For, I suppose, obvious reasons, the original Fame is one of my favorite movies. The NC School of the Arts (which I attended and loved) wasn't that much like the high school in Fame, but the energy and intensity were familiar.
After we saw the Fame trailer (before seeing Up) I wasn't sure whether I wanted to see it. However, after thinking about it, how can I not see a musical with (what looks like) fairly good dancing?!
It looks "prettied up" compared to the original movie [and no dancing on cars :( (From the original, to the right)]. From the trailer, the characters seem to have less personality than the ones in the original, but I'll try to keep an open mind.*
I wish they had just written new songs and not redone the ones from the original - particularly the new hip hop "Fame." It loses the driving energy the original had and sort of lopes along. I can enjoy hip hop, but not this one.
Now, why can't they redo the movie of A Chorus Line?! The movie version is such a bad reflection of the stage musical that I refused to rent it for my older kids to watch. They had to wait until a touring production came around.
We went to the Smoky Mountains a few times when older son was very little, but we've never had a chance to take all three kids. Finally, on our recent vacation, we were able to take a day and go to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
I was worried that it wouldn't be as special as I remembered.
I didn't need to worry.
View from the Blue Ridge Parkway near the park.
Chickens at the historic farm at the park
Older son's photo
Hover fly who sat and posed on older son's finger for about 5 minutes (this is one of the best photos he took of the fly)
Tortoise beetles (making more tortoise beetles) [OS]
The view from the tower at Clingman's Dome (highest point in Tennessee):
Van Helsing, a movie about a vampire/werewolf/monster/whatever hunter, is not the sort of movie I usually watch. However, it stars Hugh Jackman so we decided to give it a try.
One review said that it's such a bad movie that it's good. Along with being succint, that's a fairly accurate point of view. The acting varies from Hugh Jackman and Shuler Hensley, who are always good, to Richard Roxburgh (from Moulin Rouge) who, I suppose, was good, but who played Dracula so totally over the top it was funny. Hugh Jackman's swagger (and hat) occasionally reminded me so much of a combination of Indiana Jones and Jack from Romancing the Stone that I expected him to go hand by hand under the coach (Raiders of the Lost Ark style) when he was falling off of it at one point. This was Hugh Jackman's first film as leading man.
The special effects are very good, and often disgusting, so it was just as well that, in general, I didn't get all absorbed in the plot. The few times I did get caught up, I was surprised. Still, it is quite an adventure.
Shuler Hensley played Frankenstein's monster in the movie, a role he also played in the Broadway musical version of Young Frankenstein. I was occasionally reminded of Young Frankenstein,* which also kept me from taking the movie seriously. Another character looked like he stepped out of the Time Warp scene in Rocky Horror.
My favorite character was Carl, a friar (not a monk), with good one-liners, sent along to help Van Helsing through research and technology. He keeps even the action scenes from becoming too serious (Carl, Van Helsing, and the monster to the right).
Kate Beckinsale's, Dracula-hunting character gets plenty of stunts of
her own and lots of fighting. There's only one helpless female in need
of rescue** in this movie, and she's not it. I like her outfit; although, with the corset and stiletto heels, I don't think it's all that practical for monster-fighting (Daughter: "Unless she wrenches one of the heels off and stabs a vampire with it").
Also, the embroidered blouse is lovely. However, during rainy, fight scenes, from a distance, the material looks skin-colored, and you can't see the detail of the embroidery so you have to remind yourself that she doesn't have two bright red splotches on her chest. Battling vampires in pasties would be quite a different movie altogether.***
I don't know that I'd necessarily recommend Van Helsing, but it wasn't a bad way to spend two hours...
Okay, despite the over the top acting and plot and the lack of emotional involvement, it was fun.
Daughter: Every Victorian movie has to have a ballroom seduction scene - Phantom of the Opera, Labyrinth, Moulin Rouge...
Older son: Sometimes it was so over the top that I had to work to keep from laughing.
A favorite quote:
Velkan: I would rather die than help you.
Dracula: Oh, don't be boring, everybody who says that dies.
A video that daughter found (It might give away parts of the plot if you can remember all the two second clips):
* At one point, a character said "Werewolf," to which I replied "There wolf."
** The villagers are not very bright. "Oh look, flying creatures are attacking the village. Let's all go outside and be hors d'ouevres see them."
*** By the way, if you do a Google image search for pasties, to make sure you have the right term, half the photos you get are of women, and half are of Cornish meat pies, plus one photo of Brad Pitt with steaks on his chest (from Netfoodie.com).
Jennifer Lohmann, a romance fan and a librarian at the Durham County Library (one of our favorites)(see a recent DC library haul here), was recently interviewed by the blog, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. She often talks to librarians and library students about the romance genre. Here are some of my favorite quotes:
...Outside of UNC, the database of fiction called NoveList (see if your
local library has it—NoveList is AWESOME!!!) is headquartered here in
Durham. They asked me to come talk to their catalogers about romance
so they would better understand the genre as they cataloged the books.
I’m happy to talk to more public libraries (especially within driving
distance) and library schools. I love to talk about romance and am
happy to promote the genre...I think the most awesome is just how many people
did not expect to like the books they read. One professor asked
everyone to read Outlander and a lot of the class was surprised how
much they liked the book, especially since there was the scene where
Jaime beats Claire. When the class got to choose their own romance,
many of the women were really shocked that they were entertained by the
romance, no matter what they choose.
...The most interesting argument I got into about the romance formula
was with a couple my husband and I know. They aren’t librarians, one
is a nurse/poet and the other writes short stories.
The poet, a man, talked about how romances were formulaic and there
was such a rigid structure. His wife, the short story writer, defended
the romance mostly by saying how all fiction is formulaic. If you write
short stories, she said, there is a formula. She referenced The New
Yorker formula, which I didn’t know existed, not being a New Yorker
reader. If you don’t write in the manner of the New Yorker, you can
not get a short story published. She said the New Yorker set the
formula for “literary fiction” and if he didn’t notice the formula
being taught at the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, he wasn’t paying
attention. If the person telling me about the romance formula is
willing to have a conversation, I will usually talk about that
conversation with the poet and short story writer.
In the 17th century, based on a question raised by the Bishop of Quebec, the Roman Catholic Church ruled that the beaver was a fish
(beaver flesh was a part of the indigenous peoples' diet, prior to the
Europeans' arrival) for purposes of dietary law. Therefore, the general
prohibition on the consumption of meat on Fridays during Lent does not apply to beaver meat. The legal basis for the decision probably rests with the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas, which bases animal classification as much on habit as anatomy.
[Joseph rehearsals are going well. I finally went swimming with younger son this morning. We saw Up, and loved it, this evening, but I probably will never get around to blogging about it. Dear husband is back home again, but very busy. He'll have to work this weekend. I decided not to bother with the MRI at this point. It could either show nothing or something operable. There's no way I could do more surgery before late fall/early winter so I'll do the MRI then if I still need to. Daughter had a job interview today. Older son is having trouble with college course registration. More is going on that is not bloggable.
I'm far busier than I was this spring - except for aerobics. The health club in Chapel Hill, where I've very happily taught aerobics for six years, is closing at the end of the month.
Well, the orthopedist was very surprised today to hear about my knee. Apparently, being able to walk for long distances but having pain while standing is unusual. Still being unable to drive much also surprised him. He said that having pain and stiffness this long after the surgery (6 months yesterday) is extreme. I'm scheduled for an MRI next week (if insurance pays for another one) to see if there's some further problem.
We're working on the staging (not "choreography" - the director says that the word "choreography" intimidates men) for two numbers tonight - Jacob and Sons and Joseph's Coat:
(I'll be icing my knee when we get home - not that that's unusual)