In my fantasies, I am a very pretty, clean-shaven
6'5" living doll in hot pants. I look really hot as a girl, hot
enough that I then sometimes imagine I am me (a man) again and meet
me (a girl) on the street and want to seduce me. Except that while
I am imagining I am a man on the street, I can't also be the hot
woman, so I end up just wandering around looking for myself and
wind up in an alley, getting mugged and sliced up within an inch
of my life by a gang of biker chicks who look like my neighbors.
From what I've read in "Gallery" and "Club", I'm
pretty typical. I never imagine I'm a suicidal housewife or a miserable
novelist. Sometimes I pretend I have Japanese comics stuffed down
my hot pants, but I sort of like that. My point is that The Hours
isn't intended for me. But, although it's about women, it isn't
intended for them either. It's not for anyone but the smug pricks
in it, and the celebrities and fawning dolts who love to give out
awards for acting like it's the God damn Special Olympics. "You're
all winners!" The message of The Hours is apparently that
you aren't a real woman and you haven't really lived unless you
want to kill yourself. Also, you aren't sensitive or alive unless
you want to get it on with other women. I'm serious.
I think women get a lousy deal from the movies.
The big screen is unfairly a man's world, where women usually sit
on the sideline until someone needs to be rescued. Or they are relegated
to fits of hysteria in horseshit like The Divine Secrets of the
Ya Ya Sisterhood. We need strong women and good women-oriented
films. This shit, though, it's just so fucking relentless in its
sour self-importance. The armies of middle-aged women leaving the
theater with me were scratching their heads and asking, "Are they
saying I'm wrong to be happy?"
The movie covers three parallel stories about similar
women in different time periods. All three are linked by Virginia
Woolf's novel "Mrs. Dalloway" about the last day of a woman who
appears in control of her life, but who is achingly empty inside.
In the 1920s, the novelist Virginia Woolf (Nicole Kidman) is bemoaning
her insanity, her writer's block and suburban ennui as she tries
to write "Mrs. Dalloway". She's loopy, see, and the suburbs are
supposed to quiet the voices in her heads. But after making out
with her sister, she decides she would rather be nuts in the vibrant
city than try to recover in the sticks. In the boom period after
World War II, a dead-eyed suburban housewife (Julianne Moore) locks
lips with her neighbor, hates her dull life, is afraid of her toddling
son and wants to die but can't kill herself, even after reading
"Mrs. Dalloway". The third period is the present, when a lesbian
book editor (Meryl Streep) plans a large party for a ravaged poet
dying of AIDS, whom she had a fling with long, long ago. She is
secretly still in love with him, and fears that her will to live
will cease when he dies. She is Mrs. Dalloway, seemingly in control,
going through the same motions as the book.
The Hours is a movie that chums the awards-season
waters with every bloody chunk of meat it could find. There's three
time periods, a role of a poet dying of AIDS, a beautiful actress
who makes herself ugly (How brave! Those of us born ugly have it
so easy.), another glamorous actress who gets to wear old-lady makeup
and a famous actress who gets to pretend she's a quietly suffering
lesbian. Boy, with all that bait trolling behind the boat, fat fuck
Weinstein is sure to hook a mess of trophies.
The problem is, I can't see any reason for this thing
to exist other than to grab trophies. It's not enlightening, or interesting.
It's not clever, funny or thought-provoking. It's just a compilation
of the shit the Academy loves to congratulate itself for.
Scene after scene thumps us with the obvious sorrow of these characters.
They're sad and miserable, sure, but who doesn't have their moments?
Sometimes I just have to curl up with a cup of hot cocoa and a big
blanket and have a good cry. Ah, I'm bullshitting you. But there
are people who do and Hollywood isn't banging down their doors to
turn their moods into a movie. That's because being sad in itself
just isn't very interesting. What's interesting is how people wind
up sad, but The Hours is too busy moping and being proud
of how it's moping to actually tell us any more. There is very little
story behind all the drama.
The acting is like a bad jazz band. In bad jazz bands, everybody
gets to step forward and do a showy solo. They aren't so much for
the audience as the egos of the players. Yeah, Kidman has a big
fake nose to make her unpretty. As she has told every fucking magazine
and TV show that will listen, though, it wasn't about her. It was
about becoming Virgina Woolf, and, gee, do you think all of this
press might help my Oscar chances? She, like everyone else, is required
to act with only pursed lips, knitted brows, biding her time until
her big solo. For her it comes at a train station. For Julianne
Moore it comes once she's changed into her old-lady makeup. Then
she prattles on and on about her life's journey to strangers for
no particular reason other than it's time for her solo. Harris gets
to make his big speech right before jumping out a window. Holy shit!
Gay, AIDS, suffering artist on crutches, lots of gray makeup to
make him look emaciated and commits suicide.
The gay poet dying of AIDS is a clichÈ that needs to be buried.
Playwrights think all of the world's wisdom is distilled in gay
artists. And any time a big speech is needed, they just haul out
the scabby guy. Aren't there any gay men dying of AIDS who just
sit around all day eating Cheetos, watching Dr. Phil and hoping
Abby will answer their etiquette questions? And what's with all
of the movie's women having lesbian tendencies? When porno directors
have ladies working a strap on, it's sexist crap. If it's some artsy-fartsy
PBS shit, though, two women locking up in soft focus magically becomes
empowering. It means the women are sensitive and just need love.
What a load of crap. Lesbians aren't any more sensitive than straight
women. They're just better organized when someone threatens to take
away their health insurance.
Besides, real people don't speechify like this. If they did someone
would tell them to shut the fuck up. In real life, wisdom is revealed
slowly, and almost always piecemeal and inarticulately.
The movie goes to belabored lengths to show us the parallels of
these three miserable women's lives. A door opening in the 1920s
is almost always followed by a similar door opening in another period.
Same with coffee cups lifted, alarm clock dingling or someone crying.
Director Stephen Daldry must love the unsubtle smash cut and think
it's the only way us unwashed morons will figure out how the three
stories parallel each other. As unwashed as I am, it felt pretty
fucking tacky and unsubtle to me.
Fighting mano a mano with all this overacting is Phillip Glass's
bombastic score. It drowns out scenes in new-agey Koyaanisqatsi
crap. It's like Glass saw all the bravura performances and got jealous.
"Hey, I want everyone to notice me too! Listen! Listen! See how
lush this background music is! What? You can't hear it? Then we
better crank it up, dude."
It's all too much acting and directing and producing and too little
to care about. Two Fingers for The Hours. I'm sure
there are many who will say it's wonderful and powerful, but I doubt
many will put themselves through the hell of watching it twice.
Now, if you'll excuse me; who's the hot young thing that just wandered
into my mind?
to tell Filthy Something?