Black Friday, Green Thursday

Don't look for me at the mall. I will not be there.

Green Thursday is not a Gore-inspired phrase--it describes me yesterday. I was sick! I never made it to the Thanksgiving table, which was out of town. Sleep was the balm that soothed, and I awoke just in time to catch MY FAVORITE HITCHCOCK MOVIE, Rear Window.

It's been years since I've seen that film. Who knew Jimmy could be such a charming rogue? The only thing I didn't like, which I hadn't noticed before, was when Grace Kelly's character was being thrashed by Raymond Burr and she calls out "Jeff!" "Jeff," and instead of returning her shout, LB Jeffries (Jimmy Stewart) backs his wheelchair to hide in the darkness. I know his leg is broken and all, but I would have liked to see him make some kind of attempt to help her, maybe shout back and fall out of the wheelchair as he tries to get up. (I know he called the police, but that was before the thrashing began.) BTW, the cast on his left leg supposedly jumps to his right leg halfway through the movie. I never caught the switch.

Then I watched Mean Girls. Tina Fey is such a good writer and I like how loyal she is to all her SNL comrades. One thing I noticed about Mean Girls is that even though it's a contemporary film (2004), technology played no part in it. Nobody was texting. Nobody was emailing. Nobody was using cell phones. Surely one compromising picture would have been snapped via cell phone in all that meanness. (There were two three-way calls, but I wouldn't call that new technology.)

I have to conclude that Ms. Fey left technology out on purpose. Perhaps she did so to prevent the movie from becoming dated--technology moves faster than fashion. Maybe viewers are more lifted out by old-fashioned technology than they are by plaid pants.

How much technology is safe to include if you want your story to have a long shelf life? That's a hard question. Even texting lingo has changed over the years. What's your opinion?

15 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

We watched "Mr. Brooks" last night, which was a little Hitchcockian. It was decent but not great.

Virginia Lee said...

I am glad you're feeling better today, Danette. Miss Mama had a terrible headache yesterday and we're having our Thanksgiving meal on Sunday as a result.

I love this time of year for movies. AMC has been featuring Hitchcock movies lately and I've been loving it. TCM showed North by Northwest the other day too.

I watched lighthearted films yesterday. The Princess Diaries. The Prince and Me and its sequel. And I also watched Mean Girls for a while.

Next weekend AMC Family is showing the first three Harry Potter films. We'll be there, though it's true that we'll be peeping through our fingers during the scene with all the spiders in Chamer of Secrets. Ewwwwww!

Virginia Lee said...

Dang it. ChamBer of Secrets.

Durned typo gremlins!

bunnygirl said...

Technology does date a movie or book, but as long as it's of-that-era technology, I like it. It adds to the atmosphere.

What's troublesome is when the setting is supposed to be in the future and they get it all wrong. Big clunky computers and analog switches on an "advanced" space ship are always good for a plot-disrupting laugh.

And sadly, one of my favorite books has a number of plot elements that hinge on the inability to get a phone call through, yet there's not a cell phone in the entire story. The novel was written in the early 90s, so the phones did most definitely exist. My then-boyfriend had one and was an early pioneer in ditching the land line and going cell-only. Sheer idiocy in those years of dropped calls and static, but that's another matter.

Anyway, that's my take on technology in fiction-- be wary about anything that's supposed to be in the future, but pile on if it's contemporary to the era!

Ello said...

Hope you are feeling all better as I feel sick from eating too much pie!

I agree about technology dating a movie or book because of how quickly it changes. Didn't even think of it until you mentioned it, but yeah, you are right. ANd I really liked Mean Girls - more because of the supporting class than Lindsay Lohan who I haven't liked since Parent trap.

Brenda said...

I'm glad you're feeling better. I love Hitchcock movies. I heard the other day that they are going to remake Birds...I don't want it to be remade.

How sad is it that all the ideas are gone and they have to remake the oldies...sigh...

Danette Haworth said...

Charles,
I thought you were talking Jimmy Stewart for a minute, but when I looked it up, Mr. Brooks is some kind of thriller with Kevin Costner as a serial killer--Jimmy wouldn't do that!

Virinia,
Thanks, though I felt sick all today, too. (Boohoo!) Must . . . get . . . to . . . keyboard.

Bunny
Good advice on the future. Could easily be campy if you're off!

Ello,
I liked Mean Girls, too. I've read that TF read a NF about HS girls and was inspired by it. In any case, I think she nailed it!

Danette Haworth said...

Brenda,
Remake The Birds? Whoa! I'd be afraid of remaking a classic--most remakes don't come near the standard.

Mary Witzl said...

Since I am an unrepentant technophobe, I do have some trouble when I have to write technology into my works. I have to bribe one of my kids, who makes such an eye-rolling 'Oh MOM!' meal of it that I almost wish I had never bothered. Still, they have shown me how to do lots of things on my computer -- I can block offensive e-mails and link -- and they are trying to show me how to use a cell phone too. The other day, I actually managed to make a call all by myself! Next comes texting, but the kids claim they need a long break first. Brats.

I love watching futuristic movies made back in the sixties -- all those ridiculous computers the size of small buildings, the dopey gadgets that they thought up back then. They make me feel so much less of a technology moron than I am.

Mary Witzl said...

How embarrassing. I've just realized that I neglected to answer your interesting question due to my chronic long-windedness.

I have not made cell phones a focal part of any of my YA manuscripts, partly to cover my lack of interest and partly because of my lack of cell phone savvy. In one story, the characters are in a world where they haven't even caught up with TV and cars; in another, the boy's mother has refused to buy him another cell phone after he has lost three of them, and in the third, the girl and her father are both nerds, and somewhat old-fashioned. Cell phones do get a mention, but they don't provide an integral part of the text. This may be making a virtue of a necessity, but if my work is ever published and thus acquires a longer shelf life, I will be thrilled.

As if!

Danette Haworth said...

Mary,
I like how you handled those issues.

courtney said...

Aw--sorry to hear you were sick! Hope that you're feeling 100% now.

Rear Window is amazing! It's not my favourite Hitchcock movie (that's Shadow of a Doubt--have you ever seen it?), but I really enjoyed it.

I never noticed the lack of technology in Mean Girls! Good catch. My novels are techno-lite because my characters never really need cell phones for the situations I throw them in (well, minus the book I'm working on now). As long as it serves story & character, I'm fine with it. I think branding the technologies might date a novel though (everyone's after the iPhone now but tomorrow...?). One thing I don't like is when the technology (cellphones, PDAs etc) are there as a status symbol and serve no purpose beyond that. I know it's true that lots of people have to have for the sake of having, but I think teens are a lot more practical-minded than they're often represented when it comes to having cells, txting, etc. The ones I know are.

On the flip-side, I do love books/movies/TV shows that explore how technologies have changed timeless situations like bullying et al. Mean Girls could've definitely gotten a lot out of even a minor techno-slant.

(Yikes this comment is long! Thanks for the tough-provoking post, Danette!!)

Church Lady said...

Hope you're feeling ungreen again very soon!
'the cast switch'--I definitely have to look for this! I haven't seen that movie in years!

:-)

Church Lady said...

Where's your Santa hat? You had it on over at Charles' blog!
:-)
You *are* a photo wench! heeeheeehee

Danette Haworth said...

Courtney,
Good points, especially the one about not using a brand because that can really date you. One writing book I read (I wish I could remember which one)suggested that the writer make up her own brands.

I like that idea because you can never be wrong about its assets, it can never be dated, and you can never be sued!

Church Lady,
Thanks for noticing my hat! I'm trying decorate the blog for Christmas. (Is the hat not showing up here? I can see it, but you know how blogs be!)