Day 24 – A Movie You Watch for Comfort Food
Life is hard, and sometimes it takes more than a smile and a Ke$ha song to get you through the day. Here’s where the comfort food movie comes it—a movie that you watch when you’re feeling down or worn-out, or that you simply watch more often than other movies in your library. A movie that’s reassuring, or at least obfuscates your troubles enough that you think it’s reassuring. I’ve already written about today’s entry before, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t touch on it again.
Fantasia is an unabashed artistic triumph, and one of the avant garde works to ever come out of a mainstream studio. That’s not why I watch it. No, I watch Fantasia primarily because I like the music, and anything else that comes with it is ancillary. I love the actual movie proper, but I watch Fantasia much in the way I might listen to a favorite album; it puts me in a certain state of mind, a very relaxed and affable one, at that.
Here’s the premise: Fantasia is supposed to be reminiscent of attending a concert. We watch the curtain rise, and then the orchestra files in, tuning their instruments and preparing for the upcoming feature. Then, a bald, bespectacled man appears on the stage; he is Deems Taylor (dubbed-over by Corey Burton in the new DVD and Blu-ray of Fantasia, due to some newly-found footage), a radio host and music critic, and it will be his job to introduce and contextualize each piece over the course of the movie. The lights go down, conductor Leopold Stokowski takes the podium, and the show begins. A recap of Fantasia’s “plot” and different sections can be found in the other write-up I did on Fantasia, which I could use the hits for, at any rate.
Even the notorious Rite of Spring passage is enjoyable for me; partially because I enjoy the dynamic range of the music in the piece, but mostly because dinosaurs are sweet.
I watch Fantasia the most when I need something undemanding. Much has been said of its artistry and musical appeal, but I best enjoy it when I’m tired or not functioning properly, like when I’m having a slow start to a morning, or after I’ve had an especially long and grueling day. It’s during these times that I sit back and let the movie wash over me, with its lovely animation and gorgeous soundtrack. I barely have to put any effort into appreciating it at all; the appeal of watching dancing thistles and Mickey Mouse controlling the stars runs pretty deep for me, mostly because I’m literally watching it rather than investing myself in it. The classical score helps put me even further at ease.
I own other movies more “entertaining” than Fantasia, but it has probably the highest rotation out of any of my Blu-rays and DVDs. Whether I’m deliberately sitting down to listen to the music, or having a particularly rough time getting out of bed, Fantasia generally sees me through until I’m in a better frame of mind.