Sunday, 11 January 2009
Going to the dogs
With the awards season getting geared up (Golden Globes tonight), I'm dying to have actually seen some of the nominated films like Milk (saw the documentary The Life and Times of Harvey Milk on PBS years ago and have never forgotten it) and Frost/Nixon (I'm a longtime fan of Frank Langella, a fine, fine actor who was pretty dishy in his younger days; the photo is from The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, one of my all time favourite plays, with Blythe Danner).
So how did I spend Saturday afternoon? Watching that sure-fire award-winner Marley and Me. We went for the sake of younger daughter who adores dogs, and took her favourite dog-puppet Jeffrey along to watch plus a newly inherited collie doll named Lassie. (Elder daughter decluttered three years' worth of stuff from her room three days before Christmas. There are miracles in this world.)
Oh, it's not a terrible film. It would make a terrific TV movie, and if I actually liked Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, that would probably help too. The Resident Fan Boy dabbed his eyes in the right places, of course. He's never got over the loss of Satin, a cocker spaniel acquired on his eighth birthday who needed to be put to sleep on his (the RFB's, that is) twentieth birthday. I don't mind the heartbroken cry of "Satin!" that he emits each time he sees a cocker spaniel, but I do mind being absent-mindedly scratched behind the ears. Younger daughter, who had thoroughly enjoyed the Marley's antics throughout, glanced in some bewilderment at her dad, and was anxious to return home after the film. This involved another 45-minute stroll; the bus drivers voted down the city's offer on Thursday, and the strike is now something like 32 days old.
During the long walk home, the Resident Fan Boy and I discussed the movie. He was rather annoyed that the film was called Marley and Me and "it was all about her (Jennifer Aniston)".
"No," I said, giving him a look, "It was all about him. She's the one who, aside from a cranky spell of being the mother of a toddler and a colicky baby, dealing with a destructive dog in the house, ends up being the perfect, supportive sidelined wife who has given up her newspaper job, never ages a day, and keeps the house beautiful, the meals cooked, and the homework supervised. He's the one agonizing about never getting to travel abroad to be a hard news reporter, and deciding he doesn't want to be a columnist, no wait, he does... He wrote the story, so it's all about him."
"You mean, this actually happened?"
The trek home also gave me time to ponder: 1) If they've been the owners of a rambunctious and incorrigible golden retriever for a few months, why do they have a prettily decorated bungalow with trinkets on the coffee tables? (We have friends with a Marley-like golden retriever. There is nothing on the coffee tables. Or the dinner table. Or the lower-lying shelves. Or the kitchen counters.) 2) If Jennifer Aniston's and Owen Wilson's characters are both newspaper reporters (it is suggested that she is slightly more successful than him), and he tells her they can't really afford a swish house with a swimming pool before she tells him she wants to quit her job and oh by the way she's pregnant again, why can they afford the house when the newspaper doubles his salary? 3) And if they then go on to purchase a three-story stone farmhouse with a wooden addition in the Pennsylvania countryside, why are they sleeping in a tiny alcove with a small double bed, and why are their sons sharing a room? What the hell are they using all those other rooms for? And finally, I was waiting throughout the first third of the movie for an explanation about why Owen Wilson's character is wearing a strip across the bridge of his nose. I thought he liked to box, or had a snoring problem. Elder daughter tells me that's just how his nose looks.
I really need to see some good films...