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terribleturnip

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A bottle of wine, a mediocre movie, and writing implements [Apr. 9th, 2008|09:46 am]
terribleturnip
Here’s what happens when you leave me alone for a weekend with a movie, bottle of wine, Kudrasslipper’s previous post about the things in your head that should best stay there…and a pad and pen within reach:

The wine was a lovely rose from Bonny Doon. Again, there ARE pink wines worth drinking. That I managed to leave a quarter bottle for the shrimp the next day show remarkable restraint on my part and supports my argument that the following “notes” were not the product of alcohol overindulgence. Writing actually interferes with my drinking. (Hemingway is rolling over in his grave. For more than one reason. Mostly because I just referenced him.) Lowland Scot will hopefully feel better that for dinner this night, I made a box of Annie’s mac and cheese and stirred a can of tuna into it. I tried, in a fit of self-indulgence and sloth, to eat it straight from the pot, but as I was laying on the couch, resting my knee and ankle on orders from the Captain and Fetch, I couldn’t manage it and had to break down and eat it civilized like from a bowl. Strawberries for dessert was as close to a vegetable I got.



Why? Because I went to Lutheran School. Because when we moved to a predominantly Catholic town, it amused me as one of the few Protestant students in the school to concentrate on the Protestant Reformation as a paper/thesis topic and it’s always fun to watch and see how poorly a movie stacks up against actual events. I’m a sucker for movies set in the 16th century – costumes, architecture, portrayal of life styles. And there’s Joe Fienne’s big brown spaniel eyes.

The movie…sorta sucked. Overwrought in all the wrong places, tragically flat in others. Frantically historically inaccurate, painting Luther as a slightly deranged, way too modest and spiritual saint. (It was sponsored in part, by the Lutheran Church…so it is absolute propaganda) In true Lutheran fashion, he was only deranged at night, in the privacy of his own cell. But that isn’t really the way it went down. Luther was an obstinate, argumentative, self-aggrandizing asshole, loving arguing with authority only a little bit more than he loved his food, drink and women – and much of his outrage at the time was very well-deserved and directed. But despite that, there was also some nice eye candy, and fodder for the following stream of consciousness:

Joseph Fiennes has very large hands. Very. It’s giving me impure thoughts. But after several minutes of the film, I’m struggling to hang onto those thoughts because in my head, Tonsure=Birth Control. This is NOT a good look for him.

Fabulous shots of a pack of greyhounds running down a boar. Although when it’s time to kill the boar, the greyhounds are not to be seen. Because of course, they’re still running after the lure that the trainer had off-camera. Also, the soundtrack has them baying the whole time they’re running. Ummm, they don’t do that. And some stunningly beautiful horseflesh. The carthorse is giving me impure thoughts. Although where someone who travels by rude farmer’s cart would get a fine piece of horse like that, I have no idea. Borrowed him from the prince? And all of the horses are freshly bathed and combed, at all times. I HATE that.

It’s at this point, a quarter of the way through the movie that I realize that despite having spent all of that time studying this time period, I don’t remember how it ends, what happens to Luther. Hmmm. Okay, so I did concentrate more on Wycliff…I console myself with that and pour another glass of wine. It won’t help with my memory, but I will care less.

By now, his tonsure has grown out, thank goodness and he’s starting to look hot again. But then he has to start talking about God…and that’s always a bit of a damper for me. And I think to myself, as Church officials are bitching about what a pain in the ass he’s become…well, that’s what you get when you give a German lawyer religion…

Am jerked back to movie criticism by “Luther’s depressed, milord” Depressed? I’m pretty sure that’s not a 16th century thought. How about melancholy? That would be a nice tie-in to the theories that the Reformation, in part, gave rise to the cult of Melancholia in 16th-17th century England – Dowland, my fav-o-rite! See, I really did study this once…

I’ve just watched a terribly weak scene where Luther confronts his ex-professor who’s gotten a bit…carried away. It was the 16th century version of “You, cut it out. That’s enough. This is MY gig.” And, 100,000 dead peasants…that’s like, what, a million in today’s currency?

By now I’m well into the wine, and well into the eye-rolling, but “Luther’s a theologian, milord, he fights with his words and his tongue, not a sword.” Now, that’s HOT. Although tongue and sword…now we’re talking!

In my cups, as much as the movie sucks, and being the first person to trashtalk and belittle the intellect of the great unwashed masses…I’m still moved, as I was as a teenager, by the notion that the people should be able to read their own scriptures and talk directly to their God. Although then I think of what’s happened to modern American Christianity and think…hmm. Maybe we would have been better off…

The special features were laughable. They took three interviews with the major actors and split them up so that each question asked and answered was its own menu item. Oh, please, don’t even bother. Although it was worth it to hear Ustinov say “Well, I’m no longer surprised that they died at age 40 at that time. Those costumes pulled you in all the wrong directions, like wearing curtains. It must have just exhausted them.”

The only good thing about the movie being not very good was that it made the transition to regular television less painful. But my comments on the commercials will have to wait for another post.
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: sestree
2008-04-09 02:07 pm (UTC)
A hint: the next time you drink watch Capote.

I had to have a pitcher of cosmos to feel in the moment.

because I don't slay martians ;)

oh and thank you for taking me back to the geekiness that was Western Civ - I loved that class ........


Edited at 2008-04-09 02:08 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: thatliardiego
2008-04-09 02:09 pm (UTC)
I’m still moved, as I was as a teenager, by the notion that the people should be able to read their own scriptures and talk directly to their God. Although then I think of what’s happened to modern American Christianity and think…hmm. Maybe we would have been better off…

I think the part about the "reading" was where it went wrong.

And you getting impure thoughts makes me get impure thoughts. ;)
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2008-04-09 02:35 pm (UTC)
Mmmm. It's spring, I'm fair ABOUNDING with impure thoughts. Note to self: pack saltpetre for weekend so that you don't embarrass yourself.
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[User Picture]From: quislet
2008-04-09 02:12 pm (UTC)
Propaganda films should always be watched with plenty of alcohol at hand.

As a confirmed apostate, I have to agree that Luther was one of my favorite characters in church history, but then maybe I give him too much credit for the Reformation, too...
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[User Picture]From: majorchaos
2008-04-09 02:14 pm (UTC)
The Luther's are one of my favorite characters. Lex was always good at being bad.
Oh wait... wrong Luther's.
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[User Picture]From: lowlandscot
2008-04-09 02:52 pm (UTC)
people should be able to read their own scriptures and talk directly to their God. Although then I think of what’s happened to modern American Christianity and think…hmm. Maybe we would have been better off

I do think any stroll down the eschatology cheesecake/Rapture porn aisle in a Vondervan bookstore would at the very least make you think this was an idea that could have used a solid risk analysis.

Speaking of art needing a frame -- you certainly get a different impression of this movie (which I haven't seen) when you mostly hang out with period musicians. I didn't hear a word about the tonsure, the eyes, or indeed even the plot, but got some incredibly detailed bitching about the lute playing.
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2008-04-10 12:12 pm (UTC)
As someone who is a music fan, my bitch would have been that there was so LITTLE period music playing...
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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2008-04-09 06:53 pm (UTC)
And were the horses whinnying the whole time too? Gods, I hate that. Some perfectly respectable horse standing around being bored and the foley folks HAVE to put in a whinny. That annoys me more than having them wiggle their lips and dubbing in human speech. Dadgaderie says this is so the sight-impaired will know there is a horse on the screen. I say a few hoof beats does the trick.

Thank you for noticing the perfectly groomed, highly bred cart horses. Sigh. No one else much does but it bugs me, too. They're sooooo pretty... and sooooo wrong. I also notice when the cart horse is later pulling a hansom cab or part of a team with a coach. Drives dadgaderie nuts. Me noticing and complaining, that is.

It's all about our little fetishes, isn't it? The dogs, the horses, the tonsure, the music, the language... the big... hands...
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2008-04-10 12:18 pm (UTC)
Obviously we need to double date when we go to historically based movies. You and I can bitch about the horses (I'm pretty sure they didn't have Uxeter Kimberwick bits in Medieval England...there's no way in hell they could get their horses to charge a wall of flame...and of course, all of those white horses in pre-bathing England and not a hipbone pee stain to be seen...sigh) and the boys can bitch about the sailing inaccuracies.
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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2008-04-10 06:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, gods, yes, those perfectly clean white horses!!! And yes, the tack issues always kind of piss me off. I mean really: Xena's horse Argo with a modern bit doesn't bother me particularly- it's hardly about accuracy of ANY kind of reality, that series- but if you're doing historical stuff then by gods you should at least get some of the damn details right. I could go on and on... The end of Dances with Wolves- so lovely he turned his pony loose for a happy life of freedom WITH his SHOES STILL ON, The Black Stallion being an Arab who's faster than t-breds nearly twice his size, etc. Actually the only horse-based story I liked much recently was that one with Viggo Mortensen, despite it not being a "true story" as advertised and the script/story was utter crap- but Viggo can ride and the horse was lovely. I just ignored nearly all of it and drooled over Mr. Mortensen. Who sadly has gotten a face lift and doesn't look nearly so handsome any more... oh well.

The Date is on! Let the bitching begin. :)
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[User Picture]From: thatliardiego
2008-04-09 10:38 pm (UTC)
That annoys me more than having them wiggle their lips and dubbing in human speech.

But Whiiiillllllburrrrrrr......?!!
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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2008-04-10 06:43 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's fantasy! All bets are off in fantasy. :) Besides they often get horses to wiggle their lips by giving them sticky things to eat like peanut butter which they really like so that's okay. "No horses were harmed in the filming..."
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[User Picture]From: thatliardiego
2008-04-10 06:44 pm (UTC)
All bets are off in fantasy. :)

I'll just bet they are. :)
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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2008-04-10 08:43 pm (UTC)
Yep, pretty much! :)
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