Friday, October 3, 2008


I would like to apologize for taking so much time between recaps. There were two major contributing factors to this delay. One of them is that I started a new job and thus had less time for watching and summarizing, and the other is that I started recapping Yentl one day, weeks ago, and was interrupted about 20 minutes in, after which point I couldn't bring myself to go back and watch the rest of the movie. Every morning I would wake up and say "Ok, Ms. Streisand, today is the day I finish you off," but then I would get distracted by doing things that were actually fun. Because let's face it. Yentl sucks. I promise that my next recap will arrive in a much more timely fashion, but in the spirit of actually updating this blog I now offer you a recap of:


I find it hilarious that this movie is so important that it needs THREE taglines. One of which is "A film with music," in case you are completely stupid like me and didn't realize this movie was a musical until Barbra Streisand burst into song.

The opening shot is of a basket full of books in the back of a horse cart with the words “In a time… when the world of study belonged only to men, there lived a girl called…” complete with antiquated detailing around the “I.” I’m not really sure what’s up with the erroneous ellipsis after “In a time,” but I’m going to be bet one million dollars that the girl is called Yentl…

And I’m right! Sort of. Because her name is apparently “YENTL.” I wish I was cool enough to be CLAIRE! We change scene to a dirty alleyway with water running through it with the caption “Eastern Europe 1904.” Somebody really needs to educate the caption writer in how and when to use punctuation. I also find it amusing that I have no idea what country this is in; all that matters is that it’s Eastern Europe. The cart full of books returns and some really out of place jazz flute plays over the generic strings. The man driving the cart calls out “Storybooks for women! Sacred books for men! Lovely picture books for women!” while some hipster looking guys discuss philosophy, thus establishing yet again that women are doomed to be dumb-dumbs for their entire lives in Eastern Europe 1904.

Enter YENTL! She is buying fish, but gets distracted by the book cart. One of the old women at the fish stand says she heard YENTL got engaged, but YENTL is apparently unsure of whether or not she did. The old lady makes a crack about YENTL being an old spinster but YENTL really doesn’t seem like she gives a fuck. She chases after the book cart and starts looking at some philosophical book. But the Santa Claus looking driver tells her that she’s in the wrong section and they argue about why she can’t read man books. I think with that face, she should be allowed but that’s neither here nor there. He tries to foist some girly picture book with a purple cover on her and I fully expect her to snap in a Z formation in response. She tells him that the book is for her father and he sells it to her. She is so crafty and clever! Women aren’t all dumb-dumbs after all.

Back at home we see that YENTL’s father’s student guy is a dumb-dumb. She reads her fancy philosophy book while cooking dinner. She is totally not paying attention to the fish which means that she is a failure as a woman. She is also an insufferable know-it-all who keeps shouting the answers to questions about the Talmud that are stumping the dumb-dumb student. If I were him, I would hit her over the head with a frying pan, but that’s just me. Mr. Dumb-Dumb says that his father said that women who know the Talmud are EVIL. YENTL’s father tries to cover for her by saying she just has “big ears.”

YENTL’s dad tries to patronize her by saying that “baked apple is good a little burned” and she apologizes for being such a failure. YENTL starts being emo about why she can’t read books and her dad tells her not to ask why men and women have different obligations. They then shut the curtains so that YENTL can study without the neighbors noticing. We then learn a little about YENTL as a child. Apparently she was always asking questions, for example:


Uh oh! YENTL is such a boring ho that her dad falls asleep just listening to her yammer on about who knows what. She tells him that she’s a little tired tonight and postpones their studying until tomorrow. I am now willing to bet three million dollars that YENTL’s dad is going to bite it, thus setting off a chain of events culminating in YENTL discovering something about herself or changing the world or something. He’s coughing away in his bedroom but YENTL doesn’t give a fuck because now she can start dabbling in cross-dressing and yammering on about God and OMG YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME she starts to sing OMGOMG how did I not know that this movie had songs in it this is amazing!

Buzzkill time, right in the middle of YENTL’s song her dad starts coughing again so she starts magically singing without opening her mouth. Or is she thinking in song? That’s amazing. From now on when I think, I’m going to think in song but I’ll do her one better and think in three part harmony. This song is something about “WHYTF do I have a soul if not to learn and stuff and whytf do I have wings if not to fly.” I hate to break it to you, YENTL, but I’m pretty sure you don’t have wings. She will just not drop the bird metaphor. It’s annoying. I can’t be bothered to pay attention to the words of this song anymore. OH until she sings “And what a waste to have a taste of things that can’t be mine” which she sings as she starts rubbing her hands down toward her nether-regions which is hilarious when you consider that she’s basically lamenting that she’s not a man.


Now she’s staring longingly at the men in the Synagogue but she is still singing in her mind. How can she expect to learn about God and stuff when she’s not even paying attention? She causes outrage by shouting “Papa!” when her father collapses which is his second fakeout death in five minutes. His life is like a Metallica song. You keep on thinking it’s over but it’s not. All the ladies in the balcony are gossiping about YENTL learning Talmud and one of them notes “Better she should learn to get a husband!” Oh snap!

Apparently some guy has come a very long way just to see YENTL and she is not pleased. Her dad says he wants to live to see her married, but YENTL wants to do more in life than bear children and darn her husband’s socks. I like how she compares becoming a mother to darning socks because they are totally similar. This is heavy-handed moment #423 of YENTL being a failure at being a woman. Her dad says scoffingly that he guesses YENTL wants a husband who will darn her socks and bear her children and she’s like LOLOL TOTALLY. He says that children are more important than the Talmud so he’s gonna go straight to hell when he bites it which I will predict is going to happen within the next five minutes of the movie. He apologizes to her for not teaching her how to be a woman and for teaching her too much. She tells him not to be sorry because learning is her whole life. Now her father tells an emo story about a tree and his dead son and stuff and it totally has nothing to do with anything. And now he’s talking to God! Woah! And he’s proud of YENTL even though she’s a total man-woman. Which is his own damn fault.

The leaves on the tree are suddenly all wilty so we know time has passed, and OMG, YENTL is burying her father! I called it! She insists on reading the Talmud at the grave and everybody is like WTF YOU ARE NOT A MAN.

Later, at the house, some ladies are helping YENTL pack up all of her dad’s stuff and she starts hugging a gigantic book. The ladies decide to leave her alone because it’s clear that she and the book want some privacy. Apparently she’s going to work for one of the women, who promises that she’s going to keep her so busy she won’t have time to think and can finally be a real woman.

And that is as far as I got, or will likely ever get.

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