The Best Movie Critic + review

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Favorite Movie Series: Beth Link on Bringing Up Baby

Hi, Ben here. It was a nice surprise when I woke up this morning to find that Beth Link had written about her favorite movie, Bring Up Baby. For those who don't know, Beth is my world travel partner, one of the cohosts of our local semi-annual movie festivals, my #1 movie watching buddy, an artiste extraordinaire of the highest calibre, and also just so happens to be the love of my life. Without further ado...

When I think about movies worthy of my favorite movie slot, my mind goes back to that scene at the end of Hannah and Her Sisters. Woody Allen has just bungled a suicide attempt. He stumbles into a movie theater and ends up watching the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup. By the end of the movie her realizes that it doesn't matter if you have all of life's big questions figured out right now. What's important is that you cherish the time that you have and remember to laugh and enjoy life.
When I forget that very important lesson I turn on my favorite movie, Bringing Up Baby. This movie won me over very early on in life. It was the movie that made me realize that all black and white movies weren't boring. Quite the opposite, Bringing up Baby is a zany journey with so many hilarious misadventures it leaves the viewer chuckling to themselves long after its conclusion.

Bringing Up Baby is directed by Howard Hawks and stars my favorite onscreen couple, Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant, in what would be their second movie together, after the scandalous Sylvia Scarlet. The story begins with Dr. David Huxley (Grant), an ambitious paleontologist who is very excited to have finally received the last bone to complete his brontosaurus skeleton. Now all he has to do is impress a few rich people to get the 1 million dollars needed to finish the project, then he can marry his lackluster assistant and continue on with his work. Then we meet Susan (Hepburn), a batty woman who has endearing persistence and an annoying habit of messing everything up. Oh, and she also has a music-loving pet leopard named Baby. When you put these characters together and add in a bone-burying terrier, a traveling circus, an arrest happy sheriff, another man-eating escaped leopard, a lawyer named Boopy, and a big game hunter, things really go berserk. Needless to say, by the end of the movie everything is turned on its head and the viewer is left wondering what the hell they just witnessed.

Surprisingly, this movie lost money at the box office and may have been a contributing factor in giving Hepburn the label of “box office poison”. Hawks himself thought this was one of his worst movies, claiming that it was too madcap and should have had a straight man. I really love the lunacy of all the characters. It seems so unpredictable and meandering. You never know what will happen next and which direction these characters will take. Grant was a comedic pro by this time, having grown up on the vaudeville stage, but this was Hepburn's first comedic role. The chemistry between these two is the stuff of legend, their timing and playful banter is so fun to watch. After this movie and Sylvia Scarlet, the pair went on to make two more movies together. Philadelphia Story is especially amazing.

Bringing Up Baby is hands-down the best cure for the blues, the doldrums, hell it even makes me feel better when I have a cold. My favorite movie is not the kind of movie that starts revolutions or makes you cry (unless it's due to laughing so hard). It is the kind of movie that you watch when you loose your steam and need something to remind you why life is such a joy to live.

-Beth

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