“And she’s hooked to the silver screen, But the film is a saddening bore For she’s lived it 10 times or more.”
— David Bowie
We’ve all made sacrifices — large and small — during this pandemic. Some of those sacrifices are worthy of adjectives like brave, heroic, unselfish, life-changing and the like. Others maybe lesser adjectives — like meh, big deal, so-so, mediocre — and most just a matter of doing without something that you really like, “sacrifices” that fit more in the annoyance category.
Me, I really miss movies.
I know, I know. With all the TV movie channels available now, and even more online service providers that I have no idea how to order, you can watch movies pretty much 24 hours a day. But even with those monster home entertainment systems that some people can afford, I don’t agree that they match the thrill of seeing a movie in a theater with that huge, larger-than-life screen. And I damned sure don’t want to watch an action movie on a 10-inch computer screen or, horrors, on a 2-inch cellphone screen.
(A side note: Yes, going to a theater now includes spending $15 or so for tickets, $20 or more for a box of popcorn, $15 for a Coke and $12 for a candy bar ... and, yes, you have to deal with unchaperoned teenagers and tweens who make smart remarks during the movie ... and, yes, you have to put up with people talking on their damned cellphones ... and, yes, you have to try and keep from jumping over your seat to duke it our with that jerk behind you who keeps kicking the back of your chair. Still, I’d much rather be in the theater ... that’s just me.)
While it would be easy to fill up this space — actually this whole page — with witty dialog, memorable scenes and mesmerizing individual performances that make movies so much fun, since we’re still living in the time of COVID, I thought I’d go in the opposite direction. Following are some things about movies that drive me nuts ... but not enough to make me want to quit watching:
♦ Who shot who? In that famous final scene in “Reservoir Dogs,” I could never figure out who ended up shooting whom. Joe had his gun aimed at Mr. Orange, the undercover cop who’d infiltrated his crew, Mr. White had his gun aimed at Joe, and Joe’s son (Chris Penn, whose slobbering/drooling when he talks angry deserves a category all its own) had his gun aimed at Mr. White. When the shooting ends, Joe and his son are dead, and Mr. White is left cradling Mr. Orange, who was shot in the gut during the robbery at the first of the movie but was amazingly still alive.
I’ve watched that scene a few dozen times, in slow motion and everything, but I still don’t know who shot whom.
♦ Who decided that Maggie’s atrocious accent in “Caddyshack” — one of the greatest “Guy Movies” ever — was anything but annoying? When she says, ‘Noe ya dawn’t,” I crack up every time. (By the way, I think she’s supposed to be Scottish, but ... ummmm ... no.)
♦ You say Meryl Streep is the greatest actress ever because she always gets Oscar nominations? I have two words for you: “She Devil.” The worst movie ever ... wait a minute, it’s hard to hand out that title without throwing “Caddyshack II” and “The English Patient” into the mix. Still, except for “The Deer Hunter” — which is not really about hunting deer and is great because of Robert De Niro and Christopher Walken, definitely not Meryl Streep — if the queen of modern American cinema is in a movie, I generally am not interested in it.
♦ Being suckered in by ads promoting the “riveting performance of George Clooney” in “Solaris” and finding out it’s almost as bad as “She Devil.”
♦ The on-screen chemistry of those acting dynamos Ian Ziering and Tara Reid in the “Sharknado” series of movies, which takes camp beyond irony to just plain stupid.
♦ The creepy “love scenes” between Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman when they were actually a real-life married couple in the movie “Eyes Wide Shut.” I’ve seen more chemistry between Hatfields and McCoys.
♦ Really bad remakes ... Adam Sandler taking on Burt Reynolds’ roll as football star Paul “Wrecking” Crew in “The Longest Yard,” for instance? Talk about suspension of disbelief.
♦ When people from other areas of celebrity try their hand at acting ... to horrible effect: i.e. Shaquille O’Neal, Howie Long, Bob Dylan (say it ain’t so, Bob), Terry Bradshaw, Jesse Ventura. You’ve got one, stick with your day job.
♦ Movies based on old TV shows, TV skits, other media — especially videogames — that never should have been made: i.e. “Coneheads,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Pat,” “A Night at the Roxbury,” “Miami Vice,” “McGruber,” “Starsky & Hutch,” “Tron,” “Battleship,” “Tour of Duty,” “Dragnet,” or “Tomb Raider” anyone?
Even with such horrors on display in high-def and with teeth-rattling acoustics, let’s cut down on our social contact and wear masks so we can get those theaters open again. First round of popcorn’s on me.