Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Pharmacy of Film: Help Me Find the Right RX

Ever been in the dumps? Filled with fear and anxiety? Depressed? Unworthy? Overcome by heartache?

Who hasn't? Getting past the pain is rough, but if you love movies, you know they can be downright therapeutic. Film has gotten me through some of the roughest patches in my life. Trouble is, I can't always put my finger on the right film to soothe the pain at the right time. So, while I am in a serene frame of mind, I'd like to start building a Pharmacy of Film to match the right film to the right ailment.

Right now, here's what's in my medicine chest of movies:

Chaplin is my go-to guy here. Who is more downtrodden than the Little Tramp? Yet, though it all, he manages to pick himself up and look for a better tomorrow. He truly has been and remains and inspiration. While his hope for the future shines through in almost all of his films, the end of "The Circus" lifts my spirits from the depths.

Ailment: Fear
Who is more fearful than Charlotte Vale in "Now Voyager"? Her journey from fearful to fearless is always, always and inspiration.

A double dose needed here: "The Music Man" and "Gigi." Professor Harold Hill for the 100% joyous performance of Robert Preston and Gigi, Gaston and especially Honore as portrayed by Maurice Chevalier for the masterful depiction of the joy of love and life in all seasons.

Ailment: Unworthy/Not Good Enough
If I'm feeling like I just don't measure up, I need to spend some time with wife #2 of "Rebecca" and Paula Alquist Anton of "Gaslight." Watching them as they struggle to feel worthy, I always want to shout "you are more than good enough! In fact, you are too good!" I need to shout that at myself at those times.

And, just in case the above 2 films don't work, I might try a dose of false confidence from the supremely confident Lina Lamont. 

It might not last, but it might just get me through the day.

Ailment: Loneliness/Heartache
Can't cope with loneliness? Nobody is more of an inspiration than poor Tom Hanks in "Castaway." That's lonely! So, stop feeling sad because nobody called you today.

C.C. Baxter and Fran Kubelik not only show that loneliness can come to an end, but that heartache can be healed, as well. I love those 2 kids. Their happiness is well deserved. I'm rooting for them all the while my heart is healing just a bit.

As for heartache, whose heart aches more than Chaplin's in "City Light?" And yet, for all of his suffering, he finds a reason to smile.

Ailment: Unable to Move Forward
When I am paralyzed by life, Steve Martin's "The Jerk" reminds me to just keep moving. While someone out there might hate those cans of oil, you might just invent something that makes millions!

That's just a tiny start. Please share more "ailments" and more movie cures! Your contribution might just make someone feel just a little bit better. 


Caftan Woman said...

I love those choices to help with the specific issues. I also love how you shared the whys and wherefores of your choices. It is funny that movies are something we share so openly with each other, but are special to us for deeply personal reasons.

I seem to turn to westerns to overcome feelings of helplessness or hopelessness. Particularly, True Grit with its quirky use of language and spunky heroine. Bend of the River with all of the odds against Jimmy Stewart also does me a world of good. Both films have gorgeous Technicolor scenery that is a balm for the soul.

When I think the blues are going to overwhelm me, I turn to The Music Man or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. That Howard Keel is good for what ails ya'.

Do you ever suffer from the 21st century headache? The rush of modern life and the annoyance of devices that go on the fritz or need constant attention is a drag. Those times cry out for Life With Father, Two Weeks With Love and/or On Moonlight Bay and The Light of the Silvery Moon.

ClassicBecky said...

Hi, dear Chick ... this is one of my favorite posts. Movies always reflect my moods too. Right now, fabulous W.C. Fields has helped me through some nasty dental surgery with "The Dentist". It makes me laugh out loud even when it hurts to do so. Long-running deep depression, feelings of abandonment and fear of the future, all the things that a drawer-full of pharmacy meds doesn't help, somehow makes me want to watch movies that reflect all that. Perhaps it's because you feel less alone knowing some of the great writers and moviemakers understand it. "Death of a Salesman" with Lee J. Cobb; "All My Sons" with Edward G. Robinson; "Streetcar Named Desire" with Vivien Leigh"; "The Little Foxes" with the great Bette; it sounds morbid, maybe, but it somehow helps. Now when I feel good, I can't get enough of Lina Lamont in "Singin' In The Rain" and Oscar Levant in "American in Paris." I've missed you, girl.

Silver Screenings said...

I LOVE this idea for a post, as much as I love your movie prescriptions. I'm also pleased Lina Lamont made the list with her renowned confidence.

If I'm feeling sad or overwhelmed I love to watch "Casablanca". It's like a comfy blanket after a warm bath – Captain Renault's funny lines, Paul Henreid's heroism, and an interesting array of minor characters. It always helps me.

If I've had a frustrating day, I loved to watch Elvis films, e.g. "Spinout". Some of them are so unrealistic, it helps me laugh at my frustrations and put them in perspective.

Thanks for giving us the chance to share some of our treasured "remedies". :)

FlickChick said...

Caftan Woman - thank you so much for your comments. You have no idea how much they mean to me. It was just proven so difficult for me lately to get around to other wonderful sites - but you are generous and kind - an inspiration!

FlickChick said...

Wow, you really nailed it for me on several of those; depression and anxiety are buried deep and strong in my DNA, so TCM is always on in my house, much to my family's dismay. Pretty sure my kids didn't know there was color TV for the first decade of their life.
• When I'm sorta struggling but not 100% drowning, a good afternoon Detroit Tigers baseball game playing in the background is very comforting. The familiar play-by-play sportscasters are great.
• But I'm right in sync with your choices, my absolute 'must' is Chaplin, couldn't live without him! I'll add to your great Charlie list: 'Limelight'. It's older and a talkie but terrific for a cathartic good, cleansing cry when he dies at the end with Buster by his side. And the music he wrote for it is gorgeous. Add to my 'cleansing catharsis crying' list would be the romanticized, unrealistic brain tumor death of Bette Davis in 'Dark Victory' as it's such a selfless, noble way to pass on. Victor McLaglen in 'The Informer' stabs at my heart in a strange but good way, and oh, my 'Hunchback of Notre Dame' with Charles Laughton..... "why was I not made of stone like thee?" ....
For me, when I'm edgy and down or worried, 50s-60s comedies really annoy me, so I stick with the black and white pre 1960s. A decent B movie with a predictable low key story line is even an okay mental diversion. And there's nothing like Tarzan (with the only one who ever mattered, Johnny Weissmuller and gorgeous Maureen O'Sullivan). And speaking of Maureens, love watching 'How Green was My Valley' just to see young Roddy McDowell holding his poor dying Pa as he ascends from the coal mine... Geez! What a sobbing sap I've become, but it really cleanses my spirit and makes me feel better about life.
• For needing personal inspiration/strength, I can always count on any John Garfield film. He typifies that classic misunderstood underdog... particularly in 'Between Two Worlds' with that wonderful Edmund Gwenn and his sweet, dear mother.
• Basic day to day self focused funk-fest: Anything with Bill Murray gets me out of my own head, 'What About Bob', 'St. Vincents', 'Stripes' etc. make me snort out loud. I second your Steve Martin choice, and can always relate to his sincere phone book elation.
• sometimes when I need to think something through but can't handle total quiet, a good silent movie with its piano score helps.

Anyway, you asked for contributions and I'm a bit of an overachiever so forgive the lengthy note. Lord knows I could babble on about old films forever.

Thanks for your great blog, it's a real favorite of mine!

Julie Frontera

FlickChick said...

Becky - thank you for your thoughts. I knew this one would resonate with you. Miss you, too, kiddo.

FlickChick said...

Ruth - many thanks for your kind words. Film fans know it is one of the best Rxs to cure most of what ails us.

Inge Gregusch said...

Nothing cheers me up like "Music and Lyrics" with Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore. Prior to that my go-to was "When Harry Met Sally".

Terrific post with a fascinating theme. Don't tell the AMA or the monolith drug companies: they'd ban it or steal it...

Patricia Gallagher said...

When I'm blue, "Under the Tuscan Sun", "The Enchanted Cottage", or "Our Vines Have Tender Grapes" are quite therapeutic! And when I want to laugh, "Bachelor Mother" or "The Major and the Minor" work wonders.

Rick29 said...

I love this idea...and your choices! If feeling a bit blue, I don't think one can go wrong with a viewing of THE COURT JESTER.


That was amazing! Singin' in the Rain is always helpful for sadness. But, in my case, the best medicine is always Buster Keaton! OK, sometimes Harold Lloyd helps a bit, too, but Buster never fails.

FlickChick said...

Inge - I doubt Big Pharma will be able to make any money off of this! I have never seen "Music and Lyrics,"so I need to add that to the "when I'm sad" antidote.

FlickChick said...

Patricia - your choices are just inspired. "Under the Tuscan Sun" does make me feel happy!

FlickChick said...

Rick - "The Court Jester" is an awesome choice for happiness. Kaye's very best!

FlickChick said...

Le - Buster sure does work wonders! I love that choice.

Christian Esquevin said...

FlickChick - in libraryland we call this bibliotherapy, so its definitely as effective a therapy. I love your choices. Do you have a Lucy-style "Psychiatric Help" stand? Regardless, keep up the good work.

FlickChick said...

Hi Christian - Thanks for the kind words. I'm just dipping my toe back into this after a haitus - slow to get going, though.