June 1, 2008

Okay, so I saw the "Sex and the City" movie because I thought I could get some good blogging out of it.

So if I have nothing to say then I wasted 148 minutes. To try to salvage my lost time, I'll go with a numbered list:

1. Why is a comedy 148 minutes long? Especially a comedy based on a half-hour sitcom. It was like 5 TV episodes stuck together. Except 5 TV episodes would have been more fun because there would have been a lot more random, go-nowhere plots and not a true-romance story arc for each of 4 characters. They'd have thrown in some extra bad boyfriends. Instead, each aging diva has the love of her life to come to terms with.

2. Hollywood is back to casting black women in the role of the maid: Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar, then plays the "personal assistant" to Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City." My heart is too full to tell you how just how I feel:



3. Why did Carrie Bradshaw even need a personal assistant? She's been using that damned Apple laptop for over a decade. Doesn't she know how to click the "junk" icon in Mail? Also, if she's such a big Apple user, why did she shun the iPhone? Well, the answer is, of course, these were all plot devices. How can you generate enough miscommunication to make a modern love story when everyone has instant communication? You have to have kids hiding cell phones, cell phones thrown into the ocean in anger, unusual cell phones that a person who isn't supposed to be an idiot can't operate, and personal assistants to set up password-protected email boxes.

4. She also needed a personal assistant so there could be a black person in her life to help her understand what really matters in this world. Guess what? It's love. And being true to yourself. And very expensive handbags.

5. I thought the extreme, grotesque materialism was extreme, grotesque and pretty amusing:
It’s easy to bash the show’s over-the-top materialism, but “Sex and the City” has never bothered to rationalize it, no matter how absurd or overpriced an item may be. (Nor has the show explained how a freelance writer could afford all those clothes.) It simply accepts that fashion is good and assumes the audience, just like Carrie, so badly wants to be a part of Vogue.
It's a little game we play. Does it hurt anyone? We all like a walk-in closet, so why not show us the ultimate dream closet... and show our Carrie having glorious make-up sex in it?

6. I say "our Carrie," because it seems we're supposed to identify with her, but why on earth do we? Is she our fantasy? We might like to maintain our skinniness as we age, but we don't visualize it turning out that stringy. How many tendons are there in the human body anyway? I tried counting that one time when we got a horrific closeup of the axilla:



7. Meanwhile, Samantha is supposed to get shockingly fat (from living in Los Angeles and having to consume food instead of the usual smorgasbord of men that she got in New York). But the actress, Kim Cattrall, declined to put this kind of dedication into acting:



8. But credit where credit is due: Cattrall puts in the effort where the result is to make her look pretty. I'm thinking about that sushi scene. (Which was another place where they figured out how to make the telephone unanswerable.) And let's be fair. Cattrall has a beautiful body at age 51, and stretching it out at this point could be catastrophic. Couldn't they have made some sort of fat prosthesis to make the fat scenes big and believable? What percent of the women in the theater were slimmer than the supposedly fat Samantha?

9. And if Carrie is so horrified by fat, why is she so hung up on Mr. Big, who is fat? Hey, I'm just seeing that Chris Noth (who plays Big) was born in Madison, Wisconsin. That's nice! But still, the man is substantially overweight, and in profile, at least once, it was very obvious that he was wearing a powerful girdle.

10. Noth had to act like a pussy about going to his giant wedding, and it was completely unbelievable. I can't believe the whole audience didn't audibly scoff.

11. Because the audience was breathing and sighing along with ever emotional moment in that damned movie. Dog? Awwww. Baby? Oooohhh. Women go to that movie to have their emotions played. Suspend your critical mind and flow with it. If you don't want to do that... really, you shouldn't go. (It's like pornography.)

12. The most pornographic part of it all is the fashion and the interior decoration. You'll never be bored if you can pay attention to the details of costume and set decoration.

13. For me, the most astounding thing in the movie was the chest of drawers in the Vogue office. I have this old chest of drawers — my parents bought it in the 1960s — that earlier in the day I decided I had to get rid of. I was thinking about rearranging the furniture in my living room and I realized that the awful thing had to go. It's black with three wavy gold squares on each drawer and a big gold door-knocker pulls. Then — unbelievable! — there's that very chest in the Vogue office. Weird!

ADDED: Sean says:
My parents had that exact same chest (at least as described: I didn't see the movie). It's by Dorothy Draper. You can google her. My sister saw one in the window of an antiques store in Greenwich so it's worth something, although she didn't stop to check the price.
Palladian says...
Althouse, can I have the Dorthy Draper piece?
... and links to this picture:



That's it!

52 comments:

tomb1 said...

Go see Iron Man now to cleanse your palate. Well, it might also take Indiana Jones to get all the bad taste out.

Little sex. Little city. Four older girls. Full-of-himself director. Unwillingness to edit. Not the best recipe for a movie.

Ann Althouse said...

I saw "Iron Man."

ricpic said...

What kind of work do these broads do to afford the lifestyle they live?

Or is that an annoyingly reality based unhip question to ask?

I saw Iron Man and Indiana Jones and they're both as big nothings in their way as SITC is in its.

Ann Althouse said...

Ricpic, it's like asking why people in porn movies are always... whatever they do that real people don't.

vet66 said...

...Meanwhile, back in the real world, I go shopping with my wife and her sister. Trying on clothes the question always comes up, "Does this dress make my butt look fat?" Then the real insanity makes an appearance as the salesgirl presciently pronounces authoritatively; "Absolutely not!"

Meanwhile I am studying the mirror which looks like it's origins were in a carnival somewhere. I innocently inquire why the mirror is mounted at an angle? I am perfunctorily escorted through the petite section where I notice a garment marked size zero. I am relieved of my VISA card and made comfortable in an obscure corner.

rcocean said...

How many men in the audience?

Mark said...

I figured the movie would be pretty much what it was, boring girl talk punctuated by nipples and sight gags. Yeah, it was a waste, but it the kinda good way that eating a doughnut is a waste.

As one of the only men in the theater I was struck by the lack of wisdom and courage in all the characters. For example, Steve (a great guy) gets nothing but cooing from all the women. But when did whiny stalking become an attractive quality?

I thought your comparison to porn was apt. The movie is a girl version. For a little while you live in a world you imagine you'd like, but know you really wouldn't.

-mca

Ann Althouse said...

The movie is exactly what you would expect. If you go to it, you can't complain.

Chip Ahoy said...

You'll never be bored if you can pay attention to the details of costume and set decoration

I can pay attention to that, but not for Sex in the City. That remark recalled an incident at my parent's house. STNG came on, the episode where Picard was assimilated. I leapt forward and sat on a footstool directly in front of the screen and enthusiastically pointed out the details of the Borg costume and the set of the Borg ship. I recall pointing out where the set was positioned as a tiny portion within a gigantic brilliantly detailed painting of the interior of the Borg ship, which is the shape of a cube. I was quite excited. When I turned back to talk directly to my mother, she was staring at me with her mouth open, and not the screen, as if I were the alien. I don't think she really completely understood me.

Thanks for the review. It confirms my decision to pass.

William said...

Sex and the City fans are a mutant and malicious strain of Trekkies. And unlike Trekkies they replicate.

bearbee said...

And if Carrie is so horrified by fat, why is she so hung up on Mr. Big, who is fat?

Fat? Hey, whaddaya want from a 53 year guy who is husky

P. Rich said...

AA said: "Women go to that movie to have their emotions played."

And then there are:

the soaps
romance novel trash
entire 24/7 TV channels
tabloid magazines
girlfriend chat sessions
etc.

The Althouse statement could be read to imply that movies are a temporary respite from typical female lives of intellectual activity. That would be statistically backwards at best.

Meanwhile, only slightly off topic:

UW-Madison has selected Biddy Martin, Cornell provost and women’s studies professor, as its new chancellor. Probably her best-known work is called Femininity Played Straight, which features stirring chapters such as “Sexualities without Gender and Other Queer Utopias”.

Yes, an excellent example of female intellect soon to be hard at work in top level UW-M administration.

Meade said...

"And if Carrie is so horrified by fat, why is she so hung up on Mr. Big, who is fat?"

I haven't seen the movie and I've never seen the TV show so I'm really going out on a limb here to make a wild guess but let me just ask this: this Mr. Big -- is it possible he has a, you know, pornographically big income? I've been told that there are still some women who can get hung up on things like that.

Meade said...

"When I turned back to talk directly to my mother, she was staring at me with her mouth open, and not the screen, as if I were the alien. I don't think she really completely understood me"

But know she loves you.

bearbee said...

re: Mr Big, he is a main cop character on one of the Law and Order series. I've never noticed him as fat.

Ralph said...

I thought the TV show was about gay men played by female actors, with the biological clock thrown in for laughs. It had Titus written all over it, especially Samantha. Are there actual women like her who aren't trainwrecks?

reader_iam said...

"Does this dress make my butt look fat?" Then the real insanity makes an appearance as the salesgirl presciently pronounces authoritatively; "Absolutely not!"

I have never asked such a question in my life (um, I know better), though I've heard it asked many a time--and answered, in authoritative rote. But every once in a while, I'm tempted to try on something and say, "Does this make my butt look thin?!", just to see if the salesgirl slips up and answers, "Absolutely not!"

No, of course, I won't really do that. But wouldn't it be funny, in a twisted sort of way, if I did?

Beth said...

reader_iam,

I had a roommate who bravely answered "It ain't those pants that make your butt look fat!" when asked that question by her girlfriend. I thought that was the definitive answer.

rhhardin said...

Dog? Awwww.

And what's on TV in Ohio this morning?

s1c said...

My Sister-in-law, wife and daughter went to the movie and loved it. Only the in-law is a fan of the show, but for a girls night out, it made a fun trip for them, especially since it was at a mall where the three of them went shopping.

As a side note, the better half said it would be a hit on the submarine since it had the t and a scenes.

UWS guy said...

There was a theory I read once that the 4 characters in "Sex and the City" were actually 4 gay men characters being played by women.

The show and the movie makes much more since (and is more realistic) when seen in that light.

UWS guy said...

Whoops, Ralph beat me to it.

john said...

Ralph said -

"Are there actual women like her who aren't trainwrecks?"

Well (tautologically) no.

rhhardin said...

Ricpic, it's like asking why people in porn movies are always... whatever they do that real people don't.

There's no plot in male porn movies.

George said...

It's Miley Cyrus' favorite TV show, according to Newsweek.

Sad.

somefeller said...

Chris Noth isn't fat. He looks like your pretty standard guy who lifts weights, doesn't do yoga and likes his steak and beer. He may have a bulky physique compared to, say, the guys in Radiohead, but he isn't fat.

titushowareyourchakras said...

I loved the tv show but don't have much interest in seeing the movie.

I heard the clothes are pretty cool but they are in a different ensemble every minute.

The writer and director and many of the producers are all gay-big surprise.

titushowareyourchakras said...

Thanks for the wonderful review Althouse.

Some friends of mine saw it and said it is exactly what you think it is going to be.

Sarah Jessica's body is amazing though.

reader_iam said...

Althouse, I forgot to ask: So, are you still gonna ditch the chest? Maybe you could put it on eBay and include "as seen in the Vogues offices in the 'Sex and the City' movie"! Lord knows, the value of things have spiked before based on even less.

Iapetus said...

Oh lord, somebody has hijacked the Ann Althouse blog and replaced it with the lifestyle column from the New York Times! Those dastardly Chinese hackers must be at it again!

reader_iam said...

Hoo boy. That's some comments section attached to the video of Hattie McDaniel's acceptance speech over at YouTube.

And Raging Bull is one of my very favorite movies. DeNiro was amazing in (and amazingly committed to) that role.

Finn Kristiansen said...

Yea the film is what it is, and men have their equivalents of superficial entertainment.

You can see the whole plot on moviespoiler.com, that way you can talk about it when you have to, without actually having to see it if you don't want to.

John Hawks said...

I say "our Carrie," because it seems we're supposed to identify with her, but why on earth do we? Is she our fantasy?

I have always thought we identify with Carrie to precisely the same extent that we identify with Jerry on Seinfeld. Neither is especially admirable as a character, and both are totally neurotic. But they bind together these other three very odd characters, who would never get along without the central one.

rhhardin said...

If you're going to be an angry lady, this is the way to handle it.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Mark said

I thought your comparison to porn was apt... For a little while you live in a world you imagine you'd like, but know you really wouldn't.

Clearly you are not watching the same porn I'm watching...

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcocean said...

"It's pretty funny to have a voluptuous woman with beautiful full breasts in a brand new bra in a form flattering dress, who asks if her butt looks big. The correct answer is, who the hell is going to be looking at your butt. It's truly amazing."

I would, I looks at legs and butt first. Breasts are secondary. It all goes back to that accident when I was Breastfeed.

sean said...

My parents had that exact same chest (at least as described: I didn't see the movie). It's by Dorothy Draper. You can google her. My sister saw one in the window of an antiques store in Greenwich so it's worth something, although she didn't stop to check the price.

Palladian said...

Althouse, can I have the Dorthy Draper piece?

Ann Althouse said...

Wow, how bizarre! I was just trying to figure out how to make that thing disappear from my house.

Where would you put it? And how would you get it to New York?

losergrrl said...

148 minutes.

The average Briton, as of a couple of years ago, spent 148 minutes a day watching television. The same average UK resident spent 164 minutes online. That's 5 hours 12 minutes in front of a screen. No doubt it's more today.

So why should we care about another 148 minute time-waster, when we already have plenty of them brought into our homes?

On Althouse, this pleasant Sunday became six characters in search of a blog.

You really shouldn't do this, professor. Blogging of the absurd, such as this post, and the self-referential humour found elsewhere on your site, is a terribly cruel joke on your poor regulars. They seem to have nothing better to do than to sit around all day writing comments.

But you will never find me saying that I've lost a whole day over these people, a whole day!

reader_iam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
reader_iam said...

Althouse has "regulars," these days? I think she has "subsets" of regulars, and I've come to the conclusion that this is not accidental. (That should be: "I came to the conclusion that this is not accidental some time ago ...")

How do you define "regulars," losergrrl?

Actually, how does everyone?

How do YOU define them, Althouse?

This could be a thread unto itself.

***

(I deleted and reposted my comment to reflect in one place what I was trying to say more precisely, and also more grammatically. That's the only difference.)

rightwingprof said...

Since the show is stupid, I wasn't tempted to see the movie.

TitusThe Lebanon said...

Sarah Jessica Parker is God.

bearbee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bearbee said...

Althouse, can I have the Dorthy Draper piece?

Palladian, good eye.

One man's junk.....

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

Trooper is starting the week off strong.

Hey said...

Not sure about Chris Noth being "FAT". He's not Men's Health cover material or an emo rocker, but he's also not Phillip Seymour Hoffman. Partly this is thanks to different acceptable ranges for men and women, and partly to the way that the sexes carry weight. He could lose 15-20 pounds, but that's about it.

sean said...

That's the chest! My parents actually had two. My father was going to get rid of them, but then my sister told them they were worth money, so he kept them.

So they are here in NYC. If anyone wants to post an offer, I'll transmit it to my father.