Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

02 July 2006

Two Things for the Morning

Last night I went to the 8:00p Elimination Game at Ultimate Improv. And let me tell you, it is such good theatre. Last night there were nine improvisors trying to be funny for about an hour and then at the end of the night one of them got kicked off the game. The audience, in fact, voted off the loser. Next Friday there will be only eight. The pleasure and the pain of this are almost excruciating. Ultimate has done this really well. In addition to the nine (now eight) contestants, they had set up four judges. Last night they were Ultimate founder JD Walsh along with Ultimate team members Rachel Landers, Heather Campbell and David Magidoff. The evening was hosted by Ultimate regular Darren Lanning. The addition of the judges into the mix makes everything so much better! The audience, naturally, will appoint itself judge over these poor improvisors, but the judges give us fuel and fodder for discussion of the people we dislike (or like as the case may be). I had a total blast and I can't wait until next week! Who wants to come with me? This shit is hilarious, I swear. Serious kudos to JD Walsh and to fellow-blogger whose sadistic but oh-so-pleasurable brainchild this was.

And Justin, Elizabeth, Wahima, and I saw The Devil Wears Prada last night after the show, too. Whatever. The movie's characters are a bit of a mess, by which I mean that their motivations don't always make much sense. says that this is stuff that is lost in the translation from novel to film. This may be and I believe her, but my main objection to the film is its morality. And here my discussion might get a little muddy, so be prepared. The main storyline of the film (I haven't read the novel, so I cannot comment) seems to be one that is saying that the choices that Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway) makes are wrong: that the things she drops on the way to the top in the name of her career are things to which she should have held to fast. This is the thing, though: we have to decide about what is important to us in life. If what is important at age twenty-five is make a life in a career then there are certain things that must suffer in relationship with that career. If what is important in life is making a family and loving a partner and building a home, then one's career is going to have to suffer. These are the choices we make. Obviously, these are not easy decisions, but the heroine of the film continually feels tugged at by this home that she's building and can't seem to shrug it off, even though it obviously isn't important to her. I can think of at least three scenes in the film that totally exonerate the eponymous "Devil" of the film, justifying everything she does and excusing all her behavior. There might even be more scenes serving this function. I completely identified with the Miranda Priestley (Meryl Streep) character and although I understand that she was been difficult to work for, demanding, hard-edged, totally bitchy and all of that stuff, these are the dues we pay. If you don't want to do the work, as they keep saying throughout the film, a million girls would kill to have the job.
Anyway, the film has a lot of problems and, though the greatest of these problems is its vacillating allegiances, its ancillary characters are not well-drawn, it stops being funny after about 45 minutes and decides it wants to be a romantic morality tale and its central villain is not nearly villainous enough (even if she's the hero).
Meryl Streep is fabulous and the performance is quite funny. Stanley Tucci is adorable and steals the screen every second he's in it, without ever being ridiculous (quite a feat). Anne Hathaway's appeal is still sort of lost on me. I just don't get why anyone likes her. To my mind she's just so boring. I thought Emily Blunt was excellent (I loved her last year in My Summer of Love, too). The role is easy, but she squeezes laughs out of difficult spots.

And the clothes. The clothes were glorious. You actually might want to see The Devil Wears Prada just for the clothes.