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So. I watched Young at Heart with Frank Sinatra and Doris Day this weekend. And yes, I only watched it because Joe Dick mentions it in Hard Core Logo. This would be a follow up to my watching Point Break only because it was mentioned in Hot Fuzz (I still need to see Bad Boyz II).

The movie is pretty much like Joe describes. Doris Day is Laurie, one of three musically-inclined daughters of a professor. They live an idyllic life and do some typical speculation about what kind of man they'll marry, though Laurie proclaims herself ready for spinsterhood. We soon meet Alex, a handsome musician and the son of her father’s friend. He’s charming and likable and all of the daughters fall in love with him. He quickly forms an attachment with Laurie, giving her a bracelet and frolicking on the beach. Laurie’s sister, Amy, also falls in love with Alex, but Laurie is oblivious to her sister’s feelings.

Enter Barney (Frank Sinatra), who comes to help Alex arrange a musical he’s working on. Barney is Alex’s complete opposite: bitter, antagonistic, angry and unpleasant. Laurie is fascinated by him and sets about making him “into a human being” primarily by means of new cufflinks and chintz curtains.

Shortly after Laurie meets him he launches into his life story, explaining how bad he’s had it: an orphan, rough time in the war, can’t keep a job. He explains that “They” are against him, They being higher powers or fate or what have you. Laurie points out that They can’t be completely be against him: he’s an extremely talented musician. He’s concedes her point, but maintains that he’s probably the most miserable person on the planet. He plays her a song he’s writing, one that doesn’t have a beginning or ending. She exhorts him to finish it; he replies that there’s no point -- it won’t be produced.

Barney works as a piano player in seedy-type bars and Laurie &co. start going to see him. There’s an incident where Barney almost loses his job after mouthing off to the manager, but Laurie intervenes and charms the manager into forgetting the grievance. For reasons that escape me, Laurie is fascinated by Barney. Earlier in the movie she’s explained to her sister that what she really wants in a man is someone who can laugh. When she meets Barney she observes that he's a guy who doesn’t know how to laugh. He agrees with her.

Anyhoo, the same day that Barney works up the courage to kiss Laurie on the cheek, Alex proposes and Laurie accepts. The day of the wedding, Laurie stops by the bar one more time and finds that Barney is planning on heading out of town. He tells her that he loves her, and this is one more incident of Them fucking him over. Seriously, dude. Get over it. He also points out that he’s in the same boat with Amy (the heart-broken sister). Laurie demands to know what he means, and he explains that Amy is in love with Alex.

Laurie returns to the house where the wedding preparations are taking place. She spots her sister weeping over the wedding cake and realizes that Barney was right. She runs off. Cut to the family standing around wondering where the hell the bride is. A telegram comes for Amy: by the time the telegram is read, Laurie will be married to Barney.

We fast forward to Laurie and Barney’s married life. Instead of a spacious, yuppie house in the suburbs, Laurie is now living in a cramped and ugly little apartment, attempting to cook on a tiny stove and reading letters from her family back home. Barney is in a mood (at least, more than usual). He can’t go to South America as a piano player on a cruise because of Laurie. She apologizes and tries to placate him. He wants to take her out for a nice dinner and suggests hocking the piano -- the most expensive thing they own. She refuses, and argues that he’s managed to finish three songs and two were published. He quickly points out that neither were hits.

She’s still wearing the bracelet Alex gave her, and he accuses her of still harboring feelings for Alex and demands that she get rid of it. He huffs off to work, she shows up and from the audience removes her glove to show that she no long has the bracelet. Seriously, this is getting so Lifetime.

They return to her father’s house for Christmas. Barney gives her the bracelet, telling her not to ask how he got it. There’s a family reunion; Alex is in attendance. Towards the end of the evening Laurie gets a chance to speak to Alex as they’re departing. She starts to explain why she married Barney, but he gently tells her that she doesn’t need to explain. All he wants to know is if she’s happy. She hesitates and says she loves her husband very much. He points out that that’s not the same. She prevaricates and gives him the bracelet back. She also explains that she’s pregnant but that she hasn’t told Barney yet. From a distance, Barney watches the exchange.

Barney offers to drive Alex to the train station, which gives them a chance to talk. They talk about work and such until they arrive at the train station. Alex gives Barney an envelop of cash and instructs him to use it for something to make Laurie happy. The train pulls away.

Barney drives back. It starts to snow hard, accumulating on the windshield. The rinky-dink windshield wipers are struggling to keep up. Barney turns them off and the windshield is quickly blanketed. His jaw tightens and he floors it.

Cut to the family receiving a call from the police. They rush to the hospital, thinking that it’s a brother-in-law because Barney was driving his car at the time. They realize that it’s actually Barney and Laurie rushes in. He’s got the obligatory head bandage, but looks otherwise all right to me. However the doctor refuses to answer her questions when she asks if he’ll be okay -- never a good sign. Barney wakes up, clearly surprised to find himself alive. He looks with wonder at Laurie and haltingly asks ... for a cigarette.

He smokes that cigarette and then his eyes drift closed. It doesn’t look good. Laurie tells him they’re going to have a baby. Then we cut to a year and a half later. The family is gathered for Easter. Barney has made it and seems in good spirits. Everyone gathers around the piano and sings while he plays and then he picks up his son. The End.

If you hadn’t surmised by this point, I never really warmed to Barney. Frank Sinatra, sure, he can sing, but he’s got all the sex appeal of Steve Buscemi. But really it was his attitude that really drove me nuts. The constant pessimism, manipulation and self-defeating behavior was exhausting.

Ironically those are all the things I love about Joe. And I can really see how Joe would relate to Barney. They both go out of their way to antagonize people, and they’re both caught up in the role they’ve cast themselves in. They’re so invested in the ideas that the world is against them, and they go out of their way to make sure they’re never wrong on that count. From Joe’s perspective, Barney has got to be the culmination of his whole fucked-up mythos. Barney is the angry, self-destructive misanthrope, but Laurie loves him totally and completely and without reservation. He doesn’t make her happy, but she doesn’t expect him to, she’s willing to subjugate her own desires and ambitions to his. Despite all of Barney’s best efforts, life works out for him -- in a way that it doesn’t for Joe.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-06-23 01:27 am (UTC)
ignaz: icon by me, art by anne taintor (Default)
From: [personal profile] ignaz
So I need to see this movie, huh?

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