Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dog Day Matinee Redux

Last week I bemoaned the lack of quality summer movies, or at least movies which held an interest for me. Part of the problem may be that we've had such a mild summer here and it's hard to go indoors when the weather has been so glorious. I have had some luck with films, however- my trusty thrift store has been getting a bunch of great DVD's in lately. Here's my rundown of three alternative summer flicks:

The Secret of Roan Inish, 1993

If you can still believe in magic, this is a must-see. A family movie, and a movie about families, but it works on many levels. I won't say a word about the plot or characters in the hope that someone will read this, rent it and watch it without any preconceptions whatsoever. One of my all-time faves. Those of you who have seen this already know what I'm talking about.

Like Water For Chocolate, 1992

Has there ever been such a successful marriage of food and passion portrayed in the history of cinema? I doubt it- but if there is do let me know! The DVD has been edited a bit from the languid film version (but not Gertudis' arousal scene, thank goodness!) and it still packs a tasty punch. If you watch this movie with a lover and some good chocolate you may find that you will need to pause it for a while. The book is just as delicious.

Back to the Beach, 1987

Annette Funicello was one of the original Disney Mouseketeers, and perhaps the first girl to go through puberty under the eyes of millions of television viewers. Her subsequent "Beach Party" films with Frankie Avalon were iconic. They featured simple boy-meets-girls plots, had tons of cameos, and had pretty much disappeared by the end of the sixties. This film was a reunion of sorts, a gentle send-up of the earlier ones, and in many ways the best of them all. Annette and Frankie (The Big Kahuna) stop by their old stomping grounds to check up on their daughter and the usual hi-jinks ensue. Any tongues in this PG film are kept firmly in cheek. The musical numbers are actually really good: that's Annette (above) showing Fishbone how to do the ska, Dick Dale and Stevie Ray Vaughn trade licks on Pipeline, even Peewee Herman shows up- singing Surfin' Bird! Big dumb summer fun.

By Professor Batty


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