The Pullbox Silver Screen Guide to Waiting Out the Apocalypse: Susan’s Take

Hello again, Ladies and Gentlenerds!  By now, you’ve all diligently viewed the entirety of our oh-so-meticulously compiled lists of lockdown-killing shows.  You’ve behaved yourself, stayed at home, spent time with the spouse/rugrats/parents/pets/dust bunnies.  You’ve developed new and fascinating ways to prepare Ramen.  You were good to go.

And now (at least in Wisconsin), we find out it’s gonna be at least another month. 

We at the Pullbox feel your pain…and so we’re back, with more shelter-at-home commiserating goodness.  This time through, it’s our Silver Screen Edition: one staff member per day will offer up their list of three (ok, so Susan snuck in four; she lives in Minnesota though, so we’ll cut her some slack), somewhat to very under the radar films we’ve enjoyed in forestalling our own boredom.

So without further ado, here with today’s recommendations is Susan:

For those cold and rainy days where getting out for a walk isn’t as pleasant, maybe you need to step back in time a bit…

His Girl Friday – 1940, Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, director Howard Hawks.

This is your wake-up call.  With dialogue at a blistering 240 wpm between the main characters, it’s a roller coaster ride through a previous era.  There’s definite sexism and some racism, but not as bad as you’d expect from a film of this era.  An editor and a reporter going after a story as the editor tries to keep his favorite reporter from getting married and leaving the industry is a great framework for Grant and Russell to snipe and poke at each other in the best way possible.  If it seems too old-fashioned for you, you can always watch “Switching Channels” instead; it was released in 1988 with Burt Reynolds and Kathleen Turner in the Grant and Russell roles set in a CNN-type TV newsroom; added bonus of Christopher Reeve as the fiancé. 

Enchanted April – 1991, Miranda Richardson and Josie Lawrence, directed by Mike Newell.

If you needed a rest after HGF, this is it.  It’s about two English wives wanting to get away from it all after the wear and tear of WWI.  They see the same ad to rent an Italian villa for the month of April, and decide to rent it for themselves as a mental-health retreat.  To swing the cost, they open it up to two other ladies and have an amazing introvert’s vacation.  The gorgeous Italian sun after grey, dull days of confinement is a little holiday in and of itself.  It’s a bit of a navel-gazer, so not a first choice if you’re looking for a lot of action.  It’s like a glass of chilled Riesling on a warm spring afternoon.

Ghost World –  2001, Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson and Steve Buscemi, directed by Terry Zwigoff.

Based on a graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, it’s the story of that summer after high school when teens don’t quite know what to do.  In the case of Enid and Rebecca, their post-secondary life will likely just include work, so they find distraction in moving to a shared apartment and attempting to navigate their nominal adulthood. They find jobs and meet new people and find out that adulthood isn’t a vast improvement on childhood.   It’s also a sad little story about growing apart from your childhood friends as your life takes unexpected turns.  Truthfully, the fun part for me was seeing this movie originally when Thora Birch was the Next Big Thing  (coming off of the Oscar-Winning “American Beauty”), and proto ScarJo was just a cute girl.  Nice to see where they went afterwards.

A little low-energy on the ending.  If you need revving up, try “Captain Marvel” again.  It’s grossly underrated.  There’s no love story, unless you think of friendship as love, and that’s OK.  There IS a lot of kick-ass fighting in space and on Earth, and the 90’s setting is so much fun. 

So there you go—get to hunting for some Saturday fun, and we’ll be back tomorrow, with Greg’s recommendations!  Until then, keep your feet and the ground, and keep reaching for the stars! 

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