Archive for August, 2006

Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority: 2; Kate: 0

August 24, 2006

I wiped out on the stairs at Downtown Crossing today. It was one of those brilliantly clear moments experienced in slow motion: Death Cab for Cutie was wailing plaintively on my ipod, my usually beloved Reef sandals became more than fond of the edge of the top step, and suddenly, like an albatross unwillingly thrust into a moment of perfect grace, I fell up, bashed my knee on the tile, and skidded forward on my thigh and my arm until I was turned around enough to see the young lad behind me offering my sandal–the betrayer who had loved that step more than it loved my foot.

Had this been a Nora Ephron movie, we would have captivated each other with some pithy comments, decided we half-believed in fate, skipped work to go on a whirlwind tour of lovely Boston, and fallen in love by the time we got around to gorging on cannoli in the North End.

But this is life in Boston, and, according to Forbes, as a career girl, I’m MAN POISON, so all that happened was that I got my sandal back and a few kind inquiries into whether or not I was injured. (For the record, nothing was hurt; and not even my pride. This kind of thing happens too often for me to really care anymore.)

And I’m not normally one to grouse re: the dearth of romance in my life. Not that he was particularly cute, my sandal saviour. I’m just wondering why must I be saddled with the pratfall conventions of the romantic comedy but NONE OF THE ROMANCE?

Oh, right–I’m MAN POISON. Thank you, Forbes, for reminding me precisely why I have standards–and if you’re too thick to figure out what I mean, Mr. Noer, those standards include not dating guys who think like you.

Forbes: Giving Props to the Ladies Like it’s 1955

Wicker? I hardly know ‘er!

August 12, 2006

Here be spoilers, yarrrrgh!

Tonight at the Marquee: The Wicker Man

The Deets:
1973
Directed by Robin Hardy
Starring Christopher “Kicking Ass Since 1922” Lee, Britt “Perky Bubbies” Eklund, and a lot of Scottish locals

An uptight Christian Scot walks into a pagan ceremony…
Sgt. Howie, straightlaced to the point of exsanguination, travels to a remote island in the British Isles to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. Unbeknownst to our stalwart man of the law, the locals are practicing neo-pagans. Naturally, ancient rites, choreographed musical numbers, and Christopher Lee in drag ensue.

Nice try, Howie, but NO DICE.
Yeah, The Wicker Man. Dude, this movie is effed. And it’s actually a really good movie, ‘really good’ in the sense that

a) I couldn’t look away,
b) everyone speaks in a lovely brogue,
c) there’s hella nakedness,
d) I’ve honestly never seen another movie like it, and
e) it reveals the eerie crossroads where Saruman meets Cher:

If I could turn back tiiiiime
I’m including it in the Marquee because watching this movie caused me literal pain. I’d already spoiled myself on the ending (curse me and my insatiable desire to KNOW EVERYTHING AHEAD OF TIME) and it still totally gave me the heebies. To the point where I’m thinking about it days later, mulling over what the movie has to say about faith and ritual and hypocrisy and religion and bioengineered produce and spontaneous folk singing and dead bunnies and breastfeeding in cemeteries.

And on top of the impact of the actual content of the film, it got me thinking about why people (myself included) like experiencing things that hurt us. Knowing the end, as I did–knowing that it’s really pretty horrible and upsetting–I thought: hey, that sounds like a GREAT movie to Netflix! Call it masochism as entertainment. It’s the same impluse I have for writing this post–processing it by passing it on, getting it out of my system and into someone else’s (hi, reader!). I’m dying to spoil this for you, but if you know anything about pagan ceremonies you might have a general idea of where the whole mess ends up.

Festive patchwork vest by Christopher & Banks: comfortable fashion for the classroom, the office, and the human sacrifice
To which I posit the question: why would anybody want to see that? Or, in a less gramatically correct but catchier Carrie Bradshaw way: why do we hurt the one we love, when the one we love is us?

The key point to note here is that we’re enjoying the pain of this movie via a movie. It’s safe. It’s on a screen, physically apart from us and unaware of our presence. It’s voyeurism, and in the particular case of The Wicker Man, it’s voyeurism into a fact of life that America’s Puritanical roots have spent centuries trying to quash: sex, like death, is an inextricable part of life. You can’t deny it, and, while an individual may abstain, a society will die if you don’t do it. In short: those pagans were on to something. I’m certainly not advocating a return to all aspects of the pagan lifestyle, because I doubt slaughtering a nice chubby piglet would make my crops more plentiful (wink wink). I’m just saying that it would be nice to live in a society that was more upset by the violence of Justin Timberlake ripping off Janet Jackson’s costume than it was by the physical presence of Ms. Jackson’s breast.

So the sex voyeurism is certainly a big part of the Wicker appeal. The discomfort Sgt. Howie feels when he stumbles across a bunch of couples bangin’ on the greensward is mirrored in the viewer: it’s shocking, but since it’s also fundamentally natural, the discomfort speaks to us. We enjoy the “deviant” sex and the horror (The Wicker Man is, however subtle and subtexty, a horror movie) because they come from an organic place. It’s like old home week for the Id.

But never discount the visceral thrill of seeing Christopher Lee in drag. Still wearing his watch. Seriously, can we trot that out again?

Do you belieeeeve in life after rites?
If you’re at all interested in the history of the British Isles, sex, folk music, sex, thrusty maypole dancing (by children!), sex, virgins, sex, barmaids who dance naked in their rooms and/or over fire pits, sex, and what a kid’s face looks like when you put a toad in her mouth, then this is the movie for you! Technically, Freud would probably say this is the movie for everyone.

Ahh, the halcyon days of youth: singing, smiling, and dancing around the giant penis