Category Archives: Movies

Plunkett & Macleane (1999): They rob from the rich . . . and just keep it.

Rebecca: [after her father has asked why she is dancing with Macleane] He doesn’t make my flesh crawl.
Macleane: *Thank* you.

Aha, here it is, in all its glory, with all the IMDB info for you Long Eighteenth folk to feast upon:

The summaries make it sound a lot cheesier than I remembered it. Had no memory at all of Liv Tyler, or her bad accent, or Alan Cummings as a bisexual aristocrat called “Lord Rochester,” unaccountably stranded in mid-18th century London. (Maybe he was a ghost! Risen up from the dead!)

What I do remember is the excellence of the soundtrack, which was by Craig Armstrong, and the fact that the aesthetic of Trainspotting was somehow imported into it wholesale, probably by bringing in Jonny Lee Miller and Robert Carlyle as the leads, after they were first noticed in Trainspotting.

Directed by Jake Scott, son of Ridley I believe, and whose previous experience was mostly music videos. But I thought the script and acting were matched pretty well with the visuals, which really were spectacular.

OK, any other takers for their favorite 18th century costume drama, crappy or otherwise?




Marie Antoinette (the film)?

Well, it’s Friday night, and I thought maybe we all needed to think very seriously about whether we’ll ever watch Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette, either in a theater (nope, not this year) or possibly with a rental (perhaps, if we can manage to stay up that late).

It all depends on whether splashy, glossy Hollywoody historical costume dramas set in our period really appeal to you as a know-it-all eighteenth century specialist.

On the one hand, maybe a movie like this means that what we study is really, really popular! It does have Spiderman’s girlfriend in it, after all. But maybe this kind of casting is the only way a mass audience could be induced to watch a movie like this.

Here’s the question: do you still get chills thinking about the time Madonna did “Vogue” at the Video Music Awards with a Versailles-theme, complete with male dancers in matching wigs and hot pants?

I enjoyed the Madonna version of Marie Antoinette, actually, but I’m not sure that Sofia Coppola has really thought this through, any more than Madonna did when she strapped on that wig and bustle.

This doesn’t give me much confidence either:

While some critics have compared Marie Antoinette with modern-day female icons ranging from Paris Hilton to Diana, Princess of Wales, Coppola denies any connection. “I’m not even going to comment on Paris,” she says. “As for Princess Diana, I wasn’t really thinking of her when I was making the film but in hindsight I can see a connection between her and Marie Antoinette; this young girl put into this royal family without a lot of freedom. I can definitely see similarities in that royal life but I wasn’t thinking specifically of her.”

But what do I know? Has anyone seen it? Or intends to see it? Maybe it’s fabulous, and I’m just too tired to watch a lavish historical costume drama starring Spiderman’s girlfriend.

Best wishes, and happy weekend,