Filmstruck4: The Movies That Define Me

So the “Filmstruck 4” challenge of picking four movies that define you went around this week, and I spent a good amount of time trying to pick mine. (It is HARD) And I think I managed a pretty decent stack. It was tough to narrow down but I think I did it:

Sabrina (1954) – Directed by Billy Wilder

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When I think about Sabrina I get a dreamy look in my eye, and when I analyze the movie, it really gives me everything I’ve come to love in romantic comedy. The top shelf antics of the super rich, a transformation of a mousy girl into a gorgeous image of feminine perfection, (OK, this movie’s idea of “mousy” is Audrey Hepburn with a ponytail wearing a slightly ill fitting jumper, but you know, context!), family complication, and William Holden in a white dinner jacket.

It also kicked off my love affair with black and white films and Audrey Hepburn in particular, so that’s pretty important, plus it has my favorite dress in all of cinema history.

The Little Mermaid (1989) – Directed By Ron Clements & John Musker

The Little Mermaid

This was the first movie that I ever saw in a theater, remains my favorite Disney movie, and has some of my favorite Disney music. (Including the platonic ideal of an “I Want” song.) Every time I watch it, I’m reminded of my deep and abiding love for this flick.

The Princess Bride (1987) – Directed by Rob Reiner

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“Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles…”

So much of everything I am and do is defined by The Princess Bride. From taking fairytales seriously (but not too seriously!) to tongue in cheek camp humor, to Mandy Patinkin and Billy Crystal, plus countless familial inside jokes that revolve around seeing this movie far too many times, (we text one another when someone finds it on TV so that we can all find a television and watch it immediately. I never said this was healthy.)

Dogma (1999) – Directed by Kevin Smith

Dogma

Long before I accepted my destiny as a fangirl, I was a Kevin Smith superfan, and long before I accepted my own shades of grey relationship with Catholicism, Dogma at least got me asking questions about it. It’s also got my all time favorite Ben Affleck performance, (second only to Shakespeare In Love) and is probably the reason I’ve always considered him a character actor rather than a lead. I have a real love for Alan Rickman’s Metatron too, and actually it’s the character I think of first for him. (With apologies to Professor Snape and Mr. Gruber) I also think it’s Smith’s best directing work, (Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back is a close second.) and has my favorite Silent Bob lines. No monologues, simply, a gruff, “No Ticket,” after throwing Loki off a train and a simple “Thanks,” to God and Metatron after his and Jay’s commedation in the finale.

I could only pick four, which is why there is nary a Star War nor a Batman on this list.

Runners Up: Star Wars, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, Legally Blonde, West Side Story, Gone With The Wind, Batman Forever & The Sandlot

But This One Goes To Eleven

Movie Post Season Round 6:

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping inspires This Is Spinal Tap

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This Is Spinal Tap looms so large in comedy consciousness, in the careers of the men who made it (except maybe Rob Reiner, who I kind of forgot about in the equation), and of course in the mind of anyone who enjoyed the best comedy of 2016 Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, that I was a little nervous to sit down and watch it.

Spinal Tap started the comedy style of Christopher Guest, and his brilliant mockumentaries, and while I don’t think it’s the best of the genre, (WAITING FOR GUFFMAN!) being the first gets it some latitude.

However, the point of this review is mainly to compare it to Popstar, and in that vein, aside from being about the music business in all of it’s weirdness, is about something falling apart and then coming back together. The tensions of Spinal Tap are not identical to those of Connor4Real, but the end result is the same. The band is far less coddled, so their increasing reaction to the chaos provides a different sort of feel from Connor’s willful obliviousness.

As Spinal Tap’s gigs fall in prominence, and their guitarist quits and then returns, it’s not impossible to believe that this is a real band, which was, I think the point in making it. But to apply to much logic or linear storytelling to Spinal Tap would be a waste of energy, since anytime you started to get anywhere, one of the many genius gags would smack you in the face.

Whether it’s the fact that they can’t get an album cover they like approved, the classic, “but this goes to eleven” amp scene, or the tiny stone henge (which is my favorite). The main thing that I’d forgotten, or perhaps never noticed, about it, is that the band seems deeply aware of the fact that what’s going on around them is completely nuts, and their team seems to want to smooth it over. It’s a different takeaway than I anticipated (I’m fairly sure I haven’t watched this movie since middle school) and I kind of comedy that I’m always fond of.

While, as I said, it’s not my favorite for Guest, (Stool boom, stool boom…) nor Reiner, (The Princess Bride exists…and When Harry Met Sally…and A Few Good Men. My GOD that man has made some good movies…ooh, also Stand By Me!) it’s a solid beginning for two really great artists, so that’s something!