Comfort Movies part 1Posted: May 28, 2011
When we lived in the Gambia, my mother recorded a whole bunch of movies for us to watch on VHS to while away the hot summer afternoons. As a result, there are certain, random movies that I have seen so many times, every frame is etched in my brain, every shot, every close up, every sudden musical interlude. I can quote Sister Act 2 for you. I can perform Marissa Tomei’s Oscar winning speech to Joe Pesci about deer hunting in My Cousin Vinny verbatim. These movies are the ultimate comfort food. if I catch them on TV one night, or see them sitting in a $1 barrel bin at Wal-Mart, I’m instantly transported back to the Gambia.
Father of the Bride is one of my favorites. When I watch it now I realize how much this film shaped my American dream. I wanted to be Annie Banks. I wanted to have shoulder length, curly brown hair, porcelain skin and blue eyes. I wanted to be an architect. I used to try and slide down bannisters the way Annie did, but I could never quite do it. I wanted to play basketball with my father in the twilight to the music of the Temptations. I wanted everything Annie had (well, I was actually never too keen on Brian, her fiance, but besides that, I basically thought she was the bomb. com.)
Father of the Bride was the quintessence of America as I imagined it –four member nuclear family, middle class, small business owners. I wanted that life. This was one of the movies that my father, who can never watch a movie the whole way through, would insist on putting in the VCR (remember those?) and my sister and I would get all excited at the prospect of being transported to Southern California, USA. My mother would laugh and laugh whenever Martin Short, the ridiculous wedding planner, came onto the screen. And I would look back at my mother and watch her laugh and get excited from her laughter. A movie that can make my mother laugh like that is always a movie worth watching.
There are certain films that stand outside the realm of criticism, at least for me. Someone could give me a list of things that make this film problematic, could tell me that the original is better, could insist that it is mediocre at best. I wouldn’t care. Because this is one of those movies that defined my childhood, that shaped my dreams; it’s a family treasure to say the least.