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Oh Frabjous Day, Calloo, Callay

And rain will make the flowers grow....

And rain will make the flowers grow....

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A whole month since i have posted. I am a bad blogger. In my defense, this month has been both busy and not terrifically noteworthy. Lots going on, nothing much to tell. (Note: this becomes a rant about Les Mis and some basic misogyny, so ... that's where this ends up. Happy New Year! PS, if you've never seen it, spoilers.)

I started the new job. It's exactly as advertised. I am employed, though, and I am happy about that part. Everyone is very nice. Filing is very boring. What can I say? I'll be there for at least the next 6 months, and once I am used to the earlier hours (oh, god) I will plow all my free brainspace into writing! Yes! So that's good. And then at some point there's the hope that we will find ourselves the proud foster parents of one or two kidlets, so I'll probably need those unused brain cells to keep them alive and content and stuff. So there's that. 

Xmas was a quiet affair, just us two with the cats, and then dinner with Michelle and Jared, who were graciously hosting a dinner right after returning from vacation. A few people cancelled due to illness, so it was just the four of us, and there was far too much food. (I baked a *lot*) We ate a lot of it. I regret nothing. My big present from Scott was tickets to see 'La Boheme' in March, and I am SO EXCITED! So that's good. Cats received holiday treats. Otherwise we left them in peace and did not force them to wear adorable outfits. A very Merry, indeed. 

Several of us went to see "Les Mis" the movie last night, and I was so excited for it. But I was a little disappointed. There have been a few discussions as to why, and I think it's partly filming choices, and partly that Russel Crowe just didn't pull off the aggression and animosity and implacable foe of Javert - and it was most likely because he doesn't know how to both act and sing at the same time. Or if he does, he didn't. And he doesn't have the voice for that part. Javert needs bigger pipes. As I commented to a friend, when I see Javert coming, I shouldn't think - dude, Javert, why are you so crabby? And Amanda Seyfreid's voice is very old fashioned, with kind of off-putting vibrato that flutters in a distracting way, which doesn't help. I'm not sure she managed to push adult (or adolescent) Cosette into a character that has any meaning, but that's really mostly the script's fault. 

I've been realizing that the whole Les Miserables musical script, actually, has been bothering me. I know the book was written mid nineteenth century, and that the male gaze is pretty standard for the time, and that the musical was written mid to late 80s, and didn't do a lot to help that. But this thing only barely scrapes into passing the Bechdel test, and that's only because when Cosette is being yelled at by Madame Thenardier, she actually says "Don't make me go out there alone." That's it. That is the only time two named female characters speak to one another. All other female to female communication that involves a named character is to Fantine, and it's all by unnamed characters, and all of them are horrible and mean for no real reason, other than plot necessity. We need women being mean to women so that Fantine can get tossed out on her ass and become a prostitute. Oh, goody. Both Fantine and Madame Thenardier speak to their daughters, but in one case, the daughter is a halucination, and in neither case do the girls speak back. Cosette and Eponine never say boo to one another. And the longer it went on, even though it matches with what I remember, the more I thought, bullshit. It's total bullshit. The one shining moment of communication between females is at the end, when unnamed female characters sing, did you see those boys die like that? Terrible how those brave boys died. I know, I know, I'm late to the party in being irritated about this, but come on. Seriously? We have very obvious female tropes here, with half of them dying pathetically, and the ones who live are the "heroine," who has little to do with anything that happens, and whose main quality seems to be that she's pretty, and the minor villain who at least is entertaining, but still didn't do much to move events along. But none of them really speak to one another, ever. It's maddening.

Why you gotta do me like that, Broadway musicals? I only want to love you. 

I still love the songs. I still love Fantine and her broken-downness. I love Eponine and her doomed bravery and her thoughtless, teenagery I love him but I won't ever tell him. But in a, geez, this could've been such a deeper story.

Other points: I love Hugh Jackman as Valjean. He was raw and emotional and yes, a little nasal, but he brought it. The extreme close-ups were a mistake, because all I could look at were his eyebrows and hair and teeth. Giant faces singing at you are disconcerting. When he and Cosette are getting ready to leave for England, he looks like Pa Ingalls. When he's in prison, he looks like 20 miles of bad road, and when he's dying, all I could think of was the makeup involved in getting the eyes that red. Distracting. Anne Hathaway was brilliant as Fantine, but she's on screen for what, 20 minutes? Both Marius and Enjolras were great singers, and I was impressed. Thenardiers were Thenardier-y, in the way they should be. Eponine was great, and I like her voice. But when she was singing, all I could look at were her teeth and hair. So ... I have all the songs in my  head, but I didn't emotionally connect to them in the movie. It was weird. The group numbers were really good, though.

OK, that got ranty all of a sudden. But hey, that's what I have to post about right now. Other things - I am still editing. I will still be editing for awhile. It's going to be AWESOME! Or at least as awesome as I can make it, and I really hope people like it. I can tell you that my own heroine, who has been going through some growing pains of her own as I rewrite, is getting so much more agency than I originally wrote her with. And she's getting smacked around a lot by life, but she is figuring out how to be in charge of herself. And I think that's a pretty good story, so I'm going to stick with it.

Happy New Year, everyone. Sing songs of not so angry men, women, or random squirrels. (Those squirrels get so aggro)
  • Wow, the whole Bechdel test thing completely passed me by until you mentioned it. Having seen my nitpicking, you've added another nit for me to pick at. I had brunch yesterday with a friend who is a professional movie critic and he thought the movie was just dreadful start to finish. I can't be that harsh on it, but the more I think about it, the more I find myself unhappy with bigger parts of it. ::sigh::
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