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Time-Slip: Seems Like Old Times - Laura Wise

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March 21st, 2011


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08:10 am - Time-Slip: Seems Like Old Times
On this Monday, I'm confused about what decade I'm in.

Beyond the usual confusions of old songs on the radio and old clothes in my closet making strange, unheralded reappearances, last night I rewatched the 1980 flick Seems Like Old Times. (I was inspired to netflix it because I keep thinking about Chevy Chase in Community and how much he's changed. Which, thirty-one years, fair enough. But still.)(Also, I used to love it, which, a long time ago, fair enough. But still.)

In case you have never heard of this movie, it's a Neil Simon script in his California Suite vein (ie. v much California of the late 70s), although more classical-farce with a tinge of rom-com; it's directed by Jay Sandrich, an accomplished sitcom director whose camerawork and blocking don't quite come off here. (Too clunky, too theatrical.) Chevy Chase and Goldie Hawn, who made an adorable team in Foul Play, are back semi-together here -- he's her ex-husband, a feckless novelist who accidentally/on purpose creates mayhem; she's a bleeding-heart defense attorney with six dogs and a variety of misdemeanored misfits working for her, now married to Charles Grodin, the would-be Attorney General of California. Stuff happens. It doesn't end like you think it would.

What I found interesting:
*when I first saw the movie years ago, I thought Chevy Chase, rumpled, tall, smirky-sarcastic, was hot hot hot. On this rewatch... he's still physically cute, but his character is an affect-less boychild. Not cute. (Takes a fall like nobody's business, however.)
Actually -- I would bet Joel McHale watches early C Chase rom-coms and takes notes on what to avoid, because there is a whole lotta Jeff Winger in those early C Chase roles. But McHale makes Jeff more textured and more open-hearted than this character.

*in the moments when Goldie Hawn turned off the aggressive adorability, she was utterly believable, and much funnier. There's a brief morning scene in her and C Grodin's kitchen -- she's exhausted and not quite 'there', he's deadpan -- where their comic rhythm takes pretty formulaic Neil Simon badinage and makes it sing. (I still giggle when I think of Grodin's laconic reading of the line "That's how it lays out." Not funny out of context, yes, but HEE.)

*Charles Grodin. I adore him in this movie, even when he's being an ass (which is often). He's a grown-up, see, and I totally get why Hawn's character stays with him.

*There is a very 70s tension between the film's attempt to include characters of color and its result of amazing ultimate stereotyping. [sigh] That being said, Robert Guillaume as Grodin's colleague and political adviser is just wonderful.

*There is also a very 70s sensibility in that Hawn's character is not particularly neurotic. In fact, she's much more grounded than a lot of contemporary rom-com heroines.

But now I'm hearing all of those late 70s, early 80s soft-rock movie songs in my head (Christopher Cross and "Arthur's Theme"! Stephen Bishop and "It Must Be You"! ARGH) and I think I have to pull out the platform pumps and the flared trousers.

If you were to revisit today something you once loved, what would it be? What era?

May you find yourself just the right thing from just the right time. :-)

(21 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:paratti
Date:March 21st, 2011 12:38 pm (UTC)
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I revisted 9 1/2 Weeks recently.

Mickey Rourke before he destroyed his face still gorgeous, but OMG, the Run! Run Like The Wind! anvils the female character missed.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:March 21st, 2011 01:35 pm (UTC)
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Oh, that's an interesting one -- because isn't the point of 9 1/2 Weeks that she does miss the Run! anvils? That she loves the kink but doesn't realize when she should be safe-wording the hell out of a moment?

So thought-provoking to revisit these things. :-) Thanks, L, thanks and hugs.
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From:anne_d
Date:March 21st, 2011 12:54 pm (UTC)
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Sometime this week, I'm going to revisit Arsenic and Old Lace, which I DVRd last week, and see if it's as wonderful as I remember.
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:March 21st, 2011 01:35 pm (UTC)
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Ohhh, I'll be interested to hear what you think!

(C Grant, man. Yum.)

Happy Monday, A!
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:tx_cronopio
Date:March 21st, 2011 01:30 pm (UTC)
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Yep, yep me too re Goodbye Girl. My disastrous relationship history is somehow becoming very clear to me :)
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:March 21st, 2011 01:37 pm (UTC)
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David Gates is now singing in my head. Thanks, L. :-))

I caught The Goodbye Girl on TCM a few weeks ago, and you know, it's very 70s but it does hold up. Hmmm.

Continental Divide!!! Blair Brown, and the mountain lion, and yes. :-)

Hugs and happy Monday, L, thanks for your additions.
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From:tx_cronopio
Date:March 21st, 2011 01:29 pm (UTC)
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SNORF! Thanks to seeing a preview for the new Arthur, I also was humming Arthur's Theme last night! As well as the much lesser known Liza piece, Arthur in the Afternoon :)

Yes, I too used to think Chevy Chase was hot, esp in those movies. Good God, no wonder it took me years to figure out men.

[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:March 21st, 2011 01:39 pm (UTC)
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Oh, the new Arthur... Even for Helen Mirren, I don't think I can go there.

Chevy Chase WAS physically cute as anything, Cronopio! So yes, we were all blinded to the Do Not Want in his characters' personalities. ;-)

Good thoughts for your Monday!
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From:heron_pose
Date:March 21st, 2011 01:55 pm (UTC)
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Oh, golly! *Those* old times! You've nailed everything about Neil Simon and that stable of actors that there is to say, I think (and omg, Carole King and James Taylor are playing in what passes for the Major City here tonight ... I won't be there, but I felt a frisson ...)

Early-80's soft rock be damned! (Even if I did by the 45s at the time.) And I can't *believe* they're re-making Arthur. Jeez. LIke it was *such* a gem the first time 'round?

Oh! and Yes! Goldie Hawn can so be better than she usually is -- like, she could have been Julianne Moore in "The Kids Are Alright" this year.

Anyhow, revisiting. I watched the very first two episodes of "The X-Files" last night. I'd forgotten how Scully/Gillian Anderson was meant to be a Clarice Starling/Jodie Foster clone, and how David D. looked 8 years old. And shoulder pads!

1993 -- it was earlier than you thought!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:March 21st, 2011 06:26 pm (UTC)
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Oh, Carole and James! [clasps hands to heart] I'd be sorely tempted, I think.

But yes, early X-Files is amazing and very 1993. (I don't actually want to think about that being 18 years ago...) The mobile phones, big as a house! ;-)

Am sending you all sorts of good thoughts and hugs, H_P. A good Monday to you in all ways!
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From:gwynnega
Date:March 21st, 2011 09:29 pm (UTC)
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I've been wanting to rewatch The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Elizabeth R, and I, Claudius, all of which imprinted on me as a kid.

I love watching late 70s/early 80s films and seeing which ones are still firmly in the 70s aesthetic and which ones aren't. A few weeks ago I saw The Verdict, which is pretty solidly a 70s film even though it's from 1982!

::hugs::
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From:laurawise
Date:March 21st, 2011 10:14 pm (UTC)
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Oooh, I, Claudius. Yes.

Your comment just inspired me to check on Poldark, which is now on Netflix Instant! I have to figure out how to watch that!

More on topic: yes, for your current project I would guess that late 70s films would be helpful.

[hugs and a cheer]
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From:mobile_alh
Date:March 22nd, 2011 01:23 am (UTC)
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Oh, dear. I'd adore to check back on Poldark, but I'm terrified the cheesy production values of the period would overwhelm my love for Ross and Demelza.

Although the last time I watched I, Claudius, I managed to overlook the low budget there, so maybe...

Hmmm.

Yet another winter storm continues, although we just had a brief flash of sun (about 5 minutes) just to prove it still exists. Vernal Equinox my foot.

hugs and more hugs, both for warmth and comfort.
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From:laurawise
Date:March 22nd, 2011 04:04 am (UTC)
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MORE winter storms? Oh, poor ALH.

[sends warmth, old BBC serials, cheers, and hugs]
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From:stevie_carroll
Date:March 22nd, 2011 06:40 am (UTC)
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I think Poldark holds up pretty well. I should watch my DVDs again...
[User Picture]
From:wildrider
Date:March 22nd, 2011 01:26 am (UTC)
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My goodness, it seems like a million years since I saw that movie. I always loved Charles Grodin (also awesome in Heaven Can Wait, another 70's gem).

What would I revisit? I revisit favorite things so often it's hard to think of one particular thing -- although I've been having an odd urge to watch that terrible, wonderful film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band again; when my best friend and I were in Jr. High, it was THE MOST WONDERFUL FILM EVER -- I had never heard any of the original songs, it was the only place I knew Peter Frampton from, and I have grown, in the intervening 30 years, come to realize that Aerosmith, despite being the villains, do the best cover song in the entire show. But yes, I still love it for some reason. :-)

Hugs for memories!
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:March 22nd, 2011 04:05 am (UTC)
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It felt like a million years for me, too. ;-)

And I love your choice -- although I fear that the magic might be gone for you! May there be a time to visit it anyhow.

Hugs and a good week!
[User Picture]
From:wildrider
Date:March 23rd, 2011 12:46 am (UTC)
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I still love the soundtrack -- even Steve Martin and Alice Cooper's unusual renditions! Which means, of course, I'd be routing for the "villains" now, when I used to go for the good guys, but hey. I learned a lot in 30 years. :-)

You, too!
[User Picture]
From:stevie_carroll
Date:March 22nd, 2011 06:38 am (UTC)
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I was accused of being stuck in 1984 last week. Something to do with my bag of vinyl albums...
[User Picture]
From:laurawise
Date:March 22nd, 2011 11:23 am (UTC)
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Heeee. Vinyl will do it. ;-)

Cheers and a good Tuesday, S_C!

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