Today while browsing in the Super Bargain DVD rack at Target, I saw a stupid comedy which, when it was first released, changed my attitude. You see, at the time, I was living in Europe and looked down on popular culture. If it wasn’t high literature, I then thought, it wasn’t worth reading, it wasn’t worth watching.
Well, the youngest PatriotBrotherWest insisted we see this comedy, “Ruthless People.” Because I was back in the U.S. only for a short while and because my brother’s a great guy, I decided to go with him, fully intending to have a terrible time.
Quite the contrary. Watching the movie, I couldn’t stop laughing. I left the theater feeling better than I had when I first walked in. This “stupid” comedy reminded me how stupid, how narrow-minded, I had been, to assume that only literature (or movies) with some deeper meaning could accomplish something meaningful.
So, now, every time someone knocks Hollywood for making schlocky comedies with no redeeming value, I recall that day when a “stupid” comedy reminded me of the power of laughter. Their value, like that of the great vaudeville entertainers in the early part of the last century and so many others in the succeeding years who, on stage and screen, have made us laugh is simply that; they make us laugh. It’s the very reason Jessica married Roger Rabbit. Laughter helps lighten the load, easing the burdens of the day. No wonder that (despite its many flaws) I’ve come to love Hollywood so much.
Today, for just $5.50, I bought “Ruthless People” on DVD to remind myself of the lesson I learned and to watch yet again a movie which helped teach me the meaning of movies so that I can laugh and then laugh again and delight in the power — and meaning — of laughter.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
UPDATE: I’m delighted to note the number of people who share my love for “Ruthless People.” Just tonight (04/18), while celebrating a friend’s birthday, we all agreed that the movie was one of the funniest of the 1980s, with some of the greatest one-liners of the period. And others have e-mailed to tell me how much they loved the flick. All this fun for just $5.50. I love Target!