Monday, December 04, 2006

Are Helen Mirren's Legs That Thick in Real Life?

3.64 stars.
I didn't want to see this movie. It looked drier than Olivia's water bowl when I came staggering into the apartment at 3am on Saturday. (I staggered out of sheer exhaustion, not because I was boozing it up at the midnight screening at Sunshine of NEWSIES, WHICH IS AMAZING ON THE BIG SCREEN AND TEENAGE CHRISTIAN BALE IS SEX SEX SEX.) Helen Mirren irritates me, chiefly because I still remember the hour and a half of Teaching Mrs. Tingle I'll never get back. And most importantly, unless it has something to do with Harry's Nazi fetish, the British royals strike me as completely irrelevent and boring. However, I know what my societal obligations are for the community at large, and because the theater closest to my natural abode in Hunterdon County, New Jersey was shockingly cognizant of movies other than Casino Royale during Thanksgiving break, Jeffrey Grimshaw paid for me to watch a surprisingly funny movie that involves Helen Mirren driving (unsupervised) around the English countryside and a guy playing Tony Blair better than Tony Blair. That was the longest sentence not in a Faulkner book ever.


For the vast majority of my loyal readers who forked over money for Daniel Craig's entrance into hunkified pug-like immortality, The Queen encapsulates the Royal family's reaction to Princess Di's car crash during the immediate week following her death. Since this occured on my 12th birthday, the event is much clearer in my mind then when, say, David Hasselhoff brought the Berlin Wall down with his dolcet tones in 1989, when my primary daily activity was watching Land Before Time with Big Bear and Snuggle Bear (RIP). CBS News interrupted a particularly engrossing episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman several times with continuing developments on the Paris crash, and by the time Sisters came on at 10, it was pretty well understood that she was dead. I didn't realize who she was until I saw her picture and recognized her from the multitude of trashy tabloids that had been absolutely eviscerating her of late. Apparently I wasn't the only one in my neighborhood having Royal-related amnesia; someone down the street from me was convinced that the Duchess of York was dead, and when she found out it was Di, she was noticably happier. She's going to hell, "btw."

Like Reagan had ANYTHING to do with it.

In terms of acting, Helen Mirren was fine, but I thought Michael Sheen, who played Tony Blair, was better, as was Sylvia Syms, who played The Queen Mother and spent most of the movie just hanging out in whatever room Helen Mirren was in (much like David's sister does towards the end of NEWSIES, WHICH IS AMAZING ON THE BIG SCREEN AND TEENAGE CHRISTIAN BALE IS SEX SEX SEX). None of her comments are productive in the least, but because her character is obviously (and willing to acknowledge it ) useless, she's the easiest Royal to stomach. Example:

Helen Mirren (to James Cromwell): Have you heard from the Spencers on what they wish to do with the funeral?
Sylvia Sims: Oh no, no one tells me anything.

There are literally about five more of these sorts of exchanges dotted throughout the movie. It's heaven on earth.

Besides the unexpected humor quotient, The Queen benefits from presenting an actual, debatable question - Is the Royal family completely out of touch with their people by not immediately responding to Di's death, or are they in the dwindling minority of people who believe that Diana has been mistakenly propped up on a pedestal as "The People's Princess" and thus have no obligation to go out of their way in holding a funeral for her or releasing any public statements of condolence? The movie never takes a definitive stance, but it supplies enough information for viewers to make their own informed opinion. My own stance is in between the two, but probably more closely aligned with the British people. Politically speaking, the Royal family should have immediately responded to Diana's death, regardless of the fact that she wasn't officially a member of their clan anymore. It's a win-win situation, as Tony Blair proves by immediately releasing a statement (in which the term "People's Princess" is first used) and watching his popularity skyrocket overnight. The Royals had nothing to lose by doing the exact same thing, but that nutty Queen is a stubborn creature and doesn't appreciate the ex-wives of her progeny galavanting around Europe with Eygptian playboys.

"If I had had Prince William with you, can you even comprehend how hot he would have been?"

However, then you get into the issue of Diana and her legacy. Was the immense outpouring of grief warranted, or was the world latching on to a symbol rather than an actual person? Again, I think it's both. It's difficult to dispute that Diana did a lot of good and used her name and position to highlight her accomplishments and showcase the targets of her charity. There's absolutely nothing wrong with any of that, but there are a lot of humanitarians who don't get the exposure that someone like Diana received and aren't going to have an entire country wailing at the foot of their grave. Does it make Diana less of a person? Of course not, but keeping that in mind can help you understand the mentality of Queen Elizabeth, who had a different perspective on Diana than anyone who knew Diana solely from the public eye. In a situation where so many people were claiming to love and grieve the actual person, Elizabeth was one of the very few who could have even claimed to be able to do so.

If there is an aspect to this story that's overlooked, it's what a total douche Charles is. Genetics were not kind to this man, nor were they to the dog that he decided to cheat on Diana with. Charlie's infidelities are mentioned in passing by Helen Mirren, who clearly doesn't approve of them but believes even more strongly that Diana should have stayed for her grandchildren's benefit and for the stability of a Royal family whose relevance was and is deteriorating at a pretty rapid pace.

"Woof! Woof! Where's Charles?"

While I don't believe all of the Oscar buzz over Helen Mirren is entirely warranted (I'm still holding out for P-Dog and K-Wizzle to come through), The Queen is undoubtedly more thought-provoking than the upcoming Blood Diamond, which I will be seeing in theaters because it promises to be almost as entertaining as NEWSIES, WHICH IS AMAZING ON THE BIG SCREEN AND TEENAGE CHRISTIAN BALE IS SEX SEX SEX.


At 11:21 AM, Blogger abbichristine said...

i cannot BELIEVE you saw Newsies, at midnight, WITHOUT ME! YOU WHORE. i heart christian bale more than you heart arnold in terminator. yes, that much.

At 1:24 PM, Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

I enjoyed The Queen quite a bit, and would have to side with her that the "national mourning" of Diana was close to a freak show .. and you're right, Dame Mirren's legs did look awfully damn thick in this one!

At 8:11 AM, Blogger Karol said...

Since this occured on my 12th birthday

I can't visit here anymore if you keep making statements like this.

At 10:55 AM, Blogger e.e.grimshaw said...

abbi - i am sorry. you would have thrived in the estrogen-fueled debauchery that went on at sunshine. that sounds lesbian. it wasn't meant to be.

reel fanatic - perhaps i should have gone a little further with the idea that it was a "freak show." i was concentrating more on the queen herself rather than on what seemed to be a completely illogical reaction to di's death. i can't think of anyone in this country in the public eye whose death would cause me to take to the streets sobbing uncontrollably like the thousands upon thousands who did it in england, and i find it unlikely that most of the people who DID do that for di actually thought about her for any significant amount of time when she was alive. freak show indeed.

karol - you really need to get over this. focus on the fact that i am wise beyond my years whilst bringing hardcore energy to the proceedings. it should make the blog easier to deal with.

At 11:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are now calling Kate Winslet, K-Wizzle?

At 11:57 AM, Blogger e.e.grimshaw said...

There is nothing wrong with K-Wizzle. In fact, I like the way it looks so much, I don't think I'll ever type the word "Winslet" on this blog again.


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