POORFLIX: 7 films for the poor to rent and enjoy on their plasma TVs:
Not too many comedies open with a suicidal unwed
mother abandoning her newborn (he winds up in a garbage can), who is then taken in by a homeless guy -- Chaplin’s beloved
“little tramp” (code for “bum”). Creepy, when you think about it.
MY MAN GODFREY (1936)
William Powell plays a “forgotten man” (code for “bum”) with dignity as
he teaches the spoiled rich how to be happy, winning the love of an heiress in the process. Adding to the implausibility,
he does a lot less drinking than his “Thin Man” persona.
A successful film director searches for
meaning disguised as a “hobo” (code for “bum”). He experiences his epihany as a prisoner on a chain
gang doubled-up with laughter at the cartoon antics of Pluto the dog. (Woody Allen would later steal that chestnut for “Hannah
And Her Sisters.”)
DOWN AND OUT IN BEVERLY HILLS (1986)
A half century after “Godfrey,” wealthy Hollywood producers
are still pushing the hoary notion that most rich people are unhappy and it takes a “bum” (no code here) to show
them the way. Notable for Nick Nolte’s uncanny resemblance to his future police mug shot.
Steve Martin as a “poor black child”
who goes from rags to riches and back to rags, but learns a valuable lesson: no matter how good life is, there may always
be snails on the plate.
TRADING PLACES (1983)
A nature-versus-nurture argument about wealth and breeding that acknowledges
that "race" is really about "class." Also notable for its casual display of Jamie Lee Curtis's naked breasts. Why we love
WALL STREET (1987)
All you need to know about how far we've fallen is that when this came out 20 years ago, Gordon
Gekko was considered a bad guy.