July 5th, 2006


Characters-3 Fashion-0.5

On Fourth of July Eve, we went out with a friend to see:

The Devil Wore Prada [PG-13]

The second great Meryl Streep role of the summer, after A Prairie Home Companion, Meryl's Miranda is a true terror. Awful, yet even a wee bit sympathetic. And Stanley Tucci (!!), this is one of the best things I've ever seen him do -- never misses a beat as a fashion designer for the magazine.

Anne Hathaway plays a Northwestern University (Go Wildcats! Go Purple!) journalism grad in New York looking for a job, and is sent by Human Resources of this publishing conglomerate to be "the new Emily" or Second Assistant for the Queen Bitch of the Universe Miranda at Runway Magazine. It's all fashion and glitz, stuff which Andrea doesn't have much of a clue on. Or at least that's the basis for the story.

Now girls, let's dish... Anne Hathaway, even in jeans and a frumpy sweater isn't really some fish out of a water here. And Puh-lease, she's a size 6, or so we're told. Hathaway does a decent job, does the cute and endearing young woman slaving against the tyranny of her mean boss and wicked first assistant supervisor. But she doesn't resist the songs of the siren's looks, making her fashion transformation a little off-putting and some of the "trendy" outfits she wanders around in? Très, très, too much. And when she tells Stanley Tucci she's shrunk to a size 4, and is pleased as punch about it, there's not one trace of questioning, soul-searching about what message is being sent here or anything of moral and ethical value. So disappointing.

And there's one scene where they remove the competition as felt by the tough first assistant against our clueless second assistant, I guess so we're able to not have our main girl feel guilty about what happens next -- but it's a ham-fisted scene played in a way which just seems too cartoonish for this movie. Because despite the stereotypes and comedic moments, most of the movie is actually played straight and it's the fish-out-of-water storyline which is supposed to supply the laughs. It's borderline mean.

One could argue that the movie is utterly predictable, that the standard events happen at the standard cue times in the movie... but the fact is that (a) the high fashion world is foreign to a lot of people, so it's fun to look at it from the inside and (b) the movie is charming and endearing despite the flaws. And the fact is there is some genius acting going on and the design, styling and cinematography are all gorgeous.

We enjoyed this a lot.

Stumbling Around On Cable

After getting home, having some dinner and flipping channels, we stumbled across and quite by accident, yet another wonderful Michael Palin travelogue show -- this one about crossing the Sahara. AND... we managed to discover this on The Travel Channel on what had to be the first episode, so as long as we remember to tune in every Monday night, we can watch Michael show us a completely different world than the one we wander around in every day.

Dr. Phil
  • Current Mood
    pleased pleased

A Lovely Fourth

And It All Happened Around 2:00 pm EDT

We had quite a lovely Fourth of July, here in West Michigan. With evening plans, we made our Fourth dinner a late lunch: Bourbon Franks, baked beans, cole slaw, potato salad, and some leftover Final Exam cookies (Dr. Phil always has cookies for his exams, but for Finals we drag out the Name Brand cookies -- Oreos, Fig Newtons, Lorna Doones, etc.).

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Let The Shows Begin

Starting at 2pm EDT we got our meal, turned on the Cubs game, turned on the radio to the NPR station to listen to Talk of the Nation doing a segment with the Reduced Shakespeare Company doing elements from their History of the United States (Abridged). Then at 2:20 or so, switched the TV over to C-SPAN to watch the Big Bottle Rocket on the pad at Cape Kennedy via the NASA feed -- beautiful day in Florida this time for Discovery and it launched on time without incident as far as we knew.

The Ghost & Mrs. Muir (sob!)

In the evening we headed off to Holland and Hope College's Knickerbocker movie theatre right in downtown to see one of Mrs. Dr. Phil's all-time favorite movies. We were both pretty sure we've never seen it on a big screen, so this was a real treat. The print wasn't the best -- things got a little dirty and noisy at the ends of each reel -- but it was a decent little crowd for a holiday evening.

Late Night Global Finishes

Italy apparently beat Germany in the first World Cup semi-final game. France plays Portugal tomorrow. In 2004 Clarionite Trent's World Cup pool, I would've taken Germany and Portugal in this round, but I going against my thoughts and picked Italy and France to move on -- my World Cup predicting skills haven't been all that good, so maybe picking non-winners is more my forte. Hey -- remember we were watching the Cubs on TV earlier!

Much later, rerun coverage on OLN of Stage 3 in the 2006 Le Tour de France. 99degF temperatures, 122degF on the asphalt. Multiple crashes on the course today. Every year marvel/cannot believe that they let spectators so close to the action.

A Good Day

Put up my Four Nations wallpaper on my PC -- Canada (July 1, 1867), U.S. (July 4, 1776), France (July 14, 1789), Switzerland (August 1, 1291) -- to celebrate the current month of national holidays.

Temperature peaked around 80degF, but stayed in the 70s much of the day. Humidity dropped a lot. Blue sky. Very pleasant.

Dr. Phil
  • Current Mood
    bouncy Boom!

Yet Another Minor Success

Got an e-mail on Monday from the Writers of the Future (WOTF) contest. Usually I hear something before the closing date for the next quarter, but I sent the June deadline story in on June 26th, rather than waiting until the last moment (!!), because I was in the middle of end of the semestery things and didn't want to fail to get it ready to go.

Anyway, "Hail to the Victors" scored a Semi-Finalist "win". That means no prize or publication, but I will get a critique by the head judge, so that's something. In my scoring system, this counts as a "win". Actually, this is my second Semi-Finalist, so that's good. In fact, my last twelve WOTF entries have included 1 Finalist, 2 Semi-Finalists and 8 Quarter-Finalists, plus 1 plain old Rejection. So there are multiple circles of Hell between losing (Rejection) and winning.

If you submit to the WOTF contest -- do NOT get discouraged. They get a lot of entries and the odds are against you. The thing is you need to (a) write another story every 90 days and (b) should you get a Quarter/Semi/Full Finalist, be sure to add that to your cover letter -- after all, lots of people submit to WOTF and making any of the finalist rounds means your story didn't suck. Of course if you win... why then riches and fame are yours forever. (smirk)

Another Century Mark of Progress!

I guess it's a milestone of sorts for me -- my 100th Result out of 106 submissions to anywhere. In my scoring regime, I am 27-67-6. That's 27 wins of any sort, including 2 publications, 2 prize winners (1 not published), 4 laudable/honorable mention stories waiting to be published, and a variety of encouraging letters, and non-loser status things like all those Finalist/Semi-Finalists/Quarter-Finalists from WOTF. Oh, and getting into the 2004 Clarion workshop. (grin) Then there's 67 Rejections, without nice encouraging letters. And 6 No-Calls due to cancellations, going-out-of-business and entries lost by the Los Angeles U.S. Post Office so they never got considered. Every so often something "new" comes up and I find there yet another way to "not win". (double-edged-grin)


Dr. Phil
  • Current Mood
    calm calm