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Wednesday, January 05, 2005

The New Christmas Tradition: I Watch Weird Films With My Father

I don't like old films.

There, I said it.

I'm sometimes made to feel ashamed of this prejudice but I'm just gonna tell the truth: I just can't be doing with films made before I was born.

I have to admit that this opinion isn't really based on a thorough examination of old films. I think the only very old film I've managed to watch all the way through is Casablanca. Hated it.

Over the past couple of years, though, I have started a strange Christmas tradition in light of my hatred of old films. I've watched 'em. With my Pop.

Last year, it was 2001: A Space Odyssey. It's my Dad favourite film of all time.

I've never taken drugs, but 2001 is what I imagine the experience must be like.

This year, it was The Producers. Now, I was quite keen to watch this one. Jewish comedy, and we all know my fascination with all things Jewish. Plus it stars Willy Wonka.

Here's the problem: I can't get used to the different tone and delivery of older films. Quite often, I'd only realise a line was funny a while after it had been delivered. I always felt like I was playing catchup. But Springtime for Hitler was hilarious. And was going round in my head for days afterwards. Fortunately, I managed to stop myself from singing it outloud. I'm not sure bystanders in my home would have understood the satire.

So anyone out there have a suggestion of the next old film I should watch with my Dad?


  • At 11:10 AM, Blogger Fizzwhizz said…

    The number-one Watch With Your Dad film has got to be "The Deer Hunter". It's beautiful and very moving in a chaps's-gotta-do-what-a-chap's-gotta-do kinda way. It's my dad's favourite film. He gets all choked up every time it's on, and believe me he's not the kind of man to have emotional outbursts.

    If you can sit through "2001" (I couldn't - and let me tell you, I've taken a lot of drugs, and they're hell of a lot more enjoyable than "2001:A Space Odyssey" even if it has got Leonard Rossiter in it) then you obviously like films that look good and are short on dialogue, so you could try the classic westerns. "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" has a surprisingly gripping storyline and no jokes (although there is a comedy foreigner) so you won't have to worry about missing them.
    Laurel and Hardy are a good bet for watching with parents as well. Good clean fun of the wife-chasing-you-with-frying-pan variety, and the jokes are so predictable there's no way you can miss them (look! Hardy is banging a nail into a wall, and Laurel is leaning against the other side - I wonder if he might go right through and accidentally hammer the nail into Laurel's bum? that kind of thing). But surprisingly funny all the same.
    You could also try "The Seven-Year Itch" - it's really funny and is basically a stage play made into a movie; it's as close to a modern-day US TV sitcom as you're gonna get and I know you like those. It's kind of like Frasier (Sundried will probably take out a contract on me for saying that but I'm trying to make it accessible to a modern-day audience here) in its whole set-up of man-gets-into-impossibly-awkward-situations-with-improbably-beautiful-woman.
    Or "Harvey" (another play made into a movie): James Stewart is kind of Chevy Chase-ish as a man who can see a giant rabbit that no one else can; or any Alfred Hitchcock (again, no jokes, so you can't miss em)- "Psycho" and "the Birds" are still quite unnerving.

    If you're looking for something to watch on your own rather than with your dad, you could also try other Monroe comedies because they tend to be either of the "here comes a joke....we're going crack a joke now...here it comes....whoops there it was, didja catch it?" variety or else just non-stop slapstick so you can't miss the funny parts coz it's all funny. Try "Some Like It Hot" (Tootsie, but with Jack "I taught Jim Carrey everything he knows" Lemmon instead of Dustin Hoffman) or "How to Marry a Millionaire" (Sex and the City without explicit sex) or "Gentleman Prefer Blondes" (fabulous clothes, fabulous jewels and a completely extraneous but very enjoyable appearance by a bunch of half-dressed male gymnasts - blow me down, it's Sex and the City again). Skip "Bus Stop", though, it's dull as hell.
    I agree that "Casablanca" is over-rated. It's pretty good, but it only wins those "best film of all time" polls because it's the only old film most people have watched.

  • At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, thank you for all the suggestion, Fizzwhizz... I may just give some of those a try... Maybe, with a little practice, I could get over the old film problem - you never know.


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