Beauty And The Plot Holes

I’ve been thinking more about stories, and how no tale is black-and-white. I’ve been trying to figure out Beauty and the Beast.

Obviously, it falls into the black-and-white approach to storytelling. There’s really no objectivity where Gaston is concerned, because the movie is from Belle’s perspective, and she hates his guts.

But we only see him as evil because it’s from her perspective. If Beauty and the Beast were told in a more objective manner, Gaston would be arrogant and annoying, yes, but not evil.

It was whilst I was contemplating deeply on this movie and its characters that a few plot holes smacked me across the face. Which was kind of devastating, because I love the heck out of this movie.

The fight between Gaston and Beast

First, we have to look at Gaston’s motivation for killing the beast. We know he was publicly humiliated when he set up a wedding for him and Belle and she rejected him in front of the entire village. Sure, Lefou pointed out all his manly strengths and he felt better, but he’s never fully recovered from that moment (which is why he’s still so determined to make Belle his bride).

Then, he discovers this beast. Though Belle assures everybody that he’s gentle and sweet, it’s not difficult to convince them otherwise. Gaston uses the magic mirror to show everybody the beast’s fangs and killer claws and such. The beast has to appear terrifying and dangerous to the village people, so that when Gaston defeats him, it will be truly impressive and restore his reputation. He tells the townsmen to pillage and plunder the castle to their heart’s content, “but remember, the beast is mine!”

We already know Gaston is a hunter, and uses antlers in all of his deeeeecorating, so killing this ferocious beast is totally his chipped cup of tea. All of this makes perfGaston and Beastect sense, except for a few details.

When Belle shows them Beast with the magic mirror and pronounces him gentle, Gaston declares her “as crazy as the old man!” Then, when he’s convincing the townspeople to help him raid the castle, Belle says she won’t let him, and Gaston says, “If you’re not with us, you’re against us!” and locks her in the cellar with her “crazy” father.

When Gaston finds the beast, he gets frustrated because he won’t put up a good fight. Gaston wants a challenge, to properly recover his image in the eyes of the townsfolk. He begins to taunt the beast. “Were you in love with her, Beast?” he sneers. “Did you honestly think she’d want you, when she had someone like me?” That’s when Beast leaps out of the shadows and Gaston roars, “It’s over, Beast! Belle is mine!”

Why is he suddenly making this about Belle? This is totally opposite Gaston’s character, and here is why: he has denounced her as crazy in front of the entire village. She is now tainted. The whole reason he wanted her in the first place was because she was the most beautiful, which “makes her the best.” After calling her crazy and locking her in a cellar, he has publicly disgraced her, and marrying her would tarnish his own image. Thus, he cannot possibly want her now, so why is he making his fight with the beast about Belle?

Thus, either Belle’s perception of Gaston is off and he’s not as horrible as we thought, or…PLOT HOLE.

Beast at first seems just as much a jerk as Gaston.

Sure, Gaston’s arrogant, self-centered, and rude, but Beast has a horrible temper. Also, Gaston called Belle’s father crazy, but Beast actually imprisoned him in a cold dark cell.

“Yeah, but Beast is nice deep down,” you might argue. “He’s just bitter and mean and hard-hearted at first because he thinks no one will ever love him and he’ll have to be a beast forever. Belle’s love makes him better; plus, once you get to know him, he’s really sweet.” Well, you make some good points, Imaginary Opponent, but who’s to say Gaston is any different? Perhaps he, too, “improves upon closer acquaintance,” as good ol’ Lizzy Bennet would say. (Speaking of prejudice, Belle seems to have a problem in this area.)

Gaston and Belle

Image source: funny-pictures.picphotos.net

Belle’s disgusted by Gaston’s ignorance and disdain of books that don’t even have pictures, but when she discovers Beast can’t read at all, she eagerly determines to teach him. What if  she had been as open-minded with Gaston?

Maybe it’s just because she was trapped in a castle with the beast for what she thought was going to be the rest of her life. Maybe, if she was trapped in a castle with Gaston for a few months, she would have grown to love him too.

Again, the only reason we see Gaston as evil is because the movie is through Belle’s eyes. Gaston is probably not actually evil, and might not even be as arrogant and narcissistic as Belle thinks. It’s perfectly natural for a hunter to want to kill a fierce-looking beast, especially if he’s jealous. It’s also natural to want to redeem yourself in the eyes of your peers after your pride’s been hurt, not to mention protect your village. It looks evil because Belle loves the beast, so through her eyes, what Gaston’s doing is purely bad.

Maybe this isn’t true love or Stockholm syndrome, which half the internet is determined about. We know Belle wants “more than this provincial life.” Beast offers her this, whereas Gaston doesn’t. Maybe that’s the only reason she allows herself to love him.

I’m the worst.

Okay, let’s make something very clear: I am not on Gaston’s side. I don’t think he’s a great guy. I just think maybe there’s more to the story. And no, I’m not trying to ruin the movie.

I love Beauty and the Beast the way it is, and when I watch it, I enjoy the love story between Belle and Beast—whose real name, apparently, is Adam, although it never says that in the movie. What’s Belle’s nickname for him after he transforms? Man? Prince? Studmuffin?

Thank you for tuning in to this edition of Ruining Your Favorite Movies. Up next, It’s a Nonsensical Life. Knowing Uncle Billy’s incredible absentmindedness, why did George trust him with $8,000 in the first place? And did Mary ever smack Ernie in the head for pointing out the run on the bank and ruining their honeymoon? Join us next time, and remember: Not even the best ones are perfect!

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Mucinex Gets Me High

I found this in one of my notebooks:

5/28/14
It’s after midnight and I’m loopy from a big Mucinex.*

I have so many thoughts. Like, when one thought is burning and you have so much to say and don’t know how you can possibly remember all you have to say

WAIT UP, BRAIN

before you run out of thoughts and forget the old ones but you like them all (or at least the bulk) and want to remember what you were thinking a few minutes ago, but it’s gone, it’s lost forever, and no one but you can get it back and you have no idea what it was and it’s really a shame because you enjoyed thinking about whatever it was but oh well. Have you ever had a thought… Shoot. It’s gone.

Ooh! I remember!

Like, the thought itself wasn’t in words, but you just kind of felt the thought in your mind? Like, you created the thought and impressed it upon yourself without words? And you kind of knew what words you’d use but didn’t take the time to think them out but once you realized that, forced yourself to think the thought in words.

I’m thinking a mile a minute. My pen is so slow. It’s like trying to keep up with a racehorse by riding a cow. Or something.

My brilliant closing statements.

I think the blades are slowing in the ol’ noggin now. I’d better get to bed.

I am 3000% sure that Mucinex is not supposed to have this effect on people. Weirdly, as I reread it, I know exactly what I’m talking about. Loopy Me is deep.


*As in, maximum strength. The pill seemed like the resurrection pill Miracle Max made for Westley in “The Princess Bride.”

Out Of My League

My philosophy generally seems to be that everything is open to interpretation. Even beauty is relative.

How does one even measure beauty? In science, a quantity is useless unless it has a unit attached to it, but we have no beauty units. (If we did, would they be called Jackmans or Hemsworths or Deschanels?)

Sure, we have the “point system.” (10s are the hotties, 1s are the uglies.) But one man’s 4 might be another man’s 7.

My friend recently told me that no one should be with someone more than two points below them unless they’re loaded. Of course, I then had to point out that he works in fast food and his girlfriend is about five points above him.

Love is unpredictable. You can’t limit yourself to a two-point radius, or you might miss out on something awesome.

To boot, the point system is fallible. There is no perfect rating for anyone. I’ve known lots of people who have risen and fallen on the hotness scale as I get to know them.

I know “beauty is on the inside” is such a cliché, but it’s true. There are people who seem devastatingly attractive at first, but the more I get to know them, the more I see things I dislike about them expressed in their faces and body language, and their attractiveness wanes.

Then there are people who at first aren’t that special-looking, but the better I get to know them, I notice attractive qualities that are really reflections of character. Sometimes I don’t even find a guy attractive until after I’ve started liking him.

tim allen vs charlie sheen with captions

As you can see from this carefully thought-out comparison, Tim Allen, though not as conventionally handsome as Charlie Sheen, is nicer to look at because of his personality.

And who are we to judge who we deserve and who is “out of our league”? I have no idea where I rate on a scale of 1 to 10. There are days when I catch my eye in a mirror and think, Wow, I really am kinda gorgeous. Then, other days, I gaze in a mirror and wonder why people don’t turn to stone when they look at me.

Maybe I’ve just gotten to know my face so well I can’t even properly judge its attractiveness. But maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be with others, too. Get to know them so well, you can’t even tell whether they’re good-looking or not. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Because ultimately, you don’t love someone because they’re attractive; they’re attractive because you love them.

Black-and-White Is Just Gray In Disguise

There seem to be two ways to tell a story:

One-sided

One, where the story is told purely from the protagonist’s perspective. This is where good and evil are painted very black-and-white, and behavior is based purely on perception. So even when the antagonist has a valid point of view, they are, from our perspective, evil.

For example, in “Tarzan,” Clayton was the bad guy simply because he was opposed to the protagonist. You could write another movie about this great guy named Clayton who goes on an expedition to Africa in hopes of bringing back some gorillas for zoos and studying and whatnot, but it’s ruined by an awful man-ape named Tarzan, who also steals the pretty girl.

The reason we see all the sinister smiles and evil laughs and gun-flourishing is because the story is told through Tarzan’s eyes. He perceives Clayton as evil, so in his story, Clayton is evil.

It’s like the episode “The Night The Roof Fell In,” from The Dick Van Dyke Show. Rob and Laura have a fight, and when retelling the story to their friends, they each paint themselves as the victim and their spouse as irrationally aggressive.tntrfi

The viewer knows that neither is as innocent as they say, or as awful as the other says. The real story probably falls somewhere in the middle, but we usually only get a story from one perspective, and the main character’s perceptions dictate what story we get.

Objective

And two, where the protagonist and antagonist are both in grayer areas. In “Spider-Man 3,” Peter Parker, the protagonist, struggles with darker sides of himself. There are times where, even in his own story, he’s not sure whether he’s the good guy or not.

Image source: justkillingti.me

 

The Sandman, on the other hand, is one of the villains, but he has his reasons. He steals to support his sick daughter; he tries to kill Spider-Man because Spider-Man tried to kill him first; he teams up with Venom for those same reasons. He becomes a bad guy by trying to do the right thing the wrong way, and it spins way out of control.

Which is better?

I don’t think either is better, really. Many people have become enamored with the objective approach, because it’s more like real life. In real life, people are misunderstood. They are able to rationalize what they do with themselves, but other people can’t always comprehend their reasons.

different-perspectives

Image source: hemeningilizce.com

Still, even with a more objective approach, there is a protagonist and antagonist. This is because, in real life, just because you have your reasons doesn’t mean you’re right.

Just because the Sandman had good reasons for what he did doesn’t mean he was right to do so. Just because Spider-Man has a dark side and inner struggles (kind of like, I don’t know, everybody?) doesn’t mean he’s not the good guy for making the right decision in the end.

Nevertheless, the approach with some level of tunnel vision is interesting. It shows just how blind we can be to others’ points of view, not to mention our own flaws.

Don’t believe me?

Get cozy. A fireplace is ideal. Now read this story.

I’m sure you figured it out, but that was Cinderella. That little brat now tells this story where she’s the very picture of innocence and purity, flicking her blond hair and blinking her big baby blues and her stepmother is being awful to her for no reason at all. A likely story.

What I’m saying is, the villain depends on the good guy. Not everything is black-and-white, even if that’s how it’s presented.

This Post Has Taken Its Toll On Me

So, I know I’ve kind of gotten away from the whole “analysis-slash-criticism” side of my blog lately, but never fear, it is still alive and kickin’. Thus, without further ado (picture me cracking my knuckles here), to the Critic Cave!

Here’s something very important you should know about me: My taste in music ranges far and wide, hither and thither, hence and yonder, but my utmost devotion is, and most likely always will, belong to Maroon 5. So, as “This Love” is the first song I ever heard by them, naturally it has a special place in my heart.

That is probably why my brain almost exploded in the shower this morning (which would have been totally counterproductive) when I thought of a potential explanation for it.

Maybe “This Love” isn’t about a woman at all. Maybe it’s about a drug addiction.

Say whaaaaat?

I know. I’ve only analyzed one song before, and it was about an addiction then too. No, I am not obsessed with drug addictions. (I swear, I can quit whenever I want!) But, just hear me out.

 “This Love”—dissected

Verse 1

I was so high I did not recognize
The fire burning in her eyes
The chaos that controlled my mind

Right off the bat, he sounds like he’s on drugs. I mean, sure, maybe he’s just high off her love, and the fire in her eyes is just passion, and his mind is chaotic because he’s in love, blah blah blah. I hear you.

BUT maybe he’s high from literal drugs, and her eyes are all red-rimmed from the drugs, and his mind is chaotic because…well, because of the drugs.

Whispered goodbye
She got on a plane
Never to return again
But always in my heart

Maybe this is him trying to quit. Saying goodbye to the addiction, which is getting on a plane. (Like a wagon, but bigger?) He’s sure this time that he won’t fall off said wagon again, but he’ll always have it lingering over his head.

Chorus

this love goodbye

This love has taken its toll on me
She said goodbye too many times before
And her heart is breaking in front of me
But I have no choice
‘Cause I won’t say goodbye anymore

“Love” in this case could really be addiction. It’s getting too hard, quitting and falling off the wagon and repeating the process. This time, it really has to be it.

Verse 2

I tried my best to feed her appetite
Keep her coming every night
So hard to keep her satisfied

The apparent woman is now his craving. He’s trying to satiate his hunger for the drugs, but his craving keeps growing.

Kept playing love like it was just a game
Pretending to feel the same
Then turn around and leave again

Drugs are all fun and games at first. You’re just partying, just having a good time. It’s not changing you or anything. But then…it does.

Bridge

I’ll fix these broken things
Repair your broken wings
And make sure everything’s alright

Now, if this was a woman, this is him trying to mend the relationship. “Broken wings” implies a fallen angel.

BUT continuing along the same path, maybe he is the one who’s broken (because of the drugs). Maybe “broken wings” really signifies the crash after the high, and he’s recovering.

My pressure on your hips
Sinking my fingertips
Into every inch of you
‘Cause I know that’s what you want me to do

I mean…like he’s immersed in the drugs and they have control over him? Uh…okay, maybe it’s just about a woman.

BUT if you can follow the song all the way through and be able to maintain that metaphor, maybe that’s the brilliance. It’s subtle as heck. It’s not even mentioned except for a small reference at the beginning (“I was so high…”). Maybe not. Maybe I’m looking too hard and overreaching.

But if it WAS on purpose, Maroon 5 uses metaphors the most eloquently of all.

Maroon 5’s original lineup, 2002. (From left to right: Mickey Madden, Jesse Carmichael, James Valentine, Ryan Dusick, Adam Levine.) Image source: galleryhip.com

A Water Bottle Or A Basketball?

Is the human body a container for the spirit, or the spirit a creation of the mind?

Think about it. There are people who seem to exist solely in their spirituality, disregarding their bodies as unimportant, and others who dismiss their spirits as imaginary, and reality being rooted in the physical. Consider what the 9th Doctor has to say on the spark of life: “What’s life? Life’s easy. A quirk of matter. Nature’s way of keeping meat fresh.”

Am I no more than meat?

Is that all life is? Are humans only intelligent animals, only living to be alive? Or is it more complicated than that? Are our bodies only a means to express our true selves? Maybe we’re meant to concentrate on our spirits, and have mistakenly become distracted with the physical manifestations of them.

This can basically be looked at in one of two ways. One, the human as a water bottle, and two, the human as a basketball.

The human as a water bottle

Let’s say the spirit is water, and the body is a bottle. The bottle only functions as a container for the water; the only reason we carry bottles around is because they have water in them. Then one day, someone says, “Dude, this bottle is awesome,” and suddenly everyone’s obsessed with bottles. They might have water in them, they might not, who cares? It’s all about the bottley desires. (No, I did not just create this analogy for the pun. It just magically happened.)

The human as a ball

Now let’s say that the human body is a basketball. Its function is to bounce and be tossed around, so that’s what it does. Then one day, someone says, “Dude, I wonder what’s in this basketball.” Now everyone stops bouncing and tossing around the basketball and just contemplates it. What’s beyond its rubber exterior? What is its meaning? It doesn’t have any meaning. It’s a basketball. There’s nothing special inside it.

Maybe there’s nothing special inside us, but we’ve gotten curious about why we’re alive and went too far with it.

What are “spirits,” anyway?

It’s kind of like, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Is one’s “spirit” basically just their brain? If so, then the physical wins. If your spirit is no more than your brain, then it is no more than a big pink blob of Jelloish stuff and various chemical reactions.

Religion

If you don’t believe in God, we’re only highly evolved animals. The functions of humans are to survive by whatever means necessary. Maybe what we’ve come to think of as “spirits” are just overdeveloped instincts.

I think, if you believe in God, you have to believe in spirits and souls and things like that. What I don’t understand are hippie-types who are all into auras and whatnot, but not apparently religious. The spirit is such an ethereal concept, I can’t separate its existence from God’s in my mind. It could just be that they’re on drugs, but who knows?

Love

Is love the ultimate meaning in life, or is it simply something our brains conjure up to assist in self-preservation?

Romance and Passion

If love is the meaning of life, sex is a physical expression of love. On the other hand, if our physical bodies are the truest forms of humans and self-preservation is the foremost instinct, love may be an advanced sense we’ve invented to ensure reproduction.

Is the concept of “soul mates” reality? Or did humankind just have to assert itself as the most superior being in the animal kingdom and took “mates” one step further?

Or maybe the whole point is the intimacy between two spirits, and bodies are simply obstacles in the way of that intimacy. That’s the beauty in “becoming one”—that’s as close as two humans can get to each other.

Offspring

Speaking of procreation, is the love for one’s children a deep spiritual connection, or a product of the instinct to continue one’s own DNA in the race (human or otherwise)?

I mean, logically speaking, children are purely physical products. Your only real connection to them is that one of your cells fused with someone else’s and mutated. But the fact that a small flame of life previously nonexistent on this earth was sparked by you has got to be the most amazing thing. You literally gave it life.

Pretty sure I’m spiritually superior to a squirrel

What it really comes down to is this: If we really are only flesh and bone and blood, and there’s nothing beyond that, what business does imagination have in our minds? How could we have come up with the idea of spirits if we had none? If there were no deeper side to the human, how did we begin contemplating on spirits and such in the first place?

More Than A Game, A Cereal, Or A Plan

Life these days has become so organized that it tricks us into thinking that life is organized. Guess what? It’s not. Nice try.

Do I look like a folder to you?

No two people in the history of the world have lived the exact same life, so what gives the human race the arrogance—nay, the gall, to think it can organize and categorize people’s lives? We can’t systemize lives and just file them away in an imaginary filing cabinet. The result of this is that people begin to depend on the system, and when they discover the system doesn’t cover all bases, their whole foundations for reality crumble into dust.

Being a grown-up

I’ve always known being an adult would be difficult, but I never thought of it as being complicated until recently (when I turned 18). There are so many things you have to remember to think about simultaneously.

Also, everything is basically planned out for us. Sure, we’re given the freedom to choose the specifics, but it all falls under the same format. Go to college, so you can get a good job, so you can make money, so you can retire, so you can die comfortably.

The Air Approach

That’s generally what I’m planning to do, but it doesn’t sound very exciting. Sure, I’m hoping to find a fulfilling job (which, for me, includes writing), but I don’t like having more than the next step planned out. There are two major problems with creating a blueprint for life:

  1. It sucks out the adventure in life and replaces it with air. And I don’t mean can’t-live-without-breathing air; I mean glass-half-empty, opening-a-bag-of-potato chips air. Emptiness.
  2. When your plans get interrupted by life, which they will, you’re left flat on your butt with the air knocked out of you. (And this time, I do mean can’t-live-without-breathing air.)

I’m about to sound like your everyday nonconformist, but don’t let the “system” dictate how your life goes. Do what is most fulfilling for you. And yes, there will be sacrifices, but the most fulfilling things usually come with those.

Pure Independence Doesn’t Exist.

Sometimes I wonder why people have to be accountable to each other. We each exist independently from each other, so why should we ever need to be dependent on anyone else? I often think of other people as external factors in my life. Maybe that’s why I don’t like asking for help.

What if I lived on top of a mountain, away from civilization, hermitting it up like Thoreau? Would a mission of pure self-discovery without testing myself on other people be cheating my way through life?

Lately, I’ve been very into the idea of natural states of being. Humans create artificial states of being, then proceed to live by them religiously, as though they were natural. For example, class is not a natural state of being. A king and his subject are both on the same level in reality, yet they live on imaginary planes of existence. “All men are created equal.”

Is Having Peers More Natural Than Not?

As I said before, everybody exists independently. Does that mean that we should not have to consider other people as necessary in our own lives?

Of course, at the very least we need our parents. We cannot exist without first being born. We begin by being dependent on our mothers—literally connected to them physically. Once the cord is snipped, though, we are independent beings, but could not survive on our own until years later.

Romulus and Remus, mythological founders of Rome, who were at one point raised by a wolf. Image source: focusfeaturesmedia.com

Dependent on Dependence?

It seems like most of Jesus’s teachings are about how we treat our fellow beings. Obviously, other people’s existence is instrumental in our own. Everybody is intertwined in that way.

Let’s not forget that solitary confinement results in some hardcore mental distress. You’d think, if we were all supposed to be completely alone, there would be more positive side effects.

I guess that’s the great paradox. Each person must endure life as a lone soul, thinking and feeling separately from everyone else, but cannot do so without the company of others. Everyone is dependent upon everyone else, whether we like it or not.

The Only Thing To Fear Is Fear Itself.

What strikes fear in the human heart?

We watch horror movies and thrillers, and they terrify everyone to shreds. But why? They aren’t real, and often aren’t even realistic. So why does it scare us so much?

I don’t mean superficially scary, though. I understand why some psycho with a chainsaw makes us jump. But what about the ones that give us goosebumps, that drill a sense of dread and fear into our souls?

What is the deeper fear that we all feel from time to time? What causes it, and why?

Ghosts

I don’t think many people actually believe in ghosts. But they’re still really creepy in movies, and keep us intrigued.

What are we afraid of? Maybe we’re simply afraid because they can pop out from nowhere. One second they’re invisible, then BAM! Right in your face. Then there’s the disturbing thought of them always being able to watch us, as in the case of Moaning Myrtle from Harry Potter.

ghost

Source: whofortedblog.com

Or maybe we’re scared of their power. Ghosts are still lurking around our world even though they’re technically dead. (Maybe that’s why they’re transparent—the rest of their souls are in the underworld, and they had a transportation issue.)

Maybe we’re just all afraid of being aware of death when it comes. We all die, but it seems that the most terrifying deaths center around being forced to acknowledge your own death as it happens to you. (Like being buried alive, for example.)

Demons

The scary thing about demons is that they’re like ghosts, but we know ahead of time that they’re evil. You never see a demon and think, Gee, I hope he’s like Casper, the Friendly Ghost.

Also, we know demons can suck your soul into the underworld. And it’s definitely not going to be a pleasant one. You never see angels with glowing red eyes that possess people and make their heads do 360s like owls.

Source: hookedgamers.com

I think the supernatural freaks people out because we know they have the upper hand. They have abilities beyond our knowledge.

Maybe the feeling of having no control over a situation, such as your soul flung into the depths of Hell, is what freaks us out.

Psychos

Besides the fact that they’ve lost their sense of judgment and might saw you in half at any given moment, psychos scare us because they’re supposed to be like us, but their mind isn’t right.

To most of us, rational thought comes naturally, and we expect the same of others. When we see someone with impaired judgment, we wonder how they got to that point. Could they have had logical minds at one point, like us?

Source: drafthouse.com

Maybe worrying that we can become the monster is what scares us. Sometimes our minds are the only things we can depend on, and we worry that it might turn on us when we let our guards down.

The Attic Mirror

Happy Halloween, everybody.

Library of Kaytlan

We’re almost twenty minutes late. “I don’t think it’s really a scheduled thing,” I tell Marietta, who just so happens to hate being anything but early. “It’s like a museum; you just walk around and look at art. Eight o’clock is just when it starts. All the cool people get there late.”

She tugs on the ends of her short black dress and pulls her cardigan (yes, she wore a cardigan with a little black dress—another reason why I love her) closer around her. “For the love of Shakespeare, Norman, you drive like my mother.”

I roll my eyes and stomp on the gas, knowing the engine’s volume is directly proportional to Marietta’s blood pressure. Tonight, though, she doesn’t grip the door handle at the increased acceleration. Settling into a comfortable velocity of 60 mph northeast, I flip on the radio, skimming through station after station.

We’re going to some…

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