Thursday, December 30, 2010

Woman of the Year

For Christmas I received the TCM Greatest Classic Films Collection: Romantic Comedies DVD, which features four Katherine Hepburn movies. I found it interesting that TCM apparently believes Katherine Hepburn has some sort of monopoly on classic romantic comedies (No Doris Day??), but they're all great movies so I was pretty excited to add it to my collection. The DVD features The Philadelphia Story, Bringing Up Baby, Adam's Rib, and Woman of the Year, all films I've seen before but expect to watch many more times.

I've always really enjoyed Katherine Hepburn's movies with Spencer Tracy. They're kind of a strange couple when you think about it, but they manage to make it work, maybe because of their off screen, slightly scandalous romance. But they're mostly interesting because they almost always try to carry some sort of forties-feminist message. Not really a surprising role for Katherine Hepburn, an independent, strong, pants-wearing woman in real life.

In Woman of the Year, she plays ... woman of the year, Tess Harding, a serious journalist who runs all over the country, rubbing elbows with countless important political and world leaders. Her life is ridiculously busy and work-focused until she meets Spencer Tracy who plays Sam Craig, an average joe sports writer. He's instantly smitten with her and they begin a somewhat abnormal romance, consisting of him escorting her to her various engagements and attending her crowded parties.

The relationship is clearly strained by her crazy schedule and his obvious desire for a conservative housewife, but they marry nevertheless. It doesn't take long for things to start coming between them and just when Tess is named Woman of the Year, Sam decides to move out. She soon realizes that all her success isn't as sweet without him and she comedically attempts to be the housewife she thinks he wants.

I would love to hear a 1940s audience's take on this film. By today's standards, the only thing that seems extreme is Sam's desire for a stereotypical housewife--someone to make him dinner and wait on him when he gets home from work. But I would guess that quite the opposite was true 70 years ago.

In the end they both learn to compromise. He no longer wants just a housewife. He respects her for her work, and she learns that some of her career may need to be put on the back burner if she wants a good marriage.

This seems like a perfectly fair compromise and it's exactly why I like these films. They're sort of feminist--the woman works, she's important and well respected. But she also respects her husband enough to make some sacrifices in order to build a strong marriage. It's a message that's often lost today in a world where women are encouraged to do anything they want to, even at the expense of their marriage or family.

I'm not sure these films had a particularly grand effect on the feminist movement, but certainly Katherine Hepburn paved the way for many women and brought in a new way of thinking. They may not be exactly cutting-edge feminism, but they bring up some issues that many classic comedies gloss over. And all that mixed with some great comedy and two legendary stars make for some really fun movies.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas in Connecticut

Over the weekend, I showed Christmas in Connecticut for our December Old Movie Night. I'd not yet seen this movie, but it had been recommend to me on several occasions and in the interest of not having to watch yet another Christmas movie I've seen thousands of times, I decided to give it a shot.

Remember how I said that young people take kindly to innuendo in old movies? Well this movie is no exception. It's not as blatantly skanky as Some Like it Hot but the implications of some of the dialogue is pretty questionable for a 1945 film.

It goes like this: Barbara Stanwyck plays Elizabeth Lane, a Martha Stuart type who runs a very popular column in a magazine for housewives. The problem is she's far from a housewife. She's single and living a wild life in the city. That's all fine until a dreamy sailor just back from the war wants to visit her farm for Christmas. Her publisher, who's in the dark about her many lies, approves the visit and lands her in quite a pickle.

Enter John Sloan, Elizabeth's special "friend," a mediocre-looking architect who's been proposing to her for years with no success. When she realizes John has a farm in Connecticut, she quickly promises to marry him if he allows her to use his farm to pull off her charade for the holiday and keep her job.

Needless to say, things get sticky and awkward when the dreamy sailor shows up, and still thinking she's married, proceeds to hit on her on more than one occasion. And she, a sort of married woman, can't keep her hands off him. It's a moral dilemma, but it isn't. The whole concept outraged us even though in reality none of it was that shadey. But the characters don't know the reality, so they are a little shadey. It's a deep philosophical question that I'm not going to explore here.

Anyway, you can imagine what kind of insanity ensues when Elizabeth tries to keep up with her lies and the rest of the characters learn more and more of the truth.

By far the best part of the film was Elizabeth's Uncle Felix, played by S.Z. Sakall, everyone's favorite crazy, roly poly actor. He accompanies Elizabeth to Connecticut to help her cook and basically ends up messing with everyone's heads and orchestrating complicated conspiracies. He also comes with his own special catch phrases that don't make sense and provides multiple laugh-out-loud moments.

This film is definitely going on my annual Christmas movie viewing list!

Monday, November 29, 2010

William Castle + Joan Crawford = Insanity. Literally.

My weekend of holiday happiness and Christmas decorating was punctuated with possibly the most disturbing Joan Crawford movie I've ever seen. I think the poster says it all.

In Straight-Jacket, Joan Crawford plays Lucy, a wife and mother who brutally axes her cheating husband and his girlfriend to death. The problem his, her young daughter sees it all. Lucy is quickly whisked away to the loony bin.

Fast forward 20 years and Lucy's getting out of the asylum on good behavior, and she's sent to live with her daughter, Carol, now in her twenties and engaged to a nice young man.

Carol and Lucy attempt to repair their relationship by getting Lucy a makeover, but pretty soon Lucy starts going crazy again, hearing voices and having disturbing hallucinations. Then, of course, people start getting mysteriously axed to death.

I won't spoil the rest of the movie for you. But rest assured, it's disturbing and surprisingly graphic, and everything you'd want from a William Castle film starring Joan Crawford in her 60's "I'll do anything" period.

Highlights of the film include:

Joan Crawford looking crazy

Joan lighting her match on a spinning record in a moment of drunken insanity:

Needless to say, Straight-Jacket has further cemented my love for all Joan Crawford movies.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


I have some confessions to make. Old movie related ones:

1. I don't really like Breakfast at Tiffany's. Everyone talks about how great this movie is, but I can't say I've ever enjoyed it that much. I especially hate the end with the cat and the rain. It upsets me.

2. I fast forward over musical numbers in non-musical movies. This mostly applies to every Doris Day movie in which she sings a pre-sex song. Also, every song in The Parent Trap.

3. The Wizard of Oz - not my favorite. I'm not saying I don't like it, it's just not my favorite Judy movie. Or my favorite in any category, really. But I have to act like I'm a big fan since I'm a big Judy fan and usually nobody's heard of any other Judy movies. Plus it's fun to collect the memorabilia.

4. I haven't seen any of Judy Garland's movies from the 60's. I'm pretty sure I've seen all of her films except these ones. They just seem weird and sad.

5. I don't get TCM. I'm not made of money, people! Meanwhile, Netflix more than makes up for it.

6. I don't really like watching new movies. And by "new" I mean old movies that I haven't seen before. I'd much rather just watch the same movies that I know I love over and over again. But I know the new ones are usually worth watching, so I make myself do it.

7. I don't think the Marx Brothers are that funny. I don't hate their movies and certainly I've had some good times while watching them, I just wouldn't do it on a regular basis.

8. I like the new Sabrina better than the old Sabrina. This one's easy because I just wrote about it.

9. It's possible that I've never watched the entire Climb Every Mountain scene in The Sound of Music. I hate the song and avoid it at all costs.

10. I've never seen Citizen Kane. And I don't have plans to. I'm pretty sure I won't like it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Fly and The Scream

Warning: This post will contain spoilers, because they're the interesting parts.

Great Halloween at my house last night. Old Movie Night featured two ... interesting Vincent Price films, The Fly and The Last Man on Earth.

The Last Man on Earth is about just that. After a terrible disease plagues the entire earth, Vincent Price is the last man standing, having gained immunity to the terrible disease through a bat bite years earlier. So for three years he lives alone, fending off the zombie-vampires that the disease has created. This film wasn't particularly scary (and I'm a jumpy one), but if you enjoy watching Vincent Price talk to himself, it's definitely the movie for you!

That brings us to The Fly. Basically the perfect 50's horror film, The Fly offers up screaming women, sexist children, scientist men, big machines that make futuristic noises, and insects.

Half the film is presented in flashback form as Helene Delambre tries to explain to her brother-in-law (Vincent Price, who's conveniently in love with her) and the inspector why she killed her husband. He turned into a fly, that's why. He got a little over-zealous with his "matter transporting" equipment and some of his "matter" gets a little mixed up. Now he's got a fly head and hand and somewhere out there buzzing around is a white-headed fly-man.

The second half of the film involves Vincent Price searching high and low for the white-headed fly that will prove Helene's insane story and get her off the hook for her husband's murder. His search finally leads him and the inspector to a spider web where a tiny little fly-man, yelling "help me!" a million times in a little fly voice, is about to get eaten by a spider.

This is the point in the movie at which the entire group at my house screamed. For an excessively long time. I can't really explain this scream and why it went on for so long. After all, this is a not-so-scary 50's horror movie. But seeing a fly-man get eaten by a spider is slightly disturbing. Plus, the special effects were basically horrific. So the scream went on for some time, laughing, screaming, confusion, general noise. It was exciting and an old movie night first. I'm not sure what to make of it.

But after all the screaming stopped and we calmed down, emotions were mixed. The premise was disturbing. But there were some sweet, touching moments like when the man-fly wrote "love you" to his wife on the chalkboard before getting squashed to death like any fly should. And who couldn't be happy when Vincent finally ends up with Helene whom he loved all along now that his sexy, smart fly-brother is squashed? And how can you not be appalled at their dumb little sexist son, spouting zingers like, "you know how women are"? This movie has it all. We laughed, we cried, we cringed, and we screamed.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Sound of Music Reunion

Well I do love The Sound of Music so I was very excited to discover that the cast reunion on Oprah is now on Youtube.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

It's not a Time Traveler, People

It's clearly an alien.

I'm not sure why we're so desperate to have time travelers show up in old movies. There are lots of reasons this person could be doing what they're doing:

1. The actual feasible explanation of the hearing aid.

2. Itchy ear

3. Insanity

4. Hiding

5. Alien

Also, for the record, I think it's a man dressed as a woman. Or an alien dressed as a man dressed as a woman.

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I started a Twitter for this blog because sometimes there are comments I want to make that just don't warrant an entire blog post. You can find me here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


In the midst of all this contemplation of Sabrina and remade movies I realized, to my horror, that I've never written about the ultimate remake series: The Shop Around the Corner, In the Good Old Summertime, and You've Got Mail. A trifecta of hatred, romance, and comedy. A couple months ago a group of very dedicated friends sat down and watched all three movies with me, for a marathon of awesomeness.

The Shop Around the Corner started it all in 1940 with Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. It's a nice little movie, based in Hungary (??), our main characters work together in a gift shop and quickly grow to hate each other, all the while unknowingly writing love letters back and forth. It's funny and sweet, but I don't especially love it. The problem is, it has an unfair advantage considering that I loved the two later movies long before I even saw this one.

In the Good Old Summertime was the first of these three that I saw, during my childhood Judy Garland obsession. I believe that my loyalty to Judy and the sentimental value it holds for me make it my favorite of the three. It continues our themes of love blooming from extreme hatred, with our two main characters working together in a music shop. It's entertaining and fun, however, Judy is extra mean in it and many of the songs are forgettable.

So that brings us to You've Got Mail. Basically the same story, lead characters hate each other in real life, but love each other on paper ... or email as it were. Look, I love this movie. It's funny and romantic and basically lovely. I can't bring myself to say that I like it more than Summertime, but I don't like it less. And I can't really think of anything bad to say about it.

So is this another case of a superior remake (or two)? I'd say yes, though I know there are many people that love the original. I would highly recommend watching all three of them together if you're into that sort of thing. There are quotes and gags and characters that survived all three films, and they're all quality movies.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sabrina vs. Sabrina

The other night I made my husband watch the 1995 version of Sabrina. I picked this film because I really wanted to watch a girly, romantic movie that my husband can also enjoy. And since Harrison Ford is in some of my husband's favorite movies, I figured this would be a good option. It's basically the same as Indiana Jones, really.

So a lot of people (by "a lot" I mean just a few) argue passionately (by which I mean, discuss briefly) which version of Sabrina is superior: 1995 or 1954. Despite my loyalties to films made before 1970, I have to say I think I prefer the new Sabrina, and here's why:

1. Harrison Ford. Look, Humphry Bogart could never even come close to comparing to the loveliness, manliness, and general awesomeness of Harrison Ford. He is dreamy. Humphry? Old. Kinda ugly. No comparison.

2. The mom. Holy smokes, the mom in the new Sabrina is a riot!

3. Sabrina doesn't try to kill herself. It always very much bothers me when Audrey Hepburn tries to kill herself over David in the old one. It's very extreme and kind of disturbing.

4. Harrison Ford. Yeah, he's that important.

Now I'm not saying I don't love the old Sabrina because I do. And I am an Audrey Hepburn fan, she may be better than the new girl. It's just that, the whole point of a romantic comedy is to feel warm fuzzy at the end. To get us so sucked into the love story that we lose touch with reality and are incapable of having normal relationships in real life on account of the inflated expectations of love and romance that these films provide. The old one just doesn't do that for me.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tony Curtis

Well it's true, people, Tony Curtis is gone from us forever. It's too bad because he was a funny, inappropriate old man. It's always hard to lose one of those.

I got to see him a few years ago at a movie theater near me and he was very entertaining. I took some terrible quality, illegal videos, but you get the idea:

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sound of Music Happenings

 Well, this year marks the 45th anniversary of The Sound of Music and to celebrate, Oprah is hosting the entire cast on her show on October 29th. Even Christopher Plummer will be there, which should be interesting since he's generally offensive and bratty when discussing the film.

They're also releasing a 45th anniversary edition of the DVD/Blu Ray to add to the 85 previous copies that you've already had to buy because they had new extras. But I'm sure this one will be even better and more necissary.

"Quit stealing my Captain"

Finally, the film itself will be showing in a number of theaters in sing-a-long form October 19 & 26. I've been to the sing-a-long maybe 4 times and it's fun, but one thing has always bothered me. One of the sing-a-long activities is hissing at the baroness every time she's on screen. First of all, this is annoying because she's on screen a lot. That's a lot of hissing. Secondly, I understand we're not really supposed to like her, but what did she ever do to us? What are her real offenses in the movie? Ok, she tries to get rid of Maria. Who wouldn't do that if the nanny was making a play for your dream-boat captain? It's somewhat less forgivable when she talks about sending the kids off to boarding school, but seriously people, there's seven of them. I bet even Maria wanted to send them off to boarding school sometimes.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fast Forward

The other night I was watching the classic, Annie, with my husband.

Sidenote: Yes, I made my husband watch Annie. I felt it was important for him to see this movie that I watched many, many times as a child.

Anyway, to make it a little less painful for him, I told him we could watch my "edited" version in which I fast forward through all the parts I don't like. This appalled him.

The thing is, I've spent most of my movie-watching years fast forwarding through the parts of movies that I don't like. Sometimes there just isn't enough time to watch the entire film. Or sometimes there are some just plain boring parts that I don't want to waste my time on. Once you've seen a movie enough times, it's easy to find some fast forward moments.

So I thought I'd compile a list of my top fast forward moments from some of my favorite movies:

1. The Sound of Music. To be honest, I fast forward through a lot of this movie. Basically any scene without Maria is a good candidate for some fast forwarding. Also, pretty much anything after Maria and The Captian return from their honeymoon.

2. Summer Stock. That terrible dog song at the very end. Also the Howdy Neighbor reprise with those truly awful outfits.

3. Easter Parade. That scene when Judy and Peter Lawford are in the restaurant and the waiter goes into way too much detail about their salad. It literally takes 10 minutes. Fast forward.

4. My Fair Lady. This is probably my least fast forwarded movie, but I've never been a big fan of the part when they go to the embassy ball. It's just a bunch of rich people dancing for like 10 minutes. I also don't usually watch the parts with Eliza's father. They're silly, but not that great. I have more important things to do.

5. Mary Poppins. Anything before Mary shows up is subject to skipping. Also when the dad brings the kids to the bank and they sing that dumb song. Actually, it's possible that the taped-off-TV version I had as a child cut out that song, so now I just don't see a point in it.

6. The King and I. This goes without saying, but the Uncle Tom's Cabin part. I don't know that I've ever watched more than 30 seconds of it and it literally goes on for 20 minutes. And this leads me to ...

7. Oklahoma. What's with the super weird, long ballet/interpretive dance in the middle of the movie? Fast forward.

8. Singin' in the Rain. My favorite part of this movie, when Cyd Charisse shows up in her green dress, is followed by my least favorite part: when the dance sequence goes on for an hour and a half!!

9. The Parent Trap. Any parts involving camp or camping.

10. The Music Man. One word: Shipoopi.

Truthfully, my list could go on and on. Am I the only one who likes to fast forward? I doubt it.

What do you fast forward?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ode to Netflix

Last week my husband and I signed up with Netflix and so far it's been life changing. I read this ridiculous "poem" and it inspired me to become a poet, because it clearly doesn't take much. Here's my Netflix poem.

Judy Garland
Cary Grant
I know I should stop
But I can't

Streaming live
Always connected
My husband wishes
He wasn't neglected

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Seven Year Itch

I just got Netflix. It's becoming a bit of a disturbing obsession, but on the bright side, I think it will allow me to watch more old movies than I ever thought possible.

My first Netflix old movie was The Seven Year Itch. I'd never seen it before, which is probably bad since it's so iconic, but honestly I just haven't watched that many Marilyn Monroe movies and I have a sneaking suspicion that none of them will live up to Some Like it Hot.

But I watched it anyway because I was curious and my husband was up for it. Basic premise: Nerdy middle-aged man lives in New York City with his wife and son. Wife and son shove off for the summer leaving nerdy husband at home by himself to work (and maybe have an affair) which was apparently the norm. Nerdy man, home alone, suddenly realizes there's a super hot blond living in the apartment above him. Nerdy man spends the rest of the movie trying to have or not have an affair with hot blond. The End.

So first of all, did this actually happen in the olden days? The women and children leaving for the entire summer? Don't get me wrong, it sounds fabulous and I think if it still happened many more women would be stay at home moms. It's just not anything I'd heard of and the insinuation that all the men were going to go have affairs with the hot single women that were left behind for the summer was a little disturbing.

But anyway, the movie ... It was ok. I wasn't blown away by it, but there were some funny moments. Half the movie was spent inside the nerdy man's quite delusional imagination where he was fawned over by every woman who came along. But when he finally gets attention from the hot blond, he gets a little freaked out and has a serious moral dilemma.

Marilyn played her usual ditzy blond character, so if you're a fan of that, you'll probably like the film. She had some cute outfits which I also enjoyed. And yes, she shows some leg in the skirt-flying-up scene, if that's your sort of thing.

But other than that, it just didn't feel like there was much to the movie. It's some light entertainment if you're interested in a Marilyn Monroe film, but don't expect it to change your life or anything. Unless, of course, you're a nerdy NYC man left all alone for the summer.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Top Ten Reasons I Love Old Movies

10. Corny jokes. Sometimes you just need a corny joke in a world where everyone's always trying to be clever and witty and off-color. Yes, a corny joke may be super cheezy and kind of embarrassing, but I bet you'll still laugh at it.

9. Gayness. Yeah, they say "gay" a lot in old movies. It's a little bit funny every time.

8. Memories. No, I don't have memories of seeing these movies when they originally came out in the theater, but I do have great memories of watching them as a child and singing and dancing along with the musical numbers. Every viewing brings back some warm fuzzies.

7. Trailers. Have you watched some old movie trailers? They're almost as entertaining as the movies themselves. Especially when they're announcing "the most unusual picture in many years."

6. Cary Grant. What else do I have to say?

5. Scary, but not too Scary. I can't watch these new-fangled horror movies. They are violent and disturbing and give me nightmares. But I can take some Psycho any day. Old scary movies are scary, yes, but not so gratuitously graphic.

4. Singing. Old movies have great songs. And great singers. They can't be beat by these wannabe singers/actors who come around today with their mediocre voices and lack-luster songs. MGM Musicals especially had it down. They knew where to place a song in the movie and how to stage a highly entertaining musical number. Perfection!

3. Dancing. Kind of goes with the singing. But seriously, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly? It doesn't get much better.

2. No sex. I'm not that into watching people have sex. I appreciate that in old movies, I do not have to witness this.

1. They make me happy! Probably for all the reasons listed above.

Why do you like old movies?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Vincent Price + Tim Burton

A friend of mine sent me this video, knowing my affinity for Vincent Price. It's kind of awesome and definitely worth a watch. Or two. Or three.

Meanwhile, last weekend I thoroughly enjoyed watching House on Haunted Hill on TV. It had been awhile since I'd seen it, so I was overjoyed when I happened to flip to it. It was fantastic, as always, and even more-so given the fact that I was rather over-tired and a little loopy. Old movies are always better taken that way.

The only downside was it was playing as part of one of our local channel's ridiculous "Svengoolie" programs which featured multiple airings of the most terrible commercial I've ever seen, advertising a t-shirt with a giant chicken shooting lasers out its eyes.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Back to the Future

Ok, Back to the Future might not quite count as an old movie, but let's face it: it's 25 years old already and it's pretty much a classic. Still, I wouldn't typically write about it, except that I recently had a close encounter with some of the actors in it (no, not Michael J. Fox, stop asking!).

Last weekend the Hollywood Palms theater in Naperville, IL showed the film, along with appearances by Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, the dude who played the principal, and the chick that played Michael J. Fox's girlfriend. We didn't pay the $20 per signature to get anything signed, but we did stand around and took some stalker pictures. I love my 10x zoom camera!

Then before the film, they all came in to talk about the movie.

They all shared a famous line of theirs from the film (some of them (the girlfriend) didn't really have any famous lines, but everyone humored her anyway). Then they talked about their memories and stories, etc. It was all very fun. Christopher Lloyd is surprisingly normal and quiet and basically looks the same as he did in the movie. Lea Thompson is surprisingly (or not) crazy and still looks pretty hot. The principal guy was super old, but seemed nice. And the chick who played the girlfriend had some crazy jeans on.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lessons from The Harvey Girls

Whenever I'm home sick I like to watch Judy Garland movies. Somehow sick days and Judy movies just go together. It's especially great if you're a little drugged up or not quite coherent so the musical numbers are extra trippy.

Last week I took a sick day and watched Summer Stock and The Harvey Girls, two classics that I've loved since childhood. Maybe that's why I like watching them on sick days, they make me feel all warm and fuzzy.

Anyway, while watching The Harvey Girls I had some deep (if mildly incoherent) thoughts about the women portrayed in this movie, and how men react to them. It's all about confidence. The Harvey Girls blow into town, having the guts to pick up and leave their families and be the pure and innocent, non-sluts in a town that only knows sluttiness. They're sure of who they are and demand to be treated with respect (as illustrated by Judy's gun-toting escapade to get their meat back). And so the men do treat them with respect and try to earn the girls' respect in return. Then they all get married.

On the other hand, the saloon skanks are insecure and pathetically desperate for the guys' attention. And when they're faced with competition from the Harvey Girls, they get even more pathetic and the men quickly flock to the Harveys because nobody wants a slutty, insecure, desperate women. Then none of them get married.

So ladies, if you want to get a man, quick acting like Angela Landsbury and start being a little more Judy. Then you will steal the dreamy-if-not-a-little-shady man those insecure, skanky girls have been pining over and send them packing while you live happily ever after. The End.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Yes, Christopher Plummer Hates The Sound of Music

Ok, that may not be completely true. This post is really just an experiment of sorts.

By far, one of my most popular posts on this blog is about Christopher Plummer's dislike of the children and just about everything else associated with The Sound of Music. He made his opinions perfectly clear on the 40th Anniversary DVD special features.

Now, every time The Sound of Music is on TV I get a HUGE spike in traffic and I'm perplexed. Do people suspect that Christopher Plummer hated the movie just from watching it on TV? I suppose this is a rumor that's just floating around out there and after watching the film, people want to know about it? I don't really know.

So, please tell me, if you've found this page after viewing The Sound of Music and you suspect that Christopher Plummer hates everything about the movie, what gave you that impression?

Last time it was on TV, I got almost 500 page views in one day. Quite a far cry from my usual 30 to 50 :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Slaps with the Wind

So I watched Gone with the Wind last night for the very first time. I liked it way more then I thought I would. Actually, I really liked it a lot. It managed to keep me entertained, despite the four hour running time. I would definitely recommend watching it if you haven't seen it. It is quite a time commitment, but I think it's worth it, if only to be able to say that you've seen it.

There's a lot I could praise about this movie—the acting, the music, the writing, the story, and so on. It's all great. But the real reason for it's greatness is ... the slapping.

That's right, this film is chuck-full of slapping. Slapping men, slapping slaves, slapping children, slapping animals. No one is safe from the slapping machine known as Scarlett O'Hara.

If you haven't seen it, you're probably wondering why all the slapping. Well I will tell you. Scarlet is crazy. I didn't really realize this coming into the movie. I thought she was just a somewhat-flirtatious-but-still-generally-lady-like kind of girl. Not so! She's completely self-absorbed, conniving, and kinda skanky. Skanky in a subtle sort of way. Subtle enough that nice, innocent, unsuspecting men go marrying her, only to end up getting insulted and slapped.

Then comes Rhett Butler. Definitely the most perfect (and most dreamy!) man for Scarlett and one of the few that could match her in arrogance and cockiness. And still he doesn't quite dodge the slapping bullet. However, the second time he sees her winding up for a blow, he ducks, sending her tumbling down their ridiculously high staircase. Check and mate.

There's only one thing better than the slapping in this movie: Mammy! This lady is awesome. She always tells crazy Scarlett what's what and she even earns the respect of Rhett. And, most importantly, she's one of the few people who never gets slapped.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Such an Interesting Mixture of Poetry and Meanness

So I have this friend at work who hasn't been exposed to many old things. This isn't unusual for people my age, but lucky for her she gets to share an office with me! Anyway, I've convinced her to watch some old movies and she seems to enjoy them. However, her main comment about the Judy Garland movies she's watched (2 I think) is that Judy is mean.

At first I denied this accusation against Judy, but the more I thought about it, the more I realize it may be true. I hope this isn't a spoiler, but Judy generally yells at, insults, or beats up the men she's about to fall in love with. Let's take a look at some specifics:

For Me and My Gal - Judy really hates Gene Kelly at the beginning of this one and she spouts out some zingers like, "Who's the want ad with the squirrel around his neck?" before she even meets him.

Meet Me in St. Louis - Judy spends an excessive amount of time and energy on trying to capture John Truett's attention only to beat him up over the false accusation that he hit her sister. Classic.

The Harvey Girls - I was going to suggest this as a non-violent Judy movie until I remembered her trying to shoot the bartender at the saloon and the huge cat fight in which she takes down Angela Lansbury.

In the Good Old Summertime - This one is a war of words. And maybe some injuries along the way. Off the top of my head, Judy yells at Mr. Larkin multiple times, slams his hand in the piano cover, hits him in the face, and (my personal favorite) likens his intellect to a "metronome that doesn't work very well."

So there you have it. Judy is kinda mean. In her defense, in many of these cases the men have brought at least some of it on themselves. Nevertheless, Judy's great at freaking out and isn't that why we love her? Annnd now I want to watch a Judy Garland movie.