Thursday, February 18, 2016

Bridget Jones's Diary

Year 8, Day 49 - 2/18/16 - Movie #2,250

BEFORE: I spent another day looking through blogs from people who review children's books, and it's really starting to eat at my soul.  Really, all I want is to check the blogger's review policy and copy their e-mail address, but to get through that, I have to hear about something they knitted or some cyst that they seem to have developed on their finger.  Jeez, remember when people kept their private information private, instead of posting or tweeting every damn detail about their lives?  Nobody cares!  And now I have to find out what Bridget Jones writes in her diary...

Hugh Grant and Gemma Jones carry over from "Sense and Sensibility" - and I know that this is related to Jane Austen because one of the characters is named Mr. Darcy, which I think is a reference to "Pride and Prejudice".  I may be putting the cart before the horse by watching this one before I watch P&P, but that's what the linking is telling me to do.

But shouldn't the title be "Bridget Jones' Diary" instead of "Bridget Jones's Diary"?  That word "Jones's" just doesn't look right.  

Here's the TCM "31 Days of Oscar" line-up for tomorrow, February 19 - 

Jacqueline White carries over from "Crossfire" to:
"The Narrow Margin" with Charles McGraw carrying over to:
"T-Men" with June Lockhart carrying over to:
"Meet Me in St. Louis" with Mary Astor carrying over to:
"The Maltese Falcon" with Barton Maclane carrying over to:
"The Spanish Main" with Fritz Leiber carrying over to:
"The Story of Louis Pasteur" with Paul Muni carrying over to:
"Juarez" with Brian Aherne (not Bran, TCM!) carrying over to:
"Captain Fury" with Douglass Dumbrille carrying over to:
"A Day at the Races" with Maureen O'Sullivan carrying over to:
"The Thin Man" with Myrna Loy carrying over to: 
"The Best Years of Our Lives" with Virginia Mayo carrying over to:
"The Flame and the Arrow" with Norman Lloyd carrying over to: 
"The Southerner"

I've seen three of these, "Meet Me In St. Louis", "The Maltese Falcon", and since I covered the Marx Brothers last year, "A Day at the Races".  I picked up all 6 "Thin Man" films about a month ago, so I'm going to count that as something added to the list, plus I'm adding one more, the Best Picture winner "The Best Years of Our Lives" because it seems important - I can watch it on Veterans' Day or something.  Now I'm up to 67 seen, 149 unseen, with 6 on the watchlist.

THE PLOT:  A British woman is determined to improve herself while she looks for love in a year in which she keeps a personal diary.

AFTER: I think I've avoided watching the Bridget Jones movies for so long because I can't stomach what she stands for, this kind of "feminism lite" that ends up just creating an improper fantasy for women.  It's related to my feelings about the 2016 election, but let's see if I can explain it properly.  First we have to back up a few decades, to the 1960's, which for some people was the era of "free love", the sexual revolution.  Then came the 1970's, and it was all about equal rights, everything that men had, women wanted to have too.  Fair enough, I'll grant that.  But then came the 1980's, and it was called the "me" decade - everybody wanted what they wanted, and we had those annoying entitled yuppies.  

When the dust settled, we had the children of the 90's in place, who were close to being adults when this film came out in 2001 - Generation X we called them at the time, and they were the product of the philosophies of the preceding decades, all rolled into one. (Except for the sex part, AIDS had pretty much killed off the concept of "free love")  Women still had the desire for equal rights, and people still had the desire for everything from the entitled 80's.  The prevailing message to women was "You can have it all!" but there was a second part of the message that didn't really get communicated.  It should have been "You can have it all - provided you're willing to work for it."  Yes, women could juggle careers, and love, and maybe even kids, but doing all that took hard work and commitment.  A job is a commitment, a relationship is a commitment.  But by just saying the first part, "You can have it all!" we created a completely entitled generation that wanted everything for little effort. 

Don't believe me?  Take a look around at today's hipsters.  The people who had all day to sit around and occupy Wall Street, complaining about being out of work, instead of using that time to, you know, work.  Or at least look for jobs.  Today's millennials not only want it all, they feel they deserve it, and they complain when they don't get it.  These are the people who are supporting Bernie Sanders, because he's promising free college education, health insurance for everyone, where another candidate might say, "Sure, you can have health insurance, if you're willing to work for it."  The hipsters are suddenly not interested.  And they'd rather hear about the fantasy then entertain something more realistic.  

(I just don't think that Socialism's going to work for the U.S., because just as Socialism was thinly-veiled Communism in the U.S.S.R., here it's going to be thinly-veiled capitalism.  Everybody wants what they think they deserve, plus a little more.  For individuals and small businesses, every decision is made on the basis of cost-effectiveness or personal gain.  Like, do you think that restaurant serves locally-sourced, sustainable produce because they truly care about the planet, or because local ingredients are cheaper, and sustainable items means they'll never go out of business?)  

But this brings me back to "Bridget Jones's Diary", which is the equivalent of undeliverable campaign promises to women.  This is porn for women in its own way, letting women think they can smoke, and drink, and sleep around, and they'll end up with the perfect man anyway.  At least in "Trainwreck", Amy Schumer's character eventually learned to take steps to change her behavior, but I don't think that Bridget Jones ever does.  She doesn't have to, because Hollywood's going to provide her with a happy ending no matter how badly she screws up.

Looking at this film after watching "Sense and Sensibility", it feels like Bridget Jones combines the worst qualities of the two Dashwood sisters.  Like Elinor, she's too willing to let her man go if he has another obligation (or a little something on the side) but like Marianne she's immature enough to be overly emotional about it.  She wants it all, she feels she deserves it all without putting in any effort, and then she complains when she doesn't get it.  

The overarching message seems to be: If you love something, set it free, and if it doesn't come back, feel free to harbor a great deal of resentment, and then trash-talk the guy in your diary (or on social media).  Not cool.

Plus, she goes from sleeping with her boss in order to get ahead at one job, to sleeping with a trial lawyer in order to land an important interview at the next job - I don't really see how that's a vast improvement.  Both seem like a violation of workplace ethics, like she has no moral boundaries.  

NITPICK POINT: The scene with the "Tarts and vicars" party - not everyone knows what this is (I sure didn't), maybe taking a minute to explain what this is to the audience might have gone a long way. For a minute I thought it was Cockney rhyming slang for "knickers", so you should come to the party in your underwear.  WTF, anyway?  Why do they throw parties where men and women are supposed to dress like priests and sluts?  Here I was starting to think that Britain was a magical place, but so many of the people in this film are terrible people - the woman are all catty and the men act like dogs.

NITPICK POINT: Why does Bridget monitor her weight loss in pounds?  Aren't they on the metric system over there in the U.K.?  Why is she the only person not using kilos?  Or do they still use "stones"?  I think, like with the extra apostrophe in the title, that Hollywood assumes that all Americans are stupid.  I'm not saying that they're wrong, but I just want to see things done more accurately.

Also starring Renée Zellweger (last seen in "Down With Love"), Colin Firth (last seen in "The Importance of Being Earnest"), Jim Broadbent (last seen in "Moulin Rouge!"), Shirley Henderson, Sally Phillips (last seen in "Notting Hill"), James Callis, Celia Imrie (last seen in "You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger"), Embeth Davidtz (last seen in "The Amazing Spider-Man 2"), Paul Brooke, James Faulkner, Honor Blackman (last seen in "Cockneys vs. Zombies"), Patrick Barlow, Felicity Montagu, Neil Pearson, Dolly Wells, with a cameo from Salman Rushdie.

RATING: 4 out of 10 launch parties

No comments:

Post a Comment