Sunday, February 7, 2010

Isn't it ironic, don't you think?

A common pet peeve of anyone with any literary experience is when people incorrectly use the term "ironic." (Yeah, yeah, we all know the repeated complaints against Alanis Morissette... to be fair to her, she actually does have a few examples of irony in that song- e.g. the man who finally takes a plane only to have it crash down.) I bring this up because my roommate used the term twice yesterday- the first time, she used it incorrectly (In talking about some guy in our stake, she said, "What's ironic is that my brother took a ballet class with him at BYU." No, that is not irony. That is merely coincidence.). The second time, I think she used the word correctly, but I forget what she said.

Why do I even bring this up? Because I was originally going to say a few things about the movie we went to go see yesterday, The Young Victoria, and it just so happened that both incidents with the word happened on that particular excursion.

About the movie- I had never heard of it. Rachel said she had heard good things about it, so I took a chance. I'm glad I did. I loved it. I told Rachel I was glad she had me go see it with her. As much as I loved the romance of the film, I loved even more that it transcended being a romance. Really, it is a film about a girl destined to become a queen and the struggles she endures in the process. Despite the repressive practices of her widowed mother and her mother's ambitious, self-serving advisor, she is determined to become her own person, to rule in all fairness and in justice, to avoid all the political scheming of the royal court and do right by her people. It just so happens that in her efforts to assert her independent thinking and practices, she finds a man in whom she can trust, a man who loves her, who is loyal to her, who will stand by her, defying the wishes of his own politically scheming uncle in so doing. (Paraphrasing one of his great lines, in using the game of chess as a metaphor for life, "Do not find someone to play the game for you. Find someone who will play the game with you.")

The romance between the two young royals is tender, sweet, (clean!)- made all the more so by the fact that it is genuine. Both of them raised in a lifestyle where appearances are often not what they seem, it is wonderful to see how they find each other, how they come to trust each other and rely on each other- proof that not every royal couple leads a dysfunctional family life. While it certainly caters more to the female crowd, I would not call it a "chick flick." Rather, I would simply say it is an interesting glimpse at the early reign of one of England's most beloved monarchs that just so happens to have romance as one of its stronger themes.

The costumes are lavishly gorgeous; the music is sweepingly dramatic; the story is simply beautiful. If you get a chance to see it, do.

This film was an interesting contrast to the one I tried to go see with my friend, Cheryl, Friday night. We had originally planned to go down to the Louisville Temple, but poor road conditions due to heavy snows bagged that idea. She suggested a movie. She mentioned there was a new James Bond movie out. I was surprised- I figured I would have heard something about it if there were. But the title sounded very James Bond-ish, and since the other two movies I was interested in watching were ones she'd already seen, I decided to go with it, despite that initial warning bell of suspicion.

The second warning bell came when I saw that the film was rated R (so far, the recent Bond films have only been PG-13). I avoid watching rated R films because I feel there is rarely enough in them to redeem them from the items that make it rated R. But I didn't notice it soon enough- she had already bought her ticket, and to avoid making her feel uncomfortable, I bought the ticket. If it was a Daniel Craig Bond film, I figured it might be worth it, despite the R rating.

If only I had trusted my initial instinct. It didn't take me long to figure out that the movie was NOT a new James Bond film (it was pretty obvious to me when the first name on the credit screen was John Travolta, NOT Daniel Craig, not to mention that there was no Bond theme music playing). Still, we'd already paid. It had Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who is an actor I generally enjoy. I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. I shouldn't have.

The very first scene with John Travolta should have clued me in (within about a 10 minute scene, I heard the f-bomb more often than a standard day at an IPS high school). Still, I stuck it out, intrigued by what the plot might bring. Really, it only brought on tons of over-the-top, gratuitous violence and more profanity (again, the f-word used heavily on a frequent basis, laced with a few other expletives). About halfway through the film, I finally got the guts to do what I should have done at the beginning. Quietly whispering to Cheryl, trying not to make her feel bad or awkward for her choice of movie, I let her know that the movie was doing nothing for me and that I was going to go ahead and leave the theater. She could stay if she wanted; I'd wait in the lobby. She went ahead and followed me out.

I would have to say that this was probably the worst movie-going experience I've ever had- (I would cite the mistake of Dumb and Dumber, but at least in that case, I didn't pay for my ticket- I had a coupon to get in free...). This was the first time I have ever felt the need to walk out of a theater (granted, I try to avoid films that contain such questionable content anyway, but still...). Meyers character was likable enough, I suppose, and I was vaguely curious to know what happened with him, but not enough to endure the horrific character of John Travolta. And he's supposed to be one of the good guys! Point being, it was a complete waste of time and money, and I will never again make the mistake of blindly agreeing to watch a movie I have never really heard of...

So, is it ironic that instead of going to the temple to be edified we ended up watching any part of such a film? I'll let you decide... (hint: the correct answer is, "Yes. Yes it is ironic, and not merely bad luck or coincidence.")

Up Next: Finally, my top picks for the 2000-2009 decade! Stay tuned...