Wednesday: Classics with a twist
On Wednesday, my brother and I went to the Carlton Street Cinema to see “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”. I love the Carlton Street Cinema because a) it’s literally right across the street from my condo, so if I go there and the theatre is too crowded, I can just leave and not feel like I wasted a huge trip or anything b) they serve wine and c) there’s wine, which I might have already mentioned. It’s not a VIP cinema or anything; in fact, the individual theatres are just a little bigger than the media room at a really rich person’s house, so when I go there, I can pretend that I’M the rich person and everyone else in the theatre are my guests (should that be “is” my guests? It just sounds so wrong). Except, unlike my own house, I can’t scream, “Will you shut the f*ck up?!” at the people down front who won’t stop talking and giggling. Which happened on Wednesday with a particularly annoying threesome consisting of an elderly man and two female companions, who laughed hysterically and loudly at the most inappropriate moments, causing me to ask my brother, “What the hell is so funny?” My brother, who has a Ph.D, explained it thusly: “I have no idea. Maybe they’re stoned.”
At any rate, I didn’t know what to expect with the movie. “Pride and Prejudice” is one of my favourite novels, and when it was originally written, there was nary a hint of zombie within its pages. I figured it would just be a cheesy excuse for blood and gore, wrapped in an Edwardian cloak. I was actually pleasantly surprised that not only was the original storyline intact, the integration of the zombie storyline was well-done and not illogical at all. Well, except for the fact that there were ZOMBIES. You can never really get away from the illogic of that. Still. But then my brother told me that there was another Jane Austen rewrite called “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters”, and I was like “WTF? Now we’re really stretching it. I’ve read that book, and it took place mostly on the moors. Is this going to be like ‘Snow Sharks’, where the sharks leave their natural habitat and swim through the snow, attacking unwary skiers?” (Okay, yes, I DID watch that movie, only because the only other thing on TV that night was reruns of ‘Two and a Half Men’, and I would rather gouge out my own eyes than watch Charlie Sheen in ANYTHING. “Snow Sharks” was much better, which isn’t saying a lot.) So I got to thinking that maybe I should hop on this bandwagon, and I came up with a few ideas of my own for integrated storylines.
1) Gone With The Wind and Chupacabras: On the eve of her debutante ball, the vivacious Scarlet O’Hara finds herself defending Tara, and her inept suitors, against a swarm of small, spiky, bear-like, goat-sucking creatures. Casting aside her idyllic plantation upbringing, she devotes the remainder of her life to protecting the South, declaring “I’ll never go swordless again!” With the help of the dashing Rhett Butler, and her devoted servants (“I don’t know nuthing ‘bout killing chupacabras, Miss Scarlet! But I’ll learn!”), she drives back the chupacabra hordes with nothing but her trusty sabre and her wit. Her job is, of course, made easier by the almost complete lack of goats in Georgia. Ultimately, however, she is betrayed by Rhett Butler, who unbeknown to anyone, is the Chupacabra King and is planning to take his minions to the North. When Scarlett finds out, she’s appalled:
Scarlet: Rhett, if you go, where shall I go? What shall I do?
Rhett: Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
Scarlet: Well, f*ck you then. Prissy, hand me my sword. It’s time the Chupacabra King lost his crown.
2) Citizen Kane, Sasquatch Slayer: On his deathbed, Charles Foster Kane, newspaper tycoon extraordinaire, and a bit of a d-bag, utters his final words: “Rosebud”. No one knows what it means. His private life was a mystery; however, throughout the film, via the use of tabloid-esque newsreels, it is slowly revealed that he had another calling aside from the news business: to hunt down and slay every Sasquatch in the country. Taken in as a child by a millionaire, William Thatcher, Kane is trained in the art of surveillance and becomes noted, and ridiculed, for his numerous Sasquatch sightings. He builds a “scandal sheet” empire, based on stories about alien invasions, government conspiracies, two-headed babies, and the Kardashians. All the while craving respect and legitimacy, he turns to hunting Sasquatches in order to prove to the world that he’s not a madman. He runs for governor, with the campaign slogan “The truth is out there” and posters featuring blurry photos of Bigfoot. After a devastating loss at the polls, he builds a fantastical estate, “Xanadu”, where he lives in isolation until his death. Once the contents of the estate are inventoried, it is revealed that “Rosebud” is the name on a glass showcase found in a hidden room on the estate. It contains a stuffed, 6 foot-tall, ape-like creature.
3) The Wizard of Jackalopes: A young, mid-west farm girl gets caught in a hurricane and finds herself in a strange land. After cavorting and singing with a group of tiny, hard-drinking people, she meets a couple of witches, one good, but a little creepy and passive-aggressive, and one who seems to be bad, but whose redeeming quality is that she loved her dead sister whose crushed body lies under the farm girl’s flying house. The bad witch vows vengeance and disappears in a cloud of red smoke. The farm girl, whose wide-eyed innocence quickly becomes super-annoying, teams up with a robot, a zombie, and a griffin in order to make their way to the Emerald City and meet a wizard who can solve all their problems. After a series of midadventures, they are confronted by the bad witch and her army of jackalopes, giant rabbits with fierce teeth and deer antlers, and are forced to fight to the death. They all die. (I have to stop here, because when I was a kid, there were so many commercials that the damn movie was over three hours long, and I always fell asleep at about the half-way point. I have no idea how it actually ends.)
So there you have it—three fresh ways to look at the classics. I also have another idea about an FBI agent haunted by a childhood attack by killer lambs and her serial killer nemesis, a man who likes to dress in sheepskin, but it’s not “fleshed out” yet, haha.
Friday: Valentine’s Day should not be a competition
It happens every year, on pretty much every occasion—I get outdone by Ken. It’s bad enough that I have a terrible memory and Ken writes EVERYTHING down:
Ken: Guess what day it is today??!!
Me: Oh, god, no. What day is it?
Ken: It’s the 7th year anniversary of our third date! Here, I got you a little something…
But it’s worse on the major occasions. We’ve been married for over 25 years, and Valentine’s Day is no longer a big deal. Or so I thought. But yesterday, this was the conversation:
Ken: Is it OK if I drop you off at the grocery store? I went to three different places yesterday, and I can’t find the thing I want to get you for Valentine’s Day.
Me: What? You don’t have to get me anything. It’s not a big deal.
Ken: No, I have this thing in mind. You’re really going to like it.
Me: All I got you was some chocolate…
Ken: That’s OK. I just want to get you something special. Do you want to know what it is?
Ken: It’s a digital picture frame!
Me: But that’s really expensive. All I got you was chocolates.
Ken: But you’re worth it. Don’t worry about it.
So this morning, he gave me a beautiful digital picture frame so I could have pictures of him, T, Titus, Raven, and all kinds of flowers, clouds, fences, and trees when I’m in Toronto. But I won in the end though:
Me: Here’s your chocolate. AND YOUR CARD.
Ken: Oh no! I forgot to get you a card. I’m so sorry.
Me: That’s OK. The present was enough. Don’t worry about it.
I may have snickered a little smugly to myself at that point. But don’t tell Ken. He’ll always be MY Valentine.