Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter & Placebo.

I spent most of today with my friend Niki's family- she of the forcing me to watch The Other Boleyn Girl- and at this moment am on my couch in my apartment, filled to the brim with sweet potato pie and biscuits, listening to Placebo's album Meds and most emphatically not writing my research proposal for my foucault seminar.

Easter in my family was always a big deal in that it wasn't made into a big deal. When we were all younger the family gatherings on this day always included an easter egg hunt, my cousins and my sister and I running around whichever backyard the festivities were held in looking for plastic eggs filled with chocolate. We haven't had an easter egg hunt in forever, pretty much since my cousins got to high school- with only two younger kids, it would be a pretty lame hunt. The hunt always followed the big Easter meal, which always followed a service at church in which the Alleluia banner got dug up and we all sang "Up From The Grave He Rose." The monday after Easter my friends would usually compete to see who got a larger chocolate bunny in their basket. It wasn't until I got to college that I found someone who actually got gifts for Easter-- Jesus is risen, have an iPod.

When I was about eight I asked my mom why we didn't get Easter baskets. All my friends got them; I had very dim memories of being in our old house when I was about three, getting a small chocolate rabbit on Easter morning. Mom replied that "They've taken Christmas- I won't let them have Easter, too."

I didn't really understand her meaning when I was eight. I was more pissed about the fact that I didn't get chocolate when EVERYONE ELSE I KNEW was put into a semi-diabetic coma from overconsumption of Peeps while I was praying and chasing my cousins around the yard. I understand it now, though, and understood it even more when I was in line at starbucks and saw a little book next to the register. I forget the title, but it was some kind of children's book and the tagline was "Finding our Easter friends!" Kind of a Where's Waldo*, but for bunnies. Or something.

They have, for all intents and purposes, taken Easter. It's been coopted as another excuse to sell candy and Hallmark cards, just like Christmas. This is nothing new, of course, and I shouldn't be surprised. It does make me sad, however. Today, eating ham around Niki's dining room table, I was reminded of those Easters with my family back home. Easter is about Jesus and family; having woken up too late for the one, I'm glad I got to experience the other, even if I'm far from home.

*Speaking of Where's Waldo, the people who brought you "There Will Be Bud" bring you this magical gem:

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl

Last night I got a call from my friend Niki: "We're going to see The Other Boleyn Girl. Get your shit." Having not only no choice in the matter but nothing else to do with my Friday evening, I duly got my shit and drove to the Hampshire Mall to see Eric "HotBody" Bana make out with Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson.

Um, I mean, see an exciting historical drama about Henry VIII and his second wife, Anne Boleyn. I think the movie's title was a bit of a misnomer- which Boleyn girl, exactly, was the other one? I think we're meant to think that Mary (Scarlett) is the "other" one, since Anne was the one who actually married His Burliness Henry VIII. Accordingly, Mary begins the movie looking wistful and obliging in the background, happily marrying some guy named William (who disappears WITHOUT EXPLANATION as soon as Mary and His Hotness start doing the wey-hey-hey) and taking a backseat to Anne, who we are told early on is the Special One Who Will Undoubtedly Make Her Family's Fortune If Only She Could Control That Stubborn Unwomanly Independence. The minute poor Queen Catharine pops out a stillborn son the Boleyn's creepy uncle, the Duke of Norfolk (does David Morissey play anyone but creepy, creepy bastards anymore?) gets all excited, and decides to parade the girls in front of the frustrated Henry in an effort to secure the family fortunes.

Of course, this is all accomplished with tons of heavy-handed meat metaphors (literally- think butchers, giant hunks of steak, and gutting a chicken. Not what I wanted to see after consuming my body weight in popcorn) and the wierdly explicit machinations of Creepy Uncle and the Boleyn girl's worthless dad. What I was waiting for, though, was this:

That smoldering stare. That manly beard. Those sleeves. See, what I was really juiced about in this movie was the fabulous, crazy-pants Tudor fashions for the dudes. That my friends is a lot of fabric for one dude, King of England or no.

Oh look! There they are again! Another, more different set of princess sleeves for King Hotface!

Look at that. Look at that. That is one hot mess of sleeves on that man there. Henry is channeling his inner fierceness, and it's clear to see how we got from that to this in only four hundred years:

picture from

I tried to find the picture of Christian strutting his fierce behind around in this outfit, but couldn't.

Beyond His Fierceness Henry VIII, the movie was pretty good. Like I was saying earlier (before I got distracted by the Sleeves of Doom) it stopped being about Mary and started being about Anne really, really quickly. After inexplicably falling in love with the king after some pretty intense horizontal-mamboing, Mary gets knocked up: thanks to the truly advanced, enlightened prenatal care of the period she gets locked up for her trouble. During the waiting period Anne proceeds to be what my friend Beth (who came along for the ride) called --repeatedly--a "big whorebag" and uses her feminine wiles on Henry. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Beyond the world's largest sleeves and England's most famous golddigging ho, the movie was pretty sweet. There was a lot of riding to and fro by unaccompanied women, which was pretty awesome, a truly vomtastic near-incest scene, and Scarlett Johansson doing a pretty good job. Natalie Portman's accent slipped in and out, changing regions and even countries from scene to scene. (Why am I supposed to think that she's the world's greatest, most intelligent actress again? Oh right! Thanks, Elle!) Eric Bana was hotness personified. Poor Kristin Scott Thomas looked put-upon for two hours, and her "I told you so, you horrifying shit" slap to her husband's face was EPIC. All this movie really needed was a scene in which minstrels seranade someone, and it would have been cheese-tacular. I can't wait until it comes out on DVD. I am going to screencap the shit out of this thing.