I’ve watched episodes of Sex and the City on HBO maybe five or six times, which obviously indicates I’m not a huge fan but also that I’ve found it agreeable enough from time to time. The movie version, which runs around two and a half hours, takes whatever it was that made the show half-palatable and just amplifies and gussies it up all to hell. I’ve been told that the movie is the show and that any perceived degradation is a judgment that begins and ends in my own head. Not so. The first hour of SATC is as garish and putrid and spiritually repulsive as can possibly be imagined without throwing up, and I was never so moved during those episodic HBO sojourns.

Wednesday, 5.28, 1:35 pm — taken during a short break from the film that I needed badly.

Each main character — Sarah Jessica Parker‘s Carrie Bradshaw, Kim Cattrall‘s Samantha Jones, Kristin Davis‘s Charlotte York and Cynthia Nixon‘s Miranda Hobbes — have their own story here. (Naturally.) Three experience the usual issues with boyfriends/husbands, but it’s all blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. The last 90 minutes are a bit more tolerable than the first hour, but that’s like saying the visit to the dentist got better after he pulled the tooth with a pair of pliers.
The soul of this movie is infected with gross materialism, the flaunting of me-me egos and the endless nurturing of the characters’ greed and/or sense of entitlement. It’s all about money to piss away and flashy things to wear and lush places where the the girls lunch and exchange dreary confessional chit-chat. And this, mind you, is where millions of middle-class women in every semi-developed country around the globe live in their dreams. They’re going to this movie right now in multitudes. Sad. Really sad. Because SATC is crap through and through.
A few items back I called Sex and the City a Taliban recruitment film. All I know is that I felt ashamed, sitting in a Paris movie theatre, that this film, right now, is portraying middle-class female American values, and that this somehow reflects upon the country that I love and care deeply about. It’s a kind of advertisement for the cultural shallowness that’s been spreading like the plague for years, and for what young American womanhood seems to be currently about — what it wants, cherishes, pines for. Not so much the realizing of intriguing ambitions or creative dreams as much as wallowing in consumption as the girls cackle and toss back Margaritas.
The HBO show’s dialogue, frequently written by Michael Patrick King, who directed and wrote the screenplay for the film, never riled me that much. But I was wincing at it during today’s screening at the UGC Les Halles. Some concepts play better on the tube; amplifying them only pushes the flaws into your face. All I know is that the faux-splendor of the movie — the insipid Marie Antoinette-ishness of the damn thing with the look-at-me clothes and sets and nouveau-riche ickiness of the apartments and restaurants — felt to me like a kind of hell.
“I’m watching this of my own free will,” I muttered to myself a few times, “and with my own money.” To cope with these feelings of remorse and repulsion, I staged a mini-rebellion somewhere between the halfway and two-thirds mark by heading out to the lobby for a Diet Coke, a cafe au lait, a little i-Phone catch-up and to take some photos of the huge SATC standee. It helped.
I’ll tap out some more after I come back from dinner this evening. We’re having our first day without rain here, and life is short. To hell with this movie, and scratch any woman who says she liked it off the list. For anything.