Well, That was Witty!

Don’t you love that feeling when you’re watching a movie or a TV series and you realize that the characters are becoming more than just a moment’s entertainment—they are becoming someone you really enjoy. They are like friends. Not in the creepy stalker kind of way, but in the way that when they’re gone, when the story is over, you miss them.

What is it about them that endears them to us? Is it their good looks or their quirky wardrobe? Maybe at first, but I think there’s more. There must be, in order to keep us intrigued.

I believe the magic happens when the characters become 3-dimensional through witty banter with each other. I’m not talking about the conflict between the hero and villain. I’m talking about the little asides that make the entire ensemble cast real. I’m talking about the way DiNozzo and Ziva bicker and tease on NCIS. It’s the chemistry that happens in the corners of the screen that gives the audience a glimpse into the life behind the story after (or before) the credits roll.

The cast of USA’s White Collar is a great example of witty humor!

When I watch the classic movies, the clever remarks are peppered through out the films. These days you often have to search for them. I’m not just being nostalgic. Consider the dozens of quotes everyone can recite from classic movies. It’s much harder to quote a film from this last decade of cinema that very many people will be able to recognize or identify. These days a great deal of what passes as humor is potty-talk and innuendo unsuitable for quoting. It’s isn’t funny or clever at all.

Humor that molds a character does double-duty of making that character identifiable to the audience. You can’t love a figure that with whom you have no connection.

What are the movies or TV shows that incorporate wit and humor and make you want to know the characters you watch? Let me hear from you!

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

Time After Time

I grew up watching a lot of television. I’ve seen every episode of Gilligan’s Island, M*A*S*H*, The Brady Bunch, and several others, multiple times.

We live in the country, a few miles out of the city limits. For the last two years, we’ve only had satellite internet with limited download. It was not enough to stream videos from Netflix.

Then one magical day, our street became part of a service area for Clear. Suddenly we have unlimited download for half the price! We can stream videos. And there was great rejoicing.

 In the midst of all the wonderful movie titles now available to us, I found a few of my old favorite television series. Magnum P.I., Quantum Leap, Night Court, and more are right there in my living room once again. I thought about how fun it would be to share these shows with my boys.

Then I worried just a little that maybe my memories had somehow transformed these sitcoms, mysteries, and dramas into something better than what they really were. Do you know what I mean? Perhaps the idea of the series was better than the actual show itself.

With a hint of trepidation, we began Quantum Leap. My family loves time travel adventures and Scott Bakula. I figured this was a safe bet. I was not disappointed. Yes, there may be a few cheesy 80’s references, and Al’s wardrobe is completely over the top, but that’s completely within character.

The story holds up. The main characters are deep and loveable. We have a blast seeing who the “guest star” characters will be with each new episode. We watched “Play It Again, Seymour” (season 1, episode 9) and, to our delight, found Willie Garson, Mozzie of White Collar, playing the endearingSeymour.

With the plethora of less than interesting television series available, I was happy to discover that the shows that made me smile all those years ago still held their energy. Wit and charm never goes out of style. Good actors are good actors.

If you haven’t seen any Quantum Leap, it’s worth the watch. It’s fun TV with a good message that every person is important, and one courageous action can change the future.

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