Sunday, July 18, 2010


This weekend, I went to Prinna’s to help her and my mom redecorate her laundry room. And by “help” them, I mean that I painted one corner of the floor and then played with my nieces while Prinna and my mom did all the actual work. After all the final pieces were arranged, we collapsed down on the couches to enjoy some quiet and a quick Movie on Demand. Now don’t ask why, because I don’t know, but Prinna chose the movie Gidget, made in 1959, starring the perfectly perky Sandra Dee. If you don’t already indulge in old movies like this, I highly suggest you start. Immediately. Gidget did not disappoint. It had all the elements of a great, old movie:

* The now-clichéd premise: A gang of surfer dudes adopt a young, totally square, unwomanly, naïve girl into their group, take her under their wings and teach her to surf. The girl, who they nickname Gidget, falls hard for the bad boy - the awesomely named Moon Doggie - and after a string of hilarious missteps and gaffes, the girl gets the guy. There’s a sunset, a kiss, and a radical happy ending.

* The simple characters. First there’s Moon Doggie and Gidget, there’s the weathered beach bum Kahuna, the mom who makes a hot dinner every night promptly at 5 p.m., the disciplinary dad who brings home the bacon, and a gaggle of other nameless lackies who pepper the beach with high-fives and pseudo-sexist comments.

* There’s the always-necessary beach party (or, as Kahuna refers to it, an orgy).

* The horrible green screen work and special effects. Kahuna “surfs” while wearing a sombrero-type hat thing and smoking a cigarette. The “ocean” looks more like a lake with all the seaweed and brown stuff in the water that they couldn’t photoshop out. And, best of all, Prinna saw the budgetary restrictions in full effect at the beach party scene. There’s a totally outrageous band of brass players playing their happy-go-lucky rebel rock, and all the ne’er-do-well kids are alternating between smooching and jitterbugging on the beach. Crazy orgy, indeed! During one of the dancing scenes, one of the guys in the background hurls his “girl” up in the air, and she comes crashing down onto the beach. Upon closer inspection, we discovered that the “girl” is a stuffed dummy, as are many of the other party goers. Who needs paid extras?!

*Finally, it had the kind of message that a gal like me just loves. The message is literally crocheted on a napkin-thing, framed, and hung on Gidget’s bedroom wall. “A girl becomes a woman when she brings out the best in a man.” Ahhh…sweet, sweet misogyny.

The old movies that I love have most of these elements in common. I can’t explain why I love movies that promote, nay enforce, such a different view on life than I have. It’s all about getting the man to love you, to cook him a great dinner, and to look great and be sweet while doing it. If these were the standards today, I’d fail miserably. Sure, I’ve got the guy. But I can’t cook, I can barely apply make up, and I’d never bite my tongue if some dude on the beach told me I belonged in the nursery (yes, this an actual BURRRNNN in Gidget).

Nevertheless, I’m pretty sure I’ll watch Gidget again. I’m pretty sure I’ll actually seek out movies like this and watch them on a rainy day in my pajamas while sipping a glass of wine and not doing dishes or laundry. It doesn’t get any more escapist than that!

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