The next movie in our Fred Willard film festival was Roxanne. It had been on the queue for some time. My mother loves this movie. I’d seen glimpses of it growing up. I knew it had the guy with a big nose in it. I never read Cyrano de Bergerac, but I had a close friend who quoted it all the time in high school. She went through a Dante quoting phase, as well.
(So basically I don’t know anything – I just soak up information from my more literary friends, now including my husband. The more and more I think about the way the rest of my life has gone, the more it makes sense that I married him.)
Anyway. T-storm and I decided to watch this film on a Wednesday night or something. And I will say, I enjoyed it a heck of a lot more than Ira & Abby. My pretentious asshole film critic ex-boyfriend might not agree, or the film theory books he read might have told him to disagree, but the 80s produced some good movies. I don’t know. Roxanne made me feel nostalgic for 80s movies. A bygone era as it were. Don’t even get me started on my unabashed love for 80s music, of all forms…but there was a certain magic in all 80s pop culture that’s missing today. We had Tim Burton before he’d fallen so deeply in love with himself that he couldn’t see straight (and now I want to watch Beetlejuice immediately), we had bizarro kids movies aplenty, and even in the music, many things slipped through to mainstream popular culture that are still frowned upon today.
Snobs decry the purported downward spiral of popular music, and particularly the lyrics of popular music these days, but in the 80s you had little kids surely singing “Relax / don’t do it / when you wanna come”. There’s not much tongue and cheek there. You had Madonna humping the stage at the VMAs when they were A Thing. But now we think of her as being so much better than Lady GaGa because we’re nostalgic for our collective childhood. Madonna isn’t better than Lady GaGa (she probably has less musical skill than Ms. Germanotta) – she just did all the same things first.
Anyway. I can’t help it. Movies do seem different these days.
I was once around a bunch of kids who were seeing The Muppet Movie for the first time, bless their hearts (the movie is straight up 70s, but close enough to the 80s and to an 80s aesthetic enough to call it a “close call”), and when they saw Steve Martin serve Piggy & Kermit wearing lederhosen, they said, “That’s the guy from Cheaper by the Dozen!” It made my heart sink. I mean, come on! He’s The Jerk! Surely, he’s been making attempts at picking up the rent (and financing his bluegrass career) since the early 90s, with sentimental stuff like Father of the Bride, but these kids who know him only as a cranky dad are missing so much.
Although it’s not a child-friendly movie, and not as good as The Jerk, it’s possible that Roxanne might be a good introduction to Mr. Martin for beginners. He makes the movie worth watching for his performance alone. He is that good.
So that’s what I really enjoyed about the movie. Suffice to say.
But Daryl Hannah annoyed the living shit out of me.
Maybe it’s because she reminded me of myself in some sort of former life. Sure, she plays a “nerd”, but you can’t just give a supermodel a telescope and say, “Oh, she’s mousey now! Lookit her!” The same way you can’t tell me that Julia Roberts is not Julia Roberts because she dyed her hair brown, put it in a ponytail, and dons glasses.
And the whole friggen’ movie, Hannah just wants pretty words from a pretty boy. “Write me a letter! Tell me pretty words!” Martin most definitely picks up the slack from there, and even the more secondary characters (even the dumb pretty boy that Martin’s character ghostwrites for) are well done, but I couldn’t get over it.
It was like I was 21 and had spent way too much time in my young life at that point listening to moody love songs and watching too many movies and sighing and waiting for something to happen. Then a boy came along and made me a mixtape or six and the timing was right and blamo. Four years down the drain. Not entirely down the drain – I sure as hell learned a lot, experienced a lot, even the shitty stuff on the other end of the relationship spectrum from first kisses and mixtapes, and having a boyfriend in college certainly kept me out of trouble.
And it landed me here, in South Florida, with almost two years to explore before I met T-storm. And it also gave me the wisdom to understand that, no, Rob Sheffield, love is indeed not a mixtape: it cannot survive if it’s not built up from a true emotional connection and the mutual support of two committed partners.
Suffice to say, more than just pretty words. That’s just the surface. That’s just the start. That’s not much at all.
C’mon, Daryl Hannah. I’m supposed to believe you as an astronomy grad student, who wants nothing more than to be told how wonderful she is through cleverly strung together words? Real women of science demand more than that!