Tuesday, February 2, 2016


You've heard it once, you've heard it twice, you've heard it a million times. A widow finds romance a year or so after the husband dies. Friends are delighted: "She's never been happier!"

You hear that and think, How nice. I hear it and think, She's happier than when she was married? Does that mean she's glad her husband's dead?

There's nothing cynical about that. It's just another way of looking at things. I do it all the time with movies:

An underage prostitute is rescued from her violent pimp by a lonely cabbie who only wants to make life better for everyone.

A successful businessman who can't put up with lazy people suffers a work-induced mental breakdown that drastically alters his personality.

Animal cruelty takes center stage when a monkey is cruelly taken from its jungle lair and put on display in New York, only to be hunted down when he breaks from his chains in a fearless act of rebellion.

Government officials are kidnapped, robbed and humiliated by a pack of homeless, unemployed criminals. During one caper, a rich female hostage falls victim to Stockholm Syndrome.

The sluttish daughter of a slave-owning drunk rejects her strong, loving spouse for the effeminate, dithering husband of her morally-superior sister.

Far from the closest city, a priest claims to do God's work by living with dozens of boys whom he home-schools, forces to do all the housekeeping, and never allows off the premises on their own. 

America is whipped into a war frenzy by an impetuous, over-achieving entertainer's corny, jingoistic musicals.

A salesman who only wants to be left alone is disturbed by the peeping-tom who's spying on everyone in the neighborhood.

The countryside is thrown into panic when dozens of prisoners stage a breakout, thanks to the lackadaisical warden and a blackmailed guard.

A cold woman decides to two-time her courageous, war-hero husband with a sarcastic, draft-dodging, borderline-depressive saloon owner who not only drinks and smokes too much, but also allows Nazis into his establishment.

Bigotry rears its ugly head when a vainglorious white entertainer rises to the top of show business on the back of African-Americans, to the delight of his racist fans. 

A naive-bordering-on-imbecilic senator betrays his mentor in order to puff up his own rather thin résumé.

A poor woman with little more than good looks shacks up with seven men afflicted with diastrophic dysplasia. When the men care for her after she suffers a near-fatal drug overdose, she pays them back by running off with a rich stranger.

Damned with psychological issues and an attraction to little girls, an elderly man is put on trial for identity theft.

After the angry manager of a failing bank selfishly refuses a six-figure-salaried job, he walks out on his family on Christmas Eve in favor of an all-night bender, leading to a frightening bout of DTs.

A bitter widower who treats his children like POWs dumps his fiance in favor of the babysitter, a sexually-aroused nun.



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