Friday, February 15, 2013

"Show a lot of things happening at once, remind everyone of what's going on. With every shot, show a little improvement: to show it all would take too long. That's called a montage. Even Rocky had a montage."*

   What up, bitches soul siblings?

   Sorry for the radio silence on my end this week. I’ve been vacationing in San Diego with my mom (more on that later). I'd like to get right to it because time is of the essence and all that.

   What I’d really like to talk about today is my deep and abiding love of the movie montage.

   I had an opportunity to watch Overboard for the 18th time (okay, actually I was forcing the kids I nanny to watch it, so it was more of an opportunity that I created and then forced on other people. Semantics.) and it sparked the same great sense of joy I had the first, eighth and twelfth times I watched it. And while the movie has many redeeming values (huge Goldie Hawn fan. Huge. And I love Kurt Russell. And Edward Herrman. And Katherine Helmond and Roddy McDowell. And that kid from Honey I Shrunk the Kids.) this movie scratches a particular cinematic itch of mine. See, I’ve always been a sucker for a movie with a montage. Especially a cleaning montage where a room goes from disgusting to tidy (or vice versa) or a montage that turns an “ugly” person into a “beautiful” person.

   Montages are entertaining and practical: they cut out a lot of actual movie time (and I can’t stand movies that are longer than and hour-and-a-half) but they also ADD fake movie time. They add days and weeks or even years to a movie while still getting you through the movie in a seemly amount of time. They are a win-win. Also, they usually incorporate some wonderful (or good enough) song that you sing in your head all day. (In the case of Overboard, that song is “Jim Dandy to the Rescue” and it is played not only over the cleaning montage, but again later at the bar where Annie and Dean have her birthday celebration and he romantically informs her that she’s just turned 29. There may only be that one song on the soundtrack to Overboard, come to think of it.)

   I sometimes wish my life had a montage or two instead of always taking place in real time. Like, oh, Lacey was a super unsuccessful, fat slob at the beginning of this montage, but a mere two minutes later she’d lost 14 lbs and established herself as a major executive at a Fortune 500 company. That would be neat and also really convenient.

   Here are some movies I love that contain EXCELLENT montage sequences. I will definitely be forgetting many, so I’ll update this list in the future. And your input is, as always, welcome so long as I find it useful!

1. Overboard (not just the cleaning montage, but also the mini-golf course design montage).

2. Sound of Music (when she teaches the kids to sing/like her while they traipse about Vienna in curtain clothes).

3. Karate Kid (I think that whole movie is a montage…).

4. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.

5. Big Business (it has several but I especially like the one where Rose—the  Jupiter Hollow Rose—goes on her guerrilla mission to disseminate information about Morimax, and she dresses like a southern belle from 1865 and orders mint juleps and secretly stamps all the napkins in every restaurant with "Axe Morimax").

6. Pollyanna (the part where she tries on new clothes).

7. Clueless (when they give Tai a makeover. The only problem with this montage is that it’s too short).

8. A League of Their Own (when they do all the baseball stunts so people will start coming to their games).

9. Easter Parade (where Hannah goes from being a bad version of Nadine to rocking things out in her own, beautiful way and thereby making Don and the world fall in love with her).
10. Wet, Hot, American Summer (when Gene leads Coop through a totally indecipherable series of exercises aimed at an unclear goal while "Higher and Higher" plays over it).
11. Arrested Development (when Michael and Steve Holt train for a triathlon over an original composition called "Keep Those Balls in the Air."). 
12. Prancer (when that homely little girl that's obsessed with the reindeer cleans that scary old woman's upstairs room. I can't tell you what a huge sense of satisfaction that scene always gives me). 

   Hmmm…I’m coming up short already. But I did draw you a picture:

This is my interpretation of a classic "makeover" montage. The best kind of montage there is.**

   I’ll think of more later.

   In the meantime: it is very important to live each moment of your life to the fullest and be present in the now, etc, etc…and so on and so forth.
*From South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. (Trey Parker and Matt Stone, 1999).
**Another drawing inspired by the indomitable Sammy Resnick. 

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