Monday, January 19, 2009

Where the Extreme Cold Turns Mel into a Total Slacker for Six Days

Illinois was hit last week with an extreme cold snap accompanied by multiple inches of snow. With temps dipping down to -32 with the wind chill, school was canceled for three days in a row. One snow day is a pleasant surprise. Two is kind of a guilty pleasure. Three just gets downright excessive. I've spent the past six days (three snow days, a weekend, and then a Monday off to honor MLK) doing, well, not much of anything. Yes, I took my speech team to a meet on Saturday. I had a meeting yesterday. And that's about the extent of it. I spent about 90% of the time off sitting in my living room wrapped up in my sleeveless snuggie (aka blanket) watching tv and movies, reading, hanging out on facebook, and feeling vaguely guilty that I am not being more active.

The good part of this slackerdom, though, is that I finally got around to watching Persepolis, the brilliant animated film about a young girl growing up in Iran as the Shah is overthrown and the Islamic regime takes over. If you've not seen it, please go do so. (It's available for instant viewing for Netflix members!) I'm normally not a big fan of animation (I appreciate the art form, but for me, something's missing usually), but I was intrigued by the story, which is autobiographical, and by the style. Persepolis is almost entirely animated in black and white which lends this sleek, beautiful artistic style to the film. It's funny, touching, inspiring, and so much more. It was nominated last year for Best Animated Feature, losing out to Ratatouille, which is a darn shame. While I thought Ratatouille was charming in its way, Persepolis had something to say and said it in a daring way. Wouldn't it be nice for a grown up movie to win Best Animated Feature? One of the reasons why I tend to shy away from animated films is that they are almost always aimed at kids. As someone who gets closer and closer to 40, I often feel silly watching these films with their headache-inducing brightness and manic energy that's designed to keep children engaged. Plus, in all honesty, I have a hard time rooting for dogs or rats or robots or cars or whatever Pixar and their associates are pimping this year. I like actors. Persepolis is paced for adults. I honestly found myself forgetting that it was animated; that's how engaged I was in the story and the characters.

So tomorrow it's back to work to begin the long process of getting the kids back on track after such an unexpected break. I leave a couple movies still to watch in my DVR (as well as Kevin Kline's Cyrano from Great Performances a couple weeks ago), but there are always Sundays to play catch up again.


NICKI said...
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NICKI said...

Really? Ratatouille WON something? I no it is a cartoon, but shouldn't it at least be remotely plausible within context? Why does pulling someone's hair cause him to move his arms? Why does only one person see the rat? I'm sorry, I just didn't buy it and couldn't see it through to the end...sorry for the rant.

NICKI said...

...and the misspelling. I know it's "know"!

Mel said...

I honestly fell asleep watching Ratatouille. I also just couldn't get over the vomit factor of a kitchen full of rats.