Obsession, 8-year-old style

Let’s talk about Sam and Aliens.

So, my eight-year-old son is obsessed with James Cameron’s 1986 action/horror/sci-fi movie Aliens. Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Perhaps you are thinking, He is too young to see that movie! Yes, well. I agree. And he hasn’t seen it. YET.

But he wants to, desperately.

He brings it up frequently. The other day he turned to me out of the blue and said, “Mom, I really want to see Aliens now. It might be a spooky one, but it’s okay. I might be scared, but I just have to find out. I really want to see it.”

And why, you may be wondering, is he so obsessed with this movie? The board game. He plays the board game, and the flash version of the board game, frequently. He does voices for the marines. He refuses to leave an injured man behind. The other day when I was playing with him, he had one of the guys GO BACK for Vasquez. Which, actually…

Anyway. He loves the world so much. He knows all the characters and has a favorite (Hicks, thank goodness). He can tell you in great detail why we do not like Burke. He knows everything but what the movie is actually like.

I won’t lie, I might let him watch it. Nothing has scared him yet. Literally ever. And honestly, the most disturbingly violent thing shown on screen is an android–excuse me, synthetic human–being skewered. (Yes, of course we re-watched it this weekend to help us decide what to do. Holy shit the blu-ray looks amazing.)

The Cabin In The Woods

I kind of stopped enjoying horror movies. The oversaturation of the two years I spent reviewing them, combined with the having of children, which made me more sensitive, just kind of ruined them for me. I no longer like being uncomfortable!

But I agreed to watch Cabin In The Woods with Will last night. And, well. It was great.

the-cabin-in-the-woods05

There was a bit in the middle when I was pretty uncomfortable with the horrific stuff, but the other stuff (being vague to avoid spoiling anyone who hasn’t seen it yet) was so compelling/fun/fucking brilliant that I kept quiet and kept watching.

I felt like I was watching a movie that Will and I could have written. It subverted the genre in ways that maybe shouldn’t be new but really really are. The cast was phenomenal (and almost diverse!) and the number of references packed into the movie were…well, I lost count of the references just to The Evil Dead, so…

One of my favorite things about the movie–Will and I actually paused to discuss it–was the fact that although the five leads were deliberate archetypes, they actually made sense as friends! That is practically unheard of!

I also loved the number of turns the movie took. Not twists–it was pretty obvious what was going on from the get-go–but the way it kept seeming like it was nearly over and then it kept going. And not in a bad way, like some movies.

Also awesome: toward the end when I turned to Will and said, “It eats you, starting with your bottom.”

But the very best thing about the movie was the way Will reacted. I have not seen him this excited about a horror movie in ten years. (Well, maybe The Descent, so let’s say seven years.) He squealed like a little girl when he heard [redacted]’s voice, and during the closing credits he said that if we weren’t watching on Netflix, he would start it over immediately with commentary. This from a man who couldn’t stay awake through an entire episode of Supernatural the night before.

We are totally getting the blu-ray and watching all the special features.

Spoilers are totally okay in the comments if anyone would like to discuss! I know you all saw this one ages ago and I am way behind, but I want to talk about it!

Gracie and the Wizard in Oz

*title is a take-off of the title of the sixth (I think) Oz book.

So today we did this:

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Grace was mesmerized. When Dorothy is a prisoner and the Wicked Witch turns over the hourglass, I peeked at Grace’s face to see if she was all right. She huffily turned and said, “I’m not afraid of anything!” so I guess that’s that. (She is so fierce. I love her so much.)

A few minutes later I happened on a link to this Wizard of Oz theme park, which has been closed for nearly my entire lifetime but opens to visitors once a year, and this weekend is it.

Then I remembered that once upon a time I wrote some stuff for Blogging.LA about strange Oz-related rumors.

Real-life Munchkinland

Oz sets used to build the 10

The best part of all of this (other than Grace) is the small worldliness of it all. I met my friend Burns through blogging.la, he introduced me to roller derby, and another ref posted the link that got me looking at blogging.la again.

Dany Noir

dany-noir-bw
(Confused? Check out the back cover of Dani Noir by Nova Ren Suma.)

We watched season one of Game of Thrones on DVD, and a couple episodes of season two through Totally Legitimate Means*, but haven’t continued watching due to inconvenience (watching ont he computer sucks, HBO Go doesn’t play on our PS3). I enjoy the series and would like to eventually catch up. I read the first book but the thought of more characters being introduced (and not having an actor’s face to bring to mind to help me keep them straight) was too daunting so I left it there.

So a few weeks ago when the internet went nuts over Daenerys doing “something badass,” I got nervous. Because I HATE SPOILERS (there is one coming up for season/book one in two sentences). First I checked with Will, because he has read the entire series to date. Surely her act of badassery could not be more impressive than climbing onto a funeral pyre to birth motherfucking DRAGONS? Yes, he told me, it really could.

Oh dear.

So I did the only reasonable thing: I read the Dany chapters of books two and three. Just the Dany chapters. (I also let Will tell me everything that happens to all the other characters, because I only really give a damn about her.) Obviously my definition of reasonable may be different than yours.

*illegitimate, shady means.

Obsessions

At any given time in my life, I have been obsessed with something or another. I mean, remember the time I met all of my friends on a Buffy fan board? Still friends with a lot of them. (Still grieving one of them.) Still no idea how to talk to people who don’t like Buffy.

My current obsession? Pride & Prejudice.

History:

  1. Started reading in 1995, age 17. Haaaaaaaaated. Suffered until I could suffer no more.
  2. 16 years later, downloaded on Kindle and read the whole thing in less than a month (which is, sadly, very fast for me these days given all of my distractions).
  3. Realized the irony of disliking the novel based on first impressions, but loving it later.
  4. Immediately watched the two more recent* BBC mini-series (1980 and 1995) and the Keira Knightley movie.
  5. Submitted a pattern idea to Jane Austen Knits, which was accepted and is in the Fall 2012 issue.
  6. Tried to read Sense and Sensibility, got about 85% in and stalled, finally watched the movie before going back and finishing the novel.
  7. Tried to read Emma but couldn’t stand reading about so many insufferable asses.
  8. Started Persuasion but set it aside recently because…
  9. Watched The Lizzie Bennet Diaries in three big chunks; realized I was all caught up.
  10. Panicked.
  11. Watched 1940 film with Greer Garson and Lawrence Olivier. Had a fit over how stunningly attractive Olivier is.
  12. Had a fit over how stunningly attractive Olivier is.
  13. Had a fit over how stunningly attractive Olivier is.
  14. Had a fit over how stunningly attractive Olivier is.
  15. Had a fit over how stunningly attractive Olivier is.
  16. Started re-reading Pride & Prejudice.

Please note that #s 10-16 all happened in the last 24 hours.

Because I am obsessed, here are some incomplete, highly subjective, and sometimes controversial rankings.

Darcys, by attractiveness:

  1. Lawerence Olivier
  2. Colin Firth
  3. everyone else

Best Darcys (by non-physical resemblance to character):

  1. (tie) Matthew MacFadyen, Lawrence Olivier
  2. Daniel Vincent**
  3. Colin Firth

Worst Darcy:

  1. David Rintoul

Ugh, could he have been any more stiff? Please consult with Mr. Vincent for lessons on acting stiff while still acting. (This may well have been the director’s fault.)

Best Elizabeths:

  1. (tie) Greer Garson, Keira Knightley
  2. um, were there other good Lizzys? I know Jennifer Ehle gets a lot of love and she is, indeed, lovely, but Eliza she is not.

*I did not know until this morning that there was a 1952 series with PETER FUCKING CUSHING as Darcy. Obviously my life will remain sad and incomplete until I find it.
**I was not sure whether to include him, as I think modern adaptations are a different animal altogether, but he is in fact NEARLY IDENTICAL to book Darcy. LBD Lizzie, however, is very different and therefore not included.

Please join me next time for a look at the various film Rochesters and a rant on how Jane Eyre is the second-worst love story of all time.

Why I Hate Scott Pilgrim

I slept hard last night.

Backing up. When Will put Sam to bed, he called me in to listen to Grace’s breathing. She was making a strange sound, like panicked swallowing. When I put my head on her chest to listen, the noise stopped and she relaxed. A bad dream, maybe? She often cries out in her sleep. I do not know how to keep her safe from her imagination.

I dreamed that we were escaping. I don’t know what from. Will and I found the room where Grace was and I had to get her out while he went looking for Sam. We met in the woods after I woke up enough to hug Grace tighter. I don’t remember much of the dream–it seemed linear while I was in it, but of course it wasn’t. I know we practiced our shooting (bow) skills behind the house of some rich guy who pretended not to be home. I know we were terrified.

This morning I indulged Grace by allowing her to watch Brave despite a TV-during-the-week ban. I came upstairs to check out for a few minutes and discovered that Valerie, one of my long-time internet acquaintances, has died. It is all so fucking unfair (she had an unexplained reaction to medication, medication that I assume was supposed to be KEEPING HER ALIVE AND/OR SANE) and I can’t even think about it.

So I am going to talk about Scott Pilgrim and how much I hate that little shit.

I should first say that I have never read the comic book, so this is all based solely on the movie, which I have seen twice. And I also want to preface all of this by saying that I think the movie is incredibly well-made, possibly the best comic book movie of all time. It’s just that the story sucks almost as badly as the characters, 99% of whom are utterly unredeemable jerks.

Actually, Scott is the only unredeemable jerk. Everyone else exists simply to either feel or deliver pain. Scott is immature and selfish, with literally no concept of the fact that his actions effect anyone but himself. He treats everyone like shit and nonetheless feels entitled to whine about how hard everything is.

Ramona Flowers is totally someone I would have dated as a teenager. In fact, she reminds me of Mara, my not-quite-girlfriend for most of my teens. But she exists solely as the manic pixie literally-dream-girl of Scott’s fantasies and since he has no idea who she really is, her character is not explored in any greater depth.

As I said, the filmmaking is outstanding, but despite the fast pacing the movie just goes on for too long–and yet the story feels too condensed. This may be the most obvious thing I have ever written, but some stories are better suited to one medium than another. Because of my extreme distaste for the movie, it’s doubtful that I will ever read the comic, but I suspect I would enjoy it much more.

Interestingly, I think that the movie miiiiiight have won me over if the studio had not insisted on the theatrical ending. (SPOILERS AHEAD.) I realize that version has Scott ending up with the same girl he ends up with in the comic, but in the movie it is Knives he should be with (though he does not deserve her), and the alternate/original ending of the movie is just perfect. Ramona is his dream girl, not a real person (to Scott, that is–it’s not like she is imaginary) (probably), so of course she does not stay.

I don’t have an ending for this post. I thought talking about the ending of the movie was a logical place to end, but Will says it’s abrupt and unsatisfying. (Hmmm.)

Less Miserable

The other day while I was obsessively watching all video content available related to the upcoming Les Miserables movie, I came across a comment to the effect of, “I CAN’T BELIEVE THEY MADE IT A MUSICAL.” Which, um, you’re a little late to be indignant about that.

Lest you think me a monster, I could totally understand if, say, you were a fan of the book but hate musicals, and so were disappointed. However, I would probably still think, “Tough luck, suckah!” Because did you know that there have been over 60 straight film adaptations of the book, and exactly zero film adaptations of the musical? Yeah, it’s the musical’s turn.

Granted, those movie adaptations date back to 1897 and I doubt most of them are available in any form. But here’s a snapshot of what’s happened in my lifetime alone (source):

In 1978, there was a UK TV movie starring Anthony Perkins.
In 1980, the French stage musical opened.
In 1982, there was a French dramatic version which was re-released in 1985 for television.
Also in 1985, the English version of the musical opened in London. It opened on Broadway in 1987.
There were various foreign films over the rest of the 1980s and early 90s, including a French television cartoon in 1992.
In 1995, a filmed concert of the Broadway show was released.
In 1998, the Liam Neeson movie.
In 2000, a French mini-series starring Gerard Depardieu, followed by an English TV version of the same.
In 2007, this Japanese animated series happened. I am dying to see it.
In 2010, another concert-style movie.

Unless you count the two filmed concerts (which DO NOT COUNT), there have been at least 13 non-musical adaptations (some of them truer to the novel than others). IT’S ABOUT TIME!