September 13th, 2004

little review

Poem for Monday

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I am so, so, so behind today, even though I got some stuff done that had to be office, laundry detergent, gift for friend, phone calls, discovery that Hot Topic gift cards cannot be used online but must be phoned in with all the attendant delays. esteven, ashinae, mamadracula and helens78, stuff is on the way and I am very sorry for the delays!

So I will only write quick notes rather than reviews of entertainment yesterday. Let me start by saying that despite having nearly completed a Ph.D. in English, I am not at all a fan of the English novel (I do Renaissance drama and American modernism and popular culture) and have actually never finished reading Vanity Fair. So I feel no guilt whatsoever in saying that I loved the movie, which I am sure differs from the novel in many significant ways but to me were all to the good. I'm sure Becky was too much a feminist heroine for Thackeray's times and I'm sure the parallels between the conditions of women, the working class and the colonized were far too simple, but I enjoyed seeing a mainstream movie in which those issues were addressed at all, and in terms of the visuals and performances, I was thrilled. Witherspoon, Purefoy and Byrne were all marvelous and there was wonderful detail in the costumes and sets. I thought the film managed a nice balance of not apologizing for Becky when she was a bitch while at the same time depicting all the social and economic reasons for her to have become one.

I could say more, but will undoubtedly get ranted at by people who are upset that the film made no effort to be the book, whereas that is precisely what I enjoyed about it. It's rare for me to resent a film for not being the book anyway, unless it cuts out what I consider to be the defining characteristics of one of my favorite characters or something drastic like that, and I felt like most of the changes in Becky were rather favorable to her (and Crawley improved greatly). So let me just say that if, like me, you have no problem adoring the film of The Great Gatsby even though its heavy-handed symbolism and use of Mia Farrow have almost nothing to do with the novel, you will certainly not have any problems enjoying Vanity Fair.

Then, since I already had 1812 and Jack Aubrey's London on the brain, we watched First Invasion: The War of 1812 on the History Channel. I will admit that I was biased before ever seeing it by this New York Times review which focuses on the distortions in the program, particularly in order to draw parallels with 9/11. "According to the documentary's view of the war, the fledgling republic perseveres against the enormous odds stacked against it by the powerful British military and its own does see the war as an inspiring lesson for Americans in a time of crisis...leaving out large portions that would show American conduct in the war in a less successful and less glorious light. In the end, as much as anything about the war that is its subject, 'First Invasion' teaches a lesson about the uses to which history can be put." I will admit that I thrilled anyway when the USS Constitution was shown blasting the HMS Guerriere, which had been pressing American sailors, and I always enjoy hearing about the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner because that's local history. But, you know, we burned York before the British burned Washington.

In other news, chrismm posted a wonderful fake ad that Bush might run if Jesus were his opponent. And if my life was a sci-fi show, it would be a hit!

If your life was a sci-fi TV show... by guybrush
Series Name:
Core sci-fi trope:
Your nerdy but brilliant scientist:telesilla
Your robot/half-alien/etc. trying to become human:penguingal
Your sexy but brilliant scientist:margueritem
Version of you from a parallel universe:kabukivice
Your brooding but brilliant scientist:zauberer_sirin
Your hot-headed military/action type:shieldmaidenelf
Number of seasons before cancellation:8
Your show is cancelled because:it's too commercial, so the fans only tune in to argue about how crap it is.
The chance of your show becoming a cult hit is:: 94%
Quiz created with MemeGen!

gblvr! I still owe you lunch! Now must go write about the Shatner Emmy! (The aforementioned Sharon Stone won one as well.)