All About Movies

Dear Erin,

You’ll find your sewing rhythm again, just as I’ll find my reading one. I suspect a break is an excellent idea – you’ll get refreshed and when you come back to it, you’ll have your joy again. In the meantime, as you say, those Christmas stockings take a LONG time and they don’t make themselves! I hadn’t thought about it, but actually, I probably need to get started on one of my own. Yikes!

It’s time to narrow down and set up the list for this summer’s movie series. I got some suggestions, all of which were great and some of which I’ll be using. Unfortunately, I had seen a lot of them either recently or many times before (which makes me rethink my life choices to a certain extent – I scored 107/170 on this quiz) so I decided not to use them. But that’s alright because I only need a few. What do you think of these?

I’ve seen the first and last before, but that was a long time ago. The others are a bit of a chance, so hopefully they’ll pay off. I know a lot of people love each of those four films, but their love doesn’t necessitate mine. Of course, dislike may lead to more interesting reviews here, so it may be a winning situation either way.

In the meantime, speaking of movies, Charles and I went to see Maleficent last night. It’s gotten mixed reviews, and the latest trailer seemed to imply that it was following the model of every fantasy movie since The Lord of the Rings with a preposterous CGI battle done in a palette of charcoal and mud, so I was wary going into it. After all, Sleeping Beauty is my favorite Disney film (not that I think it’s the best), so the potential to be disappointed was high.

It’s a good movie, though, and I’d suggest it for the Munchkin in about 7 or 8 years. It’s not transcendent, or wildly radical, and it’s certainly not perfect, but as a family-friendly feminist variant of a classic fairytale, it mostly delivers. The nods to the previous movie, in the midst of a completely different story, make it feel like it takes place in an adjacent universe – similar but not the same. It’s in the Wicked / Frozen subgenre of reimagined fairy tale, so the messages at this point are familiar: powerful women are often misunderstood / misrepresented as evil; true love is found in friendship with other women; men are dogs.

Familiar (and problematic) as these particular elements may be, the basic truth that women have fulfilling lives and existence completely apart from men is still an unusual enough message in the entertainment we all devour so ravenously that it’s worth repeating for awhile. And I don’t mean in opposition to men, I mean “having nothing whatever to do with” them. Maleficent fails somewhat in this respect, and the fact that she is redeemed through her motherly instincts also makes me itch a bit, but the relationship between Maleficent and Aurora is fundamentally affirming, and in the end it resonates more powerfully than the broken romance between Maleficent and Stefan, so for myself, I give it a pass.

So it’s movies, movies all the time around here, which may help explain why the reading has dropped off. Enjoy your weekend. I’ll be here, hunkered down in front of the silver screen, preparing for our summer series.

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