Monday, March 13, 2006

The Odd Couple (well... one more than the other)

File this one under your stranger double features, last night I watched both Grey Gardens and the endearing 9 to 5". Most frequently, when two movies are watched in one night, commonalities, no matter how different the sources are, arise. Yet here, I may most safely state, their were no recurring traits or characterizations. I had never seen 9 to 5 (shocker) though I have danced to its theme song a half dozen times in my favorite Los Angeles gay club. Always a steadfast fan of Dolly Parton, this one had somehow eluded me for some time. Must be all of those Susan Hayward movies...

Grey Gardens, on the other hand, had already found its way into my home (and my heart). Rewatching the film because of the many related projects which will come to fruition this year (the hottest ticket off-Broadway is the Grey Gardens: A New Musical, Criterion will be reissuing their DVD with a bonus disc of unseen Gardens footage and a new doco about the cult phenomenon of the film, there will be a book published with the letters and photos of little Edie, and a film starring (ick!) Jessica Lange and Drew Barrymore is in the works) I was struck how many choice moments I had forgotten. Perhaps the traumas inflicted from watching Little Edie dump that bag of Wonder Bread and Purina Cat Chow onto the floor of her attic to feed her pet raccoons overshadowed the more subtle gems of the film. Throughout you get the nagging nasty feeling that the filmmakers are just making a mockery of their lives, yet because of the sadder undercurrent, the film seems less exploitation and more multivalent. Whatever it may be, Little Edie remains one of the most uncompromisingly bizarre subjects ever rendered in film. As she dances with an American flag with a sweater bound about her hips, you wonder at what point something slipped in her mind, or be it a slow transgression, just what drove this woman to the state in which she functioned in daily life. The answers, as there is no single easy one, are all here, and ultimately it is not the point. What is are the odd tableaus of mother and daughter existing in a world far removed from all social codes of society.

On a lighter note, 9 to 5 was a delightfully wicked movie, featuring stellar performances from all on board. It is interesting to see Dolly in her first acting role become confident before the camera as the film progresses. With no remakes on the way (but let us not forget the absolute gem of the similarly themed, Clock Watchers, which, if you haven't seen it, run don't walk!) this one is allowed as a gem of its time, with all of that era's women in full form. I won't really write much about it here, as most of you have probably seen it (once again, I am the odd one out!). Merely let this serve as a reminder to watch the movie and laugh loudly as Lili Tomlin in snow white garb poisons her boss and throws him out the window. That's daydreaming, alright!


Blogger J said...

You have successfully written the first review of '9 to 5' that I've read that doesn't even mention Jane Fonda!

Drew Barrymore as Little Edie? I want to puke.

6:22 AM  

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