I watched The Black Dahlia last night, and it got me thinking about stories. A story that weaves together multiple plots and subplots can be very effective when it’s well done, for example Catherynne Valente’s Orphan’s Tales duology. The stories build upon each other, making the whole richer. The way the stories interlock have real consequences for the characters, and change the meaning of the tale as a whole. In the hands of the right story-teller, multiple story threads become a beautiful tapestry. When handled poorly, they turn into a horribly tangled knot.
Musings and movie spoilers below the cut.
To celebrate my birthday, we went to see Sherlock Holmes. When I first saw the trailers for this new version, my brain rebelled. The more I saw, though, the more intrigued I became. The movie seems designed to make purists brains explode, and I felt a little guilty about wanting to see it. But then I decided, in honor of getting older, what I really wanted to do was revel in base, immature instincts – namely the desire to see shit blow up and watch Robert Downey Jr. take his shirt off*.
The movie was actually better than I expected. If you go in expecting great cinema, or if you’re a traditionalist, you probably won’t be happy, but if you want a fun action movie, then it’s definitely well worthwhile. There are some nice nods to the source material, and Jude Law and RDJ genuinely seem to have fun with their roles. Cast with other leads, the movie probably wouldn’t be as good, since other than those two, everyone else mostly seemed to just be filling space, but those two carry the film and carry it well. If the idea of Holmes as action hero really bothers you, I suggest mentally substituting different names, say Hemlock Jones and Dr. Waterstone, then just sit back and enjoy the explosions.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I plan to spend the rest of my birthday continuing to celebrate ridiculousness and immaturity by drinking vodka out of a crystal skull, watching cartoons, and possibly playing video games.
*There was significantly less nakedness and exploding than the trailers promised, but I’m still sold on what will inevitably become a series. When Shit Blows Up and Robert Downey Jr. Takes His Shirt Off: The Sequel is released, I’ll have no qualms (or guilt) about paying good money to go see it.
To accompany my last post, I thought I would offer a couple of “must-watch” movies to suit the season. First off, the classics: Nosferatu, Dracula, Freaks and The Phantom of the Opera.
The more recent classics: The Excorcist – but please, do yourself a favor and watch the un-cut released version and not the crappy, chopped up version they show on tv around this time every year, and The Shining. These two combined probably make for some of the scariest moments ever committed to film.
The animated classics: Disney’s Halloween Treat, The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Corpse Bride.
The less serious classics, Little Shop of Horrors, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and The Raven. Actually, just about anything featuring Vincent Price is essential viewing at this time of year.
And some bonus recommendations: Two darned fine tv shows that embody the season and were killed before their time: American Gothic and Carnivale.
And a bonus, bonus recommendation: The Excorcist in 30 Seconds with Bunnies.
What do you consider essential October viewing?