With Tina Fey’s new book “Bossypants” and Tad Friend’s profile of Anna Faris in The New Yorker, there’s been a lot of talk about women in showbiz – at least a lot more talk than usual. Whether you’re a fan of these two comediennes or not, all the buzz they’re generating got me in the mood for a good old-fashioned, feel-good chick flick. Luckily, BYE BYE BIRDIE was on TV (I said old-fashioned). It may be a musical comedy, but it still counts. In fact, of some of the funniest gags are the songs themselves. Paul Lynde is hilarious is his earnest ode to Ed Sullivan, and the heartfelt teenage proclamations of love are ingeniously insipid, like when Kim coos to her beau, “Huuugo, I will go wherever youuu go.”
Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 chiller-thriller PSYCHO still makes me crazy, in a good way. No, it’s not a perfect movie. The handling of the mystery solving isn’t nearly as passionate as the murder itself, and I always hated the way Norman and his mother talk in overlapping dialogue so you’re made to think he really must be hanging with a live woman.
But even BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN has a few low points—or so I hear. Gimmickry aside, PSYCHO jolted America into the ‘60s and we haven’t really been the same since. On the 50th anniversary of its release year, we can look back and see how profoundly the movie—dismissed by some lunatics as exploitive trash at the time—is a landmark in delicious arthouse perversion, a daring auteur curio which still manages to disturb and entertain.