Wednesday is the start of 2 weeks of meetings, workshops, retreats, socializing, and frantic last-minute course prepping before classes begin. Last week, I spent hours looking for flights to the MLA this year (in Philly), then more time trying to get a hotel room online, then another hour writing up a plea to adminstrators for some travel funding. I’m almost finished organizing my fabulous new office and have already begun answering student e-mails begging to be let into my classes. All four of my classes have wait lists, some as high as 20 students, and this is true for most of our classes. It’s going to be a crazed fall term.
I suspect this will be my last non-academic post for a while. Soon I will be courseblogging with the rest of you.
Since hubby and I just visited Port Townsend, Washington, and he had somehow missed this classic chick flick, we Netflixed An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) with Richard Gere, Debra Winger and Louis Gossett, Jr., filmed entirely on location in Port Townsend.
I was barely 18 when this film came out: the prime demographic for this film. But watching it again 27 years later was truly a hoot. (I’m sure I’ve seen TV-versions in the intervening years, but they would have been heavily edited.) It ranks up there with other memorable romantic movies of the 80s, all of which I remember quite fondly, including lines that still stick with me:
- Somewhere in Time (1980)
- Seems Like Old Times (1980)
- Endless Love (1981) [“Just because you’re fucking my sister doean’t mean you’re part of the family.” James Spader in an early role]
- Arthur (1981) [“I’ve taken the liberty of anticipating your condition. I have brought you orange juice, coffee, and aspirins. Or do you need to throw up?” John Gielgud]
- Reds (1981) [“If you were mine, I wouldn’t share you with anybody or anything. It’d be just you and me. We’d be the center of it all. I know it would feel a lot more like love than being left alone with your work.” Jack Nicholson as Eugene O’Neill]
- Body Heat (1981) [“You’re not very smart, are you? I like that in a man.” Kathleen Turner]
- The World According to Garp (1982) [“I’m a reader, not a writer.” Mary Beth Hurt]
- Best Friends (1982)
- Terms of Endearment (1983) [“Here comes the bride!” Debra Winger]
- Yentl (1983) [“Wait, Avigdor, wait!” Barbara Streisand]
- The Big Chill (1983) [“I could have. I chose not to. I’m not hung up on this completion thing.” William Hurt]
- Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) [“I happen to know that I will not need algebra in the future!” Kathleen Turner]
- A Room With a View (1986)
- The Princess Bride (1987) [“My name is Inago Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Mandy Patinkin]
- Out of Africa (1985) [“I had a farm in Africa.” Meryl Streep]
- About Last Night (1986)
- Broadcast News (1987) [Wouldn’t this be a great world if insecurity and desperation made us more attractive? If “needy” were a turn-on? Albert Brooks]
- Moonstruck (1987) [“Snap out of it!” Cher]
- Dirty Dancing (1987)
- The Unbearable Lightness of Being (1988) [“Take off your clothes.” Daniel Day Lewis]
- The Accidental Tourist (1988) [“I’m beginning to think that maybe it’s not just how much you love someone. Maybe what matters is who you are when you’re with them.” William Hurt]
- Mystic Pizza (1988)
- Working Girl (1988) [“Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear. Doesn’t make me Madonna. Never will.” Joan Cusack]
- When Harry Met Sally (1989) [“I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” Billy Crystal]
Now, you may quibble with some of these as “romantic” films, but they all either discuss or depict heterosexual love and/or sex in at least part of the movie. And yes, I concede that these are not all GREAT films, but like most romances, the criteria for success that is most important is emotional impact rather than artistry.
An Officer and a Gentleman retains its emotional effect, at least on this viewer (and even hubby was engaged, or at least amused when not distracted by how little Port Townsend has changed over the decades), but of course the dialogue is quite stilted (“I wanna fly jets!” and “I love you. I’ve always loved you” are two of the most mockable), and the relationship between the lovers is developed with the a few personal revelations, a shared need for a father figure, and a lot of steamy sex. The film depicts class and gender issues in a simplistic way, but no moreso than “Working Girl”. Gere, the son of an alcoholic, philandering naval man, succeeds in making it through the Naval Flight Officer Candidate school, with the help of Gossett, Jr., who becomes a sort of father figure to him, and Winger, who provides more intimate comforts. Winger plays a working “townie” who desperately wants a better life than her mother, and that can be had only by marrying an officer candidate (partly due to the lack of alternative routes in her life, and partly because the father who left her mother was also an officer candidate). The penultimate scene is when Gere struts into the paper factory wearing his white uniform and hat, kisses Winger, and carries her out the door to the sunset, all while being applauded by the other women, who presumably will not be saved from their monotonous jobs/lives by a man in white.
My hubby and I are celebrating our 7th anniversary today, a year that supposedly requires gifts of copper, bronze, wool, or desk sets, so not a particularly romantic anniversary (there’s also the potential 7-year itch factor, so you would think that the gifts would be Kama Sutra oils and guides instead…). None of these “romance” movies comes close to depicting our later-in-life romance, but what escapist fun they are. Just listing these films, many of which I haven’t seen since the 80s, made me smile.
And smiling, thinking of all those yummy, steamy sexy scenes that turned me on in my late teens and 20s, and thinking of all those yummy, steamy sexy nights with hubby that turn me on right now, is a wonderful way to feel on our celebratory day, and night.