NMPSPE Film Festival, Day LVII: Closing the Testing Horror Show

Let’s have a perfect ending(s), at least cinematically, to our very imperfect Film Festival and school year. There will almost certainly be “afterparty” clips next week, but 57 days “celebrating” anything is enough…just ask the parents of a currently graduating 2015 high school Senior. How many ceremonies must one sit through?

But I both digress and whine, and we don’t want to end on such a note. Let’s instead indecisively look at two of the most perfect film endings ever, right down to Marilyn Monroe riding a bicycle (sorry, obscure bike nerd reference) and my all-time favorite actor, Jack Lemmon, prominently holding a bubbling champagne bottle. Oh, and two of the greatest closing lines in the history of everything.

Your humble bike and film nerd blogger actually spent way too much time thinking what this last clip should be. When faced with the indecision that comes from such pondering there is only one choice: Billy Wilder.  We’ve featured Mr. Wilder’s work with other screenwriters (“Ace in the Hole”), yet his collaborations with I.A.L. Diamond, particularly the “early, funny ones,” are written and directed to a level of perfection almost never achieved either before or since. The problem was determining which of two early Wilder/Diamond films to go with.

So I’m going with both.

First, there’s Marilyn riding a bike (and it’s technical riding, too, steep downhill single-track and wearing a tight dress and heels, no less!), a feature almost unnoticed amid the nutty madcap that is the ending of “Some Like it Hot” (1959). Yeah, there’s the line at the end, but I prefer to think this scene fits NMPSPE 2015 best for its forcing teachers/kids to figuratively wear flapper dresses (not that there is anything inherently wrong with that) in an effort to survive/satisfy the MAFIA that is the New Mexico Public Education Department. Oh, and there’s the final line, too.

But there’s also Wilder/Diamond’s next film, an even better one in many ways, particularly its finding romance in realistic scenes of modern business dysfunction and moral corruption. “The Apartment” (1960) is arguably an even better film than “Hot” and that’s amazing, given its core theme of adultery. Center to its figurative purpose here in the Festival: How do we personally and professionally survive the Fred MacMurray’s/Hanna Skandera’s of the world? How do we avoid literally shooting ourselves and just enjoy playing some cards with Shirely MacLaine in a pageboy haircut?  How do we stop kvetching and blogging about all the malfeasance and educational maltreatment of Standardized Testing Gone Wild…and just “shut up and deal”?

You can probably tell I’m still working on that. I’m still working on being a better Jack Lemmon. We’re all still trying to get over dealing with Fred MacMurray.  But ya gotta stop sometime.


Have a great weekend, everybody.




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