My Take on The Popcorn Dialogues: Depression Era

For those of you who don’t follow my Twitter stream at 7 pm EDT every Friday night, you may not know that I am following along with The Popcorn Dialogues, a blog and podcast by Jenny Crusie and Lucy March. Basically, they’re watching a whole bunch of romantic comedies and then ripping them apart to find out why they work (or don’t).

I don’t want to do an analysis every week on my blog, because that’s what they do on their blog and podcast, but I have some stuff I want to say about some of the movies and I’m allowed to do that since I’m the writer here. Live with it. Jenny and Lucy have divided the movies up into eras, and since we watched the last movie in the Depression Era set on Friday, I thought it would be a good time for me to summarize.

The Movies


The Comments

It Happened One Night

Really, really good. The podcast was top-notch, too. Without the podcast, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you why I liked this movie so much, but Jenny and Lucy spelled it all out, and let me tell you, it’s way harder to say why you liked something and how you can use it in your own stuff than to just declare your love for a movie.

The comment I left on PopD’s site (this in response to several people who claimed the movie was not ha-ha funny): I was watching the movie by myself and I laughed out loud 3 or 4 times. The one I laughed hardest at was after Peter threatened Shapely (quite convincingly) and then tried to spit all manly-like and just ended up drooling on his own shoulder. BAHA!

My rating: 5 pops, and a great way to start

Bringing Up Baby

I generally try to steer clear of anything labeled “slapstick,” so I kind of had a feeling I wouldn’t like this one. I didn’t. Except for the dog. I liked the dog.

The comment I left on PopD’s site: I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t like this movie. They ALL sounded like yapping dogs to me.

My rating: 1 pop, 4 poops

Ninotchka

I did not think I was going to like this. The blurb was not compelling to me and it sounded too political. I was wrong. I liked it. Jenny and Lucy, notsomuch. I know, there were definite structure problems. But I thought that Ninotchka the character (played by Garbo) was so charming that it overshadowed a lot of the problems with the movie. So, my take-away from this one is that a “cold” character doesn’t have to be unfunny or mean. If I had written Ninotchka, she would not have turned out nearly as charming– so it’s a good thing someone else did it!

No comment on PopD’s site because I liked it and they didn’t and I’m a chicken.

My rating: 3 pops for effort

His Girl Friday

This one was a “meh” for me. I liked the characters, but I didn’t feel like they got enough screen time together. The shared history helps with that (makes it so they already know each other and don’t need as much screen time together), but I still missed it.

My comment on PopD’s site (in response to someone who said they didn’t like that journalism won over human decency): Journalism didn’t win over human decency! I think Hildy was a very decent human being, except with regards to Bruce (her jilted fiance) of course. Maybe love won over human decency, but she doesn’t really mind that Walter’s a double-crosser. She’ll keep him in line.

My rating: 3 pops and a bonus pop for Hildy’s wardrobe

The Philadelphia Story

My comment on PopD’s site (oh, it’s a long one):

I really wonder how this gets away with being called a romantic comedy. I thought it was neither funny nor romantic, and if they’d left off the part where she married Dex at the end and left her alone (but now confident in herself, at least), it would have been a drama instead. I’m thinking coming-of-age, which is not quite the right label, but a similar idea: woman finds herself.

That’s not to say I didn’t like the movie– I did, but not as it operated in the romantic comedy genre. Had I been the writer (a phrase I’ve said so many times that it actually made me become a writer, heh) I would have taken out the last 2 minutes where Dex proposes and Tracy marries him. I would have left it with all three men wanting to marry her (George with his “let’s give it a go, shall we?” and Conner with his “well I got you into this mess, I’ll get you out” and Dex with his “but I’m not a drunk now, see?”) but her turning them all down and declaring herself fine on her own. I know, I know. Product of the times. But that’s how I would have done it.

And I didn’t find Liz to be written that poorly. I think you can be smart and sarcastic, but still infantilise the man you love and have poor self esteem.

My rating: 2 pops as a romcom, but 4 pops as a drama

The Lady Eve

I really loved the heroine. The hero was completely worthless. Also, she was awesomer when she was conning him and I don’t know why she stopped and fell in love with him. And then conned him again. And then still loved him. Pick one, lady. Still, very funny, if you like cruel, cruel, tasty revenge.

My rating: 2 pops as a romance, 4 pops as a comedy (because I sometimes enjoy cruel, cruel, tasty revenge)

If you want to follow along on future Popcorn Dialogues, here’s how it works: On Friday, Lucy and Jenny will watch the movie, cuing it up so that the beginning of the studio logo (the Columbia lady the MGM lion, etc.) is on the screen when we push play at 7PM ET. We will tweet along with the movie at #PopD, and all are welcome to join, but we’re not really discussing the movie so much as making observations. There is also a poll on the site for people to rate the movie each week.