Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Movies I love for no reason at all

Ramblings Post #14
When you run out of things to talk about in a blog, or news article or any regularly posted or updated thing, and just need to fill a void, you pull out a list. They're simple to do, you make it about damn near anything, and if you're lucky, somebody takes it as gospel and suddenly you are and AUTHORITY on something. I don't think this list is going to make me all that much of an authority, AND once I considered the amount of time I actually put into it, a regular post would have been easier.

There are movies I like, I mean really like, and for the life of me I cannot fathom why. Some of them old and dusty with era dated celluloid mildew, practically transparent in their fakery, some of them utter tripe loaded with cardboard characters, cliche ideas and cookie cutter plots to the point where you guess the next line and getting it right most of the time, and yet others well written, artfully acted and directed.

Well the last not so much, something about most "Oscar worthy" performances irk me. How hard is it embody someone with a sense of nobility and angst in a period costume? I mean the corset alone elicits half the feeling you need for a character whose life is laced with pain. But make a psychotic loon in white face paint transcend his original ink and paper incarnation - thanks Mr. Ledger - and you've done some acting. Some of the other choices the Academy has made over the years baffles me.

But I digress.

One of my favorite films of all time is Smokey and the Bandit. Yes, I an African American male love this tale of rednecks in fast cars riding through the countryside. There are parts of the movie I can quote verbatim. Big Enos and Little Enos really should be revisited as characters. One weeknight it came on TMC or Showtime at midnight (you cannot watch it on regular TV, ever!) and damned if I didn't watch it until Junior screamed "Daddy, whose going to hold your hat?"

Conversely, I also love The Princess Bride. I don't know why but I do. Something about Ingio Montoya and Fezzick, and the way the actors spoke what had to sound even to them like hilarious lines with straight faces. It comes off as a better comedy than a lot of films that try to be hard to be funny.

And I'll watch Armageddon again and again. It is utter hero worship garbage, badly written and poorly acted by a cast of actors who I've actually seen act and apparently just didn't give a damn, and I love it. And say what you want, when the character Chick's ex-wife finally tells there son that the man on TV about to try to save the world is not some "guy" but his father, you tell me it doesn't pull at your heartstrings. Sure it's cliche as hell, but damned if it doesn't still work.

I think I've admitted here, and I'm truly ashamed to say it, I can sit through the entire Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy. Even after it veers off and jumps from suspension of disbelief into "just go along with it because it look great and cost a fortune to shoot", I will still watch it. The "cuttlefish" scene is one of the most badly written and great to watch scenes in recent history. If Captain Jack Sparrow isn't one of movie's great characters, I don't know what the qualifications are.

I have the movie channel package on DirecTV so when I get a moment away from the books I can veg, not that Turner Classic Movies isn't my go to on a rainy Saturday morning.

Speaking of that, as far as old movies go forget Casablanca, which I do love don't get me wrong, but I also love Bogart in We're No Angels (1955), which on screen really looks so set piece fake you can feel two guys of screen drinking coffee under the sound boom. And Cary Grant is at his best in the woeful Operation Petticoat (1957) and the utterly hilarious and also horrible Arsenic and Old Lace. (1944) I shudder to think one day they'll remake the William Powell's thinly veiled ode to drinking, The Thin Man (1934) with somebody goofy, like David Spade.

Man I do love a good bad movie. I actually own most of these, but I do need to by that Burt Reynolds. I really do.

Now don't get me wrong, I can watch Ratatouille again and again, but that's actually a good film, so that doesn't count.

Barkeep, what do have that's so bad it circles back around the good?


Jill said...

I thought I was the only one in the world who thought that Heath Ledger didn't deserve that Oscar, it was a posthumous gimme. Any acting award that it takes three people just to pick it up means something went terribly awry. There are great little movies that get overlooked by the Academy because their studio doesn't have the big budget it takes these days to market a film for the award season and that's too bad. The film industry is sick and we will all suffer for it.

As it is so often said, they don't make 'em like they used to.

Jamaica My Way said...

Awwww I loooove the Princess Bride!! Another instant classic of mine is Tombstone.

Actually when I saw one of your post titles "Cowboys Give me Strength" I wondered if you meant REAL cowboys LOL.