Now that the country will be saved or destroyed by the new president, we can get on to more important stuff. Like sitting around and watching a movie. Since I’m an expert, here is a short list. I’ll give you all a chance to work through this and if the winter seems too long I’ll add some more later. Let me know if you have anything to say on these.
Long Winter Nights
As stated in this space before, I dreamt of a career as a movie director. Despite having learned to call them films instead of movies, I never had the ambition to get a start in that direction. It was the art, not the business that interested me. The art still fascinates me, and Dawn and I watch a lot of movies. We get them through a Netflix DVD plan. The streaming plan is too limited in selection for a movie nut like me.
Like any good enthusiast, I’d like to share some movies we’ve enjoyed so you folks can have something to do while escaping the cold weather.
Two dimensional war makes more sense than the real thing so I really enjoy a good war movie. And if it is a little deeper than good guy versus bad guy and death and destruction, Dawn and I can enjoy war together. “Winter in Wartime” (2008, R for language) is about a teenage boy in Holland who aids an RAF pilot shot down in WWII. Occupied Europe was a place where it was hard to tell collaborators from friends. One is safe during the occupation but vulnerable when the invaders are defeated. It is Dutch with English subtitles, so nineteen percent of high school graduates should skip this one. But if you can read, don’t let the subtitles deter you. Europeans naturally have a more nuanced view of war and we should pay attention.
When our son Karl was born, I called my dad and said we named him after The Marx Brothers. “Winter in Wartime” was as serious and thought provoking as this next one is hilarious. Diversity has become an end in itself and this list won’t need to move on after this next movie. The Marx Brothers’ “A Night at the Opera” (1935) didn’t need a rating. The Marx Brothers didn’t need to compensate for a lack of imagination with foul language, sex, or violence. If you don’t laugh all the way through this one, the coroner is on his way. The country was a third of the way through FDR’s Great Depression and needed this medicine badly.
Another great movie from the Depression era is “Tarzan and his Mate” (1934). This one is not rated. It is partially responsible for the advent of movie ratings, however. The violence is shocking and the partial nudity is artful and beautiful. The violence part is where I would advise parents to be careful with young children. The technology is ancient and amazing for its day. The story is timeless and captivating. Sensitive university students and professors better steer clear.
When I was a little kid I lived within a good bike ride of Will Rogers State Park. We used to ride up there and watch the millionaires play polo. This next movie is “Judge Priest” (1934, not rated) who is played by Will Rogers. You better see this one quick. The movie is extremely politically incorrect, full of cliches and reserved for those who have a sense of humor. The music is fantastic; the plot complex. The tendency of our society toward being easily offended has poisoned us with cultural handcuffs. Get together with a diverse group and set yourselves free.
Dawn spends a lot of time bringing joy to nursing home residents so this next one was particularly dear to us. Be warned, more subtitles. This is a Swedish movie with seven languages. “The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared” (2015 R, some violence) is an adventure that is just fun. Allan doesn’t much like sitting in the nursing home so he leaves. The staff brings in his cake with 100 candles and found him gone. There’s even some computer generated content for the younger set.
I hope these films (see, I’ve become an elitist) help pass the cold nights a little faster as we head toward spring.