Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dark Knight Rises OR How to Get a Literature Nerd to Watch A Superhero Movie

I meant to write this quite a long time ago. As in, day we came home from the movie theater. Turns out, that didn't happen, but oh well.

I'm not usually a fan of superhero movies. Didn't like Hulk. The Spiderman saga got old after the first movie, avoided Iron Man just because Robert Downey Jr. Neither Captain America nor Thor had plots. Yet to see the Avengers, but, with the exception of Loki, I'm not all that interested. Any that I've missed just didn't even hit my radar.
It's been different with the Batman trilogy, a bit. There's a level of emotional complexity that caught my attention. And,  Heath Ledger's Joker was nothing short of inspired. But, even knowing that, when we went to the theater the other night, I would've rather seen Brave. Love a Pixar, me. But the siblings wanted to see Dark Knight Rises, and I'm usually up for anything.
So here's the thought process:
Sat about ten rows ahead of Mum and Dad and Riley with the two older siblings, the really excited ones, clapped for The Hobbit trailer, even though I'd seen it, much to their embarrassment. Looper looks really good, as does Red Dawn. Wow, is that Josh from Drake and Josh? He got older. The Expendables 2. Chuck Norris, Sylvester Stalone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the same movie? Yikes. Then, finally, the movie came on.
Christian Bale has a lisp. You can't hear it, but you can see it, especially because for half the movie, his mouth is the only thing you can see. And I'd half-expected to spend the entire movie stuck on that fact.
And then, Tom Hardy. Is that Tom Hardy? He can't be Tom Hardy. His voice sounds really funny. Oh, my. That is Tom Hardy. Is there such a thing as a better actor than Tom Hardy? I don't think they exist.
So there I am, mildly entertained. Ann Hatheway was such an obvious choice for Cat Woman, but still utterly perfect. Neat little love triangle, her, Batman, and the other chick.
And then it hits me. The French Revolution. This movie is the French Revolution. Lower-to-middle class taking back their town from the corrupt, decadent upper class. Gorgeous historical allusions, lots of socio-political implications for our own time, Vive la Revolution, Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, and all that. It was a bold move for a movie to make right now, and a classy one for a movie to make ever. The history buff in me was enjoying herself.
The literature nerd in me had just read A Tale of Two Cities.
So in the end (avoiding specifics for the sake of spoilers), by that graveside, with that reading, and the, "It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known," I almost exploded. Actually, I started clapping, again to Anne and Andrew's embarrassment, but whatever.
And then the movie's over and, as usual, nobody besides my family claps. Seriously, it's like people just think they're entitled to this excellent piece of art that so many artists spent years of their lives perfecting. Whatever.
And then we get out of the theater and I'm grinning and babbling and "But, Daddy, that was Sydney Carton's last soliloquoy from Tale of Two Cities, that thing that they read there at the end, I can show you, I've got the book in the car," faster than either of my parents felt like keeping up with. I did actually have the book in the car, by the way. And I proceded to read the last page aloud. 
So, gorgeous movie, on acting and writing and casting and special effects and all of that; but that ending? THAT, Hollywood, is how you get a Literature Nerd to Love a Superhero Movie.
Also, for the record, I saw that No-THIS-is-the-real-bad-guy twist coming a good five minutes before anybody else. Just saying. ;)

Magic Mike

Here's me taking the conservative viewpoint for once...I'm frankly disgusted with this movie. With it's general existance, with the content, with everything about it. I should even apologize for using a picture in this post, but this was the least obscene one I could find.
And while we're being frank, Magic Mike qualifies as cinema about as much as Fifty Shades of Gray (another pet peeve of mine) qualifies as literature; namely, it doesn't. In both cases, a thin plot line and poor writing act as a framework for cheap erotica or bad porn. This. Is. Not. Art.
Now, I'm not advocating some sort of official boycott, not preaching censorship in the name of Christ. The world is going to create these things, I'm aware of that, and I accept that.
What I'm not willing to accept, however, is watching my Christian sisters flocking towards this piece of cinema for lack of a better word. I'm genuinely shocked, and saddened, and frustrated, and frankly disgusted. I just can't believe that they can in good conscience consume such an obscene piece of entertainment. When we're supposed to set an example and hold ourselves "in the world but not of it," and strive to be holy as He is holy, and set our thoughts on "whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right," and et cetera. I just don't get it.
I'm not trying to point fingers, I know I have my hangups. I do! I could list them off to you, and I'm far from proud of them. But intentionally (and driving to a theater and purchasing a movie ticket seems pretty intentional to me) seeking out one's hangups is not how to deal with them. Keeping out of temptations way is how to deal with those hangups. And sitting in a darkened movie theater subjecting myself to two-and-a-half hours of male strippers does not smack of avoiding temptation of me.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Defy the Dark - Redux

Back and ready for the flailing. 
Since we last spoke, I've been back over the piece, stripped out twenty-eight more words to be within the 4,000 word limit, tagged, published, and entered the story, and refreshed my page on Figment about five-million times hoping for reviews.
Not that they matter, 'cause it's not a heart-hogging popularity contest this time (not to be rude, I promise). The powers that be have sworn to read every single entry, which is nice. And, while peer reviews are great, I'm not allowed to edit a single word of the prose. So no matter how glaring a grammar error somebody points out, I can't go fix it. Still, affirmation, you know.
The actual writing of the piece was a roller coaster. As great as the prompt was ("It's not about the darkness, it's about who we are when we defy it," or something like that), I had ABSOLUTELY no inspiration. I went through about thirty useless ideas I didn't care about before deciding to go back to the beginning, use a little bit of ALL the ideas, and just throw something together.
So then I spent three days on Nana's couch (still haven't covered the living-with-Nana thing, have I?) tapping it out. Four-thousand words later, here I sit. I wrote through mind-numbing frustration, a darling little cousin who I love very very much but who didn't exactly help the focusing idea ("Whatchya doin? Are you STILL writing? Don't you want to play a game?"), sharing a room with a brother who wants all lights, laptop included, off at ten-thirty, a blinding, teeth-hurting headache, a pulled muscle in my side, Mum ("You haven't done anything all day!"), my own self telling me it wasn't worth it and wasn't any good and that I had no chance. Twitter and Tumblr (I think I updated my Twitter about fifty times) were both a help and a hindrance: standing at the ready when it got to be too much and I needed a break, but also standing at the ready to distract me when I felt like procrastinating. I think I skipped upwards of six meals and lived mostly on tea (new, lovely, loose-leaf tea, bahaha). I even survived a college-themed melt-down, and kept on writing, can you believe it?
I wouldn't have survived it without White Noise Radio, Write or Die, Edit Minion, Owl City, or my frightfully long Youtube music playlist. The internets must love me.
And, now it's done, and I'm about to gnaw my arm off waiting for the results. I know I'm just one name in upwards of a thousand; the chances of my winning are, shall we say, negligible. But, fingers crossed anyway!
You wanna know what's funny? I'm all of a sudden wildly looking forward to NaNoWriMo.