November 28, 2005

I can't do a thing [cue chorus] about the weather.

To those who say that Californians should not complain about the cold, I say:

It was 46 degrees in Berkeley when I woke up this morning, and my house has no working heat. Interior temperature of house minus exterior temperature equals only what heat can be produced by two sleeping humans and two sleeping cats distributed throughout a drafty, poorly-insulated five-room house. Jacob's calls to the landlord are growing steadily more emphatic, the pile of blankets on the bed is growing steadily higher, and as for me, I spent last night with the flannel sheets over my head to keep my nose from freezing.

We watched Charlie and the Chocolate Factory last night (while huddled under a blanket). My god, it was fantastic. It's some of the finest work I've ever seen from the Burton/Elfman/Depp machine, and this is coming from someone who recently saw Edward Scissorhands for the first time. I have to coin a new term here, to describe a character who is not merely acted but in fact Depped, that is, brought to the most hopelessly weird sort of life possible. Willy Wonka is wholeheartedly Depped. He's twitchy and fake and pins down discomforting and uncomfortable with equal thoroughness. If I were given the choice of spending eternity locked in a room with either Willy Wonka or the four horrid kneebiters of the tour group, I'd pretty much have to flip a coin. That brings me of course to Charlie Bucket, who is excellently played as The Most Adorable Good-Hearted Urchin Ever. My Urchin Meter overloaded three minutes into the movie and hasn't been working since. Also, my Silly Meter went haywire during the Oompa-Loompa dance sequences -- starring Deep Roy, Deep Roy, Deep Roy, and 53 more Deep Roys. The name itself sends me into fits of giggles.

I do have to admit that I've never read the book or seen the first Willy Wonka movie. I may be ascribing brilliance to the movie where the credit properly belongs to one of the older versions. But I can't possibly imagine that Gene Wilder was ever such a glorious Wonka. In my mind he's forever Leo Bloom, wholesome, naive, mildly fraudulent perhaps, but hardly one to turn a girl into a blueberry. A blueberry! And then giggle while she rolls around with 13 Deep Roys doing backflips on her stomach.

Heheh. Deep Roy.

Posted by dianna at November 28, 2005 01:00 PM

I've seen the old one, but not the new one, and I never read the book. My sisters, being fans of Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, and Willie Wonka, saw the new one. They though it was okay, but liked the old one better.

I don't know; I've seen the original so many times that I'd have a tough time with a non-Gene Wilder Willie Wonka. At the same time, Gene Wilder plays Wonka sort of clever and smart, a bit whimsical, but not at all weird or unsavory. I can see Depp's performance being more interesting. Nonetheless, I'd still have a tough time dislodging Gene Wilder's performance from my mind and viewing Depp with eyes unclouded by nostalgia.

Hey! It's colder in Berkeley right now than it is in New York! Of course, that's just because we're having a warm snap on the cusp of the Snow Season, which I am told lasts until early April. April!

Posted by: Zach S. at November 28, 2005 02:25 PM

I may be opening myself up to the nostalgia-flame-war to end all flame-wars, but...

I haven't read the book, but I've seen both the new and old movies. However, unlike many, I first saw the old movie when I was well out of my childhood. Frankly, I disliked the old movie. The songs were *much* better, to be sure, but I found Gene Wilder rather boring, and thought all of the other characters fell a little flat.

Posted by: Jacob at November 28, 2005 03:23 PM

Meh. You won't get any flames from me. I enjoyed Willie Wonka as a kid, but it wasn't that big a part of my childhood. I also have come to assume by default that things for which I am nostalgic were pretty awful from an objective standpoint. It's a pleasant surprise when I go back and find out that something I enjoyed in my childhood was genuinely good, but I've been burned too many times (Transformers, Dune: The David Lynch Movie) to not treat my nostalgia with a healthy skepticism.

Having said that, I still enjoy the old Willie Wonka movie, and Gene Wilder as Willie Wonka, but it's not something I'd get angry over. I have no rational reason for liking him, so I defer to your more objective taste on the matter.

Posted by: Zach S. at November 28, 2005 03:35 PM

I will grant that the songs in this movie weren't precisely hummable. From what I've heard of and about the songs from the original movie, they're impossible not to hum. That is a point in the original movie's favor, of course.

Posted by: Dianna at November 28, 2005 03:55 PM

i like both movies, both books, and it is 20 degrees celsius here. i don't know what that is in farenheit. but it is HOT AS FUCK. and i am a tan tan girl. which is what one gets when one goes swimming the ocean and then lays on golden sand beaches in a country with no ozone layer.

Posted by: michele at November 29, 2005 02:11 PM

I've seen both movies and read both books. I think they both have their good points and bad in terms of the movies. Depp as always lends something new to the role but Gene Wilder was wonderful in the first movie and I prefered the Umpa Lumpas from the first movie, but that's just me.

And even I'm getting a little color in the form of freckles!

Posted by: nuala at November 29, 2005 02:14 PM

The old-school Oompa Loompas win a prize for Most Unapologetically Half-Assed Cartwheel Ever Done By a Dolled-Up Midget.

Gene Wilder wins the Bill Murray award for Deadpan Comedy for his halfhearted warnings to TV kid to "No. Wait. Stop."

Other than that, I never really knew what to make of the old movie.

Posted by: poot at December 1, 2005 10:09 AM

The more Depp I see, the more I think heÂs a sham. Sometimes he acts gay and weird. Sometimes weird and gay. Sometimes just gay. Sometimes just weird. Sometimes with an accent he heard on the BBC.

Wilder for President!

Posted by: jason at December 1, 2005 08:37 PM

I'm with Jason. And what was with the bullshit about Wonka's dentist father? Wilder for sultan!

Posted by: sean at December 1, 2005 11:28 PM

jason, how can you be afraid of goodnight moon but have no problem with the terrifying, gratuitous monster-in-the-tunnel scene in the original wonka movie?

Posted by: didofoot at December 2, 2005 09:12 AM

I dunno, if I were a professional actor and my range were "gay" and "weird" and "gay and weird," I'd be pretty satisfied with my accomplishments.

I thought he managed to be pretty normal in "Nick of Time" and "Ninth Gate" though. Even though those movies weren't necessarily stellar. Or, you know, good, at all.

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I wonder what it'd be like to insert random spam-style comments into an exam? Particularly since we're taking this exam on laptops and submitting it through the internet. Want to be sure it gets past spam blockers, after all.

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Zachary has spoken for this spam. By Zachary's wish the spam shall live, but let its links always remain broken as punishment for its crime.

I've definitely been reading too much of A Game of Thrones this week.

Posted by: Dianna at December 9, 2005 08:48 AM