Toy Story 3’s Barbie—Not as Dumb as She Looks.

 

I recently re-watched Toy Story 3 after seeing it originally in cinemas last year. Barbie never ceases to amaze me, and I, like, really relate to her bubbly air-head exterior and smart and assertive interior. Here, her exact words on Lot-So’s dictatorship, which could totes be applied to Muammar Gaddafi and the situation in Libya:

“Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”

Elsewhere: [Free Frank Warner] Barbie’s Words on “The Consent of the Governed”.

Image via Free Frank Warner.

Movies: The Best Movies I’ve Seen This Year.

 

Tomorrow, When the War Began. Check out my review to see how strongly I feel about it.

Desk Set. This 1957 romantic comedy starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy takes place in a reference library, and deals with the incorporation of computers to help the ladies in their cataloguing. With a healthy dose of the trademark ’50s slapstick rom-com dynamic and TDF fashion, I loved this one.

Easy A. Again, another I’ve done a review on. While I had high hopes for this one, it didn’t live up to them fully, but it is one of the smarter teen movies in recent memory. On par with Mean Girls, perhaps?

Rear Window. What took me so long, right? I watched this one for the first time last Christmas, and continued the tradition again this holiday season. Grace Kelly is luminous as “his girl Friday” to James Stewart’s L.B. Jeffries, who is the ultimate leading man. Hitchcock at his best.

Toy Story 3. It is unanimous that Toy Story 3 is one of the best movies released in 2010. Perhaps the best of the Toy Story franchise? Nah, my money’s on the first instalment.

Desperately Seeking Susan. So bad it’s good. The fashion is fabulous (on Madonna’s part, anyway) and Her Madgesty is surprisingly likable in it.

Sorry about the dismal effort in this post, but seriously; there were no good movies this year! You only have to look at Sex & the City 2 (which I quite liked, but will admit was baaad), The Expendables and Killers for proof of that.

That’s why I spent a lot of my cinema-going money on the classics, such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Beauty & the Beast in 3D. That counts as a movie I haven’t seen before this year, right? Right…?

Related: Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden Review.

Easy A Review.

Sex & the City 2 Review.

The Expendables Review.

Elsewhere: [Jezebel] Is Easy A The Next Mean Girls?

[Jezebel] I Went to See Killers & It’s All Your Fault.

Book Review: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest By Ken Kesey.

 

As previously mentioned, I struggled through this book.

Not because it wasn’t well writtenin fact, I loved the narration of protagonist Chief Bromden and the way author Ken Kesey continually used misspelling to take the reader into Bromden’s mindbut because I was so preoccupied with other things, that I didn’t really take notice of what was occurring.

But in a nutshell, the novel deals with patients in a mental hospital, and centres around Bromden, a half-Native American who has been pretending to be deaf and dumb, and fellow resident of the ward Randle McMurphy, the fiery redhead who shakes things up when he is transferred from a prison work farm. Questions arise, specifically from antagonist Nurse Ratched and the doctors, as to whether McMurphy is actually mentally ill, or just uses his pasts crimes to live out the rest of his life in, what he believes is, the cushy Pendleton asylum.

The hospital is anything but, and the antics of its patients conjure up memories of Shawshank Redemption, Prison Break, The Longest Yard and even Toy Story 3! And while none of these films are set in a mental institution per se, they just might have borrowed some inspiration from Cuckoo’s Nest.

McMurphy acts as a sort of vicarious thrill-seeker, and the other patients live their lives through his rebellion. He is also the catalyst for Bromden to reveal he can actually speak and hear, and his fellow patients to stand up for themselves and buck the system.

McMurphy and Nurse Ratched become involved in a power struggle, with McMurphy taking on the role of leader to the patients, and ultimately, he attacks Ratched, strangling her and taking away her most powerful toolher voiceand McMurphy is given a lobotomy.

During the absence of both the nurse and their leader, most of Pendleton’s residents check out, and those who do stay to witness their returnthe nurse unable to speak, and thus control her patients, and McMurphy in a “chronic” vegetative statesoon leave. But not before Bromden suffocates McMurphy in his sleep, so that he can die with some dignity. Bromden then leaves to rejoin his tribe.

Kesey uses the residents to illustrate the injustices of mental patients, having spent time working as an orderly in one, where he took LSD and Peyote as part of Project MKUltra, an illegal CIA human research program to “manipulate individual mental states”.

Nurse Ratched, in particular, is so craftily subtle in how she goes about controlling the men, that most of them aren’t even aware she is doing so. In Foucaultian terms, this type of manipulation can be damaging on a “broad social scale”, as it encourages censorship of one’s actions.

All in all, I quite liked (what bits I did pick up through a distracted reading of) the book, and I’m a bit of a sucker for a story with a message. Unlike A Clockwork Orange or something along those obscure lines, the story was written in a straightforward manner and was (mostly) a pleasure to read.

Related: Newspaper Clipping of LAST Week.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Anthony Burgess Review.

Elsewhere: [Wikipedia] Project MKUltra.

[Wikipedia] One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (novel).

Men in Fiction: My Most Loved Made-Up Males.

Last week I featured my favourite fictional females, and this week I thought I’d give the guys a go.

In the vein of Scout Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, her father Atticus is way up there. He represents “the father figure I never had”, guiding Scout, her brother Jem, and their friend Dil through the last summer of their naïve childhood and how judging a book by it’s cover (or skin colour) is not the way to go. Plus, he has a kick ass name!

Similar to my obsession with To Kill a Mockingbird is my love of Dominick Dunne and any of his books, specifically Another City, Not My Own, in which Dunne’s alter-ego Gus Bailey acts as the fictional narrator of Dunne’s real-life O.J. Simpson trial experiences. It is hard to separate the two men, which is what I love about Dunne’s stories; a reader familiar with Dunne’s experiences doesn’t know where real-life ends and fiction begins.

Every fan of Friends has a favourite character, and mine has always been Chandler Bing. He gets the funniest storylines, and Matthew Perry has great comedic timing. There are many episodes I could ramble on about, but my two favourite Chandler moments are when Phoebe attempts to seduce him into admitting his relationship with Monica, and when Chandler kicks up a stink about Joey stealing his chair before Ross’s benefit, and in a check-mate move, Joey puts on every item of clothing in Chandler’s possession, quipping in true Chandler fashion, “Could I be wearing any more clothes?”

It’s been a Disney-centric year, what with Beauty & the Beast about to be re-released in 3D, the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra performing Disney songs in December (which I’m so going to, FYI), the first African American Disney Princess in the lacklustre The Princess & the Frog, and the much anticipated release of Toy Story 3, with one of my all-time favourite characters, Woody. The pull-string sheriff is inspirational in that he’ll never “leave a man behind”, he exists primarily for the pleasure of his owner, Andy, but discovers that there’s more to life, like making friends and other people happy, than what he thought his true purpose was; to be with Andy. I loved the third instalment of the saga, but it can never top the first one. So quotable, so timeless, so child-at-heart. ♥

Other inspirational men of fiction include Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon; Shia LaBeouf’s character in Disturbia, and the character who inspired him, L.B. Jeffries from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window; Fiver, Bigwig and Hazel from Watership Down; Woody’s space ranger counterpart, Buzz Lightyear; the Beast in Beauty & the Beast; and Holden Caulfield in A Catcher in the Rye.