Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away!

It’s a beautiful cool morning, and the rain is coming down. It’s not too stormy—just overcast and wet. It’s the perfect weather to stay in pajamas, call in sick and put in a black and white movie.

I think a soggy day is great for a murder mystery, a monster flick, a comedy, or a romance. I’ve tried war movies or tearjerkers, but I end up sobbing a little too much, and then I’m down for the rest of the day.

The rain puts me in the mood for something sentimental. Romantic films, like Casablanca or Gone with the Wind, balance out the rain with optimism and hope. Something like Barefoot in the Park works, too. It’s funny and light-hearted, without being syrupy and depressing. I can’t handle The Way We Were or Love Story on rainy days. They are just too sad. I adore Sabrina (both the original and the remake) or Breakfast at Tiffany’s for a fun pick-me-up romance.

If there’s a good measure of thunder and lightning, then I really enjoy a hearty Hitchcock thriller. I’ll pop in Dial M for Murder, Rope, Rear Window or Psycho—if I’m feeling really brave. That one gets to me, though. I have to know that sun is in the forecast. I enjoy films like Gaslight and Wait Until Dark for milder shivers.

An Agatha Christie adaptation is great for keeping one’s whodunit senses active. Evil Under the Sun is one of my favorites. The story is set in the sunny Mediterranean, and the characters keep you smiling with their over-the-top eccentricities.

A good caper picture is always great for rainy days. The Italian Job and How to Steal a Million always make my short list. It seems movies about stealing things get my heart pumping and actually make me feel as though I were accomplishing something—something besides finishing a bowl of popcorn.

If you can’t choose just one classic, and you need a good laugh, spend a couple hours with Steve Martin as he joins the characters from a dozen classic noir films, cut together to create a crazy new story line, in Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid. This 1982 parody includes segments from all your favorites like This Gun for Hire, The Big Sleep, Suspicion, and The Postman Always Rings Twice. It’s a must-see for any noir fan, especially if you like Martin’s genius combination of deadpan and slapstick.

Rainy days are also the perfect time for really cheesy monster movies. The cheesier the better. Watch the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers or This Island Earth. Listening to characters (talking about a cat) saying things like, “We can him Neutron, because he’s so positive.” Just makes me laugh aloud. All my geek friends understand why this line is stupidly funny.

Another option for rainy day fun is a musical. If you have kids at home with you, this is a great time to share a movie from your childhood, too. Remember Bugsy Malone? No? It’s a 1976 film starring Jodie Foster and Scott Baio. It’s the basic gangster movie made with an all-child cast, and—oh yeah—the Tommy-guns shoot cream puffs. It’s cute for the kids, and I guarantee you’ll find yourself singing along with the gang.

Do you have a favorite rainy day movie? Let me know—the forecast is cloudy for a few more days!

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading!

One More Movie Phone App

My last two blog posts have mentioned movie-related smart phone applications that I find fun and useful. I have another one that I have to share before I leave the topic. It’s called “My Movies for iPhone Pro,” and it is chock-full of cool features.

This program catalogs your entire video library, keeping track of your movie stats, trivia and trailers. How? You start by entering your movie titles—and this little app gives you the option of scanning the bar-code. I entered my entire collection (285 titles) in less than 4 hours, and I took a very leisurely pace. I could scan most of the videos easily. A few were fussy, but that had more to do with the condition of the cover than the program. The scanner even recognizes boxed sets and TV seasons.

The app can filter through you movies to help you find the perfect movie to watch when you can’t decide. It has filters of release dates, ratings (G, PG-13, etc.), actors and genres. Let’s say that you’re in the mood for a retro flick. Set your filters for movies between 1965 to 1970, rated PG, and less than two and a half hours long. In my library, I have four films that meet those criteria: Cat Ballou, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Flight of the Phoenix, and The Italian Job.

I can sort by genre (comedy, adventure, drama) or even by video type such as DVD or BluRay disc. If I’m in the mood for a Harrison Ford film—and who isn’t—I can do a person search. In my library I have all of the Star Wars films, all of the Indiana Jones movies, Cowboys and Aliens, and Blade Runner.

Another feature that I love and intend to use religiously is a tracker. If I loan out a movie to a friend, I can enter the name of the borrower and the date that it’s “due back.” This is a big deal to me, because I love to share my movies with friends, but it’s awfully hard to remember to whom I lent it. We’ve lost more movies that way, and the bad thing is that I only lend out the movies that I really love.

One option it offers is a place to rate your movies, and a place to note when you have watched it. The program allows you to add your own notes about a movie. You can even make a reference about whose property it is. Our family keeps all the movies together, but a few of them were gifts for my sons. I can add that note so that when my older son moves out on his own, he can take his own movies with him.

The app also has a feature that allows you to track your rentals and make notes about which movies you want to purchase. You can note when you bought a film as well as the condition. If you’re interested in attributing a value to your collection, you can keep track of the purchase price and the current value. You can note if the movie is for sale, too.

The more I play with the app, the more comprehensive I find it. I’m sure I could take an entire day—maybe even a weekend—to enter every detail for my film library. It would be a fun way to spend a sick day or a snow day. It would even be a fun way to get your kids involved in your collection.

The app is $4.99, but for all these benefits, I certainly think it’s a good value. I want to thank my friend, Tammie, for recommending this app to me!

That’s a wrap for this Toast to Cinema. Thanks for reading!