Today was the kind of rainy Monday that makes you wish you were still in bed. The kind of day that makes you want to camp out on the couch with a mug of hot-beverage-of-choice (in my case, coffee) and watch a movie.
My rainy day movie tends to be Coraline. Yep, the stop-motion animated film with the creepy button eyes. Somehow the combination of stop-motion and the lullaby soundtrack music and all the loving care put into production — did you know that all of the dolls’ clothing was handmade, and Coraline’s tiny sweater was hand-knitted with miniature needles? — just makes for a lovely comfort movie. I can probably recite 90% of the dialogue from memory, I’ve seen it so many times. The animation is phenomenal, the script is tightly written, the music is alternately soothing and just the right amount of discordant. Laika puts care into all of their productions, and it shows.
Keith David as the voice of the cat doesn’t exactly hurt, either.
I know it’s a creepy kind of movie, with a few images (like the Other Father’s distorted face as he seems to become more candle wax than person) being a bit disturbing. If I had seen it as a kid, it probably would have given me nightmares. Disney’s The Black Caudron certainly did, and I didn’t see that one until I was ten. But as a teenager when I first read Coraline the book and delved into Neil Gaiman’s oeuvre, I found a little more horror in stories like “The Last Temptation,” which was also sort of designed with young readers in mind, and which I still enjoyed … unlike “24 Hours” in Preludes and Nocturnes, which was very much not for youth consumption, and if I never read it again it will still be too soon.
This begs a question about what exactly constitutes horror, and how different people see it as different things. But that’s probably a question for another post.
The book Coraline is stark and lonely and it’s got its fair share of existential dread along with the eldritch monster to be beaten. The movie Coraline still has all its teeth — it hasn’t been tamed or tamped down in any way — but it’s less about the existential dread and more about the relationships people build with each other. It makes for a brighter, warmer story — a comfort story — a well-used story, at least in my case. I can’t think of a single rainy morning or afternoon where I haven’t thought, “hum, I want to put on Coraline in a few minutes.” And maybe there’s another movie I’d rather watch instead, but my default for rainy days will always be Coraline.
What’s your rainy day default?