Loving… Grace Kelly as Lisa Fremont in Rear Window.

Can’t say I’ve really gotten into much Hitchcock in my lifetime (that’s more my mum’s forte), however I loved Rear Window from the moment I inserted into the DVD player.

However, after a second watching this Christmas, I realised the power of Grace Kelly’s character, Lisa Fremont, as the girlfriend of central protagonist L.B. Jeffries (played by James Stewart).

Sure, she comes across as a vapid socialite on first glance, but when she opens her mouth, it is revealed that she has a job (astonishing for that period in time!), albeit as a gossip columnist, and is very self-sufficient.

Jeffries goes on about how she is somewhat pampered (being a socialite) and could never hack it on one of his photography missions.( Evidently it is he who could not hack it on his own photography assignment, managing to get his leg broken whilst documenting a car race.)

When Lisa volunteers to snoop in Jeffries’ neighbours’ apartment whilst he is out, on one hand she is proving herself to him; proving that she can get her hands dirty and is up for some adventure. But, as Lizz Yeh points out in her comment in response to Gender Goggles“Hitchcock & Feminist Theory in Suspicion & Rear Window, “we have to remember that a lot of the plot is driven by Lisa and L.B. It is only after Lisa concurs with L.B. that L.B. decides to take any sort of action.” In addition, she’s the one who points out that a woman doesn’t leave her favourite handbag and wedding ring when she goes on a trip, and doesn’t leave her jewellery jumbled up in a bag. On Yeh’s comments, it does seem that Jeffries often strives for Lisa’s approval. Whilst I wouldn’t say he’s a “weak” male character by any means, Lisa is certainly his “better half”.

On that, Lisa proves that women can be multifaceted. She can read fashion magazines and attend balls in gorgeous couture gowns, but she can also investigate a murder and accompany her man on adventurous trips. Her attitude also flies in the face of feminism’s detractors: she can please her man by reading the kinds of books he thinks she should (but swapping back to her glossy du jour when he falls asleep!) and helping him in his time of need, but she also does what she thinks and feels is right. Ultimately, Jeffries and Lisa are equals in a Hitchcockian world.

 [Gender Goggles] Hitchcock & Feminist Theory in Suspicion & Rear Window.

[Overthinking It] Why Weak Male Characters Are Bad for Women.

[The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Women in Fiction: Are Our Favourite Female Characters Actually “Strong”, Or Stereotypes?

 [The Early Bird Catches the Worm] Women in Fiction: My Favourite Fictional Females.

Loving… Mick Foley.

For long-time readers of this blog (does six months quality as a long-term blog-reading relationship?), you will be familiar with my fondness for professional wrestler turned author, Mick Foley.

When I first started watching World Wrestling Entertainment (then still WWF) in 2001, Foley had a sporadic recurring role, after resigning as fictional “commissioner” of the company. Little did I know just how affecting he had been to the hardcore wrestling scene.

In a nutshell, Foley started out in the independent wrestling scene, then gradually made his way through the ranks, beginning in squash matches (where a bigger star beats a newcomer or unknown in very little time and with very little effort) in WWE, then World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and finally Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), where he made a namewell, technically, three namesfor himself.

As an unorthodox professional wrestler, with an out of shape body and not many technical mat moves, Foley needed that extra something, which he came up with in the form of his three alter egos: Mankind, Dude Love and Cactus Jack.

Mankind is the one most original wrestling fans would be most familiar with, with Foley wearing a Hannibal Lector-esque mask and brandishing a personified sock on his hand, affectionately known as Mr. Socko, which would be used in his Mandible Claw move. Mankind teamed up with The Rock in The Rock n’ Sock Connection in the late ’90s.

Dude Love favours tie-die and espouses the 1960’s hippie frame of mind, and is probably the least well-known of the three.

Finally, Cactus Jack is quintessential “Hardcore Legend”, using thumbtacks and Barbie (a baseball bat encased in barbed wire, oftentimes set on fire), wearing leopard print leggings and a flanny, and is often invoked in matches such as Hell in a Cell and especially his Last Man Standing matches in his feud with Triple H, again in the late ’90s.

After some time in Japan, where a lot of professional wrestlers believe you need to spend time if you wish to be taken seriously as an athlete, Foley debuted in the WWE, where he had some of his most memorable matches, mentioned above.

While my forbidden love for wrestling introduced me to many sub-categories (like my favourite band, Our Lady Peace, American geography, and my obsession an subsequent research articles and blog posts on the Chris Benoit double murder-suicide), none is more dear to my heart than discovering Mick Foley as a memoirist, children’s storybook writer, and novelist.

I own all three of his memoirs, Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood & Sweatsocks, Foley is Good: And the Real World is Faker Than Wrestling, and The Hardcore Diaries, as well as his first novel, Tietam Brown (watch this space to see if I can muscle a review out of a friend who’s had my copy on loan for months), which I serendipitously found in a second-hand book store and could barely contain my excitement. Yes, I love rare and obscure authors, okay?!

Foley has recently published his fourth memoir, Countdown to Lockdown: A Hardcore Journal, which I can’t wait to get my grubby little mitts on. In addition, Foley’s much publicised computer illiteracy has been conquered, with the advent of his blog, Countdown to Lockdown, and Jezebel has cottoned on to the awesomeness that is Mick Foley”, with two feature articles on the Hardcore Legend in the past week.

Foley paved the way for wrestlers with brains to parlay into other areas they could be useful in, with Chris Jericho (memoirist, musician, actor/host, commentator) and Edge (memoirist) springing to mind. And now he is speaking out for sexual assault victims in a category what has traditionally been termed “women’s issues”.

Foley is a truly smart, talented, funny, inspiring and admirable man, and if you like what you’ve read here, I urge you to pick up one of his books (or if reading’s not your thing, YouTube a match of his; but reading probably is your thing if you’re looking at this here blog) and prepare to have your lifeor at the very least, your perception of professional wrestlingchanged.

Loving… The Awesomeness That is James Van Der Beek.

As Dawson Leery on late ’90s teen angst television staple, Dawson’s Creek, James Van Der Beek was a whiny pushover who always lost the girl to the sexy and witty and aptly-named Pacey Witter. With the exception of getting drunk and singing the blues with Andy on his birthday, Dawson’s Creek perhaps would’ve been better without its titular character.

Van Der Beek hasn’t done a whole lot since Dawson’s Creek ended in 2003, but what he has done has been a far more apt use of his acting talents.

I recently watched the movie adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s Rules of Attraction, in which Van Der Beek plays Sean Bateman, American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman’s little brother. While the film, like the book, is quite left of centre and something not everyone is likely to have seen, Van Der Beek is chilling as a narcissistic, drug-taking/dealing, death-faking rich college boy, alongside Ian Somerhalder in a similarly affecting performance.

And anyone who watches Criminal Minds would be hard pressed to forget the formerly innocent Dawson as Tobias Hankel, the serial killer who was so damaged by his abusive father, that he took on said father’s demeanour in order to carry out his killings. In addition, he injected everyone’s favourite agent, Spencer Reid, with heroin, causing Reid to struggle with his newfound addiction in later episodes.

Angus, Van Der Beek’s debut film role in 1995, is a much lauded cult teen movie in which he plays the popular jock to Angus’s overweight outcast. I haven’t seen the film personally (I plan to watch it during my convalescence from wisdom teeth surgery at the end of the week), Jezebel seems to like it, and that’s good enough for me!

Van Der Beek is not unfamiliar to parodying himself, either, with cameos in Scary Movie and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (worst movie ever, but the running Ben Affleck joke is a cracker!), and comedic turns in Ugly Betty and How I Met Your Mother.

If you’re indifferent to James Van Der Beek, like I was until I really paid attention to his acting life after Dawson’s Creek, I suggest you take a look at his post-Dawson’s résumé to truly understand the awesomeness that is Van Der Beek.