pets and films
As well as continuing to suffer from some vile viral infection, to add insult to injury last night I incurred a mauled hand, courtesy of elder cat Oswald (previous owner Eric Clapton). It was my fault, I suppose. Rosie the labradoodle still regards our cats as fair game. We’ve tried to introduce them to achieve some feline–canine entente cordiale, but without success. So the cats have taken to living alternately upstairs and outside. They avoid Rosie’s patch, which is downstairs. But in order to bridge the gap between upstairs and outside, the cats need to pass through downstairs.
Most of the time they wait until the dog is asleep, and wander past in silent slow motion. Sometimes she spots them, in which case there is a bark, the sound of skidding paws, and the slamming shut of the cat flap – so far the cats have always been faster. At other times, though, the cats want to come in while Rosie is awake. Then they wait at the door; one of us holds the dog, muzzling her snout; the other carries the cat through. Last night I tried a variation on the theme where I carried the cat through without the dog being held. Result: dog sees cat in my arms, leaps up to get a mouthful, cat is transformed into a whirling ball of fur and claws, my hand gets shredded. Bad idea. Won’t try it again.
While I’m on a non-wine theme, time for some more movie notes. Little Miss Sunshine comes highly recommended. Plot: little girl from dysfunctional family enters a beauty contest, necessitating a long drive to California in a VW camper van without a clutch with entire said dysfunctional family on board. It achieves a difficult goal: it’s a genuinely funny black comedy as well as a road movie as well as a biting social commentary all at the same time. The climax—the performance at the pageant itself—will leave you weeping with laughter.
The Butterfly Effect is an altogether different genre—the DVD box said it was Drama/Horror (I think this is the only time my wife has ever rented a DVD from the Horror category)—but it is cleverly done, and manages to deal with that old chestnut of the knock on effects of even small events (from chaos theory) pretty well. There are some disturbing scenes and the film deals with some harrowing events along the way, but it’s not too gratuitous, and the writing is tight enough that it all hangs together well, keeping you guessing till the end.
Tight writing could have really helped the final film in my write-up, Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Man's Chest. Not even the wonderful Johnny Depp as the camp pirate Captain Jack Sparrow, nor the unrecognizable Bill Nighy as the squid-stubbled Davy Jones, can save this film from its contrived and over-complicated plot. It reminded me a bit of some episodes of Morse—you had to be careful not to drink too many glasses of wine or take too many loo breaks, or the program would finish and you’d be left clueless about what had just happened. Like so many films these days, as long as it has the special effects, the stars, the media exposure and the product tie-ins, it succeeds in spite of its intrinsic merit.