Okay, back from its impromptu hiatus is The Basics. Drew McWeeny of HitFix and AICN fame is (still) contributing a series of columns about the essential films that any film fan ought to be familiar with, while I respond in kind. Links to your own blog posts on any of these films are not only welcomed, but encouraged. We first tackled "Duck Soup" (his take here, my take here) before moving on to "Manhattan" (his and mine). Now, it's time for us to take a look at "Modern Romance" (his here, mine... well, below).

When Drew had suggested that we bring things back with 1981's Modern Romance, I joked that it was great that we were changing things up after Manhattan with another neurotic romantic dramedy. He insisted that "they couldn't be more different," and I took his word on that. Several colleagues praised it as one of the funniest comedies ever made; others (okay, it was Drew) pointed out that Stanley Kubrick himself once called it a "perfect" movie. As such, my expectations were vaguely hopeful, and for at least the first half, I felt like I could see what all the fuss was about.

Right off the bat, film editor Robert (Brooks) dumps Mary (Kathryn Harrold), not for the first time but for what he swears is the last time. He then stops by work, where Jay (Bruno Kirby) tries to assure him that he did the right thing and sends him home with a few Quaaludes. For maybe the next fifteen minutes, and with as few cuts as possible, Robert takes the 'ludes, gets ready for bed, calls Jay in an effort to show his gratitude and affection for him (yep, they've kicked in), talks to his pet bird, calls an old flame in an effort to get over Mary, gets dressed again in an effort to patch things up with Mary, all before passing out in his car before he can even leave his driveway.
categories Columns, Cinematical