First of all, I want to share something that I thought was incredibly cool. One of my vintage picks on the application this year was Good News. It's probably my favorite movie musical, and I use name of the main character, Connie Lane, as my username in a few different fandoms (mostly Harry Potter). There are three minor actors in Girl Crazy who would go on four years later to be major actors in Good News - June Allyson (Connie) does the opening number "Treat Me Rough", Robert E. Strickland (Peter Van Dine III - quel frommage!) plays Judy Garland's would-be suitor, and an uncredited Peter Lawford (football hero and Connie's love interest Tommy Marlow) is a student and has one line, but I recognized his voice immediately. I could not believe seeing so many of my Good News lovelies in this movie.
Anyway, on to Girl Crazy. Rooney plays Danny Churchill, Manhattan party boy and heir to a publishing fortune. He does nothing but fritter away his days going from party to party and girl to girl, so his father decides to give him a wake up call. He's going to withdraw him from his Ivy League education and send him to Cody College - if the movie City Slickers was somehow transformed into a university experience, it would be Cody College. So we're in for a classic fish-out-of-water tale. Danny meets and instantly clashes with the mail delivery girl Ginger, so we know they're going to fall in love (if her being played by Judy Garland didn't clue us in already). He makes many attempts to woo her, but she's having none of it. Danny has a hard time adjusting to the hours, the hard work, and the wild west setting of his new home, but he feels it's worth staying to keep chipping away at Ginger's defenses, especially when she starts warming up to him.
There are complications, of course, and this being a musical they're kind of ridiculous. Cody College is going to be shut down because they don't have enough people applying. Naturally, this being a musical, the only solution is to Put On A Show. There are misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and of course musical numbers, and it all works out in the end, as it should.
This is billed as a Rooney-Garland picture, but it's ultimately Rooney's show. This is mostly a great thing, because Rooney was always such a wonderful entertainer and talented in a lot of areas. There are moments when his adorability comes dangerously close to crashing in on itself, but you cannot help being charmed by him, much like Ginger is by Danny. I confess, it's difficult for me to see Rooney as a romantic lead, and especially a smooth-talking ladies' man, which he is supposed to be in this film - he just so short and cute! But his chemistry with Garland is not to be underestimated.
This movie was largely the inspiration for the Tony award wining musical of 1992, Crazy For You, and many of the incredible Gershwin numbers that appear in that musical were in this film - "Bidin' My Time," "Could You Use Me," "Embraceable You," "But Not For Me," and the Busby Berkley-choreographed "I Got Rhythm" - and made me want to stand up and sing and dance along. Sadly, I felt that even BNAT would not be a place where such a thing would fly. Why can't we live in a movie musical world?
Everyone seemed to enjoy this, and there were many great quotables. When one of the guys makes a lackluster marriage proposal to Ginger and talks about putting all his cards on the table, she issues an epic burn by telling him that he should have taken out the Joker. I cracked up when Danny's father tells him that he's been "living in a world of weekend whimsy." The world "diljo" has entered into the BNAT lexicon forever. (Side note: the words diljo, loogan, and snerp all appear on urban dictionary, and the diljo definition is a QUOTE FROM THIS MOVIE.) But perhaps my favorite line had to be this gem of randomosity: "Oh, the things you see around here when you don't have a gun." That's going in my "huh?" file with the "rabbits roar" line from Machine Gun Kelly.
During the break before our next film, we saw possibly the strangest sight of the evening on the screen, and that's saying something. There were red boxes, with red-painted faces on the fronts of them, and white bare butts sticking out of the tops of them, and there were girls dressed up as nurses giving shots to the bare buttocks and swabbing them with cotton. I could only describe it, as I did at BNAT, as resembling a "pornographic Target commercial." Weird, man. There was also apparently a trailer for Attack of the 50-Foot Woman and a Candy Candido video, but I seem to have blocked them from my mind, forever warped by the bare-butt weirdness.