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Charlie Hatton
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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

A Scandalous ‘Scandal’

For the baseball buffs, I’ve posted new Braves content over at Bugs & Cranks:

The Brundlefly Effect — How a famous mad scientist could help the Braves’ lineup this season.

And for those interested in current cinema and dubiously naked Englishwomen, read away below. You’ve been warned.

On Saturday, the missus and I took in a movie. We saw Notes on a Scandal, at our local theater / art film house / mecca for trendy pretentious assholes with film degrees and overdone gaudy scarves.

(For the record, I don’t even own a gaudy scarf. Or any scarf, for that matter. Nor do I have a film degree. I’m surprised they let me into an ‘artsy’ theater at all, frankly. Most places like that hand me a pamphlet for a local ‘Ernest Goes to…‘ festival and boot me out the door.)

“We go to movies like most couples pop out children, file for divorce, or engage in oral sex — once every two years, unless the urge is truly irresistable.”

This is the second movie we’ve been to recently — we saw Little Miss Sunshine at the same trendy theater a few months ago. I think that’s some sort of record for us. We go to movies like most couples pop out children, file for divorce, or engage in oral sex — once every two years, unless the urge is truly irresistable. Two movies in twelve months is simply unheard of.

It’s not as though we don’t like movies. We’re both fans of the cinema, though I’m not sure we have similar tastes. Since we recently joined NetFlix, we should have a definitive answer soon. If she orders up Bridget Jones’ Diary and Fried Green Tomatoes, I’ll know our cinematic tastes are hopelessly incompatible.

(And how could she not like Happy Gilmore and The Dirty Dozen? If she disses my classic movie selections, I’ll just cry; I know I will.

And not a good kind of cry, like at Field of Dreams, either. I mean a bad, ‘what the hell am I doing here?‘ kind of cry. Like when I got dragged to The English Patient. That was four and a half hours of my life I’ll never have back.)

At any rate, Notes on a Scandal was a pretty good flick. Not a ‘date movie’, mind you — were we just beginning our romance, there’d be a helluva lot in that movie to be squeamish about. But as a study of various pathologies and personality flaws inherent to human beings, it worked quite well.

Which is to say, it made me plenty squeamish. But in a ‘thinky‘ way, so it was worth the price of admission. I’d recommend it to most folks, save budding couples looking for a romantic laugh together. Princess Bride, this movie is not.

I don’t want to give away any bits of the plot, lest I ruin the film for you, but I will mention one thing — the Judi Dench bathtub moment.

That’s right. Dame Judi Dench — regal, distinguished, and not especially svelte. In a bathtub. Clothesless. It’s the sort of thing I think you should know about ‘up front’, so to speak.

But you need to know more. When I went to see the movie, I knew about the scene in question. I’d read a review that mentioned Dench’s nudity in passing. And not in a particularly flattering way, so I expected the worst. I was where many of you probably are right now, picturing the Dame en flagrante — and none the less nauseous for it.

Judi Dench is a phenomenal actress — but we don’t need to see all of her ‘talents’ on the silver screen. There’s something (occasionally) to be said for a demure air of mystery. Or at least a towel.

So it was with great trepidation that I sat down to watch Notes on a Scandal, with thoughts of an even more ‘scandalous’ image seeping through my brain. And that’s why I’m here — to assuage your fears. To tell you that things aren’t as bad as they seem. That it’s always darkest before the bathtub scene. Or words to that effect.

You see, I anticipated the worst. I half expected Dame Dench to don a leather corset and striptease her way into the bathwater. Happily, I was misguided. There was no shaking of the booty, grinding of the nethers, or lathering of the unmentionables in the movie.

Instead a disrobed but demure Dench lay in the bath with a forearm covering her upper naughties, and with her nether naughties well below the water or camera level. The scene was a mere few seconds long, and was over nearly before it began. All of the distraction and trepidation I’d felt for the movie was for naught.

(Well, not all of it. There’s still the matter of the flappy arm skin and the near-wattle. And the rather disturbing relevation before the bathtub scene that Judi Dench bears more than a passing resemblance to my grandmother.

Still, it could have been worse. Much worse.)

And that’s why I’m telling you of my experience. Should you have an interest in seeing this movie — and hear that Judi Dench is sans cover in the tub in one scene — don’t let that deter you. This isn’t Dennis Franz’ ass we’re talking about; it’s a much tamer shot in a far better context. Fear not the spectre of a bare saggy actress, and concentrate on the story, like I wasn’t able to. I guarantee you’ll have an easier time than I did.

Come to think of it, the same holds true for Little Miss Sunshine. Nobody wants to see Alan Arkin in anything resembling his birthday suit.

Man. I’ve got to find less disturing movies to watch. Or a less artsy theater. Or I need to buy an overwrought scarf. Yow.

Permalink  |  2 Comments

2 Responses to “A Scandalous ‘Scandal’”

  1. Lori says:

    Weird…those are the two movies I saw this year too. When I went to see “Notes” I was expecting a thriller…more Hitchcock’s “Frenzy” than what it was, but I liked it.

    The most disturbing part of the bathtub scene was having it roll over me like a black cloud that I WILL BE A 70 YEAR OLD WOMAN SOMEDAY and to make sure I don’t have a bathtub then (a nice encased shower with dark glass, where there’s no possibility of a wayward movie camera getting in and poking around or any possibility of terrifying the neighbors through the bathroom window.) Thanks, Chris, for reading my future, thanks a lot.

  2. Sofullofit says:

    Notes, Judi, bathtubs, being 70…geezus isn’t there something else to focus on. Naked or not, exposure, flab, skin, expectations…so goddam American and prude. Who gives a goddamn who is naked, or flabby, or in the tub. Brilliant acting, amazing storytelling…get over yourselves! This was like reading a school childs account of their first encounter with nudity. Art film schmart film, scarf smchmarf…get a grip!

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