Thursday, May 20, 2004

Does anyone out there know if Venus Flytraps are a big hoax? Some kind of botanical prank? Or am I just operating mine incorrectly?
I bought one because there are double the insects up here. We're near the creek you know. I researched proper care for the plant. And it's sitting over there all nice and green and not eating anything but distilled water.
Ah well. I guess I should be grateful that these are the kinds of problems I'm having.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

One of my favorite pass times for my copious idle moments is to go to the Google image search (or the Yahoo one) and look up concepts. See what they look like. Some of them work really well. If you ask what sadness looks like you get some good examples. Integrity is kind of weird. Apathy is a really strange one. God pulls up some neat things. Faith, hope and charity are kind of groovy. I try and avoid the blaringly negative things though. I'm afraid of what I'd see if I pulled up death or hate. But I haven't searched for happiness either. Although I did search for love and a lot of people should be ashamed of themselves.
Busy. It's good to be busy right now though with the lull in sales. Sales always lull this time of year. And I get all weird over it because I get worried about spending money. I become a big old tightwad for a few weeks. Pat says I've been really grim and short the past few days so I've been trying to keep that in check. It's just when I'm spending more that I'm making I get rattled.
Last night was barbeque night with Worship Generation. I was asked questions on my business, my theater degree, and The Jesus Seminar. I studied with Marv Meyer of the Jesus Seminar for two years in college which makes me somewhat of a curiosity up here.
Today started out gorgeous and I dried my laundry on the line. As the day progressed it became quite humid.
I went inventory buying. Then I mowed the lawn and immediately after was implored to jump on the trampoline by my nieces. Exhausted myself thoroughly.
Tonight it began to rain again. One of those satisfying rains that come after it's been awful humid all day. I'm told we've had lightning too but I didn't see any. I love lightning.
Ooops. There's thunder just as I was typing this.
Oh, and we had sheperd's pie for dinner. I'd never had it before even though I traveled in England and ate and drank just about everything I could get my hands on over there. All I knew about sheperd's pie is that it's mentioned in The Tempest. It's like a chicken pot pie with beef instead of chicken and kind of a soft potatoey crust.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Apparently, if you're slaughtering cows and goats they'll scream in pain, but if you're slaughtering sheep they'll stay silent and tears will well up in their eyes.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Alright. We'll make a sandwich. First the good movie that I liked, then the bad movie that made me say "boogidy booger boo," then the bad movie that I liked.

IN AMERICA

Here's a heck of a film that flew right under the radar. Probably because it's a little indy film that might be made by a foreign film company but probably not. Directed by the cat that made In The Name Of The Father. It's about Irish people in New York. But not cops.
In particular it's about a family that goes through a child dying and moves away to push that out of their lives but find that greiving seeks you out like the eye of God. I don't usually like films about people coming to terms with things, but this one has a lot of power and a lot of honesty. Power and honesty trump a worn out genre every time.
The three lead adults are fantastic. Great performances. Each one of them goes so brutally through the ringer and they don't hold back. And they don't fabricate emotion, they just allow the situation of the scene to inform their reaction. Real natural and real refreshing.
Rarely have I seen such fine performances by children actors. This film has some of the best child performances I've ever seen. I don't know if that's a tribute to the capabilities of the Bolger girls or the directing of Jim Sheridan. Probably some of both I imagine. They were a bit too well behaved for girls of that age though. Even for girls who have lost a brother.
And speaking of which, I watched this with Pat and Andi and they really wanted to see it
through even after they found out what it was about. It's that powerful. And it's powerful to watch this film with people who have gone through a similar experience. You might not get to have that experience and that might be a good thing too.
Oh, and my only other critique is that I kind of doubt that apartments of that size are
cheap in New York even if they're only one big room and in a junkie filled building. But kudos on making the place look filthy instead of just "Hollywood filthy."
It's probably not a film for those who aren't into having their emotions raked across the coals (although I'm of the opinion that more people should have their emotions raked across the coals more often instead of wombdwelling.) But one could appreciate the film just for its cinematography which is subtle and naturalisic but really well done. Music by Gavin Friday too.
Made me feel hopeful too. I've thought for the past few years that Europe was getting too much into apeing American film rather than focusing on making what they're good at.

And now here's a bad movie:


THE LAST SAMURAI


Here's another example of how dumb the moviegoing public can be. I didn't give any money to see this DVD, but somebody else rented it and I watched it without paying. I suppose that makes me some kind of pirate and thief.
You know, if we all stopped giving money to this kind of thing, they would stop making them and be forced to do better things. Just like if everyone stopping going to Walmart, there wouldn't be any more Walmarts. And then places like Chico could remain nice little towns instead of slowly turning into ugly cities.
And people make excuses for Hollywood. With this film people like to say "Ken Watanabe gave a great performance." You're rationalizing. You're rationalizing because you're angry at having spent that kind of money on this movie.
How can you know a film is going to be bad? I'm generally known as an optimist and I feel safe saying that if you see a half-baked premise or most of Hollywood's favorite "New Dumb" school of actors, you can assume it's going to be a terrible film. And you would be a better person if you went and read some Mark Twain instead. Discernment. That's what I'm calling for.
If you see a film coming out with Tom Cruise as a samurai in it, that should be enough to know to stay away.
Why is Tom Cruise even famous anyway? Why is he so rich and influential? He's never been good in anything ever. He's been in a FEW okay films (caught myself about to say a few good films.) He was in Eyes Wide Shut which I thought was brilliant but nobody else seemed to get. I didn't get it completely, but I get more each time I see it. And he had a bit part in The Outsiders. But he wasn't even good in those. He just found himself in a good film. Some might say that he's handsome or good looking, but I would respond that there are so many great actors that are handsome. So many that could do so much better than him. So many are waiting tables in Silverlake or West Hollywood. All that wasted talent because studios want the safety of name recognition over quality. For shame.
Edward Zwick directed this for all I know.
It's slow as all get out (and I usually like a slow paced film that doesn't assume we all need MTV cuts.) And the real best performer, the only real talent's character in this film dies pretty much right away.
Okay, I'm ranting. I know. It just makes me mad to see things like this not only being made but making millions upon millions of dollars. In the same way it makes me mad to see libraries struggle for funding while the military gluts itself so fat that Richard Simmons cries beside its bed.

And on that strange image:



BATMAN: THE MOVIE

I'd say a pretty good working definition for "camp" would be something that assumes we're going to love it for being so awfully wrong on so many levels. Batman: The Movie is just that. And thank God for it.
It's pointless to talk about the quality of acting. We all know it's bad even though it has some quite good actors in it (and some downright horrible ones.) I think this and Skidoo are the only two films that had Cesar Romero, Frank Gorshin and Burgess Meredith in them.
But it's god awful and it's meant to be. It's got a shark that makes clunky sounds when Batman hits it. It's got headslappingly asinine riddles in it. And it's got the greatest getting rid of a bomb scene in it I've ever seen.
This kind of film is the perfect antidote to films like The Last Samurai. It doesn't take itself seriously at all at all (although a fun exercise in reality might be trying to watch Batman: The Movie as though it were serious crime drama.) It makes fun of bad serious films simply on the grounds of comparison.
I'm sure somewhere Bob Kane said what he thought of it. I suspect he was good humored about it. He seemed like a pretty well adjusted guy. I liked that whole Batman tv series because the tone is so polar opposite of Batman comics. It's making fun of superheroes.
In this day and age, after Alan Moore's Watchmen, Neil Gaiman's 1602, the Batman television series, and lesser things like Bluntman and Chronic or The Tick, it's kind of a golden age for comic writing. Writers have to understand that we've seen the whole superhero thing and we need to have it made new and to look at it from some totally new perspective or else we're going to laugh at it. Or it'll be condemned to children who, while as a group may love comics more than adults, don't have any money. The tights and melodrama thing just doesn't cut it anymore and Adam West has a great deal to do with that. It forces freshness.
If only people would start doing that with "grown up" superheroes. If only we could get to that point with blockbuster Hollywood or prime time television. Once again, the nerds are decades ahead of the normals. Ah well. We can dream and then watch our dreams come true over way too long of a period of time. I'm so glad films like Batman the Movie were made and I wish more were allowed to be made.