Saturday, December 27, 2008

The packages have all been opened,...

...the food has all been eaten, the relatives have all returned to their homes and normal lives. We find ourselves deep in the “Christmas is over but it’s not yet New Year’s” doldrums.

I can’t imagine why but I’m thinking today about goofy movies that I like, not that I’ve seen that many goofy movies, you understand. And I suppose it depends on your definition of the word goofy. I don’t mean “falling-down funny.” I refuse to pay good money to see Adam Sandler or Will Ferrell (although I’m given to understand that Elf is cute) or most other comedians who ever put in time at Saturday Night Live cavorting their way across the silver screen. They all seem so, well, sophomoric, although even that word is too good for what passes for comedy these days. Current attempts at comedy seems to be aimed mostly at ten-year-old boys and more mature specimens with deeper voices who still think and act like ten-year-old boys. Slapstick and mindless drivel doesn’t appeal to me very much, or at least not for very long. Enough already, or I’ll be into a full-blown rant.

I’m thinking instead of movies I like even though other people might think they are quirky or bizarre or downright weird. Mrs. RWP and I rarely go out to movie theaters, so I must confess in the interest of full disclosure that some of these movies I have seen only on television. Here’s my list:

Big Fish starring Albert Finney, Jessica Lange, Ewan McGregor, and Danny DeVito.

The Purple Rose of Cairo starring Jeff Daniels, Mia Farrow, and Danny Aiello. It was written and directed by Woody Allen.

Big starring Tom Hanks and others. It was directed by Penny Marshall of Laverne and Shirley fame (speaking of slapstick).

Reaching way back, Some Like It Hot starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon, Marilyn Monroe, and Joe E. Brown. It was directed by Billy Wilder. The events in this one could really have happened, so maybe it isn’t all that bizarre.

Perhaps the most bizarre movie of them all, Field of Dreams starring Kevin Costner, Amy Madigan, Ray Liotta, James Earl Jones, Timothy Busfield, and Burt Lancaster.

I guess the common thread running through all of these films is fantasy, the sense of “this could never happen in real life but let’s have some fun for a little while and willingly suspend disbelief and see what happens” that seems to take over each of them. Maybe the word I’m looking for is escapist, although the big Hollywood musicals of yesteryear, also escapist fare, can’t really be called goofy, bizarre, or weird (depending, of course, on how many people you know who burst into song at unexpected times during the day). At least a couple of the movies on my list deal with conflicted feelings about one’s male parent. A psychiatrist would probably have a field day figuring out and telling me why I am attracted to this kind of movie and not John Wayne westerns. And that, dear reader, is why I am not ever going to see a psychiatrist.

I do like adventure films of a certain sort that also involve fantasy, like Lord Of The Rings and the Narnia ones that have come out recently. I mean, how many elves or talking lions do you normally encounter on your way to the supermarket?

If you have any strong feelings for or against any of these films in particular or about the genre in general, I would love to hear your comments. And if you would care to reveal your own list of films that you could watch over and over again even if other people think you are bonkers, that would be all right too.


  1. I hate to open the Christmas presents I receive, and will put it off as long as is socially acceptable. I finally got around yesterday afternoon to peeping at a few gifts I received from my good church friends. Is it that I don't want that part of Christmas to be over, or that I really believe, as do the Whos down in Whoville, that Christmas comes without boxes and bags?

    I admit that I've seen only one of your listed movies, Big. I'm not a movie theater goer, either. As I recall, the last big screen movie I viewed was City Slickers with Billy Crystal. I laughed a lot (very sophomoric) and later bought the VHS tape so I could watch it again. To my recollection, I have not yet done so, but still have the tape.

    My favorite movies are: Tootsie (Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange)--in fact I watched my tape of it last night; An Affair to Remember (Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr); Dave (Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver); True Lies (Arnold Swarzenegger, Jamie Curtis); and, for pure fantasy, Fantasia (Walt Disney and friends.)

    All "oldies" but, so am I!

  2. Pat, I have seen all of the movies on your list except True Lies and Dave. The last two or three times I tried to watch Fantasia all the way through I fell asleep. I guess I'm officially in my dotage.

    If you haven't seen it, I think you would enjoy Sleepless in Seattle because of its tie-in with An Affair to Remember.

  3. "Some Like It Hot" is one of my all-time favorites. I don't think I've seen the rest on your list. Like Pat, I love "Tootsie", too, and as dumb as it sounds, "Dumb & Dumber" sends me into hysterics.

    Its the season for movie-watching and pondering, I guess. I wrote a post about "Roman Holiday" for tomorrow or Monday.

    We could all post about movies for awhile.....that would be fun!

  4. RWP.. I have seen Sleepless in Seattle and liked it very much, as well as You've Got Mail.

  5. P.S. I also like Spencer Tracy. Bad Day at Black Rock (a copy of which, unfortunately, I do not own, and no, it's not a cowboy-western movie)influenced my chili-eating habits. Although I had never before done so before watching that movie, I now always put ketchup in my chili; if Spencer can do it, I can do it!

  6. Jeannelle, Tootsie is funny, I agree, but it's not quirky in the fantasy sense I mean. I liked Dustin Hoffman better in Rain Man and also in the TV version of Death of a Salesman.

    Pat, you can put ketchup in your chili if you like, but Spencer Tracy hasn't done it since 1967. My dad put hot sauce on spaghetti. Neither one sounds too appetizing to me.

  7. I also have seen only Big on your list. Two movies I'm addicted too are Dicken's Christmas Carol, the old version where Scrooge stands on his head and " The Greatest 4th of July Ever".

  8. Dr. John, I think you are talking about the 1951 black-and-white version starring Alistair Sims as Ebenezer Scrooge...I like that version best, too. It seems so, I don't know, Dickensian!

    Enough already with Rudolph and Elf and the Grinch and Frosty The Snowman and even The Polar Express. I guess I qualify as an old geezer now.

  9. RWP.. "Bad Day at Black Rock" was released in 1955. I remember trivial things (like ketchup in chili) for a long time.

    Re: Hot sauce on spaghetti: In the 60's there was a eatery here in Little Rock (restaurant is entirely too toney a name for this place) that was locally famous for spaghetti with hot sauce; the place was SRO most of the time. "Everyone to his own taste," said the woman as she kissed the cow.

  10. Some Like It Hot has to have the best closing line of all movies.

    Movies that I watch over and over for fun? The three Lord of the Rings, the six Star Wars, the first two Godfathers (absolutely hate the third), several Hitchcock (Nortorious, Rear Window, North by Northwest, The Lady Vanishes), Gone with the Wind, . . . oh so many others. My husband has a degree in film and video, so we watch movies a lot.

    Pat, if you come back to this thread, my husband just got Bad Day at Black Rock for Christmas from our brother in law.

  11. i like will ferrall and praying to baby jesus is funny, but i do like gone with the wind, sound of muscic, indian jones especially the one he did when he was old, bob , go ahead and hate me

  12. Dear Henry
    For me films are usually creations that I watch once and once only. It tends to be the same with books - one good read and that's it. However, there are films that I saw long ago that I wouldn't mind revisiting and these would include "The Last Picture Show" directed I believe by Sam Peckinpah and "Once Upon a Time in America" starring the brilliant Robert De Niro. Over here in England I grew up with American "culture" - "The Lone Ranger", "Mr Ed", "Bewitched" and onwards to "Star Trek". Visiting America can be like visiting the dreamworld of one's youth. I would also be willing to revisit the lovely black and white British film of the early sixties - "Whistle Down The Wind" starring Hayley Mills.
    Best Wishes,
    Mr Y. Pudding