Old Lady Movie Night: “Gone With the Wind” (Part TWO)
Do you know how hard it was for me not to scream — literally scream — “PART DEUX!” instead of writing “two” in the subject line? Do you? I hope so. I hope we’re there, emotionally and mentally, in that you’d know that containing my excitement about one of the greatest movies ever made is next to impossible. But here we are.
GONE WITH THE WIND PART TWO, EVERYONE.
Where did we leave off? Well, Atlanta literally burned down, Scarlett had to take Melanie, Melanie’s hours-old baby, and the most dramatic person (Prissy) in the history of time and space on a journey across what I gather is the great American South. I have never been there, so I’m just assuming. Though I will say that out of the three of them, I am absolutely most like Prissy, and I would also be afraid of cows and even just of being in that wagon. And I also know nothing about birthing babies. So what up, Prissy. I HEAR YOU.
That being said, Scarlett is about to kick even more butt and take even more names in the next two hours or so, so let’s get right to business. The North has won the Civil War (SPOILER ALERT), and now Tara needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. Frankly, I would hate this, and I would probably move or escape.
1. Scarlett, YGG
I am not condoning slapping your sisters or anybody you’ve met, but have we not all been there with Scarlett-esque tempers? NOT THE HITTING, OBVIOUSLY. (Do not hit people.) But I would also hate my sister if she was complaining about picking cotton when it was everything I could do to keep the house and family together. ALSO — and I hate to say it — I would totally react the same way to Melanie’s kindness. YOU ARE SICK. GO BACK TO BED, MELANIE. (“Ain’t nobody got time for this!”) Love you, girl, but you need to rest up and this is just not the time to take anything for the team. Until…
2. That terrible yankee soldier shows up
UGH. UGH UGH UGH. I hate him and it and he 100% appealed to my innermost fears as a kid (and now). We are going to glaze over his graphic death and how absolutely vile a character he is, and shout-out to Melanie DRAGGING A SWORD out of the bedroom. See? I wouldn’t even be able to stay mad at her. BECAUSE SHE DRAGGED OUT A SWORD. Also, she covers it all up like a pro, and then donates her nightgown, but not before telling Scarlett to goes through his pockets. In another time, this could’ve been one hell of a buddy movie. Scarlett and Melanie against the world! But stupid, horrible Ashley gets in the way. WHO PLAYS THEM BOTH. This isn’t the last we’ve heard about that, though. Oh no.
3. The running towards Ashley montage is too much
Because it’s hilarious! IT JUST IS. TWO PEOPLE RUNNING INTO EACH OTHER’S ARMS IS HILARIOUS. And if you’re trying to argue otherwise, you have never seen this particular scene. But do you know what makes it even better?
Oh my GOD what a hero. She has to hold Scarlett back from running into Ashley’s arms, and then has to do the gentle reminder, “He’s HER husband, honey.” AHHH SHE IS SUCH A MOM AND I LOVE HER. She gets it. She gets that Scarlett is sad and upset, and also that Ashley is just the worst human on the face of the planet. Still not sure? Here’s more proof.
5. Ashley sees death, should be a better person, belittles Scarlett, and then makes out with her
RIGHT!? This line, “You don’t understand fear.” DOESN’T SHE, ASHLEY? Remember the time she and Melanie had to escape the BURNING CITY? Or what about that little adventure shooting a yankee soldier in the face? How about just being a woman in the war at all? THIS GUY, YOU GUYS. And THEN, “Why can’t we forget that day at Twelve Oaks?” Because clearly you won’t, Ashley! And haven’t! And refuse to! AND YOU ARE MARRIED. Ugh. (Because fictional or not, there is nothing more repellent than a married or committed man disrespecting his wife or girlfriend by hitting on somebody else? No. I mean, yes. There are more repelling things. But this is absolutely top five.)
6. “That’s all of Tara you’ll ever get!”
YGG! YOU GO, GIRL! I don’t know if I’m cheering for Scarlett or Vivien Leigh at this point, but whatever, I am into it. She’s head of the household! She is RUNNING IT. She and Mammy, my best friends.
7. Scarlett goes to Atlanta looking like a QUEEN!
WERK IT. Now, I’m not sure which I respect more: “Great balls of fire!” (which I have been trying to adapt into my everyday vocabulary) or Mammy just laying it down. Truth be told, I can’t actually watch this scene without thinking of Carol Burnett’s spoof where she shows up wearing a dress with the curtain rod still attached, and I can’t watch it without screaming “kiss! kiss! kiss!” AGAIN since I . . . what’s the word? “Ship them.”
8. So a return to Clark Cable as Rhett Butler
I mean, THE GUY CLEANS UP NICE. I’m sure yankee prisons were actually a hellhole since prison in itself tends to be a hellhole, but I like this fictional depiction: Rhett hanging around, gambling, smoking cigars, and WEARING A CAPE. And his heart! He cares so much! He really does love Scarlett, but then . . .
9. “You’re not worth $300”
WHAT!? Lies. YOU ARE LYING RHETT BUTLER AND YOU KNOW IT. Also, I probably would stop talking to him at this point if I were her. Not only did he abandon me and two other women and a baby in the middle of nowhere that one time DURING THE WAR, he said I wouldn’t be worth $300, and then let me go on about money only to shoot me down as well as my hopes and dreams. Yeah, no. We’d be done. Clark Cable and I wouldn’t be done, who is my boyfriend, but Rhett Butler and I would be. Or at least that’s what I would say until he could prove how wonderful of a human being he was and apologized every day all the time for those two offenses. So yeah, no, we wouldn’t date.
10. I love Frank Kennedy
I always forget how much I love Frank Kennedy until he shows Scarlett the store that he’s so proud of (SO PROUD of!), and marries her . . . why? I don’t know. Because she was really manipulative, that’s why. For the record, I do not condone how she rolled, BUT I mean, this is when we say, “It was the war…?” No. I don’t know. She was desperate and she made her sister upset and ultimately also her husband upset, and all of us. We were/are all upset. Everyone is upset. Even Ashley, who got totally tricked into going to Atlanta in the greatest display of emotion yet. (Read: Scarlett fakes a cry-fest, makes Ashley look like a horrible person to Melanie, then Melanie calls Ashley out on being unchivalrous.)
11. I don’t understand the lumber business
But I do know that she’s doing it kind of wrong…? I don’t know, you guys. Listen. Here’s what I know about business: that I wouldn’t be able to run one of the lumber variety. Also, that Ashley makes a few good points about maybe not hiring convicts who are sick and on death’s door. That’s just good advice. But fair enough, calling people on their debts! And running a mill. I literally just stop paying attention at the rest, only because then Rhett runs into Scarlett again and is all, “You still think you’re the belle of the county, don’t you?” and it’s like, STOP THE SHAMING, BUD. Like, I’m sorry she’s not interested, but she’s got other things on her mind. But wait — now WE have other things on our mind.
12. The shanty town situation
Yikes. And now that we have the understatement of the year under our belts, I have a lot of feelings about this shanty town situation. The first, “HOW did the yankees know?” and second, “Why would they blame Scarlett for that?” WHY ARE THEY SHAMING SCARLETT. It’s HER fault that they could be hanged for cleaning out the shanty town? Why wouldn’t they clean it out before? Why did it take someone they knew nearly getting assaulted before they made some changes? And also, why do the yankees even care if they clean out a place where women can be assaulted and robbed? RIGHT?! I feel like Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting right now: “IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT, SCARLETT!”
13. Faking drunk is the greatest premise this world has ever seen
How do they play it so cool?! And how is there not 2592228525 Dr. Meade fan clubs?! EVERYBODY WHO LOVES DR. MEADE SAY AY! (AY!) And Melanie! I need to know how it is possible not to want to be her best friend (I’m looking at you, Scarlett). She keeps it super cool, and then Rhett SCOOPS ASHLEY UP, and then Mrs. Meade begins an investigation into Belle Watling’s establishment. If I could recreate this scene every day without Ashley being present, I would try. I would fail, but I would try.
14. Am I alone in secretly wishing that Melanie and Rhett would become an item, though?
Would that not be one of the greatest relationships ever made? First, Melanie is TOO GOOD for Ashley, and second, Rhett and Scarlett have wayyyyy too much baggage to be an actual couple who could work (as evidenced by the fact that their relationship ends in sorrow and tragedy). JUST THINK OF THE MAGIC. She thinks he’s great. He thinks she’s great. They’re both beautiful. Oh my goodness, what a wonderful world we would live in if this could be real. Or at the very least, referenced to. By them. In interviews. Or something. Two words. Per sentence. Obviously.
15. When Scarlett drinks after Frank’s death, she is all of us
POURING ONE OUT. And maybe we’re not necessarily drinking. Maybe we’re all enjoying a snack or a cup of soup. But the moral of the story is that somehow, someway, we have all been there. We have all tried to pretend we are demure and together and not like we haven’t been drinking straight whatever-it-is-we’re drinking. However, shout-out to her choice to drink brandy. I’ve never had it, but I’ve heard it’s very sweet, and I’ve learned that drinking sweet drinks is the fastest way to get sick from drinking. We can all only hope that Scarlett chased her brandy with an enormous meal and eight cups of water.
16. Alright, fine, the proposal between Scarlett and Rhett is amazing
The banter! The “I don’t like being married!” The kiss! The fact that she said “yes” partly because of his money and ADMITTED IT! All of it. “Heaven help the man whoever REALLY loves you.” Personally, I think this is the most perfect engagement in the world. Well, no. I think When Harry Met Sally contains the most perfect engagement in the world. But what I’m saying here is the HONESTY. Just keeping it real! Dropping mics! #YOLO
17. Rhett Butler and the baby, SWEET HEAVENS
Now, I’m not a person who’s 100% sold on having kids, but I will say that watching Clark Cable pretend to be a dad who’s super into being a dad is pretty much the cutest thing ever. Is it Rhett or is it Clark or are we human or ARE WE DANCER? I have no answers to any of these questions. But I will say that when he pours a drink for Mammy, he pours us all drinks. Just not brandy, since it will make us all sick.
18. UGH, I just hate when the relationship starts to go downhill, though
I hate it. I hate that she carries a picture of Ashley, I hate that in the olden days “not wanting more babies” means “not having sex” (because that’s the deal Scarlett and Rhett come to, basically, which I did not realize in grade eight when I first watched ) and I hate that we have to watch this relationship just go the way of the devil. I HATE IT. It upsets me genuinely on 140000 levels. I’m upset because Rhett says he could divorce her for her decision, I’m upset because Ashley ONCE AGAIN gets in the way, I’m upset because then Rhett says he’ll break down the door… oh this is horrible and terrible. See? This is why Rhett and Melanie would’ve worked. Or Belle! Imagine Rhett and Belle? Oh my goodness, that would be a fantastic wonderful glorious union. Let’s “ship” THEM. Because Scarlett and Rhett need to get thee to a couple’s therapist.
19. Okay, am I allowed to say I don’t like Bonnie?
THIS IS NOT THE ACTRESS’ FAULT. I just think there was a way of acting as a child in the 1930s that doesn’t translate? Or maybe it’s literally the character of Bonnie Blue. I think even when I was 13, I was like, “What’s up with this kid?” I think too ask-y? Prefacing everything with “Daddy! Daddy!” Maybe because I’d rather just be all, “Hey dad, ‘sup.” But fine! Whatever! I didn’t live during the Civil War or in 1939 when this movie was made. But I had to tell you guys because I think we’re close enough to justify such honesty, I think. I’M SORRY AND I LOVE YOU.
20. But then Mrs. Meade and India Wilkes think Scarlett and Ashley are having an affair because they hugged in the store…?
HOW!? Also, they weren’t even really hugging! They were just standing there and he had his arm on her back, basically. Also, he was kind of crying? Also, why wouldn’t they just say something? Like, “Heyyyy guys, what’s happening?” Not even a “This is awkward!” or “Hi-oh!” upon entry. Instead, it’s hand-over-mouths and running out the door and verbally — because Gossip Girl and the internet did not exist — telling everyone who ever lived because apparently they had literally all the time in the world. I mean, seriously. Think about how much time that probably took to tell that many people. PHONES DID NOT EXIST. Did they go door to door? Let’s pretend they went door to door. And get embarrassed for everyone.
21. And then Melanie HAS HER BACK
SISTERHOOD WHAT WHAT. So India doesn’t have the guts to show her face at her brother’s own birthday party, and Melanie — instead of giving into rumours — just HAS SCARLETT’S BACK. Friendship. Friend. Ship. Setting sail since after the Civil War. I also love how Scarlett shows up dressed to the nines with this “AND WHAT” look on her face. I wish I could have that look on my face, sometimes! Most of the time it’s just like “Heyyyyy brother” because I turn into Buster Bluth sometimes in public. And I can 100% promise you that Ashley Wilkes’ birthday party would be one of those times.
22. Understatement of the year: drunk Rhett bums me out
In a big way, and not in a good way. We know I love Clark Gable, and also Rhett Butler 70% of the time, but remember when he threatens Scarlett? Several times? And then instigates what could arguably be sexual assault? WHY. There are actually tons of stuff written about the connection between rape and Gone With the Wind, and even though Scarlett wakes up in some wonderful mood, how the whole thing happened makes me super uncomfortable, as it should all of us. UGH THIS PART. I hate it, you guys. People have written papers on it and for good reason. It’s just too much.
23. Congratulations for then somehow getting worse?!
Even when I was 13, I remember thinking, “UGHH THE LAST 30 MINUTES WHY.” So we go from domestic violence to a fall down the stairs leading to miscarriage to the death of Bonnie Blue to THE DEATH OF MELANIE. All of it. OVERLOAD. But here’s what is REALLY too much: why did no one get or tell Rhett when Scarlett was calling for him? What’s wrong with everyone?! WHY IS COMMON SENSE NOT BEING USED. WHY IS EVERYONE SO HURTFUL AND MEAN OTHER THAN MELANIE AND MAMMY?
24. And SPEAKING of Melanie, she gives and gives and gives and gives…
For the worst people! I feel like by the end of this movie, you are supposed to deduce that Melanie rules all, and everyone else is selfish and just the worst. I mean, she should probably have been on bed rest, and NOPE. She’s got to piece Rhett’s life together instead, and then she COLLAPSES. Her dying words are even “Take care of Rhett, he loves you so.” I think I would, if I were her, use my last ounces of strength to say something like, “Honestly, you guys were out of your minds. I am seriously going to turn into a ghost and haunt you all because seriously? It’s payback time.” And then I wouldn’t haunt them, I’d go hang someplace else, but I’d hang someplace knowing I had totally messed with their minds.
25. We all want Scarlett and Rhett to get back together, but at the same time, it’s probably best that their relationship ending
AND I SAY THIS AS AN OLD LADY. But come on. If you had a best friend and that best friend was in a Scarlett/Rhett-type situation, you would absolutely be like, “You have go to get out of that relationship, you seriously bring out the worst in each other and this is nothing like love at all.” Right?! You would. I would! WE ALL WOULD. There would be a lot of life coaching, and even maybe a “Listen. You just can’t stay together. Or if you do, don’t talk to me about your relationship because you turn into horrible people when you’re together, and I hate you both equally at that time.” That being said, Clark and Vivien are our homies. And they play these characters so well that I began to like these actors based on their roles alone, which is INSANE, because hello, we know they are people who get paid to play somebody else. In real life they may have been horrible! Well, they weren’t. And ultimately, neither was Scarlett, who, may I remind you all, delivered a baby and then drove a wagon across a country and then saved her family’s farm.
So frankly, my dears, I give many damns. (And I have been waiting my whole life to apply that to life somehow.) (I love you all.)