Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Romantic Comedy #7 - Adam's Rib (1949)

Adam's Rib is frustrating to me. It's a Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn movie, so it should be fun. It should be charming. It should be funny. It is not. It's about women's rights and gender roles in marriages - They're a married couple of lawyers who take opposite sides of the same case - and it's not fun to watch. This movie is exhausting - I'm still not sure who they want us to agree with. Spencer Tracy is right about the law, but Katherine Hepburn is just doing her job as a lawyer. Of course she's going to try to win. I have a concerning suspicion that I disagree with the conclusions that this movie makes, which is never a good time.

It's not even funny, either. I don't remember any specific jokes from it at all. It was just this boring gray movie about an argument that I didn't want to see a movie about. This movie has not aged well for me: The issue is whether or not women should be treated equally under the law - they actually debate this - and whether the "Unwritten Rule," about being able to kill your spouse's lover, is just. These are not compelling issues for me here in 2012. The answers are yes and no. There, I solved it. I did not need to devote 90 minutes to that. And, on top of all this, the poster is the November page of my calender right now. Thanks calender, mock me why don't you?

Cool fact about it, though: The woman who wrote the script played Maude in Harold and Maude. So there's that I guess.

Romantic Comedy #8 - Moonstruck (1987)

Moonstruck is, so far, the surprise hit of the genre. I really didn't think I was going to like it for whatever reason, and I was all prepared for a disappointment, but in the end it was really enjoyable.

If there's one thing that'll ruin a romance for me, it's soppiness, and things like Sleepless and Seattle are soppy. Moonstruck isn't soppy. It still discusses love and magic, there's a big moon motif and a man who roams the streets of New York with five dogs, and it has a soundtrack of classic Italian music. It should feel silly and schmaltzy, but it doesn't. It feels very unembellished and real, and sweet.

The best thing about this movie to me is probably the women in it. They're played by Cher and Olympia Dukakis, and they're so matter-of-fact and practical, but they also care about romance. It's just wonderful, I loved it so much. Nicholas Cage is there too, and he's...crazy, mostly, but that works out just fine.

This is just my kind of romantic comedy. It's still romantic, but in a very practical way. It's been my favorite movie in the genre so far.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Romantic Comedy #9 - Harold and Maude (1971)

If there's one thing I can say for the 70's, it's this: Their dramas are as boring as paint, but they do churn out some pretty good dry comedies. And if there's one thing that I'm pretty sure I like, it's a dry comedy.

Pretty sure is, of course, the key phrase here. I'm just not totally certain about how I feel about this movie. There are lots of things that I love about it, and a lot of things I could do without. It comes down to this - I love the Harold parts, and am a little shaky about the Maude parts.

Harold is great. It's quirky and dark and stylized. Bud Cort is built like a Tim Burton character - I'm obsessed with how long his legs are. I love his mother's reaction and all of his dates. All of the sections with Harold are great dry comedy, and I really like them because I love the mood and the visuals and the cars.

The Maude parts are just too late sixties to me. They're all spiritual and flowery and against the man. There's just one to many montages of them driving through fields for me. It's boring and sugary in a hippie way. I do not like Maude.

Ultimately, though, I like this movie. The romance is interesting, and I like the dark quirkiness of it. It's just that to me it's a little too hippie-esque. I don't need to see anyone rage against the man. That's silly.