#girlsonfilm is a feature in which Prancing Through LIFE’s very own FILM, THEATRE & TELEVISION Editor, Hannah Oliver, recreates famous cinematic scenes in real life and then writes about them. The idea being to discover what happens when the fantasy of film is brought down to the reality of everyday life. That and to act like a bit of a noob.
Children’s films, and many others besides, are most often centred around a few valiant persons overcoming one of life’s character-building problems. Usually said problem is created by a dubious personality, and exacerbated by the way of the world, before innocence, perseverance and youthful vitality prevail in the end.
#girlsonfilm overcame a number of problems this week – the first and most arresting being that, whilst my university supposed me to be innovatively learning my small, young mind in all things inspirational, independent and instructive, I was, in ‘reality’ (if one may call this heady, hedonistic mode of living thus), spending my week precisely four hundred and forty-one miles south in a molly-coddled state of free food, warmth and copious sleep. Innovative and inspired state of mind was I in, not. Wow. Literary proficiency after four days off? Nil.
The two young protagonists of this week’s adventure occupy this surreal space by the name of ‘home’. Two twelve year-olds, to be precise, who overcame both my apathy and the derision of their peers. How fitting, when my intelligence and maturity regress in the face of this place where I grew, where Disney sang me dreams and family taught me that the only way forward is as one (please forgive me, I develop a corny and nostalgic tone when I’m here. Plus I’m more than slightly drunk on wine. On my own. In my room. Before the watershed hour. Excellent.), that our topic this week is childhood.
I asked my youngest sister and her adorable, cheeky friend Aoife, in my attempts to come up with an idea, what film scene, if the opportunity arose, they would most enjoy recreating. Casting aside Aoife’s contribution, The Silence of the Lambs (yes. Yes, she is twelve), the results were a conglomeration of superheroes and heroines. Excellent. Girl power. And then, despicable person that I am, I found myself suggesting the minions from the popular animation by the same name as this article. Tiny, babbling, yellow creatures. Nonsensical. Helpful but incompetent. Truly, despicable me. But the idea set and yellow t-shirts and facepaint ensued.
Seeing as the structure of this week’s feature has been somewhat precarious from the beginning, I’m going to throw caution to the wind and start another digression. For, I had always imagined that some day, whilst I was home during term-time, my family would band together to recreate some fabulous family film such as Nanny Mcphee, or the Von Trapp family singers from The Sound of Music. Forgetting, of course, that my half of my siblings are teenagers of the male persuasion, who struggle to avert their eyes from the Play Station long enough to feed themselves, let alone pander to the whims of a lethargic elder sister (and so, ladies and gentlemen, we present ourselves with dubious personalities one, two and three. See ‘photo’ below.) Several minutes of twelve-year-olds, dress up and facepaint later, a plan was hatched to enter this dark and secretive lair. To play and babble and fuss, as the minions of Despicable Me do, and to hence remind the brothers that there is fun and entertainment to be had away from video games.
Well. This scenario did more than slightly turn into the sacrifice of the lambs. After building excitement with paint and pep talks, the Youtube-ing of minions chattering, minions singing, minions cat fighting, I sent them prancing, whirling, giggling into the living room covered in sponged yellow paint, holding bananas and other tools as the minions do. I can honestly say that the reaction was less than the flicker of an eye. Not a flinch. The girls, as they stood in front of the screen, could have been windows.
Despicable me. Of course. How could I ever have expected anything otherwise. Plus, I had now managed to antagonize both sides by interrupting an important PS3 moment … To put a sour cherry on a rather disappointing cake, if you’re wondering why I’ve chosen to niche a filter, so retro a finish, on my photos this week, I will just have to confess that I am a first class numpty, and forgot the memory card output cable necessary to access the pictures off my ancient camera. To combat this problem, I decided to take photos of my photos, rather than have none at all. Despicable me. However, this was all in the future. The most immediate issue being the rejection of two cute twelve year olds by this week’s villains. They came back out of the lair, shrugged it off, ate a banana or two, and then retreated upstairs to take numerous selfies in their ‘chic new look’. Hmmm. Questionable.
What have we learnt from film-life this week? Most problems can be remedied, but with questionable success. Most heroine-villain stereotypes start somewhere (cute, young female versus gloomy, hairy teenage male), but can always be outdone with a twist in the plot. I believe this week to be characterised by, like the film we are featuring, a bumbling, inept mastermind-cum-antagonist: despicable me.
Hannah Oliver is the Editor of FILM, THEATRE & TELEVISION at PTL. She studies English Literature at the University of Edinburgh and would like to think this an apt excuse for her tendency to be overly florid, pleonastic and long-winded. However, there are two things to effectively shut her up – coffee and/or chocolate. ’Nuff said.
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