Sunday, December 20, 2009

Woman, feed me!

Hanukkah is finally over, so today I went to see Where the Wild Things Are, and I really really liked it! As a child I've never read Maurice Sendak's book, which I think is pretty sad. I was definitely aware of the book and the whole Where the Wild Things Are phenomenon over the years, but the first time I've actually read it was about a year ago, when I was supposed to meet someone at the Tel-Aviv art museum and had some time to browse around the museum shop. They had this stand with a bunch of children's books, so I picked up a copy of Where the Wild Things Are and flipped through it to pass the time. It may not have taken too much time to read it all, as it's only got like ten sentences, but the cute story and imaginative artwork had definitely made me feel all warm and giddy on the inside. The film version takes the book as its basic premise and builds on top of it a story that is both sad and exciting. It cost about $100M to make, but it looks and sounds and feels like a quaint little indie film. Well, a children's indie film. With big shaggy monsters. Which you have to admit is pretty damn awesome. The Wild Things all look absolutely fantastic, and they're all played by big guys in gigantic suits with part animatronic and part CGI faces. They jump around, they have dirt fights, they sleep in one big furry pile, they destroy things with boundless joy, but most of all they seem to really like spending their time talking about how unhappy they are, which is exactly what Max, the little boy in the silly costume, is expected to fix. like, there's a Wild Thing that's upset about how another Wild Thing keeps wandering off to meet her other, non-Wild friends. And there's a Wild Thing that's upset because everybody keeps ignoring him and pushing him around. And there's a couple of Wild Things where the guy is a big gentle marshmallow of a Thing, while his girlfriend is a whiny, depressing bitch that sounds exactly like the ever-obnoxious Catherine O'Hara (more about the voice work after the photo of the ridiculously hot redhead). I'm not quite sure how all that constant bickering is going to appeal to the common child viewer, but I really enjoyed it. It's exactly the kind of awkward tension I'm used to in real life. The music in the movie, composed by Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, is also really good. Not the kind of stuff I'd listen to on my personal MP3 player, but as a soundtrack it fits the material perfectly. The main difference between the book and the film is that while the in the book the Wild Things live in what looks like a jungle-type place, the film looks like it's set in the brown and depressing Australian outback. Oh well. I suppose nobody's perfect. It's still an extremely well made film, and I only wish I could have seen it as a child. I'd like to think I would have liked it just as much back then, though I'm probably wrong. Kids are generally stupid little brats, and I'm pretty sure I was no exception. Odds are you weren't either.

Lauren Ambrose is a total toe sucker

As I was sitting there in the theater, once again all by myself with no one else around, I couldn't help thinking that one of the Wild Things' voice sounded awfully familiar. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I was convinced that later today I was about to post here a photo of a really pretty chick. And what do you know! As soon as the credits came up, Lauren Ambrose's name flickered on the screen right in front of me. I've once read this line in a Philip K. Dick book (I couldn't tell you which one to save my life) that said that redheaded chicks tend to be either dreadfully ugly or unnaturally beautiful. That seems about right to me. Not to mention the whole fire crotch issue, which is like the hottest thing ever. Ms. Ambrose may have been Claire for five seasons of Six Feet Under, but to me she'll always be that mentally retarded teenager from Law & Order who got an empty beer bottle stuck up her little VJ and didn't seem to mind it one bit ("I've got a flat tummy", she said). Cute!

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