Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Stupid sore throat

Ugh. I'm not sick. I haven't really been sick, but for the last week and a half now it's felt like I'm coming down with something--probably the same something that kept my hubby home last Friday to lounge on the couch and interrupt my working schedule.

And now my throat is tremendously sore.

And I've been working a lot in the last week or so too.

All of which explains why I've been rather scarce. And, uh, why this post is actually just blathering about a movie and not much of a real post.

Hubs and I went into Barnstaple at the weekend to have a little wander-around--there are only two towns near us big enough to have any decent shopping, and by decent I mean "really not very good at all but barely adequate". While there we stopped in at a new store which seels mostly DVDs and CDs. Decent prices, too, which is unusual.

So I smiled my prettiest little smile at the hubs and got him to buy me The Libertine, a film I've been dying to see for some time now. Partly because I love the Restoration period and am getting ready to write a book set there (or, well, okay. I have on my list of projects a book set there, which means after I finish everything I'm contracted to do I may just get to it next year. Maybe. But I can dream, can't I?) Partly because I have a vague familiarity with the life of John Wilmot, the second Earl of Rochester whose life the film ostensibly protrays. And partly because--oh, come on, any of you who've spent any amount of time at all here with me can probably guess to at least two other reasons why I might want to see this film. Hot, drunken, oversexed historical bad boys? Um, yes please.

Unfortunately...the film was disappointing. It started with a bang (no, not literally, sad to say) by having Depp-as-Wilmot do a very sexy little speech about how very bad he is, in which he assures both men and women he's "up for it". Sigh. In fact, it wasn't an assurance, it was a threat, which was even hotter.

Then he sexually semi-assaults his wife in a carriage (in a good way), and I poured myself a drink and settled back to really enjoy myself.

Unfortunately...that's about it as far as sexiness went. Some of the reviews on Amazon led me to believe the film was almost pornographic; but with the exception of one soft-focus group sex scene (in which Wilmot is NOT a participant) and one extremely mild one-on-one sex scene (in which he is, and we don't see so much as a pectoral muscle, let alone anything else), it's really pretty tame. Wilmot says a few clever things and drinks a lot; the only other real sex reference in the movie is a scene with a prositute where he's too drunk to get it up. Oh, and one really, really funny bit backstage at the theatre, where an actor questions a bit of stage direction Wilmot has written.

Had the movie been about a different period of Wilmot's life this might have been different, but it focuses on his last few years, in which he seduces an actress and falls in love. Hence the soft-focus sex, hence my disappointment. (Perhaps my line of work is ruining me for such things? I'm not used to soft-focus euphemism anymore. Thoughts, anyone? Did you find the film sexy, if you've seen it?) The presence of John Malkovitch was a little depressing, because only made me long for the delightful debauchery of the Vicomte de Valmont. (Interestingly, Malkovitch played Wilmot on Broadway in the play the film is based on--I bet he was amazing. Not that Depp wasn't good.)

Large portions of the film focused on his coaching of eventual mistress Elizabeth Barry, which dragged for me as well.

The biggest problem, though, was the ending felt rushed. One minute Wilmot is pretending to be a quack doctor, the next his face is covered with syphilitic sores and he's unable to control his bodily functions. It happens so quickly that at first we wonder if he was wounded somehow, and before we're able to process his decline it gets worse and he dies. The end. That's exactly how it feels in the movie, although more heartbreaking. It really is a sad ending, but I think the saddest thing is I was left with the feeling, as Depp asks in a little postscript if I like him now, that I don't know. I really wasn't given much of a chance to get to know him.

Anybody else seen this? Any thoughts? Anybody else think John Malkovitch in Dangerous Liaisons was pure delicious sin? Anybody have any films to reocmmend that really are as sexy as they seem? (I haven't seen Quills yet--only bits--what did you think of that one?


Anonymous said...

I haven't seen this one, but I've seen Quills and thought it was great.

Hmmm, does 43 make me historical . . .? -V95

BernardL said...

Quills to me was horrible, but films of debauchery are ones I usually skip. We rented Quills, thinking it was something else. I liked Juliette Binoche and Depp in 'Chocolate'. It carried an erotic tone; but was not explicit, just sensual. I'll skip 'The Libertine'. :)

December/Stacia said...

No, add a couple of hundred years and you'll be historical, V95. :-) But drunk and oversexed is always good, no matter the era. I have wanted to see Quills for some time, I think I'll stop waiting.

Why did you think Quills was horrible, Bernard? Bad acting, bad story...?
I don't need a film to be explicit by any stretch, I just thought it would be more sensual than it was, you know? When a large portion of the ad campaign and blurb--and the opening scene--focuses on the main character's effect on women and how he takes ruthless advantage of that, you do expect to see more of it.

It wasn't a bad movie at all. It was just not what I thought it could have been.

littlebirdblue said...

Actually, I was going to say you might like Quills much better (sorry bernardl). It didn't do anything for me (other than that amazing set of clothes with the writing all over them! I want ! I want! A brilliant bit of prop/costume-wrangling there...), but I have a couple greatly-respected friends who love it.

littlebirdblue said...

Oh, and Libertine was a total disappointment, I agree.

Cora Zane said...

It's been a while since I watched Dangerous Liaisons - which I thought was an awesome movie. (Glenn Close could have come right out of the era, don't you think?)

Haven't seen the Libertine yet, and after so many disappointing reviews, I'm not sure I will. :(

Mark said...

We rented The Libertine at my wife's request and...dissappointment decended on our household. Where was the debauchery, exactly. I was debored.

Go get Quills, you're going to love it. Geoffrey Rush is amazing as the Marquis de Sade and Kate Winslet isn't half bad as the naughty maid at the asylum. Probably seen it three times.

BernardL said...

Just personal preference, D, as far as Quills goes. I'll be intrigued though to read your opinion of it after you've seen it. :)

Elle said...

I was just thinking about seeing The Libertine because I haven't yet. Quills I've seen. Like The Libertine it's set in the last part of the Marquis' life when he's in the asylum. Nothing really sexy happens save for when he tries to seduce Kate Winslet's character and another scene where his wife brings him the dildos he ordered. The rest of it was more about his writing and how it got published. It was rather disappointing actually but worth probably one watch.

December/Stacia said...

Exactly, lbl, it was disappointing. It wasn't, as I said above, a bad movie...just nowhere near as good as I think it could have bee,

Which brings to mind a possible post about what we are and are not daring to put in movies, and why the filmmakers chose to focus on the less-debauched latter portion of Wilmot's life (with STD comeuppance death.)

Dangerous Liaisons is one of my favorite movies ever, Cora, go watch it again!
I think The Libertine might be worth a viewing for you, really, if you like the period. I did enjoy the period feel and it didn't suck, it was just...a little empty.

Rebecca said...

I rented the libertine after seeing a trailer of that little speech Johnny Depp does in the beginning - It sounded intriguing!! but I didn't end up watching much further than that. Boredom struck.

Haven't seen quills though - might rent it out sooooon.

December/Stacia said...

Debored describes it exactly, Mark. He was the least libidinous libertine I've ever seen.

Yep, must see Quills. Funny, I always meant to, but it just never seemed to happen--probably because the hubs isn't really interested in watching it.

I will definitely share my thoughts, Bernard, especially since so many of you actually seem to care about them!

December/Stacia said...

Elle, if you want you can borrow my copy. :-) I think your opinion will probably be close to ours--but like you said about Quills it's worth a viewing, if only because it looks so gorgeous.

Yeah, rebecca, didn't the speech make you think you were really in for something great? I got all excited because I thought it was really going to MOVE, and soon as Elizabeth Barry showed up my interest started to flag.

Robyn said...

I guess I don't enjoy the third act of most 'libertine' type movies. The eventual downward slide toward disease and death is depressing.

I thought Malkovich in Liaisons was astounding. And I really liked a British production of Madame Bovary that aired over here on PBS a few years ago. Greg...shoot, brain know him, Emma Thompson's husband, was in Sense and Sensibility- anyway, he was in it and I thought it was great.

Anonymous said...

I didn't mind The Libertine, but I've come to accept that (to answer your question) what is usually portrayed as sexy to the pulic just doesn't do it for me. I'm currently reading a "sexy" regency that is seeming anything but after reading Sin by Sharon Page. Someone should make that into a movie, but I think Candida Royalle would be the only possible choice.

Sin City was pretty sexy, but I'm guessing you're looking for historicals so I'm going to say The Count of Monte Cristo. The recent one. I know it wasn't really intended to titilate, but I couldn't help myself.

Scary Monster said...

Maybe me just a jaded little monster as me skin tone suggests, but me thought that both Quills and Libertine were fairly limp. They lacked any sense of sensuality other than the occasional voyeuristic peep and had no rythm that one could lose oneself in. Me thought that the Vixen would enjoy Mr. Depp, but she actually took out her game-boy halfway through the flick saying that final fantasy was more interesting.


Sonya said...

Le sigh. Aside from the boring factor, watching a film in which Johnny Depp dies would make me most unhappy (especially if he looked all syphilis-y...ick! Give me pirate dirt, but not oozing sores...).

So much for The Libertine. Thank you sincerely for the warning, December -- I would have been furious to have wasted two hours of my life on this. Allow me to return the favor and tell you not to watch... uh, some boring movie that wastes two hours of your life...

Gah. It was so boring that now I can't remember it! :-)

Christine said...

I was going to rent this, but maybe I'll wait and try to catch it on the movie channel. It did sound great.

December/Stacia said...

I agree, Robyn. Wouldn't it be nice just once if they skipped the miserable death part, and left us with the hedonist at the height of his power?

Like I said, Seeley, I didn't hate the movie, I just thought it could and should have been much better. I agree about Sin City and Monte Cristo--love both of those movies!

December/Stacia said...

Exactly, SM--no rhythm, and very tame. I don't want to watch porn, but c'mon--if you're making a movie where a character boldly declares in the first couple of minutes that they'll do anyone, you kind of need to follow through! And had the "beat" of the film been sexier I might not have minded.

Oh, Sonya, he looked bad. He did indeed. Very depressing.

December/Stacia said...

It did sound great, didn't it Christine? But it just didn't live up to my expectations, sadly.

Thanks for the comment, and welcome!

Sam said...

John Malkovich is delicious as sin in Every movie - it just happens I love Dangerous Liaisons too, lol!
Hope your throat gets better!!!!

December/Stacia said...

Lol Sam--thanks, my throat is better!

You know, when I made the link to DL's Amazon listing I read the reviews--and it was really funny, because so many of the men reviewing didn't seem to see Malkovitch as sexy at all and thought he was miscast. They thought he wasn't manly or charming. Men just don't get it, do they? :-)