Film Review – Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me
“Look, I’ve got a certain amount of fame. I’ve got money. I wish I could fing drive! Then I would really be a menace.” –Elaine Stritch
She is one of the many iconic stars of classic Broadway, but many may not even know her name. People of my generation or younger may recognize her more for her part on 30 Rock as Jack Donaghy’s mother, Colleen. She is Elaine Stritch. A documentary called Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me sheds light on just who she is and where she came from, a background not many people may know about.
The documentary follows Strich around as she rehearses a new show, Elaine Stritch Singin’ Sondheim. . . One Song At A Time. At 86 years old during the filming, she believes she can do the show and even take it on the road. Stritch struggles with her age and her diabetes to keep going. This documentary is not just about her taking on a new show, but showing where she came from and following her around in her daily life in NYC.
Elaine Stritch is one sassy lady. She is a strong, determined woman with a lot of wit and wisdom mixed with comedic genius. She doesn’t wear pants, for god’s sake! Who would not want to be associated her? Just seeing her walk down the street in NYC in her fur hat and coat and large sunglasses is enough to make me love her.
When the documentary delves into her Broadway background, this is when you will appreciate what a legend she is. She was the original “Joanne” in Company and also starred in Sail Away. She also has had quite the television and film career as well. Her wit and brassy voice has done her well.
The film is a good mix of laughs and “drama.” From her rehearsal, shows, invited functions to the lunch and dinner talk with friends; her day to day life is documented. Stritch does struggle with her diabetes and alcoholism. Many of the rough moments involving her health are from the diabetes, but she seems to pull through every crisis well. Sometimes her mind fails her on a song, but she quickly makes a joke out of it and moves along. Her love life is also shared. Her husband, John Bay, died in 1982 from cancer, and her description of loving him, his death, and love in general are quite moving.
30 Rock fans will enjoy seeing her film one of her guest spots, along with appearances by Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin (also an executive producer of this film), and Tracy Morgan. There are also innumerable interviews with her friends like Cherry Jones, Nathan Lane, and John Turturro (watch for the orgasm comment). One friendship that film takes extra time with is for the late, great James Gandolfini. He was interviewed for the film, and just the story of how they met is great. Stritch has a framed photo of the two of them on her table. I am sure they put more focus on this friendship since he is now passed, but it is incredibly touching to see.
Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me is a great documentary about a great woman with courage, wit, sass, and a lifetime of friends and memories. It will make you laugh and lets you have a raw look at what she is like every day. She has no qualms about stepping in to make sure this documentary was shot right and please know that she prefers to have her cosmos in a manly glass.