Goldie: a lotus grows in the mud

Goldie: a lotus grows in the mud

by Goldie Hawn with Wendy Holden
Berkley, February 2006
464 Pages
ISBN: 0425207889
ISBN13: 9780425207888

Published in 2006, Goldie Hawn’s autobiography, Goldie: a lotus grows in the mud,  is much different than other autobiographies I’ve read. I wish I’d read it sooner. This isn’t the typical chronological, obstacle-filled/obstacle-overcame Hollywood story. Goldie has written of her own life’s events, how she felt about them and what she learned from each one. No matter how mundane or how big of deal they might seem, she respects them all with equal power to the effect they had on her life. This is a wonderful collection of Goldie’s perspective on different areas of life. It made me think. Especially, It made me think differently about some things.

“That is the idea behind this book. Not to tell my life story, but to speak openly and from the heart about episodes in my life in the hope of explaining how they changed my perception and how they helped me to look at the world more clearly,”–Goldie Hawn

Accomplished.

My early movie-going life was consistently filled with Goldie Hawn. I looked up to her. I wanted to be her. I was comfortable in the theater when she was on screen. Within the pages of this book, I’m just as comfortable. Many of the moments she writes about are written in first person, present tense. This is terrific! It makes the reader feel like a genuine part of the story.

Goldie Hawn’s movie career was at a peak at about the same time I was beginning to discover movies. She instantly became one of my favorites then because of the way she portrayed the characters she played. Like I said, I always looked to these characters as women I felt comfortable, or safe, with. This was not something I enjoyed in my own life – I grew up in an oh-so-strict environment ruled by a narcissistic mother who wouldn’t even let me watch such movies. (I had to lie about where I was going to go to the theater to see one). Not only did I feel comfortable with Goldie and her characters, I learned from them that it was okay to be a free spirit, that it was okay to think and dream….and that laughter plays a big part in all of it.

“I mean, it’s important to be liberated from my fears. I don’t think  burning bras is going to do that. I think laughing out loud is a great liberator.” — Goldie Hawn

As young as I was, I figured this out without even realizing it, if that makes sense, in those first few Goldie Hawn movies I saw. Thank god. As they say, “Laughter truly is the best medicine.” I don’t know who said that first, but I learned it from Goldie Hawn.

poster photo from Limited Runs

Foul Play (1978) was the movie that introduced me to Goldie Hawn. I was a huge Barry Manilow fan at the time, and his song, Ready To Take a Chance Again, led me to it. I SO loved that song and absolutely had to see Foul Play because that song was a part of the movie – though to this day I do NOT understand why. I mean, it was a kind of a disturbing but funny movie about a librarian and a cop (Chevy Chase) solving a crime that involved creepy characters….not really a place for a mushy love song, even though they ultimately fell in love….

But anyway…. I left that movie in complete adoration of Goldie Hawn. From that point forward I made sure I saw as many of her movies as I could. I could always rely on Goldie’s romantic comedies to make me feel good. There was never any doubt that her presence in a movie would be exactly what I needed. I am positive that her movies are why I have always been drawn to the romantic comedies that exist throughout the history of Hollywood.

 Housesitter (1992) with Steve Martin has been my favorite Goldie Hawn movie. Oh how I admired how clever she was in that movie. And that house! I have been known to beg my architect Hubby to design and build me that house. I STILL don’t have the house. But I have the movie and of every movie I own, it’s the one I’ve watched the most. It never gets old. One more time, Goldie plays a free-spirited, clever girl full of kindness that I take a great deal of inspiration from. When I saw Cactus Flower (1969) with Walter Matthau and Ingrid Bergman, (Goldie’s first movie), for the first time last year, that same feeling of comfort washed over me. It’s like that for me with every movie of Goldie’s that I’ve seen.

“It is so important to get a different perspective in life, to see what other people have or don’t have and what they consider to be valuable. Possessions ultimately do not make us happy, nor does the obsession with acquiring more and more material wealth. How much is enough?”

“Children don’t plan. They don’t control. They laugh, they have fun, they go with the flow.” There is a lesson for us all there.” –Goldie Hawn.

It’s a relief just to let myself think that way as I read it! I do love the way she thinks, and this book is filled to the brim with her thoughts and perspectives. They’re enlightening and inspiring. Needless to say, a person could learn a lot here, if they let themselves.

“If we can just let go and trust that things will work out the way they’re supposed to, without trying to control the outcome, then we can begin to enjoy the moment more fully. The joy of the freedom it brings becomes more pleasurable that the experience itself.” –Goldie Hawn

Random notes:

  • Goldie is a dancer at heart. I love knowing that Fred Astaire was her childhood hero. He’s mentioned no less than six times here.
  • Goldie wasn’t altogether impressed with Walter Matthau when they made Cactus Flower together, but she absolutely loved Ingrid Bergman. This does not move me from my current Walter Matthau obsession, however.
  • I have not seen Private Benjamin (1980). Yet. It’s Goldie’s only Oscar (for Best Actress In a Leading Role).

6 Favorite Movies From The 60s

May 16th is National Classic Movie Day! I love any reason to celebrate classic movies, and this is a fun way to do it. Thank you to Rick at the Classsic Film & TV Cafe for hosting this, The 6 From The 60s blogathon. The guidelines for this blogathon are simple: list your six favorite films from the 1960s and explain why they deserve such an honor! This post is my entry. I love comedies and the common thread running through these movies is that they made and still do make me laugh every time I watch them.

You can see all the blogathon entries by clicking here. I’m looking forward to seeing the other movies that have the honor of being someone’s “favorite!”

It’s no surprise that Walter Matthau shows up in three of the movies here, and that Jack Lemmon is in two of them. Watching these two just makes me so happy.

1-The Odd Couple, 1968

Why is The Odd Couple one of my favorite movies from the 60s? The friendships. It’s displayed in every scene. I see it and feel it from every character and it’s pure comfort for me. I admit, anything with Walter Matthau is good for me. Especially The Odd Couple.  From the poker game scenes, to the date with the neighbors, to the scenes with just a frustrated Oscar (Walter Matthau) and frustrated Felix (Jack Lemmon). Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon play these characters in such a way that we care about them both. Even though Felix’s neurotic nature makes us nuts, we care about what happens to him.  Even though Oscar is sloppy, we admire him and the way he carries himself. I love this movie for the kindness I see when I watch it. It’s sometimes sarcastic and playful, a little bit serious and painful, but the underlying kindness is always evident to me, even when they’re mad at each other. Despite all of the things that can and do go wrong, they all still care about each other in the end. And it’s funny as hell.

2-Cactus Flower, 1969

Why is Cactus Flower one of my favorite movies from the 60s? It’s a meaningful story chock-full of a lot of reasons to laugh from likable characters. Julian Winston (Walter Matthau), is a dentist that lies about being married to avoid commitment to marriage with Toni (Goldie Hawn). Nurse Dickinson (Ingrid Bergman) is there, thankfully, to keep Julian organized and to eventually set everything straight. All three actors, Walter Matthau, Goldie Hawn and Ingrid Bergman play off each other like they’ve done it for years….and this is Goldie Hawn’s first movie! Cactus Flower is a lot of fun!

Did I mention Ingrid Bergman was in it? She does comedy so well. I did not expect this, but oh my, is she good at it. Ingrid Bergman steals the show for me. And it’s wonderful!

3-Bachelor in Paradise, 1961

Why is Bachelor in Paradise one of my favorite movies from the 60s? It’s a gorgeous glimpse into mid-century American culture embedded in an interesting story line. I wrote about this movie here a few weeks ago because it’s always had such a positive effect on me. Lana Turner is wonderful.

From my April 10, 2020 post:

Bachelor in Paradise is light-hearted, mid-century comedy that has the power to make me laugh out loud and forget about things for a couple of hours. It’s filled with glorious mid-century decor, fashion and lifestyle. This movie doesn’t pretend to be a deep, societal observation, but there is an important feminist message here, especially for 1961, I suspect, mostly delivered to us via Bob Hope’s peppy narrating as Niles. Lana Turner’s beautiful, independent intelligence as Rosemary, along with the intelligent, thoughtful women of the neighborhood, make this one of my all-time favorite movies.

And yeah, it’s funny!

4-Charade,1963

Why is Charade one of my favorite movies from the 60’s? Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn.

The end.

5-Some Like It Hot, 1959

Why is Some Like It Hot one of my favorite movies from the 60’s? It’s rhythm. It clips along at a good pace with a plot that keeps me engaged by always wondering what in the world could possibly happen next. It’s one of the best movie-watching experiences I can think of. Paying attention to the three main characters-Joe (Tony Curtis), Jerry (Jack Lemmon), and Sugar (Marilyn Monroe) is easy because they’re all sincerely likeable and engaging. They’re good people that I find myself rooting for every time I watch this. From the first scene where Joe and Jerry  witness the Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago in 1929 to that sweet ending, everything that happens moves along so….perfectly? I never find myself cringing, bored or rushing to get it over with. It feels like a brave movie too, and I like that it takes chances. This movie feels like it’s been thoroughly thought out and put together so well by the director (Billy Wilder) and writers (Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond) that actors that just melt into the story. It’s perfect. But then, that’s Billy Wilder for ya.

6-The Thrill of it All, 1963

Why is The Thrill of it All one of my favorite movies from the 60s? Because Doris Day plays a character, Beverly Boyer, that comes up against sexism and still makes her own decisions in the face of it. Despite the chaos it causes her within her family, she follows her heart. That takes guts now, let alone in the 1960s. Her husband, Dr. Gerald Boyer (Garner) is not happy about any of what she decides to do, and he makes it difficult for her. Still, I love that everything that happens here is ultimately Beverly’s decision and not her husband’s. Even in the end. Some have called this movie sexist, and there is an overall atmosphere of it, but she’s successfully navigating through it on her own terms. It isn’t always fun for her and every step she takes is a challenge, but she does it, and it’s inspiring. On top of that, The Thrill of It All is hilarious!

That pool scene…..

The chemistry between Doris Day and James Garner is addictive. I wish they’d done more movies together.

Thank you to Rick at Classic Film and TV Cafe for hosting 6 From The 60s!

What’s YOUR favorite movie from the 1960s?