When I write for this blog, I’m juggling a number of assignments each involved with film in some way, shape, or form. Being in film studies can be exhausting. Watching a film for analysis is not the same as sitting down to watch a movie for pleasure. Many of the films I watch are not wonderful and some of them irritate me. During those moments, I wish I could just sit down and watch something on my own time, by my own choosing.
Our generation has a tendency to never take a moment to slow down. And if we do, we regret the time we’ve wasted. I believe we should make room for wasted time, after all,
as the late great John Lennon once said, “Time you enjoying wasting was not wasted.” This could easily become a guilty pleasures blog, but instead I’d like to look at some of the movies I watch while I enjoy wasting time.
Comedy is always a great stress reliever and laughter is believed to be the best medicine. One of my favourite films of all time is Neil Simon’s Murder By Death (1976). I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it in the past, but most are surprised to learn how much I adore a film made in the 1970s (generally regarded as my least favourite era of film). Murder by Death is definitely among the postmodern parodies of the 1970s, such as Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and almost every Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder pairing a person can dream up. I rank Murder by Death much higher than the rest for its intellect, witty dialogue, and holier-than-thou detectives.
The basic premise of the plot is a group of world famous detectives (each modeled after classic detectives such as Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple) are invited to a dinner and a murder. If they solve the murder, their host will give them a hefty cash prize. The great aspect of this film is its throwaway plot; it parodies detective fiction and film on every level. From convolution to missing clues to racial stereotypes, this film confronts the problems you’ve had with detective fiction since Edgar Allen Poe!
And let’s not forget the quippy lines…
So, what do I wish I was doing this weekend? I wish I was enjoying my time wasted on Murder by Death. However, Murder by Death just wouldn’t be enough… find out on my next blog my other time waster. What films do you enjoy watching to relax and wind down? Also, do you believe it’s possible to successfully waste time and feel fulfilled?