Battle of the Byronics: Mr. Darcy vs. Mr. Rochester

Ah Byronic heroes! The epitome of ladies’ ultimate desires. Arguably, if you want to write a bestselling book, just plop a angst-ridden beautiful man in there and it will sell like hotcakes.

Some of us are victims of our childhood literary choices or should I say, lack of choices. Especially in older generations with more limited selection of children’s literature, fairy tales were our first books. I remember a whole stack of them in my childhood. I even had 2 or 3 versions of Cinderella and Snow White with different illustrations. Surely this is the cause of why I love Byronic heroes so much.

Which brings me to a very important question. Who would you rather meet? Mr. Darcy or Mr. Rochester?

I’m sure majority of the females would make a beeline for the dashing Mr. Darcy. He’s eloquent, refined, aloof at first but dons that white armor like a bad ass when ladies are in trouble. He’s also rich and owns a picturesque estate, Pemberley. He’s got no lunatic wife hidden in a tower but has a sweet sister living with him instead.

Mr. Rochester, on the other had, is a bit more worldly, crass, ambitious, and less dashing than Darcy. He’s a lying but charming man. Although he’s rich as well, he lives in an isolated mansion called Thornfield Hall. While he also has a charming ward named Adele, he also got an insane wife locked up in the house.

If these heroes met in a bar, got drunk, and started trading cynical jabs at each other which leads to a fist fight, Mr. Rochester would definitely beat Mr. Darcy’s uber British ass.

I therefore conclude, I’d rather meet Mr. Rochester than Mr. Darcy. (Though, who am I kidding, I’d love to meet them both!)

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My Tsundoku Project: The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby

I’ve always known that The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a must-read but the book sounded intimidating to me. As I normally stay away from super highbrow books that I feel I would not enjoy, I missed out on this one until I actually read it. I tried the audio book first but the snotty upper class narrator turned me off so much, I put it on the back burner.

After finding a copy on sale, I was struck by how short the book actually was. I was thinking it would be like a Count of Monte Cristo epic story with a hefty volume to match. It was probably the “Great” in the title that lead to that impression. It’s actually not an epic tale at all but an all too intimate glimpse of the 1920’s flapper era with it’s superficial glitz and glamour.

Nick Carraway, the narrator, tells the tale of his mysterious millionaire neighbor (no billionaire yet as per Austin Powers!) who throws parties almost every night and his affair with his distant cousin, Daisy Buchanan. The story is very soap opera really but I suspect that The Great Gatsby influenced a lot of writers of melodramatic TV soaps of today.

This was a very easy and light read (If you’re reading for pleasure and not for school). Also a page-turner especially when Gatsby finally meets Daisy again after five years of separation. I can’t wait to see the movie by Baz Luhrmann and how Carey Mulligan plays her role. In my imagination, I see Michelle Williams as a better cast as I’ve seen her in My Weekend with Marilyn. It seems to me, Daisy and Marilyn would have a lot to talk about.

On a more serious note, was Nick Carraway gay or bisexual?

I’m lead to believe Nick is a little bi-curious not because he’s in love with Gatsby. He clearly admires and respects the man but I don’t think it goes beyond platonic. The bedroom scene with Mr. McKee wearing underwear lying on the bed and Nick standing beside the bed and in the elevator where Mr. McKee was caught fondling the lever, I think, is conclusive enough.

And that’s just fine and dandy.

Coming Soon: The Book Thief Movie

The Book Thief by Makus Zusak is one book that deserves to be made into a movie. I wonder how they’d translate it into one as the book is narrated by none other than Death itself.

I love Liesel Merminger. Not just because we have a similar name but she could’ve been Anne Frank’s sister or best friend with their love of words and fearlessness of using words to express themselves.

I’ve read this years ago but I still can remember how I imagined scenes from the book. I hope they get the feel and atmosphere right. I’ve seen the trailer and I can’t wait for this movie to come out.

Finally Watched Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction

Finally, I get to check that movie off my my To-Watch List. I don’t know what happened. We had the original DVD but somehow only the case remained. The actual DVD was lost.

My favorite Tarantino movie of all time is still Kill Bill (Vol 1 and Vol 2) but Pulp Fiction is definitely up there. This movie reminds me of the Big Lebowski from the Cohen brothers. Random shit happens and a lot of F-bombs and guts explode.

I really love the dialogue in Pulp Fiction. It’s the first thing I noticed. The conversation about “Royal with Cheese” made me crave burgers! It’s the whole pointlessness and delivery that made it authentic. I’ve been subjected to pointless conversations like these all the time.

The stories are amazing vignettes of the life in organized (and disorganized) crime. Totally random events that connects characters to each other. Feminist me didn’t like the portrayal of some of the women in the stories especially the sniveling Fabienne in the “Gold Watch” part of the movie, but you don’t watch this movie to see strong women characters. I was puzzled by the cab driver Esmeralda’s obsession with death though.

Send in the Gimps!

One of the most memorable scene in the movie, aside from that very famous dance sequence, is the gimp scene. I think it will forever be burned in my memory…unfortunately. I do love how Butch (Bruce Willis) refused to leave Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) to the mercy of the sick dudes. Although he probably just did that so Marsellus owes him. It’s always nice to see enemies become frenemies and bond in the face of homosexual rape.

Pulp Fiction is on every list of must see movies and I’ve got to say, it deserves to be there. I think Quentin Tarantino is one of the most unpretentious genius in cinema today.

P.S. It was hilarious as hell!

TED Talk Favorite: To This Day by Shane Koyczan

It’s rare that I watch TED Talks more than once but this talk or rather, performance by poet Shane Koyczan demanded to be watched again and again.

It’s a poem about the bullied, something I’ve experienced for a very short time when I was in kindergarten. He starts out with a prose but slowly, the piece builds up to a free-form poetry.

The power of truth behind each word is palpable and brilliant. I’m not really into poetry but even a layman can appreciate the beauty of this piece. It’s unpretentious, only raw emotion expressed in simple words.

Shane Koyczan may not have made it as a professional wrestler, but he more than makes up for it by being a great poet.

Molly Hooper: Doormat or the Woman who Counted?

I just came across this blog article by Jaime Grover about Sherlock’s Molly Hooper character and I agree wholeheartedly with her insight into the only character in BBC’s Sherlock that’s not actually in the original books.

“There are so many different types of women in the world that a character like Molly’s against the often more prominent powerhouse females is like a breath of fresh air. ” Read more at http://whatculture.com/tv/sherlocks-molly-hooper-the-woman-that-counts.php#PYEqSB36lkBdwMyL.99

I mean, pitted against a woman like Irene Adler, oozing with sexuality and self-confidence, Molly seemed like an insignificant little character who’s a step above a prop to move the story forward. But Louise Brealey played the character so brilliantly that the creators of the show had no choice but to allow her to continue developing the Molly character. And develop her, she did.

In the first season, we see her wear her heart on her white lab coat sleeves. Time and time again Sherlock humiliates her but she doesn’t balk and stay away. If “friends-when-he-needs-her” is the only role required of her by Sherlock, then that’s what she will be. My feminist self feels for her sometimes but I’ve got to admit, for the most part of my own life, I am a Molly Hooper.

The only difference is that I don’t have the guts she showed in Season 2. In a heartbreaking scene when Sherlock humiliated her in front of everybody, she showed grace and honesty that made Sherlock feel like a cad he is. And in that final episode, Riechenbach Fall, Molly was the unflinchingly mirror to Sherlock’s inner self. I would have been intimidated by the man, but  Molly has had enough and had to say her piece.

Molly became one of my favorite characters in Sherlock. I like her better than Irene and somehow, she’s now more interesting to me than the femme fatale who stole Sherlock’s heart. Molly’s not your regular Mary Sue, though she could’ve been. The character is ever evolving and I hope in season 3, she gets to kick ass with Sherlock and Watson.

Stoker: The Most Un-Funny Uncle Ever

Did you know Wentworth Miller is now a screenwriter? Well, I certainly didn’t! He wrote the screenplay for Stoker and I’ve got to say, I’m impressed! He’s not just a good looking, crazy good actor, he’s also an intelligent writer as this movie shows.

Stoker stars Mathew Goode (he’s such a darling!), Mia Wasikowska, and Nicole Kidman. It was directed by South Korean, Park Chan-wook, the dude who directed 2009’s Thirst (which is on my list of movies to see). I though for a while the setting was in England but it’s not. It’s just plain old US.  Goode don on his American accent and was fabulous and dashing as always.

The film starts with the death of India’s (Mia) father. She meets her only uncle(Goode), whose existence was revealed to her only at the funeral. Evelyn, the mother (Kidman), immediately falls for Charlie (and ladies, can we blame her? Have you seen how fine Mathew Goode looks?). India, on the other hand, was being her cold aloof self. I was thinking she may have some sort of autism or asperger-syndrome but it was not mentioned. She hates being touch and is apparently “different” from other teens. By the way she dresses (she wears the same shoes from a small child to age 18, sent to her every birthday) and her hobbies (piano, hunting, and being generally mysterious and deep :) we can conclude she’s an old soul.

The movie is a slow burn, but with some level of suspense, still. It’s not referred to as a psychological thriller but rather a psychological drama. It’s not a film that everyone will enjoy. But I liked it. 1. Mathew Goode (gotta be honest) 2.  Mia Wasikowska’s parted hair, kidding! India is my kind of character. I always have someone like this in my head as a character for a story. 3. Mystery (I love mysteries!) 4. Nicole Kidman’s costumes! (Hey I love fashion too so I pay attention to these things.)

Nicole Kidman was her fabulous self as always, no surprise. I love how she’s willing to make these kinds of “indie” films. I’ve yet to see Dogville but I’ve seen her in Rabbit Hole and Birth and she’s brilliant. She also starred in The Human Stain which is probably where Wentworth Miller and she became friends. Wenworth starred as the half-black half-white boxer in Human Stain.

I’d recommend this movie to anyone who’s not suffering from a short attention span. If you liked Melancholia, you’ll like this one better.