It’s 2am…Do You Know Where Your Remote Control is?

Quote of the Day: “She’s making movies on location/She don’t know what it means…” — Dire Straits “Skateaway”

I’m a constant clicker. Hand me the remote control and I’m off to the channel-changing races. I hear it’s a guy thing. I can get a taste of whatever’s on a given channel with a few glimpses and a quick peck at the “info” button to find out who’s starring, what year, how long it runs. But sometimes, usually late at night, I come across something that stops me in the channel-changing tracks and holds my attention, usually a movie or sitcom re-run that I find so captivating from past viewings that I leave the channel where it is and watch straight thru, usually, to the end. Lately the champ of “stop-right-here-and-watch” TV is What’s Love Got to Do With It?. In so many ways—most of the writing, some of the cheesier-than-thou set design—it’s a glorified Lifetime TV biopic flick. But it’s raised to level of pop-art by the work of Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne as Tina and Ike, battling and performing for two straight hours. It can be two in the morning, and I’m flipping channels with a vengeance, but let me stop at Showtime Black or Encore Drama and find Phil Spector asking Tina to sing “River Deep, Mountain High” and I stop right there. Cause I know that the tension in those Spector string sections are only foreshadowing the fact that you know this gig is good for Tina, but it’s also bad for Tina cause Ike really ain’t having it. And you know that leads to the scene in the diner with the cake in Tina’s face and Ike hitting Jackie (Vanessa Bell Calloway) and that leads to the scene where Tina and the kids sneak away from Ike in the middle of the night only to get betrayed by Tina’s mama and that…well, you know, you’ve seen it, I’m sure, you know what I mean. I can watch this flick, from a third of the way or three-quarters of the way thru, a million more times and love it every time, especially the performance scenes…Bend over, let me see you shake a tailfeather…

Other flicks that stop me wherever I find them and keep me til the end, mainly because there’s a scene or actor or line of dialogue that obsesses me: Halloween: H20, because Josh Hartnett is, well, Josh Hartnett and I get a kick outta that last battle between Jamie Lee Curtis and Michael Myers…Under the Tuscan Sun, because Diane Lane is the bomb (dating back to her days as Cherry Valance in The Outsiders, another one that I watch no matter where I catch it) and Italy’s never looked sexier on film in recent years…Ditto for Unfaithful, well, except for the Italy part… A Bronx Tale catches me too, because I gotta see the scene where Jane (Taral Hicks) leans over and unlocks the car door for Calogero (Lillo Brancato) and he leaps into the air in excitement and love because it signifies that she’s one of the “great ones”…there’s a few more flicks like this: Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway (Jennifer Tilly’s Olive to the black maid Venus: “Ain’t you the big shot, since you hit the number.”), Broadcast News, Boyz N tha Hood, Charlotte’s Web, Purple Rain, and Bull Durham (just cause I can’t bear to miss Kevin Costner’s speech about believing in “the soul, the cock, the pussy, the small of a woman’s back, the hanging curve ball, high fiber, good scotch, that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent, overrated crap…and long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days” and Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner’s conversation about reincarnation at the very end.)

Any movies you catch midway through, can’t bear to turn away from, know by heart, and watch obsessively to the very end?


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