. . . but sometimes we just don’t see eye-to-eye. Examples:
- What to do with days off
- How to organize closets
- What temperature is “cold”
For the most part, these aren’t issues. We compromise: Logan lets me eat my pickles and mustard as long as I brush my teeth extra-good later. I went hiking on his day off instead of doing laundry. I re-organize his clothes every time I hang things up. He gets me extra blankets.
However. Other things are really too hard.
With few exceptions . . . we cannot watch a mutually enjoyable movie. We can enjoy watching movies together because we love each other and we compromise and we take turns picking and stuff like that. But we cannot sit down and watch something that we both love. (Except Studio C. I finally got him hooked on that . . . bahahaha.)
He likes old westerns and the three stooges. I like period dramas and crime shows. (I know for a fact that watching Pride & Prejudice with him would be sheer torture for BOTH of us, so I’m not even trying that one.)
Recently, we’ve been trying Alfred Hitchcock, a favorite of his family. (Thanks Peter & Brittany for letting me raid your movie collection . . . ) I enjoyed The Man Who Knew Too Much, except for the part where the couple is like, “Oh hey strangers, please take our child back to our hotel because we’re being questioned by these foreign police guys in this strange city. You seem trustworthy because no one else here speaks our language.” Yes. They did that. And then were surprised when their child was kidnapped. Other than that, it was a good movie. 1 point for Hitchcock!
Vertigo, however, had one of the worst endings I have ever seen. I need happiness, and I need Jimmy Stewart to not be a deranged psycho and stuff. Nope nope nope. -1 point for Hitchcock.
But the third one we tried is where Hitchcock really, really, really did a terrible job.
Warning: scathing review + many spoilers to follow. Read at your own risk. Also, Dad W, I apologize. I realize you all like Hitchcock, so I don’t mean any of this to be personally offensive. Please don’t fire me as a daughter-in-law. Also this is super long and I apologize to everyone. Just stop reading now.
Alright. North By Northwest. Where do I start.
It actually had a pretty good beginning: Cary Grant is kidnapped by someone who thinks he’s a non-existent government spy, except he’s not. He’s just a slightly-sleazy newspaper guy who lives with his mom. Bad Guy, of course, doesn’t believe this, and thus tries to kill him by pouring a bottle of brandy down his throat and putting him behind the wheel of a car pointed towards a cliff. Except Cary Grant, miraculously, navigates down the road instead until he smashes into a cop car. Of course he’s charged with drunk driving . . . which he tries to plead out of with the kidnapping story. His lawyer says he’s a trustworthy guy, so a detective goes to the house where he was held and interrogates the lady there. She claims he came tipsy to a party, got drunk, left early, etc. Everyone believes her. So Cary Grant begins investigating the spy he was mistaken for. He finds the actual owner of the house, who is not the person who kidnapped him, but one of the bad guys throws a knife in that guy’s back while Cary Grant is talking to him in the UN building. When the guy slumps onto him, dead, Cary Grant pulls the knife out of him. Now everyone in the UN building stares at him holding a knife and a dead man. He runs away very fast. All the newspapers run his picture with a wanted murderer caption. He flees town, still intent on finding the spy he’s been mistaken for. This is when he meets the Pretty Girl (who is the actual government spy) and falls in love with her. The rest of the movie is him trying to locate the non-existent government spy, realizing the Pretty Girl has been lying to him, and finally, helping the Pretty Girl escape from her terrible and dangerous life of spying so they can get married.
Get it? If you didn’t just go read the Wikipedia summary because I’m not repeating it. Ok. Now I’m going to tell you ALL the plot holes so you never watch it for yourselves.
- the telephone in the library.
When the bad guys abducted Cary Grant, they took him to a large house and locked him in the library until head bad guy got there to tell him he was dead. Except. There is a telephone on the desk. Cary Grant never once touches this telephone as he waits for his impending doom. A simple, “9-1-1? Yeah, I’ve been kidnapped. I can tell you exactly where I am because my abductors didn’t blindfold me or anything.” Alternatively, he could have called the guys he was having dinner with. “The reason I mysteriously left you in the restaurant right after I got there was because someone started pointed a gun at me and told me to get in the car.” The movie would have been a lot shorter, but that wouldn’t have been bad at all.
- the worst detectives in the world.
When Cary Grant is in court, facing his drunk driving charges, his very reputable lawyer tells the judge that Cary Grant is a pretty good guy and he trust the abduction story. The judge listens to the very reputable lawyer and orders some detectives to check the story out. They do this by taking Cary Grant and his mean mother to the house where he was held and asking the lady, “Hey did you kidnap this guy lol?” to which she replies “lol silly guy of course not good buddy!! Now go pay your $2 court fee because it’s 1957 lol” And that’s that. I understand that Cary Grant’s story was very unbelievable, but it really wouldn’t have been hard to double-check the lady’s story. For instance, the house belonged to a UN guy who lived in the city and thus the house should have been empty in the first place; the lady was impersonating said UN guy’s dead wife who was not even alive; the guys at the restaurant could verify that Cary Grant disappeared suddenly and mysteriously and was also not tipsy. All these things would ruin the basic plot, because now we’d be investigating a kidnapping instead of saying “Silly Cary Grant, you’re a liar!!” but the movie could be re-written so Cary Grant could still fall in love with the Bad Girl and rescue her if you want. Because what detectives are that lazy????
- also bad government spies.
So Cary Grant has been mistaken for a decoy spy, a random name who checks in and out of various hotels and is never seen, supposedly pursuing the Bad Guys. Decoy Spy serves to protect the Real Spy, aka pretty Bad Girl. However. Would a real government spy use the same name everywhere he goes? Isn’t that a little bit obvious? And would he leave a forwarding address so the Bad Guys could keep tabs on him???? I think not. Bad job, Decoy Spy.
- Cary Grant is just kinda dumb.
Do you really think no one in the whole crowded UN building saw a Bad Guy throw a knife into that guy’s back?? Do you really think that dropping the knife and running away shows your innocence? Do you really think that an investigator can’t figure out that the angle of the wound indicated throwing instead of stabbing? The law would be on your side here if you stay. But you’re not staying. . . soooo. . . Do you really think that not changing your appearance at all is a good idea since you’re apparently dead-set on running from the law and your picture is all over the USA? DO YOU REALLY THINK YOU SHOULD TRUST THE PRETTY GIRL ON THE TRAIN WHO KNOWS YOU’RE WANTED FOR MURDER AND STILL INVITES YOU BACK TO HER SLEEPING COMPARTMENT? Get real. She’s either a bad guy or a very, very, very creepy sociopath who is attracted to wanted murderers. Oh my word Cary Grant. You’re a newspaper man. You should have more street sense than this.
- the bad guys are also kinda dumb.
Okay. You’ve already killed an unclear number of men whom you thought were the Decoy Spy. Maybe you should start wondering if the decoy spy is real. Plus, remember how you tried to kill Cary Grant the second time by luring him into a lonely field so that he could meet the decoy spy? If he was who you thought he was, he wouldn’t have fallen for the “Decoy Spy says meet him here alone at 2:00!” He would have know the pretty girl was working for you and you would have sabotaged yourself. Obviously he’s not too bright, so you can stop worrying about him now.
However, at the end when he shows up at your hideout (how did he find your hideout, btw?) and he’s driving away with the Pretty Girl and your smuggled goods, why don’t you shoot out his tires? Seriously. You all have guns. Yet you choose to run down the driveway after him instead of just stranding him. What’s with that?
- The real spy is also . . . you guessed it . . . kinda dumb.
So Cary Grant finally figures out that the Pretty Girl from the train is with the bad guys. He tracks her to an art auction where the Bad Guy is hanging all over her. There is a confrontation in which Cary Grant acts personally offended that someone that pretty would be a bad guy and use his stupidity against himself. Anyhow. During this art auction scene, suddenly the Bad Guy sees an ugly fat idol. He directs his underling (who looks like a cross between Bill Nye and a dragon) to bid for it. The Pretty Girl who is actually a spy assumes that the Bad Guy is just an ugly fat idol aficionado, although she is still in the dark about how he is getting whatever it is he is smuggling/trading/etc. Really, Pretty Girl? You never once questioned, “Why is this Bad Guy so interested in this thing? Could there be a Bad Guy reason why he wants it? Or is he just hanging out here at the art auction for funzies?”
- a literal cliffhanger
Okay. So Cary Grant rescues the Pretty Girl from her terrible life of bad-guy spying by showing up to the hideout literal moments before she and Bad Guy take off on a plane out of the country. They make a daring run to a car (see point #5) and drive until they find themselves on the edge of a cliff which happens to be Mount Rushmore. Much scrambling and chasing and cliff wrestling ensues, resulting in all the bad guys falling down to their deaths and Cary Grant and the Pretty Girl dangling from the edge by one hand. Some good guys have shown up, but they’re a long way off and you’re been dangling for a few minutes. You’re a newspaper guy. You’re not that buff. How did you guys survive? We’ll never know because the scene cuts to another sleeper car in another train where you’re like, “Yay now you’re the third Mrs. I’ve had and this is the best day ever!” The end.
Sorry ’bout that rant. But it needed to be said. I’ve read enough Agatha Christie novels to know what makes a believable mystery.
Do you all like Alfred Hitchcock? Does he have any that are better than this? Please, someone, give us some help. Logan’s the greatest but even he doesn’t want to hear incessant critiquing every second of the movie.