Remembered because . . .
It lead me to Shakespeare.
So, after publishing last week’s #TBT (here) I realized I broke from format (which I really don’t mind since thisis my blog but I really shouldn’t so …) which simply will not do. Which is why I’m doing it the proper way (and know that I realize these rules/guidelines/whatever is pretty much all in my head, but without order there is chaos. Plus, I’m building a brand here, right? Sorta? Maybe?).
As mentioned, I came across this movie while channel-surfing.
Yes, channel-surfing. For those of you who never experienced channel-surfing, it’s before the days of a manual scrolling TV guide that we’re so familiar with now days (Did I just date myself? Pst, I don’t really care because that’s life). The TV guide channel would scroll on its own so most of the time I would just flip through channels instead of waiting for the guide to scroll back to the stations I watched. It was much faster, sometimes.
It must have been a Saturday or sometime during the summer because I had free reign of the TV. Again, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept of sharing the television, in the 90s we didn’t have smartphones or tablets or multiple computers. We had one TV to view all TV shows and movies. If your family were lucky, you sometimes had two TVs and would have to fight for the second TV since that one was usually always in a more private part of the house, like you grandmother’s room. In this case, I had free reign of that second TV in my grandmother’s room. I’ve digressed.
Back on point.
Even from a young age, I’ve always been fascinated with history and “old time eras” so when I stumbled upon the opening credits for Much Ado About Nothing, I was instantly hooked, if only to satisfy my curiosity. And that was it. That was my fall. Because I fell for Shakespeare and I’ve never completely recovered.
My twelve year-old self was laughing within minutes–okay, maybe that’s a small exaggeration, but I know I had a mad grin on my face within the first five minutes. I just loved the dialogue! And in the opening scene Beatrice was already taking verbal stabs at Benedict.
He set up his bills here in Messina, & challenged Cupid at the Flight …
My youthful self did have to pay attention to keep up because that kind of dialogue obviously isn’t straight English. But from the fact that Beatrice asked about Benedict then decided to pass it off as if she’s asking because he rang up some sort of debt in Messina and with the use of Cupid, I figured they had history. And if the backdrop, the costumes, and the strange dialogue didn’t already piqued my interest, that right there did.
I didn’t know then, but I know now, the cast was impressive. You have Kate Beckinsale (The Underworld Saga and well, a lot of other movies) as Hero, Emma Thompson (Nanny McFee and well, a lot of other movies) as Beatrice, and Robert Sean Leonard (House, and really, that’s all I remember him in. In fact, when I first watched House I thought “hey, that’s the guy who was in Much Ado About Nothing“) as Claudio, Keanu Reeves (do I even need to list movies?) as Don John, and even Denzel Washington for starters. As mentioned, I didn’t really know them when I first watched this, but as they became more known and as I watched more movies and television I always thought of them “as that person that was in Much Ado About Nothing.”
So, it was from this movie that I started reading Shakespeare as leisure reading (and I stress that since a lot of English classes touch on Shakespeare) and enjoyed them when they were assigned in class. It really was a gateway to classic literature as well because after watching this and then reading the play, I was open-minded enough to read The Scarlet Letter, attempted to read A Tale of Two Cities, and other classic works.
Hats off to Kenneth Branagh (who starred as Benedict as well as directed the whole thing) for a good rendition of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and for showing me a different type of entertainment.