The Fountain


Prepare to clutch your significant other and snot all over their tshirt.

I watched the movie The Fountain. It is hitting my nominations for Betsy’s Alternative Top 100 faster than other movie. This movie is about love and death. Doesn’t get much bigger than that! And yet it’s told through two people. One couple. Throughout time. It is so fabulous and the best part? Darren Aronosfsky grew up!

I’ve always been off and on with Darren Aronofosky. Visually speaking, the man is a genius. His timing and use of sound is profound to say the least. But his themes have been a little post-collegiate angsty for me. Requiem for a Dream is a work of Art. With a lot of holes. And yet, his work introduced me to Kronos Quartet, so I’m grateful for that.

Anyhoo, this movie stars Rachel Weisz (Aronosfky’s real life wife…what is with my inadvertent rhyming today? wife life sound profound…) I don’t know if they were married during the filming or not, but I think it’s fairly rare we actual see a muse through the director’s eyes. We do in this movie. This movie is about love. REAL love. And death. And eternity. It is absolutely fabulous. I did have a couple historical issues with one particular section, but it pales in comparison to the message.

I highly recommend it. It asks a little more out of the viewer than the average movie, but don’t all the good ones? I think it’s saying, “Go with me on this, guys.” You will be grandly rewarded if you do.

Broken


I struggle with feminism on a daily basis. This is mainly because I don’t feel it should be an “ism” at all. How can anyone NOT be a feminist? Oh I know they are out there, but let’s just say I haven’t been convinced they’ve built their castle on anything but loose sand. I mean, there is no formal “Masculist” movement. Certainly, it hasn’t been required, historically speaking. Nor have men had to fight for certain “inaliable” rights (i.e. voting). So it’s not that I don’t understand why Feminism is an “ism,” it’s that I choose to lead by example instead of doctrine. Who am I leading? I have no idea. I just am.

This isn’t to say that I don’t have copious amounts of respect and reverence for the struggles that generations of women have made before me. I do. I’m humbled by the suffragettes. I think Margaret Sanger should cannonized. And I’m not so naive as to think the battle has been won. But I think we’ve moved out of traditional warfare. It’s time for some new techniques. Lobbying and protests are all well and good, but they don’t make me feel any safer walking alone at night (although if I was to be attacked sexually, on some level I’d certainly be happy someone was fighting for my reproductive rights.)

I blogged earlier this week about the movie The History of Violence. No, I didn’t like it. I had issues with the plotline and direction. BUT I don’t want to talk about the movie so much as the sex scenes. Now, I posted a little blurp on facebook where I said in so many words, “Wow I hate that movie but the sex scenes were hot.” Now, generally speaking, I got some agreement there. One friend (and he is a friend, so I don’t want to be attacky…but his comment irked me) said that he liked the movie, but thought the sex scenes were “kind of gross.”
Why?
I hazzard to guess that instead of focusing on the female body as vehicle for arousal, it actually showed the female body BEING aroused and certain techniques used to arrive at that point. These are rarely seen in standard filmmaking. So I found it refreshing in SO many ways. 1. A married couple having great sex. 2. The woman being not a passive participant, but an active initiate without having to resort to any psuedo or actual domina behavior. I.e. she was in charge and fully feminine at the same time.
Basically what I’m saying is this: while I am always going to be a high-heel, makeup wearing girly girl, I’m tired of feeling (on a cultural level) that TRUE female sexuality is “gross.” No it’s not. Well…no more gross than male sexuality. Our bodies do some weird animalistic things whether we want them to or not. We’re already concerned with the appearance of our bodies, we do not need to be embarrassed by the function. I’m talking to myself here more than anyone.
I guess what I’m saying is that there is a cultural black hole where female sexuality should be. What turns us on? I think, generally speaking, we don’t know. We gain satisfaction by turning other people on, and I think we mistake that satisfaction for actual arousal. Sure, Giselle is hot. And if I looked like her, I would have some serious power over men. But who cares? What turns Giselle on? It’s not that I want to KNOW…it’s that we’ll never know. Not really.
The fact that Playgirl exists doesn’t mean we’re equal. Because a. Ewww. I’m not saying ewww because of the male body. I’m saying eww because they take the male body and just stick it where a naked female body would be.
Now, I’m very lucky. I have a wonderful husband and he gets it. In fact…every day I realize how lucky I am on so many levels. So let this not be mistaken as some sort of misplaced aggression. I’m angry as an adult American woman in the year 2009. I’m angry that an actual multi-billion dollar industry exists to make the female body “less gross” for all intents and purposes. It’s sick. Sure I’ve had a brazilian wax, but let it be known I did not go “all the way” because looking like a 12 year old and having THAT be a turn-on is real realllllll f***-ed up, my friends.
After much reading and research, I heartily believe that the feminine aspect of ancient religion has been systematically removed. Just watching an episode of Antiques Roadshow can occasionally show this. Just a couple days ago, I saw someone bring in a buddhist figure, and it was appraised to be a “Guardian” or “war figure” or “war god” when it had breasts, a pregnant belly, and a VAGINA with prayers inserted into it. Yes, the face was angry and had a full and “masculine” jaw line but I assure you at that moment, so did I.
I guess what I’m saying is that I see similarities between the “new” form of warfare we are seeing in Afghanistan compared to the old WWII battlefronts and marching battalions and the 70’s era bra-burning and picketing and legislation compared to today’s requirement for a more elegant approach to teaching both our boys and girls about real sexuality. Therein equality lies.

What feels right


It’s a coupla posts kinda day.

I read this quote this morning, “The major problem in dealing with…instinct and intuition, is that they are covered over and distorted for most of us by our conditioning, which masquerades as instinctual impulses. We belittle and denigrate women’s intuition as something spacey and inferior to pure reason.” (Vicki Noble, Shakti Woman)

As you’ve probably gathered, I am a BIG believer in women’s intuition…well…intuition in general, actually. And I believe the previous statement is true. Think it’s floaty and “spacey” all you want, but I know it is real. And I really and truly believe the world would be a better place if we listened to it. Made use of it. I do in my own life, but I struggle on how to take it to the next level.

As with most areas of life, I do feel we can take a cue from animals. I don’t see humans as superior to animals…1. Because we are animals. Think about it. Do birds act in a particular way before there is a storm? Yes. Horses too. Sometimes even dogs and cats. Is it all “intuition?” No…not exactly. Our olfactory perception is way less evolved than say a cat, so while it may “smell like rain” to us…it may reek of atmostpheric disturbance to other animals. Andy Avalos of NBC 5 isn’t going to be standing under a tree saying, “Hey squirrel. Take cover.”

My point is, I think we often ignore our own built-in warning signals. And also our built-in encouragement signals. Sometimes the only thing stopping you from doing something exciting is being overly rational. And that’s a shame.

What was that?


I hate the film History of Violence. So, I guess my assessment of Cronenberg WAS a little hasty…heh. Imagine. I was hasty.

The performances were fab. Usually, I hate movies because the performances are blah. But this is not the case with A History of Violence. In fact, I actually kinda really dig Maria Bello now, when before I never thought much about her.

Here’s the thing: NO WAY IN HELL. All of it. I didn’t buy a single second of the revelation and following plot. Wha? Wha? I mean…c’mon. I don’t want to blow any endings or anything but how manipulative was that ending? Yeesh

Okay, wait, I’ll say this. Small town folk were treated in a respectable manner. No grass seed suckin’ ‘billies, and I appreciate that. I really really do. I think if I was from Philly, I might be a little offended, but I’m not…thank god. Anyway, I think I can honestly say this now…if a film is based on a graphic novel…likely I will think it is substandard. I hyaaaaate how predictable female behavior is in the graphic novel form. Again, I don’t want to blow any plot lines, so I won’t go into the myriad moments I had of “Oh…oh she’s gonna… She did!”

Okay, the sex scenes were hot. No, wait. The FIRST sex scene is hot. The second one…okay, it’s hot but it is majorly colored by WHA??? But that first one. Whew, girl. Rrgggglllll.

I think the theme of the film is “Can we really reform? Are we actually capabale of starting over?” I think the violence is a vehicle for this theme, rather than being the theme itself. And it’s an interesting question. It really is. I’d love to hand this theme over to my favorite directors and say, have at it. But this particular film is the cinematic equivalent of Sylvester sneaking up behind Tweety with the use of a well-placed shrubbery. Thank god Tweety wasn’t looking in his direction, or we’d have no story! And Tweety isn’t stupid. And neither is Edie, Maria Bello’s character, but wow…she’d kinda have to be for some of this movie to work. And she’s not. And it doesn’t.

I always feel a little out of sorts after I see a movie like this. A group of actors and artists I really respect got together and said, “YAY! Let’s do THIS!” and i”m thinking…why? Okay, sure, they are getting paid major amounts of dough, and it seems like Ed Harris wanted to work with Viggo (or vice versa, as I just watched Appaloosa) so I understand that. But…I don’t know. I didn’t like it. I didn’t buy it. But I do think it’s a good example of how good actors can elevate a mediocre at best script. Because I finished watching it.

A Girl Scout always leaves ’em in better shape than she found ’em


But honey, I was never a girl scout.

My home is about to be filled with boys in their 20’s.

I bought a lot of toilet paper and chips.

I should write a book on how to prepare for odd occurrences in your life. Although I feel like whatever the situation, my answer would be, “Buy a lot of toilet paper and chips.”

Seriously, give me a non-emergency situation, and I can’t see why you’d need anything else.

Oh wait, beer.

The Human Tiki Torch


Is that flash of light…the…the sun?

Yes. And also my flaming white legs I chose to bare today. There was a time I was called “olive skin toned”. That was before I worked in an office and theatres. How can Dita be so white and look creamy, and I look just ill?

And one of my sisters is orange. You know, for prom. The other one is freckly.

While we’re on the subject, last night I said to Will, “What do you think about the whole Roswell thing?” And he said, “I don’t think about it.” And that’s where we differ. I LOVE a good UFO story. Anything considered “paranormal”. According to dictionary.com, Para is a prefix appearing in loanwords from Greek, most often attached to verbs and verbal derivatives, with the meanings “at or to one side of, beside, side by side” ergo, “paranormal” = to one side of normal. And that’s where I live. You can see normal from my place, but it’s still a bit of a walk. Like the Sears tower.

I can own paranormal. No problem. But what do you DO with it? Other than creep people out and make close friends question your sanity? I don’t know. I’ll just be over here reading this conspiracy theory book while you figure it out.

It’s 9:07 in the am and I’ve already eaten my “snack” cookies.

In the DIY category, I made some shower gel with decent texture (yay xanthum gum), but the scent. It’s not a bad scent. Especially if we were, say, camping. But I’m not camping. I’m sitting at a desk in a little blue dress. So the combo of cedarwood, pine and citronella is a little out of place. Why, you may ask, would you think that that combination would smell fresh and feminine? Because the recipe was called “Alabaster” and re: my legs, I thought it was appropriate. AND aromatherapy oils combine in synergistic manners becoming more than the sum of their parts. Sometimes. This time, it’s pretty easy to pick out the scent of pine and citronella. So, if you are having a bug problem, just let me know. I’m a walking bottle of Pine-sol with a dash of Cutter. It’s the kind of smell my Dad would like. It’s the kind of smell that goes well with plaid flannel. But, waste not want not. I’m going to bathe with this stuff until it’s gone, and THEN I’m breakin’ down and buying some damn rose oil and amber oil. That’s what I should smell like. Not Deep Woods Off. Although until this bottle runs out, I’m available for barbecues and other outdoor events. And c’mon, I’m way more enticing than a yellow candle in a bucket.

Sometimes.

Two Movies: Deedley deet dee deeeeee


I’m on a Viggo Mortensen kick (she says as if it’s the first time….The Prophecy? Reeeooww.) Eastern Promises was so good. My little sis Eve recommended it to me after we lunched at Russian Tea Time. (She loves all things Russian.) So I thought, what they hey? And I rented it. And I loved it.

Now, there was a slightly heavy-handed moment where the Godfatherish character dramatically lights a diary on fire and walks away leaving it to burn. C’mon…Well, but then he knew Viggo would keep an eye on it, dependable guy that he is. And yeah…I sorta called the “twist” but it doesn’t matter because that’s not what the movie is about. It’s a non-love story. And it’s pretty fabulous. And I’m gonna say it, y’all. Montgomery Clift has to move off my List, and so does Peter Sellers. Viggo is on, you guys. And let me tell you why. Now, I don’t know a lot of a foreign people…and for that I’m sorry. I wish I did. But, unlike my mother, I’m not very good at walking up to people in museums and saying, “Pardon me, but are you from the Ukraine?” However, I do have some experience with Russians. We had a Russian exchange student when I was in eighth grade. She lives outside Detroit now. I think she’s a lawyer. Anyway, we met her family and all that so I can tell you this. Viggo nails it. NAILS it. And remember how I said no one could beat the Gary Oldman Sirius Black tattoos….VIGGO NAILS it. Girl….Anyway, his performance is so subtle and so filmic. What I mean by that is that it is gentle almost, nuanced, but still powerful. That along with other performances puts him on my list. And starts a Viggo kick. I’m getting Appaloosa next (with Ed Harris…another of my faves… The only reason he’s not on my list is…huh. I don’t know. He used to be on my list. Anyhoo…)

Okay, but so as not to continue to drool over Viggo (he’s not method either. Just well-researched and…okay…I have to make one more point and then I will move on….) Look, I’m not a method actor nor am I a David Mamet True and False zealot. I see value in each. But Viggo’s performance in Eastern Promises proves why Mamet is not entirely correct. Mammery basically asserts that the writer puts everything on the page an actor needs. The thing is. No they don’t. Even Mamet. And when they do, that’s a playwright attempting to direct. A screenwriter isn’t capable of writing into the script “How to be Russian”. Viggo has to find that out for himself. The script informs him of the world of this particular character, but it doesn’t teach him how to walk, how to turn his head, how to speak (sure the playwright can write it phonetically, but c’mon…that’s 1. insulting and 2. Usually inaccurate.) So no, Viggo’s not considering becoming an honorary member of the Russian mob. But he sees the value in talking to some Russians from the Eastern part of the country and reading a few books. That informs honest acting choices and gives him something to do with his body. Now, I know that Felicity Huffman and Jesus H. Macy are of the Mamet school, and they are great actors. But if you follow the Mamet train of thought to it’s interesting but ultimately boring result, you don’t get the performances in TransAmerica and Fargo.

What was I talking about?

Okay so anyway, I also watched Frozen River. Oh my god. So effing good. Absolutely nominated to go on Betsy’s Top 100 Alternative Movie Picks (my own answer to AFI’s Top 100). Woman written and directed, marvelous performances, an original story. Characters you can sink into. Gritty. Fabulous. I loved it, and highly recommend it.

And yes, I know that in the scheme of things, both of these movies are Old News…but I do things on my own time.

To review:
1. Viggo= RRrrreeeeoww
2. David Mamet = smartypants blowhard
3. Frozen River = Fantastico…and don’t give me any of that bullshit about how it’s uncomfortable to watch stories about poor people. You know who you are.
4. Doin’ things on my own time. Alright Alright Alright.

So whad did ya think of those movies, if you saw ’em?