Sunday, March 20, 2005

unlikely identification

I watched parts of the Russell Crowe Oscar-fest Gladiator last night. I've seen it a few times and generally enjoy it, CGI tigers and all. Maximus is such a good man, and Commodus is so evil, it's impossible for me to not enjoy good triumphing. I also like, as cheesily presented as it is, that Maximus ends up with his wife and son in his idea of The After Life.

Now, there is absolutely nothing in my life remotely comparable to the life of a fictional Roman gladiator. Still, though, one scene really got me. Maximus is about to go out and fight some champion or other, and he is raging to his owner about the State of Rome. So you have to picture Russell Crowe in a dress (a lot of it is leather, but it's still a dress), waving this honking huge sword around, proclaiming,
Marcus Aurelius had a dream of Rome, Proximo. And this is not it. This (here, a tremendous flourish of the sword, indicating the screaming mob in the arena stands) Is. Not. It.
Then he stomps out into the arena, beats the other guy, and spares his life even after the Emperor has condemned him. The crowd, as they say, goes wild.

So, there's poor Maximus, recognizing that Rome is not what it should be and raging against it, and in that moment, I saw myself: Hey, I know that feeling! I paused the broadcast (I love TiVO) and said to my husband, I know exactly how he feels. Sometimes when the house is a disaster and the kids are all getting on my last nerve, I think that same thing, I had a dream of what my life would be like, and this (sweeping hand gesture) is not it. This Is. Not. It!

And then I fell over laughing.

The whole scene just cracked me up. Yes, it's a big dramatic movie, but the sight of Russell Crowe waving that sword around, talking about Marcus Aurelius's dreams was just too much for me. Who talks that way?

This afternoon DS2 was running around with one of his plastic swords and put me in mind of the whole thing so I started laughing again. Then I had to re-create the entire scene for the kids. DS1, without ever having seen the film, can do a spot-on Maximus imitation.

So I've warned them that the next time they're all going nuts I'll just wave my arm around and say dramatically, "This Is. Not. It." They'll know what I mean, and we'll all laugh, and that will be the end of that.

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