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.