Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
There are two big ones.
One, and I believe I’m not alone in noticing this: There seems to be a rule in place that if there’s anything in the movie, from opening- to closing-credits, that a man might find appealing in some way then the whole thing is a fail and the producers should not have green-lit it. A bit of focused thinking will show that this is not reasonable and is not to be expected. Think about a movie for kids, made by Pixar or someone who does it equally well…what makes the movie fun? Answer, the filmmakers know that if the kids are seeing it, the parents must have brought the kids, and they put in some wink-wink nod-nod jokes for the parents. Like Mr. and Mrs. Incredible arguing about what off-ramp to take on the freeway, that was great stuff. Also, “Honey, where is my super-suit?” “Why do you need it?” One of my favorite parts of the movie, heh heh. Movies for females do not do the same thing for the males in the audience, even though the males in the audience are surely there…having been dragged there. There seems to be a mode of thinking in place that if the guys are in the audience, they’re expecting to get laid, they probably will get laid, because we’re such geniuses at making girl-movies that work so well as panty-removers…we got Daniel-Day Lewis to sign on, did we not? Case closed. So the guys are getting their fun, hell with them. Well hey, scope definition is usually a good thing, but in this case it doesn’t do anything to make the movie better, and in a lot of ways it makes it worse. Unlike a Pixar movie, these movies are a lot more boring than they need to be.
Two: A good movie has a good story, a good story has a message, a good message can be defined. These movies have messages, but once you define those messages they are rancid. Really, really awful messages. I remember in ’93 I had just moved to Citrus Heights, and my domicile was about a third of a mile away from the local theater. One afternoon I got bored, and saw whatever was playing: The Piano. My reactions were: Wow, that Holly Hunter really does have a great-looking body, she looks fantastic naked, for a height-diminutive skinny lady she’s got a great pair of round hips and perky breasts…and…what the fuck was that about? She screws around on her husband and lives happily ever after? Oscar gold, huh? Apparently so. To this day, I couldn’t tell you why. The plot is empty, the pacing is sluggish, the images are dreary and depressing, and although I don’t swing that way, Harvey Keitel comes across as less of a sexpot and more of a creepy weirdo.
The inescapable conclusion is that for some reason, in ’93 women were drawn to the fantasy of wives screwing around on their husbands with creepy weirdo guys — and living happily ever after. Was there some other appealing point to this? I see nothing else.
Things haven’t gotten much better since then. I stumbled across a great column posted at Pajamas Media written down by long-time blogger pal Cassy Chesser, nee Fiano, about the rom-com offerings that have been chapping her hide. Even by her lofty standards this is great, great stuff. Thoroughly researched and explored, the points made are thought-provoking, and the complaints are…well, I’ve had the same ones, for awhile.
10. The Notebook
Damaging Message: Cheating Is Great!
The lesson here is that, hey, it’s totally cool to cheat on someone if that’s what your heart is telling you to do. It doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong. If you’re following your heart, then cheat away!
Damaging Message: Men Are Bumbling Idiots
It’s a running cultural joke. It’s everywhere: sitcoms, commercials, even e-cards and internet memes feature this oh-so-funny idea that men are useless and stupid. And while most chick flicks have insulting stereotypes about women, Hitch clearly shows that the men don’t exactly escape unscathed, either.
And, yeah. Entry Number One is exactly what you think it is.
There is another thing I notice going on here: It seems there is a tiny elite group of male actors who have made careers of playing the cuckold. They roughly resemble what, in another era, would have been the ultimately desirable male for the leading lady, but sometime after the early nineties it seems they’ve become the symbol of the “successful” husband who makes his wife quite miserable, not by cheating on her or beating her but by being too reliable and therefore boring.
James Marsden, who was the cuckold in The Notebook, reprised the role in Superman Returns. He’s financially solvent, well-dressed and handsome, ladies, his heart is pure — so run away from him as fast as you can! Sam Neill who is abandoned in the above-mentioned The Piano, for no discernible reason whatsoever, played the same part in Jurassic Park III and Dead Calm. Alright, Nicole Kidman ends up back with him in the end, but there’s a definite sexual tension between her and the badass Billy Zane…Neill is still representing orthodoxy, order, the lack of adventure. The exciting stuff is happening when he’s not around.
Hugh Grant. Do I even need to make up a list for Hugh Grant. I think not. Chatting with Cassy about it, I saw she mentioned Colin Firth. I’m not quite up on his appearances, I must say…King Edward VI in The King’s Speech, the bumbling Doofus Dad in Nanny McPhee, gay guy in Mamma Mia and it looks like he had a part to play in Bridget Jones which I’ve not seen all the way through.
These guys all have it in common that they’re good looking and seem intelligent and capable, but would never be very good candidates in a role like, oh, Indiana Jones, Jason Bourne or James Bond. Something where the good guy’s character is constructed around a permeating element of danger, and should be expected to somewhat routinely kill people. Although, for the latter role it is my understanding that Neill did try out for it once. It cannot be proven, but my impression is that had this gone forward, it would be revealed that Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan were better choices.
Throughout all this, it isn’t often commented-upon that there’s been a sharp decline in movie stories in which a husband proves himself to be unsuitable by way of doing really bad things. If there’s a plot line in the movie dealing with the wife’s pressing need to get away from him and start her life anew, it usually isn’t because he’s an accessory to a crime, or a murderer, or has a plan in place to kill her when she least suspects it — unless it’s a remake of another movie from an earlier generation. Bad has become the new good, and good has become the new bad. Perhaps that is because, if there is one unified-common-ancestor message to all these girl-movies, it has something to do with the head and the heart being in conflict, and a happy ending follows in the wake of the heart winning out and the female protagonist making an irrational and illogical choice. So this genre has degenerated into yet another aspect of our modern culture, in which we celebrate the undefined virtues of stupidity and poor judgment.
And package it up & sell it to women. I guess the thinking must be, they’re sure to buy it, the silly twits. This just reeks of old-fashioned sexism…exactly the sexism I thought we were supposed to be trying to eliminate. The irony.
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