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May 5th, 2008

And I have the proof. Since I am allergic to almost everything that you can find sprouting outside, I look at the non-pollen related indicators:

The summer movies are here.

At Christmas time, you get stuff that is good for the family, or stuff that wants an Oscar. Then you get 3 or 4 months of leftovers.

And then, you get stuff that will make money.

In summer movies, everything is big and bright and loud, and lots of stuff blows up. And the heroes are more likely to live to the end, and get the girl. This is important to me, because I am a romance novelist. If I could handle plots where, when the credits roll, everyone is either dead or unhappy? Then I’d be writing in a different genre.

Of the recent crop of worthy films, I am probably the most annoyed with “Atonement.” No, I did not go to see it. I forced other people to spoil the plot for me. From my standpoint, it is about the power of writers to totally hose up people’s lives to the point where no one is happy. Not even the writer. And then, to live on dreams, since there is no way to get ATONEMENT.

Not my cup of tea.

For a while, I had a personal beef with Kristin Scott Thomas. I went to “The English Patient” on my anniversary, when the kids were little and we couldn’t afford to go out often. And I was prepared to revise my standards and enjoy a ‘love story’ (which is different than a romance, from the romance writer’s angle. Mostly because it has an unhappy ending). I went in, planning to get my money’s worth and cry my eyes out. I took extra Kleenex, for God’s sake.

And three hours later, I left dry-eyed, convinced that most of the characters were idiots. The two main characters were in lust, not love. And willing to throw over marriage and morals and country, just to get in some extra humping.

The heroine starts out married to Colin Firth. From a fan of “Pride and Prejudice” this is doing considerably better than all right. This is where the movie is supposed to end. It is not time to trade up. But instead of living happily ever after, poor Colin is reduced to sniveling over this marginally attractive woman, and crashing his plane in one of fiction’s dumbest murder/suicide attempts.

A few years later, there was Kristen again, married to Sam Neill in “The Horse Whisperer”, and ready to throw him over for Robert Redford. Not 70’s Robert Redford, mind you, but the too-much-sun Robert Redford of the 21st century.

Somewhere in the first act of the film, poor Sam Neill had to deliver a speech that was along the lines of ‘You are a pinnacle of womanhood, and I know that I can never give you what you need…” I hate speeches like that. They only show up in stories where the heroine is tragic and misunderstood, and leading an unfulfilled life of quiet desperation. They are there to give the heroine permission to cheat.

And they are not supposed to be coming out of the actor who played “Reilley, Ace of Spies.” I wanted to reach into the film, grab him and give him a good shaking. I wanted to yell, ‘You are Sam, frickin’ Neill. and you don’t have to take this. What is wrong with you? GROW A PAIR.’

As you can see, I get emotional over this.

And it’s just my way of saying:

Go see “Iron Man”. And stay until after the credits for the final scene.