March 12th, 2004

msauvage purple

(no subject)

Urrrrrrrrrr. *Stretch* I slept late, and I slept so hard that I nearly had to wake up and take a nap. But it feels good. (Strange dreams, though.)

You know how something serendipitous happens, and it's not just that you had the good fortune of having that thing happen, but it also feels like it was therefore meant to be? Or approved by the Fates, or whatever? Which is just a complicated way of saying, we were all tired in Literature of Antebellum Reform last night from writing papers, so Temple was like, "Uh... let's go home," so we got out half an hour early. Now, I'd been trying to figure out when I was going to squeeze in some library time, so this was an absolute godsend--I skipped across the street to Sterne and proceeded to check out the following:

Martyrdom of an Empress, Marguerite Cunliffe-Owen, Countess du Platz
Sarah Bernhardt's First American Theatrical Tour, Patricia Marks
The Divine Sarah, Arthur Gold
My Double Life: The Memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt, Sarah Bernhardt
Spellbound: Studies on Mesmerism and Literature, Maria M. Tatar
Elegant Wits and Grand Horizontals, Cornelia Otis Skinner
Pleasures of the Belle Époque, Charles Rearick

That last one, by the way--I'm looking at the table of contents, and there's a chapter called "The Right to Be Lazy and to Enjoy." Testify!

I started by reading the first one on the list, the Empress Sissi book, and... well, turns out it was written in 1899. By one of Sissi's ladies-in-waiting. It is, shall we say, biased, and there are tons of things that historians could add that the Countess can't, even if she wanted to. It's extremely romanticized and sentimental--white-washed, even--although there was an interesting bit about Hungarian cowboys. (No, really.) So it's basically of more use as a cultural document--getting a feel for the Victorian-era voice, vocabulary, etc.--than it is for historical research. I knocked out about fifty pages before I flopped asleep last night sometime after midnight, but I think I'll move on to another book for the time being.

This is where I am going to take the opportunity to say: I hate library binding. For some reason, it always seems to be this ghetto '70s-colored olive green or burnt orange, the paper feels dusty, and the font is always hideous and oversized. I understand the durability factor, but it really, really, really makes me feel like I'm reading some cultural relic from the '50s ('70s binding notwithstanding) that's about to tell me how not to get my pearls in the cake batter (YOUR HUSBAND'S ALMOST HOME! DID YOU REMEMBER TO DUST??). Here's what really makes it lame: they still bind new books this way, too. Or at least they were in the mid-90s, when I stumbled across the entire oeuvre of Anne Rice bound in dirty moss green.

Hmm. First American Tour is short. And has a nice glossy paperback cover. I may read that first.
msauvage purple

Hidalgo, * * *

Well, finally I got to see another movie in the theater, and finally it was Hidalgo. I liked it a lot--about three stars' worth of like. I'm not saying it's a modern classic, but it was fun, and they cut the bit about "Hidalgo believes in you, but do you believe in yourself?," so I was appeased. I do agree that it's sort of a Frankenmovie of two different genres--the sheikh's-daughter-rescue and the nearly-dying-in-the-desert scenes seem to come from different movies, but I sort of like the combination. One scene was too frivolous on its own, and the other was too grim, in this case. Together it's sort of this you-got-your-chocolate-in-my-peanut-butter-and-a-good-time-was-had-by-all thing.

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We had some definite mouth-breathers up in the peanut gallery, too--people who thought that Home on the Range trailer was the height of hilarity. Look, I'm not saying it was awful--it's not even that lines like "the Phony Express" and "Bust a Moo" are so terrible. It's this ba-dum-bump! "Look, we made a funny!" delivery that just stops the line dead. The Day After Tomorrow actually looked better than I expected (my mother is already salivating to see it, of course, as she adores disaster movies). In other news: if I have to see the Walking Tall trailer one more time, someone's gonna end up a few inches shorter, if you catch my drift.
black ribbon

INFIDELS!

Okay, so I've been interested in Van Helsing because

1. I'm a major vampire/Dracula fan
2. I'm a major Hugh Jackman fan
3. I'm a major Kate Beckinsale fan
4. My second cousin was the set decorator
5. I actually thought Stephen Sommers' first Mummy movie was pretty spiff.

The thing is, when you get as deep into movies as I do (I remember when I posted that Reese Witherspoon might be the lead actress! I remember when I was totally, totally wrong!), you tend to get attached to movies wayyy in advance. Maybe you get a little too attached. (Everyone else: "MAYBE?") Anyway, I knew that I--and this movie--was in trouble when I read last month that Jackman is playing a character named Gabriel Van Helsing. Gabriel? GABRIEL?

Quoth Stephen Sommers: "The key is to use the source material." Half a page later :"For one thing, I don’t like the name Abraham. I can’t name my lead character Abraham. That isn’t going to cut it."

I mean, never mind that "Abraham" has been good enough for every other actor who ever played the character, ever.* It isn't good enough for the cinematic visionary who brought you the Scorpion King, so bring on the rewrites!

Anyway. This isn't even what I came to rant about today. No, it gets a lot worse. There's a couple of new reviews at AICN that reveal the ending. (Rather, one reveals it and the other doesn't contradict it.) And this ending? Is beyond lame. BEYOND. LAME. The only thing lamer would be if Sommers thinks he can still make sequels after what he's done to this character. And he probably does. In fact, he probably put it in Jackman's contract.

Sommers, you are dead to me.

(P.S. Could you get Universal to send me passes for opening weekend? Kthnx.)

Final thought: I am rilly, rilly, rilly glad now that, when I first heard about this movie last spring, I said, "Vampire hunter movie? Oh, shit" and put a quickness on Black Ribbon. No, it's not finished, but I've got enough of it up that I can prove it was my own idea and not related to this movie in any way. Also, I predict that there will be huge fanfic about this movie, mostly trying to go back and rewrite the ending. In fact, go ahead and start your fanfic now, because I promise you, you can't think of anything worse than this.



*I'll be damned. "J."? "Jeffery"? "Malichi"? "Larimer?" LARIMER?