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Monday, December 28, 2009

Sherlock Holmes and the Curious Case of the Sub/Text (Spoilers)

I am not a fan of Sherlock Holmes really at all; I think he's annoying. However, I like Robert Downey, Jr. and Rachel McAdams, and I think Jude Law is a good actor even if he is very, very pretty, and I found the trailers intriguing because they were so NOT what Basil Rathbone would approve of. And I am glad I saw the film.

It wasn't perfect, but it was very good, and Guy Ritchie's take is a new one. Fanboys all over Topless Robot and Great White Snark have been getting their boxers in a bunch over Holmes' boxing, etc. scenes, but the fact is that the character's written (read: canon!) history mentions not only boxing, the use of pistols, swords, and staves, but also some martial art whose name I have forgotten. Holmes was young once, and so was Watson, and that is what this movie is about. The fanboys also disapproved of the movie's villain being an occultist, whining that this was incongruent with Ritchie's purported portrayal of Holmes as the thinking man's action star. All I can say to this is, Hello? Do you know ANYTHING about Arthur Conan Doyle? The man was an enthusiastic spiritualist, dabbled in theosophy, and believed in fairies. I wouldn't have been surprised to see Aleister Crowley make an appearance in this movie (word is Lord Blackwood was based on him).

And, yes. The gay subtext is there. And I am glad! There was always a homoerotic undertone to the Holmes/Watson relationship, YES FANBOYS EVEN IN THE BOOKS WHICH YOU HAVE CLEARLY READ. There are interesting homosexual notes in a lot of Victorian literature. Book!Holmes is a misogynist and a sworn bachelor who happens to be very attached to his doctor in a time when homosexuality was illegal and immoral, and when homosexuals were considered "inverted" people. Movie!Holmes is clearly jealous of Watson's engagement and apparently attracted to Irene Adler. Being that the character of the bisexual is rarely found in Victorian literature, movie!Holmes presents a predicament. Personally, I read the film as portraying Holmes as a straight man enduring the changing of a deep friendship. There are plenty of guys who are jealous of their friends' girlfriends or wives, and they aren't always gay. Current American society has a real problem with male friendships, something I would like to see change. Women are allowed to link arms, even hold hands, in public; allowed to hug and kiss (if only on the cheek); but men are restricted to shallow friendships and shaking hands. Now, the addition of Irene Adler might have been to give movie!Holmes a beard. However, the filming of their scenes together (particularly the first scene Irene appears in and the scene in which she is not very heavily dressed) are shot to show that Holmes IS looking at her with desire. If Ritchie intended to really go whole hog and have the Holmes/Watson slashationship, surely he's smart enough to have shot the Irene/Holmes scenes without any indication of desire on Holmes' part. RDJr's facial expressions and movements are part of his acting, obviously, and they show that the character wants Irene. So I found her presence+Holmes' jealousy of Mary, Watson's fiancee, to=Holmes as a straight man who wants his working relationship and friendship with Watson to go on unhindered and unchanged.

Of course there is the possibility that Holmes wants very much to be straight but is not, and therefore attempts to look at Irene in the way that a straight man would. It is also possible that Watson, a character portrayed as very neat and dapper, is using his engagement to Mary to force himself into a heterosexual role. It is worth noting that book!Watson is a reputed womanizer, something which men have occasionally used to make other men think they're not gay.

At any rate, I think that RDJr. and Jude Law were very aware of the homoerotic things going on in between the lines of Conan Doyle's writing. Jude Law is a big Holmes fan and has read most of the works, I believe. I think that they did intend to act a fine line between a closeted gay male relationship and a straight male relationship, and I think they did it well. If viewers see their portrayals as gay men, that's great. If they see them as straight men, that's good too. Either interpretation works toward acceptance and tolerance.

...I can't be the only one who thought the hog-factory-conveyor-belt scene with the Holmes/Adler/Watson sandwich was totally erotic. Can I? o.O

ALSO these bear repeating (and repeating, and repeating):

Hot DAMN, former drug addict!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

To lie upon the earth and smell it

I very much miss living in a place of natural beauty. I grew up in Merritt Island, which contains two rivers and one very broad "creek" (basically a wide, long, marshy area with some deep water in the middle), and which is five minutes from the beach; the place has two wildlife refuges and numerous small parks; it's part of the National Seashore and the Great American Birding Trail, and is in general really rich in trees, shrubs, flowers, bushes, water, birds, sunshine, and all the other fabulous things that people come to Florida for.

Then I moved to Tampa. Now, having been here for five years, I am very fond of Tampa. I certainly like it better than Orlando, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville (I've never been to Miami). It has several excellent record stores, one very good bookstore, some nice clubs, and the best beer hall in the state. I love my university in particular, but I will be the first to admit that it, its surrounding area, and Tampa in general are, if not hideously ugly, at least stark and unimaginative. And with very little greenery. Yes, there are the token oak trees with their Spanish moss (my favorite natural accessory), but the university's only real green spot is its botanical garden. And Tampa as a city is even worse off. There are very few parks, and the ones that do exist are far-flung and not always well-kept (the ones in my old neighborhood--o hai Nebraska Ave--were generally rife with old needles and newspapers. The downtown area likes to brag that it has the city's smallest park (it's basically just a gazebo and a square of grass). What's to brag about, exactly? Keep in mind, kiddos--I studied abroad in London, a city with a park in every neighborhood. The private university in town has a nicer campus than mine, and it's on one of the channels which give Tampa's Channelside its name, but the campus greenery still isn't a patch on northern universities, or even FSU.

The extreme borders of Tampa fare a bit better. Old Tampa Bay runs along the expensive neighborhoods in the south and provides an amazing view and plenty of green growth, and the far northern and outer edges are somewhat woodsy. But the university area and the mid-city are just...barren. Concrete and wood, and little effort to provide breathing living growth. Neither cultivated nor wild green places.

My hometown isn't perfect, by any stretch. Merritt Island has more than its fair share of dying strip malls, chain restaurants, and Hummers. But if you want to, there are ample places to go which provide beautiful views, the smell of trees and water, and relative quiet. Maybe because it's half the size of sprawling Trampa, maybe not. Cities far larger than Tampa manage to keep vast green areas intact and usable (see: every major city in the world). I would like to see our city's Powers That Be think about things other than getting the Super Bowl and whether or not the Lightning are going to win this year.

People need parks and open places.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Yes, yes, the theme song is absolute shite (actually, I sort of want an explanation for that, since every single one of Joss Whedon's other themes are marvelous). And yes, season 1 started off pretty effing slow. And yes, Eliza Dushku, the star, is not the most interesting character or the best actor.


I am still really, genuinely sad that Dollhouse has been canceled. And I think that the episodes airing right now--held over from November--are ace. I'm glad Joss is going out with all guns blazing, because this show deserved its chance and hello? Firefly being the exception (to everything ever), Whedon shows typically take a season to really get rolling (Buffy S1vs.S2, come on! No contest!). As its short run winds down, the show is busting out twists left and right, and I, a gullible lass, am falling for and loving every one. The guest stars with familiar faces are welcome and do great jobs (hai@River'n'Wesley!), and oh, sweet science, did anyone else faint from laughter and awe when Topher imprinted Victor with his personality and then talked to himself about how hot Summer Glau was? JESUS CARPENTER. Enver Gjoka took one of Whedon's hallmarks to new heights of awesome. I AM missing Amy Acker, but word is she (and Felicia Day!) will be in the series finale, which will give use those muchly needed answers about "Epitaph". Alan Tudyk veers between scenery-chewing evil and understated evil, and does both impeccably. And oh, Adelle, Adelle! Razor-sharp and vulnerable at the same time; Olivia Williams is perfect.

Ok. Gushing done. I guess I can be glad that at least now with no Dollhouse to work on, Joss will have plenty of time to devote to the Dr. Horrible sequel and Buffy S8. But still...I'll miss the Dolls.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Sooo I'm waiting for a meeting to start (the story of my life at work) and so I am going to do one of these things that make a blogger seem more human to their readers. If I have any readers. Ganked from Dianne Sylvan's blog.

5 Items in My Bag

1 – a crappy old Motorola cell phone
2 – a copy of The Saxon Shore by Jack Whyte
3 – a variety of pens from back when I worked in a restaurant
4 – a change purse made out of owl fabric
5 – a moleskin notebook

Titles of 5 Files in My Documents Folder

1 – levantineneandertals.doc
2 – thelock.doc
3 – firewoman.jpg
4 – hammertimenazis.gif
5 – PRAAAAY.jpg

5 Things on My Coffee Table

1 – a variety of coasters made out of old disks
2 – 2 remote controls
3 – DVD: The Wire and Turner and Hooch (my roommates' tastes vary WIDELY)
4 – A NetFlix envelope
5 – Sadie's Can o'Doom

5 Things in My Fridge/Freezer

1 – a bag of mixed veggies, frozen
2 – half a cherry pie
3 – Publix-brand 2% milk
4 – homemade strawberry jam
5 – ice pack

5 Things on My Desk

1 – a pencil sharpener shaped like a cat (guess where the pencil is inserted??)
2 – a whole mess of magazine clippings, printouts, etc. for scrapbooking purposes
3 – copies of The Skystone, The Singing Sword, and The Eagles' Brood
4 – an empty flowerpot with a mermaid painted on it
5 – candles

5 Songs With the Highest Playcounts on My iTunes

1 - "Eden Echo"--Kamelot
2 - "The Last Sunset"--Conception
3 - "Everybody Here Wants You"--Jeff Buckley
4 - "Find the River"--R.E.M.
5 - "Parallel Minds"--Conception

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


I will make no bones about my desire to see The Princess and the Frog this weekend. I like Disney, and I like old-fashioned hand-drawn animation.

And I also want to know if there's a reason other than impending poverty why Disney has produced merchandise for Princess Tiana showcasing two different dresses. I can't be the only one bothered by this! 10-year-old girls of the Internet, cash in! Back me up! Every Disney Princess (TM) gets ONE iconic dress. One "The Dress". Just one. Belle has the glorious yellow gown; Aurora has the pink gown; Cinderella has the blue gown. Tiana has the...blue AND green gowns? Presumably, from what I have seen of movie stills, the green gown is The Dress. Why, then, are they creating merchandise, posters, and cardboard standies with her in the blue AND the green gowns? (Srsly guys, I have seen two different standies in two different theatres featuring two different dresses.)

Disney, this is just not on. It has to be the green one! Powder blue is Cinderella's color! In future Disney Princesses (TM) posters, mugs, compilation DVDs/CDs/videogames, we assume that Tiana will be wearing her pretty lily-pad-inspired green dress. So why all the double marketing?

My boyfriend, of course, thinks I am blowing this out of proportion. He does not understand, being a boy and more of a Miyazaki fan, the import of The Dresses. Go to Google Images and type in "Aurora". The page will be filled with pink. The same happens for Belle (yellow) and Cinderella (blue). The core of Disney Princesses (TM) are defined by their Dresses. It is true that every girl has several different outfits throughout her film, but The Dress is what she is identified by and what the dolls, etc. are marketed with.

Snow White is an interesting case. For one thing, she only has one dress--The Dress--and that gown is multicolored. Then again, Snow White is a weird film and a weird character. Nevertheless, it is worth pointing out that her concept is not replicated by any of the other Princesses. The lesser princesses/women of Disney--Jasmine, Ariel, Mulan, Pocahontas, Meg--likewise have their own iconic colors: turquoise, a fishtail and some seashells, red, tan, purple. Disney recognizes a simple formula for making their girl characters different from one another and easily recognizable. That Outfit, In That Color.

So this is my ultimatum, Princess and the Frog. Give me a damn good reason why Tiana gets two dresses, or tell me that she doesn't.
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