Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I Hab' a Co'de


Or some other damn kind of virus. Sore throat, splitting headache, constant cough, sleepless nights, general misery.

And this just after I'd given the tax stuff to the accountant and was ready for some fun.

Instead I'm housebound watching videos, because my head hurts too much when I try to read.

Here's what I've seen.

Casino Royale. I've spent decades being mad at James Bond movies because they showed Hollywood that if you throw together enough chase scenes and skin shots, along with a plot that makes no sense, you can make hundreds of millions of dollars. So I was prepared to hate this.

To my surprise, I enjoyed it. Perhaps the fact that I was unable to give it my complete attention helped.

Daniel Craig is a good Bond. The plot seemed to make sense, sort of, and the action scenes were well staged except for the last one, which seemed to involve Bond shooting a bunch of rubber rafts in the bottom of a Venetian palazzo and somehow causing it to fall into the Grand Canal. Maybe that scene would have been more comprehensible on the big screen, I dunno.

Bright Young Things, directed by Stephen Fry and based on the novel Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh, the classic novel of the young and rich tearing up London during the Roaring Twenties. (I haven't read the novel, so this note deals almost entirely with the movie.)

It's all about style, drug use, conspicuous consumption, polymorphous perversity, money, and celebrity journalism--- nothing like today, of course. The cast are mainly talented young unknowns, but the number of established names taking on small parts was impressive: Stockard Channing, Dan Aykroyd, Richard E. Grant, Simon Callow, Peter O'Toole as a dadaist colonel, and John Mills as an old duffer snorting cocaine at a costume ball honoring the American evangelist, Mrs. Ape, who leads her choir in the hymn "There Ain't No Flies on the Lamb of God." (Waugh's satire was not always subtle.)

The younger members of the cast hold up well against this established group of scene-stealers, particularly Fenella Woolgar--- a Waughian name if ever there was one--- as a high-society dame who, like Mr Toad, goes completely insane the second she gets behind the wheel of a motorcar.

The end of the movie jumps straight from the Roaring Twenties into World War II without bothering to go through the 1930s or the Depression, so I felt it was tacked on--- but I looked it up and found out that Waugh did in fact end his novel, written in the Twenties, with a surreal war scene. Prescient, in its way.

Though I haven't read this particular novel, I've read a fair amount of Waugh, and the film adaptations tend to suffer from a lack of the proper viciousness. Waugh is never afraid to go for the jugular--- or any other organ you care to name--- and I suspect Fry's adaptation of Vile Bodies suffers from the writer/director's underlying decency.

Weeds: This Showtime series stars Mary Louise Parker as an upper-middle-class suburban housewife who, on the death of her husband, becomes a pot dealer in order to make ends meet. (Trading in the Range Rover and selling the McMansion, or dropping the soccer lessons her kids don't want to take anyway, are options that never seem to cross her radar.) I've only seen a few episodes, but so far it's promising, and Elizabeth Perkins is wonderful as the Suburban Mom from Hell.

Sword of Honor: Two submotifs in this post combine as current James Bond Daniel Craig stars as the hapless Guy Crouchback, the protagonist of Evelyn Waugh's war trilogy (which I have read, by the way). This is another adaptation that fails the viciousness test, though it has its moments. And come to think of it, it has the same ending as Bright Young Things.

Revolutionary Girl Utena, viewed for the third or fourth time because it's the best TV series ever made. So there.

13 Comments:

Blogger Kathleen said...

Judging from the picture at the top of your post, the cold appears to have turned your hair violet.

KFH

8:40 AM  
Blogger Foxessa said...

Ugh. Cold bad.

George has the flu ....

I was a on a train for most of the last 2 days.

It is cold and wet and dreary.

Though rather beautiful too, with the trees loving the cold and wet, and more blooming every day: forsythia, jonquels, daffys, some little purple things that are not hyacinths or violets or pansie, but look like short stemmed lavender, kinda, but are not. Tree buds about to burst. The squirrels running madly in the rain, chasing and being chased. Presumably mating games?

Do you think I'd like the Revolutionary Girl thing? I'm not really a manga or anime fan, or even a fan of animation at all. Unless it was Boondocks.

Love, Foxius

6:15 PM  
Blogger dubjay said...

My temperature hit 102.3 today.

This sucks.

Foxy One, I think you would adore Utena. Though I've been wrong about this one before.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Walter, 102.3 might mean you should go to the doctor.

Chances are he will just say bed rest, plenty of fuilds, analgesics, but still...

1:14 PM  
Blogger dubjay said...

Temperature's back to normal.

I'm still quite useless, however.

Now Kathy is starting to report symptoms.

Still sucks.

2:26 PM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I have a bit of a cough, but my hair hasn't yet turned violet.

So I'm hoping my case will be milder than Walter's.

--Kathy

9:48 AM  
Blogger Foxessa said...

I'm glad to see you are recovering but sad to see that Kathy may be succumbing. Argh.

Big storm here, tomorrow: wind, rain, snow, flood. Vaquero to fly, of course, tomorrow afternoon, to San Francisco. Wonder if the flight will really go?

I looked up Revolutionary Girl on Netflix. They have the 10 disc version, the 4 disc Rose arc listed and the 1999 movie. But the first disc of 10, as well as others, are only available to be 'saved' not added. The 4 disc Rose arc is all to be 'saved.' Meaning they don't have those. Wonder why?

Would one really want to begin with disc 2 of 10, when there are other missing eps? Would one manage to follow?

I've looked at the art, and it seems all so very, um, frilly! I like girl, but not filly.

Love, Foxiux

3:08 PM  
Blogger dubjay said...

Kathy seems to be fending off the worst of it, so far. This weekend she had to work New Mexico Science Fair, and so got to spread the virus far and wide.

As for me, I'm still sick, and life still sucks.

Foxessa, I think with Utena you have to start at the beginning and go straight through to the end. And then you watch it over from the beginning because you can't believe it the first time.

There's got to be some anime joint in NYC where you can rent some disks. If not, I'll, uhh, see what I can do.

Chiho Saito designed the characters, and she's sort of the Queen of Frilly. But the cute characters--- who are no more or less adorable than actual Asian school kids, I think--- are actually masks for tortured, tormented human personalities . . . it's interesting that Japanese anime intended for adolescent girls will deal so thoroughly with issues from which American adult drama runs screaming.

Plus, it's fun to watch Nanami be tortured by animals.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Maureen McHugh said...

Elephants! Dadaist herds of stampeding elephants! Nanami gets chased by elephants!

It's one frightfully, wonderfully weird anime.

9:55 PM  
Blogger Foxessa said...

Believe it or not -- there is no place to rent that sort of dvd anywhere around here, at least.

Our last DVD outlet closed while were down at Mardi Gras.

The only dvd places now are gay lifestule and porn.

Gack.

It's also almost impossible to find a place that sells bulk rice and so on, or anywhere to get your shoes repaired. You know, anything practical, useful and geared to not spending a very large amount of money. That's what I get for living in a city with more billionaires and millionaires than you can shake a light sabre at.

Love, C.

10:14 AM  
Anonymous Stacy said...

Walter,

I'm watching the movie now with my (mature) 11 year old daughter. Anything to beware of?

Stacy

4:37 PM  
Blogger dubjay said...

Stacy, I hope your 11-year-old is =very= mature.

If it's the movie (as opposed to the anime) that you're watching, it's an attempt to deal thematically encompass the entirety of a 39-episode TV show, and is thus mainly incoherent. One of the ways that it tries to condense all three seasons is by making the sexual relationships (not all of them heterosexual) fairly explicit.

With the TV show, you're dealing mainly with creepy themes having to do with incest and sexual predation, all directed at underage characters.

Good luck.

5:20 PM  
Anonymous Stacy said...

It's funny 'cause the disc cover didn't indicate that at all! Hmmm.

Actually I had a feeling things were going South in the first 10 minutes so we stopped it for further parental review.

Now I have to ask myself if I'm mature enough for it. (I hope so...)

7:47 PM  

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