Monday, January 16, 2012
FOUR SEASONS, THE
(May 1981, U.S.)
In 1981, even at the age of fourteen, I already had an appreciation for so-called "slice of life" movies about grown ups. In other words, I was not the type who would have gone for "Twilight" movies or anything of the sort. But even during a summer that was dominated by Superman, James Bond and a new guy named Indiana Jones, the prospect of seeing a comedy with Carol Burnett and that funny guy from TV's M.A.S.H. seemed attractive enough.
The story of THE FOUR SEASONS is a very simple one revolving around three married couples who take vacations together during each of the seasons. After this pattern has been established, Nick (played by Len Cariou) leaves his annoying wife of twenty-one years for a much younger and sexier woman, Ginny (played by Bess Armstrong). He then proceeds to bring Ginny on the usual vacation trips, causing the other two couples to be uncomfortable, feeling as if they have betrayed the former wife who is now out of the picture. Alan Alda's character of Jack is rather the dominating one of the group who has a constant need to psycho-analyze every situation that takes place among the group, and frankly, the rest of the group have had enough of it and are ready to confront him with it. Nick (played by Jack Weston) is a constant neurotic who's irrational fear of death and a desire to be the foremost authority on everything from beans to the mating habits of the Newt is also an ongoing annoyance with the group.
Now, did you happen to notice that I was only speaking of the MEN here? That's no accident. The film itself only seems to focus on the quirky characteristics of the men in the group and the women are here only to serve as the "tag along" wives whose sole purposes are offer the cliche elements of maritial love and support. You see? It was already the 1980s, and clearly, women's roles in movies still had a very long way to go.
As I got older and continued to appreciate this film, I always thought it would be great to have very special friends in my life to take vacations with. I still do (I can very easily picutre myself jumping into the lake just to create a moment of laughter and insanity). However, as I've gotten older I've also gotten more impatient and more intolerant and this is NOT a great combination when traveling and spending a good deal of time with other people. As you may well know, it's very often the people you spend time with the most and whom you love the most that will piss you off beyond belief.
Now here's a rather amusing story to go witht his film. When I was a kid, my parents had rather an unreasonably restrictive attitute toward how often I went to the movies in any given time period. During a summer when I was just waiting in vain for RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK to finally come to the local movie theater in Westhampton Beach, Long Island, I ended up seeing a number of "filler" movies like HISTORY OF THE WORLD-PART I, THE CANNONBALL RUN and THE FOUR SEASONS. While I did enjoy THE FOUR SEASONS, I'm forced to admit that the only real reason I wanted to see it was because it was an opportunity to see a movie with the girl next door, whom I'll confess I had a lustful attraction to. So guess what happened after that? You guessed it! RAIDERS finally came to town and my parents wouldn't take me to see it because they'd concluded that I'd already been to the movies too many times that summer. I would have to wait until Spring 1982 to see RAIDERS upon its re-release. You see what happens when you think with your dick instead of your head, even at the age of fourteen??
Favorite line or dialogue:
Danny Zimmer: "Well, I don't understand how you can hurt someone as guileless and vulnerable as Ginny."
Claudia Zimmer: "She sure took on a lot of mystical qualities once you saw her swimming naked."
Danny: "How can you say that?"
Claudia: "I say what I think."
Danny: "Well, maybe that's the problem! Why do you always say what you think? I mean, do you think your thoughts should just fall down from your brain onto your tongue like a gumball machine?"
Claudia: "Danny, I'm not going to start watching what I think or what I feel! I'm Italian!"
Danny: "I know you're Italian! I don't want to hear anymore how you're Italian!"
(opens window and sticks his head out)
"Hey, out there! This woman is Italian!
(faces back to Claudia)
"You no longer have to announce your ethnic origin in this state! Everyone in Connecticut knows you're Italian! And when we cross the border, I'll take out an ad in the New York Times!"