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Home :: Archive :: 1999 :: April ::
Re: Shakespeare Related Films
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 10.0657  Monday, 12 April 1999.

[1]     From:   Hugh H. Davis <
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        Date:   Sunday, 11 Apr 1999 12:56:28 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 10.0647 Re: My Own Private Idaho

[2]     From:   Jimmy Jung <
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        Date:   Sunday, 11 Apr 1999 13:04:43 -0400
        Subj:   Ten Things I Hate About You

[3]     From:   Alexander Houck <
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        Date:   Sunday, 11 Apr 1999 15:44:31 -0700
        Subj:   SHK 10.0652 Re: Shakespeare as Character


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Hugh H. Davis <
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Date:           Sunday, 11 Apr 1999 12:56:28 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 10.0647 Re: My Own Private Idaho
Comment:        Re: SHK 10.0647 Re: My Own Private Idaho

I almost agree completely with Richard Burt, for -My Own Private Idaho-
is an almost great film. I think there are some key flaws, partly
induced by Keanu's monodimensional portrayal of Scott Favor, but it is a
fascinating attempt to transplant -Chimes- to modern Portland.  Van Sant
definitely deserves recognition for a noble effort, at the least, and a
solid success, in the greater.

While William Richert's (not Dennis Hopper) portrayal of Bob Pigeon is
clearly meant to suggest the standard Falstaff (in his girth, advanced
age, and pseudo-parental relationship with the Hal-figure), I think
Falstaff is split in two here.  Ms. Castaldo and others suggest River
Phoenix's Mike Waters is Poins, but there is no real reason for this
parallel, save the fact that Mike is a young friend of Scott's.  Mike
does not match Poins in character, plot, or action; Van Sant, meanwhile,
provides several minor (Mike's shirt has the name tag Bob; both are from
Idaho) and major (the pair possess an obvious unspoken bond; they react
virtually the same to similar circumstances) connections between the
two, positing the potential for a pair of Falstaffs.  Making Mike Poins
suggests a literal reading of the film, and this is clearly not a
literal translation of Shakespeare.

I agree -Idaho- requires a good background in either the Henriad or
Welles' film, but I can't see that as a condemnation.  Should a film be
cast aside for making allusions and film quotations?

Hugh Davis

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jimmy Jung <
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Date:           Sunday, 11 Apr 1999 13:04:43 -0400
Subject:        Ten Things I Hate About You

I should like to complain about the historical accuracy of "Ten Things I
Hate About You."

Just kidding.  It was a rough week and I wasn't ready for a war movie or
something set in the holocaust, so I took in this teen-age romance.
Without too many points of comparison in the genre, it seemed like a
decent flick.  I'm curious if any of our teacher folk are hearing the
reactions of the target high school audience.

(some mild spoilers follow)

In terms of what's left from "Taming," well there are still two sisters,
the bitchy older sister, the endlessly adored younger.  But Kat's
shrewessness seems more of a 90's non-conformist thing; her shrewishness
possibly extending from the an absentee mother and some dark history
with the Horensio character.  (It's been a while, and I forget why Kat
Minola was such a bitch).  Bianca is sweet, but what Shakespeare praised
as "gentility" is portrayed in this piece as a blond, dingy vapidness.
Oddly enough it seems that Bianca, more than anyone, does the character
growth thing.  In "Taming" it is Kate who is pulled out of her
environment and into his where her hard exterior is stripped away.  In
"10 Things" it is Peter Verona (the Petruchio character) who finds
himself in her world, in this case "Club Skunk" an aggressively feminist
bar and has his reputation as some form of juvenile delinquent stripped
away.

Having hung around with all you academics for so long, I was naturally
curious about how they would handle the "duty wives owe their husbands"
speech; stupid on my part.  Dominance and acquiescence have no place in
a teen-age romance movie, and we get a somewhat predictable prom scene
ending.  Nevertheless, the gaggle of teenagers two rows up seemed to
like it and it does have a great soundtrack.

Anyway, I remain curious about how discussions of the movie surface in
the classrooms.

Jimmy

PS.  In his review Ebert says that "10 Things" is inspired by "Taming"
in the same sense that "Starship Troopers" was inspired by "Titus
Andronicus."  I think he's joking, but if there is a connection I'd be
curious to know about it.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alexander Houck <
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Date:           Sunday, 11 Apr 1999 15:44:31 -0700
Subject: Re: Shakespeare as Character
Comment:        SHK 10.0652 Re: Shakespeare as Character

>Shakespeare also shows up as a character (sort of) in the recently
>released _Ten Things I Hate About You_.

I find it interesting how so many films now are not only movie versions
of these classical plays, but lifts of them.  Ten Things I Hate About
You is obviously a lift of The Taming of the Shrew.  I also liked the
new version of Twelfth Night also known as Never Been Kissed, with Drew
Barrymore.  It just goes to show that Shakespeare really is appealing to
a mass audience.

Alex Houck
Santa Clara University
 

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