Thursday, July 27, 2006

Movies Everybody's Seen... But Me

Yesterday at a friend's house I was watching The Poseidon Adventure -- not the horrible remake, but the horrible original. I've got a few notes on it, such as: boy, Gene Hackman was really a dick in it, wasn't he? Or: wait, Roddy McDowall fell ten feet off a ladder into some water, and died? What a puss! Also: did the director even bother talking to the actors? I suspect he just gave them their scripts and let the camera roll. Because man, there was some awful acting from some pretty great actors. Shelley Winters' death scene was so hammy and unintentionally hilarious, I wondered if it was the inspiration for Paul Reubens' riotously extended death scene in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. My point is, I told my friend that I had never seen The Poseidon Adventure before, and he was surprised. Then we saw a commercial for the movie coming on next, Jaws, and I told him I had never seen that movie all the way through, and he was stunned. How could I have never seen Jaws??? I don't know, I just haven't. I've probably seen all the high points at one time or another -- the opening skinny dip, the fingernails on the chalkboard, the homoerotic scar comparison/singalong, "We're gonna need a bigger boat," and so on, but I've never sat down and watched it from beginning to end.

Up until last week, I could say the same thing about Clerks. I finally watched the DVD, and it was pretty good. But it's clear that Kevin Smith has not developed as a writer or director one iota from that first film. Same raunchy sex talk, same stiff staging, same awkward line readings of overwritten, pseudo-philosophical bullshit and/or pop culture analysis. (And yet, I would say I'm a fan of his films. So there you go.)

Another film I've never seen from beginning to end -- and this one is sure to blow some of your minds: It's a Wonderful Life. What?? Come on!! How could you possibly never have seen that movie? You love Frank Capra! Jimmy Stewart is your favorite actor ever! It's on eighty-seven times a day every December!!! What is WRONG with you?!?

I don't know! Stop yelling at me! (I love how some people will actually get angry at you for not having seen their favorite movie. "How could you never have seen Goodfellas??" ...Wait, am I doing a Jim Gaffigan routine now?) I just somehow have never sat through it. I've probably seen most of it, and the parts I've seen I love; it seems like every time I stumble across it, it's right in the middle of the scene where Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed are coming home from the dance, they're singing "Buffalo Gals won't you come out tonight," they throw rocks through the windows of the old house, she loses her bathrobe and hides in the bush, he says, "You want the moon? Just say the word and I'll throw a lasso around it...." Yeah, that's a brilliant scene, so funny and beautiful and romantic. I've seen that bit about a hundred times. Never seen the whole movie once, though.

So, today's question: what are some of the movies that everybody in the entire history of the world has seen -- except for you? Could be a classic, like Casablanca or Citizen Kane, could be a more recent blockbuster, like E.T. or Titanic. What do your friends and family make you feel guilty or pop culturally ignorant for never having watched? Let me know. But if any of you say The Wizard of Oz, you are going to make me very upset. HOW COULD YOU NEVER HAVE SEEN THE WIZARD OF OZ???

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