May 3, 2015

Going My Way

Going My Way was the highest grossing film of 1944, and such a highly revered film that it was presented to the Pope after WWII. It was so liked by the Academy that they gave the same man two nominations. After watching it I ask: what is so great about this movie? 

My biggest problem with Going My Way has nothing to do with the fact that I’m not a fan of religious-centric content. My biggest problem with this film is that it is two hours of slow-burning narrative. It is a story of a young priest who comes to assist a financially troubled parish (fair enough), but there is nothing else about the story that makes it valuable or engaging. I suppose a simpler way to put it would be to make a comparison: Going My Way is like when a person is trying to tell a story and rambles on and on, tacking on a lot of excessive tidbits and thereby diluting the very essence of the story itself.

Because what the hell is even going on during this film’s duration? It doesn’t have anything to offer in terms of a sense of direction—it’s sort of all over the place with a number of strange subplots squeezed in. Let us watch Bing Crosby form a choir (okay, fair enough). Now let’s watch Bing Crosby counsel some troublesome young girl (okay...). Now let’s watch…said troublesome young girl marry the son of the parish’s mortgage holder, but not until the film hastily thrusts the son off to…war (huh?)? The film doesn’t even really have any clear solution for the parish’s problems until the end, and even then we’re subjected to a random-ass Carmen opera number (again, huh?) that literally makes no sense to this film at all outside of being a quick musical break that so many films of this era felt the need to have. And then once the financial problems are finally solved, for some reason the entire parish burns down (again...what?!). It’s all a disoriented experience, and I could not make heads or tails out of the narrative. I suppose you could fancy the story as a look at the happenings of the parish and its adjacent community, but even then there’s just nothing interesting that occurs here. It's very simple entertainment, and that's okay. But an acclaimed Oscar-winning picture? No. Because it’s dull, as a film, as a story, and as lighthearted fare. 

1 comment:

  1. I simply cannot watch Crosby without imagining him beating his kids till they bled. Son Gary had a book, and stories to tell Phil Donahue that fully made Bing a male Joan Crawford. I'll pass.