Thursday, May 31, 2018


MOOM PITCHER REVIEW! HOW TO COMMIT MARRIAGE STARRING BOB HOPE, JANE WYMAN AND JACKIE GLEASON (1969)

I must say t'is sure grand to once again watch this perennial 1980's afternoon tee-vee offering especially given the plain unadulterated fact that HOW TO COMMIT MARRIAGE is one of those mooms that everyone seems more'n content to dump on outta natural reflex if anything. Allow me to buck against the trend once again, because for all practical purposes this film is one of the funniest things I've had the pleasure of seeing with regards to the "cinematic experience" (no shit!) as applied to the Suburban Slob mindset in quite a long time, and anyone who doesn't like it is a total turdburger of an person who has no business wasting air let alone setting foot on this once boff planet of ours!

I gotta say that it was (and remains) rather neato watching Bob Hope star in a timely generation gap "New Hollywood" kinda film, and come to think of it this was co-star Jackie Gleason's second old unto new transitional flick (the first being 1968's legendary and "controversial" SKIDOO!). And although you wouldn't exactly think that these kinda guys would be able to carry off one of those generation gap tales as played off by aging Establishment stars I gotta admit that both of 'em did a way better job'n David Niven did bumbling around as a confused psychologist in THE IMPOSSIBLE YEARS. Watching these two trade insults while saying a whole lot more about what the entire late-sixties hippoid experience really was than THE ENTIRE HIDEBOUND EDITION OF ROLLING STONE IN THEIR PRE-SUPERMARKET DAYS ever could really does help resensify that oft dulled soul of mine, and if you have a soul (tho I doubt it) this might help focus your own perspective as well!

Hope and fellow Olde Tyme moom pitcher star Jane Wyman (who for years I thought was the mother of Bill...funny how these things can get into yer adolescent mind!) play a straighter than you would ever think SoCal couple who are on the verge of splitsville under what would seem the flimsiest of circumstances! When their college age daughter comes home with her fiancee (played by ex-JONNY QUEST and future ANIMAL HOUSE denizen Tim Mathieson) all a go-go for that big trip down the aisle (mostly due to what she perceives as her folks' own eternal lovidovieness), the parents decide to hide the ax burying until well after the nuptials. However, when Mathieson's father, the slimy and "New Morality"-minded music biz biggie Oliver Poe (Gleason) gets wind of the upcoming wedding his enlightened self does his durndest to see that matrimony does not ensue. He's so hip that he'd prefer that the two just live in sin and join up with his new rock group protege the Comfortable Chair, a hippydippy act that falls way outside of the BLOG TO COMM scope as they're so one-dimensional they made the Jefferson Airplane sound like Throbbing Gristle. And the fact that he was sold some mudslide of a home by Hope doesn't help things between the two either.

And Poe DOES stop the wedding when he announces during the "forever hold your peace" part the BIG SECRET that Hope and Wyman were hiding from the world, at which point the couple tumble straight into Poe's plans where not only do they do the proverbial shacking up bit and join the band, but actually conceive a bastard offspring which really gets the gal's parents more upset than the time I was caught in the bathroom reading a copy of DR. SMITH'S HEALTH AND HYGIENE TIPS...y'know, the book that always opens up to "The Female Between The Ages of Twelve and Seventeen" chapter when you sent it on the spine.

It gets even better from there what with Hope and Wyman secretly adopting the little scarlet letter before Poe could snatch it up not to mention the long and rather funny climax where Hope impersonates the protein-minded New Guru Rage Baba Zeba (played by real life Stalinist Professor Irwin Corey!) during a combination rock concert/spiritual seminar in order to persuade his daughter to get married! Really there ain't a duff thing about this moom which not only has more than its shares of wisecracks (my fave---when Mathieson plays some free-form avant garde tune on the piano and Hope quips "I never thought I'd miss the Beatles!") but kinda reminds you about what life used to be before those free-spirit types took over the world and things got so dystopian one could only pray for the return of Francisco Franco! Even the golf scene where Hope plays a round against a chimpanzee's got its har-de-hars and if you can actually laugh at a chimpanzee gag this late in the game you know it's gotta be good!

Kudos must also go to Leslie Nielsen who ain't into his screwball comedic self yet but does well as a real estate agent who's going after Wyman much to Hope's dismay, while none other than Tina Louise plays Laverne Baker (I don't think the writers were aware of thee Laverne B., but who knows) as Poe's concubine who is seen posing in a bathtub for an album cover shoot, obviously a sly commentary on alla that nudity that was flyin' around at the time even though none of us just-post turdlers were lucky enough to see any!

Like many of these late-sixties films, HOW TO COMMIT MARRIAGE plays like a tee-vee moom or sitcom of the same stratum...in fact the interior of the house Hope lives in is the same one used for THE BRADY BUNCH that's how late-sixties this film can get! Now I'm sure that some of you more sophisticated readers just wouldn't be up for something as "outdated" and as "bourgeois", but for real life gotta work guys who believe in the eternal value of KICKING UP YER FEET AND HAVING A FUN TIME this is a moom that really does make for a better time than watching a pot of water boil. Come to think of it, that would be more exciting than any modern-day "entertainment" I've seen on the boob tube these past few decades or so and if I never see this one again at least I can head for the kitchen and experience something a whole lot more stimulating than whatever there is out there that is considered entertainment these days!

One final note...in the brief clip showing the chart-rating of the Comfortable Chair, they are seen positioned one notch below none other than Fever Tree! And it should be noted that the Chair were on Ode records and that they were an actual group whose music did seem to fit in swell with the corny hippie dancing that can be seen during the concert scene...now you know what people hadda endure while awaiting the Coming of Iggy!

1 comment:

J. D. King said...

A better movie than any piece of junk from the H'wood of today. And The Comfortable Chair are better'n any garbage on the radio today, alas. Funny, they were discovered and produced by The Doors. And Gleason wound up attacking The Doors. Sheesh!