Friday, July 25, 2008


AHG – The Alcohol-in-the-Movies Issue.

Okay, you’re right. A little alcohol talk seeps into most of these newsletters. This one is just going to be a little more saturated than the others. Why? Well, because the truth is that Al and I had no time to rent any movies at all, what with our hectic travel schedule.

First there was Seattle. On the plane out west, though, Al made me watch 27 Dresses. I told him it was a chick flick and I didn’t want to, but he was pretty insistent ‘cause he said he wanted to have somebody to discuss it with afterwards. So I did. It was pretty well as bad as you’d expect – with the exception of a charming scene where the couple gets drunk and sing "Benny and the Jets" and get all the lyrics wrong.

That, of course, advanced the plot, since they were so drunk that they got over their inhibitions and slept together. Fairly cheap trick, but a tried and true screenwriter’s fallback, which I noticed was the entire premise of What Happened in Vegas, the movie Al made me watch once we got to California. I don’t know what it is with him.

Now my friend – we’re going to call her “Danielle” – had seen it already but by total accident. And she said that since she’d had no expectations, it wasn’t that bad. Well, unfortunately, that raised my expectations to a level perhaps ever so slightly higher than they should have been.

It’s like somebody wanted to re-make Doris Day-Rock Hudson again. Now I’ll even admit to really liking Doris Day movies but I see no need whatsoever to make modern versions of them. And if we must remake them, can’t they just keep re-making them with Kate Hudson? ‘Cause I could just stare at her for ninety minutes thinking about how damn much she looks like her mother. But, really, if I just want to see that kind of thing, I’d actually rather just watch Lover Come Back, in which the happy couple gets together after eating VIP cookies – each
of which packs the wallop of three martinis.

The gag seemed a lot more original back then.

But I digress. After that, Al went to Edmonton but, I, funnily enough, was too busy to join him on that leg. No, really, I was. For one thing, I had to watch Auntie Mame again to prep for Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. What a great movie. It happens to fit in with something I’ve been wanting to write about – progressive 1950s movies versus reactionary 1960s movies. I’m not going to give you the whole list because then you all could go ahead and pitch this article somewhere but what I’ve noticed is that, while we call the 1950s
“candy floss,” the darkest, most progressive, most controversial films which contained biting social commentary were all produced in that era.

By contrast, in the really radical 1960s (which the boomers can’t shut up about), we have, well, Doris Day. Okay, you’re right – Annette Funicello did some stuff back then, too. And that muscle beach stuff was pretty poignant.

Anyhow, Auntie Mame was great. And the epic drinking going on during the film was great, too. Oh, and the epic drinking on-screen was amazing also. It all takes place during prohibition, though, so I wondered if it wasn’t something of an anachronism that people were drinking so much. Surely people didn’t drink during prohibition?

That reminds me. I did a seminar earlier that day and we were going to play a bit of The Untouchables as people walked in. It’s hard to find a video rental place in the French Quarter, though. So we didn’t. But
that would be another great booze movie to watch. Or Some Like it Hot. That’s always fun. Or any movie you can find with WC Fields in it.

Anyhow, we got home and, frankly, were a little cocktailed out. It was time to give my liver a rest and switch to wine. Fortunately, Al had the perfect movie to watch for our new, sedate life: The Secret of Santa Vittoria.

It was really pretty great. It started off a little goofy, but was an entirely entertaining story about wine and Italian bravery during WWII – not a story you hear very often!

So that’s your hidden gem for the month. (Or Auntie Mame, if you prefer.)

Al`s Corner

Okay, so first off, I don’t make the fabulous Christine watch anything. Mostly, I just make her laugh. Like when I fall asleep on the couch with my mouth open and she sticks a piece of food in there. She gets particularly hysterical when it’s a piece of food the cat had been playing with.

Two, I don’t remember that plane ride.

And, three, it wasn’t 27 Dresses but 25 Dresses and a Couple of
Mumus.

I can’t even type ‘mumu’ without thinking of Homer Simpson. And I
can’t tell you what I’m thinking when I see the name Annette
Funicello.

Best thing about Seattle: Downhill.
Best thing about Anaheim: I don’t live there.
Best thing about New Orleans: Air-conditioning.
Best thing about Edmonton: Again, that I don’t live there, but also
that I didn’t have to worry about falling asleep with my mouth open.