Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Across the Universe; an update

We watched "Across the Universe" last night, all of us. I convinced Gillen and Jesse to give it a try, saying that they could always leave, of course, if they didn't like it. I love the Beatles. Gillen has been saying for the past several years that he strongly doesn't like them at all. Other than some alien having implanted an evil anti-Beatles chip in his brain, the only explanation I can come up with is that he heard too much of them when I was directing a musical that I put together (Montessori school theater group) that had the kids singing Beatles songs throughout. And then "I Am Sam" came out and I was hooked on that soundtrack's Beatles'adaptations, probably playing them a bit too often in the car.

I felt that this movie was a great chance to reintroduce the genius to the nay-sayers.


All went well until the film's reenactments of the sixties got violent. While "Let it Be" played, we saw an impression of the Detroit race riots. Gillen and Jesse went screaming from the room.

"I'm never watching a movie that you recommend again!" screamed Gillen. The history here being that I had strongly encouraged him to watch a "Lassie" movie that I brought home one day a year or so ago, knowing how much he loves dogs. It turned out to be the most creepy Lassie movie ever. Lassie was poisoned and was dying a very long, painful death, before of course rebounding at the very end (not that Gillen stayed long enough tot see that). Gillen was mad for days about that one. I felt terrible.

After dramatically leaving the room last night, he didn't want us to talk to him about what he'd seen or for us to turn off the movie. In fact, they both kept quietly reappearing to snuggle up next to us, drawn by the music to give it another chance. They managed to admit that they might even sort of like the music but I am still on the black list as a movie critic.

So, I don't know that I can give a clear impression of this movie. I believe that Julie Taymor, the director, is a genius and I loved her surprising, creative uses of the songs. I read her biography and it turns out that she grew up in Newton, Mass. where I lived as a teenager and that she started out at Boston Children's Theater at age ten, as did I. She was ten years older so we didn't cross paths. She has had such a worldly life, living all over the place since she was a teenager. I can't wait to see her next endeavor - "Spiderman" as a musical, with music by U2's Bono and the Edge!

I wish I could have watched this with Diana, Kelli or other girl-friends. Next time.


Rue said...

You were at BCT? One of my best friends was backstage there for years and I used to go and do tickets and hang out and watch the rehearsals. What years would you have been there?

Angie said...

Oh, I've been dying to see that movie. Sorry the boys didn't like it, maybe in a few years.

Thanks for reminding me - I'm going to get it on Netflix tomorrow.

I LOVE the picture on your blog - when the greenhouse is new and not full of weeds yet. Awesome.

diana(hahamommy) said...

I'm sorry :( I shoulda warned ya, I just happen to be very good at placing that scene at the back of my mind... so much so, I completely forgot about it after the first viewing, so it *shocked* me again the second time, I think doubly.
It's hard for me to hear the song without crying. (even outside of this week, when I've taken up a crying hobby-of-sorts!)
Today I drove through town with Thriller playin and the windows down :) spreadin' the love <3

Madeline said...

Rue, it was about 1973-76? I am terrible at remembering how old I was for different events. I played Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" (toured Mass.) and it was the best experience of my childhood. All those older, cool, loving older girls in the cast.

Angie, it is only not full of weeds because I am not working there.

Diana, (hugs). I would love to be driving round town with you, "Thriller" and other M.Jackson blaring (I danced to his music so passionately in NYC in those days), tears let loose.

Madeline said...

"older, cool, loving older girls...

I guess I really liked that they were older, a lot. : )

Rachel said...

We have the same issue with movies around here. I believe we saw that same Lassie movie (with Peter O'Toole?). Otto picked it out, because he is such a dog lover. They actually liked that movie, but we have had similar luck as you on many other movies we thought they would love (or that we hadn't yet seen and thought would be fine, and yet turned out to be too much). You never know what will bother one kid and not another, and if we haven't seen the movie, we have made many mistakes, not realizing it might have something in it that makes them uncomfortable.

For a while, they boys were so interesed in watching more "adult' movies, and we got really into it, watching so many things I wouldn't have thought he'd like (as we talked about before, Amelie, or Little Miss Sunshine, or Bend it Like Beckham...or action movies like Harry Potter or Spiderman). But then, Max suddenly went into an anti "live-action" movie bent, and he will only consider watching a move if it's animated. I think this is some way of protecting himself, he must have seen some things in live action movies that made him uncomfortable, and he thinks animated movies are safe (of course there are lots of scary animated movies out there too).

We have found that live-action movies require constant commentary, such as a reminder that they are all actors, they are not really poisoned or being cut in half with a light saber or whatever. We talk a lot about how they do the special effects. When something seems sort of scary, Max will often say to me, "he is just an actor, that is not really happening to him." So I think that is some sort of comfort. And maybe your kids (coming from a theatre-making mama) will understand all about acting. :) Of course, there's a whole new dilemma when the live action movie is a documentary, and in fact, they are not acting. That walrus did just get eaten by that polar bear. No special effects there. It's the cycle of life, but it's still sad to watch for a sensive little boy like Max.

Madeline said...

"Amelie". That's right. I remember you saying they liked that. I would love to watch that again, this time with the boys. I'll have to just put it on and see if they arrive as I am banned from movie recommendation for a time.

It is an evolution, with sudden, surprising setbacks.

Blogging Molly said...

I was definitely intrigued by the previews of that movie. One of my favorite CDs is Ofra Harnoy's cover of the Beattles - on cello! When I was first pregnant with Aidan, I remember listening hearing the lyrics, "nothing's gonna change my world" and breaking down in tears, for I knew my world was about to change BIG. Not a bad change by any means, just overwhelming and scary and exciting. I developed a whole new appreciation for John Lennon at that very moment.

gail said...

Brenna and I saw it the weekend it came out. I went again and saw it and I gave a copy of it to Brenna today for Valentines Day (thinking I can watch it again)

I have the soundtrack on CD and my IPod. Love it, Love it, Love it.

On my top 10 lifetime favorite movies.

Logan has no interest in seeing it
although he does like some of the Beatles music.

Madeline said...

Gail, I'll bet it was so much fun to watch this with Brenna. We are all (even Gillen :) loving the soundtrack.

kelli said...

I'm so sorry Madeline. I didn't even think about warning you about that in regards to your boys :(

Alec doesn't want to watch it and hasn't. Kyra didn't go with us, she was hanging with friends in Corvallis and she/we thought it might be too much for her. She has watched it now, at home and she loves it

Again, I'm sorry that happened. Same thing happened with me and Alec with the Robin Hood movie. The beginning has some violence.

Madeline said...

Kelli, you just never know. I have been so surprised by how easily Jesse watched the Harry Potter movies at a young age. And then, you think you can just stop a disturbing scene and move on. But I blew it with Lassie and he is super sensitive to realistic violent scenes. I should have thought about it more. Live and learn!