Wednesday, January 2, 2008

MOVIE REVIEWS: Four old movies I saw this week

My husband is an old movie buff.

I am not.

He likes movies that have an actual plot, where sometimes things blow up, where good wins over evil.

I like movies with Jennifer Lopez. If you ask me, "Shelley, what makes a good movie?" I will automatically answer, "Jennifer Lopez. If Jennifer Lopez is in the movie, it is good. Unless it is that horrible one she starred in with Ben Affleck. But even Jennifer Lopez is permitted one stinkerfilm.

He doesn't mind if movies are in black-and-white.

I do. Deeply.

This week, because of his birthday, I grudgingly told him that I would watch some old, black-and-white movies with him, so he spent a lot of time going through the programming, trying to find a few that wouldn't have me sneaking off to the kitchen to "get a drink of water," which in this instance means "going to the kitchen with my book hidden under my sweatshirt to sit at the table, read and eat cookies until he comes out to find me and gives me an accusing look."

He taped The Bells of St. Mary's, The Shaggy Dog, The Bishop's Wife and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. I thought I'd do a few brief reviews of these four from notes I took while watching. Otherwise, they might conceivably melt into one big, grey blur.

The Bells of St. Mary's -- Adorable movie, with Ingrid Bergman as Sister Benedicta and Bing Crosby as Father O'Malley. Snickered to self while watching, thinking that Bergman, in her desire to be alone, should have played the part of an anchorite, or at least a cloistered nun. Cannot get out of head that Bing Crosby, as jolly, gentle priest, was actually a mean drunk in real life. Find this creepy. Cannot believe the effrontery of smug doctor who thinks that Sister Benedicta, an adult with a mean uppercut, should not know that she has tuberculosis. Jerk. Ended well. If you're not worried about the idea of infectious lung disease being spread to all the schoolkids. Yikes.

The Shaggy Dog -- Annette Funicello was adorable, as I mentioned. So was the dog. Some of the scenes with the dog were actually very funny. Two big worries in this film: 1) What has happened to Robbie, Chip and Ernie? This cannot be right. Is Dad leading a double life as an allergic, grumpy fussbudget? My world is reeling. 2) Found it very difficult to get used to Fred MacMurrary as a grump. Anyone so handsome, with such a nice smile, should not be such a sourpuss. Maybe he's feeling guilty about leaving his three real sons with Uncle Charlie while he sneaks off for clandestine weekends as a "postman" with his wife and other kids. Want to cry.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington -- Graft, corruption and Karl Rove, is that you? Surely not, as Karl Rove and I are both Republicans and everyone knows that Repubicans don't lie, cheat or commit outrageous acts of self-serving cheaty-ness. At least, that's what Grandad told me. Feel very nervous about admitting this, but Jimmy Stewart kind of irritates me, him in his rubbery-faced aw-shucksness. Husband may demand that I sleep on couch tonight. This was a pretty good movie, although I kept wondering where Mr. Smith was peeing during his 23 hour filibuster. Maybe he passed out from dehydration or perhaps renal failure? Absolutely indignant at horrible ending to movie. Sure, it ended well, but it seems like about twenty minutes were left on the cutting room floor. Could we not have seen some retribution and restitution? And how about a wedding? AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THOSE BOYS THAT WERE RUN OFF THE ROAD? General opinion of living room is that Frank Capra dropped the ball and left it in the Lincoln Memorial or similar.

Extra: Living room amazed and had to do a re-wind to see the shot of the White House with no enormous iron fence in front of it. The whole place was just open, suburban-lawn style, as if you could just walk up to the door and ask the First Lady if you could borrow two eggs and a cup of sugar. Know, of course, that citizens used to be able to do such; what an innocent world. Also disturbed by the sight of ugly awnings over the windows on the distaff side of the White House. Must have made the rooms really gloomy. Glad someone had the sense to remove those.

The Bishop's Wife -- Wondered why, if divorce is allowed in Episcopal church, Mrs. Bishop didn't leave a note for His Reverence propped up against the sugar bowl and take off for Reno with Cary Grant? I mean, really. David Niven obviously has priorities screwed up; living room thinks he should marry that selfish old biddy that runs the parish after Reno divorce goes through. Wish self could wear sweet little hats and big, dramatic hats and hats with a cunning fur trim; would especially like to be wearing an attractive hat while being taken to lunch at Michele's by Cary Grant. Living room pleased to see Zuzu from It's a Wonderful Life in the role of Debbie, the Littlest Bishop. Do we have better fertilizers nowadays that grow real Christmas trees? Have never seen such ridiculous looking things, all scrawny branches and bare spots.

1 comment:

Susan said...

How we could have such a completely opposite view unless I'm missing on some sarcasm here...my opinion....ANY movie is better than ANY movie made with Jennifer Lopez in it. I simply won't see her in film. It's that simple.