I don’t know how you feel about Billy Wilder, but I love him. He made Avanti, one of my all time favorite romcoms. He also made The Apartment which is brilliant but dark. I haven’t seen this movie for quite awhile, and I was a little taken aback when it ended up on our romcom list (as I said, it’s dark), so it’ll be interesting to see what it’s like in the context of PopD, which is turning out to be a lot different than I thought it would. I knew Lucy (Lani) and I were ruthless about critiquing, but I didn’t realize how adamant we’d be that the romance had to work for real, even in the context of a romantic farce. If the groundwork isn’t laid so that we believe in that relationship for the long term, we get savage. So far only three of the nine movies have gotten perfect scores from us–It Happened One Night, His Girl Friday, and Desk Set–but I have really high hopes for the last three in this era–The Apartment, Father Goose, and How to Steal a Million.
That means we’ve trashed some movies that are fun to watch. We try to be careful to say, “This movie doesn’t work as a romcom,” not just “This movie doesn’t work,” but as we saw last week with Pillow Talk, if the romance doesn’t work, the rest of the movie can be brilliant and we’re still throwing things at the TV at the end (and very carefully missing since we can’t afford to replace the sucker). For our purposes–analyzing romcom movies to find out how to write them better–we need to be incisive, but I’m afraid it’s ruining a lot of movies for people. So here’s a question: If you’ve played along with PopD any time in the past nine weeks, did we ruin a movie for you? It’s a good time to ask because I think we’re going to be running a lot of comparisons with Pillow Talk–as I remember The Apartment is the dark side of that sunny-side-up film–and I’m thinking maybe I should pull my punches.
(Note: This post is going up on Argh Friday to catch anybody I missed here. So there’ll be some deja vu.)