Monday, November 17, 2008

In Case You Were Wondering, Our Heroine Does Not Support World-Dominating Secret Terror Organizations

As a general rule, Our Heroine does not wade into the comboxes on political blogs. Political comboxes are like rough-n-ready frontier towns at the turn of the century: there is no law, and only the strong survive. And Our Heroine, while blessed with some heroic qualities (like perseverence in the face of a baking disaster), is not strong.

However, Ace of Spades had a review up of Quantum of Solace, and I wanted to see what the consensus was, because I liked it, (though with reservations) so I dived into the comments. And I can't wait to share one of my most favorite comments evah.

First: my reservations. Really, one reservation. The movie was too strong on realpolitik. I mean, I know that Haiti is mostly an impoverished hellhole, and I know that good governments sometimes get in bed with bad dudes to keep even worse dudes from making trouble, and I even know that spies can suffer from moral lassitude. But when I want a healthy dose of real-world spy drama, I'll read Graham Greene or something.

This is a Bond movie, people. Bond does not do Haiti (or Bolivia) to thwart petty tyrants and bring water to the sweaties and grubbies. No. Bond does Paris, Biarritz, Prague, etc. He plays high-stakes Baccarat against the agents of world-dominating secret terror organizations that want to nuke the moon, for pete's sake (I don't know why they want to nuke the moon. They just do. Ok? Deal with it!)

So, basically, I thought Bond was too constrained by "reality" in this film, but not in a good way.

The comments at Ace's were hilarious overall. And there was a debate about how corporations were portrayed. I didn't share in the opprobrium for QoS on this count, because the only corporation in it was really a world-dominating secret terror organization masquerading as a corporation -- and I didn't get the idea that you were being told that these are interchangeable entities.

However, I have been sensitive to this anti-corporatism in other movies where I didn't think it belonged like Iron Man (most recently).

So, since I've been getting kind of tired of this exact same trend, this totally frantic-sounding comment from someone named Cautiously Pessimistic made me horse-laugh. (and horse-laughing is not something to which I readily admit.)

Does anyone know of a movie where the eeevil corporation turns out to be an intentional force for good? I'm getting increasingly tired of every freakin' corporation being evil personified that wants children to die in the streets because their blood turns into gold or something. If anything, having a good corporation in a movie would be a plot twist without the twist, because everyone will be waiting for the CEO to take of his mask and say, "FOOLED YOU! I'M THE ANTICHRIST!", and be totally taken by surprise when it doesn't happen.
I would like to write this movie now, just to make him happy.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Our Heroine Requests a Word, Kind Sir.

I am going to institute a recurring feature on this blog in which Our Heroine 'fesses up to words she had to look up for meaning and/or pronunciation. I don't know what y'all will find more odd: the words Our Heroine doesn't know, or the places she finds them.

Today's word is axiomatic, which was a look-it-up for meaning word. And Merriam-Webster said this: axiomatic -- 1 : taken for granted : self-evident

I encountered the word at The Corner today and here's the specific sentence:
For Mayer, it is axiomatic that the aftermath of September 11, and what it revealed about the flaws in the American security apparatus that made the jihadist attack possible, did not necessitate any new framework for thinking about the protection of the United States from a new form of foreign aggression.
No judgements, people (and that means both the word and the outlet)!

The Devil You Know versus...Cake!

(ed. note: There is no cake at all in this post. Sorry) Y'all, I know I haven't written much that is original lately, and I apologize, I truly do. I have lots of things in my head that I'd like to get out to you, but I can't get myself to sit still and do it. Also, there is a big world of bloggers out there and they keep discovering interesting bits of news and writing about them in a more interesting fashion than I could, a pox upon them all!

This post is no exception. I don't know how many of you have read C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters (I know Dad has, as he is the first person I remember ever mentioning it to me.) but if you haven't, I highly recommend it. It is a short novel consisting entirely of letters of instruction written from a senior devil (the titular Screwtape) to his nephew, Wormwood, a junior devil who has been assigned to ensure the damnation of a young Englishman.

The letters are exceedingly clever, and the whole book is one of the best examples of pure, unadulterated irony in the English language. It's the best sort of irony -- not like current faux-hip irony (people too clever to be sincere about anything, except things too ridiculous to be sincere about) -- and it is also rather funny. It takes only an afternoon to read, and I highly recommend it on a rainy Sunday.

Anyhow, supposedly there is discussion about turning it into a movie. And, of course, in true Hollywood fashion, in doing so, of emptying it of all that makes it great.

From Strange Herring:

Peter Chattaway over at Filmchat reports that Walden Media is looking into the prospect of adapting C.S. Lewis’ classic Screwtape Letters into a screwball comedy in the vein of Rowan Atkinson and Richard Curtis’ Mr. Bean series.

Uh, please don’t. If for no other reason than the Mr. Bean films didn’t work. And they didn’t work because Mr. Bean is a short-form character, a sketch-comedy creation. He couldn’t sustain a full-length narrative arc. And the directors hired to helm the Bean films were no Jacques Tati, whose original vision and a deliberate stylistic innovation provided a unique context for his minimalist character, Mr. Hulot.

Screwtape is intended to be ironic, not farcical. A wacky devil trying to derail the spiritual journey of his subject at the behest of a Dr. Evil-type Satan will get tired REAL FAST — as well as deflect from the apologetic purposes to which Lewis put the device. (But I guess that’s a given in any mainstream, big-media adaptation.)

If you were going to cast Screwtape and Wormword, I know who I wouldn’t want: Adam Sandler, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy — none of the usual suspects. Rowan Atkinson might not be that bad a choice if he could leave Bean behind. (A young Dudley Moore would also have been a definite possibility — think the original Bedazzled, which might have had Screwtape in the back of its collective mind, but toned down a notch or two — less wackiness, more empathy. )

Jeff Daniels as the struggling Christian might be a nice choice, though.

We shall see … but I share Chattaway’s doubts about this enterprise, as well as the direction Walden Media seems to be going in.
Ah well, it can't be any more horrific than Brideshead Revisited! But seriously, you should read the book some sniffly day soon. You'll like it.