I love the Oscars. Yes, there are problems with the nomination and voting process and yes, there is too much focus on the glamour and glitz and yes, it is often a shallow popularity contest but it’s the closest thing movie lovers have to a Super Bowl or World Series. And most importantly, it’s the one time that some truly great movies get noticed. If it wasn’t for the Oscars, most of the world would think that Avatar is the best Hollywood has to offer (oh wait, they do). Movies like The Hurt Locker, The Cove and The Last Station get a kick (albeit small) in the box office ass. However, even I can’t watch ‘serious’ film all the time and now that the Oscars are over, I find myself turning my attention to less ‘important’ movies.
There are a wealth of movies that I haven’t seen, both good and bad, and many of those I actually do WANT to see. Many are the times that I bring home 3 or 4 of those titles and late at night, I settle in to watch one but I find myself glancing over to my personal collection, movies that I have seen several to countless times. Before I realize what I’m doing, I’m standing in front of my DVD racks, scanning while the forgotten new title drones on behind me. Invariably, I will choose one and slap that in the player instead, a movie I know by heart. A warm fuzzy feeling comes over me, like I’ve just wrapped myself in my favourite old ratty sweater on a cold winter’s night as the credits unfold. I call these ‘movie comfort food’ and for me, most often these choices are classics, often war movies or westerns, and of those, many are John Wayne movies.
There’s an undeniable pleasure in watching The Duke act as if he’s not acting (he did famously quip that acting is simply reacting) and in fact, I have this theory that Marion Morrison, the person, was essentially the same one I see on the screen, so much so that when I’m asked what person. living or dead, I would most like to spend an evening with socially, John Wayne’s name is invariably invoked (as is Alfred Hitchcock, which is another blog). My Dinner With the Duke.
Movie comfort food doesn’t have to be great or even good in quality and for most people I’ve talked to, it’s not. It just has to fill that need, the need to settle in and be washed over by a warm wave of nostalgia. What is your movie comfort food?