When you think of the screen couples whose sizzling hot chemistry lit up the screen and made movie audiences curiously sweaty, you think of Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in “Ghost”, Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger in “9 ½ Weeks”, and of course . . . Bud Cort and Ruth Gordon in “Harold and Maude”? . . . Did I read that wrong? Yes, in this week’s episode of “Isn’t It Romantic” we’re tackling the romance between a suicide-obsessed twenty-something and a free-spirited septuagenarian . . . as so many love stories do. We’ve got a movie here with a rather . . . unexpected romantic relationship, loads of groovy Cat Stevens music and arguably (well, argued by me) one of, if not the, coolest cars in cinema history. Seriously, forget the Batmobile, forget Bond’s Astin Martin . . . I want a Jaguar hearse and I want it now! Anyone got one? I’ve got a slightly used pony to trade! Give a listen and find out what we think about this unlikely screen pairing. And hey, if you want to sing out, sing out!
Welcome to another episode of “Isn’t It Romantic”. Well? Isn’t it? ISN’T IT?! I’m waiting. I can wait all day if necessary. Thank you. That wasn’t so hard was it? Wait, was that you or was it one of the Voices? Um, anyway, this week we’re traveling back to the era of black-and-white cinema with “Pat and Mike,” a movie that puts the focus squarely where it should be: on the rising star that was Chuck Connors. Yes, the Rifleman himself has a prominent role in this picture, dominating the silver screen with his brilliant . . . umm . . . with his subtle . . . with his height. Yes, he’s definitely the tallest person in this movie and we’re here to make sure everyone remembers this. Ok, sure there’s some flash-in-the-pan pair of actors called Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in this movie, I think, and sure, I suppose some people might have watched the movie for their talent and chemistry but for true aficionados, the first hour and twenty minutes of this film is just an agonizing wait for the appearance of Mr. Connors and his mighty chin. I suppose we should mention the stuff that comes before that in our discussion . . . give a listen and see if any of it lives up to the anticipation of Waiting for Chuck, as this movie should have been called.
Ah, “Notting Hill” . . . the sweet, coming-of-age story of a boy scout earning his merit badge in Knot-Tying-Specifically-Done-On-The-Side-Of-A-Hill, one of the rarest merit badges is all scoutdom. Naturally, they had to drop the “K” in the American version of the film due to censorship and you’re not buying even a word of this, are you. All right, fine, this end-of-the-nineties rom-com brings together the box office powerhouse that is Julia Roberts with Mickey Blue-eyes himself, Hugh Grant in a story of lovers from two different worlds (middle-class London and the third moon of Jupiter, I think), surrounded by quirky characters and starring a fabulous soundtrack. Ok, maybe not “starring” but the soundtrack has some really good songs on it. Can these two crazy kids struggle through the vicissitudes of fame, the fear of vulnerability, an adorably annoying Welshman, and Alec Baldwin so that love will conquer all? It’s a Hollywood romantic comedy: take a wild guess. But it’s the journey not the destination, so give a listen as we go on our chatty journey, won’t you? Can we get you some tea? Perhaps a Chagall?
Romantic comedies. A staple (or at least a paperclip) of Hollywood movies since the Pre-Cambrian era. This genre has survived world wars, Great Depressions, and bell-bottomed pants. We love us some meet-cute, will-they-or-won’t-they, will she marry the rich snob or the snarky but hunky pipe welder type movies. And it’s funny! In this, our latest series “Isn’t It Romantic,” we’re going to be looking at a whole bunch of these film mainstays and trying to figure out if they hold up, if we buy the romance and if we laugh at the comedy. From the classics to the recents to the ones that some say almost killed the entire genre, we’re going to be looking at them. With our eyes. And then we’ll be talking about them. With our mouths. Oh, and we’ll be listening with our ears, too, don’t want you to think we’d forget that. This week, we’re kicking things off (and badly bruising our toes) with one of the classics: Frank Capra’s “It Happened One Night,” starring Claudette Colbert and some guy named Clark . . . something . . . some kind of roofing term . . . I want to say Cornice? Turret? Slate? Well, it’ll come to me and when it does we hope you’re there listening with your ears (or whatever orifice you prefer to listen with; we don’t judge). Enjoy!