HAROLD AND MAUDE
In what is the gothiest meet-cute ever he makes the acquaintance of feisty senior Maude at a funeral she is also attending for entertainment purposes. I’m going to get all controversial here and say I love Maude. I wish I could be like Maude now let alone when I’m 80. That broad just enjoys the hell out of life, charming everyone around her while she steals your car. I’m pretty sure that poem about being a crazy old lady and who wears purple and doesn’t give a fuck was inspired by Maude and her fabulous purple sequin dress. Her big philosophy-illuminating monologue exclaiming “A lot of people enjoy being dead. But they are not dead, really. They’re just backing away from life. Reach out. Take a chance. Get hurt even. But play as well as you can” had me practically leaping up in excitement and proclaiming Maude the most inspiring fictional character ever. Fuck those motivational speeches about glory and honor; those things will never apply to me. But someone saying stop being so lazy and worried about societal norms – that really touched a nerve.
One final reason Maude is amazing, she basically invented air freshener with her odorifics! I’m sure the 1971 audience was all “this bitch be crazy” when she has Harold sniff and identify her Snowfall on 42nd Street scent. But here in an era where we like things to smell good instead of like sweaty ass I was all “hey I have that candle!” Maude and I would totes be BFFs.
Anyway they hang out a bunch and Maude teaches Harold how to play the banjo and smoke weed and generally remove the stick from his ass. Then they hook up! But the film doesn’t show it at all, not even a kiss! Not that I’m dying to see a every wrinkled cranny or anything but come one after an hour invested into these characters and this relationship I deserve a little somethin somethin. Harold plans a big 80th birthday for Maude where he intends to propose. But because offbeat and dark means nobody gets to be happy for long, it turns out she secretly took a bunch of pills so she could die at 80. And man it’s so sad, Harold’s crying I was crying; just super sadness out of nowhere. But then the bouncy Cat Steven’s song swelled and I thought “well, that’s a bummer but honestly she didn’t have that much time left anyway. And now that she taught him how to love he can go on and – HOLY SHIT HE JUST DROVE HIMSELF OFF A CLIFF!?” Oooh that Harold is so sneaky.
I realize now that all quirky, romantic Indies today are just shooting on instagram film trying to live up to Harold and Maude; from the singular folk soundtrack to the cougar version of the Manic Pixie Dreamgirl. It’s still just as darkly hilarious as it ever was and deserves a place of honor amongst creepy goth kids and film nerds alike. Best of all Johnny Depp is way too old to star in a remake! – AS