Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

March 12, 2012

Quality vs Preference

Filed under: Body Love,Movies — Miss Plumcake @ 1:15 pm

Well I never!

Let me just say I am aghast, no, several ghasts at so many of your treasonous cinematic ways.

It’s like that time a few years ago when I played that April Fools joke where I shamefully admitted to having promoted Crocs in exchange for cash and prizes (do I LOOK like a mommieblogger? Do I talk about gluten-free cupcakes, knitting or fabric with owls on them? No, I do not.) and a whole bunch of people were calling for my head, offering themselves as my editorial replacement.

Treacherous harpies.

Of course there are classic films I don’t enjoy.

I adore Vivien Leigh but I’d be fine without sitting through another viewing of Gone with the Wind, and although I won’t say neither love nor money could make me sit through Lawrence of Arabia again, it would take large quantities of both to get me to watch Omar Sharif ride in from the horizon on his camel, no matter how cinematically important that scene remains.


(like this, but for about five minutes)

These are not bad films.

It’s the rare piece of pop culture that stays relevant 50 years (as in the case of Lawrence of Arabia, released in 1962) or nearly 75 years.

It’s amazing so many of them still are.

1939 brought us GwtW, The Wizard of Oz, Of Mice and Men, Ninotchka, Dark Victory, The Women, Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Gunga Din, Stagecoach and a whole bunch of other classics that lend credence to the idea that it’s been all downhill in tinseltown since the clock struck 1940.

Ideals, tastes and conventions, not to mention technology, have changed dramatically since Greta giggled, so it’s important to appreciate film (or music or, I don’t know, body shape) on their own merits and not how well they compare to modern tastes, no matter how deeply or subtly engrained those tastes are.

Take, for example, the top musical hits from the same year.

You’ve got plenty of Glenn Miller, Bessie Smith singing “God Bless America”, a doubtlessly timeless ditty called “The Adventures of Piccolo Pete” and a personal favorite of mine, “Little Brown Jug” (it is a Plumcake family tradition to bounce wee children on one’s knees and sing Little Brown Jug, dipping them dramatically during the “we fell in!” line).

You can’t really fault Glenn Miller or Bessie Smith even if they’re not your preferred genres, but for my imaginary money, the only song that sounds as fresh and painful today as it must have then is Billie Holiday’s haunting “Strange Fruit”.

It reminds me of a brutal breakup when I was 26.

Uh, the over-easy rejection of classic films, not the horrifying epidemic of lynching of the thirties and forties, although I once had to gently tell my sweet but occasionally oblivious voice teacher that even though he was doing an all Billie Holiday tribute, as a middle-aged white man from East Texas with a twang thicker than day old grits, he didn’t exactly have the cultural pedigree to get away with singing that particular song.

Anyhoodle.

Back when I was 26, my long-term fella dumped me HARD for an East German amnesiac who couldn’t remember her name.

I’m not EVEN making that up.

Although he’d always been all about my big girl body, and his new strudel had all the svelte daintiness normally associated with a brain-damaged East German shot-put champion (I’m just guessing about the shot-put part, but the rest is dead on) he told me

“Just because you don’t hate your size doesn’t mean your size is okay.”

I was, for one of the very few times in my life, speechless. How could someone so smart be so wrong wrong wrongitty wrong?

It was then I realized –because I’m not very bright and hadn’t figured it out sooner– that some people really did decide on a person or object’s value and virtue based on whether they liked it or not.

What a crippling way to live.

Which isn’t to say there aren’t empirically rotten films or people out there, and there’s a whole conversation to be led by someone much more erudite than I about the joys of good taste and whether the enjoyment of quality craftsmanship is better or purer than the pleasure derived from “ooh, shiny thing go boom!” and whether, from a pleasure aspect, having good taste is more of a blessing or a curse.

Oh, and the next person who dares to say The Searchers is a bad film, when it is fairly and universally acknowledged as one of the best American films ever made, gets a one way trip to the woodshed behind Villa Plumcake and will be treated to a lengthy lecture on its cultural import, visual beauty and merciless examination of racism and the attitudes about Native American genocide. You don’t have to like it, but it doesn’t mean it’s not great.

March 11, 2012

Film Buff Heresy

Filed under: Movies — Twistie @ 8:30 am

There are a lot of Great Classic Films I adore. Mention Casablanca, and I’m going to sigh joyfully and start quoting. Talk about Citizen Kane, and I shiver at the deathless images that pop straight into my brain. There are other Great Classic Films that do and will always make me happy.

But then there’s Gone With the Wind.

I know there are people who would willingly trample their grandmothers to see this film again, and more power to them. One of the most interesting Cultural Experiences of my life was going with Mr. Twistie (who is a huge fan) to see the 50th anniversary re-release at the Castro theater in San Francisco. I know Hattie McDaniel had all the same lines she ever did, but I didn’t hear one of them through the cheers, and the anticipatory screams for ‘Frankly my dear, etc.’ began about twenty minutes before the line was spoken.

It’s clear that a lot of people are passionate fans of this film. Me? I’m not one of them. I don’t find the story line terribly compelling, I can’t work up much nostalgia for the Antebellum South, and I don’t really care about any of the characters. No, scratch that last one. What happens is I see them and my slapping hand starts itching up a storm.

Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but this is a film I decided years ago to give a miss to at every possible opportunity.

The other Great Classic Film I will never sit through again?

That’s right, The Wizard of Oz.

I was pretty meh on this one even as a very small child. And then my parents gave me the book. After that, I was really done with the movie. There’s so much more in the book, and I read what L. Frank Baum said about what he’d hoped to achieve with his book. What he wanted was a real American fairy tale where the child had amazing adventures and it didn’t turn out to be all just a kooky dream.

For me, Oz is so much better when it’s real, when Dorothy goes back again and again and has further adventures that are equally real. I prefer the winged monkeys when they’re controlled by a magical golden cap. I prefer silver slippers. I like the balance of two good witches (North and South – which is where Glinda comes from), and two evil ones (East and West).

In my book, Judy Garland just isn’t compelling enough to make me like Oz as a coma fantasy.

My guess is that everyone has at least one Great Classic Film you couldn’t pay them to sit through again. One of my very best friends practically froths at the mouth at the mention of Citizen Kane, which, as I said before, is a great favorite of mine. My father couldn’t watch The African Queen (another great favorite of mine) because he said the boat couldn’t possibly work the way they had it set up. I believe him, too. He knew his boats. And you can see what I think of two of the most sacred cows of American cinema.

So what’s the Great Classic Film you intend to avoid for the rest of your life?

March 10, 2012

In Which Twistie Shares Some Obscure Films She Loves

Filed under: Movies — Twistie @ 5:57 pm

I love movies. I love some true masterpieces, some of questionable taste, some for their quaint awfulness. One of my favorite things is finding some jewel of an obscure film that’s all the more precious because nobody else on the face of the planet seems to know it exists.

But never let it be said that I’m stingy when it comes to sharing the cultural wealth! Today, I’m sharing with you all a smattering of the obscure, the offbeat, and the nearly unknown films that make me smile.

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March 6, 2012

What Miss Plumcake Is…

Filed under: Books,Cheap Thrills,Movies,Music,Perfume,What Miss Plumcake is — Miss Plumcake @ 12:22 pm

Hey gang, in a continuing theme of bringing back favorite features, it’s time to find out What Miss Plumcake is:

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December 24, 2011

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas….

Filed under: Holidays,Movies — Twistie @ 8:30 am

… and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, well, except for Jake the cat chasing a catnip mouse.

Me? I’m finishing up some last-minute baking and watching Christmas movies. There are a lot of great films based on a Christmas theme. You know, like It’s a Wonderful Life:

Treacly? Yes, yes it is. But then Capra’s genius lay not in his subtlety, but in his optimism.

And then there are the not-so-greats, like Santa Claus vs the Martians:

Unforgettably craptastic.

But some of my favorite Christmas films aren’t really recognized as being holiday-centric. And a couple of my other faves… well, the theme is undeniable but they don’t make for the most traditionally heartwarming viewing.

Want to know my top five fave Christmas movies? Read on after the cut… and remember that neither of the above films is on that list.

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November 29, 2011

The Way

Filed under: Movies — Miss Plumcake @ 5:26 pm

Once upon a time in a galaxy about ten miles down the road, I worked for a film festival. I was young and foolish then and had no problems working 72 hours straight hopped up on Chupa Chups, sleeping in the bathtub in the hotel suite that served as the center of command when I had a chance.

After several years of nonsense (and when everyone else moved from lollipops to cocaine) I quit, and from that day to this, I’ve seen maybe a dozen first-run films in the theater.

However, fate and fortune, not to mention being jerked around by the office of the Mexican Consular General for half the day until I nearly cried in two languages, conspired against my anti-filmic ways and I found myself at an art house double-feature. The menu consisted of Pedro Almodovar’s new film “The Skin I Live In” and “The Way” starring Martin Sheen.

The Almodovar flick couldn’t have been more effed up if it came with its own anti-gravity vibrat…personal massager, but “The Way” was touching, gently funny and although I Do Not Cry In Public, something got in my eye several times and it absolutely ruined my makeup.

It’s the story of a buttoned up father who, upon learning his estranged son died the first day into a pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago through France and Spain, decides to complete the pilgrimage for his son, scattering his ashes along the way.

He reluctantly takes on a handful of traveling companions, first and for our purposes most importantly, “Joost from Amsterdam.”

Yorick van Wageningen plays jovial Joost, the mountainous Dutchman –think a lumberjack in the off season– who is walking the 800km way to lose a few pounds to fit into the suit he needs to wear for his brother’s wedding. Throughout the film Joost provides good-hearted comic relief and despite his desire to drop weight, he gladly, gleefully partakes of local lamb and fresh goat’s cheese and every simple gastronomical pleasure the road offers him. He’s never portrayed as a glutton, just a bon vivant with an appetite for everything, including food.

The peregrinos (pilgrims) are well over half way through their months-long trek when it’s revealed Joost’s wife doesn’t want to sleep with him because he’s fat.

There is a scene where good-natured Joost looks at himself naked in the mirror as he sits down to a beautiful tray of room service, delivered on the one indulgent day of their journey. Watching him cry in frustration and shame…well, something got in my eye again. I think the mold is going around.

I won’t ruin the end of the film, I know how people on the internet are about spoilers, but I cannot recommend this film enough. Watch the trailer and then see it for yourself.

September 25, 2011

Comedy Tonight

Filed under: Humor,Movies — Twistie @ 1:53 pm

As autumn creeps in and the weather turns colder, there are few things I love as much as curling up with a good movie or two… or even three. And after a long day, I love having something to laugh at.

So here are some of my favorite comedies in no particular order, in case you’re looking for a source of a few good giggles anytime soon.

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