Victoriana

I just watched Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride (2005), and I enjoyed it more than I have enjoyed the past few Tim Burton movies I’ve seen: Dark Shadows, Alice in Wonderland, and Sleepy Hollow (which, I realize, is not a recent film, but I saw it for the first time this year). Corpse Bride was better than those others for several reasons.
1. It’s short, which means it doesn’t have time for a ridiculously convoluted plot. It would have been even shorter without the songs, which I thought were unnecessary.
2. Instead of deriving from a single source (novel, short story, or soap opera), it instead is an homage to/parody of the Victorian marriage plot in general. This means that there is less opportunity for fans to accuse it of not being “like the original.”
3. It’s animated, which allows Tim Burton to indulge to full extent his fancy for caricature of the human form. Many characters have delightfully exaggerated noses, chins, or eyes, and the contrast between the tall, thin characters and the short, fat characters is reminiscent of some of Phiz’s illustrations to Dickens’ novels. (Check out this illustration in particular; I love it.)
I think Corpse Bride may have restored my faith in Tim Burton. You should do yourself a favor and watch it. If you hate it, you’ve only wasted about an hour and fifteen minutes.

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Haunted by dead European males

I’m working on my Moneyball paper, and I’m afraid I’m about to argue myself out of the point I’m trying to make.  I want to argue that Moneyball isn’t really about money; it’s about worth, something for which money is merely a symbol.  But the evil little Marxist inside my head keeps saying that everything is about money, and that by silencing the issue, the film is complicit in the economic disparity it initially gestures toward critiquing.  I think the evil little Marxist’s argument is reductive, but I don’t know how to refute it.  I just can’t buy that everything is about money.  Similarly, as intrigued as I am by Freud’s ideas, I just can’t buy that EVERYTHING is a phallic symbol.  Someone did a presentation on Star Wars yesterday in which it seemed that pretty much every scene was a castration, and I was really frustrated.  I think I just need to get OUT OF HERE and back to people who talk about normal stuff.