24 December 2014

63 Things I Think While Watching White Christmas

Every year, I watch White Christmas at least once before Christmas. It's a requirement for me to feel Christmas spirit. The war! The nostalgia! The singing! The dresses! The tiny waists! The plot holes! The dancing! The fur muffs!
And this is what I think nearly every time I watch White Christmas.

  1. The war looks slightly dirty, I'll give you that, but overall much cleaner than I expected.
  2. Who brought their saxophone to war? What did they think that would do for them? Fire bullets in very curvy paths?
  3. Oh, let's all get nostalgic for the days when $6.60 or $8.80 was considered a steep price.
  4. I mean, there was a war on, so maybe we shouldn't get too nostalgic, but hey, you could bring your band instruments to the front line, so at least band nerds could be a little more nostalgic.
  5. Who was in charge of bringing the painted backdrop of New England to war?
  6. General Waverly is using a stick as a cane—like, a branch that fell off a tree, perhaps during some bombing. Why doesn't he have a real cane? Is he being sent away from the front in order to find a new cane? Could someone fashion him a cane, maybe out of the saxophone? I realize that's a terrible thing to do to a musical instrument, but it's wartime. We all have to make sacrifices.
  7. In "The Old Man," the song the men sing in farewell to General Waverly," they sing, "And we'll tell the kiddies we answered duty's call / With the grandest son of a soldier of them all!" So, General Waverly's dad was also a soldier, or am I being too literal? In any event, someone please explore the Waverly back story. It is ripe for more details. And while you're at it, please explain what he did for the rest of the war after the slam-bang send-off Bing Crosby gave him. More General Waverly all the time. That's all I'm asking.
  8. Who else, when Danny Kaye tries to brush off the severity of his wound, wants him to say, "It's just a flesh wound!"? Is it just me?
  9. I want to go back in time and write headlines for that Variety newspaper that reports on Wallace and Davis and other entertainment news. Oh, to work for a place that allows such alliteration as "Boffo Biz in Better Bistros."
  10. Do we have levels of bistros still? Are there good ones and bad ones? How do I know if I'm at a better bistro?
  11. I should work the word boffo into more conversations.
  12. I should also start saying, "Mutual, I'm sure," when I'm introduced, just like that vapid, she-can't-even-spell-Smith chorus girl does. It will make people think I'm far ahead of them in the conversation.
  13. I always have to cover my eyes when Bing Crosby is changing. Seeing him in his underwear, it's just so risque.
  14. For me, one of the saddest lines in the whole movie is right after Bing explains to Danny that he doesn't think he'll find a girl in the music business who's ready to settle down. Danny says that that's the first time he's opened up like that, in all the time they've known each other. It's been 10 years since the war, and they've been singing and dancing and touring together that whole time—and this is the most they've ever shared? I am sad for their friendship and wonder what they do talk about. Better bistros? Where to buy more gray shoes that perfectly match their pants? Try to remember the name of the guy who brought a saxophone to war?
  15. I wish we still lived in a world where people got so dressed up to go out to dinner and a show. Those people at the club where the Haynes sisters are performing—did you see the dresses? And the very tall heels?
  16. I spend a lot of time while watching White Christmas either being nostalgic for a time I never experienced, or experiencing dress envy.
  17. Now I'm looking at my jeans in disappointment: Why can't you be a teal flouncy dress?
  18. Not that I want to be part of a sister act.
  19. Although my sister and I were dressed alike to perform a few times, but this was at church. Singing about Jesus is a far cry from being a sister act in a nightclub in Florida.
  20. Now I want to watch that movie Sister Act. You know, the one with Whoopi Goldberg as a nun and Maggie Smith as a mother superior {really, some of Maggie's best work—I don't know why people go on and on about that Prime of Miss Jean Brodie}. Because there's singing and nuns, it's basically The Sound of Music but without the kids. Or Nazis.
  21. I do not agree that the best things happen while you're dancing. I think they happen while you're cooking. Or reading.
  23. Also, why does her name have a hyphen? Did she not have a last name? Was she the Madonna of her day?
  24. Freckle-Faced Haynes, the Dog-Faced Boy, is not all that bad looking. It seems a little unfair to be so judgmental of his looks, Danny Kaye.
  25. That audience that got to see an impromptu performance from Wallace & Davis singing "Sisters" got a bargain: I am sure that tickets to their normal show would've cost $6.60 or even $8.80.
  26. A snood, by the way, is an ornamental hairnet worn at the back of a woman's head. {Bing asks Danny if he left his money in his snood.} I am not nostalgic for the days when women wore these, partly because it's a silly word to say.
  27. Every time I've travelled on the Amtrak, I have willed it to be like this train in White Christmas. A cafe car serving cocktails and with real silverware and napkins. Cozy beds. But as I sit in the cafe car eating warmed up pizza and drinking coffee from a styrofoam cup, I know that it is not the same.
  28. Have these four never seen snow before? Why would you want to wash your hair in snow? Or your face? This all sounds very cold.
  29. But I am on board with making models of snow-covered mountains with napkins. So cute! Pinterest-worthy, really.
  30. I wonder what it would be like to try to sleep sitting up in a cafe car of a train. I've slept sitting up in a normal seat on a train before—on my way back from Morocco, but that is a story for another time—and of course that's comfortable enough. But the cafe car? What if the bartender kept trying to give you more of those creamy white drinks?
  31. Speaking of which, what are those creamy white drinks that the four harmonizers look at so longingly while singing about snow? It looks like a milkshake, but why would you drink a milkshake in the winter?
  32. Bing does mention a hot buttered rum—light on the butter. I want to make that happen, except I would double the butter.
  33. Oh, maybe the milkshake drinking was foreshadowing to the summer-like temperatures in Vermont. But maybe I'm overanalyzing the movie. Maybe.
  34. That lady who plays the housekeeper is in The Music Man. I would like to create a game that's like 6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon, but it'd be 6 Degrees of My Favorite Musical. I bet you I can work it in to any conversation. That is how 6 Degrees works, right?
  35. BUT WAIT: That lady is also in Sister Act.
  36. My thoughts on White Christmas are really becoming circular now, and mostly circling around Sister Act, it seems.
  37. Third time hearing the "Sisters" song. I would like to volunteer now to sing it, unless I have to wear a snood.
  38. I've never understood the General's finances. I know he sunk his whole pension and all his savings into the place, but it's still early in the ski season and there was snow at Thanksgiving. It's probably mid-December by the time Bing and Friends arrive, so that just a couple of weeks of no guests. I realize that I know zero about running ski lodges, but it just seems that he has a long ski season ahead of him and besides, there were people at dinner during the Haynes sisters' performance of "Sisters" {aka, their only number}. Where did those people come from? Are they townspeople who feel bad for the General and so get all dressed up on a random weeknight to come out an eat Emma's cooking?
  39. Once the cast arrives, we enter the part of the movie I like to call: I Wish I Knew the Plot of Their Musical.
  40. The title—Playing Around—gives no clues.
  41. And don't get me started on "Mandy" and "Choreography." One looks back to the minstrel days and one bemoans the state of current theater. WHEN are you happy, fictitious musical-within-White Christmas?
  43. Even wearing that white sparkly leotard in "Mandy" where she looks like she may have, I'm sorry to say, an adult diaper under that leotard {why is it so oddly puffy?}, Vera-Ellen is disturbingly skinny.
  44. Where do all these cast members sleep? Exactly how big is this ski lodge? Does Emma do all the cooking and cleaning for this place? Or does Susan, General Waverly's granddaughter, help out?
  45. And where are Susan's parents?
  46. I still don't believe that the best things happen while you're dancing.
  47. Betty's velour dress is pretty cool, though. More dress envy.
  48. So much could be cleared up if only Betty would talk to Bob instead of believing all these rumors spread by that busybody of a housekeeper, Emma. Betty wouldn't have had to run away to New York to sing her sad, lonely, love/torch song. She and Bob could've sung their "Count Your Blessings" duet in the show because why not? Any song will fit into that musical's plot.
  49. But confronting problems and saying to another person, "Hey, I heard this thing about you, and I want to know the truth behind it" works well as advice in a Dear Abby column; in many great love stories, it would stop the plot cold. What if Elizabeth had asked Darcy to explain his involvement in the twisted tale of Wickham? That would've cut Pride & Prejudice in half and cut out all the drama.
  50. But I do love that in White Christmas, Betty learns the truth about Bob and his plan to surprise the General while watching TV on a break from performing "Love, You Didn't Do Right By Me." This is proof that TV brings us together.
  51. Judging from the number of men at the train station on Christmas Eve, it will be impossible to hide all these men from the General. It's his Inn, after all. Of course he'll notice a much more boisterous backstage crowd.
  52. Or maybe there's a secret back road entrance we haven't seen? One that doesn't cross over the horseshoe game?
  53. Do Bob and Phil have their Army uniforms with them whenever they travel?
  54. Or did they have these sent from home?
  55. Where is home for them? Do they have an apartment in New York City? Are they like Oscar and Felix, the Odd Couple, and live together as perfectly opposite roommates? Or do they have separate apartments in the same building?
  56. One of my favorite lines in the whole movie: General Waverly tells Emma that he got along just fine in the Army without her, and she comes back with, "Yeah, and it took 15,000 men to take my place!" One million points to Emma.
  57. Also, can there be a White Christmas sequel where Emma and the General get married? They clearly need to.
  58. In this sequel, Emma can also apologize for nearly permanently breaking up Betty and Bob with her baseless gossip. It bothers me that the never addresses her fault in the whole hullabaloo, but she does have that whole "15,000 men" quip in her favor, so I might forgive her.
  59. When the General is walking among the soldiers, shaking hands and looking touched, I like to watch this awkward moment: He reaches out for a soldier's hand but withdraws it before actually shaking. It's as if he saw whose hand he was about to shake and remembered how much he didn't like that guy. Perhaps this guy was a chef and couldn't do much with those rations. Or maybe he complained a lot about wearing a necktie during war. Or maybe he stole the General's cane.
  60. Considering that Betty never rehearsed "Gee, I Wish I Was Back in the Army," she is a quick study. She should do this professionally.
  61. "White Christmas"! They're singing "White Christmas"! And it's not in front of a painted backdrop that somebody brought to war!
  62. Why does Bob throw Betty's present in the tree? He should set it nicely under the tree to treasure later.
  63. I applaud the person who was so quick to hitch up the sleigh and the horses when it started to snow. They look like a picture print from Currier and Ives.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts with Thumbnails