Happy Endings = False Advertising

Happily Ever After - Kinsale

“Happily Ever After” by Sonia Luna

Last night, I watched The Jane Austen Book Club while slightly drunk on Nyquil to work on the cape some more. I want to finish it this month. The only thing I can think of is watching a movie every night to keep me working on it. If I can just finish this one last tedious tentacle, I can get to the hat and finish.

But, the point of this post is not crocheting monster cape projects while watching chick flicks, it’s about Happy Endings. If you know me personally, you probably haven’t really gotten over the fact I admitted to watching The Jane Austen Book Clubwhich is so obviously a chick flick. You know I don’t do girly movies. You know I don’t do movies generally but scary movies, suspense movies, and girly movies are all pretty much not movies I’m into. I watched it because I decided to ignore the fact it was a girly movie and focused purely on the fact it was a movie about a book club. This worked rather well when I focused on the How to Make an American Quilt aspect of that movie and ignored the fact it was a girly girl drama. I was fifty-fifty on the Jane Austen part because I haven’t read Jane Austen since high school and I can’t remember if it was those books I absolutely hated or if those were by someone else. Judging from the movie, I think maybe I hated Jane Austen but I’m not entirely sure because even though the movie is supposed to be about a Jane Austen Book Club, it’s really about romantic relationships and happy endings and I still have no idea whether or not I want to read a Jane Austen book (or re-read for that matter).

As far as the existence of Happy Endings, there appear to be the same camps as there are revolving around God. Meaning, there is Camp I Believe (Gnostics), Camp I Don’t Believe (Atheists), and Camp There Really Isn’t Sufficient Evidence to Prove or Disprove Happy Endings So I Cannot Make a Satisfactory Conclusion on the Matter (Agnostics). I know this is super simplifying but, under medication I can’t muster much deeper conversation here. Apparently, when it comes to God and Happy Endings, I’m in the same Camp– There Really Isn’t Sufficient Evidence to Prove or Disprove Happy Endings So I Cannot Make a Satisfactory Conclusion on the Matter. This is why I’m not a fan of most Happy Ending-geared fictions. Besides, given my personal experiences, I’m leaning more to the Don’t Believe side of things. Can you blame me?

The thing about Happy Endings is they seem a) Conclusive and b) Exclusive. When these movies give you some romantic rocky place you can relate to, you’re right there with them the entire way—until the happy ending part. Because that part? Skipped you. Or maybe, Camp I Believe says, “Hasn’t happened to you yet.” And the real problem with Happy Endings is that they aren’t really Endings. They’re endings in a movie, sure, but most of the time Happy Endings are really Happy Beginnings in character relationships. You assume things stay that way because we grew up on fairy tales that told us so (all together now: “And they lived happily ever after”) but reality dictates all of these Happy Endings movies should have sequels at the very least, if not prequels and additional sequels. The most realistic love story I can think of in movies is the one we saw from start to finish across six movies—Darth Vader and Amidala. And we all know how that ended.

I watched the movie start to finish because it seemed full of promise. There were five females in completely different and entirely screwed up relationships, at least one of them was bound to end up unhappy and alone like me many of us, right? [SPOILER ALERT IF YOU CAN’T FIGURE IT OUT YOURSELF] The woman whose husband leaves her for another woman gets back together with him after he realizes what a huge mistake he’s made, reads Jane Austen, and apologizes with a letter. They’re making out when their young lesbian daughter walks in on them at the end. Speaking of the young lesbian, she goes from one passionate impromptu relationship to another and ends the movie young, single, and full of promise for The One. There’s the sophisticated Hard Older Woman who melts like butter in the hands of a young Jane Austen reading sci-fi nerd who is mysteriously wealthy and goofy and unlike anything you’ve ever experienced in your life because he’s not real. We have the young wife who is Old World to the core, in rebellion to her hippie mom, married to a complete jerk of a jock who suddenly turns into a softie when she begs him to read Austen and crying reads a couple of sentences out loud to him. He reads the whole book, “Persuasion” and their relationship is renewed as he is now officially romantic and passionate and must truly love her. Lastly, there’s the most interesting character who gets the least attention. She’s the Love Veteran. Detached enough to enjoy the game for what it is. She’s been married six times, enjoyed them all for what they were, and ends married a seventh to a handsome wealthy man she can’t understand (literally, he speaks Spanish) but it doesn’t matter because she’s got a huge rock on her finger and you imagine he’s got a huge rock in his pants because boy does she look satisfied with herself. And everyone is so happy for her, cheering her with a champagne toast in the end. Your seventh husband! How wonderful!

Each of these scenarios is so completely far-fetched, they’d be hard to deal with on an individual basis. Combined, it just comes this question of the viewer: “What’s wrong with you?” Also, “Why aren’t you forcing potential lovers/mates/husbands/boyfriends to read Jane Austen? She has magic powers!”All of these nutcase women are happy—every single one. So what is your problem? If these five looney bins can be happy winners in the game of love surely you must be broken. Or maybe, it’s ok. Because it’s fiction. And we just want to pretend these are the things that happen. I remember another stupid movie I watched called He’s Just Not That Into Youand one solid piece of advice in the movie—these stories are all about the exception. You are the rule, not the exception. Movies and stories are always about the exceptions because no one cares about the normal.

So, there’s nothing wrong with you—with us. The makers of these Happy Endings are just gigantic fantasizers and wishful thinkers. They are all members of Camp I Believe. You won’t find evidence against Happy Endings in movies (outside of Star Wars at least), but you don’t have to look there either. Look in the mirror, call your best friend, your sister, your mother, your aunt, your cousin, your brother’s ex-girlfriends, etc. You’ll likely find lots of Happy Beginnings, some Sad Endings, some Sad Endings that turned into other Happy Beginnings, some Happy Beginnings that look like they just make it to Happy Endings (then again, ask my grieving grandmother who’s still grieving the death of her husband of over fifty years and Happy Endings seem impossible) and mostly you’ll find lots of In-Betweens. Because as long as you’re living, there is no real ending—happy or otherwise.

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Across the Universe

I watched a beautiful movie last night that I don’t think many people got to set their eyes on.

Across the Universe was excellent. I need to own it (adding it to my Amazon list as we speak). It was really beautiful visually, the music was fabulous, and it was just an excellent experience. Experienced it is better than watched it. 

There are some intriguing cameos too. I could not for the life of me figure out who the heck the circus man was but I knew he was familiar. Turns out it’s Eddie Izzard. 

Bono’s in it too and is incredible in his role (he rocks I am the Walrus). 

And funny enough I kept saying, “Man those nurses are freaking HOT” yeah that’s cause it was Salma Hayek.

Sadie and JoJo are two of my favorite characters. Every time they show on screen you know some serious music is about to play.

And although the movie is JAM-packed with amazing sequences, the one that made me CRY was the Let it Be sequence. Jesus. 

Think of Baz Lurhman’s Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge and you start to get an idea of Across the Universe. My husband stayed awake through the whole thing (worth mentioning because he likes to sleep through “musicals”) and even uttered a few “wow”s. He also asked if I could pause it so he could get make a weed run. Ha. Ha.

Anyways, check it out. It’s definitely an experience.

 

The Golden Compass

Re-posts from a message board by me I thought were worth sharing. 

Saw it last night! It was awesome!!!!! Oh my god I loved it. First of all, it was really beautiful visually. Oh man, breathaking. And it was just so cool. The movie DOES feel a bit rushed and really I wish it was just a tad bit longer because the beginning of it feels a little overwhelming information-wise. You can tell they really just want to jump in but they can't because there's all the information to lay out. The problem is, instead of letting the information play for you they let the characters dialogue it for you very very quickly. And it's obvious why: the want to get to the action of the North. But still they had plenty of time to let it unwind a bit more at the beginning: the movie is shorter than harry potter and also narnia. I went with my husband and two other couples. I was the only one who had read the books but all six of us loved the movie and all six of us can't wait for parts two and three. A lot of the deeper currents of the movie may go over the heads of the youngest ones, but there is also a lot of really "cool" stuff that they won't get bored at all. The daemons are amazing, the ice bears are insane, and there are other lots of really fun characters. I am trying to figure out the PG 13 rating and I guess it's the battle scenes. I will say this, blood is minimal. A lot of people die but it's usually by arrow, gunshot, or a bear running through and the way you know they die is they crumple to the ground and their daemon bursts into a beautiful cloud of golden dust. There is no blood spurting or anything grotesque. The most violent kill was thrilling enough for the adults to freak out about (the theater burst into applause) but it's tame enough that kids weren't horrified (it's filmed from a distance). 

Regarding the controversy surrounding the book being anti-religious:

Look, here is the bottom line. I think you are going to see in the movie whatever you choose to see. Christian and Catholic groups have jumped all over it with the expectation of it being anti-Christian because Pullman has declared himself an Atheist.

Like I said, I read the books and I think the anti-religion aspect is completely overblown. In the books, the evil organization IS referred to as the church and of course there are lots of parallels to Churches like restriction for your own good but of course this is easily broadened. How many times has our government hidden things for our own good? How many times do we as parents deny our children things for their own good? It is more anti-authoritarian than anything. The so-called "religious" characters are never once portrayed in any church setting or with any religious artifacts around them. They dress slightly more ornately than the scholars at the colleges. And the true villainess of the story, while somewhat associated with the evil organization, is also not.

To me, the film's main villain is authority. All of us are anti-authority in one way or another. If you choose to view "the authority" as symbolic of your church then of COURSE you're going to be offended as all hell. But if it's just against authority for authority's sake, there's a difference. And before jumping the gun and saying I am promoting anarchy, that's not right either. The film teaches a lot of excellent morals like true friendship, loyalty, sacrifice, etc. As the story progresses in the books, yes the telling of heaven and god and everything else plays important roles. But there is a lot of stuff in there that I highly doubt will be put into a movie. I do not agree with the books being for children. I think they are for high schoolers and mostly the older grades. Excellent for college. Amazing for adults. Can they turn it into something for children? The first book, yes. I don't know about the other two but I want to see what they do. By the way, things that are in the other books that make them inappropriate for children under the age of 15 let's say include:

Homosexual angels: Not that I have anything against homosexuality but this is a topic not easily handled by young children.

Death of God: The death of the god in the story is actually a gorgeous moment and it's not like god actually dies and rots. The angels have indeed taken over heaven and imprisoned god. They are incredibly jealous of humans and have shut them out of heaven in a limbo. Not only do the children liberate the souls but they also liberate god who dies upon his release.

Mom and Dad are SCARY: Lyra's parents are the stuff children's nightmares are made of. I almost gave something away there. The story completely screws with archetypes which, for me, is really fun. Shady characters like gypsies are heroes, witches are more motherly than the mother could dream of, grown-ups do a lot of stupid things, etc.

Again, this is stuff in the books. I wouldn't read the His Dark Materials trilogy to my kids at bedtime, but I am dying to go and read them again and I highly recommend the series to anyone. I cried my ass off with those books and the ending left me absolutely breathless.

As for the movie, you're going to have to make the call. I think the kids will love it for what a movie's worth. Especially the younger ones and if you don't introduce the idea of anti-church to them. They're just going to have a good time. It may start some great conversations with the older kids. It will definitely get the adults talking although with us it was more about the fantasy aspects: "Those witches were amazing" "I totally need a polar bear in my life" "I want a freaking snow leopard daemon dammit" were comments actually issued by us. One of them was mine. 😛

DEFINITELY read the books.

Film: Marie Antoinette

As I mentioned the other night I went to see Marie Antoinette on my night off. I went to the South Beach theater and there were maybe 20 people in the theater. I love that. On to the movie shall we?

Let me start by saying something. This is not a movie about the French Revolution. This is not a movie about a monarch who as self-absorbed and cared nothing for her people who in turn got fed up with her, rose up against her, imprisoned her and her family, tried and executed by beheading her husband, grotesquely beat, stabbed, and decapitated her best friend and paraded her coifed head on a pike outside her prison, had her young son forcibly removed from her and placed in the care of an abusive alcoholic pro-revolutionary under whose care he eventually died under mysterious conditions, and who eventually tried her, found her guilty, and had her executed by beheading as well. If you want to see that sort of thing, try something else. This is definitely not for you. And that’s the main issue with the movie. This is not, in my opinion, a movie for history buffs. As a matter of fact I think this movie is for those who know history already and want to see things come alive and the things they are really interested in is NOT political unrest, but beauty and costume and the storybook lifestyle.

When you were young and dreamed of being a princess as many young girls are wont to do the kinds of things you dreamed about are in this movie but with adult sophistication and nuances. Sure you knew you’d be in a great pink dress but I bet you couldn’t imagine the luxury of such a dress. Coppola does. And yes you’d probably demand to feast on cakes and candies all day and Marie Antoinette does but please let’s not forget the champagne and the occasional recreational drug. On this end the film is gorgeous. I promise you’ll be hungry at least once in the movie because cakes and candies and champagne are as much a character as the Princess Lamballe, Marie Antoinette’s best friend. Other “main” characters are the costumes. The gorgeous never ending sea of one amazing costume after another. The incredible hair, the amazing accessories. And another important character is Versailles which creates the backdrop for some AMAZING shots. More than once I was struck by the feeling I was looking at a living painting. And also you can’t really dismiss the Petit Trianon, the queen’s private retreat which she turns into an idyllic country escape.

Also of keen interest other than the visual pleasure of watching the movie is the examination of I guess what you’d call Princess/Queen Culture. Sure it’s all very nice looking on the cover but there are definitely unpleasant things you don’t quite get. First of all is the constant never-ending scrutiny. Marie Antoinette’s mother says to her, “All eyes will be on you” and never has more of an understatement been uttered in a movie. Especially if you know some history like the fact Marie Antoinette is 14 years old when handed over to France to marry Louis and that she is only 19  when her husband is made King Louis XVI. You are then made to understand that a girl of 14 is reduced to her body. What can her body do for a country? Can it represent it well? Is it lovely enough? Very well but can it produce an heir to the throne? And that becomes the most pressing issue in the movie for Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI do not consummate their marriage for a LONG time and she doesn’t get pregnant for an even LONGER time. From the beginning, at 14, she is constantly chided by her mother (and begged and pleaded with) to coax her husband into having sex with her and knocking her up already. She is, physically, an object. This definitely hits home with the ritual Coppola brings to life of dressing the Princess every morning. I won’t ruin it for you but it’s a doozy and one of my favorite parts of the film .

The problem then is do you want to sit and watch something pretty? Plot is not something this movie is concerned with. Neither is history. This is a look at the life of a princess and a queen. So much so that once she begins having children and her relationship with the king is on much more solid ground, the movie begins to end. Coppola does not give you the how, why, when, where, and who of her downfall. Personally I’m fine with that. The movie DOES lag in some parts but it’s so pretty to look at it doesn’t really matter. The end DOES feel rushed, slightly awkward, and somewhat (dare I say it?) choppy. Interestingly enough these two differences do echo the life of the Queen. Lethargic and pleasure-driven in the beginning and quite the opposite in the end. There is no villain in the movie which is different from most other movies. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other characters to drive you batty (and entertain you at the same time). Madame du Barry, Madame Noailles, and the Aunts all provide some good contrast to Marie Antoinette.

I’m tempted to say leave this one for the rental. Not because it’s not worth the movie theater experience but the movie theater experience just doesn’t “fit” this movie. Do you have a girlfriend whose getting married but wants something tame? This is perfect for a girls night at home bachelorette party. This is definitely fun to have on the TV while your girlfriends and you are laid out in your jammies playing with makeup and nail polish and eating cookies cupcakes chocolates and drinking wine or even champagne and reading magazines. It just feels more right with the movie. Oh and one quick note. The music works just fine. I liked the 80s tracks. It didn’t hit me as cheesy or jarring at all. It just worked.

Gloom

It’s here again. Something I think I’m going to refer to as “the gloom.” So question for ya. If a woman doesn’t get her period for some reason, say she’s nursing a baby for instance, can she still PMS? Because that is what it feels like. All of a sudden these feelings start sneaking up on me. Frustration with myself being the highest on the list and a sense of anxiety coming in for a close second but fueling that frustration even more. When I get to these points it’s like I am fighting with myself constantly. “God dammit DO something!” “Get off your ass already!” “Seriously can you BE any more disorganized?” And I’ll get a bug and just start doing things. That growing pile of papers on my desk, ironing board (DON’T ask), other desk, printer, and chair gets filed trashed and reduced to a small pile on my printer waiting to be handled. OK fine TWO small piles. Tiny little “things” get either trashed or finally put where they belong. And still I’m surrounded by chaos.

Tomorrow night is my night off again. I’m going to watch Marie Antoinette. At first I was really reluctant. I can’t stand Kirsten Dunst and even though I liked Virgin SuicidesLost in Translation, well lost me. Which is so wrong considering my love for Japan but I was just in a fog. I guess the real change in attitude has come about because I just finished reading Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber. Really. Great. Book. And if you like fashion but also like some meat to your reading I think you’ll love this especially. I actually had been dying to read a biography or two on Marie Antoinette and decided on this one for a different take on a biography. When I bought the book a couple weeks ago, on my first night off ironically enough, I wasn’t sure if the movie had come out and gone straight to video or if it hadn’t come out yet and if so when it would etc. I was plesantly surprised to find it hadn’t opened and actually it gave me enough time to finish the book. I like to read books before watching movies about them and even though the movie is based on Antonia Fraser’s biography (which is on my wishlist and who I adore because she did a great job with Mary Queen of Scots) Caroline Weber does reference her a lot and her book provides enough information as is although it totally and completely reduces her extramarital affairs to mere mentions of her having “favorites.” When the movie came out I pulled up some reviews and now I’m even more intrigued. Especially because of a review by James Berardinelli  who managed to completely frustrate me. Essentially it boils down to what I consider a complete matter of opinion. He states, “As anyone knows who has spent any time studying 18th century France, Marie-Antoinette’s story is an interesting one, provided one concentrates primarily on her post-Revolutionary life. Everything that happens before July 14, 1789 (the day of the storming of the Bastille) is a prologue; the real meat comes after.” He also states, “The more interesting material, including a possible affair and the growing unrest of the common people, is left to the film’s final 40 minutes.” I completely disagree. Well not completely but mostly. I don’t disagree that her post-Revolutionary life is interesting. It is actually arresting and disturbing and, to me, heart-wrenching most times (I’m thinking of the horrific violence against her best friend, the murder of her husband, and her child being physically taken away from her). Maybe it’s because I’m a woman but as I was reading Queen of Fashion it kept hitting me over and over and over again, ‘This is a GIRL of 14!” And later, ‘She’s only 19!’ I was actually completely fascinated by the pressure two nations placed on one young girl. I understand to some level this was the way things were but that doesn’t make it uninteresting. Also these frivolities she indulged in that the reviewer is so quick to dismiss well this was the real fuel of the people’s hatred towards her. And you want to give it 15 – 20 minutes? Maybe Sofia did something wrong handling the good stuff but I just find it ridiculous for this man to dismiss the first half of this woman’s life as merely a prologue and look for more on “supposed affairs.” Bah! Who knows? I haven’t seen the movie yet but this reviewer didn’t seem to be attacking Coppola’s film at all in these sentences he seemed to be attacking how interesting Marie Antoinette’s life and I just don’t understand that. By the way, he ALSO says, “The film was booed at Cannes before apologists got to work saying it wasn’t that bad” and actually it has been mentioned the film was booed because it portrayed some of France’s national heroes in a negative light which I would completely expect seeing as the movie is about the woman they BEHEADED.
I guess we’ll see tomorrow right? Haha I can’t wait to hate the film and come back and say, “Well turns out good old James was right!”

Movies and Books

What else is there to do really when summers are unbearably hot, humid, and even worse- rainy as hell? Stay indoors with the a/c and read, watch movies, and craft- right? I've never been much of a TV person but lately it's really convenient to sit in front of the boob tube while nursing Daughter or while soothing her in the carrier. I also have been caught with her on my chest and me knitting above her. 🙂

I watched two movies the other night that are so excellent. The first was Saved! which is actually a few years old and I've seen it before. This movie is excellent. First of all, it's freaking hysterical. Second of all, it's hard to find a movie featuring high school students that also showcases an extremely powerful message. Saved! is one of those rare exceptions. I went to Catholic school from Kindergarten to 12th grade and even though the school featured is not Catholic, the basic undercurrents are the same. Sadly too many Christians take the movie incredibly personally and can't get past the satirical aspect immediately going into defensive mode. They miss the whole point of the movie which is wading through everything to get to the truth of what it takes to be a good person. Yes there are cliches. Yes there are stereotypes. Yes there is a level of predictability to it. But really, finding movies without any of those things is incredibly rare if not impossible especially in the comedy genre. It is really just good fun to watch and there are definitely scenes and lines that make your brain do a double-take (I have the bible-throwing scene in mind in particular).

Then I was lucky enough to see that Finding Neverland came on right after. I've been waiting to since this movie since it came out. J is not interested at all so it was perfect that it came on at 2 in the morning when the only stirring creatures in this house were myself and Daughter. Oh hell what a movie. So beautiful!! And it had so many levels and things going on. I love the creative process being portrayed. Like the bell attached to the kite bringing forth Tinkerbell and the grandmother as Captain Hook? Priceless! And of course I cried like a hormonal disaster. I mean here I am holding my sleeping newborn girl and watching a movie about mortality and really it was one of those situations where I had to force myself to not think too much because I was really close to just sobbing like a fiend. Hooray hormones! When it was over it occurred to me I've never read Peter Pan and that frustrated me greatly so it's at the top of my list of must-reads.

Speaking of books, I ordered two knitting books the other day. One Skein: 30 Quick Projects to Knit and Crochet and Stich n' Bitch Nation. SNBN is mighty thick so I haven't skimmed it yet. I skimmed One Skein though and I can tell you you won't be seeing any of those projects here for a while yet. Almost every project in the book calls for circular needles and/or double pointed needles. I am not opposed to using those but I'm not comfortable doing it yet. Also, it uses stitches I haven't learned yet like cable and seed. I'll get there but I'm really enjoying myself mastering the basics with fun projects that are easy and straightforward. SNBN looks really fun but I think I noticed that there is no indication of level on the projects. Am I right? They don't tell you if something is easy, intermediate, or advanced? I find that frustrating. But it's a minor thing. I'm going to sit and leaf through it now as my hands are a bit achey right now.

In unrelated news. Coloriffic August is Rainbow themed. How cool is that!?! I'm having a blast looking around for ideas and inspiration. Here's some cute stuff I've seen so far.

I actually LOVE all of this stuff. The last top with the dots is my favorite and the necklace too. Yummy!! I forgot how much I love rainbows. 🙂 I've loved them since I was a little girl and then they kinda got shelved in the back of the brain.

Howl

A quick note. If you haven’t seen Howl’s Moving Castle yet, you REALLY need to put it in your movie queue. It’s gorgeous. I don’t know why I don’t own so many of these movies. Actually, I owned a ton- Totoro, Kiki’s Delivery Service, Mononoke, etc on vhs but I’m pretty sure we got rid of all of that.

Anyways, yes check out Howl’s Moving Castle. LOVE IT.