Friday, December 19, 2014

The Best Non-Christmas Christmas Movies

(Look, I won't go on with a new post without acknowledging the fact that it's been two years since I last posted. I doubt anybody's even looking at this blog anymore. I had two kids and things got busy. But I still love this blog so I'm going to try to post again. For real!)

My husband and I have a pretty intense ongoing debate about what defines a Christmas movie. Let's just say that my definition is a little more liberal than his. With that in mind, here is my list of the best Christmas movies that may or may not actually be Christmas movies. You should still watch them every Christmas. And any other time during the year. Because maybe they're not Christmas movies. But maybe they are.

1. Meet Me In St. Louis. Listen people, this movie has an extremely famous Christmas song in it. You can't get a classic Christmas song from a non Christmas movie. That just doesn't make sense.

2. In the Good Old Summertime. Alright, I admit that with the word 'Summertime" in the title, this one could be confused for a regular movie, but just like in Meet Me in St. Louis, the climax of the movie happens at Christmas. There's snow and bells and merriment. There's also a less-famous, way lamer Christmas song sung by Judy. But it's a Christmas song nonetheless.

3. An Affair to Remember. Remember when (spoiler alert!) Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr totally get together at the end of the movie? Yeah, that's during Christmas. In fact, I'm watching it right now because ... it's a Christmas movie!

4. The Sound of Music. Hey wait, this one is not a Christmas movie at all. Except somehow everyone decided that it was. I don't agree, but I don't mind this misconception because it means that it's on TV every Christmas. Nobody can complain about that!

Honorable mention because it's not an old movie: You've Got Mail. There's a Christmas song in it. I think by now we know that according to my rules, that makes it a Christmas movie.

So there you go. I know I'm missing some. What did I forgot? And make sure you watch these movies before Christmas!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Move Over, Darling ... In Real Life

I love watching my old movies with my husband. He never complains and he often offers a new perspective on movies I've seen dozens of times. Sometimes he has deep insights that I've never thought about before. Other times (maybe most of the time) his observations are along the lines of, "This story line is getting really ridiculous."

Such was the case the other night when we watched Move Over, Darling, the Doris Day/James Garner classic. The husband may be right. The story line gets somewhat out of control towards the middle and it's not helped by Doris Day and her sometimes ... enthusiastic ... acting. But it's called entertainment, man. Someday I will show him My Favorite Wife. Somehow that one feels a little less ridiculous even with the same story. Also, Cary Grant. Can't go wrong.

Anyway, halfway through the movie my husband started wondering if there have been cases like this in real life, which prompted a quick Google search. We found that there is a legal precedent for this very situation called the Enoch Arden law, based off a poem with a similar, though much more tragic story. In addition, the movies are based off this poem as well and use the name Arden. It's all coming together!

Just when I was getting discouraged at the fact that I wasn't finding any actual stories with this theme, I ran across this amazing article from the Toronto Daily Star on November 19, 1945 profiling 11 cases of the Enoch Arden law and their outcomes after lots of men were presumed dead during World War 2. Read it, it's fantastic.

So I got much more than I bargained for after watching a silly Doris Day movie. I guess I need to keep showing my husband some classics. And pretty soon he won't even notice when a store line is getting really ridiculous.

I've Missed You

Well, it's a travesty that I haven't posted on this blog in about a year and a half! I'm ashamed. But I had a baby in September 2011 and things have just been ... busy.

Even more disturbing is that my viewing of old movies has decreased dramatically. And after two years of watching crappy new movies and every single episode of LOST on Netflix, it's time that I come back to the good stuff. None of those things are as satisfying as a good old, sex, violence, and language-less movie. I miss old movies. I miss this blog. So I'm going to try to start writing regularly again.

It'll be fun!

Friday, August 5, 2011

What Happens in Brigadoon Stays in Brigadoon ... Literally

Last night I watched Brigadoon for the first time, which is kind of surprising because it's been recommended, or at least mentioned to me, plenty of times over the years. I just never sat down to watch it. So thanks to Netflix, the time finally came.

Let me just say, it was not what I expected. I knew it was a musical and I knew it was set in Scotland, but that's about all I had to go on. Little did I know the insanity that would ensue!

I don't want to give away to much because Brigadoon, unlike most musicals, actually has some plot twists. Amazingly, I couldn't guess everything that was going to happen within the first ten minutes.

The film revolves around Gene Kelly and Van Johnson getting a little lost in the Scottish hillside. While wondering around, contemplating the meaning of life, they notice a little town down the road that, strangely, isn't on their map. At this point, I thought the movie could easily turn into a horror movie, and I still maintain that it would be a valid premise for a future remake.

Anyway, they head down to this little town hoping to be able to rest and find some food. They quickly notice that the locals are a little weird (still almost a potential horror movie), until Gene Kelly meets (and instantly falls in love with) Cyd Charisse. He proceeds to follow her around and sing and dance with her while Van Johnson stays in town and gets drunk.

From here, the movie turns into a strange mixture of every 50's musical, Kate & Leopold, and The Village.

The movie is very original, I'll give it that. Unfortunately, I can't say much else for it. I realize some people really love this movie, but it just didn't win me over. The songs were mostly forgettable and the dancing was just ok. Being a Lerner and Lowe musical I was expecting a little more.

However, the story was interesting, if not a little strange, and it mostly kept me guessing so it was certainly worth a viewing!

Most importantly, it made me desperately want to watch every other musical I own after a sad hiatus in musical-watching due to general busyness and not wanting to force my husband to watch them all with me. But now I've decided he can handle it.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

It's All in the Family

No, this isn't a post about Sabrina. But it is a post about movie-loving genetics.

My grandmother likes to talk about her mother who, in her older years, would visit her local movie theater just about every day to see the latest films. This sounds like great fun, and it's often made me wonder if all my movie-loving runs in the family.

My grandmother also loves movies and is responsible for my My Fair Lady and Judy Garland obsessions. Little did she know what would come of our afternoons watching old movies together.

Genetics or not, this movie-loving provides a special bond with both these ladies--a bond strengthened further by the fact that my husband and I sometimes visit the very theater my great grandmother did more than 50 years ago. It's been completely renovated, but original elements still exist and it's exciting to share that same space with her.

Now I'm having a daughter of my own in just a few months and I hope she gets this movie-loving gene too. Naturally, we've been listening to plenty of Judy Garland to prepare her for the exciting world of musicals. And her nursery will be Mary Poppins themed. So I'm not sure she has a choice on this one.

Does a love of movies run in your family?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tippi Hedren In Person

Last week, I dragged a group of friends and family to see The Birds at a local movie theater. And as if going to see The Birds on the big screen isn't exciting enough, Tippi Hedren herself made an appearance. (Yes, this is the same event at which I ran into Veronica Cartwright in the bathroom a few years ago. She was not there this time.)

When we arrived an hour early Tippi wasn't even there yet. Reports said that she was sitting in her limo eating dinner. Now, I understand that we all need to eat dinner, however, there was quite a line forming to get her autograph and she was a half hour late. Not to mention, those in line wanted to also get decent seats in the movie theater. And she was supposed to talk to the audience before the movie started. It quickly became apparent that none of this was going to go as scheduled. Prima donna? Maybe a little. However, she's quite old and we don't want her passing out or anything.

Anyway, all was forgiven when Tippi finally showed up and she was lovely and seemed very nice. My friends and I stood off to the side near where she was coming in and thanks to one of my particularly loud friends and her enthusiastic clapping, Tippi just kept walking toward us, despite the fact that she was supposed to make a right turn to get to the autograph signing area. She seemed delighted that everyone was clapping for her and she actually looks quite good for being like 80 (and wearing tight leather pants). She was seemed very pleased to be there and spent plenty of time talking to each fan who came for an autograph. There was one lady there with birds taped all over her dress.

The Birds on the big screen was excellent as usual. Watching movies like that by yourself at home can't compare to sharing the experience with a theater full of people. After the film, Tippi came in and played a trivia game with the audience and answered some questions. Most of the questions were pretty standard fare, but one audience member asked about the rumors that Hitchcock prevented Tippi from working after Marni when she was highly sought-after, thereby ruining her career.

Tippi said that Hitchcock developed an obsession with her that caused her to refuse to make more movies for him. However, she still had a contract with him for two years after Marni which he refused to break, preventing her from working during that time. She joked that he did essentially ruin her career, but then awkwardly tried to take it back when the audience seemed completely disgusted with Hitchcock. No doubt Hitchcock had borderline disturbing relationships with most of his leading ladies. I'll just try not to think about that.

On a side note, we almost got attacked by birds while walking into the movie theater. In the Chicagoland area, seagulls tend to hang out in parking lots. It's just a thing that happens, I don't know why. Anyway, there must have been some food thrown near the door to the theater because just about all the seagulls who live in the parking lot were circling near the theater entrance. At first I figured the theater planned this, but it only happened for a short time and then never again, so I'm not giving them that credit. Nevertheless, it was slightly disturbing and made our experience that much more exciting.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Amazon Deals on Classic Films

Amazon has a few great deals on some classic films this week:

The Wizard of Oz Blu-ray is half off--only $12.49 for the 70th anniversary edition.

The Sound of Music 45th Anniversary 3-disc edition with Blu-ray and DVD is only $20. This is the one with Christopher Plummer's highly entertaining commentary.

Gone with the Wind Blu-ray is only $9.99, regularly $24.99.

- A bunch of the TCM Classics Collections are just $11.99. My personal favorite is the musicals set.

- And Audrey Hepburn's blind lady thriller, Wait Until Dark is just $6.99.

Check out the rest of their classics on sale.