Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day

Today was a bit ho-hum for what's supposed to be a romantic holiday. I had planned to do cheese fondue and bought a special dessert from Trader Joe's (every Christmas, they have Oreo-style cookies with bits of candy cane in them that are truly divine. Sadly, they disappear after Christmas, but they've now added them to a cheesecake. I anticipate it will be akin to a minor deity).

Instead, we got caught up in errands and traffic, and I realized that by the time we got home, went back out to Target for fuel for the fondue pot fuel (which, as it later turned out, they didn't have, the Philistines) and got back, it would be 7:30 and our toddler would have gnawed one of our hands off at the wrist. So we went out for Mexican instead and we'll have our fondue tomorrow, followed by the funeral when the cheesecake kills us dead from the deliciousness.

Right now we're watching the 2005 Pride and Prejudice. We decided we wanted something light and romantic, where everybody winds up together in the end, and our Netflix discs today were Peter's Friends, Becoming Jane and Northanger Abbey. Northanger Abbey fits the criteria, but we've watched it more than once recently so that was out. And the other two... Oy. They're both excellent movies (or at least I hear Becoming Jane is since we haven't watched it yet), but "hopeless lifelong unrequited love" and "diagnosed with AIDS" weren't exactly what we had in mind for the evening. A quick scan of our movie collection showed that our romantic comedy section is almost completed dominated by Hugh Grant starring in Richard Curtis movies, which we've watched 1000 times. My suggestion that Hero could be seen as a romantic comedy if you squint at it from a somewhat deranged point of view was instantly vetoed.

Which left us with the Kiera Knightley Pride and Prejudice, which we've watched, but not that often and not recently, and timely, since we watched the mini-series last weekend and it will give us the opportunity to compare them. Watching it again, I'm struck by three things: 1, it's a much more visual film. As magnificent as the view of Colin Firth diving into a pond without a shirt is, the newer film clearly had a much better director who really took advantage of his medium to tell his story visually. 2, it picks up on a lot of subtle character interaction. The action still focuses on the main protagonists, but it also takes moments to pick up on the reactions of the minor characters, who tend to be slighted in Austen. 3, the costumer avoided putting the actresses in pastel empire-waist gowns as much as possible. I can't say I disagree with the decision. It may be entirely in period for women to go around looking like they forgot to get dressed and went out in their nightgowns, but that doesn't mean it's a good look for most of them.

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