two completely unrelated topics.

Unrelated Topic #1: Not a Real Film Critic

Not a real film critic. But thankful for stadium seating.
Last night, at midnight (which is when I watch all my PG13 and R rated movies), I watched the movie DIVERGENT. Full disclosure: I have not read the book yet. But after watching the movie, I will just stick myself out on a limb and say: I sense this is one of those movies that was better as a book.

It wasn't bad! It wasn't bad. It was a thoroughly enjoyable movie watching experience--it kept my attention, I was invested in the outcome for the main characters. It was a good movie. Shailene Woodley was amazingly good--and also, she has great hair. I think I mostly stayed glue to the screen just to watch Shailene's gorgeous, thick, shiny hair in action. What products does one need to get hair like that? But she's also stunningly talented...in case you haven't seen it yet or read the book or just don't like spoiler-y people in general, I won't tell you the circumstances--but there is a scene in the movie that if you don't cry with her or at the very least tear up? Something is terribly, terribly wrong with you and you should seek help.

Also, at the beginning of the movie, I teared up when she made a decision to leave for a different kind of life than she'd always thought she'd have. It hit me in the stomach, and I was all kinds of ooh, THIS is going to be one of those movies I get to pick apart psychologically, yay! But then it wasn't and boo. But it still wasn't bad. It's just...there were parts that just didn't seem that believable to me. Or were missing something. I think real film critics call that plot issues. One bit that sort of annoyed me was when the heroine (Tris) was in grave danger and her boyfriend trainer guy comes and saves her. I really hate that in movies--damsels in distress getting saved by a knight in shining armor. If I want a Disney princess movie, I'll watch Cinderella. One of the reasons I wanted to see DIVERGENT was because it was about a strong girl who finds herself. So things didn't add up, or they just...I kept thinking of THE HUNGER GAMES, is what I think I'm trying to say. Throughout the whole film, I just kept waiting for them to kill each other so the odds would ever be in their favor. But ultimately this Tris was no Katniss. Even though their names kind of rhyme.

And hey...just as a side note: Millenials, can we talk for a second? What is with you guys? With all this killing each other and punching each other and all the stark futuristic emo crap? Whatever happened to just sitting around in the high school library for Saturday detention, mourning one's life, while songs by Simple Minds play softly in the background? Or being angsty about turning sixteen because your mom and dad forgot your birthday on account of your sister getting married? I bet social media and smart phones have a lot to do with this. Too much Internet--you guys! It's turning our teens into cyborgs. I bet 100 years from now humanity is going to look just like The Hunger Games/Divergent. With some sparkly vampires running around here and there. 

I submit the above movie "critique" as hard evidence why I'm not a real film critic. And still need a date with a movie professional so I can sound like I actually know what I'm doing when I talk about why movies did or didn't work for me.

Unrelated Topic #2: Anglophilia.

Union Jacks are colourful.
I've been very open about my life-long, deep love for all things UK. I think it started in high school when I discovered Monty Python and then subsequently started watching British comedies on PBS--Black Adder, Only Fools and Horses, Fawlty Towers, Steptoe and Son. British humor (humour?) makes me laugh and laugh. 

Other reasons why I heart the British/Scottish/Irish/Welsh:

*They spell swanky
Which means even when they swear, they sound swank. And let me tell you, having hung out with some UK ex-pats for a bit, people from the UK make swearing an art form. As an American with a love for the British, I find it shocking and endearing all at once.

They're not bars like here--everybody hangs out at the local pub, even the kids. Pubs are for families (possibly not after 10 pm). I mean: Guinness. And Toad in the Hole! And situations like THIS:

*Boxing Day. 
You all! I think the British get, like, TWO Christmases. And then they made up that whole song The Twelve Days of Christmas. Christmas is, like, a THING in the UK.

*The British royal family
I know some English people feel they must go, they are draining the country. But I like them. Especially Harry. (Especially Harry.) Getting rid of the British royal family would be like...like...like making everyone in the UK switch to driving on the right-hand side of the road.

*British endearments
My favorite British thing ever is when they call you "love." It feels warm and embracing, and I'd pretty much be putty in the hands of any British person who used it on me. I was once told, in a faux Irish pub here in Atlanta, by a real bloke from Liverpool that the endearment "love" is going away. And that made me sad. But then he called me "love" all afternoon after I told him I liked it, and that made me hopeful. I'm hopeful for you, UK. Don't let me down. There's not much I wouldn't do for a Brit wielding the word "love," and I sense many of my American counterparts feel the same.

We call it soccer, but it makes more sense to call it football. Our football doesn't really involve a lot of foot work, unless it's running. Really, our football ought to be called Helmet-Shoulder Pads Rugby. Or Tackleball since there's so much jumping on top of each other. Calling our football Tackleball would free us up to join the rest of the world and call soccer what it actually is: football. Get on that, ESPN. (ESPN and all American NFL fans are evil eyeing and hissing at me right now, calling me a traitor...I can really feel it.)  

Also, that Liverpool guy who called me love? He taught me what a "pitch" is. I was with him and a bunch of UK and South African people watching 2007 World Cup games, and everyone kept screaming about people doing things on the pitch. American me kept looking around the screen wondering when someone would throw the ball (because baseball pitchers), and going: that's weird--I thought only the goalie gets to throw the ball in this game; why do they keep telling the players to pitch? So, finally, I leaned over to my Liverpudlian table mate and said that to him. After a 20 second very intense stare, he finally got what I was asking, rolled his eyes, sighed, and said, "You Americans. Everything's about how America does it. No, love. No one's pitching anything. The 'pitch' is the field. It's another word for field." Then he proceeded to teach me about how Liverpool has two teams, the Reds and the Blues (they have actual team names, but I've forgotten and I'm too lazy to look them up). He was a Red person. Apparently, the Red people go around and say things like "Red til I'm dead!" I don't know what the Blues say (Blue til I'm due?) , but according to Tim from Liverpool, who cares? Blue people are going DOWN. Still, they're also called the friendliest league because, within whole families, you'll have some people who are Red and some who are Blue. And so you can't just keep yelling at each other about football Red people vs. Blue people all the time, can you? 

I told Tim (from Liverpool) that this sounded a lot like the American Civil War. He looked at me very hard for another 20 seconds, then shook his head and took a long sip of English ale.

(On a slightly related side note: Miss M has been signed up for Spring Soccer (Football). Her team is the Fire United. Maybe because Manchester United was taken? I confess: I really don't know how sports work.)

*How the British say "I love you." 
Basically, it seems to work like this: when the British love you, they insult you. When they're super polite and sweet with you, they pretty much hate your guts. The more you are loved, the more you are gently insulted. Gentle insults are they only way Brits know how to express love. I suspect William the Conqueror may have been responsible for this, but I'm only saying that because William's archbishop is my ancestor. 

At any rate, once I figured this out, I felt really bad for going off on an English friend of mine several years ago. He was in the habit of calling me "muppet." I'd do or say something quirky, and he'd use the word muppet. Which for a long time I thought was so sweet: oh, that's nice! He's using a British term of endearment on me! Like love, only more Jim Henson. And then, one day, I got curious and googled the word "muppet." Google informed me it means "idiot." And so my indignant American came out and I told him to stop calling me that. And now I think we just had a total cultural breakdown--he was insulting me but it was a GOOD thing. In return, I basically told him, "Take your British love and shove it!" 

I'm certain this is how the American Revolution began.

Americans say Math, Brits say Maths. Does it matter? Technically, the British are correct: it's mathematics, plural. But then they refer to sports as "sport," which doesn't make sense to me. Unless they're only talking about one sport in particular. 

We could also argue a lot about tomato vs. tomahto, too, I guess. Either way, when British people say it, it sounds swankier. 

*Xs at the end of messages. 
At the end of messages, lots of British people put a small x. As in:

See you tomorrow, then.
-Tim x

This feels just like when they call you "love," and I like it.

*British swear words. 
Bloody. Simply my favorite British swear ever. It's like the F word. You can stick it in anywhere and it works. And if you add the F word in addition, now you're just showing off. It's bloody fucking brilliant.

*British speak.
The British like to abbreviate words. Brekkie for breakfast. Pressies for presents. Baccy for tobacco. And then you get into the different slang for the different UK dialects--Scouse slang, Yorkshire slang, Geordie...it's mind boggling how they all understand each other, and yet they make it work. I think I've written about this before: The British are magic.

*Harry Potter
It's a world-wide phenomenon. Hey, remember how the British tried to colonize the entire planet? And then the entire planet was all basically just, Hey, get out you British guys! at various different points throughout history? Then, one day, JK Rowling came along and pretty much did it single-handedly via a series of books with some help from very talented film makers. I bet Queen Victoria feels very vindicated, wherever she is. (It's another good example of why storytellers should be running things--if the Redcoats had just sat the American colonists down for some good stories over Welsh Rarebit, scones, and stout beer, we never would have left you, Mother England. We never ever would have left.)

I have more things I love about the UK, but I don't want to overwhelm you. Basically, I think I live on the wrong side of the pond. Is what I'm saying. But then there's a series of cold, rainy, grey days like we're about to get this coming week and I think: Nope. I'd end up in the dark corner of a pub somewhere, mourning the loss of my American sun.

It's a real conflict. Like how I felt at the end of DIVERGENT. (There, I connected these two topics.)

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