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

21 October 2007

Revenge Tragedy. The Beatles. Cashback. High & Mighty.

I have been reading some serious revenge tragedy. I swear, this history class takes up most of my time. I don't know how I have time to do anything else at all.
Last Wednesday it was my turn to be in charge of the day's topic. So I lectured on the transvestite theatre in Elizabethan England. And I did pretty well. It was the best I have felt all semester. I worked my ass off for it, so I guess that is what happens when I hunker down and do hard work. I get especially excited when I get my fellow grad students excited about things. It was a good day.

Of course, what I need to be doing is working on my thesis, but I feel like the universe my major professor is conspiring against me to keep me from my thesis. I don't know when I'm going to do any work on it. I spent yesterday doing reading in the topic of violence, but it all feels so removed from what I should actually be working on. I just don't know. I have watched a couple of movies since last I updated, though, so I might as well share those:

The High and the Mighty is an old John Wayne movie and one of the first disaster films. It's directed by William A. Wellman (a genius) and I liked it as far as these things go. The pilots are all attractive and the acting is campy (Claire Trevor is especially fabulous).

And I finally saw Julie Taymor's Beatles tribute Across the Universe, which—it turns out—is a total mess of a movie. The characters are confused, and the film never gels, despite some really excellent sequences. In particular, the number set to "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" is absolutely superb. There are other good numbers, too, but it just doesn't work, and most of the movie is downright boring. Also hampering the film is the desperate earnestness of Evan Rachel Wood as the movie's heroine. Virtuous earnestness is not something that ever attracts me to a woman, and it doesn't work here at all. Ms. Wood spends most of the film crying. Still, there are fun moments: Bono sings "I Am the Walrus," and Salma Hayek makes a cameo as quintuplet nurses during "Happiness Is a Warm Gun." Still, if you want to see a cool tribute to John, Paul, George and Ringo, go see Cirque du Soleil's LOVE in Las Vegas and skip Across the Universe.

And this morning I rented Sean Ellis's Cashback, which had a cool trailer, but mostly bored me to tears and spent too much of its time objectifying women for me to really enjoy it.

And now I am off to work on the thesis. Really.