83 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bittersweet beauty
This lovely, heartwrenching film is the sort of story that just doesn't get told today -- perhaps the innocence & honesty required just isn't there any longer. More's the pity, because this is a beautifully tender story of first love & its inevitable ending, which deserves to be seen. Liza Minnelli is unafraid to play the eccentric, lonely Pookie as needy & infuriating...
Published on February 23, 2006 by William Timothy Lukeman
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie. Average Transfer. No Special Features
I had been waiting for years for this movie to make it to DVD land. You can imagine how excited I was when it became availabe on Blu Ray no less. I kinda choked at the price $24.99 but figured it would make a great addition to the library and I can delete it from my DVR. I recieved the disc and loaded it up only to find that there were no special features. Not one! OK hit...
Published 19 months ago by Birdman
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83 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A bittersweet beauty,
This lovely, heartwrenching film is the sort of story that just doesn't get told today -- perhaps the innocence & honesty required just isn't there any longer. More's the pity, because this is a beautifully tender story of first love & its inevitable ending, which deserves to be seen. Liza Minnelli is unafraid to play the eccentric, lonely Pookie as needy & infuriating when required. Yet we never lose our sympathy for her, especially as we realize that Wendell Burton's shy, introverted Jerry is gradually outgrowing her. She's exactly what he needed to break out of his shell, and he clearly understands this ... but he sees that they're destined to go different ways before she does (or before she'll admit it to herself). Minnelli & Burton are superb together, utterly convincing in their wistful, somewhat lost, always searching way. And Tim McIntire's supporting performance as Jerry's boastful roommate, who surprises us with a heartfelt confession on a night drive home, is a small gem in its own right. "Come Saturday Morning" is the perfect song for this small but deeply affecting story of first love, lingering in the memory along with the characters. Highly recommended!
(Now, when is it going to be released on DVD?)
79 of 84 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous Minnelli Classic, crying out for DVD Transfer,
In my review of 'Cabaret', I rather rashly claimed that Liza's turn as self-destructive Ingenue Sally Bowles was her 'once-in-a-lifetime' performance. That, however, was before I caught this 1969 Gem, 'The Sterile Cuckoo', on Sky Classics.
Beautifully-directed by Alan Pakula in that strange, isolated, stereotypical 1960's-flick style, 'The Sterile Cuckoo' tells the bittersweet, emotionally macabre tale of anally-retentive college freshman Jerry Payne (Wendell Burton), and his intense relationship with the scatterbrained, maniacal Pookie Adams (Liza Minnelli), an enigmatic and energetic girl with a sad past.
Liza's first Oscar nomination was very thoroughly deserved. Even as late as 1969 the Oscars were not yet the meaningless PR-Fest that we now know them to be, and it's nominations for odd, thought-provoking performances like Minnelli's, here, that restores our faith in that system. She's absorbing and heart-wrenching, infuriating and devastating, all at the same time. Her perfect foil comes in the guise of the extremely skillfull performance turned in by Wendell Burton, in the role of her hapless boyfriend Jerry. He's the ideal contrast to Minnelli's mania, and though we are oftentimes infuriated by his apathy, we can't help but simultaneously sympathise with him.
Pakula's direction is excellent. The vistas are beautiful; simple and isolated, with so much 'New England' jumping from the screen as to make you all but feel the leaves crunching beneath your feet. The sparse countryside, punctuated by violent outbursts of colour, is the perfect metaphor for the central relationship, and Pakula makes extremely clever use of this in the scenes of Pookie and Jerry's early relationship.
A classic slice of 60's ideal surrealism, this is a beautifully-crafted, emotionally absorbing movie that REALLY should be on DVD by now. Highly recommended.
56 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Odd Little Film,
The first time I saw this movie it bothered me. Watching the love story develop between Pookie and Roger was like watching a horror movie, I kept wanting to yell at the guy for getting into a relationship with this obviously unstable, needy, life-sucking parasite of a human being. But the film haunted me (maybe because I couldn't get "Come Saturday Morning" out of my mind), so much so I bought the video. It's really a different film that couldn't be made today. The pace is different, the plot depends on the characters, Liza Minelli's performance breaks your heart. I suggest this film to anyone who doesn't like the typical romance film of the "Pretty Woman" persuasion. Watch it after you've broken up with somebody if you want a good cry.
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sterile Cuckoo: a hidden treasure,
This is one of Liza Minnelli's earliest films, and her first Academy Award nomination. She is outstanding as Pookie Adams, a lonely girl from a family with a sad history. She is highly intelligent and extremely winning, especially in the first scene, on a bus, where she manipulates some nuns into letting her sit next to the object of her desire, Jerry Payne. They are going to near-by colleges, and Pookie pursues Jerry, cleverly winning him over, until he finally falls in love with her. In my opinion this is the all-time best coming of age movie! A *must* see for everyone!!! You'll watch it over and over!
33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST TELEPHONE SCENES EVER,
I fell in love with this movie while still in high school (1972) and it is one of my favorites. There are so many good scenes that it would take forever to list them. But two stand out and are the best in the film. The scene where Pookie and Jerry are going to have sex for the first time is sweet and honest and absolutely hysterical. Liza's telephone scene ranks up there with Louise Rainer's in "The Great Ziegfeld" and Barbra Streisand's in "The Way We Were". It will tug at your heart strings like no other scene in any movie in recent years. Liza should have beat out Maggie Smith for the OSCAR for this one for which she was nominated. A wonderful movie with laughs, tears, good music and incredible performances. Please bring this to DVD PLEASE!!!
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Performance by Minnelli,
By A Customer
A gem of a little movie - engaging performances from Minnelli (Oscar-nominated, and rightfully so) and Wendell Burton, with sensitive direction from Alan J. Pakula. You have to find an indie or "art house" film today to enjoy a story that takes the time to explore characters and relationships in such unhurried fashion. Interesting soundtrack music, with perhaps a bit too much repetition of "Come Saturday Morning", but it's a minor impediment (It's performed by The Sandpipers - NOT The Association, as erroneously asserted by the London reviewer). Overall, highly recommended!!
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Un-Sterile Time Capsule,
It took me awhile to discover this movie. I was out of college by the time I saw it...but it made me want to reverse time and go back to that time in my life.
Liza's great, the cast is great and everything about it is so "strained" that it encapsulates everyone's feelings of not fitting in at one time or another. And it's got a great sixties feel to it that sits right on the very white-bread verge of the end of innocence.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome...,
This review is from: The Sterile Cuckoo (DVD)
I saw this movie about 5 years ago, and I simply fell in love with it's unique charm. This movie was just so...awesome! It's such a great story. I really hope it'll be put on DVD soon; it's been a long time since I've seen it.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is nothing `cuckoo' about adoring this masterpiece...,
I kind of all sorts of adore Liza Minnelli. She has such a warm endearing quality. She is spunky and witty and charming in a goofy sort of way, but she certainly doesn't lack in the sensual department. Despite her unconventional appearance, she knew how to make herself more than appealing while in her prime. Just watch `Cabaret' and tell me you weren't the least bit intrigued.
All that said, it took me quote some time to finally see `The Sterile Cuckoo', one of Liza's first big roles. I sat down to soak it in a few days ago and I'm still giddy with amusement. I don't mean that to make it sound as if this is a laugh riot because it is not. `The Sterile Cuckoo' is far from a comedy. It is a serious and deeply provocative film about the insecurities of a young woman and the mess they make of her relationships. Sure, the film has its amusing (funny) moments, but they are peppered in over a series of poignant and meaningful interactions.
The film tells the story of Mary Ann Adams, better known as Pookie. When we meet Pookie she is introducing herself to a shy young man named Jerry Payne. They are both off to college. Pookie is aggressive and abrupt, but she is endearing. Pookie finds a way to weasel herself in Jerry's life, and soon the two are dating. The first half of the film plays out almost like a romantic comedy, but as the second half begins to roll around we see the layers of this film begin to fall away, baring a soul we may not have expected. As Pookie begins to exhibit strange behavior, her relationship with Jerry starts to fray. She becomes possessive and spiteful. She becomes controlling and jealous and erratic. Jerry starts to pull away, causing a rift between the two that will prove nearly disastrous for young Pookie.
What I liked so much about `The Sterile Cuckoo' was that it didn't try so hard. It simply allowed the audience to pick up on the subtle clues as to Pookie's behavior. We are never outright told about her life, at least not in a direct `this has messed me up' type manner, but we are given little hints here and there that, when picked up on and spliced together, tell a complete story about this very complicated young woman.
I was telling a friend the other day that Pookie Adams may be one of my favorite film characters, ever. She just has so many beautiful details that make her so relatable and sympathetic. Despite her apparent flaws (and she has many of them) she is so likable.
That likeability comes almost directly from Liza Minnelli's brilliant performance. The way she handles Pookie is flawless. She understands how important it is to allow the layers to speak for themselves. She never forces anything and she completely understands that Pookie's spunky personality is her shield, and she plays it as such, always inserting a manic sense of insecurity in her outlandish behavior. You can always see that she is scared, even when she puts up the pretense that she is not. Wendell Burton is also very, very good here. He plays Jerry straight-laced and naïve, but not so much that he becomes unbelievably dense. Instead, Jerry comes off as insecure, just like Pookie; he just displays it differently. I was very impressed with Tim McIntire. With just a few short scenes he was able to create a very lasting impression. With rugged good looks and a commanding sense of confidence, McIntire creates the perfect `wedge' in Pookie and Jerry's relationship. What is also so fascinating is that you truly believe him when he allows his insecurities to be made known as well.
This is a beautiful film about finding oneself and rising above our past. Pookie self destructed thanks to an innate need to be loved that was not being met. Watching her crumble can be heartbreaking, but it is also tragically beautiful.
WHERE'S MY DVD TRANSFER?!?!
25 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE STERILE CUCKOO HITS A HIGH NOTE! 1969 FILM WONDERFUL!,
By A Customer
Film review: THE STERILE CUCKOO HITS A HIGH NOTE!
Since no one has seemed to write a review on this wonderful movie, I thought I would like to have a chance.
I first heard about "The Sterile Cuckoo" way back in 1969-70, when it first came out. It was popular, I read a bit and heard alot about it, but never saw the movie. Not until December 17, 1988, on television, on my old Black & White Sylvania television set! Believe me, it was love at first sight! The music, the scenery! And imagine, in the summer of 1988, just some months before, I was up in the area where they filmed it!!!!! YoWWWWWW! I was visiting a friend up in Herkimer, New York. We were in the Clinton area, and Linda said to me, "oh, there's the bell/clock tower that was in the "Sterile Cuckoo". I just said "oh how nice", and that was about it. If I only knew, I would have freaked out, and then proceed on a nostalgic tour of the "Sterile Cuckoo"!!!! (IT WAS LARGELY FILMED AT HAMILTON COLLEGE)
But I digress....
I think that if they had made a sequel to the "Sterile Cuckoo", Pookie Adams would have become a successful writer. Remember her saying on the bus that she will read "anything, anywhere, anytime"?
A sensitive person like Pookie would have become a writer. She would have found her place in life. I would like to think that she did. I kind of get her drift when she calls people "creeps and wierdos". I don't blame her at times. Everyone is so into being the same at times, they don't get the people who are interesting and individual. And it can get frustrating, because they don't even want to try. Jerry (Wendel Burton's character) did or at least tried. I am sorry he did not carry through his commitment to her. I don't understand why. So she got drunk at that college party?? Everyone else did. She kind of went over board on the comments about her fellow college students. (Nancy Putnam and her plastic surgery)But that's the way it goes sometimes.
In all, the story is great, but what is the best part is the GORGEOUS SCENERY, and THE AWESOME MUSIC!!!!! Those two things haunt me endlessly. My hat off to Mr. Alan Pakula, the director of this movie. I am sorry You are gone. You are missed, and will forever be in our hearts as a great director. Thank You.~~~definitedoll
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Sterile Cuckoo [Blu-ray] by Alan J. Pakula (Blu-ray - 2012)