I just watched Singin’ in the Rain, for maybe the 100th time. I don’t have a favorite book or song or role or anything like that. There are just too many things that are too wonderful. But I do have a favorite movie and that’s it.
It’s one of those old movie musicals that belong to a different era. An era that didn’t take itself so seriously. There’s a leading man and his comical best friend, and a sweet-young-thing leading lady. The plots stretch credulity way beyond the breaking point, but that’s okay! Because these movies were just for fun. They have no message, nothing edifying, they don’t contribute to society. It’s just fun.
I mean, come on, Make ’em Laugh? Donald O’Connor wrestling with a cloth dummy … and losing? Running up walls? (Yes, he does, he runs up walls. And through them in one case.) How can you not laugh? And he pulls off feats of amazing strength and agility with such apparent ease that it’s only thinking about it later that you realize how difficult they were. And the whole movie is tap dancing. You can’t be depressed when you’re watching tap dancing. I think it’s a law or something.
And then the title song, Singin’ in the Rain. Gene Kelly brings such a playful athleticism to his splashing in the rain and jumping in puddles like a 5-year-old. C’mon, haven’t you wanted to do that? Be honest. I have done it and I’m telling you, it’s every bit as fun as he makes it look. Try it next time it rains. I mean, why is it so important to stay dry, huh?
But they really don’t make ’em like that anymore. Everything has to mean something now. It has to make sense. It’s like we’ve lost that capacity to play and have fun. And that’s very sad. It’s not healthy. Everybody, stop reading and go out and do something that makes you laugh. Ya gotta laugh more.