I’m not much for quirky comedies these days, mainly because in so many of them the offbeat itself has become the focus. But really, the quirkiness is at most an effect – of the slightly anthropological quality that satire takes, and of the fact that life is so peculiar that it paradoxically requires exaggeration to be accurately represented.
Damsels in Distress (which I just got back from seeing) gets it right, and in no small part because it is genetically closer to Oscar Wilde than Woody Allen. And, of course, a movie that lovingly skewers the pretentious, idealistic and often slightly weird milieu of university life is going to appeal to me because in spite of all my higher ed carping I can’t help but have a certain fondness for these characters. In part because I’m perhaps a bit closer to them than I sometimes like to admit.
And, of course, I was rather shocked to find a movie which so casually summed up my own disillusionment with sexual liberation:
VIOLET: Have you chosen a topic for your paper?
FRED: Uh, “The Decline of Decadence.”
VIOLET: You think decadence has declined?
FRED: Definitely. Big time. Major, major decline.
FRED: “How” or “in what ways”?
FRED: Okay, take the flit movement in literature, or homosexuality—
FRED: Homosexuality. It’s gone completely downhill. Right down the tubes. [He makes the sound: “Whchht.”]
FRED: Before, homosexuality was something refined, hidden, subliminated, aspiring to the highest forms of expression and often achieving them. Now it just seems to be a lot of muscle-bound morons running around in T-shirts.
[Violet looks a little shocked.]
FRED: It’s pretty disillusioning.
[Violet pauses in thought for a long moment]
VIOLET: Are you gay?
FRED: Not especially. But in another era, it would have had more appeal. Now, I just don’t see the point.
(Quote borrowed from here)
It is almost peculiar that gayness would probably have been more of a temptation, more of a spiritual stumbling block for me, had I lived in, say, Victorian England. But these days the wages of sin is boredom.
Anyhow, do see the flick.
(edit: Gratias ago, Don)