Tuesday, March 16, 2010
How Acne Saves Lives
I love Baz Luhrman. I just want to put that out there before we actually get going. Let's face it: The guy is a genius. Maybe one of my all-time favorite directors. If his name is stamped on it, I'm 100% more likely to fork over the 9 bucks it costs nowadays to go see a movie. Using this theory, and the knowledge that I'm head-over-heels in love with all things Shakespeare as well, I decided it was a tragedy that I hadn't yet seen his version of Romeo and Juliet.
Well. Every Tuesday and Thursday I pick up Alaura from day care and we hang out until her mom gets home from work. This particular day, she was especially tuckered out from a long day at nursery school and slept pretty much the entire afternoon. "Ah ha!", I thought, "This leaves me ample time to finally fulfill my duty as a Baz Luhrman fan and watch "Romeo and Juliet!" (Oh...and just so you know how cute Alaura is, and to break up the monotony of all the words I'm using, here's a picture of her)
I know, it's unfair that I get paid to watch someone so cute. =) Anywhoo, so I popped in Romeo and Juliet and prepared to suspend my disbelief which is a prerequisite to watching any film directed by my good friend Baz. Unfortunately, that didn't seem to be enough this time. I don't know what happened. I don't know if I just wasn't in a 'Baz' mood, or if I just wasn't in a Romeo and Juliet mood (who is, really? It's definitely the most inane of any work of Shakespeare...but we'll get to that in a second) but for whatever reason, I simply could not allow myself to enjoy the artistry or the story or the acting or the stylized retelling of it that I knew Baz would bring to the table. In fact, all of these elements of a Luhrmann flick which would usually thrill me, were making me want to claw my eyes out.
Finally, I reached several important conclusions which ultimately caused me to turn the stinkin' movie off halfway through and opt for investing, instead, in my regular "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman". The realizations were these: 1. Romeo may be the weakest fictional male character ever to be penned by Shakespeare. 2. Any director who makes the choice to set any Shakespearean work set in modern day should be shot. 3. If Juliet had had any sort of facial flaw, acne, clef lip, heck, even a big, red pimple on the end of her nose would have sufficed, the entire tragedy could have been avoided.
So in my personal opinion, any story whose plot depends entirely upon the perfect beauty of its female lead is not worth telling. No audience can identify with a character so beautiful that an entire story is built upon the one moment the male lead lays eyes on her. No audience can identify with a male character falling 'life-or-death' in love after on two minute viewing either. And let me just say this, I don't care if Romeo HAD looked like Leonardo DeCaprio, if some strange guy that I've never met shows up to my father's party and immediately begins stalking me and then tries to kiss me during our first conversation, I'm gonna go with Paris. I mean, really, I've known Paris my entire life, he's rich, my parents like him, he's probably seen me with a zit or two in my life and still seems to have feelings for me, and really, let's face it, he looks like Paul Rudd. Sounds like a winner to me.
I guess that's why Shakespeare will never write a play about me. "Paris and Alicia" '-A play in which Alicia has a bad break-out the night of the ball thereby chasing away any potential Romeos, so she marries the far less edgy, but arguably more stable Paris, they have babies and live a normal, healthy life together for ever and ever with no nasty run ins with poison, daggers or grumpy in-laws', would never make it in the Globe.