Thursday, 19 May 2011

Encore’s Birthday Marathon: Day 2

So, I’m celebrating my imminent birthday with 20 days of memories, well vignettes really, of random cinematic experiences.
I was uncertain what would make for an appropriate theme for Day 2. I have no striking affinity for the number, really. I did promise unhinged randomness, though so I’m pretending that this is a condensed version of my memoir – some amount of fickleness is a given.
If The Wizard of Oz (which I covered yesterday) is the first film I saw, then Back to School is the first film I saw multiple times. I’d wager that for the for at least a decade, I saw Home Alone (both parts) thrice very Christmas season, and I probably saw Back to School about three times every school term which rounds up to nine times per year for about ten years, so it’s no surprise that I remember it well.
Memories of the film still make me feel terribly nostalgic in a way that even some of my favourite films do not. It’s probably because, up until recently, I hadn’t seen it in some time so that when I think of it I immediately think of childhood which is ironic because there’s little that’s expressly for children in it. Rodney Dangerfield’s journey back to college to prevent his son from dropping out I filled with the usual college hijinks – downing shots, pseudo-orgies, young adult angst, douche boyfriends and the works.
The most searing portion of the film, for me, though is neither Dangerfield’s famous dive or the visage of Keith Gordon (who’s a startling doppelganger for Milo Ventimiglia. What I remember first from the film is the iconic – for me – is the reading of Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” which is both ridiculously comical and movingly profound. I’m still not enamoured with Thomas as a poet (his poetry, though often moving, tends to exude an exasperating officiousness).
Back to School is a delight, though. It’s consistently funny and has those random bits of perception that make it all the more valuable. I say it’s worthy in a day of this marathon.


CS said...

Just in case I miss the big day, I am sending my "Happy Birthday" wishes early.

Always nice to see Back to School get some love. Dangerfield had a string of sold comedies back in the day. Heck, I even enjoyed Ladybugs...

Anonymous said...

I too saw this film at an impressionable time. Dangerfield never got the respect he deserved.

Fitz said...

Dangerfield. One of the five greatest comedians ever.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

everyone yup, dangerfield is hilarious.