January 23, 2007

41 and Counting

The first post on my "favorite movies" meme can be located here; that post focuses on Sci-Fi and War movies. This is my second installment on a third category, with two more categories to go, insha'allah:

Comedy/Romantic Comedy
Overall, I’m not a big fan of comedies. There are very few of them that I really enjoy, although I do have a few favorites. One is “What’s Up, Doc?” the 1972 screwball comedy with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O’Neil, which is actually an updated version of another of my favorites, “Bringing Up Baby” (1938), with Cary Grant and a completely ditzy Katherine Hepburn. (I know, oxymoron time – ditzy/Hepburn – but what can I say? She was in that movie.) I also loved Madeline Kahn in “What’s Up, Doc?” There are some characters that are so abrasive (in a good way) that they can magically transform a good movie into something really special. Crispin Glover did it with his “George McFly” character in “Back to the Future;” Madeline Kahn did it with her “Eunice Burns” in “What’s Up, Doc?”

Another great comedy with Cary Grant is “Arsenic & Old Lace” (one of Milady’s favorites). And I’m also rather partial to “Operation Petticoat” (with Grant, Tony Curtis, and a very young knockout by the name of Marion Ross – yeah, “Richie Cunningham’s” mother on “Happy Days”), although I’m not including this movie as one of my absolute favorites.

Two other comedies on my list are “Young Frankenstein,” the Mel Brooks’ comedy with Gene Wilder, Teri Garr, Marty Feldman and the recently departed Peter Boyle. “Frau Blucher!” :) (Actually, there are several people in both “What’s Up, Doc?” and “Young Frankenstein” that made both movies terrific, including Madeline Kahn, Liam Dunn and Kenneth Mars.) In recent years, the best comedy I’ve seen is “Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain,” aka “Amélie.” That’s a cute movie and while it’s something of a romantic comedy, I think of it more as a regular comedy.

Speaking of which, I’d much rather watch a romantic comedy now than a regular comedy. While I’ve enjoyed Nora Ephron’s various romantic comedies (“When Harry Met Sally…”, “Sleepless in Seattle”), I like “You’ve Got Mail” the best. Another great but underrated romantic comedy is “Strictly Ballroom.” (Milady groans yet again.) This Australian movie has a really tight plot and it’s got a wonderful soundtrack, being heavy on Latin music. “A life lived in fear is a life half-lived!” Last on my list for romantic comedies is the old (1952) John Wayne movie, “The Quiet Man.” Just like I like to watch “Young Frankenstein” every Halloween if I can, “The Quiet Man” often comes out every St. Patrick’s Day. For this movie they seemed to have picked up every character actor in Ireland at the time of filming, which made it into a wonderful ensemble picture.

Ooooh, speaking of ensemble movies (yes, I’ve just added another movie to my list), “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” While the movie is a little uneven in places, I really enjoy this film. It was a great boost for the careers of Hugh Grant, John Hannah and Kristin Scott Thomas. I also loved Simon Callow’s performance. Sadly, Charlotte Coleman, who played “Scarlett” in the movie, died a few years ago from an asthma attack. From Allah (swt) do we come, and unto Allah (swt) do we return.

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