5 Royal Biopics I can’t stand: Pick my Movie Tag 2


I was tagged by Reelweeggie Reviews with the “Pick My Movie Tag” to write about 5 Royal Biopics I can’t stand. The rules for this tag are as follows:

  • Nominate one or more people to review the film or films of your choice. Or you can request they review something from a certain year, genre, or star. Everyone can review the same thing, or you can request each person cover something different. As long as it’s something they haven’t written about yet, you’re good.
  • Nominees are allowed to request a different pick for whatever reason no more than five times. Stuff happens. We all know it.
  • Nominees must thank the person who nominated them and provide a link their blog.
  • Nominees may nominate others to keep the tag going. Picking the person who nominated them is allowed, or they can nominate someone else. Maybe both.
  • All participants need to include these rules in their post, whether they’re nominees or picking nominees.
  • All participants should use the “Pick My Movie” banner or something similar in their posts.
  • Have fun!

Before I name and pan the 5 biopics, I’d like to link some fun Oscar nominated shorts offered by Filmzie and their service. Filmzie is a free streaming service and it has recently launched in the US on Roku. It is available across the globe on a range of connected TVs, via its app, and though your web browser. They are currently offering the following Oscar nominated shorts for free with the links below:

Very Very Nice (1960) , Paddle to the Sea (1965), Pas de deux (1967), and Copy (1967)

Personally, embracing my inner Anglophile, I also see they are offering a range of Gordon Ramsay’s (my favorite chef!!) cooking shows including the UK versions of The F word, Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and Gordon Ramsay’s Great Escape!

Changing the guard, I now present 5 royal biopics I can’t stand:

1- LifeTime TV’s William and Kate 2011. Starring Camilla Luddington (she’s from Berkshire like Kate!) and  Nico Evers-Swindell. LifeTime TV is always below par, but this is just plain embarrassing. Sure they shot on location, but they shot at Oxford University, not St. Andrews. Cheesy made up scenes like Kate and Will going out for a run with Will’s bodyguards having to keep up or Kate looking at cribs through a shop window leading to a rift and their breakup. The funny stand out scene is when Will jumps in the lake so he can swim out to Kate to, ‘win her back’, as she’s training for the 2007 charity Dragon Rowing Race. The proposal scene set in Africa was clearly green screen, making the backdrop super fake!


2: Hallmark’s William and Catherine: A Royal Romance 2011: (Starring Alice St. Clair, and Dan Amboyer as William and Catherine, Victor Garber as Prince Charles and Jane Alexander as Queen Elizabeth II). This aired on my 15th birthday (Aug 27)! I was really interested to watch at the time and while this one is better than LifeTime’s its still BAD. Kate meets William outside her dorm and drops her laundry- and gets embarrassed when he picks up her bra by accident – cringe! Also some blatant inaccuracies: Prince Harry at the Don’t Walk Fashion Show is a major one that comes to mind. Plus, a running theme of them calling each other Will and Kate at college, then when getting serious calling themselves William and Catherine. The other cringe-y running gag is the pair playing, “never have I ever“, a bit irritating after the first couple times they played it. One thing I will say that may date this production in an awful way, is there is a framing story arc of Diana’s 1995 Panorama interview being the, “advice“, for William as he’s preparing to propose to Kate.

3: Mary Queen of Scots 2018: Starring Margot Robie as Elizabeth I and Saoirse Ronan as Mary Queen of Scots . (I think I accidentally put 2013 on Twitter, but meant to put 2018). This movie was pretty lack luster, (and no, it didn’t bother me they had a fictional face to face meeting, as the 1971 film also had this occur), it didn’t have soul. While the costumes were great, the narrative was just plain boring. I saw it in theaters and I kept waiting for tension to come up between the two historical legends, and it never happened. While I don’t think we need to choose a, “side“, or a team, what does need to be recognized is there was legit ill-will between these two women. They were not trying to be friends or even family (as they are cousins: Mary Queen of Scots is a great granddaughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth is Henry VII’s granddaughter). I know it’s not common to have women be screen enemies these days, but when telling a historical story, the truth needs to be apparent. Thankfully for that reason, there are plenty of other options when it comes to these Queens!


4: Diana 2013: Starring Naomi Watts as Diana and Naveen Andrews as Hasnat Khan. I was a skeptic about this one to begin with, but it again had no feeling, no soul. The positive element were the costumes with Naomi looking physically spectacular, yet the script was garbage. If felt as if Naomi was doing an impression of Diana rather than an interpretation (Helen Mirren took the interpretation approach for her title role in The Queen). The romance with Khan was the center of this narrative, and we really don’t feel any other element that is Diana. We see her going to a charity ball, or going to the landmines, but she’s just there, present with no emotion attached.  Add on the bizarre pacing, editing, and bad music choices, this one was tough to sit through. It could be used as docu-drama with the visuals, but as a biopic, it was plain awful.


5: Spencer (2021): I admit I haven’t seen this one, but clips and trailers I have seen turn me off immediately, I wouldn’t mind catching it on tv or streaming (where I could fast forward), but instinctively know I would cringe. Kirsten Stewart as Diana is the first mistake. Of all the young women out there, she gets chosen to portray The Princess of Wales? I’ve never been a fan of Twilight (seriously, ask my Mom or Sister and they would tell you, “Emily wasn’t into it at all, even if her friends were, she never was“). The one alluring element is the fact Stella Gonet of House of Eliott fame is in this movie and she’s a very seasoned actress; it would be cool to see her play Queen Elizabeth II. Still, it just feels like it would be a terrible movie. (P.S. Does anyone else notice Diana’s hair is more bob like, rather than pixie like? IT BOTHERS ME!)

And there you have it ladies and gentlemen, 5 royal biopics that I personally think are the worst of them out there. I think the key part to any biopic is respect to the real person/ people you are centering the narrative around and when you drop the ball on that, then the whole project falls apart.
Good or bad in execution, I will say royal biopics are always something to look forward to because it allows you to geek out over who- and what- looks right and what doesn’t, and that’s the super fun part!

Many thanks to ReelweegieMidget Reviews for nominating me! And also Thanks so much to Filmzie for providing the Oscar nom. shorts!!! Be sure to check them out!

Lastly, I’d like to pass the tag by nominating Phyllis Loves Classic Movies to write about 5 of her least favorite Hitchcock movies!

Love Actually (2003)

This is written for Movie Rob’s September Genre Grandeur which bears the theme of all- star casts!

Today the term “all-star cast” has all but almost faded in obscurity, as now it refers to those “epic event” movies from the 60s and 70s. Disaster flicks, war movies, and historical pics- the genre is endless, but the one movie that brought the concept forward into the 21st century was the Christmas essential Love Actually (2003).

Love Actually movie.jpg
(wikipedia)

Directed by Richard Curtis, Love Actually revolves around Christmas and the love lives of an all-star cast, whose characters are all connected to each other in some way or another. Due to the fact the film came out in 2003, I was too young to watch it then, and I saw this one for first time in 2016. My guy Colin Firth was the main draw for me (he’s practically the only A list star I love in relation to today’s stars), but it turned out that everyone’s storylines and performances were enjoyable.

Take a look at this connections web! It’s a bit over whelming! (wikipedia)

Whether a subplot was cheerful, sad, heartwarming or just plain hysterical- Love Actually manages to somehow make it all worth watching. Some of the character’s predicaments even mirrored the actor’s real life: Liam Neeson’s character Daniel is grieving the loss of his wife, while Colin Firth’s Jamie is trying to win the affections of his Portuguese housekeeper Aurélia (Lúcia Moniz), with the language barrier keeping them apart.

Of course, this movie is also a chance to view the late great Alan Rickman in a role that makes you believe he’s the most lovable jerk, as his character Harry cheats on his wife Karen (Emma Thompson) for his secretary, Mia (Heike Makatsch).

Personally, I can’t skip over Hugh Grant’s David the Prime Minister. The scene of Hugh dancing down the hallway and the stairs made me laugh so hard the first time I saw it, and it’s what made me see him differently (I only knew him as Daniel Cleaver in Bridget Jones, a favorite modern day movie of mine!).

In regards to reactions to this movie, the more I read other people’s opinions, the general consensus is this movie is polarizing. It seems to divide people into the, “this movie is trashy”, camp (think about the actual plots, and YES its trashy) and the, “this movie is iconic”, camp (the All I want for Christmas is You performance, the “you are perfect” moment). I for one do say the movie is full of clichés however; it’s the actors who make you care about the storylines and the characters they are playing. No matter what anyone thinks of it, the ending montage at Heathrow Airport set to Beach Boys God Only Knows, is very powerful and can even win over the harshest of haters.

For better or worse, Love Actually also spawned a bunch of other holiday all star cast movies such as Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve and Mother’s Day. While I haven’t seen these other movies, perhaps because they just don’t contain an actor I care about (and maybe because Love Actually is British), I will admit the idea of these movies are unique and a change to the usual style of storytelling.

Overall, Love Actually may be over rated, and a tad trashy, but also full of funny and cute moments that bring Christmas cheer. Its certainly one I watch every Christmas season, plus it’s just a fun excuse to see your favorite actor from basically any other TV show / movie you love.  (Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Honest Trailer below- it’s seriously eye opening!)

Why I love The 39 Steps (1935)

Image result for 39 steps
For starters, I love the characters. Mr. Memory (Wylie Watson), an amazing fact file that puts Google to shame! Mr. Richard Hannay played by the ever so suave (but not as suave as Nathan Page 🙂 ) Robert Donat. Hannay has a perfect mustache and I love it how he just has to go with the flow- every twist and turn- no matter what happens to him he stays as cool as a cucumber. Of course, he has his frantic moments- the train scene– but who can blame him- (NOT ME!). And naturally I must mention the lovely Madeleine Carroll, the first Hitchcock blonde.  I love the feisty personality, and her ability to match Hannay word for word- their banter is just perfect.
Hannay: Now let’s make ourselves as comfortable as possible. What about that skirt of yours? It’s still pretty damp, you know. I don’t want to be tied to a pneumonia case on top of everything else. Take it off. I don’t mind.
Pamela: I’ll leave it on, thank you…My shoes and stockings are soaked so I think I’ll take them off.
Hannay: That’s the first sensible thing I’ve heard you say.

As much as I do adore North By Northwest, I do feel this film is somewhat superior. It just has something about it that makes it intriguing. Maybe it just has so many “moments” that make me say both “Awww” and “Ahhh!” at the same time or maybe it’s the fact it’s a British… Hitchcock… Film. Or maybe it’s this scene…

(dvdtalk.com)

Maybe this one????

train 39 steps
The Famous Train Scene!   (The 1000 Frames of The 39 Steps Hitchcock Project )

OR perhaps I love this film so much because it’s this film introduces the world to the most famous Hitchcockian element, “The MacGuffin”. WHAT IS The 39 Steps? Who are they? What do they need? And what makes them so dangerous???? Well.. I’ll tell you, you see they are….