Post holiday cheer … in round, flat form
“It’s … the … most de-press-ing time of the year!” That’s my own personal song for post-holidays, cold and dark January. Following, in alphabetical order, are some of my favorite movie antidepressants. They are available on DVD, and a lot better for me than medication.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006): A movie about true family values. In their breaking-down Volkswagen bus, a family—mom, dad, brother, uncle, and grandfather—race to get little Olive to the pageant she’s dreamed about entering. Grandpa’s a drug addict, the uncle is recovering from a suicide attempt, the brother has taken a vow of silence and “hates everyone,” dad is a business failure, and mom is trying to hold everything together. Putting aside their differences and problems, the Hoover family is one to be admired, envied, and treasured, viewing after viewing. (And as good as Alan Arkin is, I would’ve given the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor to Steve Carell. His eyes show depths of heartache I almost can’t look into.)
Love Me Tonight (1932): a tailor, mistaken for a Baron, falls in love with an unhappy princess. Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald sing Rodgers and Hart classics, including Lover and Isn’t It Romantic. Filled with humor, sexiness (man-crazy Myrna Loy sparkles), and imaginative touches—a tune started by Chevalier is picked up by a customer in his shop, and transferred to cabbie, to marching soldiers, to gypsies, to MacDonald’s castle balcony, tying them together before they’ve even met—this is a delightful film.
My Man Godfrey (1936): Thin Man series star William Powell isn’t as well known as he should be. I think he’s one of the best actors from the 1930s. Here he co-stars with real-life ex-wife Carole Lombard in a comedy with very serious, remarkably timely, undertones. The plot involves the haves and the have-nots, due to the depression. Powell’s Godfrey lives in a garbage dump, until he’s picked up as a ‘forgotten man’ for a scavenger hunt. Hired as a butler by rich socialites, insanity ensues. Yes it’s a screwball comedy, but the idea that “the only difference between a derelict and a man is a job” is anything but funny.
Soapdish (1991): Just this side of over-the-top, Sally Field and Kevin Kline manage to be real as they portray soap opera stars who hate/love each other. Co-starring Robert Downey Jr, Whoopi Goldberg, and Garry Marshall as the producer of The Sun Also Sets, eager for ratings no matter what. He calls his leading actress “a bad-news buffet” and when someone says she’s unstable, he points out, “Unstable? I’m stable. Who wants to watch me on television?”… or in movies! So, which movies pull you out of your doldrums?
Holly Caster has lived in Nyack with her playwright husband, two kids, and two cats for over 10 years. She is by trade a writer and by nature a fan of theater, movies, books, history, & art.