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Tuesday , December 14, 2010
nogoodforme Superlatives: Favorite Comfort Movies
IN TIMES OF HARDSHIP, ALL KAT WANTS IS CUTE JAPANESE ANIMATION AND/OR 18TH CENTURY FRENCH BONBONS
When I turn to films for comfort, it's usually because I've been done wrong by a dude or I'm doing wrong to one and can't help it, so I AVOID AVOID AVOID anything with anything romantic at its center, no matter how comedic or dramatic. I want nothing more than to reinforce a worldview in which love and romance do not exist or are not central concerns of existence. Usually this means either violent action thrillers or animated children's films -- both offer stories in which the turning points revolve around anything but two people meeting cute and making out and making good in the sweepstakes of love. But while I feel like a marathon viewing of the entire Terminator series is sometimes a very worthwhile endeavor (and I think the first Terminator film is one of the most genius B-movies ever made), usually I opt for the charm and innocence of children's films, particularly the ones by the genuinely great Hayao Miyazaki. Who doesn't want to look at adorable, cute Japanese cartoon characters, like a giant cat that turns into a bus or little tree spirits? While I love all the Disney and Pixar classics, Miyazaki's films have such a deep connection to nature and a certain spirituality that it feels like a true balm to a battered spirit to watch them. Even the love stories in Miyazaki films are rooted in the emotions of affection and warmth instead of passion -- the real passion in Miyazaki is for something larger than what exists between two people, whether it's the richly byzantine spirit world (Spirited Away), the alchelmy of self-reliance (Howl's Moving Castle) or the greatness of trees (My Neighbor Totoro). I can't think of anything more comforting sometimes than that kind of perspective-shifting, the ability to reframe "issues" into something bigger than our own sometimes myopic contexts.
BELOW: The opening credits for his totes charming My Neighbor Totoro
There are times, though, when you want the cinematic equivalent of Jalouse, bedroom slippers, champagne and silk pajamas. There is really only one film that fits this bill, and it is Marie Antoinette. I don't pretend Marie Antoinette is a great or even a good movie, but as pure eye and ear candy, it's unparalleled. The story is slight enough that you can paint your nails or clean your room or make collages while it's on, and it's pretty enough to stimulate your appetite for sweets and pastries. It's perfect for those times in life when you want to reify the comforting tropes of girliness into a femininity so monumental that love and romance become only the backdrop opportunities to celebrate your womanitude, instead of being the whole enchilada of existence. It's like escaping into a weird girlfest fantasia, like getting together with your girlfriends over cocktails -- only you don't have to talk about boring boys all the time. You don't have to do anything but lie in bed and watch movies on your laptop computer and forget the beautiful mess you're in.
ALL-TIME TOP FIVE REASONS WHY BUYING A $3 VHS COPY OF SO I MARRIED AN AXE MURDERER IS THE 87th SMARTEST THING LIZ HAS EVER DONE IN HER ENTIRE LIFE
1. LIKE CHARLIE, I'M IN DEEP SMIT WITH HARRIET, that "hard-hearted harbinger of haggis" of the titular role. It's so cool that she's a butcher! It's so cute when she dresses up like a milkmaid! I want to be her, only without all the murdering. Also I get really jealous during the scenes when Mike Myers is working the meat slicer, as slicing deli meat is by far the most grossly awesome fun I ever had at my super-sucky dining-hall work-study gig sophomore year of college. Peeling the shells off eggs at the salad-prep station kind of ruled too, actually.
2. PHIL HARTMAN'S CAMEO AS VICKI, the scary Alcatraz tour guide. And Steven Wright's cameo too! And Alan Arkin as the oppressively nice police chief. Why has Alan Arkin looked the same age for like 30 years?
3. THE BUBBLE BATH SCENE, especially when Mike Myers speaks into the nozzle like it's an intercom and says "Could you bring the car around? Thank you so much" in a stuffy British accent. One time in college my friend performed a little reenactment of that bit for my voice-mail greeting and I only kept it for about a week but it was pretty fantastic.
4. EVERY "ONLY YOU"-RELATED JOKE IN THE WHOLE MOVIE. My fave is when Mike Myers says: "We haven't reached that all-too-crucial 'Do you know the words to "Only You"?' phase in our relationship," or whatever. And it's so sweet when Harriet serenades Charlie at their wedding reception - which, by the way, seems like it was a damn good party. I'd take backyard bagpipers doing "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy" over some mega-pretentious, over-the-top, Rachel Getting Married-esque world-music spectacular any day.
5. HARRIET AND CHARLIE'S RELATIONSHIP IS KIND OF MY DREAM RELATIONSHIP. Their first date is so perfect! I hope my next first date involves walking around eating hot dogs and then heading home for a warm cup of Cubby Wubby Womb Room tea. I'd probably wear my hair exactly like Harriet's, and maybe even the same dress too. Although if the dude started doing fake ballet moves I'd probably be all "Ewww - please stop." But other than that, it's just golden. Watch!
IF MR. HOLLAND WAS MY MUSIC TEACHER, I'D PROBABLY SKIP HIS CLASS
ABOVE: The Douchebag of the Century conducting his Doofusy Orchestra of Lameness
I hate pretty much every single thing about Mr. Holland's Opus, except for 1) the spry gym teacher character, and 2) the experience of watching Mr. Holland's Opus. Mr. Holland's Opus seems to be on television more than any other movie ever made, except maybe The Breakfast Club. And if Mr. Holland's Opus is on TV; y'all better believe I'm watching that shit. And I'm not just saying "shit" in a slang-y way. As I'm sure you've already figured out on your own- Mr. Holland's Opus is a piece of shit. Glen Holland is one of the most unlikable anti-heroes in the entire history of cinema. For one thing, his name is "Glen"- barf!* For a billion others: he's a deadbeat dad, has a creepy affair with his student, named his son "Coltrane", is a failure, tells Zoe from Cybill to "Play the sunset", which is corny, and has an unsubstantiated superiority complex. Fuck that. I'm glad you failed at life, Glen Holland.
The grass is always greener on the other side (of twenty years old). What I wouldn't give for just one more Sunday afternoon at my parents' house: sixteen, lying on the couch, secretly hungover and absolutely filthington, watching MH'sO while rocking a hair-dye stained t-shirt and my panda bear jammer pants (I had to throw them out cuz they were stained with period blood and I got a boyfriend) and emotionally eating crappy My Parents' House food like cottage cheese with pineapple chunks, caffeine-free Diet Coke, and microwavable mini-pizzas. I'd be petting Niblet, the sweetest, coolest, awesome-est miniature apricot poodle in the entire history of all recorded history. He was such a good boy!!! RIP, Nibs. (Laura Jane)
*Sorry to everybody who is reading this and is named Glen. I'm sure you're awesome.
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