Harold and Maude and Bryant Park

Filed under living in new york is neat, there's a difference between films and movies

I saw Harold and Maude in Bryant Park on Monday night. And when I say I “saw” it, I mean it, because I heard exactly three lines in the movie:

1) “Sagging breasts and flabby buttocks.”
2) “Do you enjoy knives?”
3) “I love you.”

And actually, I didn’t even really hear the second line; Beth had to tell me what it said. See, I arrived at Bryant Park for this week’s installment of the Summer Film Festival a full hour and a half before the movie started, but when I met up with my co-worker Steve, he said the place had already been packed for a while. There was absolutely nowhere to sit in the grass, so Steve, Beth, Emily, Jeff, our new German intern Niko, and I ended up on the concrete stairs, miiiiiiiiiiiles away from the screen with our view partially blocked by the motorhome that the movie was being projected from.

I’ve never seen Harold and Maude, but even without being able to make out any of the dialogue, I thought I’d pieced the story together pretty well until I got back to Kamran’s apartment. It was then that he said, “Yeah, wasn’t it totally crazy how [that really important thing] happened?”, and I said, “Oh, I had no idea [that really important thing] happened.” And now the movie’s ruined for me. But not for you, because I save spoilers for the comments section. Love you!

From what I gathered, though, it’s a really lovely movie. Both because Harold is uber-hot in a pasty white boy way, and because Cat Stevens does the soundtrack. The audience was swooning all over the opening credits:

It felt sort of magical, I’ll admit, listening to Cat and watching Harold reject all of the college ladies who want him, surrounded by these giant buildings with the lights from Times Square reflecting off of them. The only problem I had was that there were homeless people there. I felt sort of weird for hating them, because I generally try pretty hard to keep my feelings toward the less fortunate in the neutral to hopeful range. And, like, the outdoors belong to these people, you know?, so it’s almost like I was watching my movie in their living room. But I pay my taxes and patronize summer film series sponsors, and therefore I deserve things like a decent seat away from the less hygienic, am I right?


  1. Tracey says:

    I’m always in the mood to watch this movie. ALWAYS. And Dan is never seen it, and I recommend it every time we have time to watch something, and he’s never in the mood. At this point, I think it would be too disappointing for me if he didn’t like it.

    Watching it outside sounds really lovely. Even with homeless people all around.

    • Honestly, I’m not sure how he couldn’t like it. I mean, I could really only understand the parts where Harold tried to kill himself over and over again, but that’s pure entertainment.

      Anyway, I’ll happily watch it with you when I’m home in September. And we’ll get him a Misty Freeze and force him to come downstairs and sit with us if he wants it.

  2. Serial says:

    I looooove this movie. I looooove Cat Stevens.

    What was the plot point confusion?

    • You know, growing up, I felt so alone with my weird love of Cat and The Beatles and Don McLean and other stuff kids my age weren’t listening to, so it’s amazing to be a grownup and go to grownup events and have all these people around me cheering when they hear that stuff.

      I had no idea that Maude killed herself. Steve claims that she didn’t, but he left for a birthday party (on a Monday night?) before the end, so I don’t trust him.

      • Beth says:

        Yes, Maude kills herself at the end. It’s supposed to be ironic that the whole movie Harold keeps faking suicide, but in the end, it’s Maude who actually does it and Harold doesn’t want to kill himself at all.

  3. Kelly says:

    I’m so Netflixing this movie right this very second.

    I love Cat Stevens too.

  4. Serial says:

    Don’t listen to Steve. She kills herself.

    And if you couldn’t hear the movie, you really wouldn’t know. She says that 80 is the proper age to die (early on), and (after she and Harold do it, bow-chicka-bow-bow) she takes poison tablets and kind of ruins the surprise 80th birthday party Harold throws for her.

    • OMG, the bow-chicka-bow-bow part totally threw me for a loop. I thought the movie was going to be the original Lost in Translation or something, and then when it wasn’t, I reallyreally wanted it to be. Although I totally appreciated how Harold looked so badass blowing bubbles after the deed was done.