Saturday, September 3, 2011


THIS IS A STARCHY bunch of folks who live here. While I may, at 77, be one of the younger ones, how can my outlook be so different from many of the residents? I think I should resign from being on the film selection committee. The complaints roll in and I realize that you can't please all of the people all of the time, but the movies I'm remembering as being enjoyable, when shown here, tend to offend right and left.

The first two years after we moved in, old movies were shown week after week. Rarely did I consider watching one of the films that are shown on weekends, simply because they didn't interest me. I didn't consider it a problem and it never would have dawned on me to register a complaint.

When I was invited to join the film committee, I called out titles that I remembered enjoying in the theater. I and the other three members of the committee met in the room that held a computer and we looked on Netflix to see how the suggestions were rated. Too, there was a short description of the movie which we took into consideration. Then we chose a list for the coming months.

"Billy Elliot" proved to be so shocking in the language used, that some people turned it off when the movie had just begun. A wise thing to do, if one felt offended. The executive director said at a cabinet meeting that he doesn't believe in censorship, save for self-censorship. Exactly what I feel. My own reaction, the second time around, was that probably in that small mining community that was exactly the language that was used and the story of the father coming to an acceptance of what his son was called to do (dancing), was superb and very moving.

When we showed "Chops", a documentary about high school bands learning to play jazz and competing in a contest, guided by Wynton Marsalis, one woman came to the committee head and remarked that she expected to be entertained, not educated. Mr. Bob and I liked it so well that we watched it that Saturday and again when it was repeated on Sunday. Different strokes, I guess.

We try not to offer too many of the same genre, but "young@heart", another documentary, didn't interest some of our elderly, even though the film was about a group of senior citizens who performed rock songs, giving concerts around the country.

No swear words, no fornication, in some cases, no interest.

Even "Amelie", which I remembered as a charming, innocent piece of film making contained, when it came to the Manor, an explicit sex scene which made me blanch.

Tonight, "Erin Brockovich" was on the menu. I remembered it as a true story, an important story, starring Julia Roberts. I had completely forgotten that this spunky, highly intelligent female also had a foul mouth that exhibited itself throughout this highly enjoyable movie. With each "offensive" word, Mr. Bob and I looked at each other and grimaced.

The movie screened at 6 and as we were enjoying supper ahead of that hour, one of the newish residents put forth the question, with a bit of a judgmental tone in her voice, "And who is responsible for choosing the movies here?" I should have said that we had a committee, but oh, no, I had to admit that many of them have been my own suggestions. Maybe I am, indeed, the Director of Smut. My mother would die all over again if she knew. She was rather strait-laced herself. My father was the bawdy one.

I think I'll make myself scarce tomorrow.

Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.
                                                                                                                                  Ralph Waldo Emerson


  1. Do you have a large population of legless residents at the Manor? They can vote with their feet, right?

    Perhaps you need some write in selections from the general population---or you can have Disney Nights!

    Jane, I love your selections! Don't despair!

    (And, I HATE old movies! Sorry, admitting that may be some kind of crime! But, they annoy me much more than entertain me!)

    Smut on, Miss Jane! No grimacing!

  2. So it's YOU! Well...

    I too recalled Erin Brockovitch was a great movie, remembered nothing about the swearing. I pondered watching again but did something else.

    TheDead Poets Society was great. Don't listen to those tasteless folks. Keep it up. They can see old movies galore on TCM, etc. #409

  3. I am appalled! Just appalled, at your choices! And up in arms! And taking umbrage! And -- well, NOT.

    Me, it's violence I don't want to see.

    And Bill Elliott was indeed wonderful!

    Let them eat cake!


  4. oh my oh my...I would like to see you post a note to all movie goers to come to the next committee meeting or send to it their favorite choices. I wonder how many would do it??? We all know their are many critics, but few volunteers!! I like the movies you chose. The stories made up for any of the "indiscretions".

  5. I LOVE documentaries! I also didn't know that you can't be entertained while being educated, or educated while being entertained...

  6. Maybe double features would help keep a balance. Say 'Sound of Music' early and then for the late show 'Eraserhead.' Then next weekend 'Lost Highway' and 'Old Yeller.'

    Did you father ever mention Porky's Alarm Clock?

    John in Illinois

  7. Try The Full Monty, Miss Jane, see what Moaning and Gnashing of Teeth that provokes!!!, the first time we saw it on Your side of the Pond, was in St Louis, once the audience got used to the English Language!!!, the Film brought the House down
    A Cheeky Wrinkly.

  8. Actually, the Full Monty is on my mental list. The Calendar Girls got the audience ready for it.

    John.......I've no recollection of that term. The Double Feature is a fine idea, but I think everyone would have fallen asleep before the second movie.

    Thanks, everyone, for your encouragement!

  9. Hahaaaaa! I LOVE all these films. People miss out on some wonderful things when they're so rigid, I think. Sad. I was touched by many of these. You keep on selecting; these are films that should be seen!

  10. Yes, yes, yes. I volunteered at a place with mixed ages (but very few children) for a few years and decided to host a movie-watching night with Apollo 13 as the movie. Well! One woman walked out muttering about the language, only one resident watched any of it....The language?! Seeing as how the characters in the film were in a life and death crisis, the mild curse words they used once or twice in the film were hardly what I'd consider rough language! So, I ended up hosting Movie Night for myself and a guest who stayed for maaaaybe a third of the movie. Geesh. It is impossible to please everyone, I know, but....You have my empathy!