Tag Archives: hemingway

michael bay, hemingway?

i just got back from watching transformers: dark of the moon.  i’ll put a review up on my digest movies site soon, but something that struck me during one of the explosion-filled fight scenes (when my mind was starting to wander a bit) was that the female characters in this movie are exactly like the ones in ‘for whom the bells toll’, that have been criticized as i mentioned in an earlier post.  you’ve got resident sex symbol girlfriend, (rosie huntington-whitly or whatever the crap her full name is, who replaced megan fox in the same role, not without controversy), and she’s the shallow stereotype, screaming and running in heels and being filmed from a lusty angle all the time.  seriously, when she first comes on screen it’s like, oh hi rhw’s butt.  and legs. and legs from the front.  aaaaand finally we pan up to see her face. but only so she can jump on the bed and straddle her boyfriend that she sooo adores for no good reason that we see in this film.  because he isn’t kind or sweet to her, he’s not a sugar daddy, he doesn’t support her, he’s not even romantic.  it’s a boy fantasy movie.

then, you’ve got a high-powered military lady, i forget what her official title was but it was something like head of national security maybe.  calling all the shots.  played by frances mcdormand.  but she’s very brusque, wears pantsuits, (while rhw wears slinky, short dresses and hells. or no pants at all like the first scene), and actually reprimands people when they refer to her as ma’am!  She says, on more than one occasion, “don’t call me ma’am.  do i look like  a ma’am?”  at one point rhw’s comeback to this is, “well you are a woman, aren’t you?”  supposed to be hilarious.  ah ha ha, what a bitch, she doesn’t even know if she’s a woman or not, she crazy, how did she get this job anyway? let’s laugh at her, because she’s so harsh! and because she won’t let little main character sam come in and waltz all over the place.  “you’re breaking my chain of command,” she says.  she should have said, sit DOWN sam witwickey!  (i have no idea if i’ve spelled that right or not.)

anyway, i’d better cut it off here or i’ll run out of steam before i write my real review.  i just wanted to point out the similarity between hemingway’s and bay’s female characters here, because i probably won’t get into it on my other blog.

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The Bells are still Tolling

So, I am still only about halfway done with my Hemingway book, (For Whom the Bell Tolls).  If I did not have to read it for book club, I don’t know if I would finish it.  It is not like me to quit a book that I have started, though.  I guess the more accurate statement would be if I did not have to read it for book club I would never have started it.

It’s not that it’s terrible.  There are actually some parts that are very interesting, insights into war and revolution and how ordinary people become ruthless and violent and how soldiers are not supposed to question orders or care about themselves and the haphazardness of some ‘military operations’ like Robert Jordan’s bridge building assignment, where he is working with people living in a cave and spending his days hiking around the mountain wondering which of these hill people are reliable.

Also, he’s spending his days with his “little rabbit,” Maria.  I still don’t like that development.   At book club one of the other ladies brought up accusations that have been made against Hemingway for writing all his female characters as either total stereotypes or masculine.  this is the only Hemingway book I’ve (partially) read, so I don’t feel qualified to decide whether the criticism has merit across the board, but Maria’s character is definitely an annoying, flat female.  She has such potential to be a captivating figure, surviving the horrors and showing strength of will and  resolve either to fight for the revolution or to detest all manner of war and violence or something.  Instead she was just waiting to meet the right handsome American, apparently, and doesn’t want anything except to be his domestic servant.

Then you have Pilar who is a pretty interesting character, (I loved the chapter where she recounted the brutality that her hometown showed to the fascists at the beginning of the war, although it was a horrible tale), but who I now realize is actually pretty masculine–she’s ugly, she orders Maria around, she commands the group, she says really rude things.  So I don’t know.  I didn’t like Hemingway to being with, and now I like him a bit less, but I’ll finish the book before I decide on my final verdict for this book.

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For Whom the Bell zzzzzzzzzzzzz

my book club decided to read hemingway’s “for whom the bell tolls.”  i’m having a really hard time getting into it.  it’s not really that it’s boring, it’s just the style of writing, it doesn’t captivate me, and it’s kind of depressing.  i have to read 200 pages in the next two days in order to be caught up for our next meeting.  i just read the part where he sleeps with the little shaved-headed war prisoner rape victim girl.  and she says she wants him to because “if we do everything together, the other maybe never will have been.”  i found this disturbing.

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