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2002-09-19 - 10:14 a.m.

Carousel.

CarouselI keep forgetting to write about this, but The Scientist and I watched Carousel this weekend on DVD and I have Things to Say about it.

The Scientist went through a musicals/show tunes phase a number of years ago and this was a musical he remembered watching and wanted to see again, so he put it on our Netflix queue. It arrived a couple of weeks ago (we've been really bad about watching the Netflix DVDs in a timely manner lately) and we watched it on Saturday night when I was feeling crappy. It seemed like it would be a good choice--it's a Rogers and Hammerstein musical, starring Shirley Jones (Shirley Partridge) and Gordon MacRae (Oklahoma!).

The basic plot is below, courtesy of Jim Cobb via IMDB:

Newlywed, unemployed, bored and having to live off of his wife's cousin Nettie, Billy Bigelow falls on his knife after trying to flee from an ill-fated robbery attempt. Unlike his unsavory cohort, Bigelow never wanted to kill Mr. Bascombe, the cotton mill owner. Bigelow only wanted half of the $3,000 Bascombe was reportedly carrying. He wanted to use the money to allow him, his wife and the unborn son he was expecting to make a new start in San Francisco. After he dies his wife, Julie, actually delivers a daughter, Louise. Bigelow is relegated to a lower realm of heaven where he spends eternity polishing stars. In spite of waving the right to go back for one day when he arrived in heaven, Bigelow convinces the Starkeeper to allow him to go back to Earth to attend his daughter's high school graduation. Any spirit that makes it to heaven can go back to Earth for one day to take care of unfinished business. As the daughter of an unemployed carnival barker who died in a robbery attempt, Louise has been taunted by the other children in her coastal Maine town her whole life. She hopes to leave the town to become an actress. Bigelow attempts to give Louise pride in her family by telling her how good looking her father was and how good he was as a carousel barker. But Barker badly messes that up, actually slapping Louise when trying to give her a star that he had taken from heaven. Not giving up on trying to influence her, Bigelow can only whisper for her to pay attention to what the speaker at her high school graduation is saying about not letting their parents' successes and failures hold them back.

What that summary does not cover, however, is how terrible the other messages in the film were. I don't have as much of a problem with the "marrying a man who isn't good for you" thing. After all, that's a time honored tradition in the movies. However, Julie takes it too far. She has a line that just blew me away. Billy hits Julie (offscreen) and various characters make a big deal about him "beating his wife." He stops as soon as she finds out she's pregnant. When he comes back to try to help his daughter he gets angry at her and hits her too (onscreen). Lovely guy.

The mother and daughter then have a nice bonding moment in which Louise (the daughter) asks Julie (the mother), "Have you ever had someone hit you and it didn't hurt?" and Louise answers, "Sometimes, if you love him, when he hits you it feels like a kiss." Oh. My. God. I started shrieking at the TV (and at The Scientist). I hadn't been that into the movie anyway (the dancing was good but the songs left me cold) and this just disgusted me. Luckily, it ended soon after (with no actual resolution, I'd like to add).

stars

It's done! Here are pictures of the finished wardrobe (the outside front and the inside). It's now been moved out of our kitchen and into the nook in the office where it will live until we move. My project today is to put stuff in it. I love organizing, so it will be fun.

Done!Done!

I'm really proud of the work we did on this. It would have been so easy to do a half-assed job, or to not do it at all and just live with it the way it was. But it was important to me, so I took the lead on it and we worked together to do it right. And we did. It's so satisfying to have a tangible, useful, beautiful thing as the result of all the work.

 

 

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