Sunday, December 11, 2005

Another Story Takes Wing (and movies are reviewed!)

*sniff* They grow up so fast...Yes, I did it - I followed up on my declaration that I would do the final polishes to "Desert Muse" and sent it out on Friday.
Yes, it was at the very last minute, but that's the norm for me - most of what I've done has been performed at the last minute, including my birth (wouldn't you know it, the day before they were going to induce labour, I came out all on my own, ha ha ha). But now it's out, and I feel satisfied. There was a long line at the post office, though - so many people trying to beat the Christmas rush created a Pre-Christmas Rush Rush. Human nature at its finest, eh?
I've been studying over the weekend - exams are coming up. I've been re-reading my Victorian poetry for the English final, and once again I'm surprised at how much reading Tennyson's Idylls reminds me of George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series. The descriptions of sword and shield, of battles in the lists, and especially the behaviour of Guinevere in Lancelot and Elaine - she could have been Cersei for how bitchy she was in that poem, what with her contemptuous disdain for Arthur and insane jealousy towards Lancelot for wearing Elaine's favour during the tournament. Whoo-boy.
Still, I did have some free time. Watched some good videos on the weekend - Fantastic Four and Lucky Seven, an ABC Original Movie starring Patrick Dempsey that I happened to find at the local video store (instead of the specialty Old Video store, which requires me to take a 40-minute bus ride there and back if I want to rent Mr. Dempsey's more classic films like Loverboy, Happy Together, and Run. Yes, Run. I want to see it. Stop looking at me like that! )
I'm a Marvel comics fan, and while my tastes tend to run more towards Spider-Man, I do have a working knowledge of the Fantastic Four. The film version was generally panned, and I can see why - the plot is silly, they never fight the Big Bad Guy until the very end (and then they defeat him by pouring cold water on him - I'm not kidding!), and it generally makes no sense whatsoever. However, I enjoyed it immensely. This film, unlike Hulk and DareDevil, tended to swing more towards humour, most of it based on the dynamics between the Four. Despite everything else in the film, this they did pitch-perfectly. The dialogue was sharp and funny, the interactions hilarious, and the characters spot on. Jessica Alba as the Invisible Woman didn't do very much, to be sure, but they didn't give her much to do other than look pretty and take off her clothes in public (!), which she does reasonably well.
Ioan Gruffold as Mr. Fantastic was better - he managed to portray a lot of Reed Richards' kooky, oblivious science-nerd charm, and they explained the creation of his superhero name with a hint of wit ("yes, yes, you're great, you're Mr. Fantastic!). Still, he couldn't hold a candle next to Chris Evans and Michael Chiklis as the Human Torch and the Thing, respectively. Chris Evans portrayed the Human Torch as a complete asshole - which is the Human Torch to a tee. It was great fun to see him square off against the Thing. Chiklis played the Thing with admirable charm, macho humour, and, yes, sadness - he was the most "human" of the characters, if you'll believe it, because, really, he's the one who got the short end of the Super-Power-inducing-Ion-Storm stick.
Lucky Seven was pure silliness. In an hour and a half, the movie contained a ridiculous, plot-starting life plan, a lawyer who hates her job and would rather paint, bagels and schmeer, a fake relationship (that ends in real sex!), two weddings, a man who quit his Wall Street job and gets dumped in the bargain, and a difficult choice between two gorgeous guys. Which should the motherless protagonist choose - the sexy, successful, loved-by-all-of-her-friends, blond venture capitalist? Or the sexy, somewhat less successful, had-his-tender-heart-broken-before, green-eyed Irish-American bagel shop owner? Money or bagels? Financial security or SCHMEER?
To put it in clearer terms, our Motherless Protagonist becomes motherless through cancer, but not before the soon-to-be-deceased matriarch plans a timeline of advice to help our Motherless Protagonist get over being Motherless. In the timeline, she plans for our Motherless Protagonist to go the Summer Camp, run for Class President, get a Law Degree, and settle down with her Seventh Boyfriend, He who is Prophesied to be The One For Her.
Fast-forward several years, our Motherless Protagonist has just broken up with Boyfriend #5: He Who Cheats, and runs into Blonde Venture Capitalist. Sparks and fireworks fly, but our Motherless Protagonist is frightened to take the relationship any further - after all, dating Blonde Venture Capitalist would make him #6: Almost Had Her, and she's destined to be with to #7: Wedded Bliss, and Blonde Venture Capitalist is just so perfect - he's rich, her dad likes him, and he buys her chocolate strawberries! She wants to have his Blonde Venture Capitalist Babies, but she can't defy the Dead Mother Prophesy!
So, she decides to make him #7 by a technicality - she takes up Bagel Boy (that would be Dempsey) on his offer of accompanying him to his brother's wedding and pretending to be his girlfriend in return for free bagels. She seeks to fool the Dead Mother, thinking that if she's publicly declared to have Bagel Boy as her boyfriend, that will make him #6: Close But No Cigar, thus pushing Blonde Venture Capitalist into the coveted #7 spot.
Yes, Poor Bagel Boy needs a Pretend Girlfriend - when his free-spirited bagel-loving nature inspired him to quit his Wall Street job for small business paradise, his gold-digging fiancee dumped him at the altar, and he needs the Fake Significant Other present at his brother's wedding to convince his clingy relatives that He's Over The Bitch. More chocolate strawberries, hands-on croquet lessons, and kayaking mishaps ensue, and pretty soon they're making the sweet, sweet, off-screen luuuuuurve (as the Smart Bitches Who Love Trashy Novels would say). However, Bagel Boys wants a Real Relationship now, but our Motherless Protagonist dumps him (at a Pancake House, no less!) because she's in a rush to have Blonde Venture Capitalist's Blonde Venture Capitalist Babies now that he's firmly seated upon the #7 Throne.
However, (surprise, surprise!) Free-Spirited-Bagel-Loving-itis is apparently a sexually-transmitted disease, and our Motherless Protagonist finds out that she's become far less enamoured of her Time-Wasting-Lawyer Job, and of her Not-Free-Spirited-Enough Blonde Venture Capitalist, and finds that she much prefers Free Bagels with Schmeer to Chocolate Strawberries. Cue realization that Dead Mom's Prophesy was to be taking Figuratively, Not Literally! Cue Money-Shot of Patrick Dempsey's Smile! Cue Wedding Bells! Cue Credits! Cue mad, guilty giggling!
Yes, I enjoyed it. Yes, Dempsey was very good looking. Was it better than Tales from the Whoop: Hot Rod Brown, Class Clown, starring a teenage Tobey Maguire, a film I watched during my recovery from Spider-Man withdrawal? God, yes. Was it worthy of an Oscar? Hell, no. Here's to guilty pleasures!

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