there was one point in time in my life, many many years ago as a young impressionable girl, when i had Dirty Dancing taped from tv, which was rewinded and replayed to death (i’m quite sure i watched it at least a hundred times), pressing the pause button at some parts to catch certain dance steps (or to swoon at the hunk that is patrick swayze, whatever) which i tried to emulate in my bedroom, in secret. GAWD i LOVED that movie.
well, maybe i still do.
i was ‘ordered’ not to rewatch the movie before watching the musical (which we just bought the tickets to, so essaited!) in case it loses its magic (i think that’s the reason) so i’ll stick to just one (or maybe two) scene(s) from youtube.
if getting my tearducts to work overtime was one of my new year’s resolution, i’d say i’m doing pretty well so far.
ever since the new year:
1) i teared up when a character died in the movie, Les Miserables. (my behind wanted to cry too at the length of the show.)
2) i teared up when a character died in the tv series, Downton Abbey. (this, my current obsession!)
3) i possibly created an olympic-sized pool of tears when a character died in the book, The Fault In Our Stars. (john green. is. brilliant.)
seriously. i could be having some existential meltdown. or i could be pms-ing. the truth is, i get… emotionally invested in fictitious characters more easily than in reality.
it’s quite ridiculous, really. i’m perfectly capable of distancing myself from sad or upsetting situations in real life, but get all worked up when something happens not in direct relation to me. i suppose it’s a defense mechanism or something.
anyway, i have more to gush about downton abbey; i’m working on the post. meanwhile, it’s the second day of the year and the first day of school for many little children here. no, i did not get teary at all. i was more than happy to shoo them out of the house after a month and a half of school break.
see? they were also happy. so deliriously happy, at 6.50 in the morning.
ok, speaking of happy kids, i did tear up again today – one last time, i promise – but this time not because anyone died. these kids are very much alive and real, and they’re like TOTES ADORBS (i’m sure everybody’s seen their original video singing superbass and their appearance on ellen), and there isn’t a reason to tear up at all watching them, really, but i don’t know, their innocent squeals of pure, unadulterated delight and wonderment at everything that’s happening to them, and knowing that their wishes came true, beyond their wildest girly imaginations – it made me all fuzzy.
(ok, now i’m quite sure i’m pms-ing. crazy hormones…)
(the fact that they’re british makes them even more supercute. then again, i’m a biased anglophile. did i mention downton abbey already? OMG, LOVE.)
tim burton’s Alice in Wonderland was on last night, and at the crucial moment when the willowy protagonist stepped up to face the beastly Jabberwocky, the boy dismissed her seemingly impossible situation – ‘aiyah, she cannot die lah! how can? the show is about her what, got her name, so she won’t die.’
here, he has deduced that: a) the eponymous character/s of all stories, while not neccesarily spared of grievous harm, bodily or otherwise, have immunity from actual mortal danger; and b) all stories will inevitably end with a happy ending.
while the above ran true for the tale of Alice (i didn’t really like the movie, btw), i told him that it is utterly possible for characters whose names are in the title of the story, to die.
case in point, i said, is Romeo and Juliet, and proceeded to give a super-abridged version of the star-crossed lovers’ tragic deal. he laughed in disbelief and thought they were crazy kids to kill themselves and all. ‘but that’s the thing – they were crazy in love! love makes you do crazy things! they cannot bear to live without each other so they killed themselves! sad, right?!’
his mind whirring, he concluded: ‘but then after they kill themselves, they can become angels and be together. even better! no family to disturb them, then they can just be happy together, like, in heaven lah.’
well… touche. i guess all stories do have some kind of happy ending after all, if you think about it, even if it’s in the realms of the afterlife. you’ll just need a stretch of imagination at those seemingly impossible situations.
another item i keep a lookout for at the supermarkets for a good price – butter! it irks me that unsalted butter costs more than salted butter. i never even knew there was a difference until i started buying them for a purpose other than spreading them on bread, that’s just how ignorant i’ve been all my life. as you may know better than me, most baking recipes call for unsalted butter, and for a kitchen amateur who’s minding her grocery money more these days, it especially irks me to have to scrimp and hoard and be prudent with my stash of unsalted butters.
now, let me tell you where the butter in our household usually goes to in the Pre-Domesticated-Hana Days (PDHD). see, in addition to all things cheese, the girl also has a penchant for all things butter. give her a slice of bread and a stick of butter, and she’ll slather it on thick and lick the butter knife clean. even at mcdonald’s, for example, you know that tab of butter they give out for hotcakes? she just laps it up as it is – forget the hotcakes – with nary a spot left in the plastic casing. and she is undiscerning of the different types of butter – it’s just butter to her. so there, she is the undisputed Dairy Queen of the house. in any case, it usually takes us a while to go through one pack of spread, PDHD. (because the rest of us prefer our breads unbuttered. or in my case, wholesomely nutella-ed.)
anyway, made some biscuits for tea in the afternoon, you know, for fun, using yes, an entire stick of cheaper salted butter (i wasn’t feeling generous at the supermarket), and it was sticky, greasy work (apparently salted butter has higher water content; thanks google). with the admittedly addictive smell of butter (and of course, vanilla) coming from the oven, the girl salivated and was the first in line to pop them in her mouth while they were still warm. (she licked her lips in remembrance of them while in bed earlier, saying they were yummy; can you tell she is my favourite? :p)
speaking of butter, saw this trailer while waiting for the movie to start yesterday. (“newsflash: it’s bad for you!” butter, that is. ha ha try convincing the girl to believe that.)
the girl was watching me slap on my make-up when she peered into the mirror and asked, “how come your eyes are brown, my eyes are black?” i never really noticed her eye colour, so i looked and yeah, it is a shade darker than mine. “hmm, maybe you follow daddy’s eyes?” i suggested. i wondered then whether her eyes were one of the reasons why people keep saying she looks more like her daddy than me, which i always thought strange because i think she looks a lot like me when i was small, from the limited pictures i have of my young self anyway. (it’s also strange that all my life, people keep saying i look a lot like my mother but neither of us thinks so at all! something about the sum of all parts, i guess, since we can’t exactly point out the specific feature/s that match.)
so anyway, after i tied her hair in her usual two ponytails, i did mine too, on a whim. you know, just so we’d look more alike. (i have a Mini-Me complex.) come on, tell me i look more like her she looks more like me?
dropped the kids off at their granddad’s and watched ‘Looper’, which has the It-boy joseph gordon-levitt made-up to look like the younger version of bruce willis in a time-travelling thriller. when JGL first appeared on-screen, i almost couldn’t recognise him; i mean, i know it’s him, but there were subtle changes on his face you can’t quite put your finger on. i think the make-up people did good, because i could almost believe that’s what a younger bruce willis would look like, if i squint my eyes hard enough. oh his eyes! they did something to his eyes, right down to the eye colour, and that made the difference to his face. it’s possibly an improvement from his actual look, i think. :p
anyway, the premise of the story was kinda like Terminator meets Inception meets The Butterfly Effect meets an M Night Shyamalan movie meets… well, you know, something of a mind-f#@& but not so much that your brain will hurt.
“hmm, if people could time-travel from the future, wouldn’t they have gone back to major moments in history and like, kill Hitler when he was a baby, or stop the Hiroshima bombing, or the 9/11 or something? or maybe someone DID go back from the future and DID all those things – maybe Hitler et al were from the future! or what if someone went back to prevent one historic tragedy but another one happened anyway? what if, in preventing a Hitler or an Osama from being born, someone else took their place and everything STILL happened the same way? WHAT IF…!!” well, as you can err, tell, we sure had fun playing the Time-travelling What-if Game after that movie.
it is only now that he can appreciate the Harry Potter movies – at least the first few ones, with the zooming broomsticks and boyish hi-jinks, less dark and complex than the later installments. i still had to explain to him with more details from the books though, and told him I CANNOT WAIT when he’s old enough to start reading the series so i don’t need to do a running commentary every time we watch the movie. in fact, i told him i can’t wait for him to start reading everything i read, so that we can talk and enthuse over them together. like my colleague, who read the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series along with her 11-year-old daughter AND her mother – that’s 3 generations! – which i thought is so cool. (i recently lent her Divergent and her daughter loved it so much she read it 3 times. i would like to adopt that child please.)
meanwhile, we’ll just talk and enthuse over the movies.
we’ve been on a Harry Potter movie marathon the last few days, so since he’s the only other fan i know who’s not doing anything on a weekday, i brought him to the Harry Potter exhibition.
(also, i needed someone to help me take pictures, heh heh.)
he almost couldn’t believe his luck when he saw where we were headed because i didn’t tell him in advance. to see all the props from the movie in real life was pretty awesome, even for me, the grown-up.
there was a build-up to the suspense at the entrance, and the boy even had the Sorting Hat on to tell him which house he’s in. the moment we stepped into the exhibition hall, i had goosebumps… (no photography allowed inside, unfortunately. if only we had an Invisibility Cloak.)
i lingered over every exhibit (must get the most of my $21 ticket, you know) while the boy jumped from one to the other. he especially liked the baby Mandrake roots which you could pull out to produce high-pitched squeals.
of course we could not leave without souvenirs! and of course they were exorbitantly priced! as ron weasley would say, “bloody hell!” one Chocolate Frog will cost you $6, as well as this Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. check out the flavours – Booger, Dirt, Earthworm, Earwax, Rotten Egg, Vomit… now, who wouldn’t spend $6 to taste all these exotic flavours, i ask?
i couldn’t afford a ‘real’ wand (that one’s $75 – Potter fans, be prepared to call out “Accio, credit card!”), so these pen-wands will do. auni has been swishing and flicking it since, pronouncing “Wingardium Levi-OH-sa!” (complete with Hermione-like accent) at everything.
strongly recommended for all Potter fans – the books and the movies, who want to see up close JK Rowling’s world come alive in such authentic details – oh the details! from the costumes, to the props, to the characters, everything so lovingly and imaginatively designed and crafted, true to the books and more.
this Muggle came out awed.
the Exhibition is on now till September at the ArtScience Museum:
if you’ve watched Hugo (or read ‘The Invention of Hugo Cabret’), that famous image of the rocket poking the eye of a grumpy moon and all the rest may have reminded you of this awesome Smashing Pumpkins video… (it sure did us.)
(it also reminded me of the Film History textbook i had for a module in uni, which i dug out in a nerd-moment to find a useless trivia, i.e. i share the same birthday as Georges Méliès! ok /endnerdmoment.)
like when Once-ler cut down that first Truffula tree and The Lorax looked all sad and the forest animals gathered around the stump to place a circle of rocks around it.
and when the population of Thneed-ville burst into a song to let the last Truffula seed grow.
i didn’t know i was such a closet softie for the environment.
and while the critics say the movie didn’t truly capture the original spirit of Dr Seuss’ book, and the moral of the story is pretty much what Wall-E had already delivered earlier, i went in with no expectations and surprised myself by liking it well enough.
well, better than the other Dr Seuss movies, anyway. (i especially hated the one with Jim Carrey as the Grinch.)
i also hope they’ll leave them books alone and stop making them into movies and COME UP WITH ORIGINAL STUFF FOR ONCE.
that is all.
now, let’s go buy some more books… made from cut-down trees… (damn you, industrialism/commercialism! sob.)
…. “It’s amazing all the things Ryan Gosling can do with his eyes.” He sighed. “The emotions he can convey, with just a look. I could watch him in anything.”
Atticus is a discerning cinemaphile who re-watches his favorite films the way some people re-read books. He is particularly compulsive when it comes to movies about outsiders trying to connect. Matt Damon in The Bourne Identity. Ben Affleck in The Town. Clint Eastwood in anything. But his affection for Ryan Gosling is unparalleled.
I grinned. “You have a man crush on Ryan Gosling!”
Atticus scoffed. He’s 150% guy. Drives a bright yellow sports car with black rims. Rides a red motorcycle. Has my name on tattooed on his bicep. Checks sports stats on his iphone several time a day. And if not for my relentless prodding, he would never even have considered applying product to his unruly hair.
Atticus won’t admit he has a man crush on Ryan Gosling, but it’s true. Recently, he came home with a smorgasbord of Ryan Gosling on Blu-Ray. I sifted through the DVDs. Blue Valentine. Half Nelson. Lars and the Real Girl.
“The Notebook?” I glanced from the swooner responsible for Gosling’s permanent warm, mushy place in the hearts of women the world over to my stridently non-metrosexual husband.
“Best Buy was slashing prices,” he shrugged, sheepishly.
I’m glad Atticus has a man crush on Ryan Gosling. Because I can be open about the fact that I also think he’s one smooth drink of water, and Atticus totally gets it. In fact, we seriously considered changing the date of our camping trip last weekend so we wouldn’t miss the opening of The Ides of March.
In case you have just relocated from Siberia, Ryan Gosling mania is now ruling the zeitgeist. The media has latched on to the actor’s statement about female sexuality being sublimated due to a “patriarchy-dominant society” and has positioned Gosling as a feminist-approved love object. The fervor officially tipped over into satire last weekend with the creation of the uniquely hysterical spoof web site, Feminist Ryan Gosling.
But my husband is proof that Ryan Gosling is not just for women. Or girly-men. Gosling has a brazenly iconoclastic masculinity–an I-am-who-I-am-wounds-and-all-and-I-don’t-give-a-f**ck-what-you-think-ness–that appeals to the most alpha of Alpha Men.
“I kind of think he should only be in indie films, where he’s a crack addict or in love with a doll,” he said. I nodded. But it didn’t matter. There is no question, that as long as we both shall live, we will watch Ryan Gosling in anything, even if it’s Mouseketeer reruns.
i happened to catch these trailers earlier today at Funan mall while waiting for the husband to do some shopping i had no womanly interest in whatsoever…
Snow White and The Huntsman
(it’s Thor! it’s Bella! whee!)
(it’s, erm, Julia Roberts.)
incidentally, i’d just read to the kids the whole set of classic Disney stories (with a pink book cover, no less), that included Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty & The Beast, The Little Mermaid, and yes, Snow White (call it post-Disneyland syndrome, gah!), so it’s a refreshing change to see less conventional female protagonists after the deluge of frilly, demure, perfectly-poised, saccharine-sweet feminine characters that the Disney machine has so successfully typified.
introducing (yes, i am well-versed in identifying them all now, post-Disneyland):
Belle and Aurora (aka Briar Rose, aka Sleeping Beauty)
Snow White (actual name)
and since it was SO HARD to hunt down these live characters around Disneyland to take pictures with (they made special celebrity-like appearances at designated times and places and if you’re a second late to join the queue, there’s no negotiating/pleading/begging their ‘minders’), here’s the full line-up (‘pirated’ figurines courtesy from a hong kong night market stall). (YES I BOUGHT THIS SET FOR AUNI HA HA.)
from left to right:
Cinderella (in blue, for the ball); Cinderella (in white, for the wedding); Belle (that’s french for Beauty, you know); Aurora (aka Briar Rose, aka Sleeping Beauty – she was under a kind of CIA witness protection programme, thus the many aliases); Aurora again (different dress colour because her godmothers Flora, Fauna & Merryweather couldn’t make up their minds); Snow White; Ariel (as mermaid, with tail); Ariel (as human, with legs); and Pocahontas.
and since we were on the topic of Snow White, it seems that she has travelled through time looking exactly the same, while i… err…
“The knight slays the dragon and then lives happily ever after with the princess in the castle,” he says, “but when they’ve moved in together, they have to share a bathroom. How do you keep love alive in a domestic situation? What is it about that that dismantles love?”
there’s this scene in Dan In Real Life, starring steve carell (in an endearing role filled with endless pathos, reminiscent of steve martin in ‘father of the bride’, another favourite tearjerker), that struck me.
early on in the movie, his 15-year-old daughter declared her love for a boy after knowing him for 3 days, and as the rightful protective father that he is, proceeds to ground her – for life.
Dan: And by the way, you’re grounded.
Cara: Oh yeah? For how long?
Dan: For life.
Jane: Dad, come on.
Cara: Yeah, this is humiliating!
Dan: Alright, you’re grounded for a month.
Cara: A month?! But… that’s worse than forever!
but he had to eat his words when he met marie (the beautiful juliette binoche), and fell in love with her after a morning of conversation – only to find out later that she’s his brother’s girlfriend. and so ensued an excruciating 3 days for him, stuck with her at his family gathering, repressing his feelings like a lovestruck 15-year-old. till the turning point in the movie where she breaks up with his brother, unable to repress her own growing feelings for him, and the entire family, including his daughters, discovered them kissing, resulting in a whirlwind of chaos.
Dan: I know I messed up.
Jane: Yes you did.
Dan: So here is what I’m going to do. I am grounding myself for life. And so I will be with you–
Jane: You’re with us every day.
Dan: I’m not going anywhere. See, I got a little confused with Marie. That is over, okay? I kind of lost my head. I got a little stupid, because I love her. No, that’s not…I don’t love her. and that’s not what I meant. I mean, how could I love her? I’ve only known her..
Lily: Three days.
Dan: Yeah. And how can you know in three days? Well, no. Yes I do. I love her. I love her, I love her, I love her. I love her.
that part about grounding himself for life, man, that did it for me. there’s something heartbreaking in his attempts to be the übermensch single father – the self-sacrifice, the unconditional love, the rules and decisions that make him, as his 9-yr-old daughter says, “a great father but a bad dad” – but eventually succumbing to human fallibility.
i guess a single mother could make an equally compelling story – with more martyr-like panache for dramatic measure – but because he’s a single father, it brings out… a different kind of aww-factor fuzziness. yeah, i’m a sucker like that. coz for some strange – biological? evolutionary? – reason, we women have a soft spot for the nurturing male of the species, so much so that we even want to nurture the nurturing male. we can’t help it. just look as far back as the bedtime fairytales of yore, you’ll find more instances of stepmothers than stepfathers (refer to: snow white, cinderella, hansel & gretel, et al). from kings to woodcutters, they all seem to have these women (nevermind that they’re usually evil, vain, material and non-maternal) taking them into their open bosoms.
and, yes, in true fairytale fashion, dan did end up marrying marie. (except she’s not evil and they all love her, and i REALLY MUST STOP reading too much into those darn fairytales i read to aniq at night coz they’re screwing up with my brains).
speaking of grounding, we’d ‘grounded’ the boy on sunday on account of his adamant refusal to partake in a weekend activity we’d subscribed him to for one hour. his excuse: he wanted to play with his toys. so fine, we told him, play with your toys all you want at home, but NO TV and NO following us out AT ALL. (we were going to shop for a birthday present before proceeding to the said birthday, where his cousin dadam was anticipating his arrival, so he’d be missing out on all the action.) he cried at the penalty. “too bad,” we told him. “that’s called Punishment, aniq.”
i mean, he has to learn that he simply can’t have his way all the time without some kind of repercussion, in this case, at the expense of fun time with his favourite cousin and the goodies that come with birthday parties. right?
sometimes i ask the husband, “is he spoilt? is he a spoilt brat?” i have my suspicions, but how exactly we’ve ‘spoilt’ him, i’m not too sure. it’s not like we give in to his whines or demands, we teach him to mind his Ps & Qs, we scold him whenever he does something wrong, praise him when he’s right… so what happened in between the acquiescent, eager-to-please baby he was and now? have we been too soft? could corporal punishment have its merits, after all?
in any case, when we came home, he was all kisses and hugs and, the cold, unforgiving mother that i am, i told him i was still angry. (i’m cruel, i know.) remnants of his remorse lingers the next day, smothering me all over with affection when i returned. “do you want go to the [subscribed weekend activity] on sunday?” “yes,” was his immediate response. “good boy,” i said.
I AM AN EMOTIONAL-BLACKMAIL FIEND, is what i am. if this were a fairytale, i’d be the stepmother.
since we’re on the topic of fairytales, and i clearly have a fascination at demystifying them, i leave you with this rhyme, an english translation at the end of a Perrault story to warn young girls with a propensity for attracting sexual predators (i’m sure you can easily guess which one).
Little girls, this seems to say,
Never stop upon your way,
Never trust a stranger-friend;
No one knows how it will end.
As you’re pretty so be wise;
Wolves may lurk in every guise.
Handsome they may be, and kind,
Gay, and charming—nevermind!
Now, as then, ’tis simple truth—
Sweetest tongue has sharpest tooth!