You say it's our birthday?
Happy birthday to us, Happy birthday to us... Are you sick of our self-congratulatory anniversary issue yet? Well, wait! There's more! We've drummed up a few video picks to further your participation in our glorious event. So what are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen and bake us up a cake, dammit!
Happy Birthday to Me (1981)--This film lacks any cinematic value whatsoever, which is exactly why you should rent it. If you love bad movies, then this is the icing on the late '70s -early '80s slashfest. HBTM has the feel of an after-school special crossed with a high school health class propaganda film. Oh, the plot? Melissa Sue Anderson (Mary from Little House on the Prairie) plays a troubled girl who might be knocking off her pals after having experimental brain surgery on her sixteenth birthday.
The Celebration (1998)-- The prodigal son of a rich family returns home for his father's sixtieth birthday, but our hero has a secret to tell the congregated family. Part of the Dogme 95 film series (www.dogme95.dk), director Thomas Vinterberg constructs a film based on inevitable human emotion. The viewer is literally dragged around the family compound during the goings-on as an active participant. The use of digital video gives the film immediacy, without being annoying. The performances are stellar and the emotion is raw. This film challenges all the conceptions of the typical dysfunctional family.
Same Time Next Year (1978)--I'm a sucker for Ellen Burstyn; she makes acting look so easy. Alan Alda, on the other hand, sometimes makes me want to put the barrel of a gun in my mouth. But together, they mesh into a syrupy-sweet confection that has a few real moments. The two stars play Doris and George, each happily married to someone else, who are lured back to the spot of their infidelity every year for 25 years. We watch the world change through their lives, their hairstyles and cheesy montages set to the music of Marvin Hamlisch.