Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Final Gasp of Crazy Time

Oh, man, this is the kind of day when I just want to burrow under a blanket with a book and spend the day alternating between reading and napping. I was up very late last night because the grown-ups in my ballet class went out to eat after class, and the service at the restaurant was v e r y s l o w w w w (to the point of non-existent). And today it's cold and a weird kind of hazy, not quite sunny, but not really cloudy. But, I have lots of work to do, plus I need to do some baking for one last party tonight. I'm at the state where I almost have enough cookies, but not quite, so I need at least one new batch, but then I'm sure I'll have tons of leftovers.

After this one party, the crazy portion of my holiday season will be over. I just have to sing a solo Sunday morning, buy one more gift, wrap my gifts and get to my parents' house. I have work to get done for something due in January, but I don't think that's yet at the all-consuming state, so I may allow myself some reading and relaxing time. I have my decorations up, though the tree is rather minimalist this year. It's nice to just hang out and look at the pretty lights.

Although last weekend was insane, after the crazy part was over, I didn't feel like doing much other than lying on the sofa, so there was some movie viewing. TCM indulged me by showing The Philadelphia Story, which is one of my all-time favorite movies. I seem to focus on something different every time I see it. This time around, I found myself really impressed with Jimmy Stewart's performance. Now, I'm already the ultimate Jimmy Stewart fangirl. He's pretty much my ideal man. He had a distinctive voice and speech pattern that was easily mocked or imitated, but when you really watch his performances, the acting behind that speech pattern was truly different for each character. In this movie, I'm impressed by how natural he sounds. It's a really speechy movie, in part because it was adapted from a stage play and in part because that was the style of the time. Most of the other actors sounded like they were giving speeches, which was very much in line with the style of acting of the time, but there was something about the way Stewart gave those speeches that made them sound spontaneous and natural, like his character was someone given to speechifying at times when he got excited, but his non-speechy lines were very casual. If you moved him in time to the present or cloned him or whatever, I think he could have been successful as an actor now, which isn't something you can say about a lot of the actors from that era, even some of the ones who were great for that time, just because what was great acting then would be considered hammy, stilted emoting now.

And I still swoon at that "hearth fires and holocausts" line. Plus, that movie is the rare case of someone misinterpreting a situation and taking action based on that misinterpretation, then changing his mind and "forgiving" after learning the truth without the other person immediately accepting him back. That drives me nuts in books and movies when the "oh, that was your sister/brother!" realization happens and the other person isn't peeved that this person was willing to believe the worst, so the relationship is back on. In this one, he assumes she's been with another man on the night before the wedding and calls off the engagement, then when he finds out nothing happened and is ready to make nice she tells him not to bother.

Then I think on the Cartoon Network (which makes no sense, but I'm pretty sure that's what it was), there was Disney's mid-90s live-action version of The Jungle Book. I'm a huge fan of the animated version, mostly because of the awesome music. I had that album as a kid, and there are so many fun songs. The live-action version tells a very different story, starting with a prologue of how Mowgli ended up in the jungle, and then skipping ahead to the part where he comes back to human civilization and has to learn to be human again, which he mostly does because he's fallen in love with a young Sarah Connor (TV version). There's a pretty lame conflict with almost no logical character motivation behind it, but it does give us Cary Elwes in full-on mustache-twirling mode (he even gets in a big "mwa ha ha ha!"), and nobody does snidely superior better. Mowgli is a lot older and more fully grown than in the cartoon version, so the scenery is far more interesting (and I'm not talking about the jungle). There are a few little nods to the cartoon -- we even get John Cleese saying the phrase "the bare necessities of life" -- and those are fun to watch for. I think I would have been disappointed if I'd seen it in the theater, but on a Sunday evening when I was too tired to think straight and went to bed immediately afterward, it was a pleasant amusement. Great cast, weak script.

1 comment:

Angie said...

If you want a very pretty man in a loincloth, with a bonus shot of cheesy humor, definitely check out George of the Jungle with Brendan Frasier.