It's always good to have new cultural experiences. Right?
I had a cultured friend once. We were housemates in the vegetarian coop I lived in off campus. We used to go see movies at the Varsity, and later at the Village, or rent videos at Vulcan (no, I can't explain the alliteration). A couple of times we drove down to San Antonio late at night, on the spur of the moment, to stroll down the Riverwalk with no one else around. He sold me a Volkswagen. Once he tried to get me to run off to New Mexico with him. Eventually he married a woman who was allergic to everything, especially cats, and the friendship had to end.
Anyway, this is the friend, I now remember, who recommended the film Babette's Feast to me. Tony and I watched it last night. It's about a couple of ascetic evangelical Danish sisters who employ a French cook for humanitarian reasons (on the condition that they don't have to pay her) until she wins the lottery and blows the proceedings on a sinfully lavish, gorgeous French dinner for her tea-sipping, ale-bread slurping benefactresses, thus bringing closure, redemption and peace to the whole village.
There. Now you don't have to watch it. Aren't you happy?
Actually I quite enjoyed it, though. It was a little contrived, but worth it for the imagery and the language, because you've gotta love people speaking Scandinavian tongues (also a big part of why I'm so fond of The Kingdom). And it's funny. Culturally uplifting experiences should always be funny, if they possibly can; it makes the viewer feel so superior to be laughing at things none of his Budweiser-swilling, unibrowed friends would understand.
The Norwegians, I'm told, bake themselves in a hot sauna, then run naked into the snow. Similarly, after the movie was over we watched part of an episode of Sex and the City. I'd never seen it before; it's one of those things I was pretty content to know only through SNL parodies, and after watching last night I stand by that assessment. Really. I have no moral objection to sexual promiscuity, though I don't quite understand the appeal. Whyever would you have sex with someone you don't care about and aren't interested in ever seeing again? If it's just quick thrills you're after, I have to say, batteries are a hell of a lot cheaper than contraceptives. But to each her own. What really bothered me about the show is how rude these women are - rude to men who approach them in bars, when after all they went there solely in order to be approached; rude to men they're involved with, rude to one another; taking it as a matter of course that a "good" boyfriend will jump through hoops for them when they're much too busy exploring their own wants and needs to do anything in return. I've always heard the show is supposed to be about female empowerment and sexual liberation. Why would you have to demean others to achieve this? I resent the implication that I'm supposed to identify with and admire these nasty, shallow, self-absorbed people.
Babette's Feast: Three and a half stars
The Kingdom: Four stars
Sex and the City: Half a star, and go get tested for the clap
P.S. Why didn't anybody point out how stupid the lyrics to "Leave It" are? Aren't you people paying attention?!?