Friday, September 23, 2011

House of Sand and OH CRAP!

This was supposed to be a quick posting.  I have cookies to make for an auction prize.  I have to pick up my son at preschool and my car at the shop.  My programmer is in town and, I have to be ready to save him from wild bears (or we’ll never ship the game!).  When I’m in a hurry, I got look at my giant list of dead birds in film and do a DBIMentry.  This time I chose House of Sand and Fog, because I could complain a little about Oprah and get a DBIM entry in.

So I started here:

Title: House of Sand and Fog
Genre: Movie
Severity: 1 (one death)
Date: 2003
Description: The main character, while standing at a doc, sees a dead seagull floating in the water.  It’s foreshadowing of bad things to come.
Mitigating Factors: None.
Aggravating Factors: None.

Then, partway through writing that entry, I realized I really should have done a Movie Doctor entry.  The Movie Doctor posts are for movies that I think I could have done a better job with (in pseudo-analysis format that I got from the New York Times Magazine) and I could easily fix this film:

Patient: The House of Sand and Fog
Here's the main character moping.
Symptoms: Unlikable main character.  The story is about a woman who has her house taken from her in a bureaucratic mistake, because she’s pining after her ex-boyfriend.  Then she mopes about how it is bought by a family who is trying to flip it.  Then she mopes while she hooks up with a married man.  Then she mopes while he tries to trick, threaten and cajole the family into giving the house back.  Then she mopes while things spiral out of control and lots of people die.
Here she is moping on the phone.
Diagnosis: Oprah’s Book Club Syndrome.
Aaand here she is moping in the tub.
Treatment: Make the mopey main character no longer the main character.  Make the movie about the two men who are causing all the conflict.  One man is a poor ex-general from Iran who is trying to save his family through hard work.  The other is a man who gives up his family and career for a woman he barely knows.  Those men are fascinating; that woman is not.
Imagine this poster with two guys instead...  Yeah, not as hot.
When I finished it, I realized I needed to go more in depth about Oprah Book Club Syndrome.  That would have been a Common Parlance entry, which is a segment I do about terms I use that nobody else gets:

Oprah’s Book Club Syndrome
Oprah has a lot to answer for.  She’s promoted quack remedies, attacked people for daring to suggest psychic powers weren’t real, and forced her followers to watch that terrible movie she made.  Worst of all, she created “Oprah’s Book Club.”

For those of you who weren’t alive in the 2000s, Oprah’s Book Club was her attempt to get people to buy “quality” literature.  I put “quality” in quotes, because Oprah’s idea of a good book is: sob story about a woman.

The House of Sand and Fog is focused on a mopey woman main character simply because they had to appeal to that (enormous) audience instead of, you know, interesting characters.

When I finished writing the Common Parlance part, I realized I had blown my entire morning.


Think I can skip one of those tasks?  I mean, my kid can walk home from school…

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