Even the homebound have movie stars.

November 11, 2010 at 8:49 PM (film) (, , , , , , )

Myself and three of my blog-aquaintances (blogquaintances?) have dealt past and/or present with the soul-stifling reality of being homebound…where along with any other mantras one chants, I think a necessity is this one: “it’s-better-than-an- institution,it’s-better-than-an-institution-it’s-better-than-an-institution…

I love Turner Classic Movies.  In the last five years I’ve seen at least 15 films that meet the “Buy the DVD when you have money again and watch it obsessively,” threshold for me and scores more that I love watching, but don’t feel the need to keep.

And one  that despite the melodrama, hammish acting by the male lead and unabashed sentimentality, that has been instrumental in keeping me mentally moving forward.

The Barretts of Wimpole Street. The beginning of the story of Elizabeth Barrett and Robert Browning

I don’t contend it’s historically accurate.  I don’t watch for that.  But…

The plot goes that a woman with  chronic illnesses a friendly attentive dog. and a dysfunctional family manages to become a nationally known poet from home, living in her bedroom.

There’s this one annoying cousin that  pushes the “sick person as saint,” line, but her immediate brothers and sisters don’t. She falls into the unfortunate role of ‘sick person as confidante in the beginning, as many of us do, when the able come to us with angst in their lives, about things we think we ourselves will never get to experience.

But soon, another poet meets her, rather suddenly falls for her and offers the very real possibility of a life beyond the walls. (Frederic March who played Robert Browning was apparently very embarrassed at how “hammy” he was.)  I’m ok with impulsive, brash, ridiculously cheery and loud.  I was married to a guy that acted like that sometimes.

I like that fact that although Norma Shearer’s Elizabeth improves, her getting completely ‘healed’ is not the main  point of the movie.   It drives home the point that it’s the dysfunctional family, a dynamic beyond her control, is limiting her far more than living in an upstairs bedroom is.

Her father is played to creepy effect by Charles Laughton.

The film ends with a list of positives, and hints of something Robert Browning may have given up himself, in order to commit to Elizabeth.  It’s sentimentalist , overacted by today’s standards, but the steady upward path of her progress, moving against more than one difficult tide of her life, with her talents as the springboard…I love it.

It’s a real chick flick guys, so avoid it if you can.  But it’s a pointer…for a way to have more good days, more hopeful days…At home.

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Left on a hillside…

August 13, 2007 at 9:18 AM (300, Exclusion, film) (, )

In an effort to do something thought-provoking in the middle of a breathing treatement with a hose in my mouth and kidney-stone disconfort….

I saw the movie “300” yesterday.

I was fond of picking apart the military hardware…(“Wait, didn’t the Spartans have an early version of mail armor? If so, where is it…?”)

Not during any “real” history study, but fumbling around in period novels, I had come across what I’ll describe as a ‘rumor’ that women as well as men received vigorous military training in the real Sparta, and that their skeletons are nearly indistinguishable from each other….

That part of the story fascinates me….

But….the discussion of the practice, real or imagined of a society prohibiting the lives of those whith impairments to have any value, indeed to survive at all was highlighted in the beginning of the film…..and *did they have to do that?* No.

They also did not need to reinvent Quasimodo, and turn him traitor and informant.

It’s hard to imagine that any impaired child was saved in exile, and taught an adaptive version of the Spartan warrior’s training…that is implausible enough…Then, the careful, compassionate but letter of the law letdown of the impaired Spartan by Leonidas rings true and almost reedems the idea that this should at least be discussed but not glorified as a good thing…., However, the bitterness and betrayal that follows by the disabled warrior are pure stereotype…it is doubly implausible that such a man would be granted Xerxes ear, and have a misguided moment of glory by revealing the route to overcome the 300….anyone watching the movie might be influenced to think:

“This is *why* we leave them on the hillside. Not just because they cannot meet the exacting physical standard of Spartan society, but that if we allow them to live and exclude them from our community of extreme athleticism and skill, then they will betray us to the enemy the first chance they get.”

Yes, just what we need from a film.

Bitter, vengeful impaired people…that will come after the “normals,” and decide that military defeat of the ‘typical body type,’ is the answer to a society’s abandonment of those who do not conform to a narrow physical ideal…


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I’m writing over at

August 4, 2007 at 8:19 AM (film) ()

Cinemachair today….just not in the frame of mind to write serious stuff..

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So that this place can keep it’s character

June 9, 2007 at 1:18 PM (Acting, film, Music) ()

I’ve decided to split off posts, past, present and future about film, television, music, actors, and acting to a different blog here...

While this one one will continue as is…

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Cell Phones: 21rst Century Consciences

April 22, 2007 at 1:50 PM (Assistive Technology, film)

At least on film.  I’m not talking about Steven King’s booga booga book “Cell” or the short lived, but amazing speculative fiction TV series “Threshold” where they become “evil…”

But they’ve almost crossed that line into being characters themselves, a versatile irritating moralist that you don’t need to pay wages, or buy costumes or make up for.  They’ll *give* you lines, you don’t need to write them.  And the only cost are the contracts written in labrythine language that mean you’ll be paying for it for at least three years…

Money, time, and impairment mean that I’m still a movie fan but I’m always going to be about six months behind…

My Netflix batch this week included “Notes on a Scandal,” where a cell phone has a hand in undoing Cate Blanchetts cozy life (not that Dame Judy Densch’s Scariest  Old Maid *Ever!* or Cate’s own entitled clueless woman didn’t do the major unraveling already)

And “The Departed.”  The phone is the real snitch, working both sides, giving alibis, granting favors,providing direction, misdirection, confusion…as well as the warning note of retribution, that in the earliest movies, was left to music alone, and before the arrival of cell phones, was  a phyisical character (a bartender, a priest, an elderly sage), sound, music,  a sunset, a church bell…

It’s hard for a simple piece of tech to upstage  Jack Nicholson…Matt Damon, Martin Sheen, but it nearly does…

And, for me it did upstage the two actors that everybody else loves but me, Mark Walberg who basically had to show up, be offensive and wave his gun, and Leonardo DiCaprio, who I’ve just not had my “My God, he’s *such* a wonderful  actor!” epiphany about yet…

I hope for a bit part someday…where I get to wave a rubber mallet, and smash the little beeping shiny sonofa…to pieces.

Sigh.  But I need one too.  How else could I ever be sure of paratransit showing up on time?

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