Posted tagged ‘Kristen Stewart’

Super Hot Day Brings Up Edward And Bella Again – Is The Fascination About Sex, Marriage, Feminism (Or Lack Thereof)? Or Just All the Carrying?

July 6, 2010

Modern Harried Female and Embarrassed Robert Pattinson (as Edward Cullen)

I hate to try the patience of my regular followers.  I ask for forgiveness based on the fact that it was 102 degrees in my city today, and  I have used very little AC for several hours in a perhaps misguided attempt to support Con Edison (as well as our troops abroad, and our environment at home.)

So, under guise of a very wilted brain, I am returning to a discussion of Twilight, it having re-entered my consciousness with the new Eclipse movie.  Only this time I’m approaching it from a sociological perspective and not an “isn’t-Robert-Pattinson-so-much-cuter-than-that-Lautner-guy” perspective.

There has been much discussion of the sexual conservativism of Mormon Stephanie Meyer’s books (the lesson of “sure, dear, sneak a vampire up to your bedroom every night, just don’t, you know, have, like, sex with him. “)

But the truly old fashioned aspect of the books relates to sex as in gender roles, rather than to sex (or the lack thereof) as an activity.  Frankly, when viewed through this lens, the appeal of the books to middle-aged women (the mothers or grandmothers of the target teen audience) is really kind of sad.

Much is made in the movies of a love triangle between Bella and her vampire suitor Edward and werewolf suitor Jacob, but, frankly, in the books – spoiler alert- Edward wins hands (ahem) down.

No, the true choice for Bella (as written) is not between Edward and Jacob, but between a) Edward, a life of very ample financial security, sex (finally) and devoted, if controlling, companionship, and b) having a life on her own—that is, going to college, having a career (vampires have to keep too low a profile to pursue work or renown in any meaningful way), having an ongoing relationship with her birth family, having children (although this one doesn’t come up for a while), having her choice of friends, having to wear sunblock, and (though rarely mentioned) eating food.   (Edward sort of sums all these things up in “having a soul”.)

This choice, if you think about it, sounds an awful lot like the choices faced by many women in the past (and currently in much of the world) in marriage.   Going from one set of fairly controlling males (the father and his sphere) to another (the husband and his sphere).   Trading off the possibility of independent personal development for material security and sex with a sole partner.

Even more strange from a feminist perspective is the fictional fact that Bella feels forced to make her choices quickly primarily because of her vanity.  (Okay, and hormones.)  She can’t stand to delay a transformation to vampiredom, even to go to college for a couple of years, because it will cause her to become “older” than her vampire beau.  She feels the tick of a biological clock that is not based on reproductivity but firm thighs and an unlined countenance.

Yes, young love is powerful.  But why do older women (much to their own embarrassment) read the books so avidly?

The only answer I can come up with (and I should know) is that Edward promises to take care of everything.   He is handsome, considerate, unconditionally loving, but, more importantly, extremely attentive to detail.  He loves to buy presents.   He arranges for house cleaners.  He cooks!  He carries Bella around, never ever complaining about how heavy she is.  One big reason he wants to get married is simply to be allowed to pay Bella’s bills.

The modern older woman a) rarely has anyone carry her groceries much less herself, and b) generally has to pay her own bills.

Of course, the success of the books probably also arises from the fact that even as Bella makes some very unliberated choices, she ends up repeatedly saving the day, and generally doing adventurous, independent, types of things.   (All the while being carried at moments, and having important bills, such as medical and travel, paid.)

It’s interesting that the non-Mormon director and screenwriter of Eclipse, presumably sensitive to feminist issues, actually change the dialogue to have Bella say that her motivation for becoming a vampire is to be her truest self (rather than her love of Edward.)   While the change may be intended to promote the idea of strong women, it ends up meaning that Bella’s choice is for wealth, supermodel looks, superhero/bloodthirsty strength.  (And still no college or family!)  Somehow the doing-it-all-for-love part seemed better.   (Especially given the carrying.)  (And the saving the day.)

Twilight Saga Eclipse – Embarrassing – Something To Learn From

July 1, 2010

Embarrassed Pattinson

I’m putting aside all this discussion of constitutional issues and the Second Amendment today and getting to something really important:  the new cinematic installment of the Twilight Saga – Eclipse.

And I’ll stop right here.  I can’t, with a straight face, call it really important.  With a straight face, all I can call it is really terrible.

The most fun part, in fact. was standing in line in the theater with two twenty-somethings who kept talking about how much they hoped that they would not run into anyone they knew, and which particular person they would least want to run into.

At the end of the movie, we all three walked away very very fast.

The problem, aside from idiotic dialogue, and visuals that, on individual shots, make the actors look incapacitated by angst or glum boredom, and group shots, as if they are on a fashion photo shoot, is that its makers disdain the basic material.  Yes, the books are goofy; yes, the writer is a Mormon; yes, a big feature in the plot is the maintenance of chastity before marriage; and yes, Edward is just too “good” to be true—yes, these factors are all pretty dumb and very uncool (as is a lot of the Twilight crowd),  but they are the givens; a big part of what made the books popular.

One can feel the director, David Slade, the script writer, Melissa Rosenberg, strain against these very uncool, unhip, givens; they seem embarrassed to be connected to a movie promoting them  (just as we, hip New Yorkers, were embarrassed to see it.)  (Although Slade and Rosenberg are, I’m sure, eager enough to make money from it.)

The exceptions here are perhaps Taylor Lautner who seems, sorry, clueless enough, not to mind the story, and still too thrilled by the fact that they kept him in to be disdainful of anything, and Billie Burke, who is just a good professional actor.  Okay, okay—I’m not going to blame Pattinson (who is given truly awful lines, and very little leeway to smile charmingly) or Stewart either.  It’s the Director and Screenwriter, who seem like the true teenagers here, mortified by their parent, i.e. their base storyline.

But a movie that doesn’t like itself is just not likeable.   To make a stupid, uncool, story work, you have to just go with the stupid, uncool flow, not try for a stupid cool flow.  (Otherwise, it just doesn’t make internal sense.)

Bringing this around to something that may be of more interest to followers of this blog:  it really is important, in pursuing any kind of artistic endeavor, to make a kind of peace with it, to let go of that edge of embarrassment that sometimes clouds one’s work and commitment.  If you find your work truly embarrassing (not because of modesty, but because of something deeper—because the work is it is too personal, too openly reflective of your goofy side, or the opposite, too blatantly commercial and not reflective of your goofy side), it will be very difficult for you to really push it to any kind of happy fruition.

Big Brother In a Bowler? A Twit Who Tweets? A Poor Guy Who Just Got Carried Away? Translates Into No Respite For Robsten!

February 27, 2010

Bowler Hat With Periscope and Smart Phone

The entertainment blogosphere is literally atwitter with news that Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson are apparently a true life couple  after all.   While it seems a bit odd that Rob and Kristen have made such an effort to hide their liason (although it has been a PR bonanza), the weirdest recent incident revolves around one of the many who’s spied them out.

And who is that?  A Conservative British politician, Nicholas Clark, British Council member, who, spotting the couple at a cozy meeting in a London pub, tweeted about them repeatedly, down to the  “on the lips” part.  (As if Rob and Kristen didn’t have enough trouble with paparazzi, now they have to worry about British council members.)

Doesn’t the guy have something better to do?  (Okay, okay don’t I have something better to do?  Yes, but my excuse is that I’m not British and I’m trying to keep up a daily blog.)

Seriously, what happened to the famous British reserve?  The minding of one’s own business.

Clark later apologized “2” the couple, an apology which, it seems, was also made by Twitter (unless he habitually substitutes numbers and letters for words.)

To satisfy the insatiable demands of the followers of this blog for news of Robsten, I tried to do a little independent research re Clark.  I had a very hard time finding a Nick or Nicholas or Nicolas Clark (there are several spellings of the name in the Robsten articles)  who is a councilmember.  But I have found a Nick Clarke, a conservative Councilmember for the county of Fulborne in Cambridgeshire, who (believe it or not!) has a blog of his very own.   Aha!

(P.S. if Nick Clarke, Cambridgeshire, is the wrong Nick Clark, many apologies.)

Amazing Sight on Isle of Wight! (Robsten Above the Radar!)

January 12, 2010

Breaking news!  Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart sighted together on a New Year’s getaway outside a grocery store in Ventnor, a small British resort (which sounds suspiciously like a property on the Monopoly board), on the Isle of Wight.

Hope is not lost!  After weeks of worldwide speculation, then doubt, then near silence (and possibly despair),  proof has finally been found that a young handsome movie star will fall in love with a young beautiful movie co-star.  (What a revelation!)

Though apparently on a secret hideaway, the couple generously, but separately, posed for pictures with a local resident.  These pictures were then, somehow, posted on a local blog, which led to island’s immediate infestation by teenage girls:  “all the young girls have been trying to find him,” said store manager Jez Harmer. “They have been out on a hunt.”

No luck for these fans, however.  “It’s literally a mystery,” Harmer said.

The mystery Harmer was referring to is not quite clear–that the fans descended so quickly?  Where Robsten has gone?  That they posed for pictures in the first place?

Soon after the sighting on Wight, internet “news” sources wrote that Robsten was planning to buy a house on Ventnor.  (Just like in the game.)

Silliness Recalled – “Hit and Run Night Stand”

January 2, 2010

As any of you who are regular readers of this blog must realize, I am a great believer in silliness.  Not the silliness of anger that won’t back down, or pride that won’t unclasp, but antic, self-mocking, ego-abandoning, silliness.  (The best example may be the many posts about Robert Pattinson, who, by the way, is (i) apparently not truly attached to Kristen Stewart, (ii) once chipped a tooth while flossing, and (iii) didn’t shave while staying with his family over Christmas.)

I like being silly, in part, because it is simply exhilarating.  Being silly makes you feel like the word and action “frolic,” like the word and action “skinny-dip,” like you yourself are the first bite of a cupcake, the sidestep in an impromptu tapdance, the profiled Egyptian hand in a Monty Pythonesque walk.

Being silly, if done wholeheartedly, makes you feel young and carefree and as if you really do have choices in life, or, at least, in the moments right in front of you.

I have been extremely lucky to have known others who, though not perhaps as independently silly, were willing to be silly alongside of me.  One of these was a roommate in, of all places, law school.  Although a serious student—she already had a Ph.D., beginning law school—she was perhaps one of my greatest compatriots in silliness.

How does this silliness manifest itself when you are both blonde, reasonably attractive (she was actually beautiful), weighed down by the travails of law school (more interested, that is,  in the plaintive than the plaintiff)? What form does it take when one of you has an electric organ left in storage by a brother who had once studied at the same University, and the other a guitar?  When one likes to sing, and the other, from Mississippi, has long been infatuated with George Jones and Tammy Wynette?

Write country music, of course.  Adopt country music names.  Go down to Nashville to make a demo tape.  Stay in the Country Music Hall of Fame Motor Inn.  And because you are both budding lawyers, but too busy to do full copyright registrations, mail lyrics to yourself via never-opened envelopes sent by certified mail.  (The idea was to document the date of composition.)

My dear friend and compatriot in silliness died a couple of years ago from cancer.  But I received today from her very kind husband a package holding a stack of unopened certified envelopes addressed (both sender and recipient) with our long-unused country music names (Gussie and Cindy Fay.)

Of course, receiving a package like this in the mail can knock the silliness right out of you.  I miss my friend more than I can articulate.   But, after absorbing what the package contained, I made myself open up all those old certified envelopes, and, reading the lyrics, well, it was pretty hard not to laugh.  There’s nothing like silliness, especially past silliness, silliness recalled.

We had many more titles that I remembered—”Romantic Fever,” “Bed and Bored,” “I always Let My Fingers Do the Talking (But You’re Already Walking Away), “The Paycheck Song” (written in the hopes of being picked up by Johnny Paycheck—we waited outside his dressing room at a show at the Lone Star Café),  “The Social Drinker,” “Dream House,” etc.  (All our songs, true to country music style and rebelling legal precision, relied heavily on puns.)

My favorite was always, “Hit and Run Night Stand.”  The first stanza:

“I’m a victim of a hit and run night stand,
I’ve been laid low by a truckdriving man,
His trucking is so good, I wish he’d make his truck stop here,
But that man is only happy, when he’s shifting gears.”

You’ve got the gist of it.

Silly silly silly.  Fun.

(All rights reserved.  Gussie Gustafson, Cynthia Fay Barnett.)

Boxing Day – Checking Up On Robert Pattinson

December 26, 2009

December 26th, Boxing Day, which is not, as one might expect, a day for finally hashing out all of the tension that has been building over Christmas (but which one felt compelled by the very fact of Christmas not to hash out.)  (Oh, wait, maybe that compulsion was not quite strong enough.)

Whatever.  The “boxing” in Boxing Day actually refers to boxes.  In England and Commonwealth countries, December 26th was traditionally the day in which presents were exchanged particularly with the “worthy but less worthy” people in one’s life, servants, trades people, slightly more distant friends, rather than on Christmas itself which was reserved for family, religion, and eating.

In the U.S., many devote Boxing Days to frantic sales shopping, to acquiring boxes, I guess.

But since I’m not much of a shopper, I’ve always viewed the day as a time of ultimate, luxurious, relaxation, a day which is far less regimental than Christimas, but still has a lot of festive food hanging about—panetone, figs, gingerbread, slightly wilted champagne.

Nowadays, presents from friends, rather than family, are typically given before rather than on Boxing Day.  The very best one I got this year, from a follower of this blog, was a Robert Pattinson calendar.    The calendar cover shows Rob pushing back his trademark hair so that a slightly enlarged vein shows on one-side of his forehead.  (The vein is somehow vampiric, although I’m not sure if it’s the type of thing that would be typical of vampires, or attractive to them.)

Rob has been conspicuously absent from the public scene of late, and even from this blog.   First, Rob seems to be trying hard to lay low.  (He must be exhausted.)   Secondly, his appearance in New Moon was enough to dose many people for a long long while.  (No offense, Rob.  The lines, the stiltedness, all those animatronic wolves, aren’t really your fault.)

There have been stories, of course; a whole industry has been built on Rob Pattinson stories, and it can’t wind down on a dime.  The biggest was how Rob “freaked out” when one fan jumped out of a car to kiss him, and then confessed that her mom had tried to stop her because she had Swine Flu.   (Frankly, I don’t think it’s fair to call Rob getting irritated over this “freaking out.”)

Also, Rob went to a birthday party and was photographed getting a ride afterword with Katy Perry (and others), and was immediately declared to be Perry’s lover.  (The next day he was disowned by Perry who tweeted that she doesn’t “do vampires.”)

He was also reported to be wooing Emilie de Ravin (costar in “Remember Me”) with high culture because they had a photo session in an LA museum.

Despite his reduced appearance on the tabloids, Rob was voted the man girls would most like to find under the mistletoe.  Ever the gentleman (and I actually mean this), he responded to an interviewer’s question as to whom he would most like to find under the mistletoe with a giggle, and  “Ricky Gervais.”  This was reported under the blockbuster headline, “Robert Pattinson Reveals His Fantasy ‘Under The Mistletoe’ Kiss.”

Boxing Day, the kind of day that gives you the leisure to look into such important matters.

Ah.

New Moon -The Missing Moments

November 23, 2009

Chris Weitz and Summit Entertainment have struck gold with Twilight Saga New Moon. Frankly, any regular ManicDDaily reader could have predicted this:  while Kristen Stewart manages to embody both the ordinary and heroic—a combination of qualities that many young girls envisage in themselves, Robert Pattinson embodies (literally) what many young girls envisage for themselves.   And then there’s the extra set of muscles, bright smile, and uncannily canine shagginess of Taylor Lautner.

Where the movie fails, though, is in targeting the needs of tweens, a core fan group, for quirky scenes, lines and gestures which can be repeatedly replayed  (i) in their heads, and (ii) on their downloaded versions of the movie,  (iii)  preferably, at a slumber party.

The first movie, Twilight, had an abundance of these quirky, (one might  say) goofy, moments.  They were camp, but could somehow bear the weight of repeated viewing:  (i) RPatz’s shaken/frozen face after he stops the careening car; (ii) “I’m a killer, Bella,” (iii) the whole “you shouldn’t have said that,” “spider monkey,” thing (iv)  the first kiss;  (v) the second kiss; (vi) the third kiss.

New Moon has remarkably few of these quirky moments —moments that one can imagine young girls watching again and again in giggles and pajamas.   In my pre-vcr/dvr youth, this need was filled by our actual re-enactment of scenes.  My personal favorite was Olivia Hussey’s death scene in Zeferelli’s Romeo and Juliet, which I performed with great gusto and convincing gasps on numerous all-girl occasions.   “Oh happy dagger, this is thy sheathe.  There rust and let me die.”   (Yes, I was a weird kid.)

But what would a weird kid re-enact in New Moon?  All I can come up with (and these are no match for Hussey) are (i)  Bella’s single-arched-browed “kiss me,”,  and (ii) Dakota Fanning’s smiling “this may hurt a little.”

So, will this lack of re-enactable scenes translate into a lack of repeated viewings?  A drastic downfall in ticket and DVD sales after the initial hot weekend?

I doubt it.  The film still has a lot of Rob Pattinson abs.   (Apparently, even 109 year-old  vampires have adopted modern low-rise fashions.  Who knew?)

And, then of, course, there are kisses 4, 5, 6, 7…. But who’s counting?