Sunday, October 3, 2010

Movie time with Emma

It's the end of an era. Middle-of-the-night feedings are just about over. I'm not naive - I'm sure there will be other times when I get to wake up with Emma and feed her, but it seems that our regular nightly feedings are all but done. I'm actually going to miss these feedings; there's something special about watching movies while semi-conscious with your baby girl. Oh, good times were had!

Some of the wonderful and odd films we watched together during those nights: The Girl with the Dragoo Tattoo impressed us quite a bit with its tight murder mystery and a well-cast Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth Salander. Haneke's Cache was an odd one, about a couple who is stalked by a stranger who sends them bizarre videotapes. The Man in the Moon is an oldie but goodie with Reese Witherspoon in her first role. She's wonderful as a girl at the cusp of womanhood and falls for an older boy, played by Jeremy (or is it Jason?) London. Sweet stuff. There are more, but some are best forgotten.

We didn't watch a whole movie in a single sitting, of course. Some movies took 2-3 feedings to finish all the way through (Sophie's Choice, clocking in at 2 hours and 45 minutes, took 4 feedings! Oy!)

But the most memorable viewing(s) was Dressed To Kill. I was not expecting to see something so ... lurid. Especially with my baby girl.

I had never seen it before, but kept meaning to. For those of you not in the know, Dressed to Kill is a 1980 thriller from Brian DePalma, starring Michael Caine and Angie Dickinson. You'd know if you saw it. Trust me.

First scene? Angie Dickinson. Nude. In the shower. The camera isn't shy, and the editor isn't exactly eager to move on to the next scene. I shift uncomfortably to shield Emma from the TV. I don't want to have the conversation 15 years from now with her asking me, "Hey Dad, remember that night when I was two months old, and you were feeding me while watching this movie where Angie Dickinson touched herself in front of the camera for a good 5 minutes? Well, that was sooo embarrassing." I just know it's going to come back to bite me.

A few scenes later, followed by a virtuoso wordless montage in a museum, Dickinson is misbehaving very, very badly in the back of a moving taxi cab. Almost immediately, I had an image of social services busting down my door at 11 o'clock at night. It just felt so wrong to be watching this movie with Emma in my arms.

Mara happened to be in the room during that scene and she asked, "What the hell are you watching?" My answer: "This is Dressed to Kill, a camp classic from Brian DePalma. He lovingly rips off Hitchcock in almost every one of his films."

No response.

"That shower scene we just saw? More than just a nod to Psycho."

No response.

"Ok, not your cup of tea."

But Dressed To Kill is totally my cup of tea. I love DePalma's cinematic flourishes -- the split screens, the aforementioned Hitchcock references, the endless tracking shots. Sure, he doesn't know the meaning of the word subtle, but I don't hold that against him at all. He more than makes up for his lurid excess by crafting fantastic set pieces in his films. You've seen them before. The baby carriage down the steps of City Hall in The Untouchables. The "pig's blood" sequence in Carrie. There are at least three memorable set pieces in the first Mission: Impossible (a hugely underrated film, by the way; go back and watch it again). I do wish this man would make more films.

Back to Dressed to Kill. It's not among his best films, but there is a lot to like here. Emma disagrees, though. She fell asleep before the killer was revealed.

Then again, she fell asleep during all of the films we watched together so far. Ah, but that will all change soon enough. Someday she'll be just like her daddy and never have enough of the wonderful and odd movies out there in this world, and we'll actually get to talk about them!

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