Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Ugly Ones

I come from a family of witty people. In my Scotch-Irish (Jewish-German-British-hello, this is America), south-Mississippi-native family, I'm probably the least clever verbally of the bunch.

It was either my Bobie or my older brother who liked to say beauty was skin deep, but ugly was to the bone.

I'm thinking it was my Bobie, but my brother liked repeating it. He also called one of my sorority sisters "mascara Sara," so don't think he ever used kid-gloves. Least of all with me.

There was a deeper meaning to that adage, but that's not why I'm repeating it today. I did a post last week (or a few weeks ago--it's all running together these days, kids) about Aaron Spelling and The Beautiful Ones.

My premise was that people just want to read and watch stories about bad stuff happening to beautiful, rich people.

Never more was my suspicion confirmed than when I read Lisa Schwarzbaum's review in Entertainment Weekly of the movie Rango (link).

Can I just say, until I read her review, I had zero desire to see that movie? But then they did this whole thing about all the old Westerns it borrowed from, and well, I hate Westerns.

But I love my dad.

My dad knows the name of every horse of every cowboy that ever graced the silver screen or the small screen from the years 1950 to 1965. I am so not kidding.

He also shares my love of movies. When I was about 12, we got cable and he urged me to sit and watch two movies with him I'll never forget. One was Scaramouche with Stewart Granger and the other was Stalking Moon with Eve Marie Saint and Gregory Peck.

In Liberty, Miss., the small town where he grew up, they had a dime theater that he would go to as a little kid and watch movies.

He told me one time about how he'd stayed late to watch something and then ended up having to walk home alone, in the pitch darkness, the two to five-mile distance to my Mammaw and Pappaw's house.

 I still find that hard to believe. He was like 12 himself.

He also told me a story about taking a date to see Gone With the Wind there, and when they arrived, she looked so pretty. By the time they left, he said her eyes were so swollen and smeared with mascara from crying, she looked terrible.

I've met that woman. She still has an enormous crush on my dad.

Anyway, so Schwarzbaum wrote the following: "The biggest strike against Rango, though--for both the movie and the hero--is that the lizard is so damn ugly."

It got me to thinking about my post. And about my dad. My dad because now I want to see Rango because of his love of Westerns. You can't grow up with someone like that without a little of it sticking.

My other thought was this: If beauty sells, does ugly kill?

For me, the answer is Yes. I'm sorry, kids, but if a work of literature is just gross, gross, gross, I can't keep reading. I just can't. (OK, except for The Hunger Games series. But I had one eye closed the whole time.)

But What say you bloggie friends? And have any of you seen Rango? Think I'd like it?

Have a great weekend. I'm actually headed to south Mississippi where I'll see my older brother (in town from Key West), my dad, and several other of my witty relatives. I expect it to be a hilarious time.

Til Monday~ <3


PK HREZO said...

Yep, I wanna take the kids to see it tomorrow. You've inspired me. And wow, I loved watching movies with my dad as a kid. Not the ones I wanted, but his style of movies. I always learned something really cool.
I've never seen the ones you've mentioned but they sound about right for his style. And omgosh, the beauty contests! Miss Universe, Miss America ... lol.... I just thought of it. Dad and I used to stay up and watch every one of them together. So funny!
I'm with you tho, if it's gross, I don't care about watching or reading it. I'm very selective in my ripened old age of thirty-something. :)

DEZMOND said...

what that Schwarzbaum said is probably the stupidest and the most ignorant thing I've ever heard in my life, people like that should be taken to courts. As a psychologist I'm deeply ashamed of such people.

LTM said...

@PK--still can't email you back... Anyway, we'll probably rent "ugly" Rango... :D And my mom was more the pageant-watcher. How I remember those times, too!

I think it depends on the level of description, and there's actually particular types of ugliness I can't tolerate more than others. Like the kind that involve descriptions of *moist* things... LOL! ;o) <3

Michelle Merrill said...

Yes ugly lit can kill too :) I loved your post, though. My hubby has watched the trailer for this movie with the kids but we haven't seen it yet.

By the way, I gave you an award on my blog today.

Matthew MacNish said...

Hmm. I don't feel that way at all. I love stories about truth. I loved the movie Precious, and there isn't an attractive person in it.

I suppose this might be true when it comes to the movie ticket buying masses, but I pray to god it isn't true for literature.

Colene Murphy said...

I have wanted to see that movie since they said it was being made. I think him being ugly adds to the story in some way. No cute lizard there! But...okay he is kinda cute, but it could be the JDepp voice that makes him so...who knows. ;)

Unknown said...

Now that my kids are older, I'm missing out on all the great kid flicks--so no, I haven't seen it. But, I think the lizard is kind of cute!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

There's a story about Scaramoche :

There's a climatic sword fight. Stewart Granger, the lead actor, was told to fall to the ground from a blow. The villain would cut the rope holding the chandelier up, and Stewart would lay there with a look of horror on his face as the huge crystal and metal construct came plunging down to his body.

"Don't worry, Grange baby," smiled the director. "The special effect guys have it rigged so it stops two feet from your handsome face."

Dubious since it was his handsome face in question, Stewart said low, "Can we see this trick in action?"

The director set it up. The special effects triggered their fancy mechanism.


The 400 pound crystral and metal monstrosity slammed right into the floor where Stewart would have been laying ... if he had trusted the director.

Stewart turned to the director and said, "Imagine if I had asked you to lay there?"

True story ... or as true as stories ever get, coming from Hollywood. Roland

Angie said...

I hadn't really thought about it all that much. Interesting, though. I love the stories about your dad.

Old Kitty said...

I wanna see Rango!!! I love ugly people in films - yes please!! More, More, More!! Ugly showing up beautiful is always great for me!! Think Shrek!!! Or the ever so wonderful Divine in Hairspray!!!! More ugly triumphing over everyone!!! All is possible!

What was that Checkov play?? Ooh one beautiful woman character says of her cousin?? I think it was her cousin!! Can't remember!! Well another woman on the stage with her anyway!"You have very beautiful eyes" To which the other woman character replies something like "People say "you have beautiful eyes" when they think you plain". Or words to that effect. Of course the "plain" woman had the biggest heart but of course hers gets broken because the object of her affection has eyes only for the beautiful woman! Boooo!

Take care

Summer Ross said...

Me and my manly man went out and saw it, I didn't think it was as much of a kid movie. Anything with Johny Depp is going to be a bit strange. :) Anyway- I did like it and despite some of its cheesiness I think you might like it. I'm not a westerns fan, but I could appreciate what they did with Rango

Carolyn Abiad said...

I saw it with the boys and I liked it. It wasn't laugh-out-loud hilarious, but it was funny throughout. All the characters are a little nutty and not a single one is attractive - which works very well for this movie. Rango himself is... endearing. Yes - that's the word. :)

LTM said...

@Summer--it's true, and I guess JD's brand of quirky is finally catching on b/c he's ubiquitous these days, yes? :D

I think we might rent it, though. This weekend = the new Wimpy Kid movie! And oh, the horrors of middle school... ;p <3

Abby Minard said...

I saw Rango with my 5 year old. (Let me just say, it's not really for 5 year olds- violence and machine guns run rampant). But it was cute- and he was pretty cute anyway. I think I got most of the old western references even if I didn't know what particular movie they were spoofing. But overall it was cute. I think John Wayne might have made a cameo? I haven't looked it up on IMDB yet, but I know it was a famous cowboy that played this one particular part, and John Wayne came to mind.

Abby Minard said...

Okay it wasn't John Wayne. He's not alive is he? I think I may have been thinking Clint Eastwood. But it's not him either. I didn't recognize the guy on IMDB.

Unknown said...

While it is true that we often like to see bad things happen to the rich and beautiful, we will often root for the ugly underdogs. Ugly Betty, anyone? Now you have me wanting to see Rango... that and my son has been begging me to go.

Julie Musil said...

If you're the least witty among your family, then you must have some pretty hilarious relatives! An Mascara Sara cracked me up.

I haven't seen Rango yet. Sometimes if the MC is ugly, I automatically like them just because of their underdog status.

Have fun with that witty family of yours :D

walk2write said...

I think your brother must have known mine. My best friend Rhonda when I was in fourth grade was known as Rotunda around our house, and the girl in the apartment upstairs was The Diesel Mechanic. And I was the family Skeleton in the Closet. But who's counting insults?

I haven't seen Rango yet. Right now, I'm ready to see just about any kind of movie except gory.

Hope you have a great weekend with the folks. I'm betting you will keep them all in stitches (the older they get, the less funny they are).

Myne said...

I haven't seen Rango yet, but I hope to get it on DVD. I read another blogger review it with not so great words too, but I think for me, a story matters more than what the characters look like.

Hart Johnson said...

You mean ugly WRITING or ugly characters? See, part of the Pacific Northwest chic is the Ugly to Cool scale where something is SO BAD that it's good again... (think lowgrade B movies they use in that Comedy Central show and mock)--there is literature like that, too... really campy--so bad it comes around to being enjoyable again.

As for Ugly. I LIKE Ugly characters. If they are physically ugly, it can be a poignant piece of the story (think Cerano). Ugly personality can make for intriguing reading, too, but is much more difficult (Lolita, is my favorite example). Ugly LANGUAGE can accentuate ugly situations... (Clockwork Orange--choppy, awkward, but perfect for it) (The Color Purple, too--brilliant for the poorness of it because it was the voice of the story). But it probably needs to be handled with more skill.

Lydia Kang said...

I haven't seen it but my kids are dying to. I've heard mixed reviews about the plot so I'm curious.

I loved hearing about your dad's experiences at the movies.

And thanks for your comment on my blog. Well said, and point definitely taken to heart!

Anita Grace Howard said...

What a great post! And ouch on the question. It's true ... everything is vanity.

I'm going to see Rango this wkend w/ my kiddos, niece, nephew, and my brother (who so like your father is the world's BIGGEST movie buff; I think they need to meet--oh what they could teach one another about the movies of their generations--LOL).

Have fun on your trip to see the family! And thanks for the follow, BTW, because it led me to your great blog! :-)

RaShelle Workman said...

Leigh - You had one eye closed the whole time you read The Hunger Games? That's funny. I don't know that ugly kills, but it better be a dang good book in order for it to sell. So, yeah, maybe it does kill. LOL

LTM said...

@Anita--hey! Very cool. Found your blog on the QT~

you have a great weekend yourself, and yes! I lurv to post the ouchie questions. I mean, heck. Aren't we supposed to be *discussing* over here? j/k

You have a great weekend. I think our next movie's going to be that Wimpy Kid... :o) <3

Nick said...

Watched Scaramouche just a few weeks back. Wasn't that the greatest sword fight ever?

Al said...

I haven't,
I haven't been to the movies for months :-(

Ellie Garratt said...

My other half is crazy about westerns. Not the American ones but the spaghetti westerns. Sometimes I can't get away from it!

Ex-pat Odessa said...

I know what you mean, dad was big on westerns and Sci-Fi - I mean I think I was the only kid in Kindergarten who had seen 2001: A Space Odyssey (at least 5 times), and ever Star Trek show or movie ever made!

It does stick - I'm still a sucker for Sci-Fi (when done properly) and westerns - I actually liked the remake of True Grit, haven't even heard of this flick you mentioned!

BTW tell Gregg hi for me!

LTM said...

@Nick--argh, it's been ages since I watched Scaramouche, but I remember loving it. And I DO remember the sword fight being amazing~ :D <3

LTM said...

@Odie--Haven't seen the new True Grit, but I want to! And home now, but it was a good visit. Need to see YOU soon~ :o) <3

Creepy Query Girl said...

One of my facebook friends told me it wasn't worth the money. You'll have to let me know if she was being too harsh!