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03 April 2007

Miscellany

Item #1: Following up on my 'what I did for fun' post: yesterday I went for a bike ride. The intention was to ride to Butler U, meet up with a walking group, and then walk through the gardens. Here is a picture that I snapped while there:


What I like about this photograph is that you can see the blooms on the redbud tree framed by the green bush below and the blue sky above. If you look closely, you can see the leaves on the tree are about ready to burst forth, but for now, it is the smaller bushes and trees that reign with their early foliage and blooms.

What was fun about the ride was that my son rode with me. For those of you who don't know or have forgotten the teenage syndrome of 'can't be seen in proximity to a parental unit', I must explain how rare and unexpected of an occurrence this was.

What we didn't plan for was how heavy the winds were yesterday and how much it would slow us down. We didn't arrive at our destination until an hour after the group was to depart -- 3 times longer than we estimated. Didn't matter though; the fun was in the journey. Not so much fun was the return trip home. Rode about 15 or 16 miles, which is far more than my usual bike trip around the neighborhood. And it wasn't all flat! Ack! My legs are killing me today!



Item #2: Biking to Butler reminded me that we're going to hear a lecture on 4/27, given by this guy, probably the best-known writer originally from Indianapolis. I've heard Vonnegut speak twice, the last time about 25 years ago. It will be interesting to see if he still rambles on and on in a way that surely must be unique to him -- rambling, yet interesting. There was a nice article in the local paper a few months ago in which Vonnegut said he was honored to be recognized in this manner by his home town -- a recognition that he said that none of his peers had received from their hometowns.



Item #3: Categorizing films
My husband told me this evening about a podcast he heard today that posed the question: Can you name 10 great movies about women's friendships with other women? This was aired on Filmspotting; although I don't have time to listen to podcasts often, I really like this one. A listener response to a show last week challenged the hosts to come up with 10 movies revolving around friendship between two women that aren't also about women's dysfunctional relationship with men (rules out Thelma and Louise), or about lesbianism.

When my husband asked me this, I found it difficult to name more than one. I begrudingly named Beaches, although I never thought it was a great movie. Beyond that, I'm at a loss to name other movies. Spouse's comment was that women aren't able to cut through the Hollywood boundaries to get recognized in the film industry and that there are no good parts for women because male writers don't know how to write about the average female.

What about you? Can you think of any movies that fit this category?

7 comments:

(un)relaxeddad said...

I saw Vonnegut speak once. He was great. Then I queued to get my book signed and asked my question. "What should I ask you?" I asked.

"I don't know...What do you want to ask?"

He looked at me like a patient bear. The life of a successful writer adds up to forty years of fending off idiots like my younger self.

God bless you Mr Vonnegut.

Dorothy W. said...

That picture is beautiful! I've been fighting the wind on my rides lately too -- sometimes I'm afraid it'll knock me over, it's so bad. There's nothing like a nice tailwind, though!

Sylvia said...

Regarding #3, that last criterion is really unfair because dysfunctional relationships are a part of just about every woman's life, and women friends are what help us get through them. I know men don't like to see themselves portrayed as the bad guy, but if we're talking about reality-based films then that is what they are going to get. In other words, don't shoot the messenger!

Courtney said...

Steel Magnolias is definitely one, I think, as well as Fried Green Tomatoes? Both have men IN them but the story is primarily about the women's relationships...

Cam said...

(Un)RelaxedDad: When I last heard Vonnegut lecture, he drew this crazy diagram about narratives and chain smoked through the entire lecture (this was years ago). The crazy diagram though made sense in the end, although I couldn't tell you what it was now.

Dorothy, being the avid biker that you are, you might have thought the wind was a gentle breeze if you were on this ride.

Now for movies....
Sylvia, you are so right. In fact, I said the same to my spouse and had wondered if anyone would comment likewise here. Still, I think that there is a dearth of films about women that aren't romantic in nature (whether good or bad romances). Maybe a better question is what films are good depictions of women's lives and friendships, even if they aren't the central theme to movie? Volver I think qualifies, although the setup for the action does revolve around violence to women on the part of men, and a murder.

Courtney, I didn't think about Steel Magnolias. An excellent example! I first thought 'No' to Fried Green Tomatoes but for the same reasons that I might disqualify Volver. But if I include one, I'd have to include the other!

Sheri said...

I can't see the photo, but I remember all too clearly the days when I could not stand to be within 500 feet of my parental units. Now, I am dreading the day that I become the parental unit..instead of just "mom".

I don't know about movies...Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants maybe. The "YaYa" books by Rebecca Wells are mostly about strong feminine relationships. love um for that.

Kate S. said...

I can think of lots of movies that feature positive portrayals of female friendship. Alas, not lots of great movies--too often the positive portrayals are rather sentimental for my tastes. I agree with Sylvia on the point about dysfunctional relationships though. So, herewith, a preliminary list of mostly not-great movies featuring positive portrayals of female friendship in which dysfunctional relationships with men are sometimes central and sometimes peripheral but usually present...

"A League of Their Own"
"Boys on the Side"
"Calendar Girls"
"Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood"
"Enchanted April"
"First Wives Club"
"Girls Town"
"How to Make an American Quilt"
"The Joy Luck Club"
"Julia"
"Mystic Pizza"
"9 to 5"
"Now and Then"
"Passion Fish"
"Rich and Famous"
"Sister Act"
"Tea with Mussolini"
"The Turning Point"
"Waiting to Exhale"