Tuesday, May 23, 2006

American Movies

Le sigh. Izzi is gone. How very sad. She left Saturday morning, and I got to see her for a little while Friday night to say goodbye. It is all very triste, but I am determined to go visit her in London (or York) at the soonest possible convenience.

I spent the whole weekend at Sarah’s house, so I didn’t miss Izzi as much (no offense, darlin’; you know I love you). I met a few of Sarah’s friends, plus some random hippies, on Friday night. We tried to go out, but couldn’t find a good nightclub, and all the pubs were closing, so it was the same story as always. [Sidenote: all the pubs here close at 2am on Saturday mornings, but they stay open later on Sunday mornings, so it’s better to go out Saturday night than Friday night.] Not finding anywhere to go, we went to Sarah’s friends’ dorms. There were two guys from Lebanon and a guy from Italy, all students in…something or other. Engineering, maybe? That’s what everyone in this town does, most of them for Airbus, but some for the European Space something or other. We passed the early morning watching “Cinderella Man.” It was a boys’ movie. They attempt to put a storyline to it, but the movie is really only about showing people beating the snot out of each other. Russell Crowe was pretty good in it, but Renee Zellweger bugged me.

Saturday night, Sarah and I tried to watch Eurovision. As an American, I had never heard of Eurovision before I came to France. I guess it's a musical/singing competition to which every European country sends one delegate. Competitors are supposed to be no-names, so they're not often very good. There are judges that vote for the winner, but the viewers also vote for the winner. To avoid nationalism, you are not allowed to vote for the competitor from your own country. The first I heard of the competition was in an hilarious sketch by a Moroccan-French comedian named Gad Elmaleh (I'm in love with this man, but I hear he's married; dang it.) He does an impersonation of a Scandinavian at the Eurovision competition, and he sings a song of made-up, Scandinavian-sounding words, then encourages the audience to join in and looks distraught when no one sings along. Okay, it might not sound hilarious, but trust me, it is. Anyway, the Eurovision competition was Saturday night, and we tried to watch it at Sarah's, but her TV's wouldn't work. The mom of the house doesn't believe in television, so the TV's are only used for watching movies (probably non-violent, educational ones). Instead, we watched “Pride and Prejudice” and “Love, Actually.” P&P was pretty good. I liked that they stayed accurate to the book, and Keira Knightley played the role of Elizabeth Bennett really well. I can’t stand the way Keira Knightley talks, with her jaw all thrust out, and I didn’t care for her acting in Pirates of the Caribbean, but she was good in this movie.
“Love, Actually” is one of my favorite movies (yes, it has Keira Knightley, but she plays a really small part and you aren’t forced to watch her talk too much). I love that it has a bunch of different story lines, and only some of them end happily. I mean, part of me wants them all to end happily, but another part of me knows that would make for a bad film. An “American film,” if you will. All the internationals I’ve met here talk about “typical American films” as if all our films are the same, and their films are different. Apparently all our films have clear good guys, and clear bad guys, and the good guy always wins. But this implies that typical European, typical British, typical Japanese, or any other culture’s films are distinctly different. I was talking about this with Laurent, because we saw the Da Vinci Code together, and he called it a typical American film. He said that some French films follow the “American” pattern. So then, are there a significant number of French films that don’t follow the pattern? Do the majority of French films not follow this pattern? I’m curious to know, because I find it hard to believe that Americans are the only people who like to see happy endings with good people winning and bad people losing. I understand the argument that these films simplify human nature too much, and that a human being is not either all bad or all good. But Americans make plenty of films that address this fact. Not all our films or so black and white. Then again, now that I think about it, the blockbusters, the films that are viewed by the largest number of people usually do follow this pattern. Films with complicated characters don’t appear to entice as many Americans as films with black and white characters.

Eh, whatever. So we’re simple minded. So what? We still RULE THE FREE WORLD. Heehee…just kidding.

Photo: fountain, either Jardin Royal or the garden of the Grand Rond


  1. Hey karenzicus, how are ya? I havent been here in a few days...so I went a little crazy with the comments...:)

    I prefer sombre french subtitles, european independant releases and all movies by ben stiller and jim carey. go figure.

  2. Kaleb is hanging in there, good kid that he is. I cannot imagine the pain the other boy must have been secretly going through to have done such a terrible thing.

    The heart scan. I am strangely hopeful that they find something.

    I have the longest and funniest blog about dog poop to tell, but I am sad because Shyloh leaves tomorrow. I don't know when to tell the poop story. Maybe I will just draft it and save it for later. It is hilarious and GROSS!!!!

  3. Yeah, but the blockbusters aren't necessarily the best films either. They don't accurately represent what our nation's moviemakers are capable of. And, by the way, there is a reason why Hollywood rules the film industry. I don't know what it is... but it is saying something about "American" films. In fact, I would say a majority of foreign films benefit from American influence, even if it isn't in the writing. So there. (All this said, foreign films still do rock.)

  4. P.S. That last comment was by your fav littlest sis, Amy. As is this one.

  5. Haha! Of course Amy would defend Hollywood and the American film industry!

    Hey, met any movie stars lately, darling?