One of the necessities of my regular Friday feature is that I have to have a completed Oscar category ready to go. I’ve got enough for some weeks into the future, but I’m mildly panicked about running out, which means that I try to complete a category (or two) every week. Because of this, my NetFlix queue is pretty top-heavy with films that are the last one I haven’t watched or rewatched for a given category. It means that sometimes a film shows up that I’m not really excited about seeing. Such was definitely the case with On Golden Pond. I mean, my favorite genres are horror and science fiction. Do I really want to spend close to two hours watching a couple of old people get older?
There are a few hidden perks in this film even if it does spend a great deal of its time trying to force the audience to reach for their hankies. The primary pleasure of On Golden Pond is watching Henry Fonda act like a cantankerous son of a bitch to all and sundry. Much of the reason this works is because it’s Henry Fonda. Much like Once Upon a Time in the West trades on Fonda being a bad guy after a career of playing an everyman, On Golden Pond makes him mean and spiteful after a career of playing the guy you’d love to live next door to.