I think I just rambled

the test: a cinematic masterpiece

I love so-bad-they’re-good movies. It’s fun to yell at the screen, give a loud, dramatic gasp when oh my gosh I never saw THAT coming! or rant at the characters for making stupid decisions.

p10609906_p_v8_aaI enjoy it. With a bad movie, there is no pretence. It’s just plain old bad. It’s like a form of catharsis. But then, a friend of mine introduced me to the The Test. And, in The Test, I met my match.

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The Test is the story of Nathan who puts his fiancée, Julia, through a series of increasingly bizarre ‘stress tests’ in order to see if she is worthy of marrying him.

There are five steps that a movie viewer goes through when watching The Test. I am here to guide you through them. You are welcome.

DENIAL

When you start watching The Test the feeling is akin to that of being slapped in the face with a decaying fish. You look at a scene with disbelief:

He’s not actually hired an actor to test her fidelity, has he? you ask in horror. He’s not peering through the glass of the restaurant to spy on her responses, is he?

Yes. Yes, he is.

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Can you see him? CLUE: he’s the one with the phone up to his face, filming the whole thing. To be reviewed later with his friends.

ANGER

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This second stage is the worst, and I’d suggest getting over it as quickly as possibly. Nathan pretends he’s been fired from his job due to accusations of insider trading.

“You’re lying to her now, to see if she’ll believe you when you do tell the truth to her about not being dishonest?”

Exactly!

(Logic. It’s a beautiful thing.)

Yes, he does arrange for his fiancée to be fake fired from her job (If she is completely desolate will she still love him?). But you know what? To quote the movie:

It’s not crazy. It’s love.

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Ah, love.

For reasons only apparent to the script-writer, Julia still believes his innocence and is willing to be homeless on a Hawaiian beach with him.

BUT DON’T WORRY! He ‘gets his job back’ and it doesn’t matter about her job (which she still has, but doesn’t know she has) because “she’ll be his wife”.

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Despite the fact that we’ve no evidence as to why they love each other (and therefore, no evidence for why they shouldn’t love each other) Julia is prepared to stand by him. BUT THEN TWIST. SHE HAS HER JOB BACK!!

HOOORAYYYY!!

Honestly, that Nathan! Such a catch!

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BARGAINING

Okay. So he’s a bit … emotionally unintelligent and a touch dim and he is definitely narcissistic, you say. But, like, it can’t get any worse. Surely. 

By this time, Nathan is enjoying the experiment. ‘Would she die for me?’ he asks with pathos that surely belong to Hamlet.

“I’d take the bullet for her.”

“That’s very chivalrous.”

“I’m just that kind of guy.”

It’s important to know if your partner would die for you. Dreadfully so. In fact, I’m almost certain that it is probably included in any number of pre-marriage counselling sessions.

Nathan knows this. But pre-marriage counselling sessions are beneath him. He is so dedicated to the cause of proving Julia is worthy of him that he arranges a home invasion.

What a guy!

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“Aren’t you going to try to take the bullet?”

It takes some nagging but Julia declares:

“Okay. I’m willing to die for you. Now will you just DROP IT!!!”

For some reason, Nathan doesn’t feel that her response is good enough, and that she wouldn’t be prepared to die for him.

DEPRESSION

The first time, I watched this movie the whole way through. The second time, I had to stop the movie. It was too hard to go on. Life had lost its meaning. I would have cheerfully stomped barefoot in a room full of Legos or – as one review puts it ‘licked a brick wall’ rather than to have continued.

But one must push through.

… which Nathan does too! He thinks that Julia’s ‘B-‘ is a bit rubbish. He won’t settle for anything less than an ‘A’. He needs one.

So he comes up with the genius plan of faking a coma.

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It’s not crazy. It’s love.

Now, I did have some screenshots to share with you. But my computer decided to make them all grey and as:

  1. I refuse to spend money on this movie for the third time
  2. Nope. It’s just that. I. Refuse.

Please imagine Nathan on a hospital bed, faking a coma whilst his hysterical fiancée is mourning him for reasons that completely escape me at this point.

And then of course, he ‘wakes up’ (after his buddy threatens ‘I’m pulling the plug. No pun intended’ thereby ruining all puns for me forever more. You monster) and pretends to have amnesia.

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Don’t worry! He ‘remembers’ Julia – just in the nick of time too! It’s a scene with emotion – similar to one from a Shakespearean play or a Nicholas Spark movie, in that all three have people saying lines.

ACCEPTANCE

At this point, you are beyond outrage. Beyond everything. This movie exists and you are watching it. Watching as Julia discovers Nathan’s ‘stress tests’ on her wedding day. Watching as she calls him out. Watching as Nathan does the adult thing and blames his friend. Watching as … as… Watching as the truly spectacularly hysterical and completely beyond any rhyme or reason ending happens.

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I laughed so hard I was crying. The first time.

In the end, we have no idea why Nathan and Julia are in love. They tell us they are. The movie says they are. And, so they must be.

This movie transcends all such things as ‘acting’ ‘comedy’ ‘writing’ ‘cinematography’ ‘production’ ‘screenplay’ ‘character growth’ ‘chemistry between actors’ ‘editing’ etc. One must look past these mortal coils and peer far, far, far, far, far beyond them – to where the movie’s heart lies.

And at its heart – deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep, deep down – are the ambiguous messages of trust, fidelity, commitment and above all, love.

It’s true: the movie handles them with the skill of a dizzy toddler performing open heart surgery, the gentle subtlety of a sledgehammer, and the clarity of muddied stream brimming with dead rodents … but I think, to finish this guide to The Test, I will leave you with a quote from Nathan, that is in no way, shape, or form, an excuse for doing terrible things to the person you love:

Love makes you crazy

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(As will this movie if you attempt to watch it and review it. You will regret everything. EVERYTHING!!!!) (ALSO I’M SORRY BUT THIS MOVIE RUINS PUNS!!! HOW CAN A MOVIE RUIN PUNS YOU ASK?!! IT SIMPLY DOES AND I’M BOGGLED) (Also, Nathan’s friends keep on saying how brilliant these tests are. like they’ve discovered the secret to the fountain of douche or something. WELL GUESS WHAT THESE TESTS ARE NOT BRILLIANT YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT BRILLIANT MEANS. CLEARLY.)
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I think I just rambled, Life

THINGS. ALL THE THINGS.

I haven’t posted for a while. BUT I HAVE MY REASONS. In the last few weeks of non-posting, I’ve:

  1. worked
  2. gone to London
  3. seen Wonder Woman

DISCHUFFED WITH WORK

I’m using the word ‘dischuffed’ from now on. Recently at work, a darling Joanna Lumley lookalike used it, and I’m in love. That is all. (And I’m not dischuffed with work; I just wanted to fit the word in somewhere.)

As September looms and an uncertain certain future shines, not on the horizon, but straight into my eyes. (IT BURNS!) I’ve been taking as many shifts as work can throw at me. Consequently, it’s hard to find time to do things. When you get home from a long shift, you don’t think:

MY GOSH LET ME HAVE MOOOOORE THINGS TO DO RIGHT THIS MOMENT!

You want to wind down. You want to relax. You don’t want to plunge into other things. AND THAT’S MY EXCUSE. And I’m sticking to it.

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I GO TO LONDON. BECOME METROPOLITAN. TRY TO BREAK INTO M&S.

I travelled down to London via train. I’ve learned a lot about trains since my first solo trip on one – apparently, it’s not enough to get the right platform, you also have to wait for the right train. All trains arriving at platform 6A, for example will not go to the same place. This was quite the surprise.

In London, I …

  • worked out how to navigate the Underground (occasionally by accident)
  • found Grosvenor Square (definitely by accident)
  • did not locate any Heyer heroes (a grave disappointment)
  • was mistaken as a businesswoman by a banker #dubiouslyproud

Also in London, I strode jauntily down Oxford St, a spring to my step. I was a queen in a beautiful flowy dress. I was in London. Red buses were going past. Life was good. I strode up to the steps to M&S (opposite Selfridges? Or was it …?!). I reached the doors. I attempted to open the doors. The doors did not open.

I forgot that there are such things as opening times and slunk off like a shamed hedgehog to the side doors which were suddenly open because I … had arrived at 8:59 and … and then it was 9:00am and … *heavy sigh*

But as a side note, the M&S staff are lovely and I wanted to hug them and squeeze their London out of their cheeks.

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THE WONDER OF THE WOMAN

One day, I was fed up with scrimping and saving. So, in rebellion against saving sprees, work, and denying myself books (FOUR WEEKS WITHOUT BUYING A BOOK. THIS CANNOT KEEP UP MUCH LONGER!!), I went to watch Wonder Woman. It’s got some epic moments. Some hilarious moments. Some touching moments. I enjoyed it.

BUT I HAVE AN OBJECTION.

The mustache.

It was terrible.

Honestly, I like facial hair. If I was a man, I’d have a glorious, glorious beard. However … the mustache? No. No. A thousand times, no.

Kill it with fire.

TO END

Today is my day off. This is a good thing, for sometimes a bone deep tiredness takes hold; the sort that almost makes you finish a tannoy at work with:

Goooood evening, ladies and gentlemen,

blah blah blah. blah blah blah, blah blah blah.

Thank you for shopping at such and such.

Amen.

 

Life, On Writing

The Queen and I

I watched the African Queen recently and stumbled upon a marvelous idea (and no, it didn’t involve blowing up a German ship).

Dialogue, descriptions and action all form parts of a story – as I write these they come to life in my head, I don’t see them with the physical eye; they are just black words against a white screen … but, perhaps there is a way to ensure that there are (for example) no completely unrealistic descriptions of people’s expressions included in my tale – descriptions which could otherwise jerk one out of the story and into the world of ‘what on earth? That doesn’t happen in real life.”

What is this Marvelous Idea, you ask?

Simples … watch a movie and write out a single scene.

Now in the clip above there are two scenes (the second begins at 2:44). It doesn’t have to brilliant or even there in its entirety. Just a sentence or two, a few words here or a brief description there … just write it – or (and this is more realistic for me) write it in your head. Describe the scene and the way you would show the expressions flitting across their faces, how the bottles bob in the water or the screech of the monkeys that in no way aids poor Charlie’s hangover. Or perhaps how Rosie is indeed one of the best characters ever.

‘… she was the very dignified picture of righteous indignation …’

This can be taken to life – to everyday living. Watch someone as they are talking, walking or simply just being and think how you would describe them (and if you can do this without getting odd looks you get extra brownie points).

Personally, I don’t think you have to have pen in hand, or fingers to the keyboard to keep that ol’writerly mind ticking – look around you, not with eyes blinded by everything you have to do that day, but with eyes seeing – sunbeams through a window, the fierce sound of the wind in the trees, the clatter of many keyboards in the office, that piece of litter rolling in the road, the cars whizzing by, that person immersed by their mobile or even that beautiful, warm smell of the fish and chip shop.

Take a moment, form a sentence and you just might be surprised with the result.

For me, it helps – I mean, seriously how else would I have thought that when the wind blowing my skirt felt like a soft cushion pressing at the back of my legs? (for some reason that leaves me breathless … oh comma where art thou, dost thou belong in there?)

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This is here for inspiration. It could be England … or an elephant’s head … or just a cloud?