Archive for Movies

I Heart Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet

I just caught the last half of the ’96 version of Romeo & Juliet with Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes and felt like sharing my feelings about it.

It should be mentioned that of course I love this play and always have, from the first time it crossed my path when I was 14 in freshman year English.  I also love the ’68 Zeffirelli version, despite all the tights. So nobody was more excited than I when the greatest love story was modernized, with the awesome actress from My So-Called Life and the guy who shockingly managed to steal the focus from  Johnny Depp in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.  (That’s how I knew Claire Danes & Leonardo DiCaprio at the time.  Better than referencing Growing Pains, I guess.)

There is so much to love about this movie.  Harold Perrineau (maybe you know him better from Lost; I certainly don’t) was a complete scene-stealer as the mad Mercutio, especially in drag.  John Leguizamo (I didn’t even realize until now that that was him; I associate him with comedy and Ice Age) made a pretty sexy Tybalt.  I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about trading swords for guns, but I thought it became even darker and more exciting as a result.  (That might be just me; I think handguns are mad scary.)

I did, and still do, have complaints.  I love the play, and I mourned some of the cuts and changes.  (Spoilers here; go no further if you’ve not seen it.)  Paris gets to live and I guess that’s okay; the character didn’t seem the type to carry a gun which would mean Romeo would’ve shot him in cold blood.  That would be uncomfortable.  But the end of the movie didn’t have much about the reconciliation of the two families, which I always saw as the consolation for R&J’s  harsh exit.  Tybalt’s hateful speech to Benvolio in the beginning was chopped off (why can’t he have said “Have at thee, coward!”?)  I missed Juliet’s “happy dagger” part (couldn’t Romeo have been carrying a blade on him?  He was a rough kid!)  and of course the famous balcony scene was turned into that silly splashing in the pool, which sort of disappointed me.

Nevertheless.

I watch this movie every time it comes on, because I still get completely caught up in the beautiful and doomed romance.  Say what you will, but this version is pretty intense.  Claire Danes was so fantastic that I actually like her parts the best and wished she’d been given more focus (and more of Juliet’s lines); her love and her pain felt both agonizing and real.  Between the both of them though, I always cry at the end. For drama-loving me, that’s the only test to pass.

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Quick Note for Brooding Monsters with Tortured Pasts

So I just finishing up watching New Moon.  I love the series, even though I don’t love everything about it.  The ending is pretty great.

Anyway, it made me think about the books I read, the movies I watch based on those books or not, and TV shows, too, and I just wanted to say that if someone wants to play a hero with a dark side who falls in love with someone despite himself, I know where he should get his notes from.

Christopher Eccleston as Doctor Who, Series 1.

I’m sorry, but I don’t think anybody else does it as well. Wait, I have a second person in mind, but I’ll try to stick where I am for a minute.  I know if you’re a Ten fan, you’re probably thinking I’m nuts to leave him out, but I’ll always feel like Ten had gotten his act together to the point where he knew being in love with Rose wasn’t really the greatest idea, so he sort of held himself in check and went about his business as much as he could.  Therefore, if he really was in love with Rose, it was way too subtle.  It almost seemed like he showed his feelings more when she wasn’t around to witness them.

Now look back to Series 1.  There was a Doctor who wasn’t about to feel something for a human.  Captain Tortured Past, coming right out of the Time War, lost his entire species, completely bitter…he invited Rose along because she persisted and finally  impressed him, plus he was seriously lonely.  But I don’t think he intended to feel anything for her at all.  It just sort of…happened.  Anyway I just liked his emotional intensity and brutal honesty towards her, and the way you could tell that she became precious to him, though he never did anything about it.  I don’t think I’m wording this right, but it isn’t like I planned this.  Just a thought.

Second example has to be Jason Dohring as Logan Echolls in Veronica Mars.

From what I read, they never even meant for him to be a main character, and then he took over the freakin’ series.  Tortured past?  Abusive father, neglectful mother, getting dumped by his girlfriend who then turned up murdered…you don’t always need paranormal circumstances to fit the bill.  His was a different version, starting the series with the intention of hating and torturing the heroine, only to unexpectedly develop powerful feelings of the exact opposite kind.

These are the two best examples that I can think of, and right now I feel like everybody else falls flat.  Yeah, this means you, Edward.