Cinematic therapy, Vol. 1

My doctor(and the therapist who did my intake) has suggested that I keep myself busy and happy. Self-care is a key component in treating depression and I’m doing well in treating myself. I love the movies so this week I took in two all-time favorites.

The Outsiders: What Generation X woman doesn’t live for this Francis Ford Coppola version of S.E. Hinton’s teen classic? Set in 1950s Oklahoma City, the film boasts an all-star cast of quintessential Brat Packers(Matt Dillon as Dally Winston, Ralph Macchio as Johnny Cade, C. Thomas Howell as Ponyboy Curtis, Emilio Estevez as Two-Bit Mathews, Patrick Swayze as Darry Curtis, Diane Lane as Cherry Valance) and faithfully follows the novel. Ponyboy lives with his two older brothers after their parents’ death and faces off against the richer rival gang, the Socials, with his greaser buddies. Depressed and anxious Johnny makes a wrong move one fateful night in the park setting off a chain of events that will leave two of the boys dead. True, it’s not necessarily a feel-good movie but who can resist all those boys and Tommy Howell reciting Robert Frost’s “Nothing Gold can Stay”?

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown: The winner of the 1986 Best Foreign Film Academy Award, this Almodovar comedy delivers high camp and melodrama. Even the opening credits are fabulous: Lola Beltran belts out “Soy Infeliz” over a montage of vintage makeup and fashion ads. Pepa(the brilliant Carmen Maura) is a television commercial and voiceover actress who just got dumped by her longtime lover, Ivan(Fernando Guillen.) Her best friend, naive model Candela, has just discovered that her Arab fling is really a Shiite terrorist bent on hijacking a plane. Bring in Ivan’s long-lost son(a young but earnest Antonio Banderas) and his bitchy fiancee(the so ugly she’s fierce Rossy de Palma), Ivan’s insane ex-wife, Ivan’s new girlfriend and the usual hodgepodge of Almodovar characters and you have a Technicolor cocktail of drag queen-like drama and hilarity.

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