When I first watched The Exorcist, I had to call my sister and keep her on the phone as we each watched from our own house. Later, I put the receiver on the pillow beside me and we stayed connected until I fell asleep. I was in college!!!
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Ready for Your Close-up.” Cast the movie of your life.
When you cast the movie of my life
as student, girlfriend, traveler, wife,
as a toddler, cast me as
a curious, chubby little spazz
with scabby knees—a sort of clown
very adept at falling down!
Will any kid with sunny view do?
Yes. Except—for Honey Boo Boo!
In my child years, perhaps spanning
age four to eight, just pick some Fanning.
But at age nine or ten, I fear
I grew a rather chubby rear.
like Honey Boo Boo? Yes, I guess.
Yet still I’d be in some duress
if you cast that child as me.
Please oh please, don’t let it be!
As a preteen, I was thin
and sang duets with my friend Lynn,
and though I hadn’t half her gift,
just cast me as Taylor Swift!
But when it’s time to go to college,
to gain a sort of further knowledge,
I think you’d better move along
and send her back to her own song.
Leelee Sobieski could
then play me if she only would––
at least until I’m through with school,
although I was not half so cool.
Then, as I begin to travel,
my other sides to then unravel,
Helen Hunt might be the one
to represent travails and fun
of traveling in climes most strange.
She has the acting skills and range
to play me as I looked and pondered,
taught and loved and learned and wandered
Australia, Bali, Singapore,
from door to door to door to door.
Those two lines etched over her nose
grace my face, too, because of woes
that nonetheless I wouldn’t trade
for years spent safe within the shade
of front porch roof and front porch swing
wherein I learned not one new thing.
As I grow older, I change and change.
And so I need a “me” with range
from teacher, artist, writer, spouse––
who alternates from road to house.
Sometimes at home writing my blog,
(my only company a dog
or two or three, and just one cat
to define clearly where I’m at)
I yearn to be out in the crowd,
with dancing feet and head unbowed
to laptop or to artist bench,
and I feel that well-known wrench
of travels to another clime
but worry if I have the time
to do the things within my heart–
to finish all that I might start.
I need a me to sort these things
and bring me all a good life brings––
perhaps to make decisions for me,
choose a life that doesn’t bore me.
Then perhaps we could reverse
our lives and I could then rehearse
the life presented in her depiction.
A real life can learn much from fiction!
So for these final years I need
a woman strong in thought and deed.
Who can show me how to see
all that I was meant to be.
For when I lay me down to sleep,
I’d like to go as Meryl Streep!
“This post angers me. It sickens me to think about how barbaric men can be. I’m also saddened that this sort of thing continues to go on every day. I read the comments from your readers and my heart sank. Then I got to thinking of all the men who might have suffered similar experiences. Women are not the only ones who are affected by the patriarchy that is world wide. If you ask me, patriarchy is the biggest problem the world has to face. I’m happy you escaped unharmed, both in this story and in your Naive in Africa story. However, I wish you never had to experience this in the first place. Thanks for sharing this Judy. I think I’ll re-blog this.”
This is my reply to him:
Thanks, Joe. In my life, I’ve known more supportive, gentle men than the self-centered horrors depicted in these few writings, and I know that in addition to the fact that men, too, have been abducted, tortured and killed, that in being expected to go to war, men (and now women) have traditionally faced horrors of being forced to kill or be killed as well.
I am thankful every day not to have been born into a culture where women are traditionally at the mercy of whatever men dictate. If you haven’t seen the film “The Patience Stone,” I highly recommend it. The subtitles are horrible but the message gets across visually. An incredible film. “Change doesn’t come through guns-it comes through culture, and women change the culture,” says Atiq Rahimi, director and co-writer of “The Patience Stone.”
Now I would like to share that recommendation with all of you and to hear what you think of the film. It is set in Afghanistan and I don’t know who did the subtitles. Here is the further comment I sent to Joe regarding subtitles:
Joe, I think I’m going to post your letter and my reply to you. I would love to have more people see “The Patience Stone” and then to hear their discussion of the film. If you can get beyond the horrible subtitles–-and in places I was grateful for the humor they infused which appropriate or not, helped to lighten things up a bit-–this is one of the best films I’ve ever seen in terms of getting a point across that you had to dig for a bit.
See a trailer for “The Patience Stone” HERE.
See the entire movie online HERE.
The Prompt: Make It Count—You’ve been given the opportunity to send one message to one person you wouldn’t normally have access to (for example: the President. Kim Kardashian. A coffee grower in Ethiopia). Who’s the person you choose, and what’s the message?
In our age of information—
and also instant confirmation
of every little truth and fact,
it’s necessary to react
with some protection, I understand.
The famous of us take a hand
to protect themselves from the clamoring band
of those who call for their attention
to win a conference or audition,
an interview or invitation
to meet for food or a libation
as a means to talk about
ideas that we have need to flout.
And so I see why I could not
reach the person whom I sought
to pitch my Christmas storybook.
The plot is good. I have a hook.
The characters are funny and
the artist has an expert hand.
I even know the person who
I wish to do my pitching to.
But he’s grown famous through the years
and our acquaintance is in arrears—
his movies scarier by far
than any of my stories are.
But readers tell me that in a pinch,
my Christmas story beats the Grinch!
A Christmas classic the film would be
if only Hollywood could see
the book that no one yet has seen
because my Facebook notes have been
seen by no one and I have not
a way to advertise my lot.
So here I make a heartfelt plea
for Henry Selick to contact me!
(To further jog your memory:
Your wife Heather had a job
teaching with my husband Bob.)
The book is Sock Talk: A Christmas Story, and you can see more about it here.
Every day, our children are mesmerized by computer games where they hunt down and kill. TV shows go from violent to horrific—all echoing a world made increasingly more warlike as the war games of children grown into the war games of politicians and financiers who seek political and financial gain by first vilifying and then “going after” their enemies.
It is not my dreams, but rather my waking world that’s tortured by the bloodthirst of our world. At night, in my bed before sleeping, I fear for my own breathing and have to go outside for the comfort of cool night moving air. That scene from “The Bridge” where a child is buried alive with water slowly filling his crypt—will not go away. I am stuffed to strangling with earth’s cruelty.
My dreams remain my own, so it is not sleep I fear, but rather that time before sleep when I release hold of my consciousness and let my mind drift into worlds I am half-conscious of. That’s when I give way to thoughts of my own death, jerking myself back from fears of what comes next.
I don’t share the world’s appetite for torture, violence, killing and revenge. I want to scream “Please! Stop!” and run in the opposite direction, for I can’t follow where the world’s mania leads us. And this is why, when a friend asked me to go to a movie with her and suggested “The Railway Man” with Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, I pleaded for a chic flick instead. My uncle died in the death march on Bataan. I saw the “Bridge on the River Kwai,” “A Town Like Alice” and have read about how the real life and death of women prisoners of war was minimized by “Paradise Road.” I’ve read of the horrors of those Australian nurses marched into the sea and shot, the rapes, deprivation, starving and executions.
This is why I said, “No more!!!” when my friend asked me to see that particular movie, wherein former POW Colin Firth goes in search of one of his Japanese captors. This year I have read two books dealing with the tortures of the slave trade and two more about the Spanish inquisition. I simply cannot take any more tales of torture and man’s inhumanity to man, and so it was that I chose the movie “Blended” starring Drew Barrymore and Adam Sandler and my friend agreed to attend this “light comedy” with me.
This is how we came to be sitting in a theater in Ajijic, Mexico, with approximately ten other viewers similarly misinformed as to the utter dross and simplistic humorlessness of this movie!!!!! (Suffice it to say that all tortures are not physical in this world.) This was the singularly worst movie I have ever seen in my life. I love Drew Barrymore and most of Adam Sandler, but the script and acting in this movie were horrible! Add to that the ridiculous slapstick of the sterotyped African Disneyland that passed as an African adventure. I would add “offended” to the other adjectives that describe my reaction to this movie: namely, “unamused, bored, sickened and amazed.” The children were obnoxious, the plot implausible, the African characters one-dimensional stereotyped farces. What was that African singing group that showed up at any given moment furnishing a (not-funny) Greek chorus effect during various mini-climaxes during the movie? Not since the black-faced minstrel has such an offensive stereotype been presented.
I must admit that my friend loved the movie. She laughed throughout, and must have wondered why I sat unsmiling and laughless throughout the entire movie. There is a certain amount of insult in finding fault with a book or movie or TV show that someone else loves, and I felt like a Scrooge when I was asked how I liked the movie and had to admit I HATED IT! Fed up to the eyebrows with the violence and torture that seems to be increasingly necessary to hold our interest in both our media and games, it was I who had suggested we go to this movie instead, and perhaps I was forced to pay for my need to bury my head in the sand for a few hours.
Not wanting to be influenced by what I read, I have deliberately not gone to IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes to see whether the critics agree with my review of this horrible movie, but as I draw toward the end of my diatribe, I will now do so and be right back with some of their thoughts:
Rotten Tomatoes Review: “Lurching between slapstick and schmaltz without showing much of a commitment to either, Blended commits the rare Sandler sin of provoking little more than boredom.”
Washington Post, Stephanie Merry: Each sweet moment is inevitably punctuated by some in-your-face joke that’s at least as stupid as the preceding moments were heartfelt. Blended has other problems, too, including some faulty editing and a typically predictable finale.
Reel Views, James Berardinelli: “What’s missing from Blended? Two key ingredients: it doesn’t touch the heart and it doesn’t tickle the funny bone (at least not often enough). “
Entertainment Weekly, Jeff Labrecque: “In Blended, his (Sandler) comic flab has never felt as thick, and this hackneyed “family-friendly” entertainment feels less like a movie than a bad sit-com re-run.”
Portland Oregonian, Stephen Whitty: “He(Adam Sandler) plays it so low-key there’s nothing much for him to do, apart from the clueless-dad shtick and some awkward comedy.”
NY Times, A.O. Scott: “Most of Blended has the look and pacing of a three-camera sitcom filmed by a bunch of eighth graders and conceived by their less bright classmates. Shots don’t match. Jokes misfire. Gags that are visible from a mile away fail to deliver. “
Meta critic, B. Jackson: “I loved earlier comedies by this duo but this looks like they were here just for the paycheck. Also, based on the screenplay, the writers must have been working on a tight deadline for their high-school drama class.”
USA Today, Caludia Puig: “You have to work hard to make an African vacation seem unpleasant. And Adam Sandler nearly pulls it off in Blended.”
Not all critics hated this movie and some fans, including my friend, loved it. Having lived and traveled in Africa for years, I perhaps found the Africa scenes more insulting and deprecating than most. But this movie lost me long before it got to Africa!
The Prompt: When was the last time a movie, a book, or a television show left you cold despite all your friends (and/or all the critics) raving about it? What was it that made you go against the critical consensus?
My ladies writing group is classy—never crass or gaudy.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I found they can be bawdy!
Just one impromptu potluck and a few bottles of wine
turned their metaphoric minds to matters far less fine.
For Jenny had just mentioned that a friend had lately lent her
a rather naughty film that nonetheless had really sent her
off into the paroxysms of unbridled laughter—
the kind that take you wave-on-wave and leave you aching after.
I’d been needing that for months—my life had been sedate
since my old gang had moved away and left me to my fate
of no last-minute games of train and late-night jubilation,
for though I still have good friends here, I lack that combination
of friends that I enjoy who all enjoy each other, too,
enough to create silliness to make my nights less blue.
“Bad Grandpa” was the film we watched, and though I must admit
I watched behind spread fingers for at least a fifth of it,
still the antics had us all just rolling on the floor
—starting with a snicker and then ending with a roar.
Scatology is not my thing, nor are pratfalls or shtick,
yet still I must admit to you, I got a real big kick
from this film filled with all of them, and so did all the others;
so as we watched, it felt like we were all sisters and brothers.
And as they left, I think we knew we’d shared a priceless treasure,
for there’s nothing that unites us like a mutual guilty pleasure!
The Prompt: When was the last time you watched something so scary, cringe-worthy, or unbelievably tacky — in a movie, on TV, or in real life — you had to cover your eyes?