It really looks like SNL upped their comedic game on Saturday with host James Franco, with his BFF Seth Rogen popping in for a couple of cameos, and the writers of the show outdid themselves by picking on Kim Kardashian via Nicki Minaj in their Weekend Update portion of the episode. The 31 year old rapper came out as Kim, complete with long hair and boobs that threatened to pop out of her top, to speak to the anchor Colin. In the skit, Kardashian is upset about that photoshoot and she claims that everything has been taken out of context.
Just when it seems that Saturday Night Live has been shooting comedy blanks this season, James Franco shows up for his third time hosting the show and luckily for fans of the show, this was one of the funniest episodes this year. This is one time that the makers of SNL got almost everything right. Franco’s monologue may not have been hysterically funny, but the addition of Seth Rogen guaranteed that the audience would get a charge out of seeing the two “BFFs” together for an impromptu riff on the Sony leak.
What do you do when you want to watch the latest Guillermo del Toro film and there’s nothing new to watch? Do the next best thing and watch a film produced by del Toro and directed by his protégée.
Directed by Juan Antonio Bayona as his first feature film, he must have done something right, because he’s just finished making The Impossible with Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts and Geraldine Chaplin. Of course he had del Toro to guide him and it shows. The Orphanage looks, feels and sounds like a del Toro film.
But that is not a bad thing, at all.
The Orphanage, or El Orfanato, is a Genre film. This term Genre was coined when critics tried to put Joss Wedon’s works into a specific genre. Whedon specialises in blending several different genres into one film or program, hence the use of a new film type of genre that is called just ‘genre.’ The term fits this film like a glove.
The film combines elements from the worlds of horror, the supernatural, fantasy, mystery, thriller, drama and tragedy. It borrows more than a little from the children’s tale of Peter Pan and the lost boys. It also offers up deep heart breaking truths that almost make you want to pull your hair and rend your cloths with grief for the main character. It is in essence the very picture of a ‘Genre’ film and it is a masterpiece by any definition.
The film opens in 1976, a young girl named Laura is playing with her friends and fellow orphanage ‘inmates’ when she finds out that she has been adopted. Playing the game, one-two-three-knock on the wall is the last activity she will enjoy with her friends.
The film moves up to present day and the now 37 year old Laura (Belén Rueda) and husband Carlos (Fernando Cayo) along with their adopted son Simón (Roger Príncep) move back to her old orphanage home. She and Carlos have purchased the old building with plans to renovate it into a home for disabled and terminally ill children. Laura and Carlos want to do this for two reasons, Simón their adopted son has HIV and is dying and Laura has wonderful memories of the place and wants to recreate them with Carlos’s help. Especially poignant is the fact that Simón doesn’t know that he is dying.
While Carlos and Laura are renovating the old orphanage, Simón has found a new friend Tomás and Laura gets a visit from a ‘social worker’ Benigna Escobeda (Montserrat Carulla) who says she checking on Simón because of his HIV status. Later Laura finds Escobeda skulking around the coal cellar. She and Carlos call the police who reveal that Escobeda is not a social worker.
Simón draws a picture of his new friend and he shows him having a cloth bag over his head. Laura is intrigued but is too busy organising an open day party to raise interest in the planned children’s home. On the day of the party, Simón and Laura have a huge falling out. It seems that Tomás and the other ‘invisible’ children that Simón has been playing with have shown him his adoption file and that he will soon die from the HIV. A fact that neither Laura nor Carlos have passed on to Simón.
Laura tries to make up with Simón who wants her to see Tomás’s “little house” but because of the party she doesn’t have time. With Simón angry at her again, he storms off to play with his friend. During the party, Laura keeps seeing a child with a burlap bag over his head. When she tries to track him down, he vanishes. So does Simón. During the party both Laura and Carlos look for him but he cannot be found. The police are contacted and they think that perhaps Escobeda has taken him.
The rest of the film deals with Laura and Carlos trying to find Simón and work out what happened to him.
As I said at the beginning of this article, this film has so many elements in it. Geraldine Chaplain has a cameo as a psychic that Laura and Carlos call in to help them find out what happened to Simón. Whether you think of The Orphanage as a ghost film, a fantasy or, especially after the ending, a bittersweet fairy tale, the film will affect you.
I found myself jumping with fright, tensing with suspense, flinching with horror and getting a lump in my throat with tears streaming down my face, several times during the film. The allusions to Peter Pan and Laura being a Spanish Wendy to Simón and the ‘lost children’ of the orphanage are obvious and heartbreaking.
If you watch The Orphanage, be prepared to be put through an emotional wringer. But believe me, it is worth the exhausting journey that you take with these characters.
Guillermo del Toro has taught Juan Antonio Bayona well.
- THE IMPOSSIBLE Starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts Set for Release on December 21 (collider.com)
- Gemma Atkinson’s boobs ‘too big for Peter Pan costume’ (mya.co.uk)
- Gary Ross in Talks to Direct Disney’s Peter Pan Prequel ‘Peter and the Starcatchers’ (slashfilm.com)
- To Be Young Again: Maturity and Adolescence in Wes Anderson’s ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ (Feature) (popmatters.com)
I am having my MRI done tomorrow. I have to admit, I am a little worried. Not because of the MRI itself, but rather, what it might show. I have had one before, it showed the specialist treating my lower back problem what was happening and ultimately how he could go about fixing it.
In 1999 I got the results of my MRI and it finally showed everyone why my back was killing (metaphorically) me. I had a rotting disc in my lower back. I also found out that I had one leg significantly shorter than the other, although if he told me which leg it was I have since forgotten.
The disc, though, was the thing causing all the problems. I was told it was congenital, meaning that I had probably been born that way. Pieces of the rotting disc were getting lodged against nerve endings which was why nothing in the way of pain medication was really working. And believe me when I tell you, I was taking hand-fulls of the stuff.
I had my operation in September 1999 and they replaced my rotting disc with a titanium box filled with bone shavings from my hip. All very space-agey. They then put giant staples in my back to hold the skin together and sent me home.
And apart from my immediate concern that if I strained too hard at anything the staples might come out, I was fine. Once the staples were taken out and I finished getting back to ‘normal’ health wise, I then had to wean myself off of the pain medicine.
Everything was great for ages. I went through a sort of ‘Peter Pan‘ stage of my life. My back never bothered me apart from the odd time I would pull a muscle. Then I got injured at work.
Nothing dramatic just a short, fast, fall to the floor with the weight of three other people to propel our short journey. I noticed my back hurting after I had filled in the report of what happened and placed two of the people on report. All in a days work. Or so I thought. I went to work for three more shifts. Each shift I worked it became more painful to walk until I finally had to throw in the towel and go the the surgery.
After lots of physiotherapy and a load of pain pills later, I am still not back to normal. I am better, just not better enough. I know that I have somehow incurred some sort of nerve damage. But at 53, if I require an operation to put it right, I won’t heal as quickly as I did when I 41. It’s an age thing. And if I take too long to heal, I could lose my job and either way I am going to lose money.
So I sit here and worry, get crotchety and sometimes throw all my toys out of the pram. I get angry at the silliest of things and completely ignore the things I should get angry at. I am acting illogically and I know it, damn it.
So I’ll be glad when the damn thing is done. That way I’ll know if I even need to worry.
- Distraction As Pain Relief (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging Becomes Art: Julia Barello (carolofwords.wordpress.com)
- is it safe to have mri with titanium plates (jamessandlin2.typepad.com)
- Magnetic Resonance: Bioeffects, Safety, and Patient Management online (dtrnibun.typepad.com)
- MRI Scanner – What Makes That Banging Noise? (lockergnome.com)