Saturday, March 28, 2009


Sarah and I sat on the couch tonight talking about the various qualms that any engaged couple has, I think. We talked about various dreams we'd had in the past weeks and the nervous twitters and the slow shedding of skins that is required if we're ever going to try to get inside someone else's skin. For my part, one of my struggles is, quite frankly, with domesticity.

Tonight, case in point. We spent the evening unpacking the latest wedding shower gifts, which included myself spending an hour putting various and sundry spices into a new spice rack container. While taking out the recycling, I stopped in the pale moonlight and seriously contemplated peeing in the corner of the yard for no other reason than it was night and it was possible. I mean, let's be honest: peeing in your own yard is an honest pleasure. It's a struggle, after being un-housebroken for 13 years, to be domesticated, to spend an evening putting up silverware and writing thank-you notes. But it's a fight worth having, I think, as I love this woman, and a certain level of domesticity is part of the deal.

Which leads to my review of The Secret Life of Bees. If tonight's agenda of stocking coriander seeds wasn't scintillating enough, last night was writing thank you notes (albeit, for some cool stuff, like a 12 cup French press and a griddle), and watching a chick flick with fiancee and fiancee's mom. I'll spare you the blow by blow, and sum up the plot in four sentences:

1) White girl runs away from abusive dad to hide out in Civil-Rights era small town with black family.

2) Girl learns value of cultural differences through bottling honey and hanging out with Queen Latifah and Alicia Keys.

3) Girl turns her back on father and becomes a writer.

4) Alicia Keys looks really good and way intimidating. No clue why this movie is called what it is.

Paste magazine, one of my favorite monthly reads, gave this film a 37% rating out of 100. If you're looking for estrogenal overload, this is it. As a pubescent Dakota Fanning tried to convince me that she was falling in love with a 17 year old dude, I could feel nostrils flaring. As Queen Latifah tried to convince me that she was really a matronly figure who believed in the Black Madonna, I felt my beard growing more prickly and resistant to feminine wiles. Again, I love Sarah Martin, and Barb is a great future mother-in-law, but next time, I'm renting Pineapple Express and going in the back room.

One-half racist old guy out of five.


myleswerntz said...

Most of our readers will realize, of course, I'm all talk.

John Barber said...

Ah, the things you do for pre-married love. Once it's official, you won't have to do this kind of crap.

Um, nobody else is going to read this, right?

Jessica Schwartz said...

Hahaha... I enjoyed reading this, Myles.

Janna said...

But the book really is wonderful, Mr. Werntz. And you would understand the title if you read it. When I saw the previews for this movie, I thought "oh no!" But I secretly hoped they could pull it off. Sounds a bit like what happened with DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA YA SISTERHOOD movie. Some moviemakers (actors included) need to stick to the Hallmark channel.

Jack said...

There's nothing wrong with peeing in your backyard. Just sayin...

matt said...

My wife enjoyed the book, but I have managed to put off watching the movie with her indefinitely. There is hope for you, my friend. You just gotta keep a steady eye on the Netflix queue.

the hamster said...

myles, i read the book. janna, i disagree: the queen latifah character was way too wise and quotable. she was like emerson and angelou before revision. couldn't believe her. everything felt like a stretch, everything felt like a wash. and i was only tempted to see this film because i love queen latifah, and i fancy dakota fanning. (i love queen because she's awesome, not because she's a good actress.)

myles, you are a good man. you will be a good husband. and, occasionally, the wife will work late, stay out with ladies, or travel without you, on those nights you will pee in the yard and howl at the moon. and then you'll crawl in bed and think, damn, i don't know how to wake up in the morning or what to do after that. and other people will notice when your wife is out of town. and that's a good thing.

until then, wanna catch some bruce campbell flicks?

myleswerntz said...

dude, as long as you're within driving distance, i'm always up for bruce campbell flicks.

Stacey Lawlis said...

Ha ha. Loved this. Just wait... I'm pretty sure you still have to do this kind of crap once it's official. At least occasionally. :)

Ever seen August Rush? That one was too saccharine even for me. I think we made it fifteen minutes in before we gave up... horrible.

the hamster said...

stacey lawlis? oh hell yes! i always love an old friend around the table.

saccharine: friday the 13th part 8. too tame. too little of the good stuff. too little of what we paid for. and they squeaked in romance. shameful.

myleswerntz said...

I had to watch August Rush with the family over Christmas. True--way too much sugar, and Robin Williams was way too creepy.

Janna said...

Kevin -- do you mean the character in the book was too much or the portrayal in the movie? I have not seen the movie. Are you saying you didn't like the book at all? Or just her. Clarify please.

the hamster said...

janna - i remember feeling that the entire book was pretty. sometimes, too pretty, like staring at a hummingbird stained glass window decoration on a super shiny day. eventually i just wanted to look away. forever.

i particularly did not like that lead woman, the one always spouting off the mega-philosophy. it just got weird after awhile how she had every answer to every question and how she only spoke in divinely quotable emerson-type lines. she did not talk like a person.

i remember liking the way the women took in the girl. there was something real and honest there. it was that story that kept me reading. i saw all these downtrodden minority women taking in this downtrodden girl of majority status, and the reversal of ministries was quite striking. but that storyline got muddled with the main lady speaking coffee mugs and quote-a-day desk calenders all over the dedgum place.

i also read that book directly after reading hardy's TESS OF THE D'UBERVILLES and THE MAYOR OF CASTERBRIDGE. women do not fair well in hardy novels, but they still come out at some afflicted heroine of sorts that could only be steaming jealous of hester prynne. so, yeah, the girl power in THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES was intriguing, but, by the end, i wasn't convinced that anything really worthwhile had happened.

i think i will write a book about some dopey boys taking in their recently laid off and divorced high class father. and they will care for him and speak in cliches. and they will remind their father to get in touch with the simple pleasures of life, like oven bake pizzas, backgammon, and overly plush couch cushions. and it will be called THE EXHIBITIONIST BENDER OF BEER. and then i will have queen latifah play the trophy wife of the dad and dakota fanning as their adopted romanian daughter. and i will win an oscar.

Janna said...

sorry i forgot to check for your response, kevin. thanks for the clarification. perhaps you are right about the speech. still, perhaps because i am a girl and was once a teenage girl, i felt a connection with it. probably the motherlessness. i have since read about ms. monk kidd and how she used to be one of those devotional type writers and had to leave the mainstream religious thing she was doing in pursuit of a sacred feminine. so i think this story is about her search for that. i tried to read "dance of the dissident daughter," but couldn't stomach it. weird, because i do desire more than just "the holy ghost" as the womanly expression of God. then, i also heard that "the mermaid chair" was just awful. so, i haven't picked up anything else.

just curious here, did you ever read Divine Secrets?