Friday, December 22, 2006

Getting a 'talking to' from my pimp and watching Jean Reno films

Here is my insight for this week: life is always a surprise. Sometimes that is good, when there is so much going good it’s like an ongoing birthday party but sometimes like feels like riding a run down rollercoaster in the fog (a little TOO much uncertainty). In the last few days I’ve be surprised by a stalker (and had to consult on calling the police) and had a different guy tell me I was his property, to do, speak to and treat me as pleased him. Odder still, he thought and still thinks that by trying to blackmail me, he can “control” me; that he "owns" what I will do and what I think. Hahahahahaha! He must be pretty stupid. (guys who treat other people the same way pimps/rapists do remind me of Hosea 8: “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”)

Also had one of those moments on Wednesday when humor is turned against you. I get a lunch pizza on Wednesdays after my Monday and Tuesday training. At the pizza place they had this sign advertising “We are searching for maniacs!” (which was a lead into something about being nuts over customer service). So I pointed to the sign and asked if medication was necessary for the job. The guy holding my pizza stared at me. “Uh, odd sign.” I said pointing to it again. The guy holding my pizza stared at the sign and then at me. “So, you aren’t actually looking for people with mental illnesses?” I asked with that, “going down with the ship”, last attempt. He looked me up and down a long time. “No.” he said and handed me my pizza. O...kay!

On the rollercoaster in a fog side, I also got my grandmother’s Xmas letter, which turned out to be a bragging letter about her new and improved sex life at the rest home (she’s 89). I’m just glad she didn’t send pictures this year. Linda thought it was pretty funny till I said, “What if your grandmother sent you that letter for Xmas?” I’m just trying to resist the urge for having lots of sex since I don’t think a subconscious need to prove I have a better sex life than my grandmother is the right motivation for intimacy.

So instead of having compensatory sex I have been doing what all North Americans do when they could be doing something else: watching TV; Well in my case, French films – all involving Jean Reno. District B13 was financed by John Reno and stars David Belle doing his amazing Parkour magic. All the essential elements are there: urban jungle, feisty girl, muscled guy trying to save his sister and neighborhood and limber enough to leap from building to building and honest but tough cop who can dish out brutality with the best of them. I couldn’t understand how this ended up with poor reviews until I found out there was dubbed version (insert me screaming, hands held to sky). Ted Turner may have had a dream to buy up and colourize every classic black and white film he could find – I have a dream to destroy every crap dub that America has created under the guise of “subtitles are complicated.” Not to mention that every time things get dubbed they also get culturally cleaned up (which is how for instance in Sailor Moon, a lesbian butch and femme couple ended up translated as a male and female cousin). District B13 is brainless and at times sluggish, but with plenty of vivid action and jaw dropping stunts to make up for it.

The next film I watched and best of the bunch is Jean Reno in Empire of the Wolves from the same producer as The Professional. If you can imagine how cats sometimes shiver all over with pleasure, this is how I feel when I watch Jean Reno in a French thriller – first off, they don’t explain ANYTHING for at least 20 minutes – you either try to put the pieces together or wait and hope things will make sense later. And of course, it is virtually impossible to tell who is a bad guy versus a good guy, or maybe a bad good guy, or is he a good bad guy – who knows. Jean Reno is an ex-cop who used to police the Turkish Immigrants, terrorizing the mafia which ran them so much he was called, “The Shaft” – he is brought back by a young captain who is investigating a string of murders and mutilations amoung the illegals that no one in authority seems to care about. Of course, there is also an “innocent” young woman who is capable of overwhelming force (including one scene where she takes out three police officers with guns trained on her). And no Reno film is complete without an extended scene with explosions in the French catacombs as we see Reno being dropped, bit by bit into the abyss as the metal circular staircase under him disintegrates. He stands there, with his dead eyes staring out; is it remorse? Is it resignation? Is it the look of a cold blooded killer? A definite recommendation to any French thriller or Jean Reno fans.

I also picked up Crimson River II – which, like Die Hard II, may not make the greatest logical sense but is interesting to watch anyway. Plus lots of people die in odd ways and Reno goes around looking pissed and shoots off people’s fingers. There is just something about Jean Reno in films that you know there will be a moment of unexpected, remorseless violence which usually makes me stare wide eyed at the screen after I’ve yelped “Holy f**k!” – I don’t know why he makes such a convincing sociopath, but since he’s usually a “good” sociopath, even when, for instance, he’s a hit man, it is somehow okay.

For some reason I got the first disc of Kingdom Hospital which Stephen King says he wrote which was “inspired” by Trier’s Danish series The Kingdom. I guess “inspired” means a 80% plagerizing of lines, characters and plot except for the major subplot where Stephen King puts his own story of getting hit while jogging – which means Stephen King actually managed to outdo Tarantino in inserting himself as the centre of attention in his own films. Am I saying Kingdom Hospital is bad? I am saying that many people will find it fantastic; probably the same people who think that Fox News isn’t a drama program and actually “news”, and again, the same people who would find reading the subtitles on a Danish miniseries “way too complicated” – yes, that’s what’s been getting in my way all these years – the full functioning of my BRAIN. See, Lars von Trier’s is actually more neurotic than I am; so much that it is hard to believe he is in any way functional; he also tends not to use an actual script and to torture his actors – which is how The Kingdom manages to both be horrific and comedic without trying. Trier takes tremendous chances in his works and they either succeed or fail. Stephen King on the other hand, takes no risks, but tries to clean up, Americanize and cute up Kingdom Hospital – in other words; no guts, no glory. Since I have a particular hatred for US films which take unique works of art from other cultures and then repackage them as American and sell them to a population who hasn’t a clue that there are other DVD region codes in the world (or indeed that there may be other countries and cultures “out there” – wherever that might be) – I recommend that you perform your own exorcism with Kingdom Hospital if you own it – nothing more festival than throwing another dubbed or repackaged piece of hack plagiarism on the Xmas fire!

Anyway, since my laptop has just indicated to me that it wants to head off to electronic heaven (you know, where all your old cell phones have gone) – by having everything die on it from the screen to the DVD drive, I guess it’s time to strap myself back into life’s rollercoaster – looks like a heavy fog coming in.


Anonymous said...

Jean Reno is the man. I've seen both of those flicks. The first thing I ever saw the guy in though was the Professional years back.


Elizabeth McClung said...

Yeah, I love him in La Femme Nikita and The Professional - especially the French uncut version - where he actually takes the little girl out to walk her through making a hit by...making a hit - some reason the US thought that teaching 13 year olds how to murder people wasn't "nice" - that and her trying to have sex with Leon - odd that.

Elizabeth said...

You have a stalker and a guy who blackmails you? Ay yi yi. Good luck with that situation.

As for the pizza place, apparently you do need meds to work there

kathz said...

Oddly enough, while I don;t like all American re-makes, I have a soft spot for Somersby (Richard Gere and Jodie Foster) which is a re-make of The Return of Martin Guerre. I saw Martin Guerre second, which may help, but Somersby seems to a be serious rethinking of the premise. Anyway, Jodie Foster is always good and Richard Gere acts in this, which he doesn't always manage.

I'm still trying to work on how to respond to being tagged and asked to find six weird things about myself. Perhaps I'm too boring and ordinary - what a terrible thought. Or perhaps I just find it so hard to see one way of being as "normal" that weird doesn't make much sense when I start thinking about it. Of course, it may just be that I've visited so many Goth shops with my daughter (who isn't a Goth but has used elements of the style) that I have lost touch with "normal".

Do take care with stalkers, however - they definitely aren't normal - but I wouldn't dignify them with the term "weird" either.