Tuesday, December 14, 2010

12 Days of Favorites: Houseboat

The story of Love & Squalor begins many years before the fateful meeting of Wilde.Dash and M, long before the almost nightly movie marathons on uncomfortable and rank smelling dorm furniture and Sound of Music sing-a-longs. From the mid 80’s on, unaware of each others’ presence, M and Wilde.Dash were bonding with family, not over board games or a large family meal (ok, there was a lot of that too), but over the likes of Woody Allen and Walter Pidgeon. The holidays in said families were filled with the usual Christmas fair, but also with strange family film favorites and traditions. So hang your stockings with care and when your sister starts complaining about your billionth viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life and how boooooring it is, spend your 12 Days of Christmas with the movies that have followed Love & Squalor from infancy to bloggerhood.

It doesn't get sweeter than Houseboat. Carey Grant plays the stuck-up, all business Tom, who after the death of his wife, inherits the care of his three somewhat bratty children. Totally flustered and rendered useless by his uncontrollable brood, he hires the first person off the street to watch them, the Italian immigrant Cinzia (Sophia Loren at her sexiest), who unbeknowst to Tom is actually a socialite on the run. When the house he's towing behind him to start a new life is hit by a train, he finds himself stuck with Cinzia and the kids in a dilapidated, leaky houseboat. As Tom and the children begin to relax and have fun thanks to Cinzia's romantic Italian influences, they also fall in love with her. Although you'll be able to predict the outcome, there's nothing that beats the sweet sincerity that Grant and Loren offer up. The film is hilarious, smart, and romantic with a spirit as freeing as Cinzia herself. Just wait, you'll find yourself singing, "Presto, presto, do your very besto, don't hang around like a shy little kid..." while doing any number of tasks and catch yourself smiling.

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