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bear by san

March 2017



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phil ochs troubador

Not like that, oh no--not so black and white--

Addictions collide: stillsostrange, buymeaclue, and others--

Marianne Faithfull's new album Before the Poison also features Nick Cave & P.J. Harvey. Just, yanno saying. Also, I love that cover. It makes me want to write a Wicked Stepmother story. (I wrote a Wicked Sorceress story, but never sold it. Alas, it never quite fired on all eight. Maybe I should post it to the fiction journal.)

In other news, we went to see a midnight showing of Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory last night. I'd never seen it on the big screen before. It was a damaged print, alas, but gosh, Gene Wilder really was madly brilliant. It's all the subtle little stuff--the very static pose followed by the lingering facepalm when Veruca Salt goes on her rampage, for example.

Also, I can make a pretty good case for the movie as a sorceror's duel, using the children as proxies. (And in the end, the wicked Wonka defeats and enslaves the wicked Slugworth--)

Tell me Wonka's agency in that movie isn't creeeeepy. I had somehow forgotten that he's Saaaataaaaaan. He seduces and destroys children, and then lectures them about it. And it's all so totally a setup--temptations carefully designed for each little cherub. Notice how there are fewer seats on every mode of transport, and only two four cleansuits at the end? He's plotting their destruction!

And then he gets all creepy child molestor at the end, and plans to reshape Charlie in his own image. And Granpa Joe smiles on benignly...

And they travelled into the depths of hell, the voices of the oompa loompas a mocking chorus sealing their doom...

However, I have conceived of a powerful desire to own a purple velvet tailcoat.

It's a good news day; Ellen Datlow just let me know she would like my postapocalyptic Road Warrior just-barely-a-novelette "And the Deep Blue Sea" for SCIFICTION. So I have to read it over today and see what needs to be changed. (Stories undergo a transformation once they sell; I can suddenly see all these things that suck now, that didn't, before.)


That's hilarious, I hadn't noticed that all the seats in the vehices were full.

The thing that always amazes me about the movie when I see it is how they added in the "Charlie deserves this because he's poor!" argument in more than a few places, as opposed to the book version where he was meek and didn't break any of the rules. The difference really makes Charlie the second most annoying child out of the lot of them. My secret ending is that Mr. Wonka reveals that Violet also didn't give her Everlasting Gobstopper to Slugworth and frankly it's easier to train a child out of gum-chewing than to put up with their whining about entitlement, so he's going to give the factory to her instead.
He didn't win because he was poor... he won because he turned in his gobstopper to Wonka, instead of selling it to Slugworth.
Granted, that's the view they want you to take. But it doesn't really wash. At the moment that Wonka declared Charlie the winner, Mike was still in the stretching room and Violet was almost certainly still being de-juiced, so they couldn't possibly have had the opportunity to sell out to Slugworth. Since Slugworth was immediately at Wonka's beck and call in the climax, he wasn't even making deals with Augustus or Veruca even if they did manage to have left the factory by this point.

Ignore the fact that we've already read the book and we know Charlie is the focal character. Would you, at that moment, have chosen him the winner to the exlusion of the others? There are five sinning children, each one requiring a team of Oompa Loompas to mop up from the accident. Violet and Mike didn't even violate a "You mustn't do that" order from Wonka -- Violet got a much weaker "I wouldn't do that if I were you" and Wonka if anything seemed intriuged by Mike's vision. Charlie and Veruca are the only ones to drag adults into the harm done, and Grandpa Joe did so out of a sense of mischief instead of parental protection. Sam Beauregard is a more or less loathsome person to have around your factory, but even Grandpa Joe declared that Wonka was a "monster" and had no scruples about betraying the gobstopper technology.

The ultimate test in the movie, I suppose, was Wonka staring the kid in the eye and saying "You don't get the lifetime supply of chocolate because you broke the contract" and then standing back and seeing if the kid betrays you or not. How that indicates a worthy successor instead of a craven lapdog is beyond me, but even if Charlie was the only child who was going to pass the test, it couldn't have been guessed at that moment.

inadvertantly long reminiscence about Wonka...

I adore the song "My Friends Have" on that Marianne Faithfull album.

My parents took me to see Wonka when it first came out. I remember being wildly bored by it (as only a little kid at a movie can be) until they got to the chocolate factory, and then I was entranced. At the time they were selling Wonka bars (I guess as a promotional tie-in for the film), and the wrappers contained a coupon for a Make Your Own Wonka Bars kit. I actually got one - it contained molds for chocolate, and even Wonka-esque wrappers! - and I sold candy to the neighborhood kids!
Congratulations on the SciFiction sale.

I have an ancient 45 of Marianne Faithfull singing "As Tears Go By" from before the heroine addiction, before "ruining" her voice. I'm sorry she went through so much crap, but I prefer the sound of the deconstructed Faithfull.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who found the Wonka a wee bit sinister. Delightfully sinister, but...happy-skippy revenge fantasy.
Mazel tov on the novelette sale!
Rah rah!
Also, I can make a pretty good case for the movie as a sorceror's duel, using the children as proxies. (And in the end, the wicked Wonka defeats and enslaves the wicked Slugworth--)

Huh? In the end, it's revealed that Slugworth is just a fiction, an actor working in the employ of our boy Willie. So how can you make a case for it being a duel between them?

(Congrats on the SCI FICTION sale, BTW!)


As for noticing things that suck that you didn't notice before, I seem to be doing that as I ponder posting more chapters of The Dark Horse to the "criterary" list on my LJ. :)
Last time I saw Willy Wonka, I watched it with a friend who'd just returned to the US after living in Russia for a year. She saw the whole film as a Stalinist allegory, complete with cult of personality, successive waves of purges, entrapment by agents of the secret police, and a rescued proletariat living in a workers' paradise under the unstinting protection of an absolute dictator. When she first started interrupting the dialogue to tell me the film was all about Stalin, I thought her year of malnutrition in St. Petersburg had maybe addled her a little, but by the end of the film I had to admit her interpretation fit disturbingly well.
Congrats on the sale!
Cool sale, there.

Well, whatever one may think of the Marilyn Manson otherwise, he/they certainly chose well when they ripped off the Willy Wonka font for their band logo.
At least you can pull off wearing that tailcoat. Can you imagine if I gave in to that impulse?

- Tom
we'd better get yours in green. *G*