Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Privilege and Good Graces

Today, I am not feeling nice.  I was woken up exceptionally early by unfamiliar sounds and could not get back to sleep.  This set the tone for my entire day.  I am not in any way a morning person,  unless you count those days where I just have not been to sleep yet.  I am a night owl and despite being stuffed into a corporate job that requires mornings,  I have never adjusted.  But this post isn't about my inability to greet the early morning without wanting to kill it,  this is just explaining why I am Cranky McCrankyPants today.

What I really want to talk about is people with privilege and how ridiculous they sound when the world just doesn't fall into place for them or give them exactly what they want when they want it.  I feel I have every right to talk about this and point fingers because I will absolutely be pointing three right back to myself.  When I was growing up,  for the most part, if I wanted it and it wasn't just absurd (buy me that $300 toy that will break in a month),  I got it.  My mother loves to buy presents. She loves to see a person's face light up when she gives them just the thing they were looking for.  But, as parents are known to say,  she was not the bank of Mom when I became an adult.  Plain and simple,  she could not afford to keep bailing me out when I was the one spending all my money.  Now, she has saved me in DIRE times of need.  Like my brakes have failed and have to be replaced, or co-signing on a loan to pay off credit card debit.  But it wasn't just a handout,  I always had to pay her back.  Always.

I have some friends who their parents always help them out.  Stove's broken?  No problem,  we'll get you a new one and call it a birthday present (they still got birthday presents when their birthday rolled around).  About to miss a car payment cause you didn't balance your checkbook?  Here you go, just don't do it again. (they did it again, multiple times).  In one case,  they got a free house.  A whole house.  (Not the best house or the best neighborhood,  but the square footage is good and there's a lot of potential. And I should mention that they cared for their ailing Grandmother who owned it until she passed, so it wasn't entirely unwarranted.)

In all honesty,  I'm not opposed to my friends having the privilege of parents who will take care of all the lifestyle cramping expenses.  If their parents want to do that for them and never make them face the reality that one day their parents will be gone and they will have to handle their grown up lives all on their own,  more power to them.  What I am opposed to is these friends not having the good graces not to constantly talk about it.  Yes,  it makes me feel absolutely wonderful when you tell me (about five times in less than an hour) that your parents are going to drop $300 on a new iPhone 4s 32gig for you for Christmas.  No,  it doesn't bother me in the least (for those of you who are terrible at working out the inflection of one's writing versus one's speaking,  this is sarcasm).  Of course, I would love to listen to you bitch and moan and sigh about how there are no iPhone 4s' to be found and how you won't have it right this second.  And no,  I don't feel at all guilty when your apparently extremely fragile feelings are hurt when I tell you that your over-privileged whining is doing nothing to improve my horrid mood (this part is sarcasm free).

These are the same friends that don't understand making a choice between bills or food.  Don't get me wrong,  neither did I.  But then I graduated high school and put on my big girl panties. Now, don't read too much into that,  I have never been in danger of starving (I'm a pudgy little thing).  My mother would always feed me if I needed it.  And she would house me if I needed it. Simply put: I'm an adult and DON'T WANT HER TO.

So,  those of you who still get whatever you want by pointing at it and saying "Mom, Dad, buy me that", I'm not saying you have to change your ways,  I'm saying you don't have to tell me about it.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Why mess with a good thing?

Today I would like to talk about some movie adaptations that strayed so far from the book it's interesting how they justified it keeping the same title (well, really only one, the other two are still pretty close). Like I said before, I can enjoy a movie exactly for it's entertainment value, no more, no less. But there are some books I have read and loved so dearly that I was fairly disappointed at Hollywood's interpretation. However, there are ways Hollywood did some a bit of justice. I'm going to give you a few examples and you can decide if you think Hollywood did right or wrong.


We'll start with Thomas Harris' "Hannibal". I have been fascinated by Hannibal Lecter since seeing "Silence of the Lambs" when I was a kid. I know, not a kid movie, but my parents were pretty liberal about what I watched since they knew I could handle it. So, I was pleased as punch when I found out they were making a movie that focused on everyone's favorite cannibal. And I saw the movie, I enjoyed it greatly. And while no, it no longer had the wonderful Jodi Foster, I felt Julianne Moore was an excellent replacement.
((UNLIKE the switcheroo they did with Rachel Weisz and Maria Bello for the last Mummy installment. I love Maria Bello, but she ain't no Evey. However, I digress))
So, I saw the movie and liked it, but the character still fascinated me, so I went and got myself the book. I tore through it, finding I greatly enjoy Thomas Harris' writing style. Only, I got to the end and found out that Clarice Starling ends up running away with Hannibal and becomes a cannibal as well. What an excellent ending! It was such an amazing testament to the level of head game Hannibal Lecter could play that I was very sad that they did not use this in the movie. He basically had managed to convince Clarice that her career was over and that no one understood her or loved her like he did. It was glorious. With all the shock value of the story, it seems a shame that Hollywood was too chicken to have Clarice fall to the dark side.

Then, there's "Blood and Chocolate" by Annette Curtis Klause. In the movie, the main character, who is a version of werewolf that literally turns into a wolf at will finds herself falling in love with a normal human man, but she is being pursued by their pack leader to be his next mate. As you can surmise, all hell breaks loose when said human kills the pack leader's son (who know about the romance and was trying to scare off the stupid human). When the human finds out what she is, he at first freaks out, but then decides he can work around it and still love her. Well, in the end, the heroine kills the pack leader and runs off with her shiny new human to live happily ever after.
I'd read the book long before the movie had come out and I was heavily anticipating the movie. I was very disappointed with the movie version. In the book, the main character still finds herself falling in love with a human and she is still being pursued, and when she does the big reveal to her human, he still freaks out, only in the book, he stays freaked out. And I can't remember if it's him or other humans that were hunting them, but someone shoots or stabs her with silver and she gets stuck in the half-human-half-wolf form and it is the unconditional love of the wolf that pursued her that helps her regain her two separate forms and she realizes that she was a fool to try and deny her nature all along. It was much more satisfying to me.

The last I'll leave you with is "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory. The movie, well, if you've read the book, and you know your Tudor history, it's a bit of a train wreck. Yes, Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johanneson are breath-taking and were good casting. But really, if I wanted to watch "Anne of the Thousand Days" that's precisely what I would do. "The Other Boleyn Girl" is about Mary, it follows Mary, you get insight into the disaster of Anne's treachery to become queen from Mary's point of view. You get to see that Henry was a good man driven to madness by horrid advice and the need to provide a male heir. You get to see Mary carve her own path even if it is one that no one likes. I liked reading Mary's version of events. You get none of that from the movie. So disappointing was this movie that I rank it below Showtime's "The Tudors" (which I ended up watching all the way through even as I wanted to throw things at the screen at times).

I could go on and on and try to figure out why Hollywood does the things that it does. But I did just mention in my last post that some people take movies too seriously, so I'm trying to just note the differences. And I should mention that I own the movies of "Hannibal" and "Blood and Chocolate" and I enjoy them thoroughly every time I watch them because despite the glaring differences, by themselves, they are good movies.

So, how about you Random Reader? Do you have any examples to share?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Movie Magic

Let me begin by saying I am a champion of all movies.  I love movies.  They are near and dear to me as any childhood prized possession like my first stuffed bear (Townsend Vermont).   Growing up, we went to the movies all the time.  It was a staple on the weekends, to the point that when my dad passed away,  one of my good friends burst into tears at the thought of not going to the movies with him any more.

My love of movies as lived on and as many who know me will tell you, my husband and I have an insane movie collection.  I started it, and Husband the Great has only added to the wall of movies.  My friends will no longer play Scene It with me because it is no longer fun for them, my favorite kind of music is Movie Scores.  I LOVE MOVIES.

But,  I find these days that the market is over-saturated.  There are so many movies coming out that I just can't keep up.  And I'm finding that with many of them,  I just don't want to.  There was a time when going to the movies was an outing.  Now it's just expected. I remember just one or two major summer blockbusters a year while growing up.  Now it's an entire season of non-stop "blockbusters".

And I think people are taking movies too seriously in certain aspects.  To me, you should walk into every movie expecting nothing except to be entertained.  Over the Top?  Who cares?  Blatantly Inaccurate? Were we going to History Class or a Movie?  Didn't follow the book word for word?  Could you imagine how long that movie would be?  C'mon people,  they're meant to be entertaining.

If you want something deep and meaningful on the level a major intellectual satisfaction,  read the book the movie was based on.  (Which I love to do too,  but that's a post for another day)