My friend Kari and I were having a girl’s night at her cabin recently and she suggested that we watch “My Fair Lady,” which she had picked up somewhere. I clutched my hair in both hands (as I am wont to do when imparting deadly serious information,) and said, “Worst. Closing. Words. Ever!” We talked a bit about how famous that movie is and how wonderful it is supposed to be and although neither of us had ever seen the whole thing all the way through, I told her I thought it was a horrible movie with all kinds of bizarre misogynistic material in it, but very nice costumes. We decided to watch it. That sucker is three hours long, and indeed full of bizarre and unsatisfactory messages, side plots and outcomes. My favorite line was spoken by the mother of Professor Higgins when she meets him unexpectedly at Ascot and says, “Henry, what a disagreeable surprise!” followed by “Whatever are you doing here?” and “Go home at once!” Quite. She was the only character that made any sense at all. I was slightly off about the final line, I remembered it as “Eliza, fetch me my slippers!” which says everything you need to know about how that film ends, even if it isn’t accurate. The costuming was fabulous, the songs were classics, and we laughed throughout the movie, although sometimes with disbelief. Maybe it just doesn’t translate well to modern times? It was filmed in 1964. All I know is that I am sticking with “horrible.” What great classic or well-reviewed modern film have you seen that makes you want to tear your hair?
They’re blue, they live in a fantasy world, and they’re threatened with extermination. No, they’re not Smurfs; they’re the characters of James Cameron’s “Avatar”, my “movie most likely to make me tear my hair out and run screaming from the room.” I didn’t see it in the theater, mostly because what I saw on the trailer didn’t interest me enough to make me spend $15 to go, even if the popcorn is extra buttery and the soda icy cold. When I finally did see it, it was a borrowed DVD which we watched in the privacy of our living room so I could roll my eyes and say “Seriously?” without the person in the next seat elbowing me and telling me to shut up.
So what bugged me about this movie? It was torturously long, which a lot of James Cameron’s movies are. The characters were interesting only because of what they were not who they were. Despite some really fine actors in the group, some of the acting, well, stunk. And there was so much going on with the story that midway through the movie, I thought to myself, “You know, I don’t really care if they make it or not”. And that’s where they totally lost me.
Is James Cameron a genius when it comes to making movies? Well, really, he’s got a pretty impressive resume. And he made millions of people sit through a film that was over three hours long, all the while knowing that at the end the ship was going to sink and most of the people onboard were going to die. Will he get a Lifetime Achievement Award from the film industry someday? Probably, although I hope he has to wait until he’s 80 until he gets it. He’ll appreciate it more then.