Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A couple of foolish movies

Without really meaning to, my wife and I celebrated April Fools' weekend by watching a couple appropriately foolish movies.

They were appropriate not because they were about people coordinating elaborate practical jokes, but just because they were so darn silly.

It started on Saturday night, when we abandoned our plans to watch the first OSS 117 movie starring Jean Dujardin and directed by Michel Hazanavicius, subtitled Cairo, Nest of Spies. We'd already seen the second, subtitled Lost in Rio, and enjoyed it so much that were eager to save the first for a special occasion. Saturday was deemed not special enough when we took too long to get started, and weren't sure exactly how well our mushy Saturday night brains would handle the subtitles. So we exchanged one movie that would have been plenty silly for another that was probably even sillier, watching Airplane! instead. For only my wife's second time, and probably my dozenth -- but first in at least 20 years.

Cairo, Nest of Spies got bumped again on Sunday night, for approximately the same reasons. Its replacement was chosen even more hastily than Airplane!, which had at least been in our streaming queue already. In fact, it was because we had watched Airplane! that the Netflix website recommended we might also like ... Weird Science. Which I had also probably seen about a dozen times, again not in 20 years. In this case, though, my wife had never seen it. I seized the opportunity and pounced.

We enjoyed watching both quite a bit, though Airplane! holds up better than Weird Science, as you would probably not be surprised to learn. However, Weird Science did have the benefit of including two popular actors my wife was tickled pink to see at such a young age: Bill Paxton and Robert Downey Jr.

I won't go on at length about these movies, but I did want to say that I really seem to be embracing the 80s lately in my movie watching habits. While that's been a favorite ironic thing for film lovers to do, it was something I had never done, at least not for ironic reasons. But quite a lot of it I've done lately, and quite by accident. In addition to Airplane! (1980) and Weird Science (1985), take a look at some of the other movies I/we have recently watched from that glorious decade, about half for the first time and half for at least the second:

Running on Empty (1988)
Major League (1989)
The Fog (1980)
Howard the Duck (1986)
They Live! (1988)
The King of Comedy (1983)
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
Raising Arizona (1987)
Big Trouble in Little China (1986)
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
The Road Warrior (1981)

And all of these viewings have been in the past six weeks.

In fact, I was going to make Dangerous Liaisons (1987) my next choice for our bi-weekly Tuesday night movie series (Lady's Choice Movie Night), since that eluded my wife as well. But after Running on Empty and Major League, I might like to give her a break from the bad hairdos and acid washed jeans (as though you'd find either of those things in Dangerous Liaisons). So I'm tentatively targeting The Chaser, a Korean film from 2008.

But I seem likely to keep the 1980s in my sights in other ways, if recent history holds.

Let's just hope that most of the 1980s movies we watch are as intentionally foolish as Airplane! and Weird Science.

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