For many years I had heard about a movie that I really never explored watching. One reason was the movie was made in the early 70's. I admit, as a latch-key kid, I am all too inclined to follow my ADD imbued, Ritalin "cured" ways of indulging only in things that offer immediate gratification and require little effort to keep up with. Another reason was accessibility- which again seems to follow suite of the former in that if I can't find it right away, I'd rather stare at the shiny object I saw just moments before. But an even bigger admission is the Joel-foot-sized bruise I have on my ass from the self-kicking I did for having not taken in this little diamond of a movie way earlier.
Haling from a decade best known for its annoying disco music and overuse of orange and red as carpet and home decor coloring, Harold and Maude both fits and did not fit into the decade of its birth. It preceded the splattercore generation of films by several years, and like its genre-distant cousin The Exorcist, I imagine it was just too shocking for many baby boomers to really sit down and appreciate for the beauty within.
Now I can't make false promises. This movie does take a bit of imagination, and perhaps effort to watch. If you are looking to check it out, I highly recommend you obtain or use your Netflix account, as last I saw, it was available on streaming.
The imagination portion is cited because while there is a reasonable amount of visual stimulation, it is more like a gore-appetizer. If you need a huge feast of blood and guts, you will have to do what we did before movies were so accessible and we were all reading: use your imagination.
And there is nothing wrong with that. If you are able to bypass a topic many consider hush-hush and offensive, of which I am referring to suicide; and if you are able to connect the imagery dots (presuming you are like me and also were born in the decade of Pee-Wee Herman, Nightmare on Elm Street and some of the most hideous clothing color-combinations in fashion design ever made by man), you will find perhaps one of the best cinematic experiences ever made.
Now I realize my opinion is subjective. So I offer the following "trailer" for the movie. Be warned, this is basically a spoiler for all of the "hard-core" action within the movie (and no, the film is not in German. It seems only the Germans cared enough to post something so awesome):
Now, getting that out of the way- we move on. There is a deeper meaning to the movie. Consider the suicides, in all of their glory, to be a ruse. Well, more than a ruse, perhaps an explanation on the disconnect modern man has with... modern... man?
I have to make a self-admission. No, don't call the authorities, I am not going to off myself. But when I think of this movie, I realize I have way too much in common with Harold. When I talk to the general mass of cosmic bacteria on a daily basis, I feel as though they do as well.
I feel like this is one of those movies that can help you appreciate the trivial joke called life, the uncomfortable subject of death and the true meaning of love better than any pill you could ever take. It isn't to be disrespectful, but let's be honest, life and death are both disrespectful of the entities that have to endure them.
Might as well have a sick and twisted sense of humor. And there is one more reason to watch this movie: So when I bump into you at some random coffee house- or poodle park or nudist colony or Blizzcon (yes, I play World of Warcraft, deal) or a bar, presuming I am not drunk from having to endure yet another social function of the awkward label-variety- we can have a neat conversation. And when we have a neat conversation and I ask you if you have ever seen Harold and Maude, and you say yes... you can see me smile. Something I don't do too often because too many people have never seen (or even heard of) Harold and Maude.
Or... just do it for Uncle Victor. That dude is awesome.