I wanted to write a blog post comparing the Daphne Dumaurier short story “The Birds” with the Alfred Hitchcock movie (regarding a recent post in which I was delighted to purchase the book containing the short story). However, I wanted to view the movie again so it would be fresh in my mind. Unfortunately, we had already made up our minds to watch a different monster movie Saturday: Lake Placid.
Lake Placid got no critic love and little box office love when it was in theatres, but Steven and I think it is fun. We first encountered it on commercial television one lazy Sunday afternoon in Georgia. What could be lazier than watching a cheesy horror movie on commercial television on a Sunday afternoon? We subsequently rented it, so we could see whatever bits got cut for commercial breaks, and Steven got me the DVD for Christmas last year.
One reason we wanted to watch it Saturday was that Betty White had recently celebrated a birthday. We like to watch a movie featuring a birthday girl or boy.
Betty White is pretty fun in the movie, doing her usual sweet but twisted old lady schtick. I must say, however, that giving Betty White a potty mouth is a cheap, obvious way to get a laugh. Still, it’s Betty White. There could be no possible objection.
The movie is worth watching for the non-Betty White parts as well. In case you are not familiar with the movie, it concerns a large crocodile terrorizing a peaceful lake in Maine. We were interested to see the movie at first because we used to live near Lake Placid, NY. We were hoping the movie took place there. Actually, on this viewing, I found out that the Maine lake in the movie is Black Lake.
“They wanted to call in Lake Placid,” the big bellied sheriff says, “but that name was taken.”
How in the world did I not remember that line?
Bill Pullman plays the calm, cool Fish and Wildlife guy who is in charge of the investigation. Bridget Fonda is a city girl paleontologist with reasons of her own for wanting to stick around. Oliver Platt shows up as a spoiled rich diletantish crocodile lover who clashes (of course) with the big bellied sheriff. The characters actually keep from being “types,” as often happens in these flicks. I especially liked the big bellied sheriff (his belly isn’t really all that big, I just like referring to him as the big bellied sheriff).
I enjoyed the easy to watch monster movie after my Agatha Christie afternoon (see previous blog post). I’m penciling in The Birds for this weekend. Stay tuned!