The Moth Chase

Elevating the Art of Procrastanalysis – Academics wasting time on pop culture

Archive for January 2011

Not one of us is holy

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In a packed, busy episode, there are two images from last night that seem to capture so much of what this season is about. The first is the couple’s skate at the holiday ice rink. As the Henricksons performed their pas de quatre on shaky limbs, it was the first time their public revelation seemed so stark to me. Skating four abreast into the romantic fog, they seemed more like an awkward beast lumbering toward the oh so simple, oh so innocent two-person relationships, which as if sensing the threat, cleared the ice as fast as their skates would take them. In some twisted way, Alby was right: all the complicated intricacies of relationship, all the finely spun threads that unite the four of them, could not survive in the glaring light, or the dim light of a couples skate. They looked every bit like a patriarchical harem, the preening man with smile plastered to his face, flanked by three attractive, submissive women. I kept waiting for them to all join hands in a circle, but they didn’t, and that simple move spoke volumes about how they are perceived and in a sense, how they ultimately might function. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

January 31, 2011 at 8:54 am

Humanity’s Not All It’s Cracked Up To Be

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Dear Kathryn,

Before I get to plot, I have to note how much I enjoyed Vampire Diaries’ return to horror genre motifs last night!  This was something they played with in the first few episodes of season one: each opening scene appropriating an old ghost or campfire story into vampire lore.  The campy-ness of it is what originally hooked me into the show.  Somewhere between the limbed-from-limb campers and Elena running through the house with creepy musical undertones, camera moving slowly to focus on her hand on the doorknob – I knew we were in for a treat.  If there’s one thing I learned around those campfires when I was young, it’s if your boyfriend doesn’t make it back to the car, you DON’T go out to find him!  And never, ever stop for a body in the road! Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Helping Me Find My Center of Gravity

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Dear Kathryn,

I love an episode that focuses on what we really care about – the wives – and especially one that lets the attention fall so squarely on Barb!  There is such a flurry of activity going on around Barb right now – from her “drinking problem,” to giving “smutty” books to Cara Lynn, to literally finding her voice (but with disastrous affects) by speaking on a Sun Stone panel (really, what did she think would happen?).  But the two most interesting to me last night were the dance lessons and, of course, the blessing.  And I think what made them so interesting to me was that while they were showing Barb spin out of control, they also showed her deep attempts to hold on to the woman she’s always been.  There was a nice connection between that incredibly strange scene with Margie manically dancing to pop music (“she’s lost herself and she’s just trying to find herself” – 0r whatever crazy telling thing it was she said about Jewell about herself) and Barb’s controlled, footwear specific, classy ballroom lessons.  Barb is going to do right what the youngset wife is, herself, yearning for.  And in that, even second wife is going to take some of her first steps.  Even in the spinning out, there’s a way in which Barb is still their leader.  Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

January 24, 2011 at 9:04 am

Posted in Big Love

Black Swan

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Natalie:  For the first time in Moth Chase history, we’re bringing all four of our writers together for a little chat.  Perhaps it’s to Black Swan’s credit that it’s the catalyst for us doing so, but I’m not ready to grant that (seeing as we’ve been talking about doing something on Buffy the Vampire slayer together, I’d rather give Whedon the kudos than Aronofsky!).  I wanted to like this movie, but I found it to be as histrionic as the teenage girl themes it seemed to explore.  Every time I scratched the surface (pun intended) to try to get at what more brilliant thing was going on, all I could come up with was the melodrama of teenage identity parading as something adult (I’m all for teen angst, but I like it in teen angst form, not as pretending it’s something more).  In the end, it felt like a 2 hour spectacle, existing only for the purpose of beating up on women’s bodies in the name of art. Indeed, perhaps the thing that annoyed me the most was watching Mila Kunis (who has said in interviews that there were days she couldn’t drive her car because of the dizziness created by the level to which she had to starve herself for this role) eat a cheeseburger – which no ballet dancer, not matter how irresponsible, could ever do! Aronofsky tortures his actors as much as his characters, extracting confessions from each that don’t feel worth hearing, to me.  And don’t get me started on how tired I am of the crazy stage-mother trope!  Characters were so one-dimensionally unbelievable, hyper-active in the performances of the point they were trying to make, but not making any point worth making, that I wished my Black Swan viewing had ended at Jim Carrey’s hilariously parody of it on last week’s SNL.

All right friends – if that’s not a vitriolic enough opinion for you to have fun responding to, I’m not sure what is!  I know you liked it Martin, so please help me see what I was missing…I’m ready to be swayed! Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

January 24, 2011 at 8:40 am

Posted in Black Swan, Movies

I’ve got eternity covered in spades – Big Love returns!

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Dear Natalie,

It is so good to be back in the throes of polygamy! After a roller coaster 4th season whose twists and turns and wild corkscrews threatened to give us whiplash, the premier of season 5 was paired down, back to the family where it always thrives best. The camera opens on a wide pan of the Utah outback, open land, vast horizons, stubborn scraggly bushes pushing out of dessert dust. I loved that the show did not directly show us any of the media circus that followed Bill’s big revelation, but left us to discern its extent in the scattered debris of newspaper headlines and the psychological, physical, and emotional impact on the family. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

January 17, 2011 at 8:24 am

True Grit: From book to film

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To read K’s review, that I am responding to, see here

Dear Kathryn,

Well, I’m almost hesitant to respond to your beautiful analysis of this movie!  Nevertheless, what I have to offer connects to your reflections in an interesting way.  Usually I try to avoid going on at length about the differences between the book and the film (as we tried to avoid with our discussion of The Road).  But I am struck by how some of the more poignant moments for you were precisely the moments that the Coen brothers played with and changed.  And so I think a little reflection on the book/film differences might be warranted. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

January 9, 2011 at 4:52 pm

It’s Like Riding a Bike…

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My raucous laughter at Modern Family had waned a little in the last few episodes, but this one brought it back.  This season has Gloria stepping fully into her comedic role and I’m finding her to be truly amazing!  Such a sexy woman doing physical humor is rare and, I imagine, difficult to pull off (it’s kind of like someone as sexy as Javier Bardem playing a creepy psychotic like Chigurh – so incongruous it works even more).  But the character who really captivated my attention in this episode was Claire. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by themothchase

January 6, 2011 at 10:55 am