Old movies = happiness

I don’t know why I just titled this “old movies” when the movie I’m watching at the moment (or using as background noise) is Peggy Sue Got Married.  Yes, it’s set in the past, but since it’s an 80s movie, it doesn’t qualify as an old movie.  Does it?  If so, it’s going to make ME old, because I grew up on these movies.

peggysueThis is one of my comfort movies, really.  Nic Cage and that cartoonish voice are perfect for the part — all claims of nepotism aside.  Kathleen Turner has always fascinated me. She always seemed like such a talented actress, and then she just seemed to fall off the planet.  I saw her at some celeb event lately (I mean on TV, of course . . . not in person, as I’m sure that most of you would assume that I hung out regularly with the Hollywood crowd) and was shocked at how . . . well, middle-aged she looked.  Ok, beyond middle age.  Kind of just-passed-menopause-and-ready-to-be-a-grandmother stage.   I love almost all the movies with her in it.

I don’t know what it is about this movie, but I watch it whenever it’s on TV.  Currently I’m streaming it to my Roku player from Netflix.  I think it’s interesting how Peggy Sue got the chance to relive high school (in a sense) and did all the things that she thought she should have done back then — including dating the deep thinkin’ poet — and then she figures out in the end that she probably made the right decisions all along.

I started on an old movie kick when I had the opportunity to teach a cinema class at our school.  I was thrilled beyond words to be able to teach the class.  I had it for two years (four total semesters) and then it was transferred to another teacher after it wouldn’t fit in this year’s schedule.   I hope that I was able to share some cinema appreciation to my students, but I’m also impressed at how teaching the class affected me.   Until I taught the class, I had no idea that the AFI (American Film Institute) had rated the top 100 movies of all time.  Until I taught the class, I had never seen Casablanca.  Until I taught the class, I had never appreciated Charlie Chaplin or the wonders of early cinematography.

CasablancaAnd now?  I’m hooked.  I have been busy devouring the Top 100 list for the past two years.  I have seen Casablanca so many times that I could quote large parts of the movie.   Humphrey Bogart is the “Ahnold” of the ’40s, without the machine gun and robots.

Thanks to the great influence of my parents, I had been introduced to some of the great classics earlier in life.  My dad showed me One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and I believe I watched The Graduate with them too, although I’ve blocked out the uncomfortable silence that must have occurred when Ben took Elaine to the strip club and the tassels turned.  My parents also introduced me to Rear Window and the wonder of Jimmy Stewart.  I have discovered many other classics since then — the original King Kong, while cheesy, is fascinating just because of its age and what filmmakers with a vision could achieve;  It Happened One Night is hilarious and relevant still today, all while providing the modern age a treasured glimpse into life in the 1930s.   I fell in love with It’s a Wonderful Life and its idyllic portrayal of everyday life, while still appreciating the underlying message of love and hope.

Netflix has given me a quick and easy way of accessing the Top 100, and I hope to work my way through the rest of it soon.  At last count, I think I was about halfway through the list.  Being the kind of person I am, however, I want to see it ALL.

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