One of the reasons I love Shakespeare (you have to love old Will if you’re going to teach him for twenty years) is that so much of his plays and sonnets are immensely quotable. I find them popping up in some form or other in books, telly shows, news broadcasts, movies, and of course, books.
When I hear one on a television show Dr. Big and I are watching, I always make him hit the “pause” button and ask, “Know where that comes from?”
I’m such a show off.
What I love about Shakespeare quotes is the rhythm, cadence, tone, imagery, and yes even that teacher-ish iambic pentameter meter. It’s as if Will knew he’d be quoted centuries after he was gone (or Christopher Marlowe was gone, if you believe Kit was the real writer of Shakespeare’s works – I choose to ignore that because Marlowe was killed in a bar fight. Probably. Maybe.)
Of course, it’s not just Shakespeare who’s quotable. Our culture is rife with lines, phrases and sayings that each new generation discovers all over again and claims them as their own.
Here are some of my favorite.
“The fault … is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.” (Cassius to Brutus while talking him into participating in Caesar’s assassination)
“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” (Rhett to Scarlett – what an intriguing way for this classic romance novel to end. Does she or doesn’t she get Rhett back?)
“Take my love, take my land/Take me where I cannot stand/
I don’t care, I’m still free/You can’t take the sky from me.”
Canceling Joss Whedon’s Firefly series about a space cowboy and his ship Serenity has got to be the worst mistake Fox Television ever made. This quote is from the show’s theme song.
“Screw your courage to the sticking-place.” Lady Macbeth taunts her husband into murdering King Duncan.
“Good opinion once lost is lost forever.” No real romance reader will fail to recognize this famous line from “Pride and Prejudice.”
“By the pricking of my thumbs/something wicked this way comes.” Not only did the three witches recognize Macbeth’s evil when he enters the scene, but Ray Bradbury wrote a book called “Something Wicked This Way Comes.”
“Frailty, thy name is woman.” Hamlet speaks of his mother Gertrude and her hasty marriage to her brother-in-law after her husband’s death.
My mother also had a lot of aphorisms and adages she passed on to me.
A stitch in time saves nine.
Why buy the cow when the milk’s free?
Haste makes waste.
Penny wise and pound foolish.
Don’t make me stop this car!
What about you, readers? Do you have a favorite saying passed on from other generations? Are there lines from books, movies or TV shows that stick in your mind? Do you have a favorite phrase you find yourself repeating?
Y’know, it’s Saturday night, as I write this, ready for it to post on Sunday morning, East Coast time. We watched basketball tonight – whoa, some serious March Madness, college Basketball upsets! – but usually, on Saturday nights we try to do family movie night.
Since I live with a bunch of totally GUY-guys, you can imagine the usual fare: MoneyBall, The Avengers, Iron Man 1 & 2, Captain America, The Rookie….You get the drift. It’s a lot of action, weighted heavily toward Super Heroes, and Baseball movies since two of the four of us are totally mad for baseball. (I’m leaning toward super-fan, and our youngest could give a rip!)
Thing is, sometimes I like something different. Sometimes, I like a comedy. Maybe slapstick, maybe Romantic Comedy, and sometimes, I really like those Teen-Who-Makes-Good movies, like High School Musical or Stomp the Yard or Drumline.
As you all know, being avid readers, there are only so many story lines. It’s the personality of the characters an author attaches to those “standard story lines” which make or break a movie or a book. Take the movie Drumline. It’s the street-kid-gets-a-chance-at-college story, and the odds he faces and the nemesis he encounters in the head of the college music department, who controls the boy’s fate. The very fine actor, Orlando Jones (pictured on the right, from the Wikimedia Commons picture file) is the Music Director with serious capital letters. He’s highly educated, highly sophisticated and somewhat uptight chair of the music department. He’s truly marvelous as the straight-laced prig Dr. Lee, played against Nick Cannon’s irresponsible rebel of a drummer. Really brilliantly done.
Funny thing is, he also plays – again, brilliantly! – Clifford Franklin, a washed up football running back with butter fingers in the delightful football movie, The Replacements. Clifford refers to himself in the third person, thinks he’s faaaaaar sexier than he is, and is just generally an insecure goofball. “Clifford Franklin says that this game is going to be HOT!” “C’mon baby, let me show you what Clifford Franklin can do…”
Same actor. TOTALLY different roles. I have a lot of admiration for actors who can pull this off. I had a very strange moment of deja vu when, one night, I was channel surfing and both Drumline and The Replacements were on. Different channels, of course, so as I scanned through the selections, I had to do a double-take to realize that the sober Dr. Lee, from Drumline, was also the imminently laughable Clifford Franklin.
This has happened a couple of times with actors I admire. I’ll be channel surfing and there they will be on multiple channels in multiple roles. Very schizophrenic, but VERY interesting, from a writer’s point of view, to see how one actor can play so many different “people” and still be convincing.
Take Hugh Laurie, for instance. (Photo from Wikimedia Commons) Brilliant actor. Simply brilliant. He does House, MD on American TV, plays comedy clubs and has been in tons of sitcoms in the UK (Black Adder, A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Jeeves and Wooster), and then in kids movies like Stuart Little and 101 Dalmatians. I happened upon him in three incarnations one night – House, Stuart Little, and on Bravo’s Inside the Actor’s Studio. And yes, ladies and gents, he is ENGLISH, not American. The accent is REAL, and yet he manages to sound like Dr. Gregory House, grumpy American jerk of the year. Ha!
Fascinating, as Spock would say. I often like to watch a row of movies with a single actor – go through all Kevin Bacon’s movies (shudder!), or see Kevin Spacey in K-Pax, LA Confidential, and American Beauty. As a writer, it helps me understand the way to turn a story line, or twist a characters mood or motivation in whatever I’m working on.
Weird, I know.
I’ve been watching Robert Downey, Jr. lately to get that complex, dark-edged, reluctantly helpful/heroic thing going. He plays that type of character well, from Sherlock Holmes to Iron Man, from Charlie Chaplin to SoapDish.
Now, all that said, sometimes, I just like to watch the movies for the entertainment. It’s hard not to analyse them, or see the story twists and turns as turning points and so on, but if it’s a good enough story, I forget all that analysis and just enjoy. IT’s got to be a really GOOD movie for me to turn off the internal writer/analysis maven/storyteller however.
So, let’s have some fun. Here are some of my top Favorites in several categories, where I’ve been able to turn that off and just eat the popcorn and be glued to the screen, immersed in the story. You tell me yours!
1. Action Adventure – The Avengers. Hands down one of the most fun, quotable movies in recent memory. I never ONCE stopped to analyse.
2. Blow it Up movie – Skyfall. LOTS of stuff blew up. It was great. Total popcorn and drool movie. (Hey, Daniel Craig. Just sayin’!)
3. Comedy – TIE – Fish Called Wanda and Young Frankenstein. I”m going for the oldies here because most of the newer ones which have made me ROFLMAO are Romantic Comedies, another category altogether!
4. Drama – The Blind Side. I so didn’t see this coming as a “keeper,” not at all. I figured “Football movie…yeah…” Oh, it was SO much more. Pass the Kleenex, let’s watch it again.
5. Sci-Fi – The Lord of the Rings series followed hard on by Star Trek – the new one. Fab-U-Lous. Hands down, one of the best sci-fi movies in years.
6. Disaster Movie – Twister. All that, and flying cows too.
7. Romantic Comedy – While You Were Sleeping and 27 Dresses. I know they’re a few years old, but they are still among my all-time-favorites.
8. Historical – The King’s Speech. If you’ve not seen this, run, don’t walk, to your Netflix and get it in your queue. Brillllllliant film. I resisted seeing it, thinking it would be either maudlin or sad or just stupid. It was none of that. And it’s absolutely the best thing I’ve ever seen Helena Bonham Carter in. She CAN act, imagine that! :> She was outstanding.
9. Old Movies I’ll Watch Again and Again – Its a Wonderful Life; Operation Petticoat; Bringing Up Baby; White Christmas
10. Guilty Pleasure – The Wedding Planner. This movie is SO B-Movie. Really. Not very well acted, not a hugely surprising plot. And yet….I’ll watch it every time, and enjoy the heck out of it, no matter what.
So what are yours? Tell, tell! Help me fill up MY Netflix queue!
I love the movies. Love them with a burning passion.
Part of that is my birthright. I’m from a long line of movie lovers. My parents go to the movies every single Friday night without fail. I want to know what’s playing & how it’s being reviewed by the semi-retired set? I call my folks. There’s nothing they haven’t seen.
Another part of that is being Irish. We Irish folk appreciate a good story well told, never mind the medium. (We particularly like those new theatres where you can have a beer with your movie, but that’s a different post.)
But I think the biggest part of my love affair with the movies is being a child of the 80s. I was in middle school when we got our first VHS, & it came with a REMOTE CONTROL. Good god, the luxury. Who cared that it had a cord & plugged into the VHS? It was a REMOTE. We could now watch movies with homemade popcorn from the comfort of our couch without bankrupting our parents. (There were four of us kids, & taking us to the movies had recently become prohibitively expensive.) Heaven!
As for myself, I was a fan of the romances. (Surprise!) The PRINCESS BRIDE, the CUTTING EDGE, Jane Austen’s EMMA (the Gwyneth Paltrow version)? That’s some solid entertainment right there.
My little sister, however? She was into horror movies. The scarier, the bloodier, the better as far as she was concerned. And since we were children of the 80s–did I mention?–this meant Friday the 13th, Children of the Corn, and Nightmare on Elm Street. Urgh.
As you might imagine, choosing the nightly feature in my childhood home regularly involved fisticuffs and coin tosses. Winning was always preferred, of course, but there was something to be said for losing, too. Yeah, the movie blows but there is nothing like providing some scathing color commentary on a movie that your annoying younger sister is trying to enjoy. That’s entertainment gold, right there.
So I have watched a lot of horror movies. And this is what I have learned:
Beware the previews.
Seriously. It’s the previews. The movies themselves were never that scary. Gross, yes. Truly scary? Not usually. But the previews? Holy crap.
See, at some point in every movie, they have to drag the monster out from under the bed. And once they do, there goes the terror. But previews? Whoa. Those are nothing but an all-you-can-eat buffet of terrifying suggestions, an invitation for your imagination to run wild.
And you know what? I have a fantastic imagination.
There was this one preview–I think it was for Children of the Corn #47 or something. It was about three seconds of film time, nothing fast or fancy. It was a shot of an open bedroom door & the darkened bedroom beyond it. That’s it.
Then suddenly a little boy staggers across the doorjamb in silhouette, just his shadow. No detail. But I understood immediately that something was wrong with this boy. My conscious brain took another beat to catch up, to put together what exactly was wrong.
The top half of the figure was a boy. The bottom half was…what? I’ve never been sure. A goat? A donkey? Some kind of farm animal, assuredly. I surmised from the staggering that this unnatural stitching together had just happened, & all concerned parties were struggling to come to terms with the new normal.
Okay, I have the heeby-jeebies just writing that. It’s an image I see in my worst dreams even now.
I suspect that if I just figured out which movie this was & watched it, it would neutralize the terror. (See theory above re: dragging the monster out from under the bed.) But I can’t bring myself to do it. I’m just too afraid. I’m messed up for life regarding the Frankensteining of little boys & farm animals, & you know what?
I blame my sister.
So what about you? Have you been permanently scarred by movie or a book? A TV show? Something you saw that you wish you’d never seen? Is your sister to blame, or did you do it to yourself? Share!
Why is it that so many television networks and film franchises hang on to their product (the sitcom, the crime procedural, the drama, the superhero) until the poor show or movie, or even book series, just begs to be shot and put out of its misery?
My former principal was fond of saying, “When the horse dies, dismount.” In other words let it go, for heaven’s sake. Go out with a bang not a whimper. Let something die a graceful death.
The cultural term is “jumping the shark,” a phrase that came from the sitcom “Happy Days, in which the Fonz rode a shark in the network’s silly bid to keep the show fresh by over-the-top antics.
See the picture below.
Jumping the shark has come to refer to a show that should’ve gone off the air when it was still clever and fresh and appealing. Of course, this could apply to books and movies as well as TV shows.
I’ve always admired the television series that quits when the audience is still interested, still wants a bit more. Comedians know that you always leave your audience wanting more, not less.
Friends and Sienfeld are classic shows that went out gracefully. Grey’s Anatomy and Lost, in some people’s opinion, did not.
The first film in a series – Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Pirates of the Caribbean are often blockbusters and the second and third in the series (or the millionth in the case of some slasher movies) are tedious and beyond boring.
Books are a bit different. Very few authors have written a long-running series that remains interesting and fresh, well into the eighth or ninth book or twentieth book. Some of my favorite authors have lost their appeal to me when their series reaches the fourth book.
Along the same lines, sometimes the same tunes are played on the radio over and over.
All. The. Time.
Is it just me or do you like a change-up of songs? I have to confess, though, that I liked playing records over and over. I wore out every armature and needle I had when vinyl was the only game in town.
How about menus? Ever go out to dinner and find the same-old same-old on the menu? Or find yourself ordering the same kinds of food. Burger and fries. Caesar Chicken Salad.
Maybe it’s just me. Maybe I’m too easily bored or too picky. So I thought I’d throw the question out for today’s audience.
What series (books, television, or movies, even graphic novels) have remained as exciting to you when you’ve read/seen the last one as the first? Which ones “jumped the shark”? What about dining out. Fresh and different or the same old fast food? Music — are you a repeat offender or do you like a mixup mashup?
And just for a little preview fun, I’ve thrown in the cover of my new young adult paranormal, which I hope will be available in July. I really love this cover!
I must admit to being disappointed with a lot of the recent romantic comedies I’ve seen. They just don’t have the zing of something like ROMAN HOLIDAY or BRINGING UP BABY or PRETTY WOMAN.
But then my faith in the genre was restored by two films I really enjoyed and have since watched multiple times with increasing pleasure. Now, that’s saying something! So I thought I’d talk today about MY LIFE IN RUINS from 2009 and LEAP YEAR from 2010.
What’s interesting is that neither film received a particularly favorable critical reception in Australia. Both were criticized because they didn’t do anything original with the rom com formula. Which makes me think the po-faced critics are missing the point. I don’t watch a good romantic comedy to be surprised. I know where it’s going – that happy ending with a big sigh of satisfaction from me, if I’m lucky. It’s a bit like people criticizing romance because it contains the tried and true elements of the genre. These silly peeps don’t realize that one of the reasons we read romance is that we know there’s a guaranteed happy ending after all the trials and tribulations. That’s not a fault of the genre. That’s one of its greatest attractions.
Both of these films are very heroine-centric, particularly LEAP YEAR. Both films have clever, dynamic women on the verge of making huge mistakes in their lives. And when love hits our heroines, it comes from unexpected directions and it takes courage to follow where love leads. I always love that theme – finding happiness where you least expect it.
Actually now I think of it, these films have other things in common. Both of them succeed on the charms of the cast. Nia Vardalos is lovely in Ruins (snort, I’m sure she’ll be even lovelier once she’s restored and habitable, too!). I liked MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, especially the first half. I found the second half too close to some of my own family occasions to be completely comfortable with all the mayhem, but I enjoyed MY LIFE IN RUINS more. Amy Adams is such a wonderful actress and she does a convincing portrayal of the heroine in Year who changes from brittle self-sufficiency to someone you would love to have as a friend. Both girls end up matched with quite gorgeous heroes. Declan (the extremely yummy Matthew Goode) in Year plays a more dynamic role in his film than Poupi (don’t ask) in Ruins, but I must say I watched Poupi’s transformation with awe, and at the end, couldn’t get over how much Alexis Georgoulis looked like a Harlequin cover model.
Both films are road movies, covering a journey that turns out to be life-changing for our heroines. Georgia, our Greek-American heroine in Ruins, feels she’s wasting her education and her talents by working for a two-bit tour company in Athens. She agrees to escort one last tour group around the sites, determined to return to her academic career in U.S. after that. Anna, our Boston Irish heroine in Year, recklessly sets out for Ireland to propose to her self-centered surgeon boyfriend on 29th February, an old tradition. Both women find their journey takes them in surprising, occasionally uncomfortable, new directions and leads them to people (not just the hunky heroes) who will change their views of the world. And finally, the journeys lead to true love. Awwww!
Both these stories have so much heart and charm, they’re the sort of films that leave you with a big smile on your face at the end. Both have lovely love stories, appealing characters, glorious scenery and lots of eccentric secondary characters to add spice to the mix. If you want a couple of feel-good movies, I highly recommend them.
So have you seen LEAP YEAR or MY LIFE IN RUINS? If so, which hero would you rather leap into the local ruins with? As a sucker for a British accent, I’ve got to say for me it’s Matthew Goode by a nose, although I wouldn’t kick the other guy out of my Parthenon either. Any other rom coms you’d like to recommend?
This blog is not about Hunger Games (though I’m happy to chat about that), but rather about film adaptation of books.
Hunger Games (the movie) will be premiering about the time this blog posts. While I really want to see this movie, I’m not willing to stand in line for a midnight premier. I’m hoping my husband and I can sneak away tonight to watch it, but I wonder if the movie script can catch that fast edge-of-your-seat pacing that the book had. I’ve already heard that the director has toned down the violence in order to get a PG-14 rating. I’m not a fan of violence (though it’s certainly easier to read violence than watch it – have you noticed that?) but violence was a major component of Hunger Games.
I did manage to see the movie adaptation of Twilight for the first time Wednesday night. Yes, it’s finally hit the small screen. I’ve only read the first book in the Twilight series. I liked it – again it had the sort of fast pacing that made it difficult to put the book down – but I had no interest in reading the rest of the trilogy. Maybe it’s that lack of continuing interest that made me almost fall asleep several times during the movie – or maybe I’m just old . Either way, I was disappointed with the transition from print to movie. But then I usually am.
Books are almost always a richer more personal experience than watching a movie. I’m not the fastest of readers. I like to live in the story world and digest every word. Movies, however, can be no longer than two hours – which translates to 120 script pages. That’s not long enough for me to really get into the character’s heads and experience the life they’re living.
I heard Jane Porter speak about her experiences when her book, Flirting with Forty, was made into a lifetime channel movie. I believe she had some personal experience with the subject matter but the creation of the script was contracted to a young twenty-something and the movie thus became the scriptwriter’s concept of the subject matter. Jane mentioned that some of the actors approached her a couple of times with concerns that their character wouldn’t really say the lines they’d been given. Jane agreed. It wasn’t her dialogue – not the dialogue she wrote.
So I wonder about other movie adaptations. Have you ever seen a movie you liked better than the book? Do you long to see a movie after you’ve read the book – or is the book enough? Or conversely, have you ever watched a movie and then run out and bought the book? Actually, I did that with the TV series Game of Thrones. The world building is so wonderful, I figured the series couldn’t possibly have included everything – so I bought the set of books. Haven’t read them yet though.
By the way, the lair has something of a connection with the movie Hunger Games. The son of a bandita, known as “the boy,” is an extra in the movie. I’m hoping to spot him when we go this weekend. I wonder if he was responsible for getting the GR a red carpet ticket for the premier. I understand the GR has a bit of a crush on a certain golden mockingjay….
Anyway, someone leaving a comment will win their choice of one of my books.
Which reminds me – I’m still waiting to hear from Aline Tobing who won a copy of Jules Bennett’s Caught in the Spotlight.
Hey gang! Sorry for the late blog today. I was under the weather a bit yesterday…feeling better today, thank you. One of the “good” things about being a bit less energetic than usual is that I got to clear out the TiVo and watch some movies I’d been meaning to watch. I watched five episodes of my dear, darling Special Agent Gibbs and his NCIS agents then followed that up with an after lunch serving of NCIS:LA. LL Cool J is SUCH a treat for the eyes.
Here’s my problem. I’ve got two kids, both of whom are sports-boys and have extracurricular activities. I’m writing books and managing a household and generally running like a crazy woman.
I have great plans to watch a movie with the hubster, settle back into the big chair and a half and snuggle up with him and some popcorn and watch some of those DVDs we bought one another for Christmas. (We do this – buy the latest one for one another, because we’d buy it anyway, but it gets a present for one of the boys to give to the parent for a relatively low cost. The 21st century version of buying dad a tie or pencil leads or handkerchiefs)
Sorry, I digressed. Anyway, the challenge for me is, that I seldom have time – or make time – to sit down and watch the chick flicks and fun movies full of explosions that my boys buy me for birthday or Christmas. I have good intentions…but there are books to read (which I can take with me into the car pool lane) and I’ve been listening to Despicable Me in the car over and over and over again, thanks to the built-into-the-van DVD player. I love it, and can now quote every line. But I can’t watch it, so the DVD in the van is very little use for ME when it comes to watching those waiting DVDs.
It has to wait for a sick day.
So, long story short (or is it too late for that?), yesterday, I got in some movies. I watched The Blind Side. WOW! What a fabulous movie! Made me want to root for the Baltimore Ravens – somethign I’ve been resistant to because I don’t like that the shall-not-be-named-owner pulled the team out of Cleveland and took them to Baltimore. Grrrr. Nothing against Baltimore but…
Again, I digress. But it was a GREAT movie. I missed seeing it in the theatre. I’m really sorry about that because it would have been great on the big screen. Sigh.
I also missed Batman Begins. And Master and Commander. And Tangled.
I had wanted to see ALL of them in the theatre, but with babysitting and movie costs so high, books due, baseball schedules, (…my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wife to murder, Guilder to frame for it…I’m swamped!)….it’s just been impossible.
What movies did you miss on the big screen? Any you bought on DVD and still haven’t watched?
Yesterday, while I was pondering what to post about today, I hurried out to the mailbox (hurried because it was COLD!) to see what my grumpy mailman had brought me. Yay, no bills! And, yay, the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly! And bonus, it’s the 2011 Movie Preview issue.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge movie fan. So in honor of this, I decided to share which movies I’m looking forward to this year along with some trailers.
I Am Number Four (out Feb. 18) — This movie is based on the young adult novel by Pittacus Lore (a pen name of James Frey — yeah, that James Frey, but I’m trying not to think about that whole Million Little Pieces fiasco). It’s about a teenage boy who has extraordinary powers, one of nine young people who came to this planet from a planet called Lorien. An enemy is hunting the nine, and Numbers One through Three have already been killed Number Four is next because they can only be killed in order. The screenplay is by Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, creators of Smallville, and Marti Noxon, who worked on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, as well as newer shows like Grey’s Anatomy.
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (out May 20) — I have to admit I had mixed feelings for a long time about this movie because, being a big fan of the Elizabeth and Will storyline I didn’t know if it’d feel right without them. But the trailer looks great, and let’s face it, Johnny Depp is freaking awesome. Just ask Tawny. Plus, it’s Jack Sparrow looking for the Fountain of Youth and Ian McShane as Blackbeard!
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (July 15)– I’m so looking forward to this movie, and not at the same time. I so want to see how the movie is done, can’t wait to see Ron and Hermione finally have their kiss, but when the credits roll at the end it’ll all be…over. I suspect I won’t be the only person shedding tears at the theater.
Breaking Dawn, Part 1 (Nov. 18)– Following in the footsteps of Harry Potter’s last film, Stephanie Meyer’s last book in her Twilight series will be split into two parts.
Cowboys & Aliens (July 29) — Daniel Craig. Harrison Ford. And, I kid you not, cowboys fighting alien invaders. It sounds nutty, but I saw the trailer back when I saw Deathly Hallows, Part 1, and it sucked me in. Maybe because it was so unexpected.
Captain America: The First Avenger (July 22) — What can I say? I loves me some superhero movies.
Thor (May 6) — Remember what I just said about superhero movies?
Red Riding Hood (March 11) — A much darker, much different telling of the classic tale. The trailer I saw at the theater looked great.
Green Lantern (June 17) — Superhero movie!
Are you looking forward to any of these movies? What other ones are on your must-see list for 2011?
A couple of treks to RWA Nationals ago, I watched a film I really liked on the plane. This is rarer than it sounds – I find I’m always a bit on edge when I travel which means I don’t settle down and immerse myself in the story. Not only that, but the sound quality is usually bad and you get lovely interruptions like your neighbor wanting to go to the toilet or the captain telling you the engines have failed (actually I’m joking about that – and I hope that continues to be a joke!).
Anyway, I recently got this particular movie out again to watch in more comfortable circumstances and I loved it.
MISS POTTER is the story of Beatrix Potter, the children’s author, and the way her life took completely unexpected directions once she started to break free of the restrictions hedging a well brought-up, upper middle-class miss in Edwardian England.
It’s a lovely film, if you haven’t seen it! Renee Zellweger plays Beatrix and most of the story concentrates on a poignant and very sweet love affair with her publisher Norman Warne (played by the very yummy Ewan McGregor – wonder if he’s related to the Mr. McGregor who had troubles with Peter Rabbit!).
Because the story was tied to what happened in Beatrix’s life, there was necessarily a very sad conclusion to this romance. Although the story is one of triumph through tears when Beatrix ends up moving to the Lake District and saving vast swathes of beautiful countryside from the developers by buying up farmland and eventually donating it to the National Trust. The fact that now we can go to the Lake District and marvel at that gorgeous scenery is largely thanks to this visionary, remarkable woman. Oh, and she does find a new love too which is nice!
But after I’d blown my nose and wiped my eyes (seriously, it’s a ten hanky movie, this one!), I thought about how rarely these days I see a film or read a book without the requisite happy ending.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE happy endings! It’s one of the reasons I (and about a billion other people) am addicted to romance novels! There’s nothing better than going through all those trials and tribulations and learning experiences with the characters, then seeing them get their reward at the end.
But sometimes I think the emotionally satisfying ending isn’t for the hero and heroine to ride off into the sunset together.
Yeah, you know where I’m going. To Casablanca! Well, the movie at least!
Would CASABLANCA still be considered a classic if Humph and Ingy had decided to let her marriage vows go hang? I actually don’t think so – although I think much of the emotional power of the story has a lot to do with how much we want these two to be together.
Actually movies of the 40s seem to specialize in these stories where we want the protagonists to be together but unfortunately their moral compass, which is one of the things we admire about them, makes that impossible.
It’s many years since I saw NOW, VOYAGER with Paul Henreid (at least he got the girl in CASABLANCA – not so much in NOW, VOYAGER!) and Bette Davis. Actually one of the things I remember about it (other than the famous line when Bette says, “Oh, Jerry, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We have the stars. “) is the way Jerry (Paul H) and Charlotte (Bette) share cigarettes as a substitute for kissing – not sure it would work for me! But then I’m not a smoker. Paul puts two cigarettes between his lips, lights them both and passes one to his lady love with a VERY significant look!
Like MISS POTTER and CASABLANCA, NOW, VOYAGER is another triumph through tears story. Actually it’s interesting that so many of these movies are either modern films set in historical times or older movies. The contemporary world doesn’t seem to like the hero and heroine being in love but apart.
My last selection of a not so happily ever after is the famous one that people talk about whenever they’re trying to define the romance genre. According to a lot of definitions, a romance HAS to have a happy ending which means GONE WITH THE WIND is not a romance.
Actually I think it is – they just don’t end up together at the end!
I’m not sure whether it counts as triumph through tears either! It’s not really my favorite movie although my mother absolutely loved it. I kinda think Scarlett deserves to be left at the end! I haven’t read the book – never been able to get into it – but in the movie I was cheering for Rhett when he tells Scarlett he doesn’t give a damn!
Anyway, I highly recommend MISS POTTER if you haven’t seen it. And Beatrix Potter’s life was amazing – click on the Wikipedia link on her name if you’re curious to learn more about this extraordinary woman.
So do you occasionally enjoy a story that doesn’t have a traditional happy ending? Do you have any favorites? Have you seen MISS POTTER? Oh, and does anyone have Ewan McGregor’s phone number? I want to go down to the carrot patch with him and look for rabbits! Snork!
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