No triviality too banal.

The Telegram Is Here To Stay So You Better Get Used To It

Love Finds Andy Hardy, 1938, B&W, 91 minutes.  Wiki  page. IMDB article.  Take an episode of Leave it To Beaver, stretch it out to three times its length, add girls, and make The Beeve a horny teenaged toad, and you’ve got pretty much the same thing.  With one major difference.  Ward and June were completely square and their relationship exceeded every possible standard for TV chastity, but one could imagine that they were once in love and that their children might have been conceived in the usual way.  At the Hardy household, Judge Hardy refers to his wife as “Mother,” so you know right away that the friendly jurist doling out small-time justice thing is just an act and that underneath, he’s one twisted fuck, and there is no possible way he and “Mother”  (ew) ever had sex.

the-cleaversCome to think of it, this looks photoshopped.  Nah.  she had to be wearing pearls and heels in the kitchen for a reason.

There is so much wrong here, it’s hard to know where to start.  Hm.  OK, first of all, there’s a juvenile pre-Oz Judy Garland in there, and since Judy Garland is in there, you know there will be a couple of songs just plopped in for no reason whatsoever.

TANGENT:  I’ve had to explain this far too many times to people who are fans of, say, ‘NSync, that it doesn’t matter if they’re talented singers if they aren’t singing something worth listening to.  This is so obvious.  I can’t understand why anyone needs to have this pointed out.  Anyway, as much as I love Judy Garland, I do not love her plopped-in Krap Kanticles.

Hmm, Judy Garland and, Oh yeah!  A running gag is how old fashioned the Judge and “Mother” are.  “Mother” is uneasy about receiving telegrams, so the Judge pokes at her by saying “The Telegram is here to stay so you’d better get used to it.”  One:  No it isn’t here to stay, so please note the unintentional irony.  Two:  Any asshat of Judge Hardy’s age ought to know that if a woman is leery of telegrams, it’s probably because she or someone she knows received one announcing that a brother or lover is dead in the war.  Jerk.  And then he does exactly what he accuses her of doing when he gets all Gee Whiz! about a radio.

1353551597639658No way.  Not plausible.

I could go on and on and on, but let’s skip to the important part:  It has Mickey Rooney.  Mickey Rooney has always given me the creeps big time.

mickey-rooneyWhat?  No way.

The old coot looks like a man who has pinched a thousand butts and been all “What’s your problem, dollface?”  if anyone dared to complain.

1982-Mickey-RooneyRun!  Don’t worry about your purse, just run!

“But he was a big star when he was young.”  Ugh.  I gave it a chance and once again, my intuition has served me well.


This is a guy who is always scheming after girls.  He’s got a plan and a con and a reputation to uphold so he can’t be seen with a girl who isn’t “sensational” which apparently means wearing a backless dress.  Even if she’s 15.  Bleck.   Also?  The kind of guy who screams “WOWEE!” after he kisses a girl.   Let’s assume for a minute that he charms you and you really do love him.  It won’t last.  He’ll either annoy you to pieces with all his fraudulent bullshit or he’s gone as soon as he sees a prettier girl–and Honey, there’s always a prettier girl somewhere.



He’s 93 years old and he’s just separated from his 8th wife.  *shudder*


This all has made me very cranky so I might as well gripe about another beloved movie icon that I hate:  Fred Astaire.  Not Ginger.  She’s fabulous.

fancy free Ginger 3 Fred Astaire Ginger Rogers Top Hat

The only problem with Ginger is that they made her wear such horrible costumes.

feather-dressThat’s a backless dress, my friends.  Snuffleupagus in the front outweighs anything that might be going on in the back.

Oops.  BRB.  Gotta sleeping dog with a manic tail wag going on.  Never saw that before.


Even when she got older and morphed into A Dame, she was fabulous.  Even on the effing Love Boat.


The problem with Fred is that he’s pretty fabulous himself, but not quite fabulous enough, if you know what I mean.  Freddy Mercury owned his fabulosity.  Fred, or his agents, kept trying to convince us that he was irresistible to women half his age.

fredHe’s werking it all right, but is he saying  “Hello Ladies” or “Hello Sailor”?

Top Hat, B&W, 101 minutes.  1935.  Wiki article.  IMDB page.  Swing Time, B&W, 103 minutes.  1936.  Wiki article.  IMDB page.  They’re pretty much the same movie.  He falls in love with her in an instant, but there’s some mistaken identity bullshit and he ends up having to woo her.  Because this is the movies and not real life, no one calls the cops to report him as a stalker or a burglar (or a pervert) and fancy feet eventually win fine lady for reasons beyond my understanding.

Oh, they can dance.  And how.  But if there’s anything I hate more than plopped-in song stylings, it’s plopped-in dance numbers.  Maybe it’s my attitude that’s the problem.  Maybe I should think of the dance numbers as the center of the movie and the dialogue/expository bits as the plopped-in parts.

fred-astaire-ginger-rogersOne of the many evening gown/polo shirt hybrids they forced her to wear.  I guess the better she looks, the more impossible it is to sell him as a heartthrob.

I know that Fred is revered by pretty much everyone except me.  I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade.  He’s not for me but it’s OK for you to like him.

swing-time-36-pick-yourself-up-1-0t-f18Who wears a morning coat and striped trousers in the street in 1936?  Jeeves would never let Bertie go around like that.

Two points.  1:  With all the money they spent on those gorgeous all-white art deco sets, they probably could have ended the Depression.  2:  I thought for a brief moment that it might be cool to have a luscious all-white art deco drawing room, but then I pictured me sitting in it while wearing sweat pants and a stained t-shirt, and I thought about what the beagles would do to a white sofa–or worse, a white rug–and, well, the moment was over.


The Shop Around the Corner, B&W, 99 minutes.  1940.  Wiki article.  IMDB page.  Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan are co-workers who hate each other so naturally they are secretly in love.

The trailer is unspeakably cheesy and the plot is so ordinary they made it into a 1990s romcom with Meg Ryan in it.  However, there’s a bit of charm here.  The big finish happens at Christmastime, so there’s some holiday-flavored warmth that’s nice.  The story takes place in Budapest and everyone has a Hungarian surname and speaks unaccented English, which I think is sweet.  The original play was set in Budapest so they kept it that way when they could easily have wonder-breaded it by changing the setting to Springfield, USA and anglicizing everyone’s names.  The also avoid the modern dialect farce of setting a movie in a foreign location and having all the actors speak English, but with a foreign accent.  Ridiculous.  Remember Kevin Costner as Robin Hood and how outraged everyone was that he spoke with an American accent?  Who cares?  His accent was the least of that movie’s problems, which, by the way, did not count among them Alan Rickman, who can play a villain like a boss.

tumblr_mrr3oxyM9c1rkmen4o1_1280If only I could deliver an insult like he can……

But I digress.  Asking the audience to pretend that Jimmy Stewart is Hungarian without trying to prove to the audience that he’s Hungarian avoids all that nonsense.  I get to recognize The Movies for what they are:  Pretend Time.  Pretend Time doesn’t need documentary-style authenticity, after all.

Best of all, The Shop Around the Corner features, Ochi chyornye, a beyond-awesome folk song, which you can listen to on its Wiki page here.

Oh crap.  The Olympics are coming up and by drawing attention to that song I’ve pretty much guaranteed that half the figure skaters will use it as the music for their short program.  Damn.


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