It’s a Free-ee Ride… (When You’ve Already Paid)

Dear Santa Claus,

First off, I’d like to sincerely apologize for writing to you at this time of year. I mean, seriously, who writes Santa in April? Everyone knows how hard you work during the winter and that the rest of the year is reserved for a well-deserved bit of hiatus. To bother a mythical being on hiatus is simply not done.

And I assure you; it is not at all like me to do that which is simply not done. (Well, sometimes it is… You know, now that I think about it, I generally do a lot of things that are simply not done. But never ever when it comes to mythical beings. Well, until this very moment that is…)

However, due to some rather harrowing recent events, I felt that I had no other alternative but to contact you- hiatus or no.

You see, The Other Boleyn Girl sucked.

You’re probably reading this and thinking, WTF? (You do say fuck, don’t you? I mean, even mythical beings gotta keep it real, right? No? Oh, sorry about that, dude. It’s just an acronym, you know. The ‘F’ could stand for something a little less abrasive like fudge or frog or  foreigner or  firehouse or  fat chubby… Your choice. Now where were we? Oh, yes…)

You’re probably reading this and thinking, What the fudge? What in all that is candy canes and holly does The Other Boleyn Girl have to do with me? Or even Christmas for that matter?

Well, Santa, there’s a long and a short answer to that question; and for the sake of sanity (and your obvious aversion to profanity), we’re going to try to Cliff Note it all down to a few paragraphs and a trackback or two.

As I was saying, Santa, The Other Boleyn Girl sucked.

Maybe I should clarify that- The Other Boleyn Girl, the movie, sucked. Not the book. The book was actually rather fantastic and drew you in in less time than it takes a toddler to Picasso the hallway (His name is The Middle One by the way. He’s on that list of yours somewhere. Bring coal.). Ms. Gregory did a beautiful job of creating characters that the reader loved to hate and  hated to love. She built us a new window into an old tale- a story into a history book. So, no. Not the book. Never the book.

So how is it that a movie titled and based off of such a book lead me to such desperate measures as writing Father Christmas in the middle of spring?


They fucked fudged it all up.

Yes, I know you’re thinking, Well, duh, Judith. Those book to movie projects never work out. Just look at Gone with the Wind.

And while I agree to some extent, there are the occasional flashes of light in the dark which continue to give me hope. Plus, you’ve got to give me a little credit here, in no way was I expecting it to come close to the brilliance of the book. Not at all.

But, damn darn it, if Gone with the Wind (the movie) can keep the Civil War, then the freaking Tudors can keep the Pope.  C’mon, two measly lines about the split from Rome and not a damn bleep about religion whatsoever. Might as well have made Scarlett go hungry simply because she was a picky eater.

Perhaps they were trying to keep the focus on the personal relationships rather than the politics?

Good call, Santa.

But you know what? They fucked fudged that up as well.

There were no personal relationships! The movie left out every ounce of feeling, every ounce of emotion. With the exception of the Boleyn mother (whose character was definitely the most developed and intriguing although nothing at all like the mother from the novel), none of the characters were allowed to take hold of the audience or even their fellow characters. Where was the relationship between the siblings? The relationship between Henry and Anne?

Perhaps they were implied?

Really, Santa, if you continue to insist on interrupting this letter, I’m afraid that you’ll only prolong my rambling- which is never a good idea. Just ask the tooth fairy.

But to answer your interruption question, no. Nothing was implied. The movie was two hours of blatant lust, manipulation, rivalry, ambition, and… Well, nothing important. We were told that Anne was bad. Henry (with the exception of a brief thirty-second scene) was good.

And that was that-

Which would be fine and dandy if that were what the book was about.

Oh? And Santa? Did I mention that I drove five hours TWICE to see this film? Barefoot, in the snow, and uphill both ways too.

So now we’re back to the point where you’re probably reading this and thinking, What the fudge? What in all that is candy canes and holly does The Other Boleyn Girl have to do with me? Or even Christmas for that matter?

The fact is, it doesn’t.

But it was a great build-up to me asking for a bow-topped Jonathan Rhys-Meyers for my stocking this year, now wasn’t it?

Have a happy period hiatus!


P.S. If you do happen to come across the people responsible for all of this, would you mind letting them know that they left a really important little bit of a line out of the film? You know, the one that says that Mary’s first husband is dead? That way, the people who haven’t read the book (really, go out and get it now, NOW) won’t be sitting around more confused than necessary. Thanks.

P.S.S. Oh, yeah! The bow thing is completely optional. if you don’t have time to dress wrap him, no biggie. I’m sure I can deal.

April 3, 2008
Categories: Daily, Prose/Bros

1.©2008 by Courtney Hebert as Judith Shakespeare.
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