Friday, August 17, 2012

Shocked and horrified, disturbed, and pleasantly surprised

I'm really picky with the movies we bring into the house, so needless to say, when I bought "Top Gun" a few years ago and watched it for the first time I was appalled by the language (which was standard for most 80s flicks) and wasn't too impressed with the volley ball scene all my girl friends in college talked about.

Maybe I'm just not enough of a Tom Cruise fan. Or a lame movie fan...I don't know.

Anyway, I thought I would spend some time today reviewing some movies I have watched in the last little while, because I am bored, and maybe my thoughts will be amusing, if not useful, to you.

First let's travel back in time, oh, let's say, a little over a decade ago. One of my friends got me all in a whirly about "Pillow Talk," and I watched it, laughing in my naievete at what was before me, not really understanding what was really going on, and I kept a special place in my heart for Doris Day (and Rock Hudson...), which led me to "That Touch of Mink," and, because of  Cary Grant's superb acting, "Charade." 

So, because I'm a hopeless romantic, and because Jeremy grew up with like films, I bought a Doris Day collection of movies for our anniversary. 

One night, after much convincing on my part, we sat down and popped in "Pillow Talk." 

My bright, innocent smile quickly turned into a contorted look of shock and disgust when I realized what my 18-year-old mind had failed to grasp.

What was this film rated, for heaven's sake!? 

I looked on the box, and it said something deceiving like "PG." At the top of the box was one of those witty tag lines that summed up the movie in a tidy way, and it ended with the word, "Sexcapade."

Is that even a word? And they used that word in the 50s and 60s?

All my preconceived notions that Hollywood had any sort of decency or dignity back then went out the window.

We came away from "Pillow Talk" slightly shocked and horrified. And then decided that maybe the other two movies in the set might prove a little less risque. 


The only redeeming quality was that Rock Hudson was nice to look at (for me anyway...I couldn't speak for Jeremy), but even that was marred with how utterly annoying Doris Day was in every single film. She didn't change from film to film. She just changed her clothes. And her hair. And got more wrinkly. And changed the pitch at which she screetched "sex" at her co-stars (I have never heard anybody say "sex" more than she did in "Pillow Talk." It makes one blush...)

My newly enlightened mind flashed back to "That Touch of Mink," and again, it was another same ol' same ol' "sexcapade" and I felt ashamed for Cary Grant (not that his career was all that unblemished...I'll not talk about the Cary Grant set I bought at Costco...let's just say Jeremy and I were very disturbed after the brief, vile film "Born to be Bad."), and was glad that none of that shenanigans blemished "Charade." 

This whole thing made me think of something someone told me years ago. There was a film, I don't recall what it was called, that addressed what happened in films when the starry-eyed lovers' embrace faded from the audience's view. Did they *cough* do something naughty? No! Of course not! They played pinochle! 

It's a nice thought. I wish I could have inserted that idea into the Doris Day movies, but alas, they made it no question what they were doing, or planning on doing...

I could, however, use the pinochle analogy for "North by Northwest," which, thank heaven, didn't use the word "sex" or, heaven forbid, "sexcapade." They just alluded a lot to what may or may not have happened in the sleeper car, and I decided that, given the context, maybe they didn't play pinochle, but a wicked game of Twister, and left it at that. 

Leap ahead to a few weeks ago.

We had gone to Wal-mart and found a whole bunch of movies in the $5 bin. Most I had seen, some I had not, one of which was "No Reservations."

I had avoided this film, because of some nebulous moral reason, which I can't recall now, but after looking at the rating (PG-13 for some strong language and sensuality), decided, hey, it was $5...worse comes to worst, I could always dump it off at DI or sell it on Barnes and Noble for a buck. 

We came home and popped it in and I had my head cocked warily waiting for something bad to happen. 

I was pleasantly surprised! It actually had a deep and complex story line, full of growth for the characters. It was clean. There could have been a pinochle scene, but they shied away from it, and the most you saw was some lip mashing. The brief strong language was indeed brief, and it comprised of someone in a walk in freezer quoting from a script at the top of her lungs. 

Breath of fresh air, that one. Not perfect, but at least it had some dignity. 

Fast forward to yesterday.

We decided to rent a movie, and since there wasn't much at Redbox, we decided to check out "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen." The previews had looked promising, so we thought it worth a shot.

It was a great movie. Just great. Inspiring, and pleasant, and, and, and...*spoilers ahead*

And it had a no-questions about it sex scene. wasn't gratuitous. It was mostly sad. They were trying to illustrate the relationship between the main character, Fred, and his unsupportive, distant, selfish wife. 

The other main character, Harriet, has a pinochle scene, with nothing more than lip mashing shared with the audience. 

The movie had a great message of having faith that things will work out, a message that Fred doesn't like, since he claims he isn't religious. The Sheikh wisely addresses this issue with Fred, and helps him see that there is more to Fred's then-dormant faith than he thinks. I really liked the Sheikh. He was awesome.

Anyway, the whole story is about Fred and Harriet helping the Sheikh get some 10,000 salmon to the Yemen, and along the way, Fred develops feelings (you know, the protective, genuine friendship type that often leads to love) for Harriet, albeit, I don't think he even realized he had. It was his wife, oddly, who spawned the idea in him (see what I did there?), in a nasty confrontational spat that she instigated. You get the idea that the thought never even crossed his mind to "do" anything about his feelings for Harriet. Fred subsequently leaves his wife, probably due to how mean she is to him, and maybe a little because of Harriet, somewhat at a loss of what to do next. 

The story is complex, and sweet, with a lot of thought provoking ideas. It made me feel like I need to be doing more with my life than just sitting at the computer, but that I should go out and DO something for the world.

That being said...

What bothered me was I was rooting for Fred and Harriet. Fred was M A R R I E D. 

And what bothered me was that I wasn't bothered that they end up together.

It left me disturbed at my own undistrubedness. 

I don't know. Maybe I'm over-analyzing it. 

Anyway...Take my reviews for what you will. I felt the need to write this since I was up at 3 AM and my brain was all fired up about whatever brains get fired up at at 3 AM for. It's a mystery to me. 


Trillium said...

I watched a lot of Doris Day movies way back when (before I was married). And since I had no imagination, what happened after the scene faded to black never occurred to me. I just thought Doris was cute. And her leading men were cute because they were smitten with her cuteness. As for "sexcapades" that is not a word in vogue in the 50s and 60s. That is a marketing tool for today's market.

Trillium said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Les said...

"Pillow Talk" was a movie I owned a long time ago. I then listened to a talk by Sheri Dew about "cleaning out the closets" of anything that might be questionable, the first movie that I decided to "clean out" was "Pillow Talk". I think I also got rid of another Doris Day flick but I don't remember its title. I have always thought she was cute and spunky, yet it does make me sad to think how scandalous some of her movies are.

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