Remember the old Carpenters song about rainy days and Mondays? Mondays are just another day to us retired folks. Sometimes we don’t even know what day it is – now that we don’t have to get dressed and head for work on any of the days of the week. But rainy days? Ugh! Rainy days definitely get me down.
And gloomy days. Like this morning. Overcast, they call it. Chance of rain.
Or maybe it’s the TV that gets me down. What a wasteland that has become!
Sandra and I watch the 24-hour news channels (she even tunes in Fox sometimes to check up on the enemy). But there’s a limit to the relentless reiteration of the same over-dramatized “news” we can take, so we turn to the movie channels for relief.
Mistake. If rainy days and Mondays don’t get you down, the movies will. I nearly always choose movies described as “comedy” or “comedy romance.” (I’ve learned to be wary of those that are ominously tagged “romance drama” or “comedy drama.”) Surely, a comedy, especially a romantic comedy, will make me smile?
But I rarely see anything to smile about in the sad, defeated characters that people today’s films. Why are suffering, disappointment and embarrassment funny? Why are pathetic losers hilarious?
What happened to Bing Crosby and Bob Hope in those Road films? And Cary Grant? Spencer Tracey? Katherine Hepburn? Chevy Chase? Goldie Hawn? Eddie Murphy? Gene Wilder?
I know, if we’re lucky we can catch “a golden oldie” on Turner Classic Movies. But on the other two hundred or so channels., we can expect mostly gloom and doom. (Or various kinds of mayhem saturated in blood and racked by ear-splitting explosions – as in those cops-and-robbers or spy sagas that seem indistinguishable from one another.)
So why don’t we catch a movie at the mall? Surely there’s something that might cheer me up?
Let’s see what’s on. This year’s Golden Globe nominees for best musical or comedy, for instance:
- “American Hustle,” a look back at a true-life con game with such sidelights as an opening sequence showing a fat man trying to hide his bald spot with an elaborate comb-over (you might find that funny, but I don’t!);
- “Her,” the story of a pathetic loser who can’t deal with love from real women and finds comfort in an electronic soul mate;
- “Inside Llewyn Davis,” a “musical” that features folk songs designed to make you cry;
- “Nebraska,” an examination of an aging, incoherent alcoholic who falsely believes he has come into money (just what an old codger like me needs on a gloomy day);
- “The Wolf of Wall Street,” a disgusting story about disgusting people and the disgusting financial sector.
Those certainly don’t sound cheerful. One critic says, for example, that “Inside Llewyn Davis” uses its music — and its characters — to explore grief and mourning. I can explore grief and mourning quite effectively on my own, thank you.
Perhaps that new movie with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts will lift my spirits. The ads look promising. It’s called “August: Osage County” and who could resist such a dynamite acting combination?
Let’s see what it’s about. According to Playbill, it’s supposed to be about “a dysfunctional family that reunites when tragedy strikes.” I don’t think it’s what I’m looking for.
Of course I could watch the sequel to “Anchorman,” if I really wanted to indulge my masochistic streak. Or I could revisit one of those Austin Powers “romps.” Or go see something like “Jackass”…
That would make even rainy days and Mondays seem uplifting by comparison.