The hills are alive with the sound of me going “WTF?”

February 7, 2010

When people discover I was a syndicated film reviewer for 15 years, it prompts the inevitable question: “What’s your all-time favourite movie?”

That always stumps me because I really don’t have a definitive No. 1. But I can name several movies that have given me much viewing satisfaction, including the likes of The Wizard of Oz, A Christmas Carol, Jesus Christ Superstar, Deliverance, Jaws and Alien.

You’ll notice that The Sound of Music is not on that list. There’s a very good reason for that and it’s because I have spent the past 44 years avoiding it.

That’s quite the feat because SOM (as I like to call it) just happens to be my parents’ all-time No. 1 favourite movie.

In fact, I can quite easily picture the following scenario:

Mom and Dad encounter St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

St. Peter: Welcome to Paradise.

Mom: Do you play The Sound of Music in Heaven?

St. Peter: Um, no.

Dad: That’s OK. We’ll just wait over here in Purgatory until you do.

Mom: Nuts to that. No probs, Pete my man, I brought my own copy.

St. Peter: Jesus H. Christ!

I was hoping a move to New Zealand would make it easier to avoid hearing Julie Andrews warble on about love and sashes and female deer.

If insulation and central heating and high-speed Internet have never reached this distant outpost of civilization, then surely the Von Trapp saga must also be unheard of.

Nice try.

Upon discovering that I remained an SOM virgin, a workmate was kind enough to loan us her copy. Well, not exactly “loan.” More like “bestow.” There is, apparently, no one quite as fanatical as a SOM-bie.

And so it came to pass that I lost my do-ra-me-fa-so-la-te-cherry.

Here are my thoughts on the experience:

* I knew the plot centred on events in Austria leading up to the Second World War. What I didn’t realize is that the movie actually runs longer than the war did.

Now I know what they mean by “timeless” classic.

Seriously, 168 minutes?

Director Robert Wise should have cut loose one of those annoying children (preferably the youngest girl, the one with a face like a slapped arse) and used that money instead to hire an editor. There are no deleted scenes in the DVD Extras. That’s because there aren’t any.

* There are approximately six songs in this movie. You hear each one of them approximately 30 times. I understand foreshadowing. I understand introducing a song under seemingly innocent conditions so, when it is used later, when the plot calls for both poignancy and tissues, the audience is already primed.

But if I had a dollar for every time I turned to my wife and said “Again?” I’d have enough to buy my own copy of this movie. And then burn it.

* According to imdb.com, Christopher Plummer hated every second of making this movie. I now know how he feels.

* I spent the entire running time trying to remember what TV series Angela Cartwright (Brigitta) starred in later (it was Lost in Space) and thinking she was part of the crew of the Nostromo in Alien (in fact, it was her older sister, Veronica). For most of the other child actors, SOM was the beginning and the end of their careers. So karma does work after all. Who knew?

* The movie just ends. With everybody gaily strolling through fields of that bloody edelweiss. Walking to Switzerland.

In reality, the Von Trapps drove to a train station and crossed into Italy via the railway before making their way to America. But that mundane mode of transportation isn’t particularly photogenic nor does it tie in with the ongoing theme of climbing every frickin’ mountain.

Proving yet again that real life is a not a musical. Which would explain why I can’t sing.

Despite the above grumblings, I did not exactly hate The Sound of Music. That would be like saying you hated raindrops on roses. Or whiskers on kittens.

And no one is that miserable. Right?

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One Response to “The hills are alive with the sound of me going “WTF?””

  1. Alice Grey said

    …still laughing…

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