Tuesday, January 5, 2010

#7 Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?: Martha? Rubbing alcohol for you?

1966. dir. Mike Nichols, starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sandy Dennis, George Segal.
"Michael and Jan seem to be playing their own separate game: Let's see how uncomfortable we can make our guests. And they're both winning."
Jim Halpert, The Office
Seen it before? No.

Well. THAT was fucked up.

Elizabeth Taylor (who won Best Actress for this role) and her then-husband Richard Burton play George and Martha, a married couple who invite a younger couple over for drinks after a party. Martha is a boozy, verbally abusive harridan; George is totally emasculated. lovely couple. The younger couple don't get names in the movie, but Wikipedia identifies them as Nick (George Segal) and Honey (Sandy Dennis, who won Best Supporting Actress). That really annoys me by the way. Give the characters names! Please!

At first it's awkward and uncomfortable, with George and Martha insulting and belittling each other, but once the liquor starts flowing, it devolves into something stranger... is "psychosis" the right word? Hmm, yes let's go with that, psychosis. George and Martha have these psychological "games" they play, like "Humiliate the Host" and "Get the Guests". I won't divulge any details here but George and Martha should really seek help. AA might be a good place to start?

It's kind of hard to follow in some parts; all the characters talk in rhymes and riddles, except Nick, who is more or less the only sane person in the movie. That's good. You always need one sane person otherwise it's just madness.

Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf? Hard to say, really. Virginia Woolf the author never really comes up in the movie; it's a reference to some song people were drunkenly singing at the party. I guess that's the sort of thing that is hilarious at liberal arts colleges? But after seeing this movie, you should be very afraid of Virginia Woolf.

Position on the list: 239
You know who George and Martha remind me of? Susan's parents from Seinfeld. That's probably intentional.

No comments:

Post a Comment