Comedy in Crisis

Horrible Bosses (2011) by Seth Gordon

Bridesmaids (2011) by Paul Feig

Maybe it’s just me but I hate comedies of late. Simply, because I don’t think they are especially funny. Most of the time, I have enough after the trailer and don’t wanna see more because I did not laugh at anything in the trailer – and we all know they pick the funniest scenes for the trailer (I am going to stop writing trailer now). So, these last few years I have watched a lot of horror movies because they make the better comedies.

For some inexplicable reason, I have become obsessed with Jennifer Aniston lately (I don’t know why but it is not necessarily out of the ordinary since I get obsessed with actresses sometimes and get over them… it’s not usually somebody that has been around for so long, though, and I never liked Friends and always liked Courtney Cox much better, so, that is the surprising part…) and this is why I wasn’t too disappointed when my favorite movie theater showed Horrible Bosses in the sneak peek last night. Let’s face it, I wouldn’t have watched it if it hadn’t been for the sneak peek but I have thought about it – simply for the sake of Jennifer Aniston.

And it is not not funny. It has it’s moments, definately. But it also has a lot of this-is-so-not-funny-why-is-everybody-else-laughing-moments. Because sometimes people laugh because they know they are supposed to laugh despite not finding something funny. For example, there is this scene where two of the main guys argue about who would get raped more in prison – each wanting to be the one who gets raped more… This is not funny at all. Seriously, makes one (that is me) wonder if men are not being raped enough (which I wrote for provocation’s sake not because I believe it). But I laughed along with everybody else before I stopped myself, looked around, shook my head (at myself). I said it is an example, and it really is an example for the kind of jokes that we are presented with in comedies these days… there were also some gay quibs that I could have done without, as every buddy movie has to have those.

In my opinion, there is something wrong with comedies – maybe not even lately but for some time now. They are either romantic (straight) comedies I have absolutely no interest in because, well, they are heteronormative and all the same, or they are, I don’t know what to call it, maybe adult comedies with an annoyingly great amount of jokes about excrements, body fluids, and dicks.

No wonder, I haven’t watched comedies in so long…

The sad part is, I love comedies. My favorite movie of all times is a comedy (The Philadelphia Story, 1940). The 30s and 40s produced witty comedies, they were sexy in a way, you would almost call innocent today. Romantic comedies of today try to immitate that style but it is more often smothered by the “love story.” I want to blame There’s Something About Mary for this – as I see it – crisis in comedy. It may not have been the first that had me completely grossed out but it was probably one of the most successful. I mean, yuck!

I really wish that I could say that Bridesmaids which I have watched on Tuesday and deliberately was an example of a more intelligent form of humor. It wasn’t. I liked it, yes, but I have felt a kind of desolation, a discontentment with it after I left the movie theater. It has a great cast and some great messages, yes, but it has also some really disgusting barfing and such… I wonder, do you really appreciate that in a comedy? Really? Well, I don’t. And as I said, maybe it is just me. There were parts of both movies, Bridesmaids and Horrible Bosses, that I liked but overall I left the movie theater wanting to punch someone in the face – and I am a friggin’ pacifist, y’all!

I am aware that not all movies that are funny have the sort of excrement humor in it that I hate – but those that are called comedies usually have. Or they are the other kind that I hate, romantic comedies – I don’t know which are worse.

So, where does that leave me and my love for comedies? Nowhere, I am afraid. As by today, I will again ignore everything that is supposed to a “comedy” and will once again concentrate on horror movies. And I will probably get some more 30s and 40s comedies – screwball and sophisticated alike. What else is a person to do to get her laughs on?

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It’s called a genre, dude: Musicals

The draft for this is almost one year old now but I always wanted to do it because, genres are a good way to categorize one’s likes and dislikes (there should, of course, always be exceptions to any rule), and also because I LOVE MUSICALS!

I am not even sure when it started. I have a feeling that Barbra Streisand had something to do with it, then again I loved Judy Garland before I even knew there was Barbra Streisand (and yes, my cd-collection looks very gay).

There always seems to have been musicals around. I remember watching “Grease” with the whole family on a Sunday afternoon. I remember getting up in the middle of the night because some channel or other showed a classic musical at 1 a.m. (and by classic, I mean a Warner Bros. from the 30s or an MGM from the 40s). I bought The Wizard of Oz on video after seeing it once on tv – it was one of my first videos ever (I still haven’t got it on DVD, though, shame on me).

What I like most about the genre is the inhibition with which the actors (singers, dancers) erupt into song and dance. By the way it is almost always taken for granted by everybody around that people should sing and dance on the street. I love musical numbers because they tell a story, they tell us how a person feels, they have an artificiality about them that is almost always sappy but heartfelt. And what great songs have been written by people like Rogers & Hammerstein, Harold Arlen, Irving Berlin, and, of course, Cole Porter. Don’t think, I don’t know more but these for me are the best (I hate men from Kiss Me Kate comes straight from the heart…).

(I just read that Kathryn Grayson died about a year ago. I bow to her talent, she made musicals colorful. I really loved her Katherine Minola.)

Strangely enough, I have only four musicals on dvd that I constantly watch and rewatch and they are not the classics one might suspect. I don’t know why these in particular, they are neither the best musicals ever nor are they very similar to each other. I enjoy them because they are fun, and trashy, and have great actors in them (some of them are not even good singers). They are not my favorites, they are just the ones I have around and cannot get around:

The music is good, the actors are good, the film is fun… and I love the message, especially in a world that sometimes denies that racism still exists or where it is just glossied over, this is important. But the main attractions of it are:

Exhibit A.

And exhibit B.

And then there’s:

And there is, of course, no question why I love this so much. It’s queer. It’s so 80s. It’s about AIDS (or HIV) and yes, I still think that’s an important topic and another one we should not be silent about. And it’s got lesbians in it (and it’s a bonus that they are played by Idina Menzel and Tracie Thoms.

And:

Oh, the music! It’s brilliant, though not conventional. And Johnny Depp has not the worst voice ever, and Helena Bonham Carter… well, she is one of my all-time favorite actresses, she’s simply devine in everything she does. I am fan.

And here’s a woman who can really wear those sun-glasses… the movie also has some other Potter-Alumni: Rickman and Timothy Spall. And it has in an absolutely insignificant role: Anthony Head (that’s Sir Giles to you!).

And last and probably least:

Yes, I am the one person you know that is over 17 and admits to having High School Musical on DVD (only the first on, mind you, the second was bullocks, though I will probably own the third one at some point).

It’s not really anyone in particular but I really like Sharpay (that girl’s got sass) and Taylor (she’s got all the brains of the group, how could I not love like her). Also, I like that the girls have already been together in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody (and no, there is absolutely nothing I feel embarrassed about having watched andam  sometimes still watching).

Musicals make people feel good. And, what is more important, it makes me feel good. Sometimes I pretend I live in a musical and sing along with my MP3-player but people tend to look at you somehow irritated when you do that… not that it stops me but… hey, it’s just music. I know, I am no Barbra Streisand but hell, Yentl is one of my favorites.

So, this is musicals (which has little to do with Bollywood and/or Andrew Lloyd Webber!). Sing and dance on!

Ginger Rogers & Fred Astaire

Eleanor Powell (we share a birthday)

Judy Garland & Gene Kelly

Bill Bojangles Robinson.

For me the best dancers Hollywood ever had…

Halloween Galore: A Nightmare on Elm Street

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) by Wes Craven

I don’t know if you knew but I L.O.V.E. horror movies – that is horror stories. Ever since I started reading Stephen King’s IT (it was the German version back then) for the first time when I was ten I simply am fascinated, enchanted, hypnotized and amused by horror stories.

So, what better to do on Halloween than watching a classic (well, not in the I-am-watching-a-silent-horror-movie-way, more in the I-am-impressed-with-how-Wes-Craven-reinvented-horror-movies-during-the-80s-way classic)? I went for A Nightmare on Elm Street since it was the only movie from that time that the vid shop had – the vid shop in my hometown is a really good one, they usually have all the wonderfully disturbing 80s nostalgia I can watch but my guess is that there is not a one horror fan among the guys (it is only guys) who work there so it is mainly remakes of the good ones….

I have watched it before (I remember my sister obsessing over Johnny Depp when he was on 21 Jump Street and her forcing me to watch it as side-effect of this obsession since she was too much of a coward to watch it alone) but didn’t remember much of it. What is always the most fascinating is the back-story: where does the monster/human turned serial-killer come from? What’s his (and let’s face it, it is usually a HE) story?

And, of course, it makes perfect sense that Fred Krueger comes back to haunt the dreams of the kids of the people who have killed him. I guess, I should have inserted a spoiler warning but, honestly, has anyone not seen this movie? Or at least the remake?

I am usually not against remakes of horror movies. The original The Texas Chainsaw Messacre, for example, was forbidden in Germany until after the remake got released on DVD. So I went to watch the remake. Still, when I read about the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street some time back I thought: Without Robert Englund? You must be joking!

I guess there are some actors we will always link to a certain role they played and the role back to that actor/actress. I haven’t seen that many original horror movies from the 80s because I didn’t know back when that I loved horror stories (I only found out these last five years when all the remakes emerged and I watched them all, that I may be a little twisted that way).

I am pretty much hooked on horror… and if only for the reason that most horror movies make better comedies than movies advertised as comedies…