08 April 2007

I love you, Marla Hooch!

Yesterday, as Andrew was getting ready for a ski trip, I was flipping through the channels on his TV. Imagine my cries of happiness when I stumbled across the opening credits of A League of Their Own! Despite the fact that I've seen that move at least six times--two of them in the actual movie theater, back when I could get a Chattanooga matinee ticket for about $3.00--I sat down and watched the first hour.

And good lord, it was satisfying. Marla Hooch! Saying goodbye to her dad as they both cry! And what about that scene where we meet Dolores (Rosie O'Donnell) and Mae (Madonna)? See Rosie balance a bat on her hand! See Madonna be sassy!

My response to the movie got me thinking... what are my "stop titles?" Meaning, which movies will make me stop the remote control if I flip past them on cable? Which songs will keep me from changing the radio dial in the car, even for just a second? Which books, if I'm walking past them in the bookstore, will make me pause, smile, and read the back cover for fun?

(The implicit question here is what are your "stop titles?" Soon you'll know mine. Tell me yours!)

I think each genre I mentioned has different criteria. For a movie, I'm likely to stop on something light and escapist that doesn't requite a great deal of emotional involvement. "Terms of Endearment" and "Magnolia" are great movies--two of my favorites--but I don't want to pop in on them for a few scenes before I go do my laundry. If I don't get the total experience, I'm not that satisfied.

For a cable tv pop-in, I need something whose enjoyment can be reasonably contained in a few minutes.

That burst of pleasure has a lot to do with where the movie is when I find it. My favorite part of "A League of Their Own" is the first hour, so if I don't happen across it until Bill Pullman is back from the war, ready to woo Geena Davis away from the Peaches, then I'm not having it. On the other hand, "The Matrix" is more likely to get me at the end, when it's bad-ass, grab-the-guns -and-shoot time.

Those are two of my big "stop" movies. Others include "A Few Good Men," during the "You can't handle the truth!" scene; "Fried Green Tomatoes," at any point after Kathy Bates' discovery of her self-worth; and "Bring It On," during any cheer routine.

Of course, I think one of those five movies is guaranteed to be on cable every weekend, so I should just never turn on the TV.

For songs, my reasoning is a bit more capricious. The entire point of a pop song is that it doesn't require more than five minutes of your time (unless you're listening to Meat Loaf.) My musical "stops" have no rational explanation, and I don't know that I can definitively name all of them. However, I am certain I will always stop my radio station scanning if I hear...

Madonna in any form

"Gloria" by Laura Branigan

"Take on Me" by a-ha

"All I Want" by Toad the Wet Sprocket

or "Mo Money, Mo Problems" by The Notorious B.I.G."

As for books, it's all about childhood. I am obsessed with looking at how the Narnia books are presented in each of their re-printings.

Which... by the way... is anyone else bummed that The Magician's Nephew is now being packaged as book six and The Horse and His Boy is being pushed as book three? Half the fun of reading those books late--out of chronological order, but in the order in which C.S. Lewis wrote them--was discovering the answers to questions you forgot to ask about The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe and Prince Caspian.

For instance, I'm happy that the first time I read about it, I didn't really understand why there was a lamppost behind the wardrobe. It was just there. Then, in The Magician's Nephew, it felt totally magical to realize that it had grown from the soil after an enchanted woman threw a piece of iron into the ground... and that that woman was the White Witch! AAAAAAGH!

Okay. Okay. I'm sure it's just as magical to read it in the other order, but I like what I learned first, you know? That's why all this talk of the new movie featuring the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles--that does not feature Shredder--will only make me scoff.

Wait... is this just the first step of my evolution into an arch conservative? Will all this "Don't change what I know in pop culture" business lead to a stubborn insistence that gays shouldn't marry and U.S. health care should never be affordable?

Whoops! I'll be right back. I've got to go buy my ticket to TMNT.



At 8:42 AM, Anonymous katy said...

I have to say that I have a very low bar for stop title films. Almost anything they play on the weekend on TNT will work just fine.

I have especially watched the following movies on television many, MANY times: Independence Day, Steel Magnolias, 10 Things I Hate About You, Bring it On, Parenthood, Groundhog's Day.

Since we're on the subject, yesterday I watched almost all of The Sound of Music on TV in spite of these factors:

(A) it is an endless, endless film, and not really as good after Maria and the Captain hook up and the Nazis take over;

(B) we own it on DVD sans commercials;

(C) my sister and I watched it so many times as kids that we know it verbatim anyway.

Brown paper packages tied up with strings, I guess it's just one of my favourite things.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger Mark Blankenship said...

Nice use of the British "u" in "favorite," Katy! How very Von Trapp of you.

And was remiss in leaving out Steel Magnolias and Independence Day. They're on my list, too.

At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Cassy said...

My stop title films are all pretty comedic. I think comedic films always stop me because I can watch just one sceen of them and walk away laughing. In fact sometimes they are better to watch just in bits and pieces instead of the whole film (Anchorman is only good so many times).

If "Dumb and Dumber" popped on the TV, I would stop to watch for sure. Then of course there is Old School, Wedding Crashers (especially the beginning with a little bit of Dwight Yoakam), Anchorman, The Cable Guy, and either of the Ace Ventura movies. Then on the dramatic side - I would also stop to watch the end of Titanic, Dirty Dancing, or Moulin Rouge (the part where they are up on the roof and Nicole Kidman is resisting Ewan's attempts to swoon her).

The #1 song I will stop to listen to is Journey - Don't Stop Believin and #2 is Queen - Under Pressure


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