Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Deadwood 7/23: More Fun Than a Barrel of TB

This week on Deadwood: The town elders meet to discuss what to do about an increasingly Darth Vader-like George Hearst. They decide to... publish a letter in the newspaper about the miner Hearst had killed, without mentioning Hearst's name. This appeal for decency will, presumably, rile up the town against Major Dad's evil maneuverings. Meanwhile, Joanie and Jane make out, Odell wants to partner with Hearst on a gold claim in Liberia but will probably end up pig food, and Al sends Dan to get some hired guns (who according to the preview for next week's ep are the Earps! BADASS.)

Also worthy of note in last Sunday's episode is Doc Cochran's deteriorating condition. Doc has tuberculosis, but Deadwoodians call him a "lunger," while I prefer to shout in an exaggerated hillbilly accent, "He's got the gallopin' consumption!" Rumblings from the Deadwood fan community (population: 14) suggest that the show may have jumped the shark by making such a beloved character a sure bet for this season's Big Death. I say, at least be thankful we have a realistic portrayal of TB for once.

Doc's condition led me to hearken back to past cinematic interpretations of that once-perilous disease (well, still perilous in Africa, but who cares about them??? Eww, poverty.) And there, burning a hole in my brain, was the memory of that blight upon screens large and small, the film whose popularity and critical acclaim may trouble me even more than the question of God's existence: Moulin F*cking Rouge.

I hate Moulin Rouge with the fire of a thousand suns. I hate its offensive misappropriation of pop songs, I hate its tongue-in-cheek anachronisms, I hate its artier-than-thou, seizure-inducing camera work, I hate its overacting, I hate its ADHD character development, I hate its celebration of vague nouns like TRUTH, BEAUTY, and LOVE, and most of all I goddamn hate Nicole Kidman's limp-rag, breathy, creepy Victorian doll / hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold performance. When her Satine gets TB, she coughs swoonily into a pretty handkerchief and then dies gracefully in Ewan's arms. Even the blood she spits up is dainty and jewel-like. WHATEVER, Baz Luhrman. How's your Alexander-the-musical picture going? Yeah, that's what I thought.

This is to say, kudos to Deadwood for having Doc cough and wheeze to the point of annoying the other characters and me, and having him spew up a repulsive mixture of phlegm and blood. Jumped the shark? At least it's not romanticizing slow death from a horrible disease just to avoid making Nicole Kidman look yucky and un-ladylike.

Please commenters, especially angry anonymous ones, try to change my mind about Moulin Rouge! I love ripping into this crapfest.


Jeanette said...

I was made for loving you, baby. You were made for loving me.

The only way of loving me, baby, is to pay a lovely fee.

Just one night give me just one night.

There's no way cause you can't pay.

In the name of love, one night in the name of love.

You crazy fool. I won't give into you.

Don't leave me this way. I can't survive without your sweet love. Oh baby, don't leave me this way.

You'd think that people would have had enough of silly love songs.

I look around me and I see it isn't so.

Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs.

So what's wrong with that, I'd like to know cause here I go again...Love lifts us up where we belong. Where eagle's fly, oer mountains high.

Love makes us act like we are fools. Throw our lives away for one happy day.

We could be heroes, just for one day...

J.J. said...

You. You would be mean.
(No, I wouldn't!)
And I -- I'd drink all the time.


We can't do that.

WE COULD BE LUH-UH-UH-VERS. And that's a fact.

Though nothing could keep us together...

We could steal time. Just for one day.

We could be heroes. Forever and ever.

We could be hero-oh-ohs...

Just because IIIIIIII-ee-IIIIII will always love YOUUUIIIIIIIII-e-IIIIIII can't help loving...you...how wonderful life is now you're in the

world! FIREWORKS*!&@*!&)(#$&$(&)(#*)_(

Jeanette said...

God bless you, J.J., God bless you.

Aaron Riccio said...

A lot of people seem to forget what the purpose of Moulin Rouge was; Baz Luhrman set out, with his Red Curtain Trilogy, to redefine the use of various mediums in art. Strictly Ballroom was story through dance (much like Altman's superior The Company, but way before both that and Center Stage), Romeo + Juliet was story through language, and Moulin Rouge was story through music. These are the three main forms of performing art, and Luhrman tried to elevate and market them to a contemporary audience. So Shakespeare becomes an urban nightmare of frenzied jump cuts and slo-mo action sequences, and the tango becomes a living, breathing creature that's juxtaposed across genres...

Moulin Rouge takes the best of both those worlds, and uses them liberally. I wish I'd gotten to see his live Broadway version, which was the operatic version of Rent, La Boheme. I'm told it was fantastic. Yes, he borrows contemporary music, and he makes a very stylized piece, and yes, it's glitzy and at times gaudy, and quite melodramatic. So are all serious musicals. I think he does rather well at pulling emotion out of song (and out of two actors I've started to find very stilted), and the whole thing is one non-stop bundle of energy that is so deftly staged that--whether you like the concept or not--you have to acknowledge the director knows what he's doing.

Ironic that you wrote something about movies and I wrote something about TV this week...

Alanna said...

Just because there's a high concept behind his work doesn't make it successful. I'm not into Dogme 95, either.

isuru said...

the fire of a thousand suns sounds hard to fight, but when faced with the supermova that is Moulin Rouge, you lose :-)

as a visual masterpiece, it's quite stylized, even as musicals go. the point is not to show consumption (disease) as it is in real life, but to have a crazy wonderful adventure in the consumption of youth, love, and desires.

i thought ewan mcgregor's singing was wonderful, and the remakes / misappropriations of songs strange and interesting. Roxanne / Le Tango du Moulin Rouge, mixed wonderfully, worked well with the visuals. The Show Must Go On number, set at the theater, when all was falling apart, has come to be at par with Queen's classic in my mind.

maybe moulin rouge was not as good as his rendition of romeo and juliet, but definitely one of my fave movies.

and seriously, how can any bohemian disregard the ideals of Freedom, Beauty, Truth and Love?!

Viv said...

too much "legitimate critiquing," not enough butt sex jokes and crying about SVU.