raging ham

This week has seen The Squeeze fiddling with a very old Mac – a blue and white G3 – for Crinks. It’s frankenbox now as we’ve desperately scrounged memory to make it fast enough to run imovie. Thing is, it’s a piece of shit that’s not worth the plastic it’s made of, so it’s been kind of a struggle. But you know Macsluts – they can’t let go of Mac crap. Gotta hoard it. In evidence: one of the little rubbery stops/feet on my ibook has fallen out. I hadn’t noticed, but it’s worrying The Squeeze.
At any rate, Crinks was overjoyed with her new digital freedom and asked what The Squeeze would like in repayment.
As I explained to her:
[with husking voice]: “One day I’m gonna come to you with a difficult proposition. And you will remember this.”
Don Hamleoni can afford to be generous with the skills of others.
Tonight we went to see The Family Stone which I really enjoyed, mostly for the elder Wilson brother (I would marry those Wilson boys), but also because it provided me with some chick-slapstick. There’s nothing I like more than women falling down. Followed perhaps by serious pathos. I laughed a lot at Claire Danes falling down some bus steps. More than anyone else in the crowded cinema. The Squeeze takes inordinate delight in my laughing inappropriately in the cinema – it’s the naughty side of him. I blame my mother for my strange sense of humour. I can’t help it. Puns, black humour, slapstick. It’s the simple stuff I like.
I have continued our cinematic journey through Important Films We Haven’t Seen, this week themeing them ‘men movies’, in honour of the Squeeze, who’s been a bit poorly. The other week it was One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which was great, and I caught part of Easy Rider on telly the other night, which I have fond memories of (“Have you got helmet?” “Yeah, i got a helmet”).
I think we should get China Town out next, and then Mean Streets and The Outsiders because I want to get to Rumble Fish which I adored as a teenager.
This week there was Hunt for Red October (nothing makes a sicky bub feel better than a submarine movie – he regularly rewatches Das Boat in the middle of the night to comfort him when he can’t sleep), followed by Godfather III, which did not please us as much as I or II, both of which we loved (though I wins by a nose).
Last night we watched Raging Bull. It took hours and hours, and we were a bit bored by the end. Sure, it’s great and all, but still…
In other news, I have of late been susceptible to bouts of furious rage, usually in response to meaningless acts or events. Asking me to find out which film I’d like to see was enough to cause a mighty shouting and raging last night. The day before it was the garage clothes line’s being canibalised for a party (in November). Yesterday it was not having the door answered when I demanded it.
The poor Squeeze is, for the most party, the hapless victim of this senseless fury. He is a walking definition of the word stoicism. If it weren’t for the ‘shut up!’ voice and the dance of derision, he’d no doubt have murdered me by now.
I blame it all on thesis-completion anxiety and an overwhelming paranoia about my extension application.
Though it may also perhaps have something to do with all these gangstah films we’ve been watching…

4 Replies to “raging ham”

  1. Ha ha. You know I have been thinking on the subject of female slapstick recently–inspired by The Family Stone. In her romantic comedy days Meg Ryan was the mistress of the genre. Lately I’ve been thinking who is her heir apparent? I would like to vote for Reese Witherspoon when she does romantic comedy–you must see Just Like Heaven, if ever a film was directed at our demographic then this is it. Check out the Ghost Busters moment (the hair, the hair)! Jennifer Aniston would be my second nomination. I like her floppiness. She is better off without Brad–can you see him doing a prat fall? Too uptight. Vince Vaughan? Hell yes! I also love the older Wilson brother. I think there’s probably a queue for him.

  2. i don’t think we can talk about female slapstick without mentioning lucille ball.
    sue turnbull’s doing a project on comedy in telly atm, but i don’t know much about it.
    i’ve been reading henry jenkins’ book ‘what made pistachio nuts?’ lately, which is a study of anarchic film comedies from the 30s and 40s. it caught my interest because hellzapoppin’, perhaps the most important film for lindy hoppers because of That Dance Scene, is also one of the strangest anarchic musical comedies of that era, and is mentioned in jenkins’ book.
    i’m interested in the links between physical comedy and dance – the two are historically tied in pretty serious ways.
    i’m interested in gender and physical comedy and dance because there are some interesting racial things going on there, but also because comedy is something that’s also pretty seriously gendered in swing dance culture (as well as mainstream culture of course).
    slapstick facinates me because it’s about falling down. and for most swing dancers falling down is the ultimate oh-no! moment. so choosing to fall down, especially if you’re a woman… it’s subversive and liberating and exciting. and bruising, but that’s another matter. i think it’s all part of my idea about women’s physical liberation and social liberation being tied: not being able to take physical risks or to wear physically liberaing clothes is central to traditionally gendered femininity. i know it’s not a new idea (one word: corsets), but it’s something i’m reminded of every time i go dancing. women may be the first ones on the dance floor, but the ways they dance are pretty seriously managed.
    they may be the ones taking most of the physical risks in aerials, but that’s with a male partner to manage the risk to a large degree.
    and doing physically and socially risky things…
    so slapstick facinates me because it’s about looking stupid, it’s about taking physical risks, but it’s also about public displays of masterful physical ability. the stunt double, however, moderates that idea.
    so far as mainstream women doing slapstick goes… i guess we do have to look to chick flicks for the most part – films for women audiences, so the women in the films are also protagonists (a long bow i know, but bear with me). and women’s romantic comedies are the perfect place.
    are there, however, differences in the way men and women do slapstick? objects of ridicule? are we offered different ways to laugh at men and women falling down?
    i laughed when claire danes fell down the bus stairs because she was framed moments before as super-sexy (esp in comparison with her sister). it was the juxtaposition of grace and clumsiness.
    but i think that The Family Stone was interesting in the ways it looked at women’s bodies generally. lots of references to motherhood and maternity and maternal bodies – the pregnant daughter, the photo of the pregnant mother, the mother’s mastectomy scars (and their placement in that sex/intimate scene with the father was interesting), the mother’s ‘poor mothering’ skills (in encouraging the daughter’s bad behaviour), the mother’s ‘good mothering’ skills (in the discussion about accepting the younger son’s sexuality), etc etc etc. it was a film about mothers and mothers as central to families, but also about sons and then parenthood generally (what to make of the queer couple and their son?)
    …. oh, i don’t know. i can’t really concentrate on it now – i’m fussing with my thesis intro. ARGH.

  3. I don’t want to burden you during this moment of thesis and funding anxiety (you can do it Spam, because you are extra spicy ham), but you are responsible for introducing me to Ms Lucy Tartan’s blog, and she has compelled me to reveal my weird habits to the world, so I am passing the weirdness on to you…
    Visit http://galaxyofemptiness.blogspot.com/2006/01/me-me-me-me-meme.html for instructions on how to reveal even more of your spam-ness to the world.
    K xxx

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