friday for the foreseeable future. Wish me luck.

I did learn one thing — don’t take a young child with you because they try to fill the cart with extra food. Luckily most of that extra food was fruit, but still.

This week I have to take Little Miss to gymnastics and take some photos at dress rehearsal for the play my husband is in and that, thank goodness, is about it.

What I’m Reading

I am still reading The Do Over by Bethany Turner, but will probably finish it this week.

For those who are curious about what it is about, here is a description:

A witty, romantic comedy of errors as former high school rivals McKenna and Henry inadvertently reunite in their hometown.

Hot-shot lawyer McKenna Keaton finds herself in hot water with her own law firm when she’s (falsely!) accused of embezzlement. Placed on unpaid leave, she suddenly finds herself with the free time to return home and attend her youngest sister’s wedding activities.

But it’s not all fun and games. Waiting back home is shy, nerdy Henry Blumenthal—McKenna’s high school rival for valedictorian who once took three hours to beat her at chess. Scratch that. He’s Hank Blume now, the famed documentarian, Durham, North Carolina’s, darling son, who has attained all his dreams and more. He also happens to look like he stepped out of an Eddie Bauer catalog.

Whereas McKenna is a disgraced workaholic from New York on unpaid leave, accused of a white-collar crime she would never commit, succumbing to panic attacks, and watching her dreams unravel. At age thirty-eight—and destined by the family curse to die before she turns forty, apparently—it’s absolutely the wrong time to have a major crush on a man. Especially one who treasures his memories of McKenna as the Girl Most Likely to Succeed.

On some days I am also reading a chapter or two of Anne of the Island but I’m trying to be more careful with the paperback copy of it I have because it’s starting to look very beat up since I have been carrying it everywhere with me. I’ve decided to only read it at home from now on. I’m not very gentle with hard copies of books, which is why I hate to get books out at the library. The Husband, on the other hand, somehow keeps even paperback copies of books pristine and I don’t know how he does it. I refuse to read his paperbacks because I am always paranoid that I will mess it up.

How about you? Do you keep your books in good shape or do they get a bit bent up and scuffed?

The Husband is reading Don’t Know by Tough by Eli Cantor (it’s the author’s debut novel).

The Boy is reading War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

Little Miss and I are reading Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary.

What I/We Watched/Are Watching

I call Paul Newman my favorite actor but this past week I realized, rather sadly, that I have not watched very many of his movies, so I decided to remedy that by watching more of his movies this summer. Then I found a list that suggested 15 of his movies to watch so I decided to work through those for fun for the rest of the summer and maybe beyond.

­­­Erin from Still Life, With Cracker Crumbs, had already suggested A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof as a movie for me to watch and I’ll have a blog post on that later this week. She and I are trading movie suggestions this week.

From there I watched The Long Hot Summer, which I have wanted to watch for a long time. That was one of the eleven movies he did with his wife, Joanne Woodward. I really enjoyed it, even though I thought Paul’s character was a little bit of a jerk for most of the movie. A sexy jerk but a jerk nonetheless. I also didn’t recognize Orson Welles at all in the movie and it took the credits at the end for me to realize it was him.

This weekend I also checked off Paris Blues, another Newman/Woodward movie, that also starred Sidney Poitier, Diahan Carroll, and Louis Armstrong.

A description of the movie, if you, like me had never seen it:

During the 1960s, two American expatriate jazz musicians living in Paris meet and fall in love with two American tourist girls. During the 1960s, two American expatriate jazz musicians living in Paris meet and fall in love with two American tourist girls.

A couple interesting things about the movie, which was made in the 60s, was that it was Woodward who pursued Newman and not just pursued him, but jumped right into bed with him. Newman also started to flirt with Carroll’s character in the movie, hinting at an interracial relationship, but that relationship doesn’t happen as Newman and Poitier switch partners, so to speak.

According to the above article I mentioned, the book that the movie was based on featured an interracial relationship, but movie producers felt that that would be too progressive and offend audiences (insert eye roll here). There was, however, a conversation about civil rights in the movie between Poitier and Carroll when he asks her if she wants to have fun or “do you want to discuss the race thing?” Sounds a lot like conversations we could have today.

The on-screen chemistry between Newman and Woodward is amazing, of course, but that’s to be expected since they had married three years earlier.

Once again, Newman was a bit of a jerk at times during the movie, but there is one scene where he and Woodward break into laughter and I don’t think it was scripted. I think they naturally started to laugh at each other.

As I mentioned above, The Husband and I also watched an episode of The Agatha Christie Hour through AcornTV, which is a series based on Agatha Christie’s short stories.

Yesterday I rewatched North by Northwest with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint because I couldn’t remember most of the movie. It was better the second time around but I still don’t like Eva Marie Saint, who I saw in Exodus with Paul Newman years ago, as an actress. Something about her just grates on my nerves, but more so in Exodus where she was a seriously arrogant American.

North by Northwest is one of Hitchcock’s best and this is one of the most famous scenes:

Upcoming this week: Blue Hawaii with Elvis at the suggestion of Erin, The Rack with Paul Newman and maybe another Paul movie.

What I’m Listening To

I’ve been listening to a lot of Christian music and finding some new artists on Apple Music, including Jon Reddick.

Last night I listened to some songs from Fiddler on the Roof, including my favorite, which I used to dance to in our living room, and made my parents think I was going to be in musicals someday (ha!)

What I’m Writing

This week on the blog I shared:

Now It’s Your Turn

What have you been watching, reading, listening to, writing, or doing? Let me know in the comments.