Shakespeare in Love

You know, being known as the “film girl” is not all that great. It’s a label, a mere tag that’s supposed to sum up your whole character. And it sucks, no matter the label people – or even yourself – try to slap upon your existence. So, though I’m in love with films, I’m not watching much movies lately. And I like it. If you rush it, watching films becomes an expected duty of some sort, and it definitely lessens the experience. I’ve been expanding my world into other artistic realms – slam poetry, great books, cool music, whatever. And I love it. But lately, I’ve started to get hungry. Hungry to see a movie. I think it’s time to go back, and it feels just right. I’m going back because I want to – not because it’s expected. (This long introductory paragraph is supposed to stand as a reason for my lack of blogging for the past few weeks. :))

Let’s continue…

Shakespeare is everywhere, unfortunately. It’s bad enough people are regularly indoctrinated at school, but his writing permeates modern literature, television, numerous plays, even video games. (OK. Maybe not video games.) This overindulgence leads to a watering down of his slicing prose, lending his works to infamy and therefore annoyance. Now, instead of focusing on other, more talented writers of the past, director Thomas Madden decides to weaken the name of Shakespeare even further with his Shakespeare in Love. It’s not a pretty sight.

Shakespeare in Love is one of the best reasons why the Academy Awards is a very bad joke played on the public for decades. Winner of Best Picture in 1998, Shakespeare attempts to fill in the spaces of William’s personal life while he wrote the illustrious Romeo and Juliet. What occurs is a cliche-ridden mess.

Common, yet still disappointing, Shakespeare in Love is brimming with historical inconsistencies. (Note to filmmakers: putting your actors in stuffy, fluffy costumes does not justify lazy writing regarding the accuracy of historical fact.) Shakespeare is a fictional tale, but from what history details: Shakespeare was not a dashing, charming young man who swooned rich men’s daughters; fat, broke, and brilliant would be more accurate. Queen Elizabeth, performed by Judi Dench, did not randomly show up to public playhouses. (Is it me, or is Dench somehow contractually required to show up in every English film ever?). And Romeo and Juliet wasn’t so popular at first.

But never mind that. The “love” story between Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) and Viola (Gwenyth Paltrow), a soon to be married daughter of a rich man, is problematic. For one, it’s all been done before. You know, the rich-daughter-wants-poor-man-but-has-to-marry-another-rich-guy-who-is-really-mean-and-old-so-she-runs-away-and-eventually-lives-happily-ever-after-with-poor-dude plot? Yeah, that one. In addition, the other boring, uninteresting, and meaningless subplots cloud an already stressed and overused love story. The only time the story gains strength is when it aligns with history. In the 1500’s, women weren’t allowed to perform on stage. A movie adaptation of the significantly important story of the fight of creative rights for women would be far more fascinating than this bloated, overrated film.

In one key scene, Viola defends the honesty and purity of plays and poetry to the Queen of England.

“Plays cannot show the very truth and nature of love,” Queen Elizabeth declares.

Viola is adamant. “Oh, but they can!”

I’m sorry, Viola. Others have succeeded, but Shakespeare in Love is not one of them.

The Words

Before Film: Doubtful. Worried. A bad film or a misunderstood movie? No – be optimistic. It has good actors. No, wait – it has Dennis Quaid. What was his last good movie? Return to skepticism.

Beginning: Intrigued. Nice cinematography. Sweet and romantic. Uh oh…is that a cliche on the horizon? Nope, phew.

Middle: Terrific acting. Beautiful storyline. Grateful. Relieved.

End: Touching message, complex morals. Yes – a misunderstood film.

Credits: Fantastic.

☆☆☆☆

What’s This?

Mr. Trevor at the wonderful blog, Northwest Movies, awarded me the Liebster Blog Award. He gave me some really interesting questions to answer (I don’t know a film movement!) and I’ll pass it on. Let’s get started.

The rules for the Liebster Award:
1. Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2. Answer the 11 questions the person giving the award has set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you will be giving the award to.
4. Choose 11 people to award and send them a link to your post.
5. Go to their page and tell them.
6. No tag backs.

1) As it happens to be, at least half of my favorite films almost didn’t become my favorite films. I doubted they would be good, until family/friends urged me to go see them. Example: The Grey looked like crap to me, Dad encouraged, now I listen to the soundtrack every day.

2) I am a vegan. No, I won’t judge you for your love of meat.

3) My Netflix streaming queue contains 240 movies. (Hmm…I thought it would be a lot more…)

4) When I was born, I had 12 fingers. (I no longer have these extra limbs.)

5) I’m also a musician. I recently auditioned for American Idol and The Voice.

6) My favorite part at the Oscars? When they hand out the awards for adapted/original screenplay. Specifically, I love how they superimpose an actual excerpt of the script on the playing scene.

7) I like getting up early and staying up late. Not the greatest sleeping schedule.

8) I need to learn a small, little lesson: stop forcing yourself through horrible films/books. Now within limit, I do know how to press the ‘Stop’ button and leave, but I have to tell myself sometimes, “it’s not going to get better.”

9) I used to devour fiction novels like crazy. However, I somehow been reading a lot more non-fiction novels lately…odd. I’m starving for a good fiction book. (Leave some suggestions, please!)

10) When I’m on the treadmill, on the wall on front of me, there’s this little stand and there’s a portable DVD player on it-I get to watch films while exercising. Cool.

11) I love laughing. No feeling like it.

Trevor’s questions:

1.    Are there any films where you like the remake better than the original? If so, what?
True Grit is one.
 
2.    Do you keep up with film news or just wait in anticipation?
Both. Sometimes I love checking Collider, other time I wait and let me excitement grow naturally.  
3.    Is there a DVD/Blu-ray that you like the special features more than the film itself?
Though I can’t pinpoint a specific movie right now, the behind the scenes features are always fascinating, whether it’s a good or bad film. As a filmmaker, seeing your future environment is invaluable.
4.    Many books are adapted into movies. Is it a viable argument to say that the movie is bad just because it’s different than you envisioned when you read the book?
Um, no. The movie is bad because either it totally goes off the path of the novel and fails miserably, or tries to stay to close to the novel and doesn’t reaches the same level of enjoyability. I discuss this more with my new series, Book Vs. Film.
 
5.    My dad and I were talking about the Sight and Sound poll. He found it pretentious. I asked him what he thought the greatest movie of all time was. His answer: Sahara. His reasoning: it’s his favorite. (It’s a somewhat enjoyable action comedy) Anyways my question is: is something being your favorite ample reason to think something is the best or even great?
Of course! The Grey is one of the best movie ever because I say so!
But seriously, no.
 
6.    Should Alan Smithee’s be allowed or are they just an excuse for a mediocre film? (Examples: David Lynch with Dune, Stanley Kubrick with Spartacus)
An excuse. We all mistakes sometimes. No need to be ashamed. (I also feel sorry if there’s a wonderful director actually named Alan Smithee but he’ll never be found. A moment of silence for him, please).
7.    What is a film you love from a director whose films you normally dislike?
Romeo + Juliet was tolerable.
 
8.    What is your favorite high school movie?
Hmm, not too knowledgable in this genre. But Mean Girls cracks me up.
 
9.    What is your favorite film movement? (Examples: German Expressionism, Italian Neorealism, Kitchen Sink Realism, Mumblecore, New French Extremity)
Kitchen Sink Realism? Is that real? That’s hilarious.
I’m not the kind of film buff who would spend all her time watching neo-noir Russian films from the 40’s for fun. I don’t know any film movement, but the Kitchen Sink one sounds fun.
10. What is your most anticipated film of the rest of 2012?
There’s so many! Django Unchained, The Master, The Great Gatsby, Cloud Atlas, 12 Years A Slave, Life of Pi, and more! But I’ll have to go with The Master.
11. Who is an actor/actress that most people find attractive that you just don’t?
George Clooney.
My 11 Questions:
1) What made you want to start your blog?
2) Is there anything else you love to do besides devour films?
3) Choose out of the two: Magnolia vs. Memento, Forrest Gump vs. Catch Me If You Can, The Jerk vs. Blazing Saddles.
4) If you had to choose one movie to watch for the rest of your life, what would it be?
5) Is there truly a difference between a movie and a film?
6) What’s your favorite quote about life?
7) Explain the name of your blog. 
8) Has Denzel Washington had his “movie” yet? Tom Hanks had Saving Private Ryan/Cast Away/Forrest Gump, Tim Robbins had Shawshank Redemption, Clint Eastwood had Dirty Harry, and Robert De Niro had Taxi Driver. What’s Denzel’s?
9) Who’s the most important in the filmmaking process: the director, screenwriter, or main actor?
10) Do you have a Netflix account? If so, how many movies are in your queue?
11) What’s Hitchhock’s best film and explain why. 
11 Winners
These are 11 excellent blogs you should be reading already.
It was pretty fun doing this! Hope the guys above me enjoy this too!