January 14, 2013

Twilight: My Dinner with Vlad

Twilight, pp. 196-206.

Bella awakens the next morning, fighting the belief that it was all a dream. I don't know what was so dreamlike about it--the almost-rape seems like something that would be etched in memory--but there you go. Edward is there, ready to take her to *snicker* school.

When I first read this novel, it was Edward I hated. His emotional power games, his use of his powers to manipulate and deceive, his commanding and domineering manner, his casual disdain for everyone outside of his own family, his whiny "but I don't wanna be a monster!" bullshit, his domination of Bella's sexuality--he really is a fucking tool. But this second reading is making me hate Bella a lot more. In fact, this chapter does something I didn't think possible, which is to make me, for a very brief moment, almost kind of like Edward. Why? Because he continues to be the voice of reason when it comes to Bella's inhuman nonreaction to his vampirism.

He turned to smirk at me. "What, no twenty questions today?"

"Do my questions bother you?"

"Not as much as your reactions do." He looked like he was joking, but I couldn't be sure.

I frowned. "Do I react badly?"

"No, that's the problem. You take everything so coolly--it's unnatural."

Do you think he'll ever figure out the reason for this, that she's an empathy-less pathological narcissist who views other people entirely as tools to be manipulated for her own ends? Yeah, I don't think so, either.

In another indication of the Cullens' wealth--substantial in the first book, though it reaches positively O'Leary-an heights as the series wears on--the other Cullen kids are forced to take Rosalie's car, a red convertible that Edward tells us is very, very expensive. The vampires have this expensive car because they like to drive fast, even though later in the series it will become clear they can run faster than a car (that, or Stevenie Meyer can't be bothered to indicate the passage of time when they travel somewhere), so I don't know why they like driving a fast car. Usually the Cullens take the sweet ride (by which I mean the Volvo) to school instead of the convertible since it's less conspicuous (even though Bella noticed it immediately on her first day at Forks High), but they had to take the convertible this time since Edward took the Volvo just to pick up Bella. That's right, he tells her, "I'm breaking all the rules now". Oh, snap! I think Edward's a little too good at wooing insecure fourteen seventeen-year-old girls, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

Bella has been ruminating over what she will tell Jessica when they meet, since the latter will undoubtedly want to question her further about last night's interview with the vampire. My first thought was "The truth?", but then I remembered who we're talking about here.  Jessica appears and so Edward naturally reads her mind because he's a dick. After Jessica hands Bella back her jacket--thank God Meyer didn't leave us hanging about whether or not Bella got her jacket back--Edward tells Bella that Jessica won't ask her about their situation in front of him but will do so at the first opportunity, in the trigonometry class she and Bella share.

And now it's time to play our favorite game, What Will Bella Do? Get this one right, and you move on to the next round! Here we go: When faced with this gross invasion of her best friend's privacy, What Will Bella Do? Will she

a) ...angrily demand that Edward no longer read her friend's intimate thoughts and respect her privacy?
b) ...tell Edward that, while she may be powerless to stop him from reading her best friend's mind, she doesn't want any part of using that ability against her?
c) ...not react at all?
d) ...angrily demand that he tell her more specifically what her best friend was thinking so that she can more effectively prepare responses to avoid honestly answering Jessica's questions?

D is your final answer? You're correct! What's our contestant won, Johnny? That's right, you get to continue to read snippets of Twilight!

"So what are you going to tell her?"

"A little help?" I pleaded. "What does she want to know?"

He shook his head, grinning wickedly. "That's not fair."

"No, you not sharing what you know--now that's not fair."

That's right, in Bella Swan's world, it's wrong to use your magic powers to enter without permission and steal from the most intimate space a person has--her own mind--if you don't use those powers for her benefit. That's our Bella!

It turns out Jessica wants to know if Edward and Bella are dating and how Bella feels about him. Wow, he needed vampire mind-reading powers to know that? I'd better check to see if I'm a vampire. Edward gets the last laugh, though, because he tells her he'll be reading Jessica's mind when she tells her how she feels about him, so she'll effectively be telling him, too. Of course, knowing this, Bella could tell him not to do that, or tell him her feelings right there, or refuse to tell Jessica her feelings, but then Jessica would lose her narrative function of "serve as a vehicle for Bella and Edward to play out their dominance/passive-aggressive power games", and Stevenie Meyer isn't about to let that happen.

The conversation with Jessica goes about as you expect, with Bella being evasive and telling half-truths, only this time, in what may be the most off-putting use and abuse of the Jessica character yet, she's actually talking to Edward through Jessica's mind. So she tells her things like Edward's driving is scary and drops really, really obvious hints that she wants him to kiss her when they go out on Saturday (even though she said immediately before this that "it's not like that") because she wants Edward to know these things. I thought Bella was a terrible person when she constantly ignored her alleged best friend, but now she's talking to her on the surface while in reality actually talking to Edward. A conversation between Jessica and Bella is in reality a conversation between Edward and Bella. I told you he takes over the novel. Not only does Meyer not show us any conversations that aren't about him, but now she doesn't even give us any conversations that don't involve him.

Bella makes sure to point out to us that she thinks Jessica would forgive any of Edward's flaws simply because he's, as Jessica says, "unbelievably gorgeous". And while that may be true, I'd just like to point out that that's exactly what Bella's doing. Oh, she pretends it's because he's a monster trying not to be a monster by saving people's lives (by which she means, of course, her life, because that's the only one he's ever saved or will ever save, and that's the only one that matters, so it's the same in her mind as saving "people's lives"), but really, I've been leaving out all the times she's talked about his gorgeous face, his muscled chest, his ripped torso, etc. etc.. Go ahead, go back through the novel and add up the number of times Bella talks about Edward's physical appearance, and tally that against the number of times she talks about how attracted she is to his good vampire-ness. I fucking dare you.

Bella tells Jessica that Mike asked her if Jessica said anything about her and Mike's date, and so the conversation moves to trying to figure out how much Mike likes Jessica. Of course, since this directly involves neither Edward nor Bella, we don't get any details of this, just a paragraph saying it is discussed. Remember, Jessica only speaks when it concerns Edward, and she's talking about Mike now, so her dialogue disappears. The bell rings for lunch, meaning Bella is finally free of having to talk to her best friend so she can bounce off to see her creepy stalker, and I'm finally free of this tripe for another week.

January 9, 2013

The Boondock Saints

Quentin Tarantino. The very name conjures up boundless admiration in some, unbridled vitriol in others. Those of us in the middle are rather taken aback by either reaction. I liked Reservoir Dogs--surprisingly, I like it more each time I see it--and loved Pulp Fiction, but I've never been much motivated to go out and find more of his stuff. Django Unchained has shown that Tarantino remains a critical darling, but then again, critics raved about Kill Bill, one of the more depressing and unpleasant cinema experiences I've had. I freely admit that his films aren't really about anything, that they're the ultimate triumph of style over substance. But that's okay, I don't mind occasionally taking in such works, as long as it's well-done style. And there's no denying Tarantino is a talented filmmaker, though as I've said, his talent lies more in his screenwriting than in his directing.

The worst thing about Tarantino--other than the fact that he comes off as needy, haughty jerk--is the imitators he inspired. I've already written about people still ripping off Pulp Fiction after 20 years, but it deserves another mention. I can think of nothing better than to quote Ken Begg of Jabootu, in his review of the Christian Slater Pulp Fiction wannabe Hard Cash:

"Tarantino’s work seemed to revolve around easily replicated elements: Casts of faded, formerly ‘cool’ stars; hipster dude haircuts and suits; discursive conversations full of pop culture references, constant profanity and casual racial invective; overwrought stylistic elements, including the heavy use of slo-mo; sudden bursts of horrific violence, portrayed with baroque visual flair, and lots of ‘70s pop music on the soundtrack.
The thing that those who seek to imitate Tarantino don’t get is that he’s not primarily a director....He’s a screenwriter. And while he has his characteristic stylistic tics, as enumerated above, he brings a lot more to the table than that. And so his apers copy the profanity but miss the poetry of his dialog. They include the abrupt violence but miss the intense characterizations that motivate it. They include the snarky pop culture references but forgo the fierce and playful intelligence behind Tarantino’s use of them."

Now, some people are good at imitating Tarantino. Guy Ritchie, before he went insane and married Madonna (not necessarily in that order), was one of these. Other people, like Troy Duffy, are not.

Who's Troy Duffy? He's the egregious shit-bag who incubated The Boondock Saints in his womb of bad ideas and then huffed and puffed and squeezed out its bloody, pulsing stillborn corpse into the...bedpan of the...the hospital room, where--okay, I lost my metaphor there. Anyhow, Duffy's hatred of women would make Kim Ki-duk suggest he tone it down a little. In fact, Duffy's film hates you, hates filmmaking, hates everything in the world. It's truly one of the most morally bankrupt, ludicrous, and godawful pieces of cinematic crap you've never seen, and you will truly be a sadder, angrier person for the rest of your life if you make the soul-crushing mistake of seeing it. Plus, it wastes a pretty decent Willem Dafoe performance, which makes me think of Body of Evidence. That alone is enough to consign Duffy to whatever Hell awaits shitty hack filmmakers who force their lead actors to talk like Lucky the Leprechaun.

Remember True Lies, when Jamie Lee Curtis asks the Governator if he's ever killed anyone and he replies, "Yeah, but they were all bad"? That's this movie, minus the wit, charm, comic timing, and desire to continue living under the same sky as the people who made it. The Boondock Saints takes place in a hellish, dystopian Boston that all women have left to move to a real city or have died or are hiding just off-camera. Okay, that's not true, but it is true that there are hardly any women in the movie. The two leads talk about their father but never mention their mother, they don't have girlfriends and sleep shirtless next to each other, none of the cops in the city of Boston is female...it's just weird the way women are almost completely absent from the movie. And sister, when they do appear...but we'll get to that.

The film tells the story of the titular Saints, two Irish-American brothers whose names I never caught. Yes, I've seen this film twice and neither time did I get the names of the two leads. This is partly because their performances are the worst in the film--at least until Ron Jeremy(!) shows up--and partly because Troy Duffy is a terrible filmmaker. Wikipedia says they are "Connor" (Sean Patrick Flanery) and "Murphy" (Norman Reedus), apparently chosen by Duffy to be the most stereotypically "Irish" names possible, and that's good enough for me. We are introduced to the Brothers McManus in a cathedral(!) during a Mass(!!) while jaunty "Irish" bagpipe music plays(!!!). While the priest is sermonizing, the brothers get up, blow right past him, go up onto the altar, kiss Jesus's feet, and walk out. Now I'm not a Catholic, but I'm pretty sure you can't approach the altar if you aren't ordained, especially with the Eucharist laid out upon it. The priest is talking about Kitty Genovese, and Troy Duffy knows as much about her case as he does about Catholicism, which is jack shit. Everything the priest--and therefore, Duffy--says about the Genovese case is wrong.

--Genovese did not cry out "time and time again", but probably only once.
--Several people in fact did "so much as call the police" shortly after the initial attack.
--No one simply "watched". A few people saw what happened in the first attack but, since it was dark and Genovese didn't scream until after she was stabbed, only one of them happened to be in a position to see the stabbing.
--No one saw Genovese "being stabbed to death". She didn't die until the second attack, which no one saw.
--The attacks occurred at night, not "broad daylight".
--No one saw her assailant at all after the initial stabbing. The killer was in fact arrested on an entirely separate charge and confessed to the Genovese murder.

Duffy, if you're going to steal from a real life tragedy to bolster your shitty Tarantino-knockoff exploitation flick, at least get it right.

While relaxing at their favorite pub (which also has no women in it), they get into a brawl with a Russian mob soldier...for some reason...and the mobster tracks them the next day to their pad, intending to kill one brother and (I guess) leave the other alive to live with it. The brothers make out like the mobster is all butthurt because he and his boys got whomped by a few drunks in a dive bar, so I guess they were too drunk to remember that after they won the fight they strapped the mobster to the bar and set his ass on fire! Who could've possibly guessed a mobster would seek revenge for an insult like that? (That is if getting beat up by a bunch of drunks in a pub isn't enough for him to come after them, which it is.) One brother drops their toilet from the roof of their building onto the mobster (don't ask), allowing the second brother to use the toilet lid to beat the mobster's buddy to death. Then they rob the two corpses (our heroes!) and go to the hospital to deal with their wounds.

Actually, we don't see most of that yet. We see the mobster acting tough just before the brawl breaks out, and then we cut to the police examining the mobster's body. Why? Because, well, Quentin Tarantino jumps around in time and jumps forward to the aftermath of a chaotic scene before revealing what happened in bits of flashback, so that's what Duffy's trying to do. Only he sucks at it, so instead of what happened slowly revealed to us in fragments, we just get the whole scene later (the barfight, the ass-burning, and the mobster's revenge-gone-awry all together), making you just wish Duffy had shown it in order. Actually, you just wish he hadn't shown it at all.

In the meantime, we get to watch the only thing actually enjoyable in this movie: FBI Special Agent Paul Smecker (Dafoe), who takes over the homicide investigation from the Boston cops because it involves a mobster. This gent arrives on the scene and immediately shows up the detective who thought he'd figured out what happened so that we "get" Smecker is a crime-solving genius, and he does this all the while listening to opera through headphones (Tarantino quirkiness!). It's a scene so cliche I could predict the dialogue as if I'd written it myself, but Dafoe, as he always does no matter how good (Shadow of the Vampire) or bad (Spider-Man) the material, throws himself into the role, and his casual disdain for the lesser intellects around him makes the scene more entertaining than it has any right to be.

Smecker figures out that it wasn't a mob hit and orders one cop to search for two shell casings and another to go to the nearby building to question potential witnesses. Maybe 20 seconds later, the first cop is complaining he's only found one of the casings. Well, you're in a dingy city alley full of filth and trash there, smart guy. I think it'll take more than glancing around your immediate area to find two tiny spent shell casings. Then the second cop returns and says he found a witness on the fourth floor. So this guy went all the way to the fourth floor, found somebody there, had an entire conversation with her in which he learned what Smecker asked him to learn, and came all the way back down in less than a minute? Either this guy is the fucking Flash, or Troy Duffy hired an editor that is fully his equal as director and screenwriter.

The brothers turn themselves in and are left alone in the interrogation room, and then Smecker comes in and questions them together. Okay, so first you have the FBI taking over a homicide case from city police just because it involves a mobster, and now you have a detective leaving suspects alone to cook up a story, even letting them whisper to each other before answering his questions. Christ, anyone who's seen a single episode of Law & Order knows more about police work than Duffy. The brothers reveal they speak several languages, even though they will never use any of them in any of the coming scenes.

It turns out Smecker already knew...somehow...that it was self-defense, so he's not going to charge them. (Then why did he have them arrested in the first place? Um...right.) This immediately makes front page news--yes, the release of two suspects in the death of a Russian mob soldier makes the front page in Boston--and the brothers are community heroes. I guess Smecker didn't ask about how they robbed the dead men, or maybe Bostonians figure that if you kill a guy in a fight, you're entitled to his stuff. They spend the night shirtless in jail to avoid a media circus, and during the night God tells them to kill bad people, so they decide they will. They go to a room full of guns during which, I shit you not, romantic music plays, as they lovingly caress the instruments of power by which they will wash all the scum from the streets. They decide to off the Russian mob boss, and despite completely screwing up their entry so that they end up hanging from the ceiling by a rope entangling their feet, they somehow take out eight armed men and then brutally execute the unarmed boss. Hilariously, they take a moment to attach silencers to their pistols before they kill him, even though they just shot the room to pieces with unsilenced weapons. Then the brothers' best friend the Funny Man (David Della Rocco) shows up.

I haven't mentioned "the Funny Man" yet, an errand boy for the Italian mob. He has a name, but names aren't this movie's specialty, so I'm going with "the Funny Man", even though he has an excruciating "comedy" scene with the Italian mob boss that had me begging my TV to blow a fuse and shut down. Actor Rocco gives the most enjoyable performance apart from Dafoe, since he at least has some energy and screen presence, but the guy playing the mob boss--who somehow runs a Mafia family despite being called "Papa Joe"--is fucking awful. After putting their masks back on and making Funny think they're going to kill him, the brothers reveal they're just kidding and help Funny figure out that the mission Papa Joe gave him to kill the Russians was a suicide job to get Funny killed. Funny decides he wants in on the bad guy slaying, and he and the brothers declare they will wipe out "evil men" like pimps and drug dealers. So running prostitutes and selling drugs are crimes worthy of death? I'm not saying pimps and drug dealers are good wholesome folks, but I can think of people much more worthy of summary execution, like Nancy Grace and Bono.

The Saints take out Papa Joe's underboss (Ron Jeremy, so not a moment too soon), so Joe calls in Il Duce. Imagine my disappointment when we cut not to the corpse of Mussolini reanimated by the nether powers of Sicilian magic and toting a submachine gun but to some old guy in a beard from a cheap Gandalf costume. This guy is "The Duke", which isn't what "Il Duce" means in modern Italian. (God, you'd think by chance Duffy could get something right.) The Duke is supposedly so fierce that the mob only calls on him when they're in really deep shit, so what does he do when he confronts the Saints despite having absolutely no way of knowing their location? Why, he stands in plain sight in broad daylight firing off endless rounds of ammunition from his dual pistols, failing to hit them just as they fail to hit him. Yeah, I can see why you needed this tactical wizard, who apparently shops at the same store Neo bought his "vest that has a bijillion holsters" at, allowing him to drop his guns when they're empty and immediately draw two more loaded ones.

Actually The Duke does hit each of them, though naturally this will in no way affect their ability to mow down baddies, but then he gets bored and leaves. The Saints retreat and tend to their wounds, while Smecker gets drunk and goes to confession. He's figured out, you see, who the Saints are and what they're doing, but after some spiritual soul-purifying talk in the confessional booth, he decides--and I hope you're sitting down--not to turn them in. Funny Man wants to take Smecker out because he could always change his mind, but the Brothers McManus put the kibosh on that because Smecker is a good man and they don't kill good men. The next day Smecker meets up with a retired mobster, who tells him Papa Joe brought in The Duke to take out the brothers, and Smecker gets a panicked look and leaves in a hurry. Then, and I swear to God this happens, we cut to the Saints in Joe's house, tied to chairs and being interrogated.

Um...is there a reel missing? How the hell were they found? When? Who found them? How were they captured? You might think we're getting another of Duffy's flashbacks, but no. It's never explained how, when, where, or by whom they were captured. Stupid movie.

This scene almost reaches of the level of something you might find in a real, honest-to-God, actual movie, as the brothers seem poised to meet the fate that a couple of untrained nobodies who pick up some guns and think they're going to take down organized crime would undoubtedly meet. But no, after Funny Man bites it for some pathos (oh, please), the brothers are rescued when The Duke shows up and...reveals that he's their long-lost father. No. That's not true! That's impossible!

The film ends with the Saints and Darth Duke storming a courthouse--whose metal detectors apparently work on the honor system, since there's no one manning them to ensure people actually walk through them--and brutally executing Papa Joe before he gets away with his crimes due to lack of evidence. This time they don't even bother with the masks, so I guess Bostonians are totally with Smecker on the whole "let the vigilantes murder whomever they deem evil" thing. Tough town, Boston. 

Yes, Troy Duffy's solution to crime: Let a couple of Irish knuckleheads appoint themselves judge, jury, and executioner and allow them free rein in your city. I'm sure the NRA would be on board.

Now, let's talk about how Troy Duffy is a gay man who views women as sex objects. Simmer down there, Sandra Dee. Don't blow a headgasket! Let me explain.

The male gaze. For those of you who aren't familiar, it's the claim that images--film, television, advertisements--are generally presented to the viewer as if he is a straight male. Take your typical piece of misogynist tripe that passes for a modern comedy: Female nudity is sexy and appealing, while male nudity is either absent or presented for comedic effect. I remember a positive experience I had watching a New Kids on the Block performance the other week. (Wait for the explanation. Wait for it.) Now, the New Kids were clumsy and awkward, but what struck me was how often they took off their shirts to show off their ripped bods. (For those of you unfortunate enough to have seen a Twilight film, substitute Taylor Lautner taking his shirt off.) By the fourth time it happened, I was all "Enough, already!", and it occurred to me that this must be what it's like to be a straight woman watching your typical Hollywood action film. "Okay, breasts...can we move on, please?" It was healthy for me to be placed, if only momentarily, in that position. Some people wonder what feminists are so angry about. Having various New Kids' smooth, oiled torsos constantly (and gratuitously) shoved in my face for four minutes, I wondered why they aren't angrier.

Why am I talking about the male gaze? Well, the assumption of straight maleness is so prevalent that even feminists often fall victim to it. For example, when talking about viewing women as sexual objects, the unspoken assumption is often a straight man viewing a woman as a sexual object and evaluating her solely according to this criterion rather than seeing her an actual person, classifying her as either a bitch (not fuckable) or a ho (fuckable). But straight men aren't the only ones who view women as sex objects. For every gay best friend with whom a straight woman can go shopping, exchange fashion tips, and cry about boys, there's a gay man who sees her only as a sex object. The difference is that, in his case, she is a sex object in which he has no interest. So if he makes a film, women are largely absent from it, since they don't enter his world unless they're either connected to a man or barge in, unwelcome, on their own. David DeCoteau is an example of this sort of filmmaker. Based solely on the evidence of The Boondock Saints, I think Troy Duffy is also a gay man who views women entirely as sex objects.

I've already mentioned the continual shirtlessness of the leads, including the jail scene in which water is dripped on them so that their muscled torsos glisten in the moonlight. Smecker is gay, and this is presented matter-of-factly when he answers the phone in bed, with the camera zooming out to reveal a man in bed with him. In another film, it would've been a nice moment of homosexuality being the non-issue it ought to be, but of course, Duffy's inner hack can't leave it at that, so he has to include a joke with Smecker disdainfully calling the guy a fag. But I've known gay men who do this, and it fits with Smecker's character, so it didn't bother me. What I kept waiting for was the scene with Smecker being emasculated or trumped because of his sexuality, but it never came. All of this, and then there's the odd lack of women in the movie overall. But what about when they do appear? Well, let's have a look.

The first woman we see is an offensive bull dyke caricature (is there any other kind?). You know, fat, piercings, short hair, mannish stance and voice--the whole bit. This lovely lady shows contempt for our leads from the beginning, and then when one of them utters the phrase "rule of thumb", she goes on a "feminist" rant about husbands beating wives and then kicks him in the balls. Now, in my time I've talked to a number of feminists, and lesbians, and feminist lesbians, and I've even outright disagreed with them, and I've yet to get a jackboot to the daddy marbles for my trouble, yet Connor (or Murphy, whichever) utters the phrase "rule of thumb" and takes one to the jimmy. Tough town, Boston. The other brother lays out Offensive Bull Dyke Caricature with a haymaker as the "Irish" music swells to a crescendo. Ah, good times.

Okay, let's see....there's the stripper who is onscreen for all of three seconds, during which time she never speaks while the Saints threaten her at gunpoint and then Funny Man gropes her breast while she's unconscious. Why yes, this sexual assault is played for laughs! Oh, and then there's Funny Man's drug-addict girlfriend and her drug-addict galpal that he threatens at gunpoint. Oh, and the one guy's wife we see for maybe five seconds while the Saints threaten her at gunpoint. Oh, and the woman whose back we see for one second before she's executed at gunpoint.

You know, I think there might be some kind of pattern here....

I've gone on for long enough about what is a thoroughly loathsome, hateful, and shoddily made piece of hokum that appeals to the basest instincts of caveman mentality. I haven't even mentioned the scene of Willem Dafoe in drag making out with a guy so as to gain entry to the mob boss's house in a failed attempt to rescue the Saints, and trust me, we're all the better for it.

January 6, 2013

Twilight: End of Line

Twilight, pp. 189-195.

So we're in the car, flying through the night at 80 miles per hour while Edward doesn't pay attention to the road.

"And after what happened tonight, I'm surprised that you did make it through a whole weekend unscathed." He shook his head, and then seemed to remember something. "Well, not totally unscathed."

Right! The almost-got-gangraped-in-a-dark-alley thing. Bella doesn't seem to remember it, but Edward at least occasionally seems to.


"Your hands," he reminded me. I looked down at my palms, at the almost-healed scrapes across the heels of my hands.

Oh, he meant--yeah, minor scratches. Priorities!

Edward says that he annoyed Emmett (Emmett?) on their three-day hunt because he was so worried about Bella getting herself killed while he was gone. ("Will you shut up? I'm trying to drink blood from the pulsing artery of this dying cougar!") This doesn't satisfy Bella, though, because of course she only wants to talk about her own suffering. Yes, suffering is the word Meyer uses. Bella suffered through Edward's three-day absence, and Edward didn't even call. Sure, he just told her he went hunting to slake his bloodthirst to make it easier to not eat her, but he didn't call. Yes, I know he had no reason to call because a three-day absence (two days of which are the weekend, a time they've yet to see each other anyhow) is hardly cause for alarm, and also they're barely even acquainted with one another, but Bella doesn't think about any of that because...well, you know.

They rehash "I'm dangerous [because I'm a vampire even though I don't eat people]" "I don't care that you're a bloodsucking monster" again. If you think my constant mentions of this are excruciating, try reading the same goddamn scene over and over. She tells him it's too late, she's in too deep, just when she thought she was out, he pulls her back in, etc. etc., and he says it's never too late, which makes her cry. I don't know why it does, but there you go. He apologizes and talks about how likely she is to get herself killed some more before he remembers he has a paper due tomorrow. Wait, he's a vampire, so, I guess it's a paper...of the damned! He makes her promise not to go into the woods alone because there are more dangerous things in the forest than him, like raccoons. (Okay, I might have added that last part.) Then he takes his leave.

Bella goes into the house to be evasive to Mustache Dad. She doesn't mention Edward or the attempted rape, and when she talks to Jessica on the phone, she makes sure to clue her in that Mustache Dad is to be kept in the dark. They discuss the logistics of Bella getting her jacket back after having left it by mistake in Jessica's car. Bella then takes a shower and finally has the emotional breakdown that I've been complaining about her not having for the last 30 updates. I see, so I guess she was in a kind of shock before, such that only now does the enormity of what happened to her that night come crashing down upon her. Looks like I have to take back everything I said about Meyer's completely ignoring the emotional issues you'd think would have to arise from an experience like that:

I walked up the stairs slowly, a heavy stupor clouding my mind. I went through the motions of getting ready for bed without paying any attention to what I was doing. It wasn't until I was in the shower--the water too hot, burning my skin--that I realized I was freezing. I shuddered violently for several minutes before the steaming spray could finally relax my rigid muscles. Then I stood in the shower, too tired to move, until the hot water began to run out.

I stumbled out, wrapping myself securely in a towel, trying to hold the heat from the water in so the aching shivers wouldn't return. I dressed for bed swiftly and climbed under my quilt, curling into a ball, hugging myself to keep warm. A few small shudders trembled through me.

My mind still swirled dizzily, full of images I couldn't understand, and some I fought to repress. Nothing seemed clear at first, but as I fell gradually closer to unconsciousness, a few certainties became evident.

About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was part of him--and I didn't know how potent that part might be--that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

Wait...that's what you're having this reaction about? This reaction?

People, I give up. I just...I don't know how to deal with this. My brain can't process it. This is the end of the chapter, but I...I just can't. I'll have to go into all the reasons this passage is stupid and poorly written next week. For now...I need to lie down for a while.