As of this writing, I have twice taken the afternoon off work to go see Mad Max Fury Road. I suspect that total will rise before summer’s end, at which point I hope for all of your sakes that the movie is available online because otherwise I will have to start making my children stage re-enactments to stave off the withdrawal. I have not gone with Jim (or even discussed the movie with him) because if he doesn’t like it we’ll have to get a divorce and that is expensive and complicated. Not seeing the movie with him seems like a simpler solution.
Remember how I lost my mind about Captain America: Steve loves Bucky (or whatever the real title is) and Snowpiercer (aka Chris Evans explores lumberjack chic complete with axe)? I have lost my mind about Fury Road as much as both of those things smushed together. A large portion of my mind is STILL lost over Steve&Bucky K-I-S-S-I-N-G and The Angsty Lumberjack, so now that I’ve added Fury Road my internal monologue is basically a mash-up of endless screaming with taiko drums and Verdi’s Requiem. So, the Fury Road soundtrack, basically.
Because my children humor me more than they should, I played them the Dies Irae of Verdi’s Requiem and Brothers in Arms from Fury Road back to back.
It is pretty clear that Junkie XL took his inspiration from Verdi and indeed, the entire soundtrack sounds like what would have happened had Verdi been given access to electric guitars, taiko drums, and an unlimited supply of caffeine. In case there is any doubt, I fully support this. I am not much of a classical music gal, but Verdi’s Dies Irae is one I come back to; its pure, wild grief stopped me in my tracks the first time I heard it. That this movie should have an amped-up version of same as its soundtrack makes perfect sense; for all that’s been said about its horrific beauty and thrilling plot, this is a movie powered by grief, and it rides in Furiosa’s eyes the entire time.
So anyway! I was having another of those moments where I felt like I was failing my children in some way, and on this particular day, I attempted to rectify my gaping lack as a parent by introducing them to some culture via classical music.
Mozart’s Requiem was deemed too quiet. I played them that Philip Glass thing that starts out with lots of head-bangy violins, was then however forced to admit that after this promising opening, he noodles on doing not much of anything interesting for another 19 minutes, whereupon Eliza said, as diplomatically as she gets, “Yeah, I’m not so much into this.”
I played the Verdi and Brothers in Arms. When Lucy told me she found them upsetting, I told her that she was right — they were pieces of music written because the writers were sad and wanted to tell people about how they were sad, and this intrigued her, so now we drive around playing Brothers In Arms and I have to tell her all the things the music is sad about. You will be pleased to know that I am glossing over the plot’s particulars, but it has been fun to see her turning over in her mind this idea that music can have as its objective the communication of emotions. She is emotionally canny, this girl (and here we will pause for the hollow laughter of those who have
been manipulated by witnessed the Tiny Imperator Luciferosa and her masterfully-deployed Bambi Eyes of Doom and Wobbly Voice of Woe).
Fury Road-related ideas I have had/things I have done so far:
Polished my nails sparkly so that anytime I see them, I can mutter “shiny and chrome!” to myself and make my own day.
Given serious thought to going Full Furiosa with my hair. Gave up said idea when one of the karate people showed up shaven-headed yesterday because I didn’t want to bite his style.
Debated lashing my weapons to the outside of my car so it could be my War Rig. As much as a magenta Fiesta hatchback can be a War Anything, that is. I am retrospectively sad that I did not spring for the moon roof, for better shooting at asshole tailgaters while my minions steer. (Is Fury Road the most bad ass buddy-cop/road trip movie EVER, or what?)
Had an AWESOME idea for a parade: Make it Fury Road themed, complete with the dudes on poles who sproing in through the aforementioned moon roofs to wreak havoc with buzz-saws/kidnap people. I really think this would up the entertainment factor for the second Fourth of July parade but people keep looking at me skeptically when I bring it up.
I was at a neighborhood party faking the whole “mature adult” thing really well and then I heard someone say “I live I die I live again” and I interrupted myself to yell “WHO SAW FURY ROAD?!” and alarmed whoever said the thing so much they refused to confess. Sorry, neighbor who haplessly triggered my nuttiness!
Eliza and I have been talking about tropes a lot. It started out with making her aware of representation in popular media and then, because she is writing a book, prompting her to think about what’s behind some of the conventional plot manipulations in said media, including my favorite and yours, fridging (female lover or relative of stoic dude gets killed in order to spur his character development/justify revenge bloodbath/etc.). Sidebar: Among the many things I liked about Big Hero 6 is that (SPOILER) the villain’s fridging-related justification for his action is rendered baseless when the female in question is found alive and you end the movie knowing she is going to be disappointed as HELL about the stupid crap he pulled because he used her death as justification to because like a %^&*.
Anyway, this is all a rambly lead-in Eliza’s greeting to me as she got in the car the other day after school:
“So, here’s another feminist rant…”
More conversations with 10-year-olds should start this way, in my opinion. Her point, by the way, was about how books, films, etc. celebrate young manhood with rituals and young women get nothing. Her reading was a bit un-nuanced but in terms of her understanding of Ye Olde Coming of Age Trope, not entirely unjustified. I feel like this may be the summer I indoctrinate her into the world of Robin McKinley, although Maur is a lot to take.
Further to the subject of the Senior Moppet, I fear her time with that appellation is coming to a close. Five-foot-tall 10-year-olds don’t really fit the strict definition anymore. For those of you keeping score at home, she is now 80 pounds of elbows. I have never met a child with so many elbows. I like them all, though. Like, a lot.
She is almost through with fourth grade and it is bittersweet for her — her bestest school friend is moving to a different school and she’s worried about the future of their friendship. “I know this happens to everyone,” she told me, but it still hurts.
She took her first test in karate yesterday and promoted to a new rank, and she did wonderfully. I’m sure I looked like I had a neurological disorder, trying to keep a straight face as she did her test. Eliza’s good at remembering the courtesies one gives the higher ranks and is not shy about shouting out the various things required of students. She’s very enthusiastic about kiai’s, which is the mid-exercise yelling we martial arts folk do sometimes. She can be startlingly loud. Also, one day, she will stop flapping the ends of her belt when she’s distracted, and then all of us instructors will be sad because we will no longer be able to refer to her as Captain Flappypants.
For bedtime last night, we discussed the new kata she will be learning. Kata are defenses against imaginary opponents and one of the things you do with them as you get more advanced is reverse-engineer the possible attacks and how you would use the kata to defend against them. The attacks get fancier as you advance, as do the interpretations of the moves. You start with, OK, this is a block for a punch, and by the time you make black belt you’re learning how if somebody lunges at you, you can actually use that same “block” as a headgrab-slash-elbow-to-the-face. The names of the techniques are somewhat arbitrary because punches can be blocks and vice-versa, but you have to call them something.
Anyway, we talked about the new kata and how much she’s going to enjoy learning to clothesline people and I thought, boy, that is a weird thing to bond over but she is so excited to learn this kata and I am thrilled as hell she gets to learn it because I have been waiting to show her this kata the way I have been waiting to hand her The Hero and the Crown.