In which I have a brilliant idea that I do not think through

September 29, 2008

Apologies to both actors, but I spent almost all of “The Duchess” increasingly convinced that Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes are the exact same person. Compare: Exhibit A and Exhibit B.

Not at it matters all that much anyway. No one’s heading to see an honest-to-god bodice ripper (seriously, bodices get ripped. Well, neatly snipped with scissors anyway) for the silent and angry actor brooding in the corner (sorry, Liam Ralph). What drew me in was the elaborate outfits covering those flimsy bodices and the dashing young man in the center of the dance floor (hello, Dominic Cooper, where did you come from?). And the hair*. “The Duchess” is that movie that come January and February will win awards for costume design and makeup unless someone releases their More Epic, More Outlandish Period Drama before the end of the year. And poor Keira Knightley will be shuffled off to content herself with a Golden Globe nomination. (She’ll be back again next year, fighting tooth and nail with Gwyneth Paltrow and Naomi Watts for the Best Female To Star In a Shakespeare Adaptation**. Or maybe the year after that seeing as how she’s just apparently been cast–against type, against all things good, against everyone’s common sense–as Zelda Fitzgerald.***)

Right. Back to “The Duchess.” I think it might be the first of a new kind of movie: Cinepedia. (Wikema? I’m still fine-tuning this one.) It’s the cinematic equivalent of wasting an evening on Wikipedia. You click on innocently enough because you heard something about…something. You’ve got a nagging question to answer. The nag resolved, you click over to something else, then something else. It’s that down-the-rabbit-hole experience and before you know it it’s 10:30, you’re sitting in the dark, you’ve missed dinner, there are some empty soda cans on the table (when did you get those?), and the only thing you have to show for it is some poorly sourced general knowledge that you’ll forget by the time the next pub quiz night rolls around anyway.

Now imagine that in movie form. Liberties have been taken for whatever reason, though the basic framework of events did actually happen. You leave two and a half hours later with a little bit of factual information and the fuzzy feeling that some of what you saw may actually be true, though you’re inclined to distrust most of it. Sound familiar?

The only thing missing Sunday afternoon was the ability to theater-hop to auditorium five for a biopic on Princess Diana with a stop in auditorium seven for a brief course on Spencer family lineage. (On the way, there’s a trailer telling explaining that the bodice-ripping gentleman is the earl for whom the grey tea is named. Truth!)

Somewhere, a young techie kid is growing up, and when he’s 17 and ready to launch his first company, he’ll get rich off this idea. It’s like YouTube wedded to Wikipedia. Web 3.0, here we come.

* Dead-animal-as-wig-adornment alert!

**Really, Joshua Michael Stern? You go straight from “Swing Vote” to “Lear”? That’s awfully ambitious of you.

***As the proprietress of a blog named after Gatsby and a huge fan of Zelda (more than Scott?), I register a great big WTF?!? to this news. I have to go with Jezebel on this one and vote for Amanda Seyfried or someone suitably softer.

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One Response to “In which I have a brilliant idea that I do not think through”

  1. thenamman said

    hmm, would be interesting to see how your suggestions would be like – too diffcult to imagine on my own.

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