Man, I don't know what the story is. For some reason, I just can't come up with themes for my little essays here. I never wanted this site to be a diary, so I'm not going to report on my breakfast or how my foot feels better (it does, thanks for asking). But I'm finding that I'm not all that concerned about anything else. I'm burned out on politics*, and don't have much going on even at work**.
Maybe this is good. Perhaps it's a sign of contentment or something. I guess I really shouldn't complain about having nothing to bitch about, especially since this site has really been a complete whine-fest for the last couple of months.
I could review a movie or two. How would that be? OK, good.
Hah! I bet you never
imagined that I'd go see that one! Girlygirl and I actually took time out from an over-long wedding weekend in glorious Kentucky*** to go see it. There was golf planned for the day, but she doesn't golf, I wasn't in any shape to walk the course, and there was a fair-sized group of under-16 niece-and-nephew-like-people with nothing to do. So we went and took a mob of kids with us****. It was nice to have a superhero-positive audience along, let me tell you, movie analysis isn't their strong point at their ages. They all seemed to have the idea that they should have critical opinions, but their grasp of the meaning of the term varied widely and diverged pretty dramatically from the adult interpretation. So it was mostly a weird trip into the mind of the adolescent and pre-adolescent.
Anyway, we loved it. I hesitate to say that I liked it better than the first one, but I think it was probably a better movie. Once again, it wasn't insulting and aimed at children, but it didn't take itself so seriously that you wanted to pick it apart. The crash-em-up action plot is, amazingly, a subplot. The main themes are the true themes of the comic books, even in the early 70s when I was an avid reader: How alienating it would be to have an alter-ego who fights crime, how dangerous it is for your loved ones if you happen to have enemies, especially super-powered ones, how hard on your sanity it would be to feel responsible for the safety of everyone, or at least the safety of everyone you're conscious of at the moment. How much would it suck to feel you had to investigate every burglar alarm or police siren you hear? What if half the people you helped thought you were a criminal or threat to public safety? Is there any upside to being a superhero? Check out the film and see.
In addition to the improvements thematically, we still had Sam Raimi's deft touch directing this kind of material, acting as good as the material, and outstanding special effects. Even the places that were pure computer graphics were much improved. We loved it.
This one is probably not as hilarious as folks may tell you. There are some great laugh-out-loud moments, but I found it just as often painful as really funny. But in a good way. It brought back all the amazingly stupid stuff I believed about myself and others when I was about 15 or 16, in a very realistic way. Our hero is as maladjusted as any kid at that age could be and still be normal, but you get the sense that he may one day get over it, just like you did. The cast was outstanding, and once you get over the outlandish mannerisms of the lead character--Napoleon (yes, you're meant to understand that his actual name is Napoleon Dynamite) delivers fully half his lines with his eyes closed or mostly so, and his exasperated sighs and impotent tantrums are truly not to be missed--the characters are quite winning. If you ever felt like an outcast, searching for your way to belong, to be cool, to have the skills girls want in a guy, this movie is for you.
And it really is quite funny, if your idea of funny runs more toward Eight-ball comics or Freaks and Geeks
than Will fucking Farrell or Possibly-retarded Adam Sandler or One-trick pony Ben Stiller. I fucking hate those guys, and Napoleon Dynamite
is the antidote to the unclever mugging and pratfalling of those third-rate idiots.
OK, so this posting still sucked, but hopefully it'll put me back on the essay track and I can churn out something less shitty next time around. Maybe I'll post about Le Tour de France. I was serious the other day--start watching. It's really cool.
*I can get worked up about stuff (witness the last posting), but mostly it just upsets me to contemplate the latest actions of the dangerous maniacs currently in office or the career-oriented vote-sops who are running against them. I'm not wild about choosing between Neo-Hitler and Kerry, who is plainly exclusively motivated by getting votes so he can continue to suckle at the Great Government Teat.
**There's stuff going on, tough decisions, intimations of impending promotion, a raise, etc. All good stuff, but hardly stuff I want to spend my own intellectual time on, much less yours.
***I did my childhood in a small town in Kentucky, so it was kind of fun to get back. Well, on an intellectual level, anyway. There are some things that are common to small-town KY that don't exist in small-town Indiana, Maryland or Virginia. I don't think an auslander could get a sense of this, but if you've put in your KY years, the Ashland Oil distributor out on the bypass, the bypass itself even, and the Long John Silver's out in the sun-baked stripmall parking lot of the Winn Dixie have a feel all their own. After 20-plus years away, I could really feel how much Kentucky there wasn't in any of the other places I've been living. For good or ill, I'd be hard-pressed to say, but I'm not going to move back to the ol' Bluegrass State any time soon, so make your own conclusions.
****Going to the movies in Kentucky is certainly nothing like seeing them in the DC Metro area. For one thing, the audience is quiet, even during the emotional or scary parts. In DC, or even Silly String, the young males all laugh and talk a lot during the tense or scary parts, assuring each other that they're definitely NOT scared or tense. And of course all the emotionally arrested, ie: teenaged, folks in the audience snicker over the kissing parts. In Kentucky, they just sat quietly and took it all in. Amazing. I guess folks out there still cling to some sense that you might want to respect the right of the moviegoers around you to both see AND hear the film. It's amazing that they appreciate them so, since they only cost $4 at matinee. Here things cost 50% more, and yet people take them at least 75% less seriously, and pay attention 25% as much. But apart from any of that, let me tell you, it's great to take 5 kids and two adults to the movies for under $30.