Ep 44: Being the Ricardos – Show Transcript

Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem as Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz

Welcome to REEL Film Reviewed the show that delivers short spoiler free reviews of films, TV shows, and limited series. Followed by a deep dive discussion brought to you by your host, kris Chaney, here is REEL Film Reviewed.

Welcome back everyone. This episode REEL Film Reviewed the new biography film being the Ricardo’s focusing on Lucille ball and Desi Arnaz. Let’s get into the spoiler free. This film takes place during a production week of, I love Lucy in which they face a crisis that nearly ends their careers and another, which could end their marriage set during a time when many in Hollywood were being blacklisted for being labeled communists, the biography explored many different aspects of this story, which I will highlight now, but dive deeper into after the spoiler.

The atmosphere of the film appears to be told as an E! True Hollywood style, except the actors played, the people being interviewed as well. Jess Oppenheimer, Madeline Pugh, and Bob Carroll were portrayed twice in the film by different actors. It would give us some of the story as told like a normal onscreen telling and then would give us a behind the scenes interview footage, which was also scripted and based on what they may have believed since most of the people who made I love Lucy were involved in this story are now dead.

This was an interesting way for them to tell this. And we know that they started in, I love Lucy together for many years and were married before the show. This feature shows how they met, how they work together on and off screen. And of course the troubles they had as a famous, married couple who eventually did divorce though.

We don’t see the divorce in this film. We learn of the activities that led up to that. Lucy and Desi we’re a dynamic couple, both were very much in control with very strong and loud opinions. Basically two alphas married to each other. They still managed to have their mania between them, but would emerge in front of others to be a strong and united front.

They made commanding decisions together and played off of each other very well. I quite enjoyed the personalities that Nicole and Javier brought to these famous characters and even more famous. We get an inside. Look at how Desi and Lucy met as told by those recounting the story, as well as a re-imagining on screen.

We also learn the history and backstory of how the I love Lucy show actually came to be fellow podcasters, particularly fiction podcasters, will love this little tidbit. Make sure you come back to listen to the post viewing discussion and hear the little known facts because the film does skew some of the facts.

Reviewing the cast, Nicole Kidman. This seemed like a big test who will play the infamous Lucy. You may also think, um, maybe not Nicole. If you thought this you were wrong, at least I felt so. I did not think that Nicole was a bad choice though I thought her in interesting choice because I know how wonderfully versatile Kidman can be. And I have to say out of everyone in the film, she was the closest to the character and person that she was playing.

She played Lucy so well on and off screen, I found myself doing double takes to try and catch fragments of the actual Lucille ball being added into the shots. But it was just that Nicole pulled her off that, well, I didn’t hear any accent slips, like I sometimes do with Nicole Kidman and they were.

Multiple times during the film that I found myself genuinely impressed by her and by Lucy and being very impressed by Lucy in this film was largely due to how well Nicole Kidman played her. So I think her performance was the best of the film.

I love Javier Bardem. He’s one of my favorite actors, but my objection to him playing this role was exactly the reason he was terrible for it. Javier Bardem is well-known for his acting and his thick Spanish accent. The. Desi Arnaz AKA Ricky. Ricardo was one of the most famous Cubans of all time. His accent and love for Cuban music made him the famous band leader. We all know and love Spanish and Cuban accents are so completely different that I was offended for Javier. It was almost as if the producers said to get any Latin actor with a thick accent to play Desi, and it was appalling. And I was saddened to see one of my favorite and great actors sinking on screen. Simply because his accent was completely wrong for Desi. When he tried to mock the Cuban accent, it was on certain words and it just was horribly executed. Javier didn’t really give off the vibe of Ricky or Desi physically. I think his hair was a little longer and less jelled than Ricky’s. Physically, they look nothing alike, not even with makeup or additives, they don’t look alike at all. I don’t know enough about Desi Arnaz off screen. So the persona that Javier portrayed may have been accurate to the man behind the famous band leader and on off screen husband, Javier delivered the best performance I felt he could in this role. I just feel that he wasn’t suited for. It’s what happens when one of the most well-known Spaniards plays one of the most well-known Cubans.

Nina, Ariana, not a dead on ringer for a Vivian Vance who played at Lucy’s beloved neighbor and friend Ethel Mertz on screen. But she was excellent as both Vivian and Ethel. She appeared to be younger than Vivian was, but that may have been part of the misconception of Vivian. There is a scene in the film between Lucy and Vivian that suggests Vivian had resentment for playing Ethel, married to Fred, who was considerably older than her possibly having an issue playing second fiddle to Lucy, even though they were friends, I found her to be hilarious. And the scenes between her and JK Simmons as he played William folly were some of my favorites of the. One of the opening scenes was a table read between the actors and the two of them just played so well off of each other. It was a wonderful scene.

JK Simmons and Aaliyah shortcut JK Simmons is always enjoyable for me to watch in William Fawley we got to see so much of JKS greatness and versatility with how he connected William to. The way he played both roles and how they interacted with Vivian Vance were hilarious. They had together delivered a very convincing portrayal of what may have been going on offset of the, I love Lucy show.

Alia Shawkat I haven’t seen much, but she was an absolute delight in this film. And I will continue watching projects that she’s in. She played Madeline Pugh in this film with one of the writers on the, I love Lucy show and also the only woman comedy writer in. She nailed a comedy writer. And I don’t know much about Madeline Pugh, but feel as though I could know a little more about her with Alia’s performance. Look for her quips at fellow writer, Bob Caroll in the film.

The REEL-View is seven out of 10 stars. Part of the beauty of the roles in this film is they’re playing both the iconic characters loved on TV for years by generations, along with the actors themselves, carrying on life offset during one of the most stressful times in Hollywood hits.

Being the Ricardo’s was released in 2021. It was written and directed by Aaron Sorkin and Oscar winning screenwriter. This is only the third film directed by a Sorkin. It stars Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, JK Simmons, Nina Ariana, Tony Hale, and Aliyah Shocket. It is rated R and has a run time of two hours and 11 minutes that can be viewed on prime video.

All right here is the spoiler alert, warning, those new to REEL Film Reviewed, after this point, I will discuss this review further potentially and likely revealing spoilers. Thank you for listening to the spoiler free review. I’ll be back after a word about my sponsors.

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Welcome back, everyone. Let’s dive into the REEL-View -hollywood comparison. The REEL-View is seven out of 10 stars. Critics said 60. Popular opinion was 6.6 out of 10. Rotten tomatoes gave it a 69%. Recapping the plot. This film is set in the early fifties when communism was becoming a witch hunt in the United States, Lucy and Desi are in the middle of their iconic fame, about 50 episodes into I Love Lucy, Desi as a band leader at the same time at a club, and Lucy balances producing, acting, mothering, and dealing with the rumors of Desi’s infidelity.

Desi denies this for the majority of the film until the end, when he admits to it being and meaning nothing just before they film an episode in front of a live audience. We also learned that in an effort to please her grandfather and make him proud, she identified as a communist on a voter registration card years before this time.

If the news broke the show and their careers would be over. In addition to all of this, Lucy is pregnant with who we all remember on screen as little Ricky, the couples, second child, but the first to be shown on screen, Lucille Ball was the first woman to appear pregnant on one of the three major TV networks.

This was an interesting add to the film as well as this was a defining week for the show and everyone involved breaking down the real. So kind of highlighting the ending of the film. It kind of all leads up to this. There was a lot of resolution, there was Lucy wanting to get everything right for the episode.

There was the artistic side. Then there was the address of her being a communist, which she wasn’t. There was that publicity that they had to deal with. The third thing, obviously being pregnant aside, she was pregnant with having a possibly cheating husband, which she also confirms and learns at the end of the film just before they filmed the episode.

There was a lot of resolution given in the last scene with Desi being on a phone call with J Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI at the time. Who stated publicly that she was cleared of all charges. She had been investigated and cleared of everything. So it pretty much just address the elephant in the room, right from the beginning and from the highest level of investigation, which is the director of the FBI.

Pretty impressive. In addition to the episode was one of the best episodes in its history. And it ended up being perfect. According to what Lucy was wanting throughout the whole film. The only thing that was sad was she did confirm her suspicions with Desi cheating, but obviously that’s not a good thing.

And we know that they did end up filing a for divorce after the taping of the last episode, which is in 1960. So little bit after this was set, breaking down the real. I enjoyed watching the film, as it told a lot of stories of what I have known little about, which is the behind the scenes of, I Love Lucy and their histories.

It was way before my time and a show that was on the air when my parents were born and growing up. So it was certainly. A TV land Nick at Nite type of television series watch for me, there were some facts that I looked up, but there was much that was shown on screen that isn’t really able to be verified as such as possible disagreements or how certain individuals felt that’s because almost everyone involved in the, I Love Lucy show is not around anymore.

Aside from that, I did enjoy the film. And if the majority of it was true, it certainly gives you a backstory or great backstories of everybody that was involved, that they showed and maybe a little new admiration of the people behind the show. I knew Lucille Ball was very headstrong and produced, but there were many milestones and opportunities she created for herself and for others.

And I was very impressed with that. Watching this film made me want to watch other films with Lucy in them, such as The Big Street that is mentioned in this film where Lucy plays more of a serious role than her usual slapstick comedy roles. And she did radio. That was my favorite fun fact that I learned in the film is that she was approached to be on TV because her fictional radio show, my favorite husband was so popular.

All right. Let’s move into some little known facts. And I’m also going to do a little add. I’m going to add some goofs in there because for this film, there were some trivia facts, but there were some things that were kind of misrepresented. So we call them goofs. We’ll discuss a few of those that will kind of clarify some pieces for us.

So let’s get into the facts while working for MGM. Lucy became a redhead. She wasn’t born a red head. Wasn’t always, but when she started working for MGM that’s when she became a red head.

Director, Donald Glass is a fictitious character, but he may have been based on the director, Mark Daniels, who directed the episode that they’re filming in this film, Fred and Ethel.

In January, 2021, it was reported that Kate Blanchett dropped out and was replaced by Nicole Kidman. Both our Australian actresses and blanche had, had previously worked with Kidman on eyes wide shut.

Not necessarily trivia, but just a little known fact, Lucy Arnaz posted a little YouTube video in which she kind of gave a little review of her own of this film. She described it to be an amazing film and stated that Nicole Kidman really became her mother and portrayed her very well. She did state that Javier didn’t look like her dad, but he did capture who Desi was and everything that, as she stated, dad had that kind of may help anybody who’s on the fence that was a Lucy and Desi fan they’re interested in seeing this. If you can get past the Javier Bardem choice, he does, as I mentioned, do as well as he can in this role. So according to Lucy Arnaz, he did very well at playing her father aside from the physical likeness.

All right. Let’s get into the goofs. The film portrays Lucy being dropped by RKO after her performance in The Big Street. But in actuality, her contract was bought out by MGM because they were so impressed by her performance. The film also mentioned that Lucy was 39 in The Big Street, but she was 31 when it released in 1942.

And Lucy did not seek out radio until 1948. And that’s where we learned that she was doing My Favorite Husband when they approached her for doing the television series and they wanted to take My Favorite Husband from radio and put it on television. But Lucy had a different idea in mind when she sat down with the producers and the writers, she basically stated, this is how she wanted to do the show and she wanted her husband to star in it. And they kind of went with it. Another example of when you roll the dice, things can really pay dividends. All in all an enjoyable film.

I liked it. And I’m not one of those that I’ve seen the show, but I didn’t watch it religiously. My sister has, she was kind of on the fence about that as well. She wanted it to be good, but wasn’t sure if it would be, I was really impressed with it. Just from what I know about the likenesses of Lucy. How they did it on screen. I was impressed with it. I thought it was decent.

So let me know what you guys’ thought as always. I post the polls when I release the episodes. Let me know how you felt about it. If you’re a, I love Lucy fan or a Lucy and Desi fan, let me know what you thought. That’s all I have for you, everyone.

Thanks for listening everyone. I’ll catch you next time.

Thanks for listening toREEL Film Reviewed before I go show some love for your favorite podcast by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you like to listen. Check out the REEL Film Reviewed website, reel-film-reviewed.productions to stay up to date on episode releases, podcast updates, episode transcriptions, and more. Follow REEL Film Reviewed on Twitter @reelfilmpkc, check out the online store, REEL Merch to pick up some gear to represent.

Happy watching everyone.

Published by Kris C.

Kris is the host of the REEL Film Reviewed podcast, the owner of REEL ProduCtions, LLC, (the capital C is intentional) and is an independent filmmaker.

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