December 14 is quickly becoming a day when more and more people are behaving like a barrel of monkeys. That’s a good thing, by the way. December may have been chosen specifically by the originators of this day of simian observance as a none too subtle evolutionary tweak of the nose of the spiritually centered holidays that congregate during the month. The holiday may also be viewed in less controversial terms as a single moment in time when we should all take note the vast class of creatures on the planet who are considered primates. Celebration of National Monkey Day can become a political statement about the treatment of animals for scientific research purposes or it can become nothing more than an excuse to act like a chimp since the holiday’s creators suggest that no distinction needs to be made between monkey and ape. Somewhere in between is what is probably Homer Simpson’s preferred method of commemoration: a monkey movie marathon!
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
It’s almost like they planned it or something! Monkey Day 2011 falls exactly one day after the release of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” on DVD. Let’s face it, there is no more appropriate time to unwrap this video goodie and enjoy exploring its special features and searching for Easter eggs more than December 14, which will otherwise from here until forever be known as Monkey Day.
Under normal circumstances I would never dream of recommending the Peter Jackson remake of “King Kong” ahead of the original or even the Jessica Lange remake. But seeing as how Jackson’s version of the story of the big ape with a thing for blondes was originally released to theaters on December 15, it just seems wrong to ignore the timing. Do yourself a solid, however: fast forward to the point where Kong finally makes his appearance and watch the dinosaur sequence only if you enjoy special effects that makes cheesy 1950’s low budget flicks look high tech by comparison.
Inherit the Wind
Get political on Monkey Day by watching the movie that touches upon the holiday’s aversion to creationist opposition to evolution. “Inherit the Wind” is based on the stage drama in turn based on the actual trial of a teacher who dared to share with his students the factual evidence that contradicts Biblical history and science regarding the age of the planet. You get to see Spencer Tracy as his best and Fredric March still proving late in his career that he was one of the most amazing and versatile actors to ever step in front of a camera.
Bedtime for Bonzo
Here is a little movie that offers that single rarest opportunity in American history. “Bedtime For Bonzo” is the only place you will ever see a future President of the United States co–starring in a movie with chimp. Of course, opposite is readily available in “W” in which you get to see a number of people sharing the screen with the US President who may actually have been a chimp. You really should add “Bedtime for Bonzo” to your Monkey Day movie marathon in order to set the record straight. Contrary to conventional wisdom, this movie is not entirely without merit. In fact, it posits a rather unsettling progressively liberal perspective for a movie starring a guy who became the Godfather of such ideologically off the rails progeny as Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin.