Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tom Hiddleston proved my sister has a soul.

My generation drives me nutterbutters. They are so unbearably not that funny.

Jensen, my wonderful genius sister, and Shazia, my wonderful genius cousin (destined to be the world's first Mormon-Woman-Arab-American-President) took me rock-climbing a few weeks ago. Afterwards we were sore and exhausted, so our time together eventually mutated into good old-fashioned sacking out in front of the TV. 

Jens and Shaz subjected me to one of their favorite shows. They both love mean-spirited, gouge your eyes out and laugh about it, dead-baby-funny-aneurism-type humor. They’re all about the snark and the snide and disrespect towards everything not-hipster cool and ironic. Urgh.

I’ll admit I very occasionally am caught off-guard and will let out a genuine chuckle in response to some of this crap, but I try not to. It only encourages them.

For the most part, I find my generation's infatuation with all things cynical and bitter (whether they’re vaguely funny or viciously satirical or maniacal) upsetting. Of course, there are exceptions to this generalization. I don’t always have to seek out friends decades older than myself in order to have a deep conversation in which we respect the view-points of other beings...

Occasionally, I see these cynical tendencies in both Jens and Shaz. I call them out on it, but what ensues is basically the grown-up version of repeating everything I just said in a whine.

Eventually we started watching an actual film; War Horse, which I selected. Shaz is an equestrian and Jensen will pretty much enjoy any movie she sits in front of long enough, at least on some level.

For the first twenty minutes or so the two of them went full-on MST3K with it (that’s one of the levels I’m talking about for Jensen’s film enjoyment). I sighed a lot and occasionally threw a “Shut up!” in their direction while also giving apologetic glances to my charming friend Kate.

Then, Tom Hiddleston appeared on screen.

At the time, there was a vaguely supernatural feeling in the air. Everything changed. I might have even vocally said "What just happened?"

*Spoiler* He’s only in the movie for like ten minutes, but Shaz and Jens and started taking the film seriously. 

They spent the next two hours crying like children lost in the woods.

It was very satisfying.

I love the movie, but it was almost as entertaining to watch their cynical smirks slide right off their faces, replaced with rage-facesque tears.

My favorite moments. *More Spoilers*

Jensen falling apart when Joey has his ‘horse-equivalent-of-the-hunger-games’ moment. She had finally dried off before that. Her face was still all blotchy, but she looked like she was on the way to recovery and then she let out a howl like a wounded beast and jets of water squirted from her face.

Then when Joey was running away from the tank, Shazia actually fell off the couch screaming “NO! NO, RUN JOEY!” and crawled on her knees towards the TV, dripping onto the floor as she wailed like an infant.

So, I found myself wondering… what is it about Tom Hiddleston that changed the game? They both cited his appearance as the moment when they stopped laughing and started paying attention, whereas, I was hooked long before that.

Is it that he’s attractive? Is it that he’s classically trained and very, very English? It is that he somehow manages to exude pure sympathetic depth of character? Is it perhaps because his eyes are so very blue, like the cry of shattering glass?!

Personally, I think it’s a little bit of all that, but I did ask them…

They both had the same answer. I think it’s some of the most fascinating psychological weirdness I’ve ever heard.

They recognized him right away. “Hey, that’s Loki!” so they were both immediately concerned for Joey’s safety. They paid closer attention because they felt like he was going to abuse the horse. 

Then they realized that “Loki” was a good guy in this movie, and he was really likable and a very dashing young officer and a gentleman, which made it absolutely wrecking when he died so nobly. After that they said they both felt deeply guilty that they had ever been suspicious of his (clearly saint-like) character and it was those feelings of guilt that acted as a catalyst for the melodramatic sob-fest.

I didn’t have this reaction because I’ve seen more interviews/read more about Tom Hiddleston than these girls. He’s not Loki. He’s an actor, and to me he seems like a really nice, friendly guy.

Loki, also known as Woobie Destroyer of Worlds is a character he played, really well. Deliciously hammy and captivating as it was, it’s not his identity. So when he turned up in War Horse, I felt pretty confident he’d be a goodie. I was moved by his performance as well, but I didn’t have that added shot of guilt to throw me over the DEH…

(alright, full disclosure, I did get pretty close to sinking to their same level of emotional suffocation by one scene. Interestingly enough, just seeing the words “The Somme” kinda did me in.)

That’s my story kids. The moral is that type-casting doesn’t make sense to me. It’s so much more impressive to manipulate people by breaking their expectations.

It’s even more impressive to manipulate people with your shattered-glass blue eyes.


MKHutchins said...

I love the Sense & Sensibility movie all the more because I get to cheer for Snape. :)

Alfsigesey said...

Oooo, I need to watch that again before I go to Wales! Get in a British mood:)