When I recently thought long and hard about the music I listen to obsessively I realized that it wasn’t just music I was obsessed with, but movies as well. Sure, I listen to soundtracks the vast majority of the time. But there are certain special instances where I don’t play “background music” (not including those “special” scenes that require silence).
I play background movies as a sort of alternative music when I’m plotting or when I’m really unsure of what’s going on next and my plot has gone all pear shaped. No I don’t mean the movie soundtrack; I mean the whole darned movie itself. Curious what’s on constant rotation at Holland House Video-rama? Here’s my hideously short and almost embarrassing list of go-to movies when things are rough and I need something, anything, to kick my Muse in the backside and get Her to start writing something worthwhile.
I totally blame my Dad for this one. In the midst of my parents’ divorce, my father went to great lengths to ensure that my brother and I felt love, but also were entertained. We went to Chicago to see theatre (Shear Madness & Cats), we went to Europe to the Netherlands (My People!), Germany, Luxembourg, and Belgium. And we went to movies. Lots and lots of movies. Some were good and some were brilliant for their time. And some were just because we’d had a bad week figuring out my mother. It’s this last one that makes Dune so special. We’d had one bad week and Daddy finally said “Hey, let’s turn this frown upside down.” Those were the code words for “movie time” and this time we went to see Dune. I liked it so much that I became obsessed with learning everything I could about its production, something encouraged because it was “research” and research was never a forbidden activity in our family. I reveled in the fact that I could use this movie as an excuse to say the word “condom” as often as possible at the dinner table. Yes, that too was research related: the sand worm special effects used ribbed condoms (in case you were wondering).
Most quoted line (much to MrMr’s amusement because once I start, I can’t stop until it’s finished and he laughs at me EVERY DAMNED TIME)?
“The Duke will die before these eyes and he’ll know, HE’LL KNOW, that it is I, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, who encompasses his Dune! MUAHAHAHAHAHA.”
Under the Tuscan Sun
I’ve never fully come to grips with the idea that a “chick flick” made it into my comfort movies. I’m so much not a chick at times, but there it is. I think what I like most about this movie is that the heroine is a writer who leaves everything she knows of safety and comfort (such that it is) behind her and simply starts her life’s journey searching for a sense of peace. It’s the sense of a lost soul searching for an answer that really draws me. I’ll confess, 1st-person present voice narratives annoy the bejeezus out of me, which is why I’ve never read the book that this movie is based on. But the classic hero’s journey that the heroine undergoes and survives, on her own, just flat out does it for me. And there’s food! And writing! In the same movie! *swoon*
Most quoted line?
“I’ll hire the muscular descendants of Roman gods to do the heavy lifting.”
Big Trouble in Little China
This movie is bad cinema perfected, as if Chinese kung fu movies made it to the US mainstream. But when it really comes down to it, two things completely save it and launch it to cult favorite status: it’s over the top and you can’t help but quote it. The special effects suck (but not Ed Wood or Forbidden Planet suck). The parodies of archetypal characters smack you in the face and keep smacking you. And the Chinese costumes make you immediately want to dress for Halloween and run around screaming “YOU NEVER COULD BEAT ME, EGG CHEN!” and practice your bad kung fu moves. I mean really, what’s not to love?
Most quoted line?
“When some wild-eyed, eight-foot-tall maniac grabs your neck, taps the back of your favorite head up against the barroom wall, and he looks you crooked in the eye and he asks you if ya paid your dues, you just stare that big sucker right back in the eye, and you remember what ol’ Jack Burton always says at a time like that: “Have ya paid your dues, Jack?” “Yessir, the check is in the mail.”
Kung Fu Panda
Okay, yes, there’s an animated movie in my go-to comfort films. Now I’m not saying that I’m the panda to the Furious Five that are my blog sisters, but the numerology alone is enough to make me chuckle. So sue me. Here’s the thing, though. This panda, Po, is overweight, like I was (I lost it!). He wasn’t the most popular guy, just like I was. He started learning kung fu later in his life than sooner, just like I did. And he really didn’t quite know who he was. Frankly when I was first starting out in martial arts not so very long ago I’d reached pretty much the bottom of my adult life and didn’t know who *I* was either. But he keeps trying and keep kicking and keep punching and ultimately he manages to really believe that he has the mad skillz to be a kung fu warrior. It resonates, people. I don’t think I’ll be a famous kung fu warrior, no, but published writer? Yeah that’s gonna be me some day.
Most quoted line?
“Quit, don’t quit? Noodles, don’t noodles? You are too concerned about what was and what will be. There is a saying: yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the “present.””