Thursday, March 8, 2012

"What a cool eye you are, Melly. Now go back to bed, you'll be dead if you don't."*

        Well, I’m pretty much moved in. I got up to some projects the other night (namely finishing one more chair and finding places for my books that don’t involve drilling holes in the wall…yet). And since, as I’ve brought up time and again, I don’t have cable, I decided to watch a movie. Or twelve. But mostly I watched Gone With the Wind, and scraped and moved and recited lines and cried a little bit (just at the end, you understand).

        Gone With the Wind isn’t something I have the time or inclination to get into in detail: most everyone knows the story, and it’s widely considered one of the best movies ever made. I hope to god they don’t try to remake it, because that just seems fiddle-dee-frickin’ dumb. It’s “practically perfect in every way”, and I know what I’m talking about because I read the book just about every year. So there. 
Melly stands by Scarlett, even though Scarlett is a bit of a whore.

        What I do want to talk about is how it recognizes the power of female friendships, and it recognizes them in a funnily truthful way and not in a heinous, catty bitch way (though there’s a bit of that, too). Scarlett and Melanie aren’t a couple of besties who braid each other’s hair and ask each other questions about penises and where babies come from.

        These bitches help each other give birth, watch each other bury loved ones (hell, they help dig the dirt), work their butts off to keep their families alive, kill a few Union soldiers, and assist each other in getting their asses through the Reconstruction without starving to death or getting murdered by Dirty Yankees.

        That ain’t no slumber party. That’s some real female friendship, and I salute it.

        This story teaches us a lesson about the strength of women and the female bond: it’s not all periods and not getting to vote. Gone With the Wind is an epic example of how our best lady friends keep us honest, watch our backs, and try to keep us out of trouble.

        Of course, it wouldn’t be a movie about women without some dudes thrown in to toy with their hormonal fluctuations, but I think Ashley is a big, whiney butthole of a man, and I’m kind of disappointed anyone is interested in him. The movie makes it a bit worse than the book because they cast Leslie-friggin-Howard as Ashley. So Ashley, the “great man of the south”, mysteriously has an English accent despite being raised on a farm in Georgia. But oh well, we can’t have everything. If I were casting that movie, I think I would have picked Errol Flynn. He and Olivia De Havilland were always sexy together. Of course, he was Australian, so there would still have been a bit of an accent. (Why was Vivien Leigh perfectly capable of doing a southern accent and no one else was? She was bloody English as well!) Okay, maybe I’d cast Jimmy Stewart. That would have been hilarious!

        Moving on.

        I don’t like it when movies focus on women hating each other and being nasty assholes to one another. All of my women friends are incredibly powerful, articulate broads who have no insecurities about other dames, no territorial dog-sniffing-dog’s butt attitudes about other ladies. Those women exist, for sure. But they aren’t worth bothering about. This movie celebrates both the good and the bad in female friendships and comes out in favor of women supporting and loving one another. Excellent.
Scarlett realizes that Melly is the best relationship of her life.

        And to all my women friends: I love you so much, and none of you has to die before I figure that out (perhaps a shortcoming in Melly and Scarlett’s friendship).
*Scarlett to Melly, when a bed-ridden Melly attempts to help Scarlett kill a Yankee soldier. (Gone With the Wind, Victor Fleming, 1939.)

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