I watched three DVDs and two theatrical pictures this week:
Aisha is a 2010 Bollywood adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. It's a somewhat loose one — there's no Mrs. Elton or Jane Fairfax, for example — but the broad strokes are there. And there's more than a little Clueless in there as well: Aisha's best friend Pinky Bose has more in common with Dionne (Stacey Dash's character) than with any character in Emma; Amrita Puri's performance as Shefali, the Harriet Smith analogue, seems to owe a lot to Brittany Murphy's as Tai; and Aisha and Pinky shopping with and making over Shefali is very reminiscent of Cher and Dionne doing the same to Tai, which makes sense because 21st century Dehli is inherently more similar to late-20th century Beverly Hills than with 19th century Surrey. It was entertaining enough, but as far as Bollywood adaptations of Jane Austen novels are concerned, I thought Bride and Prejudice was more fun (albeit much less faithful to the original).
A couple of weeks ago, my college pal Orion happened to bring up Star Trek: The Animated Series, and I thought to myself, hey, self, you never seen Star Trek: The Animated Series! You should do something about that! So I looked into it and found that the complete series has been released on DVD and the Madison Public Library owned it. So I borrowed the first disc and watched the first six episodes. My verdict: the animation sucks, even by 1970s TV animation standards, but the stories are pretty good, so I've gone ahead and asked to have the second disc sent to my branch.
Last year, on the night I watched Invictus, I Tweeted that it was the first movie I'd ever seen about rugby. My Twitter pal puxxled responded, "Oh, man you need to see Lindsay Anderson's This Sporting Life (1963) starring Richard Harris. It is FANTASTIC! Rugby & Angst. Richard Harris plays it like Brando. Not at all a bad thing." I had heard of it, mostly because it also featured William Hartnell, who went on to be cast on Doctor Who as the first Doctor, but I hadn't seen it … obviously, since Invictus was the first movie I'd seen about rugby. Anyway, puxxled was right: it's a very good, super-angsty movie with a terrific naturalistic performance by Harris.
In the month of February, the UW-Madison Cinematheque is running a series of movies written and directed by Preston Sturges. The series kicked off last night with his first two features as a writer/director: The Great McGinty and Christmas in July, both released in 1940. Both were very funny, though the ending of the latter is telegraphed rather too broadly.
Wordwise, I finished Lovers' Vows, the play that so scandalized Edmund Bertram and Fanny Price in Mansfield Park. And man, people were easily scandalized back then. Yes, it involves a child being born out of wedlock, but by the end the father has accepted the son as his legitimate heir and married the mother. Anyway, the play is pretty funny, especially the character of the Butler, who would have been played by Tom Bertram had the arrival home of Sir Thomas not put an end to the theatrical. It's a quick read, and it's free online, so give it a look if you're so inclined.
I also finished Taft 2012. It was OK. Not particularly biting as satires go, but I did like the idea that the various disaffected voters who flocked to Taft and wanted to draft him as a third-party Presidential candidate just ascribed their own beliefs to him rather than paying attention to what he believed.
I also read some longform articles online that are worth checking out:
- Raiders of the Lost R2, which is about nerds who go on informal archaeological expeditions to Star Wars shooting locations find the remains of sets. Star Wars nerds, man, I don't know.
- Why You Truly Never Leave High School, which offers up the statistic that on average, 22% of your Facebook friends are people you knew in high school. Let's see, looks like I at about 15% for me, and that's including anyone I met as a student in Wheaton, whether I met them in high school or kindergarten.
- The Unsuccessful Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln. I'm not really a Civil War guy, but this was nevertheless very interesting.
- Lingerie League goes legit, about how the Lingerie Football League — which has actually been rebranded as the Legends Football League just in the few months since the article was published — has evolved into a competitive league of real (7-on-7) football. Pretty interesting. Plus, pictures of scantily clad women!