Swedish Meatballs


Sombre Helmet with Horses, Donald Robertson, 1952

Sombre Helmet with Horses, Donald Robertson, 1952

Back in my Spartan days, when I was a student at Michigan State, my roommate Chandos, one of the real McCoy’s would from time-to-time have a hankering for Swedish meatballs. Fortunately, there was a whole smorgasbord from Sweden nearby. While, probably not rising to the standard of Alec Baldwin’s Schweddy balls, their balls were still pretty fine meatballs and were all you could eat. The real meat of this post is about a pair of Swedish meatball comedies. While, the photo is a not too subtle reference to my alma mater that I hope somehow fits.

The first Swedish comedy is “A Man Called Ove”, by Fredrik Backman. Ove is a curmudgeon, who likes to jab his finger at people he dislikes. He has staunch principles, a strict routine, and a very short fuse. People call him a bitter old man, but behind his cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. One morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale. All of which will change one cranky old man and the neighborhood to their very foundations. I’m currently listening to this book on tape. I’m about halfway through it. When I finish, I’ll likely revisit this subject again. Plus, Music Box Films has released a movie version of this story, by the same title. It is currently in theaters. Here is a link to the trailer on YouTube.

While searching YouTube for “Ove”, I came across another Music Box film, “The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared”. It is available to stream through Amazon Prime. While, at least so far, “Ove” is both sweet and charming, “100 Year-Old Man” is a riot. After living a long and colorful life, Allan Karlsson finds himself stuck in a nursing home. On his 100th birthday, he leaps out a window and begins an amusing journey. You can think of Allan as the Swedish “Forest Gump”, because through the course of his life, he holds many different jobs, meets many famous people and manages to influence history. His journey gets a boost at its beginning, when a biker-gang member asks him to watch his suitcase, while the biker goes to the loo. Allan’s bus is leaving, so he walks off with this suitcase full of gangland money. Here is a link to the film’s YouTube trailer.

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