Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Things I Absolutely LOVE But Few of My Friends Have Heard Of: Hope and Glory

Here is another new segment on Tales from the Gloop I'll call "Things that I absolutely love but few of my friends have ever heard of"

Today I'll be talking about one of my all time favorite movies. Now it's funny, but when I think of movies I've seen more than 4-5 times, there are a lot of classics (
The Adventures of Robin Hood, Mark of Zorro, Casablanca, Philadelphia Story) on the list, and a lot of the traditional geeky stuff (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Princess Bride). However there are some movies that I don't really think of as my favorites when asked to make a list, but that I've seen so many times and enjoy so much that I have to give them proper consideration in some way. Case in point: Shawshank Redemption, which is on TNT practically every day of the week, or Good Will Hunting which I would never think of as being a favorite, but I've certainly seen it more times than I've seen Citizen Kane. There are also a few movies that make like the second/third tier of favorites that most people don't seem to like as much as me: Billy Elliot, October Sky, Dune, Silverado. However, there is one movie I've seen enough (about 5 times) to consider it "my absolute favorite movie that few of my friends have heard of."

That movie is Hope and Glory

For those of you who haven't seen this movie (and I'm guessing that there probably are a lot of you) it tells the story of an English schoolboy during the Blitz and how he experienced the war. One of the reasons I enjoy this movie so much is because it really "gets" kids, particularly boys, of a certain age (10-11). Upstaging each other with curse words, firing off stray bullets in abandoned, bombed out houses, secretly spying two teenagers having sex... maybe you haven't experienced all these things first hand, but you can certainly imagine what they were like through Billy's eyes. The movie captures joys of childhood, as well as the very real problems associated with living in a war torn country with humor and warmth. There have been many a day that I've wished I could go out rafting on a quaint country river and be home in time for tea and sandwiches. Which is not to say that the movie glorifies worn torn England, but...well... yeah it kinda does. Since it is a semi-autobiographical film, I'm going to assume that life for kids at that time really was that wickedly fun. Really what it does though, is show the resilience of a normal working class family, and the strength of children in difficult circumstances.

Its hard to find another movie to compare it to, because there have been so few movies made about relatively functional extended families in an historical setting: Radio Days maybe, or Avalon. Certain elements definitely bare resemblance to
Empire of the Sun: wartime setting, children, mostly on their own, finding creative uses for destroyed objects, but it lacks the darkness of that film and, most obviously, is about a loving family. Hope and Glory is, if anything, an uplifting film. The final, gleefully satisfying scene makes me giggle every time. It totally needs a jumping freeze frame shot of happiness. So if you have the time, add it to your Netflix queue or (::gasp::) go to an actual video store and pick it up. It is really hard to be disappointed in this movie because its just so damn lovely.


Steve said...

Great blog as usual--erudite and funny. I am so rewarded seeing my college tuition money for you so well spent!

I love the ending or Hope and Glory. Every school kid's fantasy come true!

I look forward to your next posting.

To chip in my two cents of a few of my favorite movies that most people haven't seen, Divorce Italian Style, Hot Fuzz, Jackie Brown and Destry Rides Again.

Dan said...

So, you're saying that Empire of the Sun is not the Citizen Kane of "Kids being divebombed in World War II" movies?

Good post, Jo. I appreciate the time and thought you put into it.