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You may be asking yourselves: 'What in God's name are you doing watching, much less writing about, 'Airport '77,' Don?' And you'd be wise to ask both questions - watching this God-forsaken movie was an accident: I thought it was a sequel to "Airplane!," the uproariously funny parody of "Airport" (1970), but Airplane! came out in 1980, and was a parody of the entire, four-film Airport franchise, "Airport '77" being the third of four. Before watching it, we took a quick peak at Wikipedia, and noticed in one section Roger Ebert's comment that "The movie’s a big, slick entertainment, relentlessly ridiculous and therefore never boring for long," and took that to mean that although there may be moments of downtime, the yucks won't let up for long - hoo, boy, what a mistaken interpretation that was! About 45 minutes into the film, my friend and I commented about how this film was taking an awfully long time to build up to some laughs, and I made an off-the-cuff comment about it being the wrong movie before we realized, about five-minutes later, that I was (despite my random, clueless comment) correct: We weren't watching a comedy; we were watching a disaster movie in the same vein as "The Poseidon Adventure," only worse - much worse ... there *is* no sequel to "Airplane!" So not only were we watching a crummy disaster film, which was so bad we thought we were watching a comedy for nearly 45 minutes, we were watching the third of four in a franchise, not even having the dignity of context (I believe I saw the original, long, long ago, but never saw any sequels). It only made sense, looking at the absurdly rich cast of characters, that they all got together and agreed to make a slapstick for one last, goofy hurrah together on the screen: Joseph Cotten, Olivia de Havilland, Jimmy Stewart, Jack Lemmon, George Kennedy, Lee Grant, Christopher Lee, Brenda Vaccaro ... that is one seriously famous group of older actors, but instead of going down in a barrel of laughs, they crash-landed in a giant ball of flame and shame: Airport '77 is one of the worst movies I've seen in my adult life. How could this troupe have agreed to sully their reputations by appearing together in this dreadful affair? Even if they were all on the verge of bankruptcy, is there nothing sacred anymore? This movie has nothing worth discussing, with the one exception of the rescue scene at the end, which is interesting because it uses actual Navy rescue techniques. Unless you're OCD, and have a mental requirement to watch films in their entirety (as I do), you're better off skipping to the last scene, to the rescue effort (which, admittedly, is interesting), and eschewing the rest of this awful, awful excuse for cinema.
I decided to watch "Charade" tonight for a number of reasons. I recently watched "Suspicion," a 1941 thriller starring Cary Grant directed by Alfred Hitchcock. While "Charade" was not directed by Hitchcock, it has a Hitchcockian feel. I adore Carey Grant, and felt like spending another evening being charmed by this embodiment of the Hollywood leading man. I am obsessed with Audrey Hepburn, and I was born in 1963. It seemed like a no-brainer that I should give this film another viewing. Although I saw this film several years ago, I remembered very little of it. While Hitchcockian in style and plot twists, it lacks the cinematic magic of an actual Hitchcock film. The plot is a bit like "Suspicion," with the leading lady unsure whether she should or should not trust Grant. The witty banter between Hepburn and Grant made me think of Nick and Nora in "The Thin Man." Their repartee is amusing, but not nearly as fast and funny as Nick and Nora's. I enjoyed watching Grant and Hepburn together, and I was drawn in by the plot's twists and turns. At times, "Charade" seems self conscious, and the film feels like it is trying too hard. While Grant and Hepburn make a charming couple, their chemistry pales in comparison to the sparks that flew between Hepburn and Gregory Peck in "Roman Holiday." Hepburn tells Grant time and again in this film that she loves him. She never once uttered those words to Peck in "Roman Holiday," but their love seemed more believable. Perhaps this is because at its core, "Charade" is a silly and stylish movie. It has an early '60s feel throughout, from the opening cartoon-like credits to Audrey's oh-so-chic Givenchy wardrobe. It isn't a great film, but it is an enjoyable one.