Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Friday, July 01, 2011

A sweet summer celebration of vacation girls on film

Amidst all of the big league blockbusters opening up this holiday weekend is the female friendly flick Monte Carlo,starring Selena Gomez as Grace, a working class gal who has just finished high school and is spending her hard earned money on her dream vacation to Paris with her two best friends in tow.

Once there,the trip is not as great as they had hoped but due to Grace's uncanny resemblance to a British socialite named Cordelia(yep,it's duel role time),the ladies wind up having the luxurious getaway that they wanted,plus some romantic action on the side.

This movie more than likely will not be topping the box office charts when all is said and done,but it seems like a nice fluffernutter of a film for those looking for lighthearted fare without the sleaze factor this summer:

Of course the "young woman seeking adventure while on vacation" genre is nothing new here,yet it does have some very respectable predecessors indeed. One of the classics in this field is Roman Holiday,which won it's leading lady Audrey Hepburn an Oscar that year.

Hepburn's stylish turn as the bored princess who ditches her international tour to get a taste of the real world with ex-pat reporter Gregory Peck by her side set the bar high for this type of film that still hasn't been met.

In addition to other honors,Roman Holiday ranks in a couple of AFI's top ten lists,reaching number four on their 100 Years,100 Passions ranking and in their Top Ten 10 for Romantic Comedy,not too shabby by any means in any decade:

A real pop culture sensation,Three Coins in the Fountain was remade several times with it's 1954 incarnation being the most popular one. That movie had the added bonus of a theme song sung by Frank Sinatra and the visual benefits of CinemaScope to highlight the beauty of Rome where it was filmed.

Three Coins is an adaptation of a novel by John H. Secondari(a TV writer and producer who also wrote two other novels as well)and the plot's whimsical premise of three American women finding true love overseas with the help of a wish made at the famous Trevi Fountain remains a crowd pleaser to this day.

The film won three Academy Awards for it's technical merits(including Best Song)and was up for Best Picture as well. Considering that it was competing with the likes of On the Waterfront,The Country Girl and The Caine Mutiny,that's pretty strong company to be standing steady in there:

Even Jane Austen herself dipped a toe slightly into these waters,only her unlikely heroine Catherine Morland didn't have to leave the country in order to find intrigue in strange places.

Northanger Abbey whisked young Catherine off to the foreign shores of polite society in the resort town of Bath where her well meaning but not always astute guides Mr. and Mrs. Allen did what they could to deal with such hurdles as having the right gown to wear in public and finding any sort of acquaintance to make those necessary introductions.

Despite some initial awkwardness,Catherine managed to make some very charming new friends,in particular a certain Mr. Tilney who inadvertently introduced her to a whiff of the gothic mysteries that she was eagerly reading at the time. Altho she was not considered the ideal lady fair of those "dreadful" novels,Catherine proved herself to be as plucky as any of her fictional idols and sensible enough to trust a man who knows his muslins:

I hope everyone has a lovely Fourth of July weekend(LRG will be back on Tuesday), no matter where you take it even in the comforts of your own home. While traveling is fun,sometimes just watching a few films like this can be just as relaxing without the hassles of getting there. Vacation is a state of mind as well as being,as the Go-Gos can tell you and it's quite the truism,if you ask me:

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