“Saving Mr. Banks” Didn’t Get Nominated for Best Picture? What the Damn Hell.

10 Feb

Mary Poppins

I don’t get out much, as most of you know, and I certainly never get to go to movies. But once a year, a movie comes out that is not optional to miss, and Saving Mr. Banks was that movie of 2013 for me. You might think that I have a slight bias towards Saving Mr. Banks because it is about the making of Mary Poppins, which is a movie starring Julie Andrews, a woman I love and am obsessed with, but I’m here to set the record straight – I am biased, yes. But despite my underlying Julie Andrews agenda drawing me in to see it, Saving Mr. Banks is really a fabulous movie. And although some of the highlights for me were the 2 minute glimpses of Mary Poppins that show Julie Andrews, there are objectively a million other amazing scenes in Saving Mr. Banks that make it definitely worth seeing for those of you that aren’t quite as…unstable as me, in the Julie Andrews section of your brain. Not only do I think the movie is very good, but I also think it is asinine (that’s right, Academy, I said ASININE) that Saving Mr. Banks is not nominated for Best Picture. Or that Emma Thompson wasn’t nominated as Best Actress! It boggles my mind. I mean, Meryl Streep and Judi Dench? Never heard of em. Amy Adams? Seriously? Cate Blanchett? I couldn’t pick her out of a line-up. And do not even get me started about Sandra Bullock. Oh my god.

Oh, I'm not nominated? Well, that's hilariously charming and ASININE.

Oh, I’m not nominated? Well, that’s hilariously charming and ASININE.

The story before the story is that P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) authored the book Mary Poppins, and Walt Disney spent 20+ years attempting to get the rights to it so he could make the book into the first live-action Disney film. Travers was extremely protective of the Poppins character, so she denied Disney the rights on an annual basis. When Travers began struggling for money, she was finally forced to relent and meet with Disney, which is where the movie picks up.

First of all, I think that the previews for Saving Mr. Banks are rather misleading, as most previews are. The trailer makes it look like this is a happy-go-lucky tale of the making of Mary Poppins and how Walt Disney was a sweet guy who was battling an ornery and bossy old lady. That’s not completely incorrect, but the entire movie is alternating between the two-week collaboration, or lack thereof, between Walt Disney and P.L. Travers to create the movie Mary Poppins, and meticulously placed flashbacks of Travers’s difficult childhood that inspired the original book. The scenes with Disney (played by Tom Hanks, who is perfect because he’s Tom Hanks) and the Poppins head writer and composers (played awesomely by Bradley “I wish you were playing Josh from the West Wing” Whitford, Jason “so cool and great in everything” Schwartzman, and B.J. “what are you doing not on The Office” Novak) were very charming, funny, and cute. The scenes that were flashbacks to Travers’s childhood were heartbreaking and depressing and made me cry for 2 straight hours. My friend at work recently said to me, “you cry a lot at things.” This is true, but seriously, if you don’t whimper into your popcorn and gag on your Sour Patch Kids because you’re so choked up that you can’t swallow the sugary/tart goodness every time you see Travers let down by her alcoholic father that she adored, then you are made of stone, my friend.

Hey, let's do something really sad in this flashback so Alex cries again. Its been 6 minutes, which is way too long for her to be happy.

Hey, let’s do something really sad in this flashback so Alex cries again. Its been 6 minutes, which is way too long for her to be happy.

I’m not sure how much of the story is based on fact, and how much was embellished. But since I look at every biographical movie and reality television program with rose colored “this is completely true and nothing is made up or could ruin my brainwashed impression of what I’m watching” glasses, I’m choosing to believe that P.L. Travers had a crazy horrible childhood and that’s what made her such an unpleasant and unloved adult. I won’t give away the details, but basically Travers absolutely adored her father (played brilliantly by Colin Farrell who has this perfect mix of sweetness and unpredictable instability, which is what he seems like in real life, so it works), who was losing a long battle with alcoholism. Travers was the oldest of three children, and the mother struggled to hold the family together while Travers’s father continually lost jobs and drank himself silly. You love the dad because he is so amazing with P.L. (or Ginty, as he nicknamed her, although her real name is Helen and the dad’s name is Travers. I thought her real name was Ginty for a solid half of the movie), and he encourages her to have imagination and creativity, and she absolutely adores everything about him. But at the same time, you hate him because he’s killing himself with his addiction, making his wife into the bad guy when all she is trying to do is hold the struggling family together, and you just know that something bad is going to happen in the end.

His arm is around her, which is sweet, but doesn't Colin Farrell also look like he might lash out at a photographer? That's what I'm talking about!

His arm is around a child, which is sweet, but doesn’t Colin Farrell also look like he might lash out at a photographer? That’s what I’m talking about!

This relationship between P.L. Travers and her father was actually the inspiration for the title of the movie – originally, Mr. Banks, the father of Jane and Michael in Mary Poppins, was written as a stern figure who was respected, but nobody really liked. He was seen as a cruel, absent man, which exasperated Travers. It was critical to her that the father in the movie, a character she based on her own father, be portrayed as a kind soul who was burdened by the responsibilities and pressures of life. Travers’s aunt (who inspired the character Mary Poppins) came along to try and save the father and bring order to the chaos, hence she was saving Mr. Banks. Oh god, I need a tissue. I can’t even write about this without crying. Maybe I do cry a lot…

I just needed to add this picture of the cast, with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, singing "Let's Go Fly A Kite" because it brings me so much happiness.

I just needed to add this picture of the cast, with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, singing “Let’s Go Fly A Kite” because it brings me so much happiness.

I’m not sure if it’s because I have a kid now, or because I’m obviously a sensitive flower, but I cannot handle anything that deals with bad parenting anymore. You have this amazing daughter who isn’t in a gang, or talking back, or maxing out your credit card at Contempo Casuals (although, to be fair, this was 1906 or something, so I don’t think she had the opportunity for that last one), and you’re still fucking her life up? The only redeeming part that I saw, as a parent, was that when the dad was going through withdrawal, P.L. knew where his bottle of booze was hidden, and she brought it to his death bed. Now, I do not condone the alcoholism, withdrawal, or the hopelessness of this scenario – I just think it would be neat if my son could go get me a beer some night, and bring it to my bed so I didn’t have to get up.

this-kids-mom-likes-drinking-wine

I actually have a lot more to say about this movie, but most of it is just random questions I have about Walt Disney. One example would have been this little gem: Walt Disney hated women and hated Jewish people, so I wonder what the movie would have been like if P.L. Travers were Jewish! Yikes! Or: I know that it’s a myth that Walt Disney was cryogenically frozen, but I will always choose to believe it because it makes my skin crawl and because I want him to come back and be like the Unfrozen Cave Man Lawyer during my lifetime. And: Do you think Walt would approve of the Disney movie Frozen? I’ve only seen previews, but it appears that a woman can create an ice castle using just her magical powers. But I guess that shows that she needs magic to build something, and that she’s probably an icy bitch like all women are, so he’d probably give it his blessing. Lastly: What does he think of Miley?

Miley then and now

If that last paragraph didn’t leave you wanting more, I don’t know what will. And Saving Mr. Banks WAS nominated for Best Original Score, and we all know that’s secretly the most coveted award of the night, so I would highly suggest seeing the movie prior to Academy Awards night so you know what to root for AND hum along to. Here are my final questions for you all to ponder: Do you think Julie Andrews will be watching the awards? And do you think P.L. Travers would be pleased that there was a movie made about her? I will answer no to both. One will be gardening or being the perfect grandmother or making everyone who sees her happier just by her mere presence, and the other is probably rolling over in her grave with disgust. On the bright side, I got a movie I loved out of all the drama, and I think I lost some water weight with all the tears. Win win!

Saving mr. Banks

2 Responses to ““Saving Mr. Banks” Didn’t Get Nominated for Best Picture? What the Damn Hell.”

  1. Emily February 10, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

    I. just. can’t. handle. you.

  2. athed February 10, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

    Mwah!

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