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Strictly Ballroom and other stuff

As part of my ongoing bronchitis recovery efforts, today I watched Strictly Ballroom, which has always been a favorite of mine. When I first saw it in the mid-90's (at the U.C. Theater, of course, which was where all the cool, quirky movies showed back then), it was probably the weirdest movie I'd ever seen, with all its over-the-top pseudo-documentary stuff and the "the fate of the world depends on who wins this ballroom dancing competition" mock-angst and the faux newspaper headlines decrying the danger of "new steps" and the purposely ridiculous dance outfits and the melodramatic slow-mo reaction shots and such, but I fell madly in love with the movie immediately, pretty much because of those things. I can find "over-the-top" annoying sometimes, but Strictly Ballroom just charms me throughout.

The first time I saw the movie, I actually, for about 5 seconds, thought, "I should take ballroom dancing lessons! That looks so beautiful! And it could be fun." And then I regained my sanity. I'm sure ballroom dancing is wonderful for some people, but not for me. If nothing else, the pervasive sexist attitude to the whole "sport" would constantly piss me off. Also, I have a personal moral objection to any activity outside the bedroom that involves clothing that pretends like part of your body is naked when it actually is just covered in flesh-colored mesh. And, anyway, the dancing that appealed to me was the dancing our hero and heroine did, and the whole point of the movie was that their dancing wasn't considered "ballroom dancing." Maybe, instead, I want to take gypsy dancing. I would dance with the heroine's father all day long, except that he would have no patience with me. Okay, then I would watch him dance all day long. He was way more fun to watch than the young hero who learned from him.

But I'd forgotten some fabulous things about the movie, like the fact that there are these whooshing sound effects to emphasize the most dramatic moves during the hero and heroine's climactic competitive dance sequence, like they're in a kung fu movie or something. It was hilarious.

Perhaps the only nice thing about this prolonged illness is that I've gotten to watch so many movies, including rewatching some old favorites. It's been helping keep me still for hours at a time.

Sadly, Netflix streams Strictly Ballroom, like Reality Bites, only in full screen. I think it's more unfortunate for Strictly Ballroom, though, because it's much more visually beautiful and has much more panoramic scenes. Still, full screen is better than no screen, at least sometimes. Not for all movies, but for some I'm willing to sacrifice my cinematic principles and watch anyway.

And, after watching Strictly Ballroom this afternoon, I actually made a Christmas card for the first time in more than 3 weeks (and I find the resulting card quite beautiful - I'm going to post photos of all my holiday cards after they've been mailed/received so y'all can check them out. I'm really proud of many I've made this year.). The whole 2012 Hand-Made Holiday Card Project is running badly behind schedule, since by the time I make it back to the CWC art room (where almost all of my supplies are for the cards) I will have lost an entire month to bronchitis. Sheesh! A month! When working on a time-sensitive project, losing a month is a pretty big deal. So today I made a card -- after creating my own collage material by watercoloring paper and scribbling with a Sharpie, since I don't have any of my usual stuff that's currently stored at CWC -- just to feel a little less frustrated with the delay. I may do more cards here at home this week, since I won't be back at CWC until next Monday (due to the holiday). And yes, people, I am planning to make my attendance at CWC on Monday dependent on my health. Yes, I have a tendency to do too much too quickly, but this frickin' bronchitis has taught me my lesson on that score.


Nov. 21st, 2012 03:49 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry you are still sick!

This isn't the one about the New York City inner-city kids learning ballroom dancing, is it? I thought that one was a documentary. My niece watched it about 100 times when she was a teenager, and the time I watched it with her, I really enjoyed it.
Nov. 21st, 2012 05:15 pm (UTC)
I think the documentary about the kids was Mad Hot Ballroom, but I'm not sure. I liked it, too.

Strictly Ballroom is an Australian romantic comedy from the early 90's. It was Baz Luhrmann's first firlm, the first in his "Red Curtain Trilogy" (self-consciously theatrical, and therefore with an awareness of the "curtain") that also includes Romeo + Juliet (the one that starred Leonardo di Caprio & Claire Danes) and the much more successful Moulin Rouge.

Unlike Moulin Rouge (and even Romeo + Juliet, with its Hollywood cast), Strictly Ballroom is more of a cult classic ... probably a little too weird for most American audiences, except maybe those who really love This Is Spinal Tap.

As for the Eternal Bronchitis, I was feeling a lot better last night. Shannon and I even went OUT to dinner. I'm not sure I'd been out of the house in more than a week, when I relapsed. But we walked a few blocks away and sat in a building of which I am not part owner and which had walls I had not seen for the last few weeks, and it was the best couple hours EVER. Seriously. I've never been so happy to leave the house.

I'm still feeling pretty good this morning, though still coughing some, but I'm still going to mostly take it easy until after Thanksgiving, just to make sure I don't mess up our holiday plans by getting myself sicker again. I am heading out for therapy today, so I *am* leaving the house and doing something that feels like normal life, but I'm taking the bus instead of walking and then I'll come home and save all my energy for turkey and pumpkin pie and in-laws.

But how have *you* been? I haven't seen you in months!

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