Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Quiz and a couple of movies

Last night my wife and I went to a fundraising quiz at one of the local taverns.   Nice and warm inside, but a bit of a shock to come outside and find a skiff of snow on the ground.  There'd been snow forecast, but nine times out of ten it doesn't arrive.  Anyway, it wasn't anything much and we drove home without incident.  This morning there was a bit more snow on the ground, but still not enough to stop my intrepid wife from driving part of the way to work and then walking the rest.  

I haven't been to many quiz nights like this: it was a combination of quiz questions (the winning team got a prize, of course) and endless raffles, and another thing where you got a celebrity name (I was Pavarotti) and if you're name was called you went up and got a prize.  They had prizes galore - obviously firms are happy to donate to these sorts of things, though they must get called on constantly for support.  

Pubs are noisy places, with the televisions going up on the TV mounts on the walls, and the filling of glasses at the bar, and the general chatter (including from those who aren't participating in the quiz night), and the restaurant area making its usual sorts of noises. 

We did quite well, all up, though we didn't get placed.  We needed to do better than our top score in a section, which was only eight.  I think we got down to five points in another section.  The sports questions were the worst, but a bunch of answers beginning with S restored our confidence.  And it turned out we had a 'rabid royalist' in our group (according to her friend) so she helped with the section on the monarchy.  

On Monday night my wife and I caught up on the film, Precious.  She'd been wanting to see it for some time, and certainly it was worth seeing, if only for the performances alone. Gabourey Sidibe is a revelation in the lead role, and Mo'Nique, who's apparently tended to play comic roles in the past, is a nightmare as the abusive and self-centred mother.  Mariah Carey also eschews her star presence and appears in a few scenes as the social worker.  Great film, though it was sometimes difficult to pick up on what the younger actors were saying because of their individual 'dialects.'  

We went to see the movie version of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, the other day, too.  Delightful movie, though I think it takes some liberties with the storyline as well as casting Kristin Scott Thomas as the PR person - this was a male character in the original.  However, Thomas does a great job with it, scary as hell, and plainly awful as a person.   The book's telling of the story through diary entries, emails and other notes is lost to a great extent - although Skype replaces some of the communications, and there are emails written at various points, with the text running over the screen.  I think the movie also changes the 'love story' between the two main characters.  It's several years since I read it, but I noted on this blog at the time "the romance aspect is quietly handled, and there’s no shattering of marriages or sudden changes of direction for the characters," something that isn't quite like the movie, where the two main characters obviously go off into the sunset with each other at the end, leaving the uppity wife and the returned soldier on the sidelines.   I'll have to check the book out again sometime and see how it deals with this.  

However the movie stands on its own feet quite comfortably, and retains at least one of the most delightfully funny lines from the book.  Fred, the main character, has had a bit of an argument with his so-superior wife, who always expects everything to be on her terms.  “The rest of the evening was a bit of a frost, but when we went to bed, I think Mary must have felt a little guilty about the way she had changed her plans. Suffice to say, my new Marks & Spencer pyjamas were not required for the early part of the night. A relatively rare event in our marriage of late. Afterwards Mary said, ‘There now, darling, that should keep you going for a bit.’” (Page 30)

Ewan McGregor is great in the main role.  He fits it like a glove, and of course, rolls his accent around the lines with great enjoyment.  McGregor has sometimes seemed out of 'fit' with his film roles, such as the young Obi Wan Kenobi, or in Moulin Rouge or in a sci-fi the name of which I can't remember at present.  But here everything works, and it's a joy to see. 

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