Friday, June 20, 2014

DVDs are basically books now, right?

...complete with the faint air of obsolescence that comes with physical media nowadays.

Ivanhoe's going... great... in the sense that I keep seeking out other things to read and forgetting that, technically, I already have a book going. And recently I've devolved to watching moving pictures in order to avoid reading it; which means I've disqualified myself for At least she's reading! No sympathy please; I'm not even reading. (Except for the sociology articles, travel guides, and various spiritual books.)

First of all, you will be pleased to know that I have now seen Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (or as I like to think of it, Anne of Green Gables 2: The Gable-ing). What a thing of glory. If I had seen that in my prime Anne years, I would have been a dead duck. The dresses, the hats, the red hair, the monkeyshines, the GILBERT. I seriously appreciated how the film ended right after Anne and Gilbert get engaged, because what else is there?

Nothing. There is nothing else.
I watched it with some other girls (also a bottle of bourbon and a pan of brownies) (#adults) and there was spontaneous clapping and cheering at the end. Also, one of us (*ahem*) shouted "Gil, no, I've been such a fool!" during The Gazebo Scene, and there was much speculation about the poofy hairstyles. So all in all, a massively rewarding four hours and I might need to own that and watch it weekly now.

Switching tracks... did you know there's a BBC version of the Barchester Chronicles? I probably should have known; I probably would have guessed it; but I didn't know it specifically until Super Hans brought it to my attention. Yes, I was lying around watching Peep Show (which is really too explicit for me and I have to skip over lot of scenes but it's still funny so I keep coming back), and the show's resident lover of crack brandished a DVD of Barchester Chronicles as the perfect viewing material for a hard-partying gig at a music festival. "Don't pigeonhole me, dude," quoth Super Hans. "Ecclesiastical politics when you're high. These guys really knew how to do a fucking number on each other." I laughed really hard, but I was also thinking, "oh, I want to watch that."

I should state that I was not high at any time when I watched this. The Super Hans joke did elevate my enjoyment of it though. The DVDs I got from the library had a stale B.O. smell that was as inexplicable and improbable as it was intense, so I sort of imagine a graph of people who have checked these out as looking something like this:

Yes, indeedy, there is a very young Alan Rickman in this. (The designers of the DVD cover have given him pride of place; they know where the money comes from.) The series itself is enjoyable although I don't know how hard it would be to get into without a prior appreciation of the books. This is the kind of dry-toast costume drama that gives costume drama a bad name. It's all pretty sedate and low-key, without excessive attention to things like "pacing" or "tension". There are scenes that end really abruptly and others that are weirdly drawn out; at one point a character calls over another character and we watch her walk across the lawn in real time for no particular reason. The production values are charmingly low; my favorite example is that in some of the London scenes there's a background track that sounds exactly like what you get in one of those "old timey Main Street" museum exhibits.

[clatter clatter clatter] [watermelon watermelon]
But the actors are all good and do a good job bringing the characters to life. I liked seeing the apoplectic Archdeacon "in the flesh", and Alan Rickman does a great job as Mr Slope, which is important given that he carries so much of the story. He delivers a really smarmy proposal in a delightfully smarmy way and gets a good smack for it, so that alone is worth the price of admission. (Price of admission in this case =  $0, support your public libraries.) Netflix could suggest this and the 1995 P&P (you know whereof I speak) together under the heading of Hilariously Awkward Clerical Proposals. The first two episodes cover the book The Warden, and much like that book, they give a good introduction to the characters and local politics but the real fun comes from episode three onward so don't give up on it too soon. I could endorse just starting with episode three if you feel confident in your ability to just figure out the context clues.

So a win all the way around with my movie watching this week: I got to pass the time revisiting some favorite characters and not reading Ivanhoe, plus now I know what I'll bring with me in the tour bus if I ever become a drug-addled musician -slash- what I'll watch on Friday nights if I ever become a live-in teacher at a boarding school.

1 comment:

  1. I *did* see Anne of Green Gables 2 in my prime Anne years, and let me tell nearly ruined me. Maturing Gilbert to a girl who is just discovering her womanhood is more potent than 10 years of Tiger Beat covers combined.

    But it may be a comfort to you to know that although you're TVing instead of reading, you're at least choosing somewhat intelligent content. I watched pieces of both Tomb Raider movies and many episodes of New Girl last night when I had planned to read for many hours. You are better than me.