Cleolinda Jones (cleolinda) wrote,
Cleolinda Jones

About three days' backlog of linkspam

So I saw The Queen on Friday night. I really liked it, and it strikes me as more and more well-done (better and better done?) the more I think about it. But I'm not sure it's a Best Picture, really--I still feel like that's a slot that should have gone to Pan's Labyrinth, because the movie basically is Helen Mirren's performance. I mean, it lives and dies on that performance, and ideally a Best Picture needs more heft than that. At the same time, the movie makes some good, subtle points that we would usually get hit over the head with. The stag thing, for example, is kind of brilliant, because yes, the Queen obviously identifies with the stag as a hunted thing, and you can tell she's rooting for it to escape. At the same time, this is a woman who feels more for a dead deer than for the mother of her grandchildren. And I don't mean that in a hugely judgmental way; by all accounts, theirs was a fraught relationship, and everyone has at least one relative that they'd have, uh, "mixed" feelings about if something happened to them. I'm just saying, it's a brilliant way of making that symbol a coin with two sides--it's simultaneously humanizing and sympathetic while reminding how utterly apart the Queen stands from the people's grief for Diana.

Another thing I really liked was that I could fully understand both angles on the grieving public--that is to say, I found myself agreeing with both sides, the royal "What the hell is wrong with them? They never even met Diana!" side and the Prime Mininster's "What the hell is wrong with them? GO TO HER FUNERAL" side. The whole thing was a bizarre moment in Western culture, and possibly all the more powerful, all the more interesting, because of what a raw, irrational nerve it touched. I don't think anyone expected the British public to grieve in such a vocal, visceral way, nor do I think anyone expected Diana's death, whatever form it was going to take, to become a massive battle of wills on the part of the royal family. I literally moved into college that exact weekend; I woke up in a strange room that Sunday with a roommate I had just met the day before (hi Valkyrie!), and I think I found out because my mother called and told me to turn on CNN. I then walked down to the student center and bought the Sunday paper. We were all kind of stunned, but in a "someone else's tragedy" kind of way. I was at an age where I'd grown up knowing who she was without really caring--there's something to be said about growing up taking a public figure for granted; you never really decide for yourself how you feel about them, because they're just there, and they always have been. It's kind of the reason I can't really get angry about Reagan's policies the way I've known other people too; Reagan was just there. It's like getting mad at the sun or something. So I wasn't involved with the American vigils and condolence books and candle-lightings (because, yes, we had those too)--and I think this made The Queen particularly interesting to me, because here's a family that wasn't caught up in the love-cult of Diana either, and couldn't understand it any more than I could.

I think the reason people got so bent out of shape about the royal family's venue of grief, though, was that there was a deep suspicion that they weren't grieving at all ("Ask the Queen if she greased the brakes." "Now, now..."). But even beyond that, the Movie!Queen's musings that she grew up during The War, and that she knows her people and they want strength and dignity and repressed feelings were both touching and--sort of hilarious, because she's now ruling over both the Getting In Touch With Our Feelings generation, which would find that stuffy, and the Big Brother generation, which is on television slagging off Shilpa Shetty at the top of their lungs right now.* What I'm saying is, there's a younger generation or two that doesn't even comprehend the Stiff Upper Lip mentality, may not even know it exists. The Baby Boom generation at least understands it in that they grew up reacting against it. And poor Queen Elizabeth woke up one day and found herself being judged by an even younger generation that might as well be from a different planet. It's both funny and sad.

(Speaking of funny, I was not expecting to laugh as much as I did; I never expected to be sitting in a room full of people giggling about Diana's funeral plans. "But--that's the codename for my funeral!")

(I'm reasonably all right healthwise, by the way--once I'd thrown up the antibiotics, I felt a hell of a lot better.)

On to the linkspam--it looked for a while like I was going to see Pan's Labyrinth this afternoon, but that may be later this week. Instead, we're going to catch Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on IMAX at the McWane--I've never seen an IMAX movie before, so this should be interesting.

Speaking of Harry Potter:

The complications of translating Harry Potter. Tom Elvis Jedusor?

BBC to seek 'real' Harry Potter. "The BBC is to launch a reality series which will follow a group of children learning magic at a Harry Potter-style boarding school." Oh, this is going to end well. And by "well" I mean "as a rip-off series in the U.S."

Georgia woman still thinks she has a chance at getting people to ban Harry Potter. What I find hilarious is that if she did have a snowball's chance in hell, which she doesn't, Bloomsbury and Warner Bros. would take up an office pool to hire a hitman of some kind, because Harry Potter is serious big business.

More linkspam:

Crowds on both coasts protest Iraq war; tens of thousands demand Iraq withdrawal; celebrities pack D.C. war protest.

Mike Huckabee launches presidential bid.

Ford posts record loss of $12.7 billion. "The company that invented the assembly line and whose name was a byword for the auto industry warned it will bleed cash for two more years before it has a shot at making money.... Although huge, the losses were far from the largest quarterly or annual corporate deficits on record - Time Warner Inc. reported a $97.2 billion loss in 2002, largely due to new accounting rules about how to value assets. Ford could not rely on accounting rules, however, to explain its total."

1 boy fades into shadows in Devlin case.

Ariz. girl taken by sex offender found.

Father kills daughter; doubted virginity. "The girl returned home only after her father signed a statement promising not to harm her, he added. The father shot the girl four times in the head on Tuesday. On Wednesday, an autopsy was performed that again showed 'she was still a virgin,' the pathologist said."

lenamoster: "Remember that link I sent you a few weeks ago, calling for a retrialfor Nazanin Fatehi, the Iranian girl sentenced to death for defendingherself against rapists? Well, rejoice, for good news has come from it!"

IRS pushes back tax filing deadline.

Kids learn to cope with mother's terminal illness. She's still alive, by the way, and they're still dealing with it. Absolutely broke my heart.

An Open Letter To Those Without Chronic Illness.

Pot-running Arizona granny gets 3 years.

Internet to revolutionize TV in 5 years: Gates.

U.S. internet users spend most of their internet time on MySpace by a huge margin. Okay, but it's still only like 11% total.

Mini-horse helps blind New York woman.

Suit settled over towel found in patient. "Valle had surgery for emphysema at the Cleveland Clinic in 1995 and died at age 60 in 2002. She donated her body to the Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine in Rootstown, where a dissection revealed a green surgical cloth the size of a large hand towel in her left lung." Personal reaction: o_O.

Seventh-grade teacher reassigned for drawings of the male anatomy. What weirds me out about this article is that, if I'm reading it correctly, a parent is defending the teacher ("It's the human body, STFU," in essence), but a fourth-grader is saying, "They shouldn't know about that yet." Why the hell did they ask him?

Affluenza: Rampant consumerism erodes us.

Scientist develops caffeinated doughnuts.

roseredhoofbeat: Verizon Doesn't Know How to Count.

Huge python makes a meal of 11 guard dogs.

Never give an iguana Viagra.

More pictures of the Knut, Baby Polar Bear Extraordinaire.

The controversial catwash.

Dog reunites with family after 6 years. Name? Cujo.

Kidman in crash during LA movie shoot. "The Oscar-winning actress, who stars as a Washington psychiatrist who unearths the origin of an alien epidemic, was involved in a scene involving an escape from zombielike characters who are on the hood of the car."

From yaddayadda: 'Massacre' glitch hits US 'Doctor Who' DVDs. Tyler Durden? Is that you?

Elijah Wood Calls Scuffle With Jared Leto 'Ridiculous.' This is the Jordan Catalano Chokes Frodo story again, by the way. Leto needs to check himself, y'all, because Frodo has a hell of a lot of people he can call up.

Hollywood stars ruining British theatre: top playwright. Well, he has a point. The playwright in question points to Kevin Spacey as an example of a Hollywood star who isn't ruining British theat[re], and you know why? Because he's stage trained. An influx of actors with nothing but camera experience are pretty much going to ruin any theater culture, no matter where they're from.

From laurelin_kit: Top stars blacklisting Lindsay Lohan.

From elvensapphire: Gorgeous Disney ad campaign with Scarlett Johansson as Cinderella, among others. From Annie Leibovitz, the photographer who brought us Keira of Oz, Drew and the Beast, and Some Model in Wonderland.

Pajiba reviews Epic Movie: I Will Never Forgive Any of You. "The bloat and self-importance of recent attempts at epics from such bloated, self-important filmmakers as Peter Jackson and Ridley Scott fairly cry out for actual, thoughtful mockery, but these two morons don’t even attempt that. Their thought process goes no further than 'Gee, wouldn’t it be funny if epics were full of toilet humor and bestiality?'”

Warning: Extreme tl;dr. See, I think there's room for genre parody in film. It's just that, in order to sustain a two-hour movie, it's got to work as story unto itself--Princess Bride and Galaxy Quest come to mind. And Heathers. And Shaun of the Dead. And Monty Python and the Holy Grail. And even the first Scream. They're each parodying a certain existing genre, but they have a frickin' narrative and actual three-dimensional characters (well, mostly), rather than just an endless stream of random pop-culture references. I knew Epic Movie was going to suck when--well, I mean, I think we all knew it was going to suck, but I knew it was going to suck even worse than we had suspected when I realized that they were throwing in a bizarre variety of genres and movies. Dude. If you did nothing but a parody of LOTR, Harry Potter, and--let's say, to make a full three--Narnia, you could do an entire movie just about that. You could do an entire movie parody about nothing but historical epics--Braveheart, Gladiator, King Arthur, Troy, seriously, I'm running out of room here--but how would you reconcile the fact that they're in wildly differing time periods? Well, you pick one (I would personally pick the half-Roman half-medieval setting of King Arthur, myself, as it gives you the most range. Also, you can have jokes about how "We're already in the Middle Ages over here"), and you pick out the best stereotypes (the leader who fights in the name of freedom--in the Middle Ages--and his slaughtered family; the pretty boy second-in-command; the profanely wacky sidekick; the anachronistically ass-kicking heroine; the female lead who isn't half as pretty as the men), and you flesh out a story about them, built around the most absurd, most recognizable plot points of the movies you're parodying. You don't just have random Scots and gladiators and Trojans running around dropping poo jokes, which I promise you is what the script for Historical Movie will look like if someone has the misfortune to greenlight it. I don't know. It just makes me angry that genre-parody movies actually turn out really, really well when people bother to write actual stories, and they turn out really, really godforsaken awful when people just reel off a bunch of random, thoughtless references--and seem to think they're really clever for doing it. It's just such a wasted opportunity.

I'm not going to act like I come up with actual narratives for my parodies, because they're more direct commentary than anything else. But even at that, I try to come up with some kind of throughline or recurring joke to give it some kind of cohesiveness--the vengeful dolphins, or the Unrequited Love of Lex and Grant, or Our Lady of Soundtrack Sorrow. I mean, you know, something to keep it from being just random one-liners.

spectralbovine: "Hey, would you mind mentioning something in your next linkspam? I'm running the San Francisco Marathon to support the AIDS Foundation, and I'm offering hilarity in exchange for donations."

I love Jesus, but I drink a little.

ETA: Well, shit. I just realized that I'm going to be missing the Screen Actors Guild awards. So, uh... don't look for any blogging on that account.

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