It is Sunday evening, and I am back in Berkeley with my wife/kid/dog after our trip down to LA, which was quite marvey, thankyouverymuch. Always great to see my family down there, and of course Thanksgiving is in itself such an awesome holiday, what with the yummylicious, gigantic heaps of food we gorge ourselves on. It's one of the only days of the year in which, even after you're already completely full, you still find yourself saying, "well I guess I *could* have a little more!" And then after that is dessert. Hooray for gluttony!
So now as we prepare for grim reality again tomorrow, we are going to ring out the long weekend with a to-be-determined Hitchcock movie from the boxed set we borrowed from Dana and Brian. Vertigo, maybe? The Man Who Knew Too Much? Rear Window? Such choices. And that's only the tip of the iceberg. All we know is: neither Psycho or The Birds. Just for now. Some other time.
My two faves, actually, are North by Northwest (the movie that turned me on to movies), and Vertigo. I'd likely put both in my top 10 of all time, from any director, and I certainly would have a hard time making a sophie's choice between the two. North by Northwest is in my mind the great American suspense film. It's a virtually perfect movie, in every respect, with a plot that jumpstarts itself in the first 2 minutes, with no fluff, and never lets go until the end. Cary Grant may only ever play Cary Grant in his movies, but in this one he's a god--funny, righteous, manly, suave, cunning, brave--a real movie star. (Bringing Up Baby is another one.) And James Mason provides one of the great bad guy roles of all time. There are only certain movies I can watch over and over and over and never get tired of them. City Lights is one. The Wages of Fear is another. The Big Lebowski--of course. But I don't know if I've seen any movie more than I've seen North by Northwest, and if you haven't seen it yet, just put it in yer queue right now and thank me later.
Best suspense movie ever made? Quite possibly.
Vertigo is my other big Hitchcock love (and I've seen pretty much everything by him multiple times except for a couple of the super early old British ones), but for totally different reasons than North by Northwest. In Vertigo, Hitchcock made a movie with a plot that is somewhat ludicrous when put down on paper, but as imagined by him on screen is a work of haunting, unforgettable poetry. The feeling of vertigo is in fact one you experience yourself as you watch James Stewart claw his way from one heartbreak to another, over and over, in this story of obsessive love, wrapped up in a "mystery" story. I love Jimmy Stewart (I also have--I will admit this in public--an unhealthy love for It's a Wonderful Life ) and this is without a doubt my favorite of his roles, just because of the aching vulnerability and weakness he is willing to show as he follows his obsession. There's really not much more to say about this one without getting into plot details, which just should not be done with this movie. But anyone who thinks Hitchcock "just" made suspense movies, and hasn't seen Vertigo yet, doesn't really know what they're talking about.
But this one might be his masterpiece.
Err, so anyway, those are the two Hitchcock movies we aren't watching tonight. Which really wasn't what I came here to blog about. I was actually going to write a music blog. But see, get me started on Hitchcock and then I just start blabbering away. This is one of the greatest things about being a parent, though: Once kids get old enough--and assuming you get lucky enough to catch them in a mood where they don't feel like rolling their eyes and going back to FaceBook--you can foist all your favorites onto them, as part of the ongoing cultural brainwashing that you start with them from birth. It doesn't always work (if she ever ends up appreciating Bob Dylan, it's gonna have to be later in life, discovered on her own---which is maybe as it should be), but when it does work ("OMG dad I love Talking Heads!"), well, you kinda feel like maybe your time on Earth was worth something indeed. Or at least it helps justify all the time and money you spent over the years obsessing about this junk.
Anyhoo: dinner and movie time has hit! Here's hoping your long weekend was a relaxing and restorative as mine was.