The Philadelphia Story (1940)

Plot: Tracy Lord is getting married to George Kittredge, someone way beneath her social station, and Spy Magazine wants all the scoops. So Spy sends writer Mike Connor (Mike is short for Macaulay, decades before any Culkins slapped their own faces), and photographer Elizabeth Imbrie to capture the festivities. Tracy’s ex-husband C.K. Dexter Haven escorts the pair as a Spy liaison (and low-key blackmailer), and in the course of about 24 hours, the three Spy employees manage to unravel the pending nuptials.

Best Moment: When Mike and Liz first show up, Tracy and her little sister Dinah put on the show of shows for them. It is hilarious. Dinah literally performs–walking on her pointe slippers, speaking French, and ending with a vocal performance while she plays the piano. Pretty much anytime Dinah opens her mouth, I’m a fan.

Worst Moment: In the opening scene of the film, Tracy is chasing Dexter out of the house, throwing things at his feet, breaking one of his golf clubs. In return. Dexter shoves Tracy through the doorway back into the house. I know I’ve seen this movie before, but I don’t remember that opening scene. It jarred me on this viewing, especially having been shoved through a doorway by someone much bigger than me.

Epiphanies: My unpopular opinion: I don’t like this movie. I find Tracy insufferable. I don’t think it’s romantic (Rotten Tomatoes ranks it as the 3rd best Romantic Comedy of all time). I find Dexter incredibly presumptuous to think Tracy would want to remarry him mere hours after breaking off the engagement to George.

If anything, this film reminds me of this quote from Mindy Kaling:

“I simply regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world created therein has different rules than my regular human world.”

And maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for a rom-com-sci-fi flick when I popped this one in the DVD player. It’s not exactly the time of year when I’m feeling particularly hopeful about anything related to relationships, so I fully admit I was not in a good headspace while watching.

Recommendation: Well, it is on the National Film Registry and it is on AFI’s list of the 100 greatest films of all time, and if the only Jimmy Stewart film you’ve seen is “It’s A Wonderful Life,” then you owe it to yourself to see him play a completely different character from George Bailey. Plus, Stewart won the Academy Award that year for Best Supporting Actor, so it’s worth your time just for him.

What Hallmark Channel is Selling Me.

I’ve been watching a lot of Hallmark Christmas movies, and here’s what I’m being sold* while watching:

  1. A magical eyebrow shaper.
  2. Nordic Track/Bowflex/Peleton.
  3. Wayfair. All the time, Wayfair.
  4. Life Alert bracelets.
  5. Balsam Hill Christmas trees (which, by the way, can run up to $1,000).

 

*In addition to the science-fiction fantasy that Christmas is a magical romantic time where all my dreams come true.

The Ancestors.

I’ve done a bit of digging around my family tree and have learned some things. Here’s five of my most fascinating ancestors*.

  1. Frances Fenton, who got her PhD in 1910 from the University of Chicago.
  2. Jean Tatlock, who allegedly had an affair with Robert Oppenheimer and was a total communist.
  3. John Fenton, who fought in the Revolutionary War.
  4. Fenton St. Clair Butterfield, who was married in 1863 but I cannot find any death or divorce records from that wife…but he married my great-great-grandmother in 1881…
  5. Hyman Gindich, who left Kiev during the Russian pogroms in 1906.

 

*Ancestors I did not know personally. Both of my grandmothers were pretty kickass.

The Best Dates, updated

I’ve been dating for almost 30 years, but it’s a Saturday night and I am dateless so why not pick at that emotional scab a little? During the summer of 2010 I wrote extensively about my best and worst dates. You can check out the archives for those if you are so inclined.

But I’ve logged eight years of dates since then. Here’s a condensed and updated list of my five best dates, in no particular order.

  1. When we met for a late lunch and ended up talking for four hours in the restaurant.
  2. When we sat on the hood of his jeep and looked at the stars and talked.
  3. When we laid on opposite ends of the couch reading books and occasionally talked about what we read.
  4. When at the end of the night he apologized for not talking as much as usual; “I couldn’t stop looking at you. You’re just so beautiful,” he explained.
  5. When after dinner he made me laugh so hard I couldn’t breathe.