Calamity Jane has been rated as "Approved." Whatever that means. It's meant for families, but Doris Day drops the N-Bomb. Yup.
DIRECTOR: David Butler
Let's discuss rating a movie that was never meant for me as an audience member. I often say "I'll watch anything". For the most part, that's true. There was a time in my life where I just showed up at the movie theater and saw whatever was going to be playing next. Oh, the good old days. But during this time, I saw a lot of stinkers. These were movies that I didn't like because I just can't stand this kind of movie. Calamity Jane is a movie that my wife loves and I abhor. I will never say that this movie shouldn't exist because I can acknowledge that this movie just isn't for me. But I'm still going to dump on it pretty hard. Keep in mind, I love that my wife loves this movie and I love that other people love this movie. I don't love this movie.
Calamity Jane is a movie about tropes. It is loud and obnoxious. Yesterday or the day before, I wrote a review for Bringing Up Baby, discussing how in no way it exists in the real world and that's great. My hypocrisy is running in overdrive right now because I hate that Calamity Jane pulls the same card. These are shells of human beings. Jane herself is loud and the epitome of a tomboy. She has no idea what it means to be a lady and dares the audience not to laugh at this simplified concept. But apparently not being a lady means being crass and stupid to the point of absurdity. The wink to the audience is casting proper Doris Day in this role, whom I adore in most things. (Although hearing her say the N-Bomb can't be unheard, so that's going to taint The Pajama Game for me.)
The Simpsons has a bizarre structure with most of its episodes. It starts with what appears to be the main plot, which has a weird tangeant only leading to a third tangeant that is really the plot. Calamity Jane pulls the same card. There is the establishment that Jane is always bickering with Howard Keel, portraying Wild Bill Hickok (that spelling can't be right, IMDB). She's in love with him, but who cares because she needs to get a famous star to play their po-dunk town. This is the first plot and the one I signed up for. Well, she grabs the wrong starlet because Katie Brown is only dressed as the starlet. Second plot HAS to be "When is everyone going to discover that she's a liar?" Nope. They figure that out once her set is garbage very quickly. Then everyone accepts her, so Jane starts getting jealous. Third plot! Nope. They become fast friends and Katie starts dressing her up as a lady. Plot four! The My Fair Lady plot. Nevermind. It's all about Katie stealing the love of her life. With all of these mini storylines, it is really hard to get invested in the characters.
By the way, my wife is in love with Howard Keel. I can't change that.
I don't want to paint that I'm not a fan of musicals because I really am. It's just that I really have a hard time shutting my brain off for most things and this one really requires a "sit back and enjoy" attitude. It's not even to say I don't like stupid things. I really like stupid things. I think it's the combination of musical and stupid things that I can't get behind. And again, that's all on me. I acknowledge that there's fun stuff here, but by that point, I was so bitter that I was coffee. (There's a better way to write that, but I have three minutes to finish that.) People will hate me that I dislike this movie, but most of that's on me. If you love this movie, continue doing so. I love when people get passionate about stuff and this is a cool thing to get passionate about. It just will never be my cup of tea.
Also, like, there's no memorable songs.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.