Movie Commentary by Hammerle

Quite frankly, the older that one gets, the harder it is to read obituaries. While we know that our collective date with destiny comes ever closer, why punish yourself and be reminded of it?

On the other hand, as a passionate movie fan, death occasionally touches your heart, and that occurred recently with the passing of Roger Ebert and the lovely Annette Funicello. Their significance was far greater than their artistic reputations, and I couldn’t let their passing escape without a personal comment.

EbertMuch has been written about Mr. Ebert, but few articles dealt with his impact on the average movie fan. Like many people, I first became exposed to movie criticism after watching his great TV show with Gene Siskel, and I was never the same.

I truly admired both him and Mr. Siskel, and it far exceeded their individual ratings of new film releases. They both had a sense of history as well as a sense of humor, and I learned why I have always felt so comfortable in a dark theater.

In addition, Mr. Ebert never shied away from the relationship of certain films to politics, and I obviously have long followed his lead. In other words, if anyone has grown a bit weary of my enthusiastic connection of various films to relevant national issues, blame Mr. Ebert, because he is at fault!

FunicelloBut I must confess that I still remain immensely saddened by the death of Ms. Funicello. When she first appeared on TV in “The Mickey Mouse Club”, it was 1955, and she was only 13 years old. I was 9, and I made sure I got home every day in time to watch this beloved ensemble.

To get right to the point, I fell in love for the first time with a cute, dark haired Italian girl. She was as genuine as she was fascinating, and it was easy to embrace the entire show. Anyone remember the adventures of “Spin and Marty”?

Sure, her subsequent movies, largely with Frankie Avalon, were as foolish as they were entertaining. More to the point, you got to see her on the beach, and it bears a startling contrast to the wretched recent film Spring Breakers.

Sure, Annette was a good girl, but she also was intelligent and profoundly caring. The girls in Spring Breakers were utterly vapid, and I couldn’t help but feel that they would have learned a bit on how to live if they would have spent a few hours watching old reruns of “The Mickey Mouse Club”.

What made Ms. Funicello all the more admirable was her long struggle with multiple sclerosis. She had been fighting that degenerative neurological disease since 1987, and she did it with dignity and style. She helped raise money to fight this and other neurological disorders, and she simply should not and cannot be readily forgotten.

Upon reading about her death, I was reminded of the daily closing song on her “Mouse Club” series. One of the guys, I believe Jimmy, sang the following with Annette and the kids:

M-I-C ,

See you real soon.

K-E-Y,

Why? Because we like you.

M-O-U-S-E.

Well, Annette, there were a lot of young people, particularly boys, who liked you too.