Movies + History = a lot of Daniel Day Louis

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It is the end of the school year and my daughter and her classmates have already taken the AP History Test, so they’re watching historic movies in class. By the way, they’re juniors in high school. (AP stands for Advanced Placement, which is curriculum approved by an organization that makes a lot of money off of giving tests to kids who want to get into college.)

Movies + History = a lot of Daniel Day Louis.

My daughter is watching Last of the Mohicans at home, and hour at a time. She’ll write about it and compare the movie/story with historical events for accuracy. She already pointed out a few points that are not accurate but she could have asked James Fenimore Cooper about that. That said, she did point out several accurate points, and also pointed out how smoking hot Daniel Day Lewis was as Hawkeye. Actually, I was the one who pointed out how smoking hot he was. She just said how much she liked his long hair and how attractive he looked.

In my opinion some of the most romantic movie moments EVER were between Hawkeye and Cora in this movie. Sigh.

Yesterday Clara (my daughter) told me that they (the history students) started to watch Gangs of New York in class. She said, “I don’t get it at all. Daniel Day Lewis comes out in some crazy wild colored clothes, and I thought this was supposed to be in the 1950’s. I can’t keep track of anything. I didn’t know Leonardo DiCaprio was in it too. That isn’t a bad thing at all.”

I gave my usual small lecture on costume history, etc etc etc, but as my kids get older the less they listen to my little history lessons. Sometimes I wonder if they ever listened at all. They’re like boyfriends on the first three weeks of dating. They listen politely, then they just turn up the radio and block it out. But as a wonderful mom I listen to everything they say. I listen to what my husband says too but he’ll tell you I don’t.

This time I told Cora that in the 1860’s, the same period of Gangs of New York, Werewolves had taken up loud garish clothing. They always had the brightest of everything, the tallest hats, and the most extreme hair. They delighted in their get ups. This is an odd contrast to their current subdued nature, including their clothing. Back then they didn’t care as much because nobody knew what they were. Now, with all of the popular culture about paranormal creatures, not to mention modern forensics, they have to be more careful. But that is just another one of Mom’s (me) silly tales and it is time to change the subject.

 

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Gangs of New York

School is almost out and Clara will be a senior. Then in a year or two there will be no children in my house, only a husband, a dogs, and two cats. Dad is in sad panic mode. I am just in sad mode.

A the same time I am happy that the young people in my life are so excited about their futures.

I’m also glad they have come to appreciate history. If you don’t know where you’ve been you can’t see where you’re going. Unfortunately most people don’t know jack about history and they aren’t interested in learning it.

I’ve always thought the aversion to history by most people is due to several things. The first is just a general lack of curiosity. The second is the way history is taught in so many schools – it is all about dry facts and people in funny clothing. History has to be relatable. That is why I LOVE my daughter’s history teacher. They guy makes it relatable. The third reason is the fact that people don’t value what others have done. They don’t value lives spent to give THEM the right to vote, or speak freely, or pray to whatever they want to pray to, or do anything they want to do.

But I’m off subject again, as if I really had a subject…

If you don’t like history give it a try…see a movie, even if it isn’t accurate, then read a book about it. Sometimes fiction is easier to digest, if you know what I mean. But don’t forget that truth is always stranger than fiction. And if all else fails see a movie with Daniel Day Louis in it. Yes, the kids also saw him in Lincoln, The Crucible, and There Will Be Blood. This summer I’ll make sure Clara sees  Age of Innocence and of course Room With A View. Yes, history can be fun.

So have fun.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

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5 thoughts on “Movies + History = a lot of Daniel Day Louis

  1. My wife is always spouting historical facts concerning what we we’re watching on TV or whatever. She learned most of it from romance novels which are mostly accurate. It’s a good source but of course means reading a book which may be more effort than a high schooler may want to make. I would tell her to dogear the good parts but she never does.

  2. AP !!! All along I thought that meant Associated Press and here I thought she was studying to be a reporter !
    As far as ‘Gangs of NY”, seems times haven’t changed much, have they ??? 🙂

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