Well, it’s not as if I’m not slightly biased

typed for your pleasure on 9 August 2007, at 12.08 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Sister Ray’ by the Velvet Underground

I’m not entirely sure what to make of this.

Nice boots, missy

Lars and the Real Girl

Written by Six Feet Under scribe Nancy Oliver, Lars and the Real Girl is a heartfelt comedy starring Academy-Award nominated Ryan Gosling as Lars Lindstrom a loveable introvert whose emotional baggage has kept him from fully embracing life. After years of what is almost solitude, he invites Bianca, a friend he met on the internet to visit him. He introduces Bianca to his Brother Gus (Paul Schneider) and his wife Karen (Emily Mortimer) and they are stunned. They don’t know what to say to Lars or Bianca – because she is a life-size doll, not a real person and he is treating her as though she is alive. They consult the family doctor Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson) who explains this is a delusion he’s created – for what reason she doesn’t yet know but they should all go along with it. What follows is an emotional journey for Lars and the people around him.

Hm. Hrrrm. On the surface, it sounds like a cross between French black comedy ‘Monique‘, and Luis García Berlanga’s ‘Tamaño natural‘. Granted, though, there aren’t a lot of Doll-related feature films to really compare it to; ‘Love object’ doesn’t count, as it’s hardly sympathetic towards iDollators.

There are two main problems I might have with this film.
1) As I was lamenting to New Best Blogger Friend barstowmama (she’s linked, y’know), the trend in popular media ‘culture’ is that whenever a person is given a choice between a Synthetik partner and an Organik one, by the end of the film, the script will have him choose the Organik, having completely forsaken the Synthetik that he was completely happy with before (see ‘Cherry 2000‘ for a prime example, or this music video by Lim Jeong Hee). As professional photographer Elena Dorfman once commented, love can take many forms — just because someone’s partner is artificial doesn’t make the partnership less valid, which is what popular culture doesn’t seem to understand.
2) Society has a vibrating neurosis about people being happy introverts. Extroverts seem to believe that the only good experiences are shared amongst the company of others, which is patently false. Granted, it’s obvious that a person can have fun with others, just not all the time. They don’t understand that not everyone is a go-gettin’ Type-A personality — some people happen to like it quiet and calm. Extroverts are particularly nosey, and seem to be almost offended when introverts want to keep to themselves. ‘How can he be happy if he’s inside all the time by himself?’ Sure, there are people who actually want to reach out and just don’t know how to go about it, but there are others who have done that, didn’t particularly like what they saw, and decided to stick with what they know.

This film says to me we are going to drag you kicking and screaming into the outside world, whether you like it or not, cos that’s what we think is what’s best for you, which is reprehensible. Speaking for myself, I enjoy hanging around people I’m friends with, but large groups of people — especially ones I don’t really know — kinda freak me out, mainly cos I don’t know what they’re pondering. It’s not as if I dress, speak or act like the common herd, and in the back of my mind, I’m thinking that most people don’t really like what they see. Trying to ‘fit in’ isn’t an option any more than getting enormous crowds of people to switch over to my way of thinking, so I prefer to keep to myself or amongst those who I’m familiar with.
From the trailer, Lars alternately seems okay with being out and about, or fearful of leaving his house, but that’s like two different types of introverts rolled into one character. Some are shut-ins due to fear, but others simply don’t want to leave the house cos they know they don’t have to deal with people’s rampant shitwickery.

(I owe a debt, as always, to fellow iDollator and hard-working scribe PB Shelley, for recommending Anneli Rufus’ fantastic book, ‘Party of one: the Loner’s Manifesto‘, as reading and re-reading it has gotten me through some difficult periods…)

One thing’s for certain, however — Bianca is definitely a hottie. Anyone wanting to abandon someone like her would have to be delusional.

(insert typical tongue-rolling sound here)

In fact, she looks like she’s a Leah-type RealDoll; at the very least, she definitely has the Face 4, and as short as she looks, she’s probably got the Body 2. Probably tweaked a bit for the film, but I’d recognise that face anywhere, as that’s what Shi-chan is. I’m not normally a betting man, but I think once the film comes out, there’ll be a handful of orders placed with Abyss to make a Doll that ‘looks just like the Doll in “Lars and the Real Girl”‘. And with good reason!
Like I said, I’ll pass proper judgement when I see it, but as it’s a Hollywood production, I’m visualising Bianca getting the shaft in the end. No, not like that — get your minds out of the gutter

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

A clang, followed by another clang on August 31st, 2007

(still absent) on September 16th, 2007

23 have spoken to “Well, it’s not as if I’m not slightly biased”

  1. Miss Hyde writes:

    well mr. Davecat i’ve got a proposition for ya! If this film ends with lars chucking his doll out a window or something along those un-realistic lines, i think you need to make a film yourself! And um *COUGH* 3 years acting school and 9 professional leads *COUGH* but anyway i’m sure anything you turn out will be much better then any holywood c-rubbish 😉

  2. PBShelley writes:

    Well, one can always hope that Lars will end up with his sililady, but Hollywood and Society being the whores that they are will surely “reform” him and re-impose his sentence of a living death in return for what passes for a “true love” these days, and corporate sponsors with plenty of product placement as well.
    Or is that too harsh? LOL

    As you know, I’m fully in agreement with your assessments as stated above. What’s ironic is that while Society wants to drag US out of the house kicking and screaming “for our own good”, films like these drag THEM into our world, no doubt with a lot of kicking and screaming from their end as well LOL

    Well, it IS for their own good, doncha know 😉

    Payback… she is suuuuch a beeyatch, no?

    Thanks for the credit regarding Rufus’ fine bibl- er,book; it’s responsible for giving me a line-of-sight that lifted me up from the near-despair of the gutter to the heights of acceptance and even happiness. So I’m happy to share it with every “mis-fit” that I can to show them they don’t NEED to fit in! It’s an important book that all sorts of folk need to read.

    And oh yes, Bianca is a hottie :-O

    Actually, I think that they make a very sweet couple, from your pic! I hope they end up with each other…

    Regards to you and the lovely Missus,
    PBS, Lily, and Eden

  3. barstowmama writes:

    Now normally I would say that she’s much too good looking for him, but I really do like the “nerdy” bloke look. I actually mistook him for David Arquette. If he winds up putting her on the garbage heap at the end of the fillum, I will be very upset. Davecat you know how I love the video by Lim Jeong Hee, “Love Don’t Go.” I wouldn’t be able to stand another Synthetik rejection. It would be too much.

    ‘Alo to the missus!

  4. Davecat writes:

    Miss Hyde –
    You may well be on to something there! It’ll be a revisionist take, and you can play the main character. I’ll call it ‘Larissa and the Real Girl’. It will be MAGNIFICENT.

    *shaking head* Man, I am as transparent as glass.

    PBS and sililadies (not so silly) –
    Gods, you’re absolutely feckin’ right — a film like this says ‘hey, guess what? iDollators exist. We’re in your towns, in your neighbourhoods and churches, in your 7-11s, in ur base killin ur d00dz, etc. You can ignore us if you want — in fact, that might be preferable — but don’t ever forget that we’re growing in numbers overnight.’ It is for their own good!

    And your mention of ‘misfits’ reminded me of the song ‘Mis-shapes‘, by one of the greatest Britpop bands to stride the earth, Pulp:

    We’re making a move, we’re making it now,
    We’re coming out of the side-lines.
    Just put your hands up – it’s a raid.
    We want your homes, we want your lives,
    we want the things you won’t allow us.
    We won’t use guns, we won’t use bombs
    We’ll use the one thing we’ve got more of – that’s our minds.

    If I see ‘Lars and the Real Girl’ in the cinemas, I’ll be sure to whip up some sort of review, rest assured…

    barstowmama –
    Yeah, he does look like David Arquette! But he doesn’t have a joint hanging out of his mouth, so that should’ve been a dead giveaway. But here’s hoping the film has a happy ending for all parties involved — Synthetik and Organik

    Shi-chan gives an overenthusiastic wave back, by the way. 🙂

  5. malig writes:

    i should see all of those sometime, just because

    and why does all your videos say it’s been rejected and removed (when signed in) grrrrr and 🙁

  6. Davecat writes:

    That’s the damnedest thing, malig; you’re not the first person to say that. I’ve had others say that ‘well, I can’t see your videos, as they’ve been removed’, but from where I’m sitting, they all load and play fine. That’s pretty weird.

    As I’m getting round to a mate’s this eve, I’ll check it out from his computer. Maybe it’s time to move my videos again? 😐

  7. Miss Hyde writes:

    lead eh? I like the sound of that! Email me a draft script and lets show those hollywood what-nots whats for! Lol 😀

  8. Mahtek writes:

    Well I don’t see Hollywood doing Idollators any favors. If he keeps the doll they’ll make him look sad and withdrawn because he’s not “mainstream”. But validate his love a’la “Breakback Mountain”, forget it. Doll love doesn’t have an advocacy group yet.

    Extrovert is the way to be! Paris Hilton in jail. Lyndsay Lohan in jail/rehab. Tom Cruise bouncing on Oprah’s couch. That’s the way we should all be! Despirate for attention. Willing to make an ass of ourselves for public approval. “Look at me! Look at me! Oh please dear God look at me. I’m so afraid of being alone!” And what do these people do when fame is past? Put a bullet in their head or wallow in alcohol. Pityfull.

    My dolls provide comfort and joy. My friends challenge my wit and intellect. I would be lost without either.

    Ever hear of a fellow named John Wayne? He wasn’t part of the Hollywood party crowd. He spent his time amongst family and close friends, preferably on his yacht. Check out the roles that he played. A loner, picking his friends carefully, then standing by them totally. Not a party animal. Must’ve been a wimp.

    Mahtek & Phoebe & Penelope

  9. ray rentell writes:

    Wouldn’t mind being the camera-person for your movie ….. PULL FOCUS AND CUT.
    See, even know the jargon.

    On another note, for Hollywood to sink money into this there must be a far greater interest in synthetics than perhaps we appreciate.
    They do not spend $$$$ unless they can see a return.
    And damn , this is turning into a meeting place for oldies from the TDF!

    A grizzled Ray and the many faces XXX

  10. Davecat writes:

    Miss Hyde –
    Hrrm, I dunno… can you handle being *cough* intimate with a Doll on camera?
    I, ah, just go where the scenes take me, y’know. 🙂

    Mahtek –
    I have signed your statement, for Absolute Truth. *nods sagely*

    Rent –
    True, Hollywoodland greenlighting a film like this might indicate some cursory interest, but I should hope it’s not exploitative, or even ‘we’ll aim this at the doll freaks, and persuade them they’re better off with real people, plus we’ll have their money!!‘ Remember: when dealing with Hollowood, don’t forget to set your Cynicism Filters to Full.

    And yeah, it’s like the Forum Lite round here some days! Mahtek is here quite often (see above), Everhard and PB Shelley pop their heads in now and again, and so do Stacy and Wanda (just not at the same time). Now to get you and everyone else to just become regulars, mu wa ha ha *rubs hands together in maniacal fashion*

  11. Miss Hyde writes:

    go where the scenes take you eh? But I thought you’d never ask! Heh only joking you could get a stunt me. Are you up for the job of finding someone as beauteul and talented as me? 😉 and i think ray should be our camra man! He has the phrases right down!

  12. JF writes:

    I agree. Nowadays, I’d rather have a Realdoll than a real woman and I seriously mean that. I’m married with two wonderful sons but if I ever got divorced there’s no way I’d go on the dating circuit. It just isn’t worth it. What? Go out and waste time, energy and money on someone who, if you get together and eventually marry, you’re 70% likely to divorce them.

    I’m becoming a realtor soon and once I get a foothold in the industry and make some money I don’t want some whiny woman who didn’t do anything to earn my money asking for half of it after things go sour.

    I’m much like John Wayne in that respect, I suppose, because I HATE being in social situations for the point of being in social situations. I had lots of friends in school and in the U.S. Navy but if I don’t have to be social, I don’t. I have my close family and a handful of friends that are still on the East Coast that I talk to occasionally but that’s it.

    My wife is the social type and makes friends with people and, with every single ‘friend’ she ends up complaining to me how horrible they are. I think when a person uses another to satiate their social need and nothing more, that’s just as reprehensible as how society views someone who uses a doll as a sexual outlet. If I could ever afford a Realdoll I’d get one. Hell, they never age, you get to pick what they look like, they don’t bitch and whine, they can’t run around on you and spend your money. I’m sold. 😉

  13. Davecat writes:

    Hey JF –
    Think of it this way: once you become a realtor, you’ll be able to buy a number of Dolls! Unless the market’s shite, of course. Better pick up a Doll with your first available commission, then. 🙂

    ‘I think when a person uses another to satiate their social need and nothing more, that’s just as reprehensible as how society views someone who uses a doll as a sexual outlet.’
    Hear, hear. Moreso, even. A lot of societal meetings can be reduced to ‘networking’ — outside of using Person A to meet Persons B, C, and D, you wouldn’t be speaking to them in the first place, and that’s absolutely shameful. At least with being in a relationship with a Doll, you’re not bothering anyone else, or taking advantage of them.

    Obviously, I don’t need to convince you, as you’ve pretty much echoed (pun) what I’ve been saying for years. So start raking in the $$$, and get yourself a Doll some freedom. At the very least, run it by your wife! She might enjoy the idea!…

    Thanks for weighing in, and do drop in again, if you so desire!

  14. Cle writes:

    “love can take many forms — just because someone’s partner is artificial doesn’t make the partnership less valid”

    Yes it does. A partnership is a relationship between two consenting persons, usually towards some common goal or according to a contract. A doll is not a person, cannot consent, doesn’t have any goals. You can’t form a partnership with an inanimate object, or an animal or anything like that. To say you have a partnership with a doll is just to misuse language (judging by phrases like “vibrating neurosis” you obviously have a tendency towards colorful but meaningless language). You’re trying to use the sort of argument used for gay marriage, but it simply doesn’t work.

    There’s nothing wrong with having a doll, but don’t kid yourself about what’s going on. It’s not a partnership. It’s you and a possession.

    “2) Society has a vibrating neurosis about people being happy introverts. Extroverts seem to believe that the only good experiences are shared amongst the company of others, which is patently false. Granted, it’s obvious that a person can have fun with others, just not all the time. They don’t understand that not everyone is a go-gettin’ Type-A personality — some people happen to like it quiet and calm. Extroverts are particularly nosey, and seem to be almost offended when introverts want to keep to themselves. ‘How can he be happy if he’s inside all the time by himself?’ Sure, there are people who actually want to reach out and just don’t know how to go about it, but there are others who have done that, didn’t particularly like what they saw, and decided to stick with what they know.”

    You’re not wrong in general. Extroverts do have a hard time understanding introverts. But I question how happy *you* actually are. You don’t seem very happy.

  15. Davecat writes:

    Wow. Who shat in your Cheerios this morning? Honestly, I’d love to know, so I could applaud their work.

    Originally I was going to simply delete your ‘thoughts’, but I figured, free speech and all that. Plus, people get exactly one shot at me, and that’s it. Viva le comment approval!

    Leaving out the needlessly petty comment about my ‘tendency towards colorful but meaningless language’, ultimately, what do you care if I have a relationship with a Doll? Personally, I’d say you’re the unhappy one, as you’re the one attacking me on my blog, about a lifestyle choice that does no harm whatsoever to you. Ever hear of the phrase ‘If it harm none, do as thou wilt’?

    Anyway, thanks for writing! Sidore and I will be sure to give your comments the attention they deserve.

  16. Dr. Goldfoot writes:

    Hi Davecat,

    Well, looks like everybody’s got a blog these days! Today I found Stacy’s, and from hers I found yours!

    My girlfriend & I actually enjoyed “Lars & the Real Girl” — despite the ending, which went exactly according to formula. But I tend to think the people behind this film were on the doll-positive side, so this is a small step forward, not backward. The people around Lars had to examine their own prejudices, and a lot of them (esp. women) came around to loving Bianca — we already knew the guys would like her.

    One of my favorite lines: “Does she have a sister?”

    Take care, enjoy your new home!
    Dr. G.

  17. Davecat writes:

    Dr Goldfoot, Ph.D –
    Holy crap. How have you been, sir? Apart from writing like a fiend? Everyone has a blog of some sort these days! Naturally I’ll have to link you as well…

    So you say ‘Lars etc etc’ wasn’t all that bad? Hm. I’ll be sure to pass judgement on it when I catch it, which should be soon. But if you say it’s got a sympathetic approach to Dolls and Doll ownership, then that’s definitely a good sign… And it’s like I always say (not really always, but still), it seems that people who are constantly railing against the concept of artificial companions are just showing off their own neuroses and closed-mindedness. Take poor unimaginative Cle, for example.

    Good hearing from you, man! Be sure to stop by now and again, as more Forum members than you’d imagine pass through and leave the occasional comment! And Shi-chan says an enthusiastic Hi, and wants me to mention she still has those PVC booties that you and Jenny sold her. 🙂

  18. Doll Brother writes:

    Oh, come on, people, for crying out loud!!!! this cosmo D story about the dolls is just exploitation and a conglomerate of several “ideals” involved with the real life D family and how their characters have been used repeatedly in pop culture for the past 61 years in America, not to mention being “photographer’s models” for hundreds of dolls manufactured from 1959-1972!!!! wake up America!!

    Let’s look of the age of the character- 27 years old; introvert; boring job; has no girlfriend; this character sounds a lot like the son of the photographer’s model of the “Patti Playpal Doll” issued by Ideal Toy Company in 1959; that’s why the character is obsessed with this doll because he knows it was made in his mother’s image- even looks like his real life mother back in 1975 how coincidental; the real life story it is obviously based on is the fact that the son of this “real life” doll is obsessed with the fact that his mother, aka “the image from which this doll originated” in 1959 was exploited by a toy company when she was 2 years of age; she received no reimbusement for this; sounds to me like the real life 27 year old son wants to the know the truth behind this little “plastic hidden imam”-

    P.S.- a lot of the members of this real life D family appear to be “introverts” because they don’t be wanna be exploited by people out here in this world making films up about their lives, making songs up about their lives, etc. in 1978, Father Philip Berrigan (another side kick to a real life doll named “crissy’) wrote a book about the D family plastic idolatry exploitation- it was entitled “Beastly Images And Essays On The Bomb,” which told the story of how the only way this cosmo D pop culture exploitation in America (and the world) will end is with the dropping of a nuclear bomb thrown at America by America’s enemy.

    Let’s look at some more- the Ideal Toy company (who manufactured this real life doll) was on the 79th floor of the WTC North Tower in 1970; terrorists (who disagree with plastic idolatry exploitation) flew it right into the building in 2001 to end that “curse of a spirit” well put, I think- hope you all learned plenty- read it over and over if you like- written by the Uncle of the Real life Lars- thanks so much God bless

  19. Davecat writes:

    Well, I’ve certainly learned something.

    I’ll not say what it is out loud, but I’ve learned something…

  20. Kat writes:

    I learned something too. Maybe I distinguish introverts in a few ways.

    1) Those that are completely happy with being alone and that have *chosen* to be a loner/introvert

    2) Those that are introverts but have the desire to come out and play with everyone else. Basically, these people are just too shy or awkward to be in a group setting (small or large groups, it depends on each individual).

    When it comes to the latter, I know I have done what I can to show them that there is nothing to worry about. They should just be who they are, no matter if they think that they wont be accepted. I know I have danced away from my group (metaphorically speaking), approached a wall flower and asked them if they wanted to dance (not “with me” per se but if they wanted to dance near me). If I gauge that they are more of a #1, than I leave them alone.

    I just have to make sure I gauge well between #1 and #2.

  21. Davecat writes:

    Kat –
    And really, the way you approach it is sane and sound. If you’re presenting yourself in a subtle way that doesn’t freak someone out, then you’re doing it right. If that person is a genuine loner or introvert, they’ll make their own (hopefully) informed decision about whether or not to interact with you, and if that person’s just shy, you might well make a new friend.
    The problem arises when extroverts force themselves and their personalities upon non-extroverts. They may not be doing it intentionally, but since extroverts by and large don’t understand being any attitude apart from an ‘in your face’ one, they don’t get why they’re rebuffed. Personally, I find it tiring dealing with people like that for extended periods — and I mean physically and mentally tiring, as it requires a lot of energy to assert my presence so that I’m on equal footing with them, as opposed to being pretty much suppressed by their boisterous and overactive attitude. If a person is sensible, they won’t start out with everything cranked up to 11, they’ll start out low, and work up to 11. Unless, of course, you’re watching Spinal tap. 🙂

  22. Juan writes:

    yes man, I agree with U. Before watching the movie I thought it would be something about the doll thing I mean, about the lifestyle and the fact that we, the people that behaves somewhat different to the rest of the herd can be happy too.

    I was expecting at least something like I Robot, I mean, a story with different points of view, with the doll playing a role (yes, I mingled images in my mind in the scene when the guilty robot was about to be put down…I imagined then a beauriful gynoid being dispatched and then the story becomes deep when the love and tender began to flow between the gynoid and the organiks around her).

    But I found the film was just a silly thing that I couldn’t call comedy, just a nice try, a boring sequence without a real story, a sequence about “we the “perfect” are better than U, the doll lover” the same thing of we are the champions and if it happens that U are not like us then U are a pitiful loser.

    I know a little about other idollators but based in what I’ve read and discovered thru internet, the average idollator is miles away from that pathetic Lars, I mean, idollators are normal people with a different preference in love…different but valid and respectable…yes I asked the same questions than U my dear Davecat when I saw the post of the guy who’s living with many dolls 1) where does he work? 2)are they hiring?

    Thanks and best regards

  23. Davecat writes:

    Well, did you read my eventual review?
    Much as I’d have liked for Bianca to be a Gynoid, that’s not what the film was about, and I’d known that going in. Also, it’s Hollywood. Despite the fact that they did a fair job of picturing the iDollator Lars in a sympathetic light, you have to remember: whenever Hollywood is involved, lower your expectations.

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