It was a dark and stormy night...
Beautiful Alice's husband, Handsome Jeffrey, was in Indianapolis at the beck and call of his employers. Her two adorable littles were being stuffed with fruit pies at Gramma's and something was skulking around her bushes.
"In this weather?" I said. "I'll bet it's a cat or a dog or something trying to get some cover from the rain."
"Cats and dogs don't bother me." Alice replied. "It's the 'or something' that has me worried."
"Alice, this is the first time you've had the house to yourself in nearly a year. You're supposed to be reveling in this. If I were you, I'd be running around the house naked except for a hat."
"I don't have a hat. I don't really have a hat head..."
"Okay. Not a hat. The centerpiece from your dining room table. I've always wanted to put it on my head and pretend I was in a Botticelli painting."
"You're so weird."
"Me? I'm not the one seeing monsters in my shrubbery."
"They're not monsters!" Alice protested. "For all you know it could be a crazed psychopath with a big knife."
"A big knife? Paging Dr. Freud! Do you want me to come over?"
"Bring your popcorn popper."
"What are we watching?"
"You'll find out when you get here. Oh, wait. There's someone on the other line."
There was a click and then a moment later she came back on.
"That was Kevin. He's coming, too and he's promised me there will be no Keanu"
"I'll believe that when I see it."
A half hour later the three of us were planted in Alice and Jeffrey's bigass sofa, clicking through the previews. First in the player was Cocteau's 1946 film, "La Belle et la bete". It's easy to see this movie strictly as a piece of lovely eye candy, but some of the themes about sexual attraction and relationships were a little surprising. I've always assumed that Beauty and the Beast was all about the calming power of love. Nope. Belle is one kinky lady. In Cocteau's version, Belle is at first frightened and repulsed by the benighted prince. However, she does a quick turnaround and soon it's pretty apparent that the girl can't help it, she's a freak for bears. By the final scene, where one might expect maybe a flicker of disappointment when the beast turns into a rather dandified man, Josette Day's face registers something along the lines of "Merde! Serait-il trop pour te demander de ne pas raser pour une semaine ou trois ??" (translation: Well, gosh darn it! I was expecting maybe a little more evidence of testosterone?) And then tra la la la happy ending kiss kiss the film was over and we loaded up the 1991 Disney Beauty and the Beast. It was more of the same, really, only it was kind of teenagey and had better music. I would love to see Bruce Campbell play Gaston just to hear him sing "Me".
Glutted on all of that eye candy and fairy tale magic, we grasped the romance on an intellectual level but none of us could personally see the attraction to such fixer-uppers. Then, because nobody was in the mood for sleep, we decided to watch one more movie, "Fur - An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus". Nicole Kidman does an outstanding job as Arbus, who, in this movieverse, is the bored, repressed wife of a portrait photographer. While venturing out on her own, she is spotted and pursued by Lionel, a former circus freak and artist of sorts who has whatever disorder it is that causes people to be incredibly hirsute. (Yes, I should look it up, but I'm also feeling lazy. Sorry.) Underneath all of that hair is Robert Downey, Jr., but the only way you really know it's him is because of his eyes and the voice. Fine, that's all we need. I mean, that's we needed to know it was RDJ. Okay. Forty minutes in, we wanted to have his babies. Maybe it was leftover buzz from Iron Man, but lordy, he was compelling.
Until Nicole Kidman shaved him. I yelped, Alice barked, "Oh HELL no!" and Kevin looked stunned and asked us if we were gay.
"What is wrong with you? That's Robert Downey, Jr's ass!"
Alice started reading a copy of Western Horseman that was sitting on the coffee table I took the remote and tried to find the button that would show me how much movie was left so I would know if I had time to make some popcorn. Kevin wrestled the remote away and sat on me for the duration of the sex scene. Just so you know, I saw more of Kevin's ass than I did of anyones' in the movie. Thanks, Kevin.
And then Lionel died and Kevin got sniffly and Diane went to the nudist colony and it was over.
We looked guiltily at each other and realized that we finally got it, it being what would make Belle want the Beast but settle for the prince.
Alice went to the kitchen and came back with three plastic novelty Halloween glasses full of cherry cider and passed them around.
"We will not speak of this to anyone." she intoned. We all nodded and took a sip of the magic cider while it thundered and monsters lurked in Alice's holly bushes.
copyright 2008 Jas Faulkner