Monday, August 14, 2006
The beautiful escape
All my life, I've been a movie buff, and I've found, through the years and some of the hardest times, there's nothing like a great movie to temporarily take you out of yourself. Movies truly are magical in how they can take you away; transport you to another reality, and for just a little while, take your mind off all your cares. There have been times when I've walked out of the theater completely transformed from how I felt when I walked in. The power of a good comedy, a good story, a great romance -- I love everything about the cinema, including the popcorn.
I don't watch much television, but about a week ago, when I tuned in to hear about the news in the Middle East, and also record a Sesame Street episode, I managed to wander over to the Turner Classic Movies station, and "Cleopatra" was on, with the stunning Elizabeth Taylor, and Richard Burton. I'd never seen it before, and I always thought it was supposed to be a campy extravagance, yet I didn't find it to be silly at all. I enjoyed the drama and pageantry.
The next day, I felt I was on to something -- and I was! I turned on TCM and -- what luck -- "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" was just starting. Now this, I've seen, but really had not revisited since I was a kid (myself). The minute the titles started rolling and the music played, I was transported back to my life in the '70s.
I remember my dad singing, "Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head," and although I was a young girl, I can remember the impact this film had on popular culture. Seen from my perspective now, I can really appreciate the charm, beauty, and acting of Paul Newman & Robert Redford, and the wonder of the movie and why it was such a success -- I can fully understand just what the hoopla was all about. Great film.
Part of my family lore is that, when I was about 9 years of age, I fell ill, and while I was in bed at home, I happened to catch, "This Property is Condemned" with the enchanting Natalie Wood and Robert Redford. The problem for me was that the movie was shown in two parts, so although I was feeling perfectly fine & recovered by the end of day one, I feigned illness on Day 2 so I could watch the conclusion! My Mom was on to me, and we laughed about that forever in the years to follow. It was our inside joke. If I were down with a cold or flu, she laughed and asked, "Lisa, is Natalie on?"
I have no qualms about going to the movies alone, and once when the boys were driving me up the wall, I arranged for a break and although I had no plan, I ended up at the local art house, watching, "In America." The combination of the story and my post-partum hormones had me sobbing into my tissues in the dark, just trying to maintain slightly so that the folks around me didn't call management and have me carted away. It was so sad! But what a wonderful story!
Lately I get easily distracted and I hardly have the concentration to read, nor do I even make time to watch my pre-selected dvds from Netflix. So I'm very happy to have stumbled upon TCM in these recent days. Yesterday, "The Bad News Bears" came on, and I was riveted. When I was a kid, I played on the worst softball team in our community league.
Our West Oakland Bank team was worse than the North Valley Bears, and as a girl I remember seeing this movie and relating to the kids' total defeat. Yesterday, I just laughed my ass off at the field scenes, and realized what a great actor Walter Matthau was.
When a movie comes on that is the right story for you at the right moment, it's akin to having someone grab you by the shoulders and sit you down physically. I've been grateful to once again be magically transported to another place and time this past week; journeying back into times I've known, and times I've only dreamt about. And deep into places of my heart.
Posted by Lisa at 9:30 PM