curtains: so practical, so versatile

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Enchanted (2007) Such fun! Here’s why (for me): I like musicals, I like romantic comedies, I like movies that can gently but thoroughly poke fun at themselves. I also have affection for Disney Princess animation in general, despite the dated payoff (she gets to marry an idiot she barely knows, but the clothes are nice) and the probably misguided fear that the older, darker stories they’re based on will be lost. This movie turns much of the traditional princess story upside down, yet still has the elements people love to see. Also, rats who wash dishes make me laugh (although I do not wish to dine from those dishes).

I heard about Enchanted a while back and thought it sounded interesting, but the minute I saw the commercial that asked “did you make a dress from my curtains?” -- the look on her face is so perfect, I knew I had to see it right away. I still laugh every time! [Sewing side note: After seeing the whole film I can tell you that those are indeed what the pieces of the dress she is wearing would look like, facings and all.] Something about how the curtains are hanging back in the window like maybe he wouldn’t notice makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.

And that’s not all! I don’t want to give too much away, but I will say that they do a brilliant job of encapsulating the traditional Disney Princess movie in 10 animated minutes at the beginning -- vapid himbo prince, sidekick, helpful woodland creatures, evil step-mother and all. The musical numbers are FUN (esp. the Central Park one) and everyone seems so right for the part they are playing. Amy Adams is fantastic as Giselle (I love that she is very princess pretty but has not been botoxed expressionless -- she looks like a lovely human woman not a plastic doll), James Marsden is perfectly perfect “what’s not to like?” Susan Sarandon has a marvelous time chewing scenery as the sexy evil stepmother and Patrick Dempsey’s Robert is smart and kind yet rightfully incredulous. There’s a lot to be incredulous about, which is half the fun. The audience we saw it with Saturday night was about 40% adults with no kids and 60% families with children. Everyone seemed to have a good time. I know I did.

Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) -- Speaking of Susan Sarandon in a musical, I rewatched The Rocky Horror Picture Show recently. The Madison gets a mention! (from dorky Brad Majors, but still!) I must confess that I think this is about 3/8ths too long. It’s so fun up to and shortly after going up to the lab to see what’s on the slab, but after Eddie is done, I kind of am too. I love the singing, the dancing, the gleeful campiness, but it gets draggy. Maybe I would feel differently if this were a movie that I went to see 1000 times in the theater, but it’s not so I don’t. (I definitely think it should win a lifetime achievement award for Best Entrance of a Sweet Transvestite Mad Scientist in a Descending Elevator, though!)

Heaven Can Wait (1943) -- I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed by this movie. I spied it at the library and snatched it up since it was a Lubitsch picture and I’m slowly working my way through those, but it didn’t really grab me. Don Ameche as the spirit of former horndog Henry Van Cleave pleads his case in the afterlife by telling the story of his life to His Excellency. (His Excellency has a pointy beard and a red complexion.) The whole thing is told in a “well Satan, I’m glad you asked. After I did that, I did this! Aren’t I a scoundrel?” manner that I never really warmed to. It is entirely possible that I wasn’t paying enough attention, so I'd be willing to watch it again.

Woman of the Year (1942) Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy have so much chemistry in this movie that it almost doesn’t matter what happens, as long as they’re on the screen together. I enjoyed it, although I was cringing through the whole Greek orphan storyline because it didn’t ring true for her character at all. She's smart and ambitious and I think they were trying to draw a thick line under her lack of maternal and other traditional "womanly instincts," but it just seemed pointlessly cruel to the child and not something she would do from even a diplomatic stance since she was an international reporter with lots of diplomatic ties. (Although maybe it’s more to do with the 65 year interim between then and now. Perhaps it was perfectly sensible shorthand in 1942.) ANYWAY, there was a moment somewhere early on where Hepburn did this “I’m thinking” thing with her mouth -- it seemed familiar, then I realized that Emily Deschanel (from Bones) often does the same thing with HER mouth, which reminded me of a snippet of an interview I saw with her on some entertainment show where she said that she plays the whole show (Bones), gory body bits and all, like it’s a romantic comedy. Then I realized that the basic relationship between her and Booth (David Boreanez) is styled on the typical Hepburn/Tracy mold (giant-brained independent sometimes oblivious woman paired with common-sense kind-hearted guy who is smarter than he seems). Anyway, my point is Tracy and Hepburn had chemistry to burn, and if Emily Deschanel hasn’t watched all their movies a million times I would be surprised.
3 comments on "curtains: so practical, so versatile"
  1. I agree with your comment concerning Rocky Horror being too long. It is. And although I did enjoy it many, many times at the Clinton Street, I can not watch it at home. It is way better as a participatory event as you can't focus on the shortcomings while people throw toast at your head.

  2. Aw, I didn't know you were a Clinton Street Rocky Horror-er!! I used to work with a girl who was Magenta up under the screen. (does that make any sense? the way she described it sounded like she was acting along right in front of the screen.) Anyway, she was working to keep herself in garters, corsets and red hair dye and she was always feuding with another girl who also played Magenta. Her mom (she was pretty young) was very supportive and I had to hear more than one slightly disturbing (in mother/daughter context) conversation about fishnet acquisition.

  3. Once upon a time I was a Rocky Horror-er. Like more than 20 years ago. I got an early start. Erich also performed the "stage version" underneath the big screen when he lived it Rochester. Or maybe it was Buffalo? I find it all so difficult to imagine. Which might be a good thing. I never performed as I enjoyed watching it all. I do not enjoy being on display for public consumption. I enjoyed it for a few months and then got bored. Same thing every week? No thanks. At that age, anyway. Now I welcome routine.


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