Anyway. I finally got around to watching Samurai Fiction, recommended by Shayna quite a long time ago. Shayna's movie recommendations are pretty much always awesome, and this was no exception. It's a Japanese film, and though it was made in the 1990s, it's almost entirely in black and white. Occasional splashes of color are used to very good artistic effect. The cinematography is lovely, and shows the movie to have been directed by someone who is clearly very familiar with old samurai movies and the films of Akira Kurosawa. The very modern rock 'n' roll soundtrack works extremely well, especially for the fight scenes.
The storyline itself is a fun martial arts romp--not quite a comedy, but with a strong comic streak in it. Kazamatsuri, a very tall outlaw samurai, steals a sword that is the most precious treasure of the clan he's working for. The son of the clan chief, a hotheaded but honorable young samurai named Heishiro, runs off to take the sword back, accompanied by his two ridiculous friends. His father sends two awesome ninja after him to make sure he doesn't get into too much trouble. (ONE OF THE NINJA IS A LADY WOOHOO.) Kazamatsuri, unfortunately, is so badass that he beats the shit out of the three young dudes, and Heishiro recuperates at the house of a middle-aged dude who saved his sorry ass. The middle-aged guy, Mizoguchi, is a master swordsman, but also a pacifist, and lives in the woods with his daughter Koharu. A predictable but still very cute romance blossoms between Koharu and Heishiro, which mostly involves Heishiro getting nosebleeds. Kazamatsuri spends most of this time hanging out in a whorehouse with a couple of doofy minion-y friends he picked up and the woman who owns the place, who quite frankly may be the most awesome character in the movie. Mizoguchi tries to talk Heishiro out of killing Kazamatsuri as the story inevitably gears up towards a grand Final Showdown wherein the sword gets tossed into the river.
While there is a repeated srs bsns theme of pacifism and the necessity of taming Heishiro's hotheadedness and impatience, as they are manifestations of ego, these themes are basically there to ground the story just enough to keep it engaging--it is mostly a good, fluffy popcorn movie. Some parts of it are straight-up absurdist. Kazamatsuri makes the greatest unimpressed faces, and our noble young hero Heishiro's periodic flip-outs are deliciously undignified. Koharu is pretty adorbs and is shown as knowledgeable about a bunch of stuff like plant uses and is opinionated and not silly at all, so overall not a bad showing for being the sweet idealized lady love interest who's the only non-warrior in the movie. (Even awesome hooker lady claims to have killed several men and can hold her own in a fight using a poker).
My only real complaint about this movie is that the lady ninja did not get enough screen time. MORE LADY NINJA PLEASE! LADY NINJA ALL THE TIME 4EVER.
Earlier this week I caught the last couple of minutes of Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory on HBO, and it reminded me that I had neglected to track down and watch the series when the West Memphis Three were actually released last summer. I don’t remember what I was quite so busy with at the time—I think probably figuring out if I was going to lose my job or not—that I didn’t actually drop everything and devote myself obsessively to learning everything about the case I could like I usually do when an interesting new true-crime story catches my attention, particularly one that touches on so many of my interests (one of these days I might have to give up on the idea that I have particular interests and just admit that I’m fascinated by everything except higher math).
Anyway, I have much less going on this week, so I’ve watched all three Paradise Lost documentaries and read a bunch of stuff about the case online (note: the CrimeLibrary entry for this case kind of sucks). The Paradise Lost documentaries were all made by HBO and were released in 1996, 2000, and 2012. They are deeply disturbing, to put it mildly.
( Trigger warning: fuckedupness )
Last night I met up with bookelfe (in real life!) and some other people I had never met before (but they all were quite nice and seemed very cool) and we went to the Harvard Film Archive to see Revengers Tragedy, a wacky surrealist post-apocalyptic version of a Jacobean revenge drama, featuring Christopher Eccleston cuddling a skull and making crazy eyes, and a metric shit-ton of facial piercings.
The original play apparently takes place in Italy somewhere, going by all the characters' names, but this version takes place in a dystopian futuristic Liverpool that appears to have been depopulated somehow (by a plague or something? Idunno) where all the nobles apparently entertain themselves by getting into fights and seeing how elaborately they can self-adorn. Future!Dystopian!Liverpool is run by an evil Duke, played by Derek Jacobi in fabulous shades and purple lipstick, who some number of years ago poisoned the main character's wife because she wouldn't sleep with him. Now the main character (whose name is Vindici, which means "avenging" because the character names in this play are SUPER SUBTLE) has come back to wreak havoc on the Duke and his family! Vindici enters the employ of the Duke's oldest son, named Lussurioso, because he is lecherous. Lussurioso wants to bang Vindici's sister. Lussurioso is also played by EDDIE IZZARD, who is FABULOUS AS ALWAYS. The younger brothers are also awesome, including Ambitioso, who schemes to kill Lussurioso so that he can be Duke next instead, and Supervacuo, who is an airhead. Jacobean airheadedness is motherfucking HILARIOUS, now that all Jacobean talk sounds fancy. There is plotting and murder and more plotting and more murder, and increasingly outlandish murders, until pretty much everybody is dead. Usually in weird ways.
So, basically, if you are ever like "I want to watch a super weird movie; none of the movies I have are weird enough," try to see if you can track this one down! It is weird enough!
Last weekend I watched Whip It, which I had been wanting to see since it came out, but when it came out it was aggressively under-marketed despite having all sorts of big names in it, so I could not find in a theater near me. Anyway, it is basically one of those sports team movies where the team is famously crappy at the beginning but then they cohese and get awesome, and there is bonding and funny stuff between the team members. It may be the best movie of this particular formula I've seen in a really long time, because instead of being about high school football or something, it's about women's roller derby. The main character, Bliss--played by Ellen Page--is a teenager, because this kind of story is always a coming of age story, but it is an adult team and she lies about her age to be on it. Bliss comes from a painfully fifties kinda nuclear household, in which her mother, and ex-beauty pageant queen type of person, makes Bliss also do beauty pageants, and her doofy dad is a pretty typical sitcom/cartoon Doofy Dad until right up at the end when he starts being involved and supportive, but only because roller derby is a sport, and being very stereotypical, he likes sports. The mom is more developed. Bliss also has a best friend, who is played by Maeby from Arrested Development. The best friend does not join the roller derby team, instead playing faithful sidekick until this role comes to bite her in the ass, at which point there is drama stuff about how it is actually kind of douchey to make your best friend be your faithful sidekick sometimes. There is an obligatory Awkward But Supposedly Adorable Dude In A Band Who Turns Out To Be A Douche After The Protagonist Sleeps With Him, and I am sad to report that this entire plotline is exactly what it always is and there wasn't really anything fun about it. Oh, well. The roller derby teams more than made up for it. They were loud and colorfully dressed and many of them had tattoos and the one played by Drew Barrymore was clearly a little messed up from too much contact-sport-playing, and they were also funny and expressive and had fun hanging out and helped each other and one of them had an adorable small child, and basically were a bunch of cool ladies being friends and playing roller derby. I think this is the sort of thing we should see more of in movies. Also one of them was played by Eve, a rapper I really liked back when I was in eighth grade and went through my gangsta rap phase for like six months before I discovered metal. I will probably never listen to rap again in my life if I can help it but I will always think Eve is awesome anyway.
I kind of feel like trying to talk about the plot here would be pointless cos it's kind of exactly what you'd expect, that just doesn't make it any less fun to watch. Bliss joins the worst roller derby team ever! She starts out badly because she is timid and roller derby is a contact sport! She gets better because she is small and speedy and becomes the best
This was definitely one of those movies where the fun lies in the individual lines and funny side characters and charmingly awkward moment-to-moment stuff, rather than plotular suspense. But there is a lot of fun in those things! And you really get an appreciation for how totally awesome roller derby is. I retain my original impression that this would be a great sleepover movie.
This weekend I moved into very British period dramas, or what I am learning to think of as "Hat Movies" in that the characters tend to wear big awesome hats.
Sense and Sensibility is, obviously, pretty awesome, because it is an adaptation of a Jane Austen novel, and it's hard to fuck those up entirely. This one also has a brilliant cast, with Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood (the practical one), Kate Winslet as Marianne Dashwood (the romantic one who would be the biggest Twilight fangirl ever if she were alive today), Hugh Grant as Edward (not a vampire), Alan Rickman as
For me, the most important part of any Austen adaptation is "Is it still funny?" because Austen is hilarious but I think sometimes people forget this and think that she is writing straight romance (with occasional jokes) instead of a social satire using a love story as a structural aid a la The Importance of Being Earnest. (See: this Hark, A Vagrant! strip) Luckily, this one was still funny! Particularly Hugh Grant, who was perfectly funny and awkward and sweet and British all at the same, which just made it extra funny. The moving bits were all very moving, but when the basis of your story is essentially to contrast silly people romance with awkward people romance, the stuff that's probably very serious drama to the characters still comes off as sad-larious more than anything else.
After this, I was like "I need more sad-larious awkward British people with big hats!" so I decided to watch The King's Speech. This one also has a cast of People Who Make Everything Better: in this case, Colin Firth, Helena Bonham-Carter, and Geoffrey Rush. HBC has the freaking fabulousest hats in this movie. If you are the one person left in the English-speaking world who has not heard of this movie, I will tell you what it is about: it is about George VI's (known as "Bertie") ascension to the throne at the beginning of World War II, and his quest to overcome his stammer so that he could engage in the public speaking required of a king now that this newfangled radio thing had been invented. Geoffrey Rush plays his speech therapist, Lionel "I Am A Huge Nerd, You Have No Idea How Nerdy I Am" Logue. He is hysterical. He is definitely not a comic relief character, and the movie is definitely not a comedy (except to the degree that all Hat Movies are inherently comedies, because Hat Movies), but it is a very well-done and engaging and serious drama about a lot of very clever and witty people with excellent senses of humor. Except Bertie's brother; his sense of humor consists of making fun of Bertie's stammer and as such he is not as clever as he thinks he is.
This movie has pretty much everything I like in it--in addition to the aforementioned Britishness and hats, there is a lot of political crap, which I'm really big on lately, and of course, there is language nerdery, although since it is more focused on public speaking than linguistics it does not make me as flaily as, say, Pygmalion. There are lots of those dippy sort of "history, it is in the PAST, LOL" types of comments that I always think are more clever than they really are ("RADIO, it is so NEW AND TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED!" and "This Hitler fellow, how big of a problem is he?" and stuff). Did I mention big hats?
I could probably give serious review of this movie if I really tried, but every movie critic ever has already done so, so that's why I'm just squeeing.
Anyway, I give it five hats.
Yesterday I watched most of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring and today I finished it and watched all of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. I put them on on the basis that they are the longest movies I own, and that I would be less distracted by something 'comfort movie' like that I had already seen a billion times.
This mostly worked, except that I am basically reawakening all my high school fangirliness that I had left behind for the past couple years to wibble about the new nerdy fantasy things. You guys, there are SO MANY AWESOME QUOTES in these movies. So many that I had forgotten most of them! And there are even more terrible in-jokes that I had with all my friends! Many of which were based on shit we found on the Internet!
I think next week I'll watch Notre-Dame de Paris, and then my brain will implode into period/pseudo-period silliness and fandom even worse than it did in April when every premium channel decided to premiere a new medieval costume drama at the same time.
Can I go to grad school for "becoming Tolkien"? Is that an option? Can I make my own program? It would involve linguistics, learning nine languages, medieval literature study, calligraphy, medieval history study, world religion and mythology, language construction, and creative writing. Final project is to translate, adapt and film a version of Beowulf (or another ancient epic) that doesn't suck.
This morning, I tried an Experiment!
My Experiment was to see if I can utilize some of the time I spend on the train each day to more productive ends than just reading, because as much as I like having three hours a day to read, it is resulting in getting through a LOT of reading and having no time left to review them, or do my freelance assignments, and also I end up checking my email in the evening and then whoops, all my time is gone and I didn't do anything else I was planning to do. So this morning I brought along my netbook to see if this trial they are running of free wi-fi in the train cars is any good.
For the record: I adore the notion of free wi-fi in train cars. For some reason I always associate train use with being somewhat old-fashioned, probably because most of the rail systems in the US were built like a hundred years ago and I think most of the train cars are at least as old as I am. Trains have become sort of a second-teir mode of travel since their golden age, and the commuter rail systems very clearly reflect last century's urban-and-suburban job structure, so I always associate trains with being in some odd way historical curiosities. Even though they are still being used. But anyway, trains with wireless Internet just seem sort of weirdly steampunky to me. Perhaps I am just completely bananas, though.
Anyway. I got online successfully this morning, answered some emails, and opened up LJ to do my review of Desert Queen. I wrote the whole thing, and then, in a moment of thoughtlessness, hit the “tags” button to add tags, which causes a pop-up box these days, and the MBTA's wi-fi is basic enough that that was a really bad idea. Attempting to open the fancy pop-up window took about ten minutes, during which time the tag window never loaded, I was just unable to access the regular posting. Had to shut the window and hope I could auto-recover before getting into Back Bay; alas, it only auto-recovered the first paragraph or so. So I decided I should probably just write the things in OpenOffice and copy-paste from now on. So I started draft #2 during lunch, and finished it on the train ride home, which is where I am now. I'll post it and add the links and tags and stuff when I get back to Worcester, I suppose.
But at least I know I can do some basic Internetting before and after work!
In other news, I looked at a sublet today, and I will look at another one tomorrow, and I think I may bring my regular laptop on the train for that so I can do some of my Elance reformatting work on that trip. I am trying to talk myself into finding it possible to go to the gym first things in the morning, too. Tonight, I am going to read silly fantasy and brainstorm my Brilliant Business Idea with Liz (I am not telling you what it is) and maybe even get some Elance work done if not being Busy for ten minutes starts to wig me out, which it might. I am sorry about yesterday's stress-bomb; I got to the bank this morning so I am sure it will all work itself out. I just need to keep busy and keep writing.
Also in the past few weeks, I read a book about ambition, read two vampire books, went to see Jane Eyre, and watched the first two episodes of Game of Thrones. I will review Game of Thrones eventually, I promise. Perhaps after the third episode.
P.S. I refuse to either rant about being sick of the Royal Wedding or make a joke about not being invited to it. I will only say this: Where was our media when Kronprinsesse Victoria of Sweden got married last summer? I had to go to Sweden to hear about it. I mean, do we like fancy princess weddings or don't we? Or would having subtitles on the TV give Americans hives?
Anyway, I will not review the plot of Jane Eyre, since hopefully you already know it, and if not, you should drop whatever you're doing and go read it. The first chapters are a little slow, as is the case with all books written before about World War One, but it picks up, I promise you. And then it is ALL SORTS of weird Gothic novel shit with secret marriages and mysterious strangers setting things on fire and even some hilariously convenient rich dead uncles. Also, don't keep reading; here there be spoilers.
This movie version stayed pretty true to the book, although being only movie-length it did have to shorten a few things--Jane only has one weird argument with St. John about marrying him and going to India instead of like nineteen, and they skipped over all the drama about Jane's wedding veil, and they left out the bit where she suddenly learns she is actually related to the Riverses (perhaps they felt a modern audience would only be able to believe so many mysteriously acquired relatives). Also, I was really hoping for a cheesy voiceover at the end with Jane's whole "Reader, I married him" speech, because it is so saccharine in text that I would have positively died having to hear it spoken out loud over tinkly piano music and footage of Jane and Rochester making eyes at each other in the English countryside. Alas, this did not happen.
However, many wonderful things were still included, including a fabulous, fabulous cast. Mia Wasikowska I had only seen as Alice in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, and I am pleased to report that she was an awesome Jane. (She is probably too pretty to be Jane, but they plained her up as well a possible, including with a clever hairdo that is basically one of those beautiful braided knots that passed for "simple" hair back then, except with the front locks twisted in such a way as to draw entirely too much attention to her ears, but without making it look like they'd given her ugly hair.) Michael Fassbender was such an excellently cranky and weird Mr. Rochester that you almost forgot that he is also far too attractive for the role. (They actually dealt with this issue similarly--Rochester has increasingly terrible facial hair as the movie progresses. It's highly amusing.) I particularly appreciated him as Rochester because, while many of us Americans know him best as The Guy Who Says "Then We Shall Fight In The Shade!" from 300 or Lieutenant Archie from Inglourious Basterds, to me he will always be first and foremost Azazeal, the broody eyeliner-wearing demon dude from Hex.
We spent a lot of the movie trying to figure out who was playing the Rivers sisters, because they both looked very, very familiar. We finally figured it out: one of them is Tamzin Merchant, who I know as Catherine Howard from The Tudors, Georgiana Darcy from the newer Pride and Prejudice, and the original casting for Danaerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones. The other one is Holliday Grainger, who I had never seen before in my life until about three weeks ago, until I saw her as Lucrezia Borgia in The Borgias and as some crazy Sidhe lady who enchants Arthur in an episode of Merlin. It was a shock seeing either of them in only semi-ridiculous costumes, since the Rivers sisters were sensible and not very wealthy, so they mostly just wore not-very-colorful plain dresses and their hair in beautiful braided knots that also kind of did unfortunate things to their ears. At any rate, it turns out they are both more than capable of playing normal characters with normal wardrobes, and though Mary and Diana are not the biggest parts in the story they are both very endearing.
None of these people were quite as awesome as Judi Dench, though, because nobody is ever as awesome as Judi Dench. Dame Judi played Mrs. Fairfax, the housekeeper, and though I don't remember Mrs. Fairfax being a particularly favorite character of mine in the book, she was in the movie. She was just the right level of fussy to alleviate her from being generally a kind and sensible character to being a funny one, and as always, she can communicate volumes with very subtle facial expressions, which is especially important when you do a lot of stuffy Regency and Victorian era pieces. She also has excellent comic timing. I really don't know how to describe her performance, other than that she somehow changed Mrs. Fairfax from "the nice old housekeeper" into "the AWESOMEST HOUSEKEEPER EVER," through sheer force of being Judi Dench.
Now that I am done dithering about the cast, here are my brief thoughts on everything else about the movie: the framing device was ingenious, alleviating the aforementioned "slow beginning" problem without leaving out Jane's very important "tale of woe"; Thornfield Hall and the rest of the setting were freaking gorgeous in a damp Englandy gothic-novel sort of way; Little!Jane was so cute I could die and not at all stiff or awkward (I'm always extra impressed when you get a really good performance out of a child actor); visually the movie was spot-on--gorgeous, with a style that vacillates weirdly between being all dark and gothic and gritty and stuff, and being the usual lightly gorgeous, somewhat awkward style that characterizes all Regency movies. There is even the obligatory montage of "happy Regency country summer," which consists of lots of flowers, lots of sunshine, ladies painting, men smiling very broadly whilst wearing top hats, and tinkly piano music. This mishmash of visual styles all makes absolute sense depending on where in the story we are, and manages to come together as cohesively as Charlotte Bronte's original novel did (which was a pretty impressive piece of genre mashup, in its way). Most importantly, the movie absolutely did not play down Jane's whole restlessness thing, which is one of the key things that make Jane Eyre Jane Eyre instead of any other random Regency romance. There is a longstanding history of moviemakers leaving out the things that make all the best Regency romances more than just Regency romances (I'm looking at you, various harlequinized, unfunny adaptations of Jane Austen novels!), and so I am always afraid, when a new one comes out, that they will play it straight sappy. Luckily, this Jane Eyre is not harlequinized or sappy--it is very much Jane Eyre.
My brain is dead, so I'm just going to go back to reading this book on whaling that I started reading yesterday. (It's like an April Fools joke I played on myself. I'm not sure what else I could have been thinking.) (It is actually really interesting, though!)
Friday night, me and my roommate did a series of unhealthy things. First we beer-battered and fried, like, every food we could find. Then we drank, kind of a lot. But the unhealthiest thing we did was voluntarily watch Eclipse.
You guys, IT IS SO BAD. I CANNOT EVEN TELL YOU HOW BAD IT IS. This is partly because we played a very dangerous drinking game:
THE TWILIGHT DRINKING GAME
1. Drink every time it is very very obvious that the movie is shot in the het female gaze instead of the het male gaze.
2. Drink every time the movie sets feminism back by like a hundred billion years.
Basically, these are the only two things that happen in the movie. There are lots of dudes with chiseled abs who are randomly shirtless, and there is a lot of paternalistic chivalry crap and sexual assault/harassment getting passed off as oh-so-romantic. And that is it. Like to the billionth degree imaginable.
Like, the opening sequence is basically: Here is a hunky guy. Something chases him so that he is all pornulatedly scared and victimized. Also it is raining. Hunky guy runs around in the rain all panicking and breathing heavily and getting wet. Then something bites him and he falls to the ground and writhes around in the rain. END SEQUENCE, SHOW MOVIE TITLE.
Hunky guy turns out to actually be the character Riley later on, but we don't know this in the opening.
There are a couple of lolarious moments in between all the boring and brooding, though. For example, cheesy period flashbacks! AMAZINGLY cheesy, AMAZINGLY period flashbacks. Rosalie's looks like the trailer for a bad harlequinized adaptation of a Jane Austen novel. Jasper's flashback suddenly imbues him with a Southern accent, which he then retains for the whole movie. And I know Jasper never talked much in the first two movies, but I am very sure that when he did, he did not have a Southern accent. (A TERRIBLE Southern accent, btw. Worse than Stephen Moyer's! I want to hear Jacksper say "SOOKEH IS MAAAAHN" really badly now.) There is another Quileute Flashback; this one is in COLOR and the flashbacky vampire looks like he was taken from stock footage of Flashbacky Vampires. Dakota Fanningpire is still awesome with her Cruciatus Eyeliner (jokes courtesy of cleolinda ) , and some of the stuff with Riley and
The rest is basically all *ABS* *BROODING* *ABS* *SEXUAL TENSION* *MORE BROODING* *MORE SEXUAL TENSION* *ABS* *SEXUALLY TENSE BROODING* *BROODY ABS* forever.
YOU GUYS THERE ARE TWO MORE MOVIES IN THIS FUCKING FRANCHISE I CAN'T EVEN DEAL.
Last night I watched Scarface (the Pacino version, not the 1932 one), which somehow I had never seen before. I guess there's not a whole lot new that can be said about a classic like that--everyone knows what it's about. My thoughts: A friend recently compared mafia stories to trashy romance novels, and that was really all I could think about while watching it--this movie especially is very much a hyper-macho version of a trashy romance novel. I don't know why it amuses me so much, but nothing makes me laugh like loudly overdressed guys waving guns around and having gruff, heavily accented conversations about their balls. And god damn, do they talk about their balls a lot in this one! Factor in that Al Pacino's version of a Cuban accent is ridiculously mumbly and sort of weirdly low in the mouth so it sounds like he's keeping marbles in his jowls, and "balls" is about the only thing he says that you can make out half the time. Thankfully, this does not hold for the line "You need people like me, so you can point your fingers and say 'THAT'S the bad guy!'", which is such a fabulous line that "Say hello to my little friend" was quite a letdown afterwards. Also: the Gina subplot was my favorite, except for the poor girl's hair, and I wish she'd gotten a few more shots in. The whole grand "main plot" climax of "a large number of dudes show up and shoot lots of very large guns very loudly and there is lots and lots of shooting and yelling!" really just didn't have the same sort of emotional pull as Gina's final confrontation, what with all the actual dialogue referring to stuff that had actually happened, and there being a personal relationship between the two of them, and even having each individual shot from her handgun being individually discernible. I think I would have liked it better if Gina had just been a better shot and managed to take him out herself, and then the DEA or whoever (I wasn't even sure who it was that stormed the house at the end) had showed up and been like "...Um. Well then." But perhaps that is just me.
This morning I read Vicki Stiefel's The Grief Shop, which I think is the third installation in her Tally Whyte series, of which I have not read the first two. Vicki Stiefel was my Advanced Fiction Writing teacher last year, and gave us all copies of this book because it's her best-reviewed. And it's very good--fast-paced, multi-plotted, and Tally is a very capable not-actually-a-detective (she's a homicide grief counselor). Apparently some reviewers have characterized her as "whiny," but I judge her to be about 0.12 Hamlets of whiny, and a character really needs to be at least 0.25 Hamlets before they can actually be classed as "whiny." Also, she and most of her remaining family and also a bunch of small children are either dead or having attempts on their lives made for most of the book, so she's allowed to be less than chipper, I figure. I really don't want to talk about the plot, since it is a mystery novel and I don't want to spoil it for anyone else, but I will say that there are Nazis, and it is not goofy or cliched, which is impressive. It's also an extremely New England-y book, like even more New England-y than Castle is New-York-y. I personally had a bit of a difficult time reading some of it because of the small voice in my head comparing/contrasting every damn word in the book with all of the things Vicki taught us in class, but this is just a hazard of reading stuff by your teachers, and should not affect the reading experience of anyone who was not fortunate enough to take her writing classes.
The heroine, Thursday Next, is a literary detective. In this world--an alternative history version of 1985 Britain where the Crimean War is still going on and literature is taken very, very seriously--literary detectives are a Special Operations department. They are largely involved in stuff like stopping unauthorized editions of books from being circulated and investigating literary scams (like forged first editions, and people pretending to have discovered Shakespeare's lost play, Cardenio). People in this world go to performances of Richard III like it's Rocky Horror--audience cast members, props, audience participation lines, costumes, the whole thing.
In the first book, The Eyre Affair, Acheron Hades, the world's third most evil man, steals the original manuscript of Jane Eyre, goes inside it and kidnaps Jane. It's up to Thursday to restore the novel and defeat Acheron. Somehow this turns into a ridiculously twisty plot involving vampire-hunting, Thursday's time-traveling father (who technically doesn't exist), ending the Crimean War, Very Deep And Sad backstory involving old boyfriends and Thursday's dead brother, Sherlock Holmes' brother Mycroft, William Wordsworth being a lech, and bookworms. This book is probably best if you've read Jane Eyre.
In the second book, Lost in a Good Book, there are more or less three plots: one involving her time-traveling father and the Earth turning into unidentifiable pink sludge sometime in the future, one involving Thursday's husband Landen getting "eradicated"--meaning someone went back in time and killed him off very young, so their whole history together now only exists in Thursday's memory--and one involving Cardenio and the literary police agency inside the books. They're called Jurisfiction, and they sort of reminded me of The Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Thursday gets apprenticed to Miss Havisham from Great Expectations, and it's awesome. I cannot even begin to describe how awesome it is.
In the third book, The Well of Lost Plots, Thursday is basically attempting to hide out in the subbasement where unpublished novels live, in this particular case, living in a really bad unpublished crime thriller. She is determined to get her husband un-eradicated somehow, especially because she is somehow--despite his now never having existed--still pregnant with his child. There is a lot of really crazy world-building about the Bookworld and how it is run; I think Jasper Fforde may have had a little too much fun with that, actually. But there is still plot, and as usual, it's multiple really crazy plots. The main ones are Thursday trying to save Caversham Heights (the terrible crime thriller draft she's living in) from getting reduced to text, Thursday trying to stop Acheron Hades' little sister from erasing her memories, and something involving several murders and a proposed new story operating system called UltraWord(TM).
One of the things about this series that (a) I really liked and (b) I was very pleased that I didn't even realize until like halfway through the third book because they didn't do that awkward nineties "HEY LOOK HOW PROGRESSIVE WE'RE BEING GIVE ME A COOKIE" call-out thing, was the gender reversal of the Damsel in Distress/Women in Refrigerators tropes. Landen is pretty cool, but he's not really a very big character most of the time, and is rarely involved in the action-action (like, the time-traveling and shooting people and jumping in and out of books action). He's mostly influential in just the emotional subplots, mostly involving the Crimean War and Thursday's brother in the first book, and in the second and third books he only exists in Thursday's memory for most of it. His entire function is basically just The Love Interest, and therefore terrible things happen to him in order to spur Thursday on to do stuff about it. Eradication puts him sort of midway between being In Distress and In The Fridge--eradication is a particularly nasty sort of murder, since it erases the whole life before it. On the other hand, because it is dependent on time-travel, it can, theoretically be undone through time travel as well, making him not permanently murdered--just in need of being rescued from being murdered. But because he is already dead, he really can't do anything to help himself: it's all up to Thursday. (The memory of Landen is occasionally useful in the memory-related drama, but also can't do that much to stop himself from being forgotten.) I am trying to think of other stories where there are male characters whose only function is to help the female lead mature emotionally and then get his arse in trouble so she has to get all mad and rescue him, and I am failing. Any suggestions?
The thing I'm most interested about in Landen's eradication hasn't been addressed, though, which is: since Landen is an author, when he gets eradicated, what happened to all the books he wrote? Jasper Fforde, I really hope you address this later!
Anyway, other things this book series has that I love:
-Lots of references to classical literature
-Lots of text-based humor: footnotes, misspellings, characters referencing the exact wording on the page, and lots of fun with speech tags. I never knew speech tags could be that amusing!
-Really strange alternative history
-The ultimate book-nerd fantasy of being able to jump into works of fiction, somehow without turning into a lot of wankish Mary-Sueing
-Plot points where you totally know where they are going to end up, but where the author manages to keep you guessing all the way to the end about how in Jane Austen's name they're going to get there. These are fun to read and really, really, really hard to write. I get so excited when people pull it off.
-Kickass old ladies (Thursday's grandma; Miss Havisham)
-Metafiction, especially lampshade-hanging. This is a book about books, and they talk a lot about book tropes and plot devices, sometimes when they're happening, and at one point a plotsmith even lampshades lampshade-hanging.
This is very much a word nerd's series, and a literature nerd's series. I would strongly recommend it for anyone who is a big dork about that sort of thing.
In related news, don't forget what's coming out in March!
(I would embed this but I seem to be having problems.)
As Thursday said, JANE EYRE IS FOR ALL TIME.
Sadly the answer as to why this seems to be the Mel Brooks movie that time forgot would appear to be "because there isn't a whole lot to it." It really doesn't come off so much like a parody of Dracula adaptations as it does like a Dracula adaptation with a handful of jokes thrown in. I would think that this would be because the Dracula story is so amazingly hilarious and trashy to begin with, except that I've seen over and over again that Dracula, and vampire stories in general, are endlessly, endlessly parodyable. How Mel Brooks managed to not actually do that is quite beyond me.
Leslie Nielson's Bela Lugosi impression is spot-on, though. Or I think it is; it's been a while since I watched the original Dracula movie. It's exactly as spot-on as Martin Landau's Bela Lugosi impression in Ed Wood, at least.
I still found it quite an enjoyable movie to watch, since I can watch Dracula crap all day, but for what it was supposed to be... it really just didn't get there.
Reserving judgment on this until I see it. However:
1. YEEEEE JUDY DENCH SQUEEEE
2 LOL @ uglifying Michael Fassbender.
While the obligatory Montage of Nineteenth Century Drama moments near the end of the trailer made me laugh (they are ALWAYS there even though that makes it "that part of the trailer where you have no idea which novel they're adapting"), I have seen nothing that makes it look like this will be a particularly bad adaptation; you don't really have to worry about sensationalizing it for modern American audiences since there's some pretty sensational shit in the book already. If they have anachronistically sexified it up at all, they don't seem to have put it in the trailer.
*writes March 11 down on calendar*
So far, Season 7 of BtVS is better than Season 6 (or 5, for that matter, both of which were mostly wangsty wangst with the occasional brilliant of-the-week plot thrown in). Season 3 of Angel is so terrible I haven't bothered to watch it in two weeks (VAMPIRE PREGNANCIES??? I EXPECTED BETTER OF YOU, JOSS WHEDON, YOU'RE USUALLY NOT COMPLETELY FUCKIN' STUPID.)
So, last weekend we went down to Ally's shore house, where we mostly sat around and chatted and drank and played board games (Encore is the most irritating game ever. elladarcy, you would have fun, though), and watching movies. Yay, movies!
Newsies: Yes, I confess, I had never seen Newsies. I am now horrified and appalled and starting to be more aware of what a culturally deprived child I really was, just reading all the time. Despite the amounts of luridly ridiculous no-sense-at-all-making, I frickin' loved it--it has ridiculous New York accents! And inspirationally successful class warfare! And hilarious manly dancing! And SINGING DANCING TEENAGE BATMAN! Also very very tiny little boys who are Hardened Criminal Badasses And Everyone Takes Them Rilly Seriously, which is always adorable.
Office Space: So my boss (Diane at Hanover, not my AAS boss, who already watches pretty much all the same shit I watch) had threatened to lend me this movie and MAKE me watch it, after an incident involving the bitchy temperamental printer from hell that they recently installed on our floor (and TOOK OUT ALL THE PRINTERS THAT WORK TO DO SO. Die in a fire, Xerox 8). Apparently this is one of those classic movies that everyone in the world but me has seen. But I'm very glad we rectified this, and not only because I now feel sightly better about wrestling with Xerox 8. (It is also because I now understand wtf the Pieces of Flair application on Facebook is all about, which is nice because people have been sending me flair for about two years now.) Ally brought to my attention that Milton ("I think you have my thtapler?") is the same dude that plays Eddie-the-fat-accountant-vampire-who-
Drop Dead Gorgeous: Mockumentary about a beauty pageant in Minnesota. The Midwest scares me. Beauty pageants also scare me. Kirsten Dunst kind of scares me too, actually. But beauty pageants and attempted murder plots are a combination that has never failed to make me really happy, ever since I was in seventh grade and Miss Congeniality came out (now that was a Jersey pride movie). I think DDG was actually a lot darker in that people really did die, and also it was a teenage pageant so you had the Insane Parents angle which is always quite terrifying.
I's not doing so hot on books right now, though. My Hundred Book Challenge sits at 32 so far, and it is over halfway through the year. (This is what I get for reading grown-up books instead of doing a Rediscovering Childhood Favorites phase. Should probably go read some comic books.) But I did finish The Godfather the other day, which I actually liked better than the movie, probably because I remember having a difficult time remembering who was who in the movies (I'm terrible with complicated casts sometimes). Not really sure there's much to say about the Godfather story that hasn't been said already... it's just brutally awesome, and very character-driven, like a mob drama should be.
I finally bought American Gods, like people have been bugging me to read for like three years now. I started reading the second ASoIaF novel though, so it might be a week or two before I start.
...Apparently HBO is doing an ASoIaF series. I hope it'll be awesome. I'm also dead certain that HBO will exploit the amount of ugly-people-getting-laid that already proliferates in the novel and squick its audience as much as possible in the name of adding a bit of realism to high fantasy, and also because they managed to get The Sopranos to be the highest-rated show in the history of ever despite half of it being James Gandolfini running around in his boxers and bathrobe. (I've also decided that HBO is dissatisfied with most of its characters in TrueBlood being relatively young and fit, which is why they try so hard to make them as unerotically classless as humanly possible, and that's also why their vampires explode so unpleasantly. Also, they're now putting shirtless!Eddie into season 2, even though he got exploded last season.) Because HBO thinks that if they CAN do it, they MUST do it. Of course, the reason they can get away with dumping so many unpretty images on their audience is because they do everything else brilliantly.
Season 2 of TrueBlood is awesome so far, except for me starting to hate Bill earlier than in the books. Eric has the best excuse for a haircut ever (I am morally opposed to haircuts, so yes, it needed an excuse in my book). I'm actually liking the Jessica character, which is a nice surprise. Tara is AWESOME, AS ALWAYS, and Sam is starting to be less of a prick, which is nice because I like Sam except for the last four or five episodes when he is a total crankypants. And Jason is totally going to bang Steve Newlin's wife, and it'll be hilarious.
IN OTHER NEWS:
I'm doing a Turtle Tamer run in KoL and today I finally got around to taming turtles. Most adorable skill ever.
The vein that runs over my biceps now pops visibly when I do curls. Feel very manly. Might be manliest person in the Ocho, which is interesting, since five of us are actually men.
The rain beat a hole in my umbrella yesterday. Not sure if this says more about how hard it was raining or how friggin' old my umbrella is.
Wah-Bo Grill is awesome.
Why is it impossible to get decently ripe avocadoes in Worcester? They're always either hard as a rock or already browning. DDD:
I was supposed to have left for Jersey an hour ago and am REALLY bored.
Ermmmm. So, recently, I read The Sweet Far Thing, the sequel to A Great and Terrible Beauty and Rebel Angels, which is about as long as the first two put together. TSFT definitely gets a lot more explicit with its This Is A Progressive Book For Progressive Girls message, which occasionally seems a little contrived in its deliberate attempt to treat every single social issue ever (women's rights, child rights, worker's rights, race relations, class warfare, and GLBT), but it might just seem like that to me after an entire semester of reading really long, meandering Victorian novels in which we had to pick out the ways the Victorian British Suck At Life In Relation To Race, Class, Gender And Empire ourselves. Also, still hate the Kartik subplot; he's still following in the mold of Obligatory YA Love Interests where they give him irritating-as-fuck random mood swings as a shortcut for making him mysterious/realistically flawed/has-a-complex-personality or some shit instead of developing him as a character. Other than those two gripes, however... it was so nice to see Gemma and Ann and Felicity and Pippa again! Dead!Pippa is wonderfully creepy, especially. The plot twists are ridiculous, and as usual the juxtaposition between all the crazy hardcore magic politics and fate and destiny shit of the Realms, and the stiflingly infantilized world of everyday Victorian privilege, is simultaneously appropriately jarring and brilliantly tied together via ~forbidden magic powers~. Also, Felicity just keeps getting more and more awesome.
Then I read Jessica Valenti's The Purity Myth, which has three basic tenets: 1. the virgin/whore dichotomy is complete BS and needs to go, 2. the Christianists/right-wing abstinence nutters are dangerously insane and have way too much political power, and 3. the notion of "masculinity" is at least as dangerous a lie as #1 and needs a serious overhaul, pronto. It was very informative, but also scary, especially reading it right in the wake of Dr. Tiller's assassination.
Now I's reading The Godfather. Go me.
In screen-staring at news, I finally watched Memento, which is really hard to say anything about because it's a very complicated movie and the full strength of its awesome cannot be communicated by telling you that it's about a dude investigating a murder, and he has short-term memory loss so he has to take pictures and tattoo shit all over his body. It's much more brilliant than it sounds.
I also started Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, which was interesting since I know nothing about the Terminator franchise whatsoever, but Summer Glau is in it so I figured I'd watch it anyway. Not far enough along to figure out their time-travel rules enough to pass judgment on them as internally consistent or making sense. There is a major inconsistency in Summer Glau's character--namely, that when we first meet her she passes herself off as a normal human decently well for about two scenes, what with making and understanding jokes and all that, but the minute we find out she's a robot it goes into comical Robot Lady Is Social Retard territory and she can't go two seconds without making somebody's life really awkward. Other than that, there are lots of explosions, and also time travel and Summer Glau, so overall I'm inclined to keep watching.
Do need to finish Buffy season 6 at some point. Have kind of stalled at the musical episode, because it was so awesome I kind of just want to stay there. Oops.
What have you been reading/watching?
I blame the steam room at Mom's gym. Although perhaps "blame" is not the right word, because that would imply the possibility of negative feelings towards a steam room. Which is so not the case. But it's definitely got me all nice and relaxed. Mmmmmmmm.
I feel like I have nothing to read. Which is not the case, it's just that I didn't bring any fluffy reading home with me because I have a bunch of stuff to read for school, that I don't really want to. (E.g., I have to read Ernst Cassirer's "Language and Myth," AGAIN. Argh.) And I have an oral presentation to prepare for when I get back, but I don't really feel like doing that either. And then all the stuff in my TBR pile that's at home and not at school got left at home because it's almost all nonfiction, which is kind of not what I'm in the mood for.
Luckily, I have plenty to watch... the second season of Dexter, the last season of the Sopranos, and a couple of Netflix movies, not to mention the latest episode of BSG whenever it finally goes online.
Now, as to what I've actually finished:
Making Money, Terry Pratchett: the newest Discworld book, finally out in paperback, second installment in the Moist von Lipwig subseries (meaning sequel to Going Postal). Seriously, only Sir PTerry can make a book about banking this funny. For once, the plot has easily distinguishable "villain" characters instead of Consequences Of Things Which Will Bring About Attacks By Many-Tentacled Things From The Dungeon Dimensions, which was kind of nice, especially since the Lavishes are still more hilarious than evil. And they still only drive the directly bank-related plot, having nothing to do with golems, forgery,
There is also the Watch, even though it's not a Watch book, which I always find weird. So much of the series is from Sam Vimes' POV that I always find it kind of bizarre to see Vimes from someone else's perspective when you can't read his thought processes, and it's doubly bizarre to get him from someone who doesn't like him very much (which Moist doesn't). It's also weird to be reminded that not everyone knows as much about the Watch as a Watch-subseries reader does, like that most of Ankh-Morpork doesn't know who the werewolf is.
These later books being very, um, "continuity-bound" (this seems to be the popular way of saying that Discworld has gotten Fully Realized to the point of being very complicated, and you'd better have read the earlier stuff already), there are appearances of many old friends, including but not limited to: Unseen University and its inhabitants (including the Librarian, Ponder Stibbons, and Hex), golems and the entire plot of Feet of Clay, Mrs. Cake the medium (who is sometimes a small), the abovementioned Watchmen, an Igor, and the clowns' guild, including the return of Dr. Whiteface (THERE IS A CLOWN GUILD WEDDING. IT IS AWESOME). New friends include a very old lady who lives entirely off gin, a very small dog who is Chairman of the Bank, a womanizing three-hundred-year-old ghost of a necromancer, and a mad economist who creates an Economic Model of the city's finances that is so accurate it has voodoo properties.
I am going to be extremely sad when PTerry gets too Alzheimers-y to keep writing, because this is about the only series ever that consistently gets better as it goes along instead of running out of ideas and starting to suck.
On the vampire front, I read Dead as a Doornail because I needed to see what happened with the Eric/Sookie aftermath, which was much more hilarious than the plot (the plot involved the werewolves. Harris' werewolves are a pain in the ass. Sigh). Also there was a vampire pirate bartender. His name was Charles. He was my favorite new character, partly because he was a vampire pirate bartender and partly because he was the only male in the book who didn't hit on Sookie (because he was a GAY VAMPIRE PIRATE BARTENDER. It just doesn't get any better than that).
Switching media: I finally got around to seeing the movie Freaks, which was way overdue. (Freaks is where the Ramones got their "Gabba gabba hey" chant from, it being a variant on the wedding scene "Gooba gabba, we accept her, one of us" chant, which is fairly famous amongst people who watch really weird movies.) Freaks is completely adorable, which is only partly because half the main characters are little people. Venus and Phroso the clown are big people and are pretty adorable too. Basic plot: VENUS (a "Decent Circus People" girl, though I'm not sure what she does) breaks up with the strongman, HERCULES, who is an asshole, and starts dating PHROSO instead, because Phroso is awesome. HERCULES then starts seeing CLEOPATRA, the bitchy diva trapeze artist. They keep this secret so the CLEOPATRA can seduce HANS, a midget with an extremely large fortune. HANS' fiancee FRIEDA is worried about Cleopatra's intentions (besides being upset that Hans left her). Cleopatra poisons Hans so he becomes ill. Assorted sideshow freaks find out about Hercules and Cleopatra's dastardly plan and exact creative vengeance upon Cleopatra (I will not spoil it but it involves a bunch of people with very deformed limbs who work in a circus apparently all being MASTER surgeons.)
The best thing about Freaks is, however, the cast of freaks. They are not played by actors, they are actual sideshow freaks (I'm not sure what the politically correct term for them is, apparently it actually was "freak" in the thirties). There is a dude who looks like Samuel L Jackson, except with no arms and no legs, and he can roll himself and light a cigarette using just his lips and nose. There is a guy with no legs and a shortened torso but normal-length arms who walks around on his hands, and a girl with no arms who uses her feet as nimbly as most people use their hands. There is an actual bearded lady (I'm pretty sure it's not just a dude in a dress). There is a pair of conjoined twins, played by actual conjoined twins, who have dating woes in that one twin does not like the other twin's fiance. (There was also a character named Josephine Joseph who was supposedly "half-man half-woman," but this pretty much just seemed to mean that half her hair was kept short and half was long and curled, one eyebrow was plucked and painted and the other wasn't, etc. Apparently it is unknown if Josephine Joseph was a hermaphrodite or just a feminine-looking man in real life.) A lot of the freaks were just unfortunately deformedly-proportioned people, but some of them were seriously cool.
I don't really have much to say about the fifth season of the Sopranos, since I started it a while ago and it's taken me ages to get through it, except THEY KILLED MY TWO FAVORITE CHARACTERS, AUGH. I know Adriana getting whacked was such big news that I'd heard about it before I actually started watching the show, but I was still upset, because I really loved her FBI subplot. And I knew Tony B/Steve Buscemi was going to die because I'd actually seem random bits and pieces of this season when it was on television (there was a marathon on HBO four years ago when I was in Miami for Christmas, and they were on season 5 the day I was sick), and this included the scene where Tony S shoots Tony B. It was kind of weird watching the season and haven sudden "Hey wait, I've seen that bit!" moments from years and years ago (apparently I'd seen part of Carmela's dad's party, because I remembered the guest who was allergic to tomatoes and how much it must suck to be a Jersey Italian allergic to tomatoes, and I'd also seen the bit where Tony B loses his temper and beats his Korean boss up for mispronouncing "West Caldwell"). This season also featured the single longest dream sequence in the history of The Sopranos, which is saying a lot, since Tony's bizarre dreams are a huge part of the psychology of the show. It was kind of exhausting to watch, although I did get really excited when his teeth started falling out at the dinner table, because that's my recurring dream.
Wasn't sure how I felt about Tony and Carmela getting back together; it seemed kinda random. Oh well.
Anyway, now I'm seriously exhausted, and tomorrow I have dense mythicolinguistics texts to reread (joy) and possibly Dexter to watch, if I'm good, so I'm going to bed.
Finally got around to seeing all of The Usual Suspects. Like any good gangster movie, is is four million times more complicated than I could ever hope to actually explain, and therefore saying anything about it is really hard. But it was awesome. We watched it immediately after watching the "Puppet Show" episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which Xander has the line "Does anyone get the feeling we've just been Kaiser Soze'd?", which we took as a sign from the gods of the seventh art that we needed to watch Usual Suspects next.
I watched City Lights this weekend, and then realized I had already seen most of it in Film App in high school. But it was worth a rewatch, because Charlie Chaplin is awesome, even though I am biased on the Buster Keaton side of that particular debate. I particularly love the bizarre boxing match.
Netflix needs to stop being so god damn slow so it can send me more movies; apparently it still hasn't received either of those and I mailed them in on Friday. :(
Chelsea made me (finally) watch V for Vendetta, which is full of awesome things, like Natalie Portman, and Agent Elrond, and things exploding. And HORRIBLE MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS, which has a guaranteed creep factor of a million, for me at any rate. Especially when plagues are involved. Why I find epidemics so fascinating, I am not sure. o.O Spent a good half of the movie being terribly bothered by not being able to identify the baby-faced detective even though he looked very familiar, until I remembered it's Rupert Graves, who plays Robert in Death at a Funeral (I remember because he was my favorite character that's not Alan Tudyk). Anders, being a logical sort of asshole sometimes, brought up the question of where the hell V got several hundred thousand masks, hats and capes if the entire civilized world has exploded into suck, but the general pretty, shiny, and explody qualities of the movie prevented me from being overly concerned with unresolved suspension of disbelief issues.
I might not be able to get through as many movies this weekend as I would like since I have mucho stuff to do for assorted extracurricular clubs. I get myself on eboards WHY, again? But at least I don't have ludicrous amounts of homework. :)
I get to see Shay tomorrow, yay ^_^
Read the second and third Sookie Stackhouse books this week. Living Dead in Dallas was fantastic--two mystery plots, both highly engaging. I'm having a bit of trouble picturing Eric-from-True-Blood (which is how I now see Eric) doing all the ridiculous things Eric does in the book (and the next one, for that matter), because Eric in the show is all dignified 'n' shit. Club Dead, on the other hand, kinda pissed me off... there was a lot less intricate-murder-mystery FUN stuff, and mostly it was just alternating episodes of Sookie getting beaten up and then rescued by assorted ~manly mens~, and Sookie lusting after said assorted ~manly mens~. Eric, at least, is still a hilarious character. Alcide Herveux, on the other hand... Charlaine Harris just seemed to be going through a random phase of increased affinity for traditional gender roles (the bane of my existence, as you probably know). Alcide is pretty much introduced with "It's a big hairy manly man and he smells like MAN!" and then Sookie spends the rest of the book trying not to jump him. About two paragraphs after he enters the story she decides that he was "a proper man," which made me automatically sort of dislike him, but I tried to give him a chance until the conversation where he was talking to Sookie about the difficulties of dating girls in each various species (vamps v. werewolves v. shifters v. normal human girls) and the conclusion was that it sucks dating any of them but "I've got to date somebody." (No, you fucking don't. You need to shut up and find something useful to do with your life until (if) you find someone important enough to you that their species ISN'T what you base your choice on.) And it just keeps going... he's so MANLY and MASCULINE and MANLY and Sookie's having suchhhh a hard time resisting him! And then you get reactionary doozies like "real men always carry duct tape in their trucks." It doesn't help much that Charlaine Harris also seems to have forgotten that originally Sookie was with Bill because Bill is awesome, and has temporarily blanked on what could possibly be awesome about any male-creature other than Sheer Manliness, and Sookie's desire to go save him from torture and death and all that seems to hang exclusively on her body's "having gotten used to regular, spectacular sex." Classy. Where's the clever, resourceful, not-a-total-hobag Sookie from the first two books? Am very disappointed, Charlaine Harris. Next book had better be back on track.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard is just as hilarious and adorable as I would have expected. There is so much random snarkiness in "Dumbledore's commentaries" to each of the tales (including nasty comments about Mr. Malfoy!), and the 'tales' themselves are perfectly believable as centuries-old fairy tales, and emininently readable (as some old fairy tales are not).
I rewatched Mamma Mia! as I got it for Christmas. Total fluff, obviously. Now I have Abba stuck in my head, and will for the rest of my life. Somehow I really like that movie; it's so much *fun*, and unashamedly ridiculous. Also, Meryl Streep rocks, and Amanda Seyfried is adorable and kind of reminds me of Erin Partin.
Yesterday I went to see A Winter's Tale at the Shakespeare Theatre. Very good production, although the play has not aged well (or else I am overdoing it on the cynical liberal-hippie-ness). The setup is that the queen of somewhere like, talks to the king's best friend (who is king of somewhere else) so the king gets all paranoid and decides she's cheating on him, and imprisons her and abandons their baby to the wolves 'cos he insists it's not his, and ~blasphemes~ some oracle, and drives his oldest son to suicide, and assorted Good And Honest Subjects must Flee His Wrath, and the rest of the country is like OBVIOUSLY THE KING HAS GONE MAD; THE QUEEN IS GOOD AND PURE AND CHASTE AND HONEST AND STUFF, AND WOULD NEVER IN A BAZILLION YEARS DO SUCH A THING. And I'm like... "Why the fuck not, if she's married to a PARANOID, JEALOUS ASSHAT like that?" And then the child that's thrown to the wolves is raised by some shepherds in the next country and the crown prince of the land (who is the son of the king that was the friend of the king in the first country, ie, the dude the queen was supposedly cheating with) wants to marry her, and when the king finds out he throws a Royal Shit Fit because she is just a shepherdess, and is all like KEEP YOUR EVIL SEDUCING ENCHANTMENTS OFF MY SON, YOU HOOR because we all know that teenage boys are only ever attracted to girls by witchcraft, that shit never happens naturally. And then they find out that she's really a princess and it's all okay! Which, to me, is not a satisfactory ending, because being a modern person I think that the way of resolving cross-class issues is for everyone to grow up and deal, not to find a serendipitous loophole where it's not *really* cross-class marriage so nobody's prejudices are *actually* being challenged, yay! *eyeroll*
That said, their treatment of the play was about as awesome as it can get without rewriting it. Only STNJ can get me really excited about set design--part of the stage rotated, and the way they employed it was *awesome* and seamless and really hard to describe, so I won't even try.
Little Britain defies any sort of description or comment and I don't know if I like it or not. Just... WTF.