Saturday, January 5, 2013

"French guys were douchebags."

Haha!  My title is a direct quote from my brother-in-law, Chris, in response to my dad's question after we finished watching Les Miserables. 
My dad's question:  "What is the theme of this movie, do you think?"  I chuckle each time I think of Chris's response.  It is true that there are a lot of, ah, douchebags (I feel guilty typing this word after just having prepared my Sunday School lesson for tomorrow) in the movie.  I mean, "Les Miserables" means "The Miserable," so there has to be someone that causes a lot of the misery, right??

Kay.  So.  Les Mis has been a HUUUUGE part of my life.  My dear friend's mom was very musical, and she had the Les Mis soundtrack.  When I was maybe...twelve?...I copied it, directly from cassette tape to cassette tape.  My copy was HORRIBLE.  I still remember where each side of a tape would end and I'd have to flip it over.  I particularly remember that the end of one side of one tape was when Mme. Thenardier was singing, "Like mother, like daughter, the scum of the streeeeeet!!"

Aaaand....flip the tape over and push play.

I remember a family reunion we went to in Bear Lake when I was in my early teens.  My cousin, Kortney, and I were trying to figure out, from my poor taped copy of Les Mis, precisely what Eponine was singing during part of "On My Own." (You want to talk about themes??  That song was the theme of my life as an early teen.  And an older teen.  And a young adult.  And a not-so-young adult...  Sad.  But moving on...)  Kort and I kept rewinding and listening, rewinding and listening, and we kept saying, "Is she saying, 'the polar bear's returning'?  No.  Why would she say something like that???"  This was pre-internet, obviously.  We finally figured out that is says something like, "I've only been pretending."

I have an issue with mistaking lyrics.  I still think that in Alicia Keys's and Jay Z's song, "New York State of Mind," it sounds like Alicia Keys sings, "I become a winterey tomato," instead of "concrete jungle where dreams are made of."  Listen to it. You'll see what I mean.  And then you just might sing it my way from now on.

You're welcome.

So back to Les Mis.  I remember that, whenever my family went skiing, when Nat and I rode the chairlift together, we would sing Javert's song, "Stars."  I still can't get the lyrics right to that song, but I think it's my utmost favorite song of the whole show.  I just really like the melody.

I really need to get my hands on this home video my parents have.  We have all officially and affectionately named the tape "Barbie Christmas."  I was probably 14, and Nat was 12.  We had gone skiing (we always went skiing on Christmas Eve Day), so we had wonky french braided pigtails and were still in our long johns.  We had written down a valley-girl-dialogued, probably pretty blasphemous version of the nativity, and we acted it out with our younger sisters' Barbies.  At one point, we're setting up the Barbies and the scenery, and my dad says, "Why isn't Brianna doing this with you?"  And you hear Brianna say, off-camera, rather matter-of-factly, "They wouldn't let me."

I'm sorry, Beads...

We had Barbie babies jumping inside Barbie wombs, when Barbie Mary and Barbie Elisabeth visited with each other when they were pregnant, we had quick and kind of violent baby births (I believe I just yelled, "Woo!" with this little blasphemous smile on my face when Elisabeth delivered John the Baptist), the works.

I'm sorry, Heavenly Father.

Anyways, there is a part of the video where we sang part of Les Mis.  I think it's when Ken/Zacharius comes back from the temple, where an angel has told him that he and Barbie Elisabeth are going to have a baby, in their old age.  And he's shocked and trying to find a way to tell her.  (We didn't tell the simplified story of the nativity, nosirree.  We were thorough.)  And I sang out the part where Marius is meeting with his friends after having met Cosette.  But I changed the words.  Something like,

Zacharius, what's wrong with you today?
You look as if you've seen a ghost.
Some wine and say what's going on.

A ghost you say, a ghost may be,
He was just like a ghost to me.
One minute there, then he was gone!

In the video, my dad asks, "What's that from?"  I proudly poke my head above our makeshift Barbie stage and say, "Les Mis."

In ninth grade biology class, our teacher would give us extra credit if we could capture and bring in live spiders of any species.  I named all of my captured spiders after Les Mis characters and put their names on little white labels on their jars.  We had an Eponine, of course, a Fantine, a Marius, a Javert, a Jean Valjean...

I've seen Les Mis three times in the theater - twice in Salt Lake City and once in London.  I cried the entire three hours every time I saw it.  It affects me greatly.  I've read the book.  It's as familiar to me as...The Princess Bride.  I can say (or in this case, sing) EVERY WORD.  Which embarrasses me a little bit.  I should have the Book of Mormon memorized word for word, right?  Not a musical which has a couple of...ah....questionable...songs in it about Lovely Ladies and Masters of the House.

I'm sorry, Heavenly Father.

But hey, there are a whoooole bunch of good things in it, too.  "To love another person is to see the face of God..."  "God has raised you out of darkness..."  Lots of very uplifting things.

Anywho, I looked forward with much anticipation the movie musical.  I cried when I saw the preview online.

Yep.

I'm an emotional girl.  A delicate flower.

And I've got to say, it delivered.  I loved the director's decision to have the actors sing "live," then add in the instrumental music later.  The sound quality was fantastic (something I had worried about), and it enabled the actors to pause when needed, cry, speed things up when needed, etc.

Hugh Jackman - AMAZING.  Anne Hathaway - AMAZING.  Amanda Seyfriend - um....look, it would be impossible for anyone but Sarah Brightman to hit those notes, honestly.  So, noble try, Amanda.  Russell Crowe - good effort!!  I mean, what do you expect from someone whose band is called "Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts"??  Helena Bonham Carter and Sasha Baron Cohen as the Thenardiers?  Genius!  Genius!  Genius!

And may I say I have a new crush?  Aaron Tveit.  Loooved him as Ejolras:

And I've never liked Marius until Eddie Redmayne played him.  Another crush:
I'm a sucker for freckle-faced guys.

Sooo happy about the girl who played Eponine.  Having identified with her so thoroughly throughout my life, it was important to me that they get someone who could really sing for that part. 

My fam went to it a week ago, and I spent most of this past week in a Les Miserables Depression.  This happens to me sometimes when I'm really affected by a book or a movie.  I cried for like a week after watching Becoming Jane.  I had to make a promise to myself to never read the Twilight series again, because I was so upset with my life when I finished reading it - "My life is just so boring compared to the vampires.  My love with my husband is so stale and stagnant compared to Bella and Edward!" 

Go ahead.  Make fun of me. 

Seriously, I haven't touched those books since I finished them like four years ago. 

And for the record, the love I share with my husband is not stale and stagnant.

I remember, when I was 13, my parents allowed me to go to Young Guns II, because it was PG-13.  I was really excited and felt a little bit naughty.  My first PG-13 movie.  I cried like a baby at the end, and when I came home, it was time to do my chores.  I remember dusting the piano in the living room and just bawling and bawling that Billy the Kid got killed.

I haven't watched Young Guns II ever since.  I have to take steps to protect my delicate flowerness.  I refuse to watch any Nicholas Sparks movies, in part because I don't want to cry, and in part because I hate cheesy stuff.

What finally got me out of my Les Mis-induced depression last week was watching Bourne Legacy.  Jeremy Renner always puts me in a good mood.  As does any good action flick.

Dad invited us to go to Les Mis again today, and despite my misgivings about going into a major depression again, I just had to go.  And once again, I cried the entire three hours. But strangely, I'm not as depressed as I was last week.  Maybe this is what I need to do with stuff that makes me cry.  Watch it twice.  Or read it twice.  And then I'm good.

2 comments:

megan said...

I absolutely LOVED Les Mis! I've never read the book or seen the play or anything so it was all new to me, except, I did know the songs because my step sister would sing them all the time growing up!! I really want to see it again too!! Glad you got to go again!

Cinderella, the A-Train and Our Little Caboose said...

I still need to see it, and I am sure that after I do, this post will make a lot more sense! :)

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