Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Downton Abbey-Olympics-Oscars Fix

The Olympics are over. Downton Abbey is over. The Oscars are over. If you too, are suffering from tv malaise, take heart.  My husband brought home the fix!

Picture last Friday night: The temperature hovered around zero all week, and everyone had a major case of cranky pants. The door flew open and Robert bounded in: “Guess what I’ve got!”

The girls stared at him fearfully.  The last time he said that, he presented them with an eight dvd set of The Algebra Tutor.

"What?" we asked, trying not to flinch as he reached into a sack.

Chariots of Fire!”

 I breathed a sigh of relief. The girls were horrified.

 “I don’t want to watch a movie about Romans!” cried Christine.

 “Dad, no," said Caylin, arms crossed.

“C’mon, you’ll like it,” he encouraged, pushing it closer as if they hadn’t quite seen the cover properly. “It’s about running.”

“How can you run if you’re in a chariot?” asked Christine.

Rob turned to me with his AREN’T YOU GOING TO HELP ME? raise of the eyebrows.

I answered him back with my YOU OWE ME FOR THIS ONE raise of the eyebrows. I turned briskly: “Girls, you’ll like it. We’ll make some popcorn.”

I pulled out the Stir Crazy, hoping I was right. I’d never seen Chariots of Fire. It was an Oscar winner from 1981. My experience with most Oscar winning movies is that they’re either horrific or deadly boring. Honestly, I’m more of a rom com kind of girl.

Popcorn made, lights turned low, the opening scene began with men running in slow motion along a shoreline. My first thought was Who wears white cotton to run through water? Then I listened to the score.

“Hey,” I grinned, “that’s the song from Vacation. You know—when Clark Griswold and his family run to the entrance of Wally World!”

 Rob stared at me, grieved.

“Well it is,” I sniffed.

We settled down and watched the movie. And it was great!  It completely filled the void left by this season’s end of my favorite shows:

Void #1: The Olympics. Chariots of Fire is about the 1924 Olympics in Paris. Coming off the overblown techno vomit of Sochi (and all modern Olympics to be fair), it was fascinating to watch a time when the Olympics were at their simplest.

Void #2: Downton Abbey. Set in the roaring 20’s, this movie provided all the Downton Abbey elements I love: snobbery, gorgeous costumes, lordly characters, even a dog.

Void #3: The Oscars. The fact that Chariots of Fire won Best Movie in 1981, and the fact that glamorous women and handsome men abound in this film, I feel like I’m at the Oscars all over again.

So in the end, we asked the girls, “What’d you think?”

“It was good,” they answered, already thumbing away on their phones. And that, my friends, is as high a praise as any.

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