Tuesday, August 16, 2016

What movie would I watch on a blimp?

Grey Goose was one of the sponsors of MIFF this year, meaning that I saw one particular short movie/ad before nearly every screening.

Seeing something 11 times in two weeks gives you a lot of opportunity to think about it.

What happens in this ad is that a bunch of beautiful people dressed in the latest styles of the day get together for a blimp ride, on which they will sip Grey Goose vodka and watch a classic film. You can watch the whole ad here:

Before I get to the central question inspired by this ad, allow me a paragraph to rant about it a bit.

Look, this ad is pretty beautiful. But there's something so blase about the characters that never ceased to annoy me each time I watched it. Their apparent reaction to flying on a blimp is something like bemusement. Sure, they run at one point because inexplicably the blimp seems to be taking off without them (a strange choice by the pilot, since they are its only passengers), but beyond that, it's an event that seems like it might sooner induce yawns in them than a genuine sense of excitement. It's almost as though each one of them is saying "I'm beautiful, people present me with exotic blimp rides through various cultures and climates every day." As though merely being beautiful means that the world is your oyster, in laboriously luxurious ways that don't impress you.

But the ends justify the means, sort of. The beautiful people eventually gather the materials necessary to project a movie on the clouds? side of a mountain? I'm not really sure. Nor am I sure that a blimp can/would just hover there long enough to show a whole movie, or that the cloud formations would cooperate long enough to create a seamless viewing backdrop, or that a blimp would risk flying so close to mountains that would destroy it and leave no hope of any survivors making it down to the bottom -- not in the impractical shoes they are surely wearing, anyway.

Consistent with the whole glamorous production design of this ad, the movie they watch is a classic, naturally. I can't readily identify it, but that looks like either Gregory Peck or Cary Grant. The woman I can't as easily identify because, well, I'm worse at identifying classic actresses than I am at identifying classic actors.

I suppose I resent this ad a little bit because of how self-consciously hip it is, right down to the choice of movie. These people are in their late 20s, but instead of being interested in movies they grew up on in the 1990s, they're interested in movies that were made in the 1930s or 1940s. As good taste dictates, naturally.

Me? If I were up in the clouds in a blimp, not only would I be bouncing around in untold amounts of giddy excitement, but I'd probably be throwing on an old favorite. And by "old favorite" I mean something 30 years old, from my own childhood. Something in color, I'm sure.

But let's just say that my blimp movie had to be something where Cary Grant and a woman kissed, or the equivalent. Something swoony and romantic and classy. But something that I actually really loved -- not just something that made me look like a person of refined aesthetic sensiblities.

What would be my blimp movie?

Forthwith, the top five contenders in alphabetical order. They're choices of a certain age, meeting the criteria, and all from my top 500 on Flickchart:

1) Gone With the Wind - This gets there just on sheer epic scope and the grandiosity of its romance. A bit long for a blimp ride, perhaps.

2) North by Northwest - Romance is obviously not the predominating element of this movie, but I seem to remember some real sizzle between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. (And it actually has Cary Grant, like the movie they watch in the Grey Goose ad.)

3) Roman Holiday - Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn are lovely in this movie. My top choice on this list.

4) Singin' in the Rain - Since this is one of the movies I am most due to rewatch, I actually can't remember how romantic it is, but it just seems blimp-worthy.

5) The Sound of Music - Had the absolute pleasure of rewatching this last year for the first time since my childhood, and had forgotten how wonderful the relationship is between Christopher Plummer and Julie Andrews.

Now, a list of choices if I were just going modern and throwing out worries about what everyone else would think of me:

1) Before Sunrise - Celine and Jesse. That's one romantic night.

2) The English Patient - This is my only really "classic" choice among the modern movies. There's something so elegant and adult about the romance between Kristen Scott Thomas and Ralph Fiennes.

3) Moulin Rouge! - Deliriously romantic. The music only helps.

4) Say Anything - Come on, you know it is. Lloyd Dobler. Diane Court. The backseat of that car. "In Your Eyes."

5) Titanic - I'm sorry. Remember, I said I was throwing out worries about what other people think of me. Leo and Kate 4 eva!

Honorable mention: Cinema Paradiso, just for the closing scene with all the kisses edited out of other movies.

Now excuse me while I go don a thousand-dollar shirt and set out in bemused search for the nearest dirigible.

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