22. Miss Congeniality

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Movie: Miss Congeniality

Release Date: December 22, 2000

Director: Donald Petrie

Starring: Sandra Bullock, Michael Caine, Benjamin Bratt, Candace Bergen, William Shatner, Ernie Hudson.

Tag Lines: “Unpolished. Unkempt. Unleashed. Undercover.”

“She’s Got A Killer To Catch… Right After The Swimsuit Competition.”

“Never Mess With An Agent In A Dress.”

“This Christmas, get ready for a little peace on earth and good will towards men.”

“She’s about to give crime fighting a makeover.”

Relevance: Just like yesterday’s movie (see 23. Love Actually), ‘Miss Congeniality’ is a film that has no huge backstory to why it is on my list of most influential movies of all time. As I had previously mentioned, sometimes a good movie is just a good movie. And although ‘Miss Congeniality’ received poor reviews from critics when it was released in 2000, no one could deny its box office success as audiences fell in love with Sandra Bullock as Gracie Lou Freebush. When it came to critics, sometimes I wholeheartedly agreed with their assessments and sometimes I completely disagreed. After all, it was only a matter of opinion. When it came to ‘Miss Congeniality,’ I sided with the people and Gracie Lou.

Similar again to ‘Love Actually,’ I did not see ‘Miss Congeniality’ during its theatrical run. I am not exactly sure why, but I will guess it had something to do with the time of year and my occupation at that time. As most of you may know by now (if you have been keeping up with my blog), I worked as a retail store manager for a company that sold music and movie product. From November through January, the bulk of my time was spent at that store resulting in my social life becoming slim to none. I spent more than sixty plus hours a week working so the idea of going out and socializing, even seeing a movie, was not high on my priority list. That doesn’t mean I never went to a movie during the holiday time while working that job, but it was very rare. And ‘Miss Congeniality’ fell into that missed opportunity category.

However, when it was released to home media in 2001, I rented ‘Miss Congeniality’ as soon as possible via my local Hollywood Video store. I was already a huge fan of Sandra Bullock and the trailer made me giggle enough that I knew it would be, if anything, entertaining. And let’s face it, I will watch almost anything. And I was definitely entertained. The film was one of those movies that made me smile from beginning to end with numerous outbursts of belly laughs throughout. It was a cliched “fish out of water” premise, but it was so well executed as the direction and the cast were impeccable. I couldn’t get enough of it. In fact, my next day at work I purchased the DVD at the store I managed to make it a permanent part of my movie collection.

As with all movies I adored, I told everyone, friends, family members and strangers, about ‘Miss Congeniality.’ That was one of the perks about working in a retail store that sold product I loved. I could talk about it for hours and sell the crap out of it. What helped in this case was that my store had television monitors which allowed us to play certain movies or music videos. ‘Miss Congeniality’ became a part of my store’s rotation. It pretty much sold itself. The movie was not only a favorite of mine, but my entire staff enjoyed it and the month it was released I probably watched (at least heard) the film hundreds of times.

‘Miss Congeniality’ has remained one of my favorite comedies of all time and by far my favorite Sandra Bullock movie to date. She will forever be Gracie Lou Freebush to me. Even though it was not as successful as the first film, the sequel ‘Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous,’ was a favorite of mine as well and sits right along side the original in my DVD collection. Funny is funny, and the character and these films are simply funny. Even though I own the films on DVD, if I catch them on any television channel, I will stop what I am doing and watch them, especially the first movie. It always makes me smile. It always makes me laugh. And for those simple reasons, it lands in my top twenty five favorite movies of all time. Way to go Gracie Lou. Way to go.

Today’s Thoughts: “That’s a tough one. I’d have to say April 25th. Because it’s not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.”

April 25th will always be ‘Miss Congeniality’ Day on the internet thanks to that quote and the thousands of memes and gifs shared on that Spring Day. But for me, every day could be a ‘Miss Congeniality’ day and I am grateful that today is without a doubt, ‘Miss Congeniality’ Day on my blog.

The movie will always make me laugh. No matter how many times I watch it, no matter that I could say the lines along with the actors, I always laugh out loud numerous times when watching this magnificent comedy. It’s just so damn funny and the cast is beyond perfection. Sandra Bullock is of course marvelous but the supporting ensemble players are all terrific. Michael Caine and William Shatner steal every scene they are in and that is no easy task as everyone is on their A-game in this film. Michael Caine’s lines and deliveries are some of the funniest moments captured on film and William Shatner singing “Miss United States” at the climax, I mean, come on. That is just pure comedy gold.

How could I possibly have a bad day today when I started it off watching ‘Miss Congeniality?’ I don’t think it is possible. The movie is super silly and fun and one whose sole purpose is to make you smile and feel good about life for awhile. It entertains. And that’s exactly what it did again today and will probably do for the rest of my days on this planet.

Awards: Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical, Sandra Bullock (nomination), Golden Globe for Best Original Song – Motion Picture, “One in a Million,” Bosson (nomination).

Ways to Watch: YouTube, Vudu, iTunes, Amazon Prime, Google Play, DVD Availability.

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