Thursday, June 30, 2005

Proxy Funerals, Vomitting Puppets and Misogyny in 20th Century Cinema

My brain has been turned off today. It seems to be coming round now but I’m not going to push it. I hate no brain days. Hate ’em, hate ’em, hate ’em. I get ratty and frustrated, I do passive activities like watching films and listening to radio programmes but I can’t actually follow what the hell is going on. Even in comedies – I can’t follow a joke from the start to the punch-line, it’s so frustrating. Anyway, I wrote most of this last night and quite clearly my ability to string a sentence together now is a marked improvement on earlier today. Sorry to everyone to whom I owe e-mail.

Yesterday afternoon I spent some time thinking about Jeff around the time I knew his body was being cremated. I think this was a very useful exercise. I listened to some music. I don’t really know what sort of music he was into so I downloaded some random folk then listened to If I laugh by Cat Stevens – the saddest piece of music ever written and The Lark Ascending by Ralph Vaughan Williams – the most beautiful piece of music ever written and one that never fails to move me. I want this played at my funeral, so somebody else better write it down.

I had a really good sob – something I would never have managed to do in a public place, especially given that they’d be people far closer to Jeff who would most likely have managed to hold themselves together. I need to cry sometimes. I don’t enjoy it and I’m not one of these people who pick a movie because it is a weepy. But sometimes, you just need to get the stuff out.

I ended up watching two films yesterday as I was to spend most of the day alone and my brain really wasn’t in gear [I thought, until today arrived and I remembered what that really felt like]. Team America: World Police is the funniest thing I have seen in probably about a year. I had been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to rent it since it’s release onto DVD a few months back, and it was well worth the wait. I know at least half the people reading this will despair of me, but I was on of the first Brits to discover South Park and I’m afraid I just dig that humour. I don’t generally go for adolescent-boy humour (although I love Mike Myers as well), but Matt Stone and Trey Parker really make me laugh. Even the vomiting puppet made me laugh. Yeah, I know.

The production was also something to marvel at – such detail, including lost of amusing make-dos like pawns for bollards and cheese-graters for incense burners. I love all that miniature stuff; I love the ambition of people trying to make films properly without blue screen and CGI – not that there’s anything wrong with that stuff, just that it’s great to see it done with love and attention and hands-on modelling.

The second film I watched I didn’t finish properly, which was Hitchcock’s Marnie. Most Hitchcocks I’m really into, my favourite probably being Shadow of a Doubt. I learnt the true power of suspense in that film when I first watched it, having recorded it and having the tape finish about fifteen minutes from the end. Aaaah!

However, Marnie I abandoned. I hated it! Well, it wasn’t bad, but it was ideologically troubling. I know what you’re thinking, for any woman of taste Sean Connery as a romantic hero is ideologically troubling. But he raped her. He blackmailed her into marrying him, and she had this major anxiety about being touched by men, begs the guy not to and although he holds back for a short white he goes ahead anyhow. And you just knew, you knew that he was going to somehow cure her of her ‘problems’ (as she says in the movie, “Men; you say no thanks to one of them and bingo! You’re a candidate for the funny farm.”)

Marnie (Tippi Hedren) was a bit of a loon. I mean, faced with a choice between marriage to Sean Connery and life imprisonment, what would you do? And she was a thief. But no actions on behalf of a woman justify her sexual exploitation, even under the eye for an eye rules – since she can never assault you in an equivalent way.

I did turn it off, but then I put it back on in the background just to make sure that the film didn’t redeem itself. As I predicted, she wound up falling in love with her assailant, her neuroses were all because of her mother, the female condition is a disease and male-constructed femininity is the cure yada, yada.

At one stage, Marnie says of some psychology texts that her husband has offered her, “I don’t need to read that filth to know that women are stupid and feeble and men are filthy pigs.”

And I don’t need to watch movies which present and promote this distorted picture of the humanity, even if they are from Alfred Hitchcock. Grrr!


Anonymous said...

Hi Goldfish,

That sounds like a harrowing and disturbing film, not something that I should watch right now! I don't blame you for turning it off!

I LOVE Sean Connery, he is just lush :) Love his voice and eyes the most and he has aged wonderfully, dare I even say that he looks better now than when he was a younger Bond??..well, I just did :)

Glad that you were able to release some pent up emotion, I could do with soing that too right now, but having either a child/children and or Hubby about makes it hard to pick a time to do so..and I can't turn on the tears..they tend to come when I *know* I can't cry..Not that I am suggesting you turn on the tears..URGH I am getting waffling again..sorry!

Make sure that you take care of you, sounds like you are putting a lot of pressure on yourself in terms of writing etc right now. I owe you email and I will endeavour to deliver some later :)



Anonymous said...

Goldie, strange bit of synchronicity here but must have been watching Team America at the same time! Had to fast forward through some bits, like the lengthy vomitting scene and a few scenes I will not mention! Overall quite alot of laughs but could have done without the vomit, pooh, and the bit about him proving himself :)

The Goldfish said...

I’m afraid I don’t really get the Sean Connery attraction thing, Kerry... I am the same with Brad Pitt. Well, no, Brad Pitt is worse because when I look at Connery I see an okay face on an actor who I have some respect for; when I look at Brad Pitt I see an ugly face on an actor who well, anybody seen Legend of the Fall?

I can understand your reservations about Team America, Mumpy. I don’t know why I can tolerate it from these guys. If I checked out the “People who liked this also liked…” list I imagine there wouldn’t have been one single film that I could have sat through, let alone enjoyed. I think perhaps it’s because they throw away the rule book entirely. I mean you wouldn’t see Kim Jong Il pop up in an Adam Sandler movie. And certainly Tuesday was the only time in my life that I have actually laughed at vomit humour.

I thought they could have lost a bit of the gruesomeness; there was some visual comedy to be had when the puppets fell apart like puppets, but it didn’t make too much sense when they bled. And yeah of course, the whole thing was extremely crude. :-)

Damon said...

Don't you dare apologise for liking South Park! It is probably the singularly most intelligent thing on television (it's on Paramount these days). It makes life worth living.

I can't wait to see Team America - it had better be any good.

Never saw Orgasmo, made by the same people, anyone else see it? Any good?

The Goldfish said...

Haven't seen Orgasmo but I'll put it on my rental queue and let you know what I think.