Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Pirate

The Pirate comes out on DVD today. This is one of Judy Garland's more...unique movies. It's actually been quite awhile since I've seen it. I had it on VHS taped off the TV, but the tape broke so I haven't seen it in years. Stupid VHS!

Basically, Judy is infatuated with this pirate, Macoco. She's also engaged to this nasty old rich man. Gene Kelly is a traveling performer type guy and he comes to town, realizes she's obsessed with this pirate and pretends to be said pirate in order to woo her. Meanwhile, her nasty fiancee is not amused. Stuff happens, there's a crazy weird Gene Kelly dance sequence and all heck breaks loose when the nasty fiancee reveals that he is the real Macoco and prepares to punish Gene Kelly. But of course by this time Judy and Gene have fallen in love, she joins his little performing group and they sing "Be a Clown." And yes, "Be a Clown" is the same as "Make 'em Laugh" from Singin' in the Rain. There's no way to get around it.

What I remember about this movie is there are some hilarious moments. Funnier and more clever than most Judy movies. It is a shame that it's typically overlooked, because it's definitely worth a watch.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Practically Perfect in Every Way

For the last few days I've been listening to my Mary Poppins soundtrack at work and it's been amazing. I'm ashamed to say I got this CD as a gift a few years ago and I honestly never listened to it until I began my Julie Andrews phase a few months ago. As it turns out, it's fantastic.

It's this 2-disc special edition with all kinds of extras, and I've especially been enjoying the instrumental tracks that are included. I have to say, this is some of the best movie music ever. Yes, the songs are kind of for kids, but really, they're brilliant. The music itself is excellent and the lyrics are clever. I love that I can listen to it as an adult and find humor in things that went completely over my head when I was a child. And it's nice when Julie Andrews reminds me, "In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun" while I slave away in my cubicle (kind of).

The only issue with listening to it at work is I am sometimes overcome with an uncontrollable urge to burst out into song. How can you not want to sing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? And sometimes I fall asleep during Stay Awake. Also, I cry sometimes during Feed the Birds. Especially during the instrumental version when Mr. Banks gets fired. It's rough.

Since I'm on the subject, here are some of my favorite childhood memories of Mary Poppins:

- I don't remember ever wondering how they did the special effects. Mary flying and pulling ridiculously large items out of her carpet bag seemed perfectly possible to me, I guess. The only thing I was ever baffled by was when Dick Van Dyke stretched his pants out so he could dance like a penguin. How were is pants normal one minute, and huge the next? I was intrigued. The sad thing is, this is one of the few things in the movie that isn't a special effect in any way.

- It really creeped me out when Mary's reflection in the mirror sings back to her. And I had no idea what "cheeky" meant.

- I thought the mother was Miss America. The first time you see her, she's wearing her "Votes for Women" sash, and at the time I apparently couldn't read and the only other person I knew who wore such a sash was Miss America. I obviously did not take into account the fact that she was 1.) Married, and 2.) not in America.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Hitchcock Goodness

Last night, I exposed my friends to The Birds for our July Old Movie Night. Even though about half the group had already seen it, people were excited. And rightly so. It's an amazing movie.

Yes, it's corny. And yes, we spent a lot of time just making fun of it. But every so often I had to stop making fun of it to freak out. There are some brilliantly disturbing moments, and despite the sometimes painfully fake special effects, I can't help but become completely engrossed in the film. Neither could anyone else, and I believe everyone was at least slightly nervous once or twice throughout the film. How can you not be?

I started out the evening by sharing my Veronica Cartwright story with the group. They were impressed, and rightly so. We also threw a stuffed animal duck at people as they walked in the door. It was supposed to be attacking them, but mostly they just watched with a confused stare as it flew past. We also served buffalo wings, which was very clever, I thought.

This is what I love about The Birds:

- The scene where Tippi Hedren is completely unaware of the fact that crows are taking over the playground behind her.

- No music! There's no musical score for this film, just a few mildly creepy songs and lots of bird noises.

- The fact that there's really no resolution. I think the ending upsets people at first. They just leave, without any explanation as to why the birds attacked or how they're going to be stopped. Everyone last night was a little shocked that it just ended with them driving away, but I like it that way. It leaves you with a creepy feeling.

And finally, I ate lunch outside at work today and there were lots of seagulls making lots of noise in the parking lot next door to us. I got a little nervous.


Finally, a TV channel that shows The Sound of Music all day, every day. I guess I'll be visiting Salzburg soon!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Me + Old People

I'm an old person. I think I already knew this, but the scary thing is it's normal now. Last night I was very excited to go to a free big band concert in a park down the street from my house. I tried to get some friends to go, but I only had one taker. Although, that's pretty good, I don't really expect anyone to go to these things with me.

The thought hadn't really occurred to me that this concert was going to be full of the oldies until we were walking there and saw them. They came in droves with their blankets and chairs. This is really nothing strange to me, but I realized I was subjecting a friend to this. Can I do that?

Meanwhile, the concert was lovely. The band was great and they played some fun old songs. The old people were thrilled. And so was I.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Classic Films in Chicago

Every summer, the great city of Chicago hosts an Outdoor Film Festival in Grant Park showing classic films. I skipped it last year because they didn't really show classic films. They were more...movies from any time that people really like and could possibly be considered classics at some point in the future.

Luckily this year they came to their senses and they're showing some actual old movies. I'm especially looking forward to The Awful Truth, a fabulous old Cary Grant, Irene Dunn movie. To my knowledge, this is not the most well known Cary Grant movie, so I was a little surprised that they chose to show it, but I'm not complaining. It's completely hilarious and it's always been one of my favorite Cary Grant films. It's complete silliness and I really love Irene Dunn. She's a great time!

They're also showing The Sound of Music, which I fully intend to see if I can find someone to see it with. How many times can one person see The Sound of Music, you ask? The answer: infinity.

Monday, July 2, 2007

New (Old) Music

I hit the vinyl jackpot the other day at Goodwill and walked away with the Bye Bye Birdie, Sound of Music and Annie soundtrack albums. Exciting, I know. I have to admit that Bye Bye Birdie is the only one that I don't already own on CD, but it doesn't matter. I like to decorate with them! So now these three wonderful albums are gracing my bedroom walls. Yep, I'm a dork. The Sound of Music one also came with a booklet type thing with pictures and info about the movie. It's basically a HUGE version of the CD booklet! What was so strange about this particular trip to Goodwill is, I've never seen any of these albums there before, but on this particular day, there were at least 2 copies of each.

Meanwhile, I've been enjoying my Bye Bye Birdie album immensely. I like to sing "How Lovely to be a Woman" while getting dressed in the morning. I've also been working on perfecting my Ann Margaret dancing. It's really coming along, but I'm pretty sure I pulled a muscle the other day. That woman is one insane dancer.