From 10th Street to Fifth Avenue…

As autumn beckons I’m planning to spend the last night of summer in Modesto California, cruising 10th Street looking for a blonde in a white T-Bird. Saying goodbye to summer makes me feel nostalgic, and If I’m nostalgic for anything, it’s for a time when I was more excited about the films I’ve been watching. Blonde in aT-birdJohn Milner’s 32 Deuce Coupe and Bob Falfa’s wicked 55 Chevy wouldn’t get out of 2nd gear on the streets of New York, where I’ve spent most of my summer, but whether it’s a wet day in Manhattan or a warm California night, I always find it’s easier to surrender to the power of some films more than others.
Piss Yellow Deuce CoupeConsidering One Fine Day alongside American Graffiti might seem an exercise in futility, but some films act as historical occurrences. In 1996 when One Fine Day hit the big screen Terrence Malick’s most recent film was Days of Heaven. It would be another two years before the release of The Thin Red Line, which is now as old as Days of Heaven was in 1996.
John MilnerThere is so much for me to love in One Fine Day, and I could never forget how luminous Pfeiffer’s Melanie Parker is. Her facial expressions in this film are on par with George C. Scott’s in Dr. Strangelove and she can deliver lines at just below the cruising speed of a 747. cant-afford-a-nannyBut anyone who has endured my esoteric ramblings will know, sooner rather than later, I’ll be segueing to Michelle’s old casting-sheet rival Meg Ryan. Intelligent, pixie-faced, with eyes that could stop traffic, the sassy genius of Addicted to Love‘s Maggie is unassailable. And as usual, I digress.
Maggie through a lensThe problem with holding certain movies so close to your heart is that you tend to watch them to death and eventually, you get tired of them. I watched the life out of Monte Hellman’s Two-Lane Blacktop and a year or so later succeeded in beating Flesh and Bone into the ground. Recently, I’ve done my best to wear out my affection for Addicted to Love, although I haven’t quite succeeded.
Misty MelanieBut fixating on a favourite film to the point of exhaustion can sow the seeds of a pleasant surprise further down the road. For there will come a day when you’re dusting your DVD collection and you’ll think, “Wow, when was the last time I watched this?” And you’ll put the disc on, pour a drink, and from the the opening credits you’ll feel warm, you’ll get goosebumps at all the right moments, and you’ll almost feel like you’re watching the film for the first time.
Utterly GorgeousIntellectualizing films carries no appeal for me, I watch them, enjoy them, feel a range of emotions, then I’ll go and watch them all over again. This summer spent in the company of the utterly gorgeous Maggie and utterly charming Melanie Parker has been fine. There’s nothing more satisfying or more fun than watching two insanely attractive people fall in love, but it’s better not to read too much into it. I don’t know, sometimes I’m glad I’m not a film critic!

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12 Comments

Filed under Retrospective

12 responses to “From 10th Street to Fifth Avenue…

  1. Ah yes, I know what you mean about coming across a favourite movie that you haven’t seen in some time, and being thrilled to watch it again for the first time. I did that recently with You’ve Got Mail, and loved it every bit as much as the first time I saw it.

    • I usually re-watch You’ve Got Mail a couple of times a year, once in spring and once in the Autumn. It’s one of those films that just never gets old!
      I’ve never been to New York, but Norah Ephron certainly paints a lovely picture of it. Every time I watch You’ve Got Mail (and One Fine Day) I sink into her version of New York. It’s magic!

  2. Lol, you sound like my husband and daughter that’s how they feel.. About certain films, and they do the one liners from them as well…… “No body puts bay in the corner” and yes I’m left out…lol and I’m fine with it.
    That’s not to say I don’t have favorites…. My favorites stay with me for a long time, and then I might catch them on a cable channel and then I’ll watch them..but sometimes years have gone by.

  3. I envy you. I avoid Thelma and Louise because I don’t want to get sick of it.

  4. Great post 🙂 I know how you feel. I hate it when Summer ends 😦 Anyway, I love how you make a Terrence Malick analogy where you talk about how Thin Red Line came out two years after One Fine Day. Interesting analogy. Two-Lane Blacktop came out the same year that Ken Russell’s controversial masterpiece The Devils was released which was 1971 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    • I was worried this post would read as too disjointed for someone who has not seen the films, but I’m glad you enjoyed it! Some films act as historic markers to me, and One Fine Day and Addicted to Love will always evoke memories of hot summer days, but after summertime must come the fall.

      • Was not disjointed for me at all. Will you be talking about When Harry Met Sally once Autumn hits? 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

        • Thank you for the kind words. I’m sure I will be talking about When Harry Met Sally… in the next few months. It’s a film I love dearly, a timeless gem.

          • Even though, I do not live in the UK, I have watched these intros on youtube and I was wondering If you have ever heard of Moviedrome? Based on what I have read about it, it showed obscure films and cult films late at night. Alex Cox introduced the films from 1988-1994 and when it was revived in 1997, Mark Cousins would introduce the films which he did from 1997-2000. Speaking of film people, have you ever heard of Mark Kermode? I have watched his stuff on youtube and what he talks about is fascinating. Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

            • Moviedrome was required viewing on Sunday nights during the summers of my youth. It was my introduction to films such as Badlands, The Great Silence and Two-Lane Blacktop, and I still have the two Moviedrome booklets the BBC produced to accompany the series. Browsing through the guides as I type this, I see that series one and two featured Big Wednesday, Electra Glide in Blue, Fat City, Razorback and Ulzana’s Raid. All films that have become firm favourites of mine. Thanks for sticking around John. I really enjoy and appreciate your thoughtful comments!

              • That is awesome that you have the two Moviedrome booklets 🙂 I first saw them on director Alex Cox’s old website (he was the first moviedrome presenter of course). I believe his website is called alexcox.com. In fact, Alex Cox is one of my many favorite filmmakers of all-time 🙂 Based on all of the Moviedrome intros I have watched on youtube, I think both Alex Cox and Mark Cousins do a great job. Nevertheless, I do rank Alex slightly higher because of his dry tongue-in-cheek style, but Cousins is great too and he is every bit as fascinating as Cox. Once again, keep up the great work as always 🙂

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