March 25, 2017

"Instead of watching it on a TV screen, I wanted to recreate the conditions under which I’d originally enjoyed this movie, so I booked it at Chicago’s Music Box Theater..."

"... as part of my film series, 'Is It Still Funny?' It was a packed house, and as Harold embarks on that first fake suicide, I could feel my own tension building."

From "A Movie Date With My Younger Self" by Marc Caro (in the NYT).

31 comments:

David said...

I went to the Music Box often when I lived in Chicago. It is a great place.

rehajm said...

I wouldn't need to rent a theater, I'd need to find a cathode ray TV, VHS recorder and a Blockbuster Video.

That the politics in the movie didn't hold up should be a lesson to today's filmmakers.

I would be remiss in my duty, if I did not tell you, that the idea of... intercourse - your firm, young... body... comingling with... withered flesh... sagging breasts... flabby b-b-buttocks... makes me want... to vomit.

Thanks, Father.

David Begley said...

I would have to go back to my Jesuit high school; it was shown in class.

MisterBuddwing said...

(SPOILER ALERT)

I once saw "Harold and Maude" at a revival house. By movie's end, I found myself wishing that someone would steal Ruth Gordon's ambulance - with Ruth Gordon still inside it. Only fair, considering how car theft is casually treated by the title characters as a humorous, life-affirming lark.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Like Tom Robbins or Carlos Castaneda or MASH or your olive green bathtub, most of the effluvia of the '60's and '70's has not aged well at all. I loved Harold and Maude when I saw it in the theater, but when I got the DVD so my wife could see it I was appalled at how crappy and predictable it was. Creating enduring culture hasn't exactly been a Boomer strength. Blind Faith's Can't Find My Way Home is about it.

madAsHell said...

"Harold and Maude" was funny? I don't recall anyone in the theater laughing.

Maybe I was smoking too much pot at the time, and I was emotionally unavailable.

Laslo Spatula said...

Not a lot of Comedies can hold up to the test of time.

This one will.

Ten years from now people will be quoting it like they currently quote "Caddyshack".

I am Laslo.

exiledonmainstreet said...


Ten years from now people will be quoting it like they currently quote "Caddyshack".

I am Laslo.

3/25/17, 11:40 AM

"You'd be surprised at how many ex cons will offer to suck your dick for a shot of Jack Daniels" is certainly memorable!

dreams said...

I watched it again recently on tv, good movie.

Laslo Spatula said...

exiledonmainstreet said...
"You'd be surprised at how many ex cons will offer to suck your dick for a shot of Jack Daniels" is certainly memorable!"

It only gets better.

I can't really 'release' it while I have it entered in Film Festivals.

The problem is several of these festivals don't announce their decisions until October.

So I am toying with putting "Uncle Bennie Is Coming Home From Prison" on YoTube for a week, set to Private.

I would then release the Password on Althouse and my Blog, and among friends, letting them pass it on as they saw fit.

Curious what people would think about that.

I am Laslo.

Kathryn51 said...

In a couple of weeks, I will be doing the reverse. Turner Classics is showing "North by Northwest" in selected movie theaters. I have never seen it on the big screen - only on small sets and, more recently, our larger flat screen.

Can't wait to see the iconic scenes like the airplane/corn patch and Mt. Rushmore.

exiledonmainstreet said...

Curious what people would think about that.


3/25/17, 12:06 PM

I'd love to see it, Laslo.

Lewis Wetzel said...

I love Ruth Gordon's old time New York accent. My mother in law had that accent. She was born in Brooklyn in 1925.

MisterBuddwing said...

In a couple of weeks, I will be doing the reverse. Turner Classics is showing "North by Northwest" in selected movie theaters. I have never seen it on the big screen - only on small sets and, more recently, our larger flat screen.

Look out for the moment when the kid plugs his ears *before* Eva Marie Saint "shoots" Cary Grant.

Etienne said...

Ruth Gordon was one of those women, who could entertain you throughout her description of going grocery shopping.

Ruth never had 12th rib syndrome. She could move her hips even two hours before she croaked.

She could never be said to be staid, or as they said in the 60's - uptight.

Stevie Wonder said "uptight, out of sight" but he never sighted an uptight person in his life. Oops, I digress...

madAsHell said...

So I am toying with putting "Uncle Bennie Is Coming Home From Prison" on YoTube for a week, set to Private.

FINALLY!! My bus ride to the U District is redeemed!!

Zach said...

I suppose it's been a while since I watched it, myself, but I saw it twenty years after it originally came out and thought it was pretty great.

Some movies get better over time because their influences fade away faster than they do. Harold and Maude has a fairly conventional message for its time -- self actualization through not taking things so seriously -- dressed up in a lot of black humor and an original plot. Nowadays the good stuff is still good, but the hippy stuff is less of a cliche.

Laslo Spatula said...

madAsHell said...
"FINALLY!! My bus ride to the U District is redeemed!!"

madAsHell, I owe you. I think I gotta do this.

My fear is I will put the password on a comment that no one sees.

I am Laslo.

Gahrie said...

That one dude at the end..Uncle Bernie?...looks like a slightly less ugly Jack Elam.

YoungHegelian said...

Harold & Maude at least has the minor advantage of being an American movie, & the American indy market at the time (late 60's-early 70's) wasn't as heavy-handed as the Brits, e.g:

If (1968)
The Ruling Class (1972)
The Magic Christian (1969)

All of the above have the subtlety of a ten-pound sledge to the groin in the delivery of their Oh-so-very-pissed-off-and-utterly-righteous messages.

Christy said...

That movie was a touchstone for evaluating friends when I was young. Haven't seen it for a long time.

What movies need to be seen at least once on a big screen? I'd say "Some Like It Hot." I never got Marilyn Monroe until I saw SLIH blown up big at an outdoor venue in Baltimore's Little Italy.

What movies lose nothing when viewed on one's phone?

Ann Althouse said...

Here's the web page for Caro's "Is It Still Funny?" series, listing movies.

"Caddyshack" is one of them:

"It’s summer and thus time for golf, smart-dumb humor and CADDYSHACK. Harold Ramis, making his directorial debut from a script he wrote with Brian Doyle-Murray and Douglas Kenney, said he originally envisioned this as a comedy about teens working at a country club, but soon he realized it actually was about the wisecracking, troublemaking adults — namely Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight and Bill Murray (who improvised the bulk of his lines). Oh, and let’s not forget the gopher puppet. Some folks, including a bunch of reviewers upon its release, consider CADDYSHACK a dud. Others, including those who requested it at previous “Is It Still Funny?” screenings, think it’s one of the funniest comedies ever. (It’s ranked 71st on the American Film Institute’s 100 greatest comedies list.) Which way will you swing?"

There's this, about "Tootsie":

"This had all the makings of a disaster given the revolving door of writers and directors involved in its many years of development. Yet with Dustin Hoffman in a dress and Sydney Pollack behind the camera, TOOTSIE became a comedy classic, garnering 10 Oscar nominations (including a Best Picture nod plus a supporting actress win for Jessica Lange), the No. 2 ranking (after SOME LIKE IT HOT) on the American Film Institute’s all-time top-comedies list and preservation by the National Film Registry. Now that we have 34 more years of gender-role explorations under our belts, how does this tale of an arrogant actor who gets in touch with his female side hold up? Is It Still Funny? The very ‘80s soundtrack may be…"

Another one on the list is "Being There," which Meade and I watched recently.

Ann Althouse said...

Here's what I wrote about re-watching "Being There" (in early December).

____________________________

Did we watch "Being There" now, because of Trump? Did "Being There" amaze and distress us with its continued relevance because of Trump?

Actually, not at all. Peter Sellers's character — Chance/Chauncey Gardiner — was just about the complete opposite of Donald Trump. Chance was a man who seemed to come out of nowhere and to make statements about gardens that other people perceived as brilliant political metaphor — "the most refreshing and optimistic statements I've heard in a very, very long time." His lack of any known background counted as a plus to the rich insiders who got the idea of advancing him to the presidency: "A man's past cripples him. His background turns into a swamp and invites scrutiny."

That's much closer to the story of Barack Obama than Donald Trump.

Trump has been so well known for so long. He had a huge weight of past baggage, and it didn't cripple him. He had that "swamp" of a background that invited scrutiny, but he made it anyway. He didn't make it because rich insiders chose him to serve their interests. He was the rich insider himself, and the other rich insiders were the opposite of delighted by his communication style. Trump didn't make simple abstract statements that worked because voters projected their own hopes onto him. He blabbed endlessly about all sorts of concrete problems and played upon our fears and our sense of loss at least as much as optimism.

(You can buy "Being There" at Amazon.)

_______________________________

Ann Althouse said...

Nothing there about whether we found it funny.

I don't remember whether we found it funny a few months ago, so I really don't know how funny I found it when it came out and I can't do a comparison.

I think I thought both times that it had a lot of very interesting ideas and good acting. I don't know if anything felt all that funny.

Sellers plays a mentally disabled man. I don't easily laugh at a person like that. There is an outtake section after the credits that shows how hard it was for Sellers to act like that. HE keeps laughing. THAT made me laugh.

Bob Matthews said...

The first movie I ever saw Ruth Gordon in was Rosemary's Baby, and I found that her performance there has colored my view of every other film she ever made. When I saw Harold and Maude for the first time years later, I couldn't shake the feeling that she secretly wanted to sacrifice Harold to Satan.

David said...

"I would then release the Password on Althouse and my Blog, and among friends, letting them pass it on as they saw fit.

Curious what people would think about that."

Some of them would think, "Let's publish the password, spam him with hits and tell the film festivals it's already released, just the fuck the bastard up."

You are good at dialog, Lazlo. The delivery of the dialog by your actors, not so much. I wish you much success. The title and the concept are great.

Jim Gust said...

I still love Harold and Maude.

Laslo Spatula said...

David 3/25/17, 4:10 PM

Your comment plays my paranoia like a harpsichord.

I am Laslo.

William said...

She won an Academy Award for Rosemary's Baby. She was seventy- two at the time. In her acceptance speech, she told the crowd how encouraging it was to receive the award. If they ever gave out awards for Oscar acceptance speeches, hers would be on the short list......I saw Harold & Maude. It was ok, but I couldn't understand the buzz around it. Even when I could pass for hip, there was so much about being hip that I couldn't grog.

Steve said...

The outtakes during the credits is on of the funniest things I have seen. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsQ_ClWBeRI

The rest of the movie isn't funny, a great movie but not funny. Was it supposed to be a comedy?

Presidential candidate out of nowhere and all of his statements given an almost mythical meaning and importance. Chauncey Gardner is Barack Obama far more than he is Trump.

Known Unknown said...

The typo in the name made me believe it was this guy.

It's Mark Caro, not Marc Caro.