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All posts for the month June, 2012

Getting older…and less interesting.

Published June 11, 2012 by Kim

Or, rather–less interested.

Let me say, first and foremost, that I’m not a person who can stick with things for a while. I’m wishy-washy. Flighty. Easily distracted. (Meanwhile, I maintain a fierce loyalty to certain things. Go figure.) The problem is, that sort of wishy-washy mentality has invaded my…erm…personal life.

Fine. I’ll admit it. I’m thirty-four, and I don’t give a rat’s patootie about sex.

Sweet Jesus. That’s awful to see written there. It’s the truth, though, and that’s sort of the point of this whole blog thing, right? So, there it is. An inescapable, undeniable truth.

I’ve been this way for a while, so there’s no concern about sudden-onset issues that might be an indicator of some underlying medical issue. Perhaps it’s connected to my hypothyroidism? (That’s being treated, so…no?) Perhaps it’s due to–as my doctor suspects–my being overwhelmed with being wife/mom/poor housekeeper/woman-of-all-work/doctor mom/me all the time, no breaks? To be completely honest, I’m 99.9% certain he’s correct, as when I’m relaxed, I’m more receptive to hubby’s advances.

Heh. That makes him sound like a perv at a bar. It’s just…he’s always “on”–and I’m not. Hardly ever, in fact. And I get annoyed by him. To the “get away from me, would you” point.

And then I wonder if my lack of interest stems from my lack of attraction. I love him–dear heavens, I do love him. He’s my best friend, my confidante (in so many things), my go-to guy, he’s everything. But I’m just not getting that switch flipped. We’re both in terrible shape–I’ve tried to diet, and fallen off that wagon so many times it feels like a bad run on The Oregon Trail. He’s hardly made any effort in the seven years that I’ve yo-yo’d. Where I would try and try and fail, he’d just sit idly by and gorge himself. If I mention it, he always intends to start losing weight, to start getting fit. (Just like in keeping house–he tells me he’s not happy with how messily we live, but he hardly lifts a finger to help. It’s always “later”.)

So now he wanders around the house with this watermelon-sized gut, looking for all the world like a younger version of his dad, and I’m just not feeling it. I don’t enjoy kissing him, or snuggling him, or anything. It’s very much a “lie back and think of England” situation.

Or, in my case, Chris Hemsworth. Or Chris Evans. Or RDJ. Or whatever might be my mental flavor-of-the-week.

I have turned into one of Those Women. You know the kind–the wives who bitch about their husbands, who constantly find fault in them, and sit around pining over/lusting after some pretty thing. It’s nauseating, when I really stop to consider it, yet I find myself right back in that boat Every. Single. Time. We’ll have a wonderful day, enjoy ourselves, and then come home…the kids won’t go to bed, he’ll get annoyed, I’ll get annoyed, we’ll be up until eleven putting D. into bed again and again, then herding L. back to bed after a late-night potty trip, and by the time we finally get around to retiring, he’s still raring to go and I just want it over. Cue mental wanderings.

I’m sure I’m totally normal, as far as my situation, but I confess it’s disheartening. Hubby has so many fixable things that he won’t take care of (point #1: his atrocious feet, which he can’t be bothered to see a doctor about again. They’re so awful I won’t touch them; in fact, I can’t remember having purposely touched his feet in the ten-plus years of our marriage. They’re hideous, but he says they’re fine, since his dad’s are the same. THOSE FEET ARE NOT NORMAL. I know this, but he refuses to care. This isn’t normal–or healthy) or says can’t be corrected (point #2: his lack of dental care. He says the dentist will wring his neck at the condition of his teeth, but won’t go to see what needs doing, so they get worse and worse. His breath is unpleasant, another reason I’m not keen on the smooches).

See where I’m going? My husband, my help-meet, my partner…it’s like he won’t bother with himself, but wants me to think of him as a sex god.

*sigh*

I can’t do it. I just don’t like it. How many wives admit to that? And what’s worse, I can’t sit him down and explain all this, because I’ll hurt his feelings (been there, done that), bruise his ego (ditto), and generally make him unhappy (again with the same). How do you break it to your spouse that you’re not inspired to new heights of passion because you’re too turned off by all the “little” things? How do you make them understand, despite all prior (failed) attempts, that it’s NOT a matter of not loving them, but of not being attracted to what’s been let go. (I might be fat, but I keep myself clean, try to look presentable, and make an effort to take care of myself as I am. I’m just needing motivation to get fit.) Doesn’t my effort count for something? Shouldn’t he want to reciprocate? Why should I go to bed with a gross-footed, orally odorous man who crushes me under his weight, and pretend I’m so turned on it’s crazy? To suggest such a thing is ridiculous.

Unfortunately, I think I have to live with it…he doesn’t seem to be interested in changing, and I can’t change my (lack of) interest.

On occasion, being married sucks.

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Snow White…and Snow White Redux

Published June 5, 2012 by Kim

My daughter loves fairy tales, as little girls do.

(Oh, who am I kidding. I love fairy tales.)

That said, we’ve seen both Mirror Mirror and Snow White and the Huntsman. Both, clearly, are versions of Snow White’s story. Each presents the tale in a different fashion, however. Mirror Mirror is much more lighthearted, with humor and no onscreen deaths. Huntsman, on the other hand, is significantly darker. I had to cover D.’s eyes in some places (as when the queen is eating bird hearts).

Let’s compare:

MM: Lily Collins (of the channeling-Audrey-Hepburn looks) is the delicate and gentle daughter of the King. After he weds his new bride (Julia Roberts) and promptly vanishes, she’s confined to the castle–still living in splendor–until angering the Queen by drawing the attention of a handsome Prince. Snow is banished, and the Queen’s assistant/boot-licker sent to dispatch her to the Beyond. He chickens out, sparing her life, and she stumbles upon the dwarves. For this telling, they are highwaymen, robbing travelers while wearing telescoping stilts (it’s actually cooler than that sounds). They permit her to stay with them, teaching her the ways of thievery and battle, and stand by her while she breaks the Queen’s spell over the Prince. With a kiss. (No poisoned apple-sleeping for her!)

In the end, Snow defeats the Queen (we do not see her death) after having wed her Prince and freed her father from an enchantment. Yes, she sings. (Once.)

SWATH: Kristen Stewart emotes as well as a two-by-four in her role as Snow White, leaving the weight of the film to be carried by Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth. (He could carry me anytime.) They do an excellent job, I think–Theron goes all-out Type A in need of anger management classes, and it’s a beautiful thing. Hemsworth is running with a Scottish-ish accent (it’s not absurdly thick, just noticeable in places), and does a fine job of playing tall, gorgeous, and dangerous. This version has the girl’s father killed by the evil queen on their wedding night, and Snow spends the next decade locked in a tower, with only a small window to show her the outside world. She escapes, hides in the forest, and the huntsman is sent to retrieve her…he ends up coming to her aid, and they’re both on the lam. Along the way, they meet up with the Prince and Snow gets poisoned.

This time, the Prince kisses her…and nothing happens. It requires the Huntsman’s kiss to wake her.

Alas, that’s all we get of that. The film ends with Snow White leading a small army against the queen, overthrowing and killing her, and instilling Snow in her rightful place as ruler. She looks out over the adoring crowd, where the Prince is smiling, and sees the Huntsman in the rear of the room. Roll credits.

I loved Mirror because it so light–sometimes, a little Bollywood-style closing scene is just what you need. It was very much a cotton candy kind of movie (though, I confess, the costuming was out of this world), but it was an enjoyable one. I didn’t really have a dislike for it–it’s too light and fluffy to really dislike. There’s not enough meat on it to have issues.

I loved Huntsman because of the supporting cast (Theron and Hemsworth). They take something that’s been done nearly to death and make it good. My problem with Huntsman? Snow White wasn’t exactly the “strong” female character we believed we would see. When she escapes the castle, she knows how to 1) build a fire and 2) ride a horse. Both useful things, but not exactly the warrior-princess I expected. (The posters and trailers suggested a lot more.) There wasn’t even a “training the princess for war” scene! We’re left with a couple of moments where she learns from the Huntsman, and the rest is her staring prettily at something. (Mostly. There’s a lot of her looking…well, constipated.) This is not a strong female lead. Everything she achieves is through the efforts of someone else–usually someone male. She needs the Huntsman, the dwarves, the Prince (and his father) along every step of the way.

I suppose the only consolation is that no one did all of it for her, instead. That counts, right?

There was one final thing that bugged me: not getting a resolution on whether it’s the Prince or the Huntsman who has her heart. I understand the message is that she doesn’t need to have a king, that she can (and needs) to do this on her own (for a while, at least). Even so–why relegate her to the myth that a woman must be single and childless in order to succeed? There are times when marriage and children can be hindrance, but it’s not an absolute. Marriage does not alway equal “at a standstill” in life. I can only presume the film ends this way for two reasons: 1) to let girls imagine which one she chooses, while 2) subtly reinforcing the idea that marriage comes when you’re older. Currently, the IMDb states a sequel is in development. If it happens, I’ll see it–if only to see how they show What Comes Next.

Ugh. I’m still not happy. Not showing her choice seems like such a cop-out. And I was also really hoping to see Snow kick some butt.

Please, sink that Battleship.

Published June 4, 2012 by Kim

Anyone who knows me knows I waited months, in great excitement, for the release of The Avengers. So much so, that conversations in mid- to late April went like this:

“What’s B. getting you for your birthday?”

“He’s taking me to see The Avengers.”

(In actual fact, he took me out for the afternoon–including a nice meal at The Melting Pot–but that’s neither here nor there.)

So, lots of blank looks and “mm-hmmms” all around, but on May 4th, I was there to see it in all its IMAX 3D glory. I will say this: WORTH. EVERY. RED. CENT. I mean, when Loki is getting all super-villain pissy at the Widow, he spits on the glass. (Well, the actor did. Vehement delivery, I say.) Little droplets of spittle, practically LEAPING out of the screen at me. B. and I were looking at each other, stupidly excited about the details.

We are so utterly hopeless. 😀

Anyway, I did lots of gawping at the glorious (and I mean GLORIOUS) man-flesh onscreen…and I left totally satisfied at the outcome of what is, without question, the most anticipated comic-book movie EVER. Whedon’s direction paid off like I couldn’t believe. The man is a master at handling a large cast, and made certain everyone got what should come to them. There wasn’t a single moment when I thought, “I wish we’d spent more time on So-and-So.” Instead, I was left with the desire for more-more-more-of-everything.

Although I can’t forgive him killing Agent Coulson. *weeps* I can’t remember loving a so-called minor, recurring character so much, before. There’s a reason those Coulson-centric shorts were made. Dude was amazing.

Quick summation…

Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow: Gorgeous. Deadpan humor (“That doesn’t look like a party”). Scarlett Johansson is nigh-stoic through the entire film; her face reveals almost nothing. But this isn’t the emotionless range of K-Stew, this is deliberate and subtle. Natasha meets Bruce Banner, is clearly terrified of his alter ego: her eyes, the wildness of them when she’s looking down the barrel of a gun aimed at his head? Perfect. Such a controlled human being, desperately trying to retain control in front of someone who, quite literally, embodies lack of it. And let’s not forget her quiet concern for Clint Barton, when she gets word he’s been compromised.

Steve Rogers/Captain America: You just want to take him home to your momma. Dear Lord, but that man is delicious. *ahem* Chris Evans played the role well, portraying that All-American buy-your-war-bonds and respect-your-elders mentality that is so associated with the Cap’s generation. He’s quiet, shy, and just a little earnest. (Flying monkeys mentioned; when Thor doesn’t understand: “I do!…I got that reference.”) He very much takes issue with Tony Stark–providing an interesting counterpoint to Iron Man, whom everyone considers heroic. Understandably, standing him up beside Rogers and comparing the two leaves Tony a little in the dust. That, and Steve is just so darn likeable–(see my first sentence here. It stands re-reading)–while Tony…is Tony. (Bringing us to…)

Tony Stark/Iron Man: Jackass. Hilarious and still easy on the eyes. Walks in and blathers on about nuclear thermodynamic something-or-other, and when asked when he became such an expert: “Last night. Am I the only one who did the reading?” (Something like that.) But Tony mans up, as the Cap suggested, when it gets down to the last. He readily committed himself to never coming home, to dying in some far-flung bit of space, but makes it through the portal just. in. time. (No shock from this quarter.) He and Pepper are adorkable, you should know. She yanks his chain in all the best ways. It’s been said, but I’ll say it again: Robert Downey Jr was born for this role (his addiction and its correlation to Tony Stark aside).

Clint Barton/Hawkeye: I take it back. Here’s one I wouldn’t have minded having more screen time, if only because a lot of his early appearances were while under Loki’s mind control. He doesn’t get much time to show himself, just his skills, and I think the grin he’s flashing at the end points to a lot more humor in him than we got to see. His skills, though? Pretty sweet. L. has marked him as his favorite Avenger. (L.’s a fan of the exploding arrow-tips. My boy is practical, no?)

Bruce Banner/The Hulk: Best film Hulk. Don’t argue with me, just accept it. Mark Ruffalo says he watched the old Hulk TV series with his son, seeking inspiration. His son, aged ten, looked at him and commented on how “no one understands” the Hulk. Ruffalo compared that to his son, starting to have hormones course through his body and make him be and act like someone totally different, and ran with the idea. It worked. Bruce is almost gleeful, though, when he finally gets to show off his “trick”–and I think everyone who’s seen it loves the Hulk’s reaction to Loki’s “I’m better than ALL OF YOU” rant.

Thor: Right off, I’m not happy with the easy-peasy method of Thor’s return. We saw him return to Asgard in Thor, battle Loki, and destroy the bridge to Midgard. Last we see him, he’s looking out into the abyss, waiting for the bridge to be rebuilt so he can return to Earth (and his would-be woman, Jane Foster). I fully expected some kind of complicated method of getting him back, something to do justice to Foster’s research and efforts. Nope–we get an off-hand remark from Loki about dear old dad Odin whipping up some dark energy to open a door. Yes, it sounds hard; does it sound hard enough? No. If I were Jane, I’d be happy he’d come back and then royally pissed at him leaving again. Even so…Thor, getting punched by the Hulk. Thor, cranking up the lightning and zapping some aliens from atop the Chrysler Building. Thor, walking around with his arms bare.

(Hey, I said there was glorious man-flesh. Don’t act all surprised.)

~*~

We’ve arrived at my point. Eureka!

The Avengers marked a standard by which ensemble-cast action movies will be measured. Battleship, which I consider a piss-poor attempt at garnering a few bucks off a game (really? someone thought this was a GOOD IDEA?)…well, it tanked. I can’t decide what rang the death-knell–

The premise? (Again. It was a GAME. Two navies, sinking one another’s ships. NO ALIENS IN SIGHT.)

The characters that could only have more dimensions if you watched it in 3D? (I can’t even remember their names. Not one.)

The lackluster attempt at chemistry between the male/female leads? (That was a painfully uninteresting romance.)

Trying to pull my heartstrings with wounded vets/elderly vets doing battle? (It was…they tried too hard? I don’t know. It fell flat, at least for me.)

Liam Neeson looked like he just wanted to go home. So did I. And I love Liam Neeson!

So, we have two films, each about an apocalyptic invasion of our planet, and our survival is ensured by a ragtag group using whatever skills and tools are available. They all play to their strengths. However…in one, we have people–characters–that are flawed and determined, self-effacing and hurt, and they come together and do something. And it’s spectacular. In the other, cardboard cutouts shout and preen and act tough (Rihanna, I’m looking at you, too), and when it’s all over, you’re just glad to say goodbye. I have watched movies where the heartstrings are used as a mechanism to victory, or inspiration, and it has worked. This was not one of those films.

Movie break!

Published June 4, 2012 by Kim

I’m a movie junkie. Before B. and I were married–and before having children–we were at the theater constantly. Now? Not so much. I miss it–really, I do. As our kids have gotten older, we’ve managed to get back to the darkened halls of big-screen entertainment a little more often…and anytime a kiddie-flick looks at all appealing, we’re on it like white on rice. I sort of suspect all movie-loving parents have fallen into this routine, to one degree or another.

(Just don’t wear anything you don’t want covered in popcorn butter. Little hands have incredibly bad aim at little mouths. THIS, I KNOW.)

But here’s the fun part–for me, anyway; God only knows what you poor readers will think it–I’m hashing out my opinions on four of this year’s movies. A bit of old-school compare and contrast, okay? (With posts for each pairing.)

Good.

Oh, be ye warned: I’ll be spoiling the living daylights out of these movies, so don’t read if you have any intention of watching these without prior knowledge.