Thursday, December 29, 2005

Movie weirdness

With two-year-old twins, my husband and I haven't been to a real theater for a movie in something like three years. So we get Netflix - that is, DVDs that arrive by mail.

We enjoy watching a lot of old BBC historical dramas, Merchant-and-Ivory and Upstairs,-Downstairs-type stuff. We just saw the HBO series From The Earth To The Moon which was great.

I manage the movie queue, and usually my husband goes along with my picks, which keeps everything running hunky-dory in the Toby Family TV-viewing department. Every so often I throw in an old classic which I haven't seen. Tonight it was Dark Victory with Bette Davis.

I am totally weirded out by this movie. Stop reading here if you haven't seen it and don't like spoilers. Bette is a spoiled rich girl that comes down with this brain tumor, and has no recovery time nor symptoms whatsoever after her brain surgery, and the doctors know for a fact that she is going to die suddenly without prior symptoms except a sudden loss of vision within four months. Bette finds out even though the entire medical establishment conspires to hide the truth from her, and so she parties it up in New York with Ronald Reagan playing a lounge lizard (which is absolutely hilarious). She has this girlfriend/pal/accountant and multiple servants who adore her even though she's a total snob and beeeyotch. She also pursues the stereotypical rich-girl hobby of showing horses (naturally, winning everything) and has a full-time groom by the name of Humphrey Bogart in one of his worst supporting roles ever, mangling an Irish brogue, which is also hilarious, especially when he makes a pass at her (because he, too, cap-in-hand adores her, even though she repeatedly grinds him under her stiletto). They talk several times about her racing her horse in the Grand National steeplechase, seemingly unaware that it is not even raced on this continent (just ask Elizabeth Taylor or Mickey Rooney). Bette then marries her noble brain surgeon (who totally lacks anything we might recognize today as medical ethics), and they move to Vermont where he does important biomedical research finding a cure for cancer in his barn. Then (just when Bette starts going blind) he goes away at a moment's notice to an important conference, Bette hides her blindness from him, and then she makes the girlfriend promise to take care of her husband forever (presumably sexually) while planting daffodils with her, and then minutes later she dies suddenly on her bed in a beautiful swoon. It was too bizarre for words.

What's even weirder is that the movie came out in 1939, the same year as Gone With The Wind and The Wizard of Oz, and it this train wreck of a movie was up for a Best Picture Oscar along with those classics. Not to mention my fellow Netflix viewers gave this dog 5/5 stars. Huh? What were they thinking!?

1 comment:

RiverRat said...

Never trust Netflix ratings. I can't even begin to count the number of stinkers I've rented that had 5/5 stars!