Friday, November 11, 2005
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #22
Pride and Prejudice
starring Keira Knightley, other English people
directed by Joe Wright (nothing you've ever heard of)
Woo! Yes! Finally! A film version of Pride and Prejudice! It's about time, because I was really dissatisfied with the 1938 version. I mean really, Curigwen Lewis and Andrew Osborn in the leads? Ridiculous. Plus that version was all black-and-white and old looking. I can understand why they might have made those artistic choices I guess, but the result is just... dated.
And I don't even want to talk about the 1940 version. Or the 1952. Or the '58 or the '67. Or the '80 or the '95. And the less said about the passé 2003 rendition the better. I've moved on.
I think the only one worth mentioning was the 1990 TV action classic Pride and Extreme Prejudice, but that's an unfair advantage as that film boasted the late, great Brian Dennehy in the lead role. I had my doubts about Mr. Dennehy's ability to pull off Elizabeth Bennett, but you put a gun in that man's hand and a few choice swear words in his mouth and I'll watch him do just about anything. Bad-ass, all of it. You are missed, sir. God rest ye.
I'm happy to see Jane Austen make a little bit of a comeback, though. She had all that phenomenal success as a screenwriter all through the 1990s only to disappear completely, it seemed. It just goes to show young people, you can make a career if you keep plugging away, even if you're no longer the wunderkind you were when you'd only been dead 180 years. You know you've made it when you're still getting work after having been dead for nearly 190 years. That's longevity right there.
This is a complicated choice for my MIHNIoS feature because--and I can't stress this enough--this is most definitely a movie I personally have no intention of ever seeing. But you see, being a married person with children, I have two things to consider: 1) I hardly ever get to go to the movies and 2) when I do, I never go alone. My wife, for some reason, always insists on tagging along. My tastes in films are simple: explosions and boobies. Maybe a car chase. But that's basically it.
Mrs. Pops and her stupid XX chromosomes are all about stuff where people talk about shit and feel stuff, usually with English accents. I don't know how you feel something with an English accent, but they just fucking do.
So on our rare occasions out, it is warfare. Total, unrepentant, merciless psychological warfare. When we do get to pick a movie to go see, the opening of the movie-listing in the newspaper always, always includes the unleashing of the full arsenal of sighs, rolled eyes, tightened lips, furrowed brows and a litany of non-committal sounds ranging from "eh" to "eeh". Because you're sensitive to your partner's needs, there is rarely a firm "No"... but I still always ASK if she wants to the Bad Kitty Theater downtown. One day she'll say yes, I know it.
We were dating in the mid-to-late 1990s when we had no kids and could go see all those Jane Austen movies because they blended in with all the other obscene volume of filmed entertainment we consumed willy-nilly back then. I could even make jokes when she would suggest them, like "Oh, is that the one where there's one smart-ass sister who's too good for everyone who wants to marry her except the guy she wants to marry who makes her sad and then ends with a profession of love while standing in the rain?"
That kind of sarcasm today--and I'm not exaggerating when I say this--would get me killed. Not figuratively either, I mean she would murder me, probably with her bare hands. And rightfully so.
I make a conscious effort to pretend to be sensitive to her needs because I realize that she gets out just as infrequently as I do. At least I hope she does. She can have sex with other people if she needs to, but if she's seeing movies behind my back, it is so over.
Added to all this, we must consider that Mrs. Pops doesn't read.
OK, that didn't come out right. She's not illiterate. She just reads infrequently. She's an engineer. It's a sickness.
But she has read all the goddamn Jane Austen books. I remember when I found her scrounging for tree grubs outside her cave in her native Peru. After I knocked her unconscious and just before started dragging her off in the direction of marital bliss, I found amongst her belongings the complete works of Ms. Austen lovingly inscribed on banana-leaves in the phosphorescent blood of a rare jungle salamander and bound with her own hair. I couldn't figure out a way to sell them, so I just left them there. This was before the rise of eBay. I'm kicking myself now, I tell you what.
What I'm trying to get across to you people is that even though I have no intention of seeing this movie, the odds are that if I were to go to the movies between now and Harry Potter, this is what I would see, intentions be damned.
Sure, it's got Keira Knightley in it, but I don't like her. She's one of those women whom publicists keep trying to convince me is sexy, but actually isn't. Like Kirsten Dunst or Ashlee Simpson or Orlando Bloom. Sure, Ms. Knightley looks OK in a photo shoot all tarted up and airbrushed, but seeing her move around and speak in film is... well, it's disturbing. There's a shot in Love Actually where she full-on toothy smiles and I swear to God you can see every bone in her underfed skull. I'm old fashioned I guess, but I like to maintain some mystery toward the girls I'm supposed to be fantasizing about; the exact placement and spacing of all their vertebrae, for instance. I don't need to know that.
And how did I end up seeing Love Actually, you may wonder. Well, you needn't. I had no intention of seeing that one either.
But that movie had Colin Firth. Unlike the BBC miniseries of Pride and Prejudice, this one does not. So it's got that going for it.
Personally, this is Andrew Shue territory for me. But we do not exist in a vacuum, do we? And who would want to with all the dust and dog hair and constricted living space? What I'm saying is I can be cajoled. Directed. Bribed with sex. Threatened with no sex. Anything could happen.
Keeping all these real-life contingencies in mind, we must, sadly, rate this film:
Three (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale.
My wife would rate it higher, but we only have the three kids. And she probably wouldn't use Elizabeth Shue. She would definitely prefer to leave our kids with this guy: