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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

10 Things I Learned From Watching Little House On The Prairie

Damn you, Hallmark channel!

1. Kidnapping Is Not Illegal: If you kidnap a child in Walnut Grove, you are in luck. As long as you are super sorry and learn a larger lesson in life you are forgiven (and never seen again).

For example in My Ellen, a young girl named Ellen Taylor drowns while swimming with Laura and Mary. The grief-stricken Mrs. Taylor eventually kidnaps Laura and keeps her in the cellar. Laura is rescued and Mrs. Taylor accepts her daughter's death. Nothing happens to Mrs. Taylor nor is the kidnapping incident ever mentioned.

In Bless All The Dear Children, Laura's baby is kidnapped by a woman who desperately wants a baby. Of course, they get her back. The kidnapper not only gets off scott free but receives a conciliatory orphan. Speaking of orphans......

2. He Followed Me Home Can I Keep Him:
Why bother kidnapping kids when orphans are easier to get than a carnival goldfish? Pa meets Albert, a little street urchin and promptly takes him home. No signing papers or anything official.

In the two-parter Remember Me, Charles has to find homes for the orphaned Sanderson children. Grace Snider wants to adopt them but she is unmarried. As the prospective parents come for the children, Mr. Edwards swoops in with a proposal. Nobody gets mad at Mr. Edwards for bogarting the orphans.

3. Pa Ingalls Fails As A Fighter: We all remember Charles Ingalls as a man quick to throw a punch defending his family. But how many fights do you remember him winning? For example Bully Boys and As Long As We're Together, he gets the crap kicked out of him and his friends have to finish the job.
In Child Of Pain and Town Party/Country Party, Charles meddles in some guy's life and a fight ensues. However mid-fight the guy realizes that Charles was right to interfere and apologizes.

4. Spare The Rod And Tell Her She's Pretty: How do you deal with a bitch like Nellie? That curly haired tornado of spoiled evilness destroying everything in her path. Beatings don't work, neither does punishment or humiliation. How do you tame the beast? Just tell her that she's pretty.
In He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not, Nellie meets Percival who's supposed to teach her to cook. Fed up with her diva ways, he tells her off then tells her she's pretty. Instant bitch removal ensues and Nellie never shows signs of her old behavior.

5. The Original Full House: Half of Little House's episodes deal with the Ingalls encountering some financial issue. The farm is always thisclose to failing. Pa is continually doing as many odd jobs as possible to keep the family afloat.
What do you do when you live in a one room shack with three children and barely enough money to feed them? Adopt two more. In The Lost Ones, Charles adopts the recently orphaned James and Cassandra and welcome them to his happy poverty stricken little home.

6. Little Town In The Bermuda Triangle: Walnut Grove is supposedly a small town where everybody knows everyone. Yet dozens upon dozens of characters are suddenly introduced only to vanish, never to be heard from again.

Where are the townspeople going? Indians? Eaten by wolves? Has Mrs. Oleson gone into the meat pie business? Inquiring minds want to know.

7. The Ingalls Played Favorites: In I'll Ride The Wind, Charles has no problem allowing a 13 year old Mary to get engaged to John Edwards. But when a 15 year old Laura wants to marry Almanzo, Charles flips out fighting the couple every inch of the way. He even insists that she wait until she turns 18.

Also in Sweet Sixteen, Charles begins to accept Almanzo and Laura as a couple. Caroline says that she is "dying to call him Grandpa." So we're just gonna pretend that Mary didn't have a son who died in a fire. Pretty insensitive.

8. Pa Fails As A Farmer: This guy could barely keep a houseplant alive, let alone maintain a farm. His crops have been destroyed by heavy rain, hail, and even a tornado. And when did he have the time to do all that farming when he is doing odd jobs in order to feed his family.

9. Did They Have To Blow Up The Whole Town?: In The Last Farewell, evil landowners claim the town of Walnut Grove. Deciding that they can take the town but not their homes and businesses, the town blows everything up. Other towns vow to take the same action if the landowners try to take their towns. The landowners back down and the town of Walnut Grove walks off into the sunset.

Happy ending? An entire town is now homeless, jobless, and likely to never see one another again. What a way to end the series.

10. Family Friendly Programming: Let's see dead babies, kidnappings, blizzards, fires, people constantly dying and mime rapists. Little House On The Prairie makes an average Lifetime stalker movie look like The Bernstein Bears.

And I wasn't joking about the rapist mime.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Runaways

I admit I was a little leery about watching this. I am a huge Joan Jett fan and was afraid this movie would be an exploitative hack job.

The film's trailer would have you believe that it's nothing but sex and scantily clad women with a little rock thrown in. The film however is very sensitive to it's subjects and avoids being just another rags to riches story.

I had concerns about the casting of Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, and Scout Taylor Thompson. I had yet to see a movie with Kristen and Scout that I actually liked and I am still trying to accept Dakota Fanning as a grown-up. But after seeing this I have to say I am seeing all three actresses in a new light.

Kristen was especially impressive, in looks, mannerisms, and voice, she embodied Joan Jett. Scout made a great Lita Ford, but due to Lita's refusal to participate, she is barely seen. Dakota as wild child Cherie Currie steals the film. If she can avoid the pratfalls of other teen stars there's no telling how amazing an actress she can become.

Other actors in the film are Riley Keough, Tatum O'Neal, and Michael Shannon. Michael plays the girls manager, Kim Fowley. He is hysterical and almost every line he utters is comic gold.

Another impressive point was their handling of the much touted lesbian scene between Joan and Cherie. Instead of being some Skinemax wanna-be, it was an honest tender seen with the smutty parts happening off screen.

As for anachronisms I'm afraid there quite a few of them. But I understand that some things had to be altered for the sake of the story. The movie has a great soundtrack and awesome musical performances. The actors actually sing and play their own instruments which gives the film a better sense of realism.

This is a film I would definitely recommend to Joan Jett fans and music lovers. Don't let the trailer or cast scare you away, this film is worth the rental.