The "Brit a Day" series

What does a months-long parade of attractive British men have to do with fiction, you might well ask? These gentlemen have inspired some lovely scenes, part of the life I live in my head. Over time, some of these scenes reach out to one another and begin to form a story. For the present, each one of these pictures provides a writing prompt for me, a way to keep me writing with a sense of passion and narrative, even when the stories are not yet fully formed.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

cinema salvation

I went to see the movie 'Watchmen' the other day and I enjoyed it very much. (I'm going to be your Mother here for a minute and tell you that you really should read the book first because the book is an epic and a classic. I say epic, but it is a comic book you know, so how long can it take you to read it, just a day or two, and well worth the time, before you see the movie.)

As I was waiting for the movie to start, I was thinking how ironic it is that I have to get out of the house to see a movie I don't want to watch with my kids and how glad I was that this movie was rated R so there was no ambiguity about who should and who should not see it with me. I went alone. But what I really wanted to watch (with my husband) was 'Batman Begins'--yes, I know it's ancient, but I've never seen it. I bought the DVD used after I saw 'The Dark Knight' (which I bought new at Circuit City's liquidation sale, an event that surprised me with the flood of emotion--nostalgia for our early days, spending loads of money on electronics and appliances--it brought forth in me.) And the DVD of 'B-man Begins' sits on my desk even now, unwatched, because that intersection of kids-are-asleep, and Sean-is-home, and two-hours-to-watch-a-movie-in-which-I-won't-fall-asleep just doesn't exist in my house very often.

So the trailers before 'Watchmen' helped me plan (fantasize) other escapes from home to see more epic sex & violence, hopefully rated R.

The first trailer was for 'Public Enemy' with Johnny Depp as John Dilinger, and we all know what THAT means. Christian Bale is also in the movie, and I felt like I was being taunted for being most likely the only person in the theatre who has not seen 'Batman Begins'. I bet i'm right, you know, people who'd come to see 'Watchmen' (DC comics) will have seen it.

The next trailer was for 'Star Trek.' I'm pretty excited about that now too. thank God it's not called 'Star Trek Begins' or 'Star Trek: Origins'. The fact that someone has the nerve to simply call it 'Star Trek' is ominous, in a good way, I think.

The last trailer was for 'Terminator: Salvation' which had me right from the start when I didn't know it was a Terminator movie and I was thinking "wow, this story is based on a common theme in science fiction (and comic books) of man-made stuff dominating man, like I Robot and The Terminator." And then there he was in THIS trailer, I'm not making this up.....Christian Bale.

Monday, March 30, 2009

wants in life: love, happiness

Friends of mine know that one of the defining moments of my life was when I sustained a traumatic head injury. They won't be surprised to hear that the death of Natasha Richardson was particularly sad to me. She was 45, just like I was, the age at which I fell and hit my head (with the force of a baseball bat in mid-swing my doctor said) and then popped up and reassured everyone that I was fine. Story has it, she turned away the paramedics at the hotel because she felt fine. I would have done the same thing. I would have never made it to the ER if someone hadn't asked me if my extremities were numb. Slightly, I said, but yes, yes, they definitely are.

My favorite Natasha Richardson movie is the sweet British film "Blow Dry." She makes your heart ache in that movie. It's not a great movie, but it's lovely, and it's fun that you have to turn on the closed captions to understand their Yorkshire accents. says, "Despite a gifted Anglo-American cast, Blow Dry strikes an uneasy balance between sentiment and camp. It aims for the same sort of high-wire act that Strictly Ballroom and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert pulled off so effortlessly, but melodrama wins the day. The comic moments are suitably over-the-top (as expected in a film about dueling hairdressers), but rarely as amusing as intended. The relationships between barbershop owner Phil (Alan Rickman), ex-wife Shelley (Natasha Richardson), and Sandra (Rachel Griffiths), "the other woman," could be more fully developed but are affecting nonetheless.
The setting is West Yorkshire. The event that brings them together is the British National Hairdressing Championships. Phil initially resists the urge to compete as it reminds him of the success he and Shelley once enjoyed, but his son Brian (Pearl Harbor's Josh Hartnett) convinces him to give it a go.
Hartnett and Rachael Leigh Cook (She's All That), as the daughter of Phil's old nemesis, seem like peculiar casting choices for a British film, but Hartnett's accent is passable (Cook plays an American) and they don't embarrass themselves as much as supermodel Heidi Klum, who plays a tacky, two-timing hair model. The screenplay is by Simon Beaufoy of Full Monty fame. Although not up to that standard--and certainly no match for Shampoo (the greatest hairdressing movie of all time)--Blow Dry is still a good showcase for the talents of its three leads....
.....The Academy Award(R)- nominated writer of THE FULL MONTY has crafted a hilarious story about the things everyone wants in life: love, happiness, and great hair! As the National Hair Championships descend upon a small town in England, the country's top stylists aren't expecting much from the local talent. But they didn't count on Phil Allen (Rickman), the retired golden boy of the competition circuit, entering the fray! Also starring Natasha Richardson (THE PARENT TRAP), Rachel Griffiths (MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING), and supermodel Heidi Klum -- laugh along as the locals dazzle the out-of-towners with some hair dos ... and don'ts."