Thursday, January 9, 2014

One-Sided Armchair Throw-Downs with Historic Movies

I can NOT believe they just SAID that!!!
I'm a history freak.  I love it.  Basically, if I'm reading or studying or learning or pinning anything, chances's about HISTORY.  Especially English and (some) French history.

Which means that I have a tendency to freak completely OUT when we're watching any movie or documentary or travel guide to anywhere, and then the plot goes completely out into left field. 

Mind you, I don't care at all really, if it's just a movie that's totally just a period flick about people who lived at the same time as some history was going on (unless the going-on of the history is also completely misrepresented, and then I tend to get very shout-ish).  They can make up whatever they want, and if it's entertaining, then...sure.


The ones that make me freak out are when someone decides to make a documentary about, say, oh...I don't know, Queen Elizabeth I (or pretty much anyone from English history back to like 1066), and everyone's all like..."It's a portrayal".  Well, yes, I get it that we don't know exactly what these people were like--that's FINE, but then, aside from the random mixing-up of dates, events, and chronology, (which is also OK--I suppoooose--because yes, it's a film), BUT why then, is it OK at the end of the film where you're watching the little white-font-OMG-I-can-barely-read-that factoids, they will randomly throw in "factoids" like,   "and she never saw him alone in person again.  Not ever. NEVER EVER." 

And I'm like: 
 Wait--What did that just say?
And then there's like a 2-second delay while the history section of my brain flips through my mental card catalog and processes whatever "factoid" I just read or heard.  On TV.  Shamelessly given as a fact, right there for non-history geeks to read and believe, and then--this:

 My family pretty much knows that they will probably be missing the next several scenes while I GO OFF about how THAT NEVER HAPPENED.  THAT IS SO NOT TRUE PEOPLE.
It happened again last night.  We were watching some random "touring France" kind of travel-ish documentary (since that's my chosen way to see France--from my living room).  And the narrator had this sort of soft, PBS-y kind of lovely voice that is good to sleep to, and he's calmly describing some cathedral or other in France with "...and here is the lovely Cathetral of blah-blah, which was built in whatever year by whoever.  It's also the site where Richard The Lionheart's daughter was bethrothed to the son of blah blah".  
Richard the Lionheart didn't have any children.  aaaaaaaggggghhhhHHHGHGHGHG   I was pretty sure everyone has known this, ever since he died.  Because, hello--King John.  Whatever.  Look it up.
Don't even get me started on The Other Bolyn Girl or so many the coffee mug (which I love) that I got for Christmas that has Henry VIII and his six wives, with etchings of all six.  Or so you would THINK.  Unless you know that the etching claiming to be Catherine Parr, his sixth wife, is actually an etching of Katherine of Aragon, his first wife.  What the actual heck? How hard is it to even just Google these women for a correct face?
I hope I'm not the only one who thinks there should be a RULE that if you're going to write a historical film (or book--or mug), you should have to say, "Look, only SOME of this stuff is true.  The rest will be presented as true but also could be just a guess or is totally made up by my assistant, who does not know how to use Google and has also never read a single non-novel book on this subject.  But we'll present it as fact." 
Sorry--I had to get that off my chest.  Now I need to take a deep cleansing breath.