Monday, June 18, 2007

Reviews of the Ignorant: The Hours

"Beauty is truth and truth, beauty. That is all ye know and all ye need to know"
- D. Grecian Urn
B.C. 1203
8:37 pm

I received a request from a formally loyal reader (ok, she read 2 posts, but that is more loyal than 100% of my other readers, including you. Wait. Most of my other readers have consistently read 0 posts. So, if loyalty is consistency, maybe they are more loyal) who asked about the possibility that I review "The Hours". Ok, it wasn't a loyal reader. It was my mother. Who then stopped reading this blog. In fact, I believe she is now working on her own blog consisting only of reasons never to read this blog. Because of this sort of disloyalty, I at first dismissed her suggestion to review "The Hours". But she is my mother and all, and she did go through the pain of being surgically implanted with me in utero (or, as the French say, l'in utero) for no more reward than two hundred dollar bills, so I feel I owe her a debt. Besides, I'm afraid of her. I mean, those horrible memories, like that time I had her dresses on the wire hangers....oooooh, shivers! I doubt I'll ever get rid of those marks. So, in honor of my mother, or at least in the hopes of winning her back as a loyal reader (if, for no other reason, than to see herself be made famous by mention on the ol' Frog Blog), I will review "The Hours". Besides, when thinking of my mother, I can only remember the words of my best friend in third grade, who waxed philosophical by saying "Yo momma so fat, she has to surf the Internet on a garage door". And then he used to take my lunch money. And punch me in the face. Repeatedly. The folly of youth, I miss it so.

The Hours

In the interest of the fairness doctrine, I must take a moment to disclose. While I have never seen the film of "The Hours", I did pick up the book. Of course, I immediately put it down, as it begin to burn my fingers with womanly issues. But I did pick it up. I am also a student of the written word, so I know who Virginia Woolf is. Or, at least, I know her name. Big Bad Virginia, as we used to call her, and, by we, I mean me. Right now. In this blog. She wrote some greatly poetic books, like "Stopping by the Lighthouse on a Snowy Evening" and "Hollywood Wives", then she cut off her ear for art. Then she tried to kill herself by jumping off of the snowy lighthouse, but was saved by dolphins, who found her and dragged her, kicking and screaming, back to shore. Then she tried to kill herself by walking into the ocean holding a curling iron in one hand and a hair dryer in the other. She had forgotten to plug them in, though (or at least hadn't used a long enough extension cord), and they did nothing to hasten her death. The shininess of the curling iron and hairdryer, though, did attract some sharks, which dragged her, kicking and screaming, back to shore. And then bit off her legs. After this, it was recommended by her doctor that she not be allowed around the ocean, but should take a nice vacation. Unfortunately, her travel agent figured the sea would be a good place to get away from the stress of the ocean, and booked her a trip to the beach. Where she promptly tried to kill herself by 1) Hanging herself with seaweed B) Eating large quantities of driftwood III) Shutting her head repeatedly in the cooler V) Walking barefoot across the hot asphalt parking lot 5) Swimming less than an hour after eating X) Burying herself up to the neck in sand along with her lover and having her husband watch it on closed-circuit television while the tide came in and C) Attempting to buy a share in a high-rise, beach-front condo so that she could plummet to her death from the balcony (her credit wasn't good enough to get higher than the second floor). After all of these attempts, she was finally accidentally killed after she loaded her pockets with pretty stones she found on the shore and, while wading in the surf, was struck by a Russian nuclear submarine. Unfortunately, the manuscript of what many consider her best work, but which I consider only work, "A Room of One's Own" was saved due to the fact that she had written it on waterproof Mylar balloons, and it was later made into the classic film, "Playboy: Girls of Cyberspace".

Now that you are thoroughly depressed to the point that you, too, need a vacation (But, please, if you wish to kill yourself, try the mountains rather than the sea: at least there are many more natural opportunities to plummet to your death without promoting development of the coastline), you might be asking yourself , "Self, although I have always been afraid of Virginia Woolf, what does she have to do with 'The Hours'?" Well, "The Hours" is the story of Virginia Woolf and how she continues to reach from beyond the grave to torment the lives of women. There is also some lesbianism, but the boring kind, not the good kind that can be found on the Internets. In "The Hours", Virginia Woolf, played by Nicole Kidman, is trying to write what would become one of her better known works, "Mrs. Doubtfire", when she kills herself. She then comes back to haunt generations of woman, such as Meryl Streep and Julianne Moore, causing chaos and death in their lives whenever they say her name three times, turn in a circle, then look in a mirror. The Spirit of Virginia wreaks havoc on the lives of everyone she touches after being released by these silly women, and it takes the manly power of Ed Harris to get these women into shape and force the evil spirit of Virginia back into the mirror where she can do no more harm. Of course, the film ends with Claire Daines walking up to the same mirror and smiling, leaving the viewer knowing that she, too, will dance with Woolf by releasing her from her looking-glass prison, a fate that most likely would be explored in the sequel, "The Two Hours" (i.e. "Hungry Like the Woolf", "Where Woolf?", and "The Woolf-man Always Rings Twice")

Despite some classic lines (I am sure people cheered like crazy when Ed Harris, before punching Virginia Woolf back into the cursed mirror, growled, "I got your room of your own RIGHT HERE!", or, in a fit of rage during the climactic fight, he snarled, "To the lighthouse- BITCH!"), this movie is a dreadful concoction of boring and pointless, with a pinch of horribly boring thrown in. The immediate problem is immediately immediate: Nicole Kidman is done up in ugly make-up. Now, Nicole Kidman, back in the days before she Botoxed herself to the point that her eyes stretched all the way around her head and met in the back, was an incredibly beautiful woman. So you hire her for a movie, you would think you'd want her parading around wearing nothing, not hideous deformity makeup. If you need an ugly chick, there are plenty of those around that you can hire. Look out your window right now and I'm sure you'll see someone uglier than Nicole Kidman, possibly just your reflection. Now, if you run out and ask her if she wants to be in a movie you are making, I guarantee she is either going to pepper spray you or say yes. So why hire Nicole Kidman and ugly her up? Oh, sure, you can argue that Virginia Woolf was no prom queen, but you also didn't see anyone lining up to see her on the silver screen. Besides, I've seen photographs of Virginia Woolf, and, while she's no Jennifer Connelly, she also doesn't resemble the Thing that the people who made this film have created out of Nicole Kidman. That Thing would be more comfortable in the Star Wars Cantina than in this film. Or maybe, because she died in the sea, the film producers thought she also should look like she crawled up out of the sea to start with. If that is the case, then, be upfront with your audience and say, in your film ads, "Starring Nicole Kidman as Virginia 'Horseshoe Crabface' Woolf". Then make them sign a release form in case they die of fright when they see the inhuman deformity that stars in this film. Whatever they were going for with that make-up, they failed miserably. Nicole Kidman looks more like a Down syndrome burn victim than Virginia Woolf. Couldn't they get Eric Stoltz to recreate "Mask"?

Putting aside the hideousness (hideosity? hideomonstrosity?) of Nicole Kidman's make-up, the above paragraph hints at another fatal flaw in this flick, and, if you can't see where this is going, then you really are new to the Frog Blog. Ok, you are making a movie starring almost all females (well, and Ed Harris, but I have never seen his penis, have you? I mean, outside of dreams.) You get Nicole Kidman, who is usually easy on the eyes, at least without the Phantom of the Opera get-up. You get Julianne Moore, who I also find incredibly attractive, in fact even more so than the extremely, chemically taut look of the modern-day Ms. Kidman. You get Meryl Streep, who always comes across as classy. And you stop. Who have you forgotten? Here is a solid collection of actresses, yet you have missed the greatest actress ever to commit herself to celluloid acetate. Of course, as always, I am speaking of the incomparable Jennifer Connelly. I mean, good cast and all, yay for you, but how can you leave out Jennifer Connelly? And, with the magic of computer imaging, why hire ANY other actresses? Why not just have Jennifer Connelly play all the parts? In a white tank top? And, of course, without the ugly make-up. If any filmmakers ever dared to put that hideous type of make-up on the stunning Jennifer Connelly, they would be committing a sin of such magnitude the Pope himself would personally come claw out their eyes with his bare hands. It would be a crime against humanity, just under the Russian pogroms as disgusting travesties of human nature go. I mean, seeing Jennifer Connelly made up like Squidhead would be equal to seeing the Mona Lisa without her moustache, or the statue of David without his testicles, the Venus de Milo without her arms, or a store-brand can of soup in an Andy Warhol print. It would be equal to running concrete highways across a beautiful, unspoiled country, damming a rushing river to make a recreational lake, destroying native species and habitats in Central Florida to build a theme park, or tearing the tops off of mountains to get to coal just under the surface. These are things, like the uglying up of Jennifer Connelly, that humans just couldn't do, or else how could we live with ourselves as a species? I mean, it is hard enough to wake up to myself as an individual. What would I do if I couldn't live with myself as a species? So maybe we are fortunate as thoughtful creatures that Jennifer Connelly isn't in this movie, that she avoided the trap of a fake nose like a cannoli stuck to her face. Yet her radiant existence in other films is enough to file this poop smear of a movie under "Trash".

My Rating: 0 stars, although I can point to Nicole Kidman in "The Hours" when my children are acting up and say, "Be good, or she's coming for you..." So, as a discipline technique, I'll give the film a 10. But as a film, I'm sticking with 0

Trivia: "The Hours" grossed less than one-nanillionth of the last film made about Virginia Woolf, "Wolfen". In that classic film, Virginia Woolf and her clan of hairy man-beasts track down human prey so that they can read to them using various self-indulgent literary techniques while disemboweling them with their teeth. Based on the lost diaries of Virginia Woolf during her little-known 'feral' period (March of 1897 to September of 1911), "Wolfen" is a terrifying account of the dangers of combining stream-of-consciousness narration and non-linear chronology with six-inch claws and homicidal attitude.

Correction: Yet again, someone who thinks they are all that feels the need to correct my correction from yesterday, in which I attributed a quote about "pissing out of the tent" to the immortal Mr. Moose. And, always one to admit a wrong, especially when it is someone else's, I must say that it does appear I had an incorrect source of the quote. The actual quote was uttered by the immortal Frank "Mr. Green Jeans" Zappa, popular overall wearing handy-man and all-around side-kick to Captain Kangaroo. We apologize for the error. And, by 'we', I mean 'someone who is not me'.

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