Saturday, September 6, 2008

Rodents and Reviews

Tropical Storm Hanna has come and is mostly gone. Effects: a loss of power for about 3 hours and a new rodent in our house: a tiny baby grey squirrel which fell from its nest. According to the internet, it is about 4.5 wks old (has fur but eyes are closed). Since the power was out, I could not read on the internet that I should only give it pedialyte or a mix of salt, sugar and water, until after I had fed it a little cream. Now the latest debate in the house is whether we should keep it a few days or turn it over to the wildlife rehabilitators. Actually, there really isn't a debate: we're GOING to turn it in; it's only that I just want to keep it a day, or two or three, or maybe until it's eating solid food. It's so darn cute. Can we keep a baby squirrel for a science class, or is that breaking the rules on keeping wild animals as pets?

Maybe I can detach from the squirrel if I watch another James McAvoy movie. He keeps showing up, but I never recognize him until I read the credits. Last night I watched him in the Last King of Scotland. (Dan was asleep in bed with another little lady, Claire.) Loved it. Dan woke up after it was over, just before I was going to rave about it here last night, but instead we stayed up talking about it. He saw it on the ship when he was in Africa, so it had an immediacy for him. We differed a little on our takes: He argued that Idi Amin, awesomely played by Forrest Whitaker, is the main character, while I posited that the character McAvoy plays, Dr. Nicholas Garrigan, is the hero because he undergoes this huge conversion at the end. Dan didn't think the Garrigan conversion was as dramatic as I did; he saw the descent into the madness of Amin as the drama of the movie. However, I'd argue that the Garrigan character, who is very fictionalized version of a British officer who became one of Amin's advisors (see, makes as dramatic a change. He begins his stay in Uganda as a volunteer doctor trying to escape his father and wooing all kinds of women. Self-absorbed and immature, he is won over by Amin's charm, but by the end of the movie, he sacrifices himself to save a young soldier who is about to die because of Garrigan's attempt to poison Amin to end the violence. Excellent filmmaking and storytelling, but not for sensitive stomachs.
In between watching this, Hotel Rwanda, reading Immaculee Ilibagiza's Left to Tell, and even Black Hawk Down, (not all this weekend) we're left amazed at the endurance of the human spirit. Dan saw a bit of that resilience during the humanitarian exercise last spring, but needs are so great. I can sympathize with those that ask why, if we intervene in Iraq, don't we elsewhere, but then there is also the nagging fact that the radicals also want to see Americans dead. Movies with the same theme, different places: The Wind that Shakes the Barley, and Pan's Labyrinth, which we watched this weekend. Eliz, I know you loved PL, and I thought it was really good, but I wished the two threads - little Ofelia's fantasy and the betrayal of the Capitan - were woven together better. It was not the stomach puncher that Last King was.

My other encounter this weekend with McEvoy was in Becoming Jane, which I thought I was going to hate because of its revisionist promos asserting that if Jane Austen wrote so convincingly about love it must have been because she had some torrid affair. But I ended up thoroughly enjoying it, maybe because the star actors did such a good job. Anne Hathaway who played Jane was way better than Keira Knightley in the new P and P. Of course, it ends up making it seem that Pride and Prejudice is veiled autobiography, but it was entertaining watching.
Another fun literary watch from the weekend: Miss Potter. I was impressed that Renee Zellwenger did a decent job. But then it probably would have been improved if James McAvoy were the leading man. Since I hadn't recognized him in Last King of Scotland, I looked him up online and found out that,not only did he do a great job in Atonement, he was also Mr. Tumnus. I guess this goes to show that I am a willing suspender of disbelief when I watch movies and don't recognize famous people very well. And that I'll be willing to watch any movie with James McAvoy in it from now on. Maybe. (No worries, Husby, he's probably a jerk in real life.)
Before I close, I just want to share our newest home improvement project, gratis Brian Cook. Doesn't it make our office look more official? I appreciate the storage space, and we've had fun debating what should go on the shelves. If I had time and money, maybe I'd do something cute like get matching organizational baskets or wrap up some cardboard boxes in maps or glue some decorative border on the shelf edges (Mikko suggested ribbon, but what if I typed up the names of my favorite authors in decorative shadow type and cut them in a thin strip to echo the architrave on the old downtown Norfolk library? Too pretentious?)


Kate said...

I'm coveting your office shelves... I might need to make a trip to Lowe's.

Betty Duffy said...

I'm coveting your James McAvoy weekend. LOVE LOVE LOVE HIM!!! (If I could draw a picture of me on here with hearts in my eyes, I would). Loved him in all the aforementioned movies--though didn't realize he was tumnis. I did't like Anne Hathaway in Becoming Jane--too saucy and American. But I'm thinking of heading out for a Mc Avoy night of my own. I agree with you on Last King that Mc Avoy's character was more engaging--though I'm not sure that was the intent of the movie. It was interesting how his initial self importance became so trivial compared to the demonic self importance of Idi Amin.

On another note, part with the squirrel, for the love of God.

Kate said...
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John said...

You mean "Sexy Tumnus".
Ever since witnessing his Dawson's Creek version of what was supposed to be a friendly, harmless, woodland creature, that is McAvoy's new name in this house. I can no longer take him seriously. I swear, he was about to come on to Lucy.

Say it out loud once, and see if you can still swoon over..."Sexy Tumnus".

Kate said...

By "in this house," John really means "in my head." Because the only person who found J McA "swoony" in LW&W was John. Dawson's Creek-y: yes, I'll give you that one, but not swoony.

But yes, Sexy Tumnus was quite swoony in Becoming Jane (however much the movie bugged me) - right up until the end when he looked over his wife or daughter at Jane with his Love Eyes.

Haven't seen Last King - should I? I tend to go for happier fare lately, like August Rush, which I watched twice within 48 hours.