strange fire

books. poetry. paganism. feminism. queerness. blog.

random vampire blogging August 27, 2007

Filed under: books,movies,myth — andygrrrl @ 2:28 pm

So I seem to be on an unexpected vampire kick. Currently reading The Historian, which is creeping me the hell out. Because I am a wuss. I have very low tolerance for horror, and yet I love ghost stories and suspense and gothic supernatural shit, so I usually find myself wide awake at 2 AM with all the lights on, because the movie/book I enjoyed during the day has come back to haunt me and every creak and groan the apartment makes as it settles is one of the undead trying to break in and suck out my everlasting soul.

The Historian, while eerie and atmospheric, is also somewhat ridiculously academic too. It’s probably the only horror/thriller where the hero’s response to any crisis (kidnapped professors, rabidly undead librarians) is “Quick! To the archives! Check the card catalogue!” It’s like The Da Vinci Code meets Dracula, but with actual intelligence.

 Once I got good and sucked into the book, I decided it was time I checked out Interview with the Vampire. I’ve never read Ann Rice, but I’d heard it was made into a good movie. So I watched it last night and wow, it’s really kinda gay, isn’t it? Seriously, it’s just a big gay soap opera. Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt rolling around sucking on each other, and then Brad practically kisses Antonio Banderas (who wants Brad to be his “companion”, and I don’t think he’s looking for a bridge partner either), and Tom begs Brad to come back to him, and precocious Kirsten Dunst with her two fashion-conscious Daddy figures. I think Interview with the Vampire will join Shaun of the Dead as one of the few movies that can give me the creeps and make me laugh at the same time (yes, Shaun of the Dead did give me the heebie jeebies. I told you I’m a wuss)

Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the Sunday Smooch, it’s just that it’s been a little crazy around here lately.

 

This week in depressing movies August 7, 2007

Filed under: movies — andygrrrl @ 11:50 am

Always a good idea, when you’re unemployed, to remind yourself that at least your life doesn’t suck that much!

  • Babel
  • Sweet mother of god. Brad Pitt actually looks like he’s fortysomething! I almost collapsed from shock right there. And he didn’t annoy me, another feat. Cate Blanchett is wasted—she gets shot and spends most of the movie bleeding in a hut in Morocco.  But, that said, this movie is a compelling illustration of how people are routinely fucked over by the system—politics, racism, poverty, ignorance. There are no heroes; the only villians are possibly the cops, enforcers of the status quo. But even they are really guys Just Doing Their Job, caught up in the same traps as the people they beat and harass. It’s kind of a pessimistic Butterfly Effect, an inevitable chain of events that can only be witnessed, in horror. There’s nothing anyone can do to prevent the characters’ doom. One of those movies that makes you want to grab everyone you love and hold them close. I don’t plan on watching it again.

  • Wit
  • Is there anything more glorious than Emma Thompson reciting John Donne?

    This is my play’s last scene ; here heavens appoint
    My pilgrimage’s last mile ; and my race
    Idly, yet quickly run, hath this last pace ;
    My span’s last inch, my minute’s latest point ;
    And gluttonous Death will instantly unjoint
    My body and soul, and I shall sleep a space ;

    She’s a Donne scholar dying of ovarian cancer. So it’s erudite and witty (when the resident who’s doing her gyno exam turns out to be a former student, she quips, “I wish I had given him an A”) and horribly sad all at once. Requires at least one full box of tissues to get through it.

  • Sylvia
  • Why would anybody make a movie about Sylvia Plath? My god. Sylvia gets bad review, is depressed, marries Ted Hughes, is depressed, publishes volume of poetry to middling reviews, is depressed, Ted leaves her cause she’s depressed, she moves back to London to be depressed, harasses Michael Gambon in the middle of the night for no discernible reason, finishes Ariel, is depressed, sticks head in the oven, The End. I can’t think of anything more boring than watching Gwenyth Paltrow butcher her poetry and stare out the window. Elrond and I were driven to gallows humor in extraordinarily bad taste: coming up with recipes for head souffle, roasted head a l’orange, quoting Dorothy Parker (“Guns aren’t lawful/Nooses give/Gas smells awful/You might as well live”), riffing on DARE commercials (“This is your head on poetry. Any questions?” “Just say no to confessional free verse!”). We are so going to hell for it. But at least we’ll be able to hang out with Dorothy Parker then.

    After endruing all that, Elrond and I decided to come up with a Willow Drinking Game, as an antidote to Overly Tragic Oscar-bait Dramas. I’ll report on the effectiveness of the experiment as soon as enough research has been done.

 

The Sunday Smooch: Lazy Blogger Edition August 5, 2007

Filed under: movies,Sunday Smooch — andygrrrl @ 1:57 pm

I swear, some day I’ll blog something other than the Sunday Smooch, but that day is not today.

This week, as promised, I’m writing an open letter to Kate Winslet.

Dear Kate

 You’re awesome. You’re a gorgeous, wildly talented actress with an impressive body of work (I even liked Titanic. Everybody thinks that movie was all Leo DiCaprio, but that’s so not true. It was the evolution of your character Rose that made the movie attractive. Leo was just some heterosexual wish-fullfillment.) Shoot, I even willingly endured Jane Campion’s weird crush on Harvey Keitel, yet again, for you in Holy Smoke. Which, as a movie, kinda blew, but you were cool in it.

So, yeah, I’m a big fan, but I have just one tiny little request. The next time you do a movie where you kiss a girl, could you please not rip off some dumb cliche?

Like in Heavenly Creatures, a classic Evil Murdering Lesbian story. Starts off with some nice adolescent smooching:

dvd_078.jpg

dvd_251.jpg

But then you go and beat your girlfriend’s mother over the head with a brick. Not what I’d call a “date movie.” (The fact that it’s a true story really only makes things worse).

But hey, you were pretty young in that movie, so I’ll cut you some slack. At least you don’t murder anyone in Holy Smoke:

192.jpg

Although you do have a nice make-out session….so you can rouse the attention and jealousy of Harvey Keitel. A) LAME — when did you turn into a sorority girl?, and B) EW. If you’re going to make out with a girl to get a guy’s attention, can’t it at least be someone like Johnny Depp?

Come on, Kate. You’re better than this. If there’s a movie out there with you girl-kissing without heinous consequences, I’ve yet to hear of it. But, there’s plenty of room for improvement.  How about doing a film adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s The Price of Salt? Or Jeanette Winterson’s Written on the Body (which is probably not filmable, but I’d see it anyway)? Everybody wants to “play gay” these days, it’s how you prove you’re a Serious, Edgy actor willing to tackle Challenging roles. So what have you got to lose? Call up Lena Headey. Maybe the two of you can collaborate.

 

The Sunday Smooch July 22, 2007

Filed under: books,dyke,movies,Sunday Smooch,witchiness — andygrrrl @ 9:56 am

Special Harry Potter Tribute Edition!

First up: Lesbo Vampire Smooching — Catharine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon in The Hunger

kiss2.jpg
kiss3.jpg

Shockingly enough, I have not seen this movie all the way through. I didn’t even get to the kissing! I rented it ages ago, during a college summer break, when I was still closeted to my family, so watching it involved alot of strategic planning and surreptitious viewing–we only have one TV in our house–so I’d watch a bit and switch it over to a sitcom whenever someone walked in. So, for various reasons, I never got to finish it. I will have to rectify that immediately.

And, because there is an appalling lack of crunchy dykes in the Potterverse, we’ll do Tara and Willow once more, with feeling:

tarawillow-kiss3.jpg

This episode always turns me into a puddle of mush.

Okay, that’s all for now, I gotta get back to the book, shit is seriously going down in Diagon Alley…!

 

inner dialogue of a radical romantic June 12, 2007

Filed under: books,feminism,movies — andygrrrl @ 2:13 pm

Scene: Me, at home, watching the BBC adaptation of North and South for the zillionth time.
 Right, I can’t believe I’m watching this for the zillionth time. I’m unemployed and watching a glorified excuse for a soap opera. I’m officially a loser.

Hey, stop with the self-hatred, alright? I deserve a little comfort food. Besides, I’m not watching it, I’m just skipping to the good parts.

Ooh, like the part where Margaret tells Thorton to fuck off for being an arrogant exploitive capitalist?

Yes! I mean, no, well, it’s so sad! He totally gets his heart broken. It’s so romantic.

Oh, BARF. I can’t believe I’m actually enjoying this Victorian drivel. Gaskell’s totally ripping off Austen with the whole boy-meets-girl, girl-thinks-she-hates-boy-but-is-secretly-attracted-to-him plot.

She is not ripping off Austen. Sure, it’s the same basic structure, but it’s using it to examine class and regional conflicts, North vs South, working vs middle class.

Whatever. The heroine who seems to have smattering of social conscience about the lives of the working poor ends up capitulating to patriarchal mores and marries the capitalist pig! Everything stays the same!

He’s not a capitalist pig. He’s a mill-owner.

Same difference.

Anyway, where do you get off calling yourself radical? You’re as middle-class as Margaret Hale. Talk about arrogance.

All I’m saying is that as a feminist should you really be enjoying a heteronormative story that simply reifies the capitalistic status quo?

A) stop turning into the feminist police; B) John Thorton is a well-rounded character who crossed class boundaries to work his way up to mill owner so you can’t really call him a capitalist pig–

–oh, don’t even give me that individualistic boot-straps shit—

C) romance is a genre about individual psychology, not social revolution and D) considering all that, I think Gaskell did a pretty good job of looking at the bigger picture and criticizing the effects of industrialization on the lower classes.

Hmph. In a totally myopic, sentimental Victorian sort of way.

It was 1855. Give her break.  Besides, you have to admit that it’s refreshing to have a smart, outspoken heroine who seems to actually eat three meals a day.

Okay, so Daniela Denby-Ashe is gorgeous. Point taken. But it’s still a variation of Man Domesticated/Reformed by Good, Virtuous Woman.

Oh, SHUT UP. It’s the part where he gazes longingly after her carriage as she leaves Milton forever!

You’re really gross, you know that? What kind of lesbian are you?

Better than being a pendantic, policing pain in the ass. Besides, you have to admit that kiss at the end is really fantastic.

Totally historically innaccurate–no way they’d be making out in broad daylight on a train platform–but yeah, definitely a hot kiss.

See? Romantic always wins in the end.

 

in which I set up a new blog and review a movie June 2, 2007

Filed under: dyke,movies — andygrrrl @ 9:02 pm

Yeah, I totally named my new blog after an Indigo Girls’ song. Sorta. I needed to get this WordPress thing set up and it was the first thing I thought of. I might keep it. I like it. I might not, we’ll see.

 I blame Whoopi Goldberg. I saw Boys on the Side last night, which I totally did not know featured Amy and Emily performing one of my favorite IG songs, “Joking”. So that’s why they were on my mind when I named this blog. (Poor Elrond had to put up with my squeals of delight). I liked Boys on the Side; it was nice and feel-good. And simplistic, and I could tell about five minutes into it that it was written and directed by men. I mean, really, what’s the point of having Whoopi Goldberg play a dyke if everyone’s going to be all grossed-out by it? Every time it was mentioned the straight characters said, “Yeah, ew, but don’t worry, she won’t molest you!” They even had my beloved Mary-Louise Parker saying “ew” at the idea. There was just this weird subtext that, yeah, Jane’s a lesbo, but she’s one of the good asexual ones, not one of those creepy kinds that seduce straight girls! She even reassures MLP’s characteer, “You’re safe with me.” What the fuck? Jane comes off as this vaguely threatening and mostly pathetic person, because she’s a dyke. Whatever. Maybe I didn’t like it so much after all (but…it had Amy Ray! In purple flannel! How can I say no??)

And yes, I am listening to Come On Now Social as I write this.