Wednesday: Popular American Culture and Politics

The Stars are Set in the Big Apple

I’m feeling reminiscent today.  Maybe I’m not over last week’s ode to the Ken doll.  Maybe it’s because spring is in the air.  Probably it’s because hoofing it up the block in a grand city makes me think about just how grand that city is.

Yes, Movers, I’m talking about NYC.  Whether you’re born and bred or you remote in regularly, New York has a magic that’s all its own.  So it’s no surprise that this magic has been captured and canned in silver screen silicone for generations.  Here are some of my favorites.  Don’t be shy – let us know what New York movies top your list.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s

For the sake of my mad love for this film, I’ll ignore the fact that the Hollywood ending mangles Capote’s original final chapter.  (Have you read the book?  You should read the book.)  Taken in its own right, BaT is the stuff of legend.  A coquettish quirky muse who sashays to the tune of her own Mancini while running from the nightmare of conventional life?  Holly’s got her own lessons to learn before she can go lightly, and you’d do well to take note.  But meanwhile, you can stand outside of Tiffany’s and dream.  Just don’t forget to feed Cat. 

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The Seven Year Itch

While we’re talking about icons, we’ll give a nod to Marilyn.  Nobody does it like Norma Jean did it, and you can’t get more iconic than this still from the ’55 film.  It’s the sexiest anything involving a New York subway will ever be.  Enough said. 

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Hello, Dolly!

Don’t laugh.  This movie defined my childhood.  Another independent dame, a jack of all trades, a woman with her feminine wiles well in hand, Dolly doesn’t just wait for a happy ending, she makes it happen.  It’s based on Thornton Wilder’s “The Matchmaker” (Have you read the play?  You should read the play.) and it’s filled to the brim with innuendo and life axioms.  Once you get over Streisand’s magnificence (as if you can), you may notice that a very young, very awkward Michael Crawford is blossoming before your eyes, bound for his inevitable reign as Broadway’s Phantom of the Opera.  

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Midnight Cowboy

Odds are, you’ve never seen this movie.  So I won’t bother unpacking it.  All I want to say is: You are not a true New Yorker until you’ve slammed your pedestrian hand down on the hood of an offensive vehicle and screamed, “I’m walkin’ here!”  Go, young ones, be angry at poor drivers. 

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Newsies

Before Broadway re-wrote the ending to make the protagonist capitulate to the glitzy allure of the monopoly (this is an outrage), Newsies raised the call to seize the day and stand up to the man.  All the neighborhoods get a shout-out in this one, represented by the most darling array of boys that were totally crush-worthy when we were 13.  It also has a young Christian Bale singing and dancing, so, there’s that.

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Basquiat

When a motion picture takes on the genius of a visual artist, you have to take notice.  When at the same time it tackles socio-economic issues, drugs, disease, homelessness, and the pitfalls of the meteoric rise to popularity, it’s worth seeing.  That, and David Bowie plays Andy Warhol.  

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The Devil Wears Prada

This is a fashion and lifestyle mag, and we bow before the frightening eminence of Anna Wintour, along with anyone else who knows the provenance of the stiletto.  We gaze with awe upon the unparalleled genius of Meryl Streep.  I’m gushing, I know, but when one estimable woman of power channels another, it makes me all sorts of happy.  Based on a book (Did you read the book? Don’t.) about the whiniest assistant you’ll ever come across, the movie plays its strong suits (Tucci, Streep, a stellar soundtrack, to-die-for wardrobe) enough that we don’t care if it comes up short in grand-scheme-of-things weightiness.  I know we’re supposed to hate Anne Hathaway right now, but I just can’t.  I’m sorry. 

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There are a million more New York Moments in film that are worth noting, but we’d be here all day.  If you love the silver screen and you love your city, let us know what we missed in the comments, or on our Facebook page (www.facebook.com/nymoves).

#Low

 

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