The Hess Report


Friday, February 04, 2005

I watched Mary Poppins with Maddie and Lucy tonight on our big screen. A very different experience on a 4'x7' screen in the dark with popcorn than it is letterboxed on the bedroom tv in forty-five minutes chunks. I new it before, but tonight reaffirmed it: this is a fantastic movie. Phenomenal. Like so many movies that I find genius in, it is ostensibly a kids' movie, but it's really just a movie that features children as main characters. It is two movies in one: the first is a silly magical romp for kids to enjoy and cackle at; the second is a brutal indictment of out-of-control personal discipline and societal coldness, which has been done a hundred times, but almost never so well as here.

What I cannot believe is this: the movie is not dated. It just isn't. Most "classics" I've been forced to watch are intolerable to me. Boring. Horrific acting. Writing so bad it almost makes me gag. But not this. In case anyone gets the idea that the times we are living in are somehow intellectually superior to those of decades ago, and that modern man is more capable of skewering it's canards than those neadrethals at Disney in the 60's, just watch this movie. It freaking rules.

Julie Andrews is beautiful and sings the hell out her pieces. Best Actress in 1964 for it, too. The man playing the dad, David Tomlinson, is likewise perfect. And Dick Van Dyke (I have a great joke about him trying to break into Hollywood) is unbelievable. Did he get an Oscar for this? No. Not even a nomination, but I'd put m up there with Gene Wilder's Willy Wonka, or Bruce Willis's John McClane from Die Hard, or Marlon Brando in On The Waterfront as one of the great iconic performances in movie history.

If you have kids, you need to rewatch this movie.

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