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August 8th, 2010


01:57 pm - HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION
I think that we’ve finally recovered from our big summer road trip, even though it ended about four weeks ago. We drove over 1,953 miles, spent $256.96 on gasoline (yes, I saved the receipts), visited two national parks, endured six toddler meltdowns and witnessed one wedding. It was exhausting, time-consuming and stressful...but still much, much better than flying. Some highlights from the trip included:

 • Waking up early the two mornings we were in Yellowstone and just walking the hundred or so yards from our hotel to Old Faithful to get some muffins and see the geyser erupt. Conversely, we could stay there pretty late, watch it go off then walk back to our hotel and plop into bed. All told, we saw Old Faithful go off about five times.

 • Sitting on a second-story walkway at the Old Faithful Inn that overlooked the geyser at about 9:00 PM. An extended French family sat next to us, looking at pictures on their gigantic laptop. The young woman who had the computer was showing photos of her recently born child and her exhausted looking husband. “How is his new job?” asked an older Frenchman. “Not so good,” she replied. “He has to work all the time. It is terrible.” She then started scrolling pictures of them on vacation in Corsica and then in Manhattan and then I noticed that the terribly overworked husband was standing next to me in the middle of Yellowstone National Park. Frakking Europeans and their superior lifestyles where being a slave-to-the-man means only being able to take three super vacations a year.

 • Watching a bear go after a herd of elk in Grand Teton National Park. We could see the elk chilling in a meadow about a half-mile from our hotel and then this dark shape loped out of the bushes and the entire herd took off like a shot. The bear was able to break off smaller and smaller groups from the herd, but was never able to actually bring down one of the animals. It was all very Discovery Channel.

 • Renting a tiny outboard motor boat and cruising Jackson Lake in Grand Teton. After about an hour-and-a-half The Daughter was bored out of her skull and had me dangle her over the side so she could run her hand through the lake water.

 • Of the many roadside meltdowns The Daughter had, the most memorable was probably the one she had just south of Jackson Hole. She awoke with a start when we had to slow down for some road construction and started crying immediately. We pulled over a couple of times to try to calm her down and eventually bribed her into silence with a lollipop. Things really hit the fan, though, when she asked to go home and we explained to her that we had to spend six days in Utah first. “I want to go home!” she wailed over and over again. We eventually ended up at a rest stop where we lightened her mood by playing The Talking Heads’ “And She Was” on an iPhone which The Daughter danced to atop a picnic table. The other tourists stared at us.

 • Having two martinis at the In-Laws’ cabin at Bear Lake and waking up with a rather bleak hangover. I looked at the glass I was using and realized it was twice the size of a normal martini glass. Hangover explained.

 • Sneaking away to see Inception (on opening weekend no less) and then getting into vociferous discussions about it with my cousins at the wedding.

 • The Daughter, who was being a complete hellion for most of the wedding, pulling it together and doing exactly what she needed to do for fifteen seconds as the flowergirl.

 • A bridesmaid fainting right as The Brother and The Sister-In-Law were about to exchange rings and none of us groomsmen doing a thing. I like to think that we were staying in formation due to a high level of discipline rather than a high level of laziness.

 • Not having anybody walk out during my toast.

 • Catching up with my old friend Matt. And by catch up, I mean dissecting Iron Man 2 and the upcoming Green Lantern movie.

 • Stopping at my parents’ house after the wedding to drop off my tuxedo. The lock on the front door is a bear to work and my fifteen year-old key, not up to the task, snapped in two. I found myself holding the decapitated head of the key while the rest of it was still embedded in the lock. I rang the doorbell and pounded on the door, but nobody answered. Thankfully, I had a spare set of clothes, so I changed right there and left my tuxedo in a crumpled heap on the porch.

 • Seeing The Daughter’s face light up when The Brother gave her his vintage 12” Buzz Lightyear toy from 1995 that somehow still works and still has all of its original packaging. Full disclosure: I’ve played with it just as much as she has.

 • Rocketing through the state of Idaho and listening to three – three – ballgames: the Red Sox falling to Rangers, the White Sox suffering a cataclysmic collapse in the bottom of the ninth and giving up four runs to lose to the Twins 6-5 and the Mariners topping the hated Anaheim Angels 2-1 in extra innings.

 • Getting back home.

 Pictures from Yellowstone can be found here.

Current Music: Ivan & Alyosha - "Easy To Love" (part of my epic four hour road trip playlist -- the details of which I won't bore you with)


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August 5th, 2010


09:12 pm - NOSTALGIA
So, I'm starting law school in about a month and I'm dwelling on my previous college experiences to get me into the head space of being a student again. Coupled with the dread that comes with the knowledge that going to school means that one actually has to do work, comes a pang of nostalgia regarding the subject of small talk.

Counting from the very first college-level film class I took (while I was still in high school) to my final course at USC, I was in film school for over a decade. And during that entire time, no matter how unfamiliar I was with the person sitting next to me in one of those classrooms, I was never at a want for conversation. For all you have to do to start an impassioned debate, when you are in film school, is ask, "So, what have you seen lately?" (Have you almost strangled someone because they didn't appreciate Fright Night in a sufficient manner. Well, I have. Over lunch at the student union. And nobody else at our table batted an eyelash because they were too busy enmeshed in their own arguments.)

So, I worry now because I know that being a successful lawyer means that you also have to be a successful networker. But how do I make small talk (that I care about) with other potential attorneys? "So, what cases have you briefed lately?" Blurgh.

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July 27th, 2010


09:20 pm - THE MOST INADVERTANTLY FILTHY 2-YEAR-OLD IN THE WORLD
As great a communicator as The Daughter is, mastering the English language is still a work-in-progress for her. And sometimes when she tries to get her ideas and feelings across the results can be...eyebrow-raising.

For example, she refers to things that hold in her place -- like a seat belt or even one of her parents' arms -- as a "strap." Therefore, when she is in the car seat or The Wife or I are holding her she has "a strap on" her.

You can probably already see where this is going, but to make matters even hairier is the fact that The Daughter hasn't mastered basic sentence structure. Oh, she'll throw out a series of words that are tangentially related to the subject at hand, but they'll be out of order or an incorrect preposition will be used and thus a translator will be needed in order to make sense of what she's trying to say...if the translator can stop giggling.

So, when she wants to communicate the idea, "Hey, somebody put a seat belt on me! Please take it off." she'll say, "I've got a strap on! Ergh! Come on! Come on, strap on, help get me off! Help get me off!"

And then she'll get really pissed when instead of rushing to her aid, The Wife and I tip over form laughter.

Current Music: They Might Be Giants - "Don't Let's Start" (Appropriate, yes?)

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June 18th, 2010


08:09 pm - LOST SUMMER?
I should be reading my law school prep book, but instead I am looking out the window and wondering why it is still cloudy and 60 degrees every day in the middle of June. According to the cultural calendar summer is almost halfway done and yet in Seattle it hasn't even begun.

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08:06 pm - HER FIRST TIME
We're taking The Daughter to see her first movie tomorrow. A late Saturday matinee of Toy Story 3 in 2-D at the (independently owned and operated) neighborhood theater.

My earliest memory is of seeing Star Wars at the dollar theater during one of its re-releases. I was so excited that I spent most of the movie running up and down the aisle creating mock space battles, using my hands as the ships. I had my back turned to the screen when Luke took his climactic shot on the Death Star and for years I thought that he had used The Force to make the space station fire upon itself. As with most movie geeks of my generation my first screening of Star Wars was a transformative experience.

I don't expect the same thing to happen to The Daughter tomorrow, but it is going to be her first time at a theater so I want the experience to be memorable and at the very least enjoyable. We've been building up the event for months. She's watched the trailers, clips, Lots-o-Huggin' Bear viral videos and even the Inception trailer mash-up (which she insisted on viewing multiple times). So she's well-primed and excited for the event. And it's not like we chose this movie to be her first by accident. She's a Pixar freak, having seen the first two Toy Stories literally dozens of times. And she is rapt whenever we show it to her. So we're not afraid of her talking too much during the show -- in fact, she might be telling other little kids to shut up so that she can hear what is going on. Her likely emotional involvement in the movie is actually the only thing that gives me pause. The reviews I've skimmed have all said that the film is very, very dark. The Daughter is still mildly traumatized every time Buzz tries to fly in the first film, but plummets to the earth and breaks in two and she only recently got over the Sarah McLachlan-voiced "Jesse Montage" from Toy Story 2. So if there are even grimmer scenes in the third installment, yeah, we might have problems.

Current Music: Shake The Shack on KEXP

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June 12th, 2010


09:10 pm - THE BROTHERS BLOOM CAPSULE REVIEW
Writer-director Rian Johnson woke up one day wondering, "Why hasn't Wes Anderson made a con man movie?" Johson took a look at Anderson's development slate and realized that for such a movie to exist he would just have to make it himself. Rian Johnson did a pretty good job.

Current Music: Civil Twilight - ""Letters From The Sky"

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09:05 pm - NOT REALLY ANTICLIMACTIC
A few months ago The Wife had to give a presentation at her work. It was stressful. Very stressful. Tear-inducing, in fact.

Unsurprisingly, she nailed it.

Still, she felt the need to unwind afterward. Her exact words were, "I need margaritas." We had heard of a good Mexican restaurant that was only 15 miles away (merely decent Mexican food in the Pacific Northwest is something to be treasured, so a 15-mile drive isn't at all excessive).

We took The Daughter with us and met up with The In-Laws -- who lived near the restaurant -- to celebrate The Wife's triumph. The margaritas and food were good, The Daughter was not.

She was being rowdy; standing up in her seat, swatting food with her fork. I had to take her outside and walk around in the parking lot in the freezing cold (I did mention that this happened in February, right?).

The 15-mile drive back home was no picnic, either. We had to leave the restaurant abruptly so The Wife had no opportunity to visit the restroom and was in danger of experiencing a bout of sepsis thanks to a ruptured bladder. The Daughter continued to be rowdy. Not even the iPhone could calm her down.

I dropped The Wife off at the front of the house so she could run in and use the bathroom while I brought the car around to our driveway which is off the alleyway behind our house.

In a testament to just how rowdy The Daughter was being, it took just as much time for for me to get her out of her car seat as it took for The Wife to enter our house, relieve herself, go through our mail, find a letter that caught her interest, open and read said letter and then march toward our garage to engage me on an intercept course.

I was holding the writhing Daughter in one hand and opening to door that led from the garage to the laundry room with the other. I was surprised to see The Wife standing on the other side of the threshold holding up a piece of paper emblazoned with a giant purple "W".

"You got in," was all she said.

She had found and opened my acceptance letter into the University of Washington School of Law.

You may be asking, "Why did she open the letter?" Well, the reason she opened the letter is the same reason that I am glad she did. The letter came in a skinny envelope. When Seattle University accepted me the giganticized packet they sent me practically shot off fireworks. Denial letters usually come in practically emaciated packaging. If I had seen such a missive in my mailbox from the University of Washington -- my first (really only) choice for law schools -- I probably would have fainted, wondering as my world faded to black what their justification was for rejecting me. The Wife is tough. She didn't faint. She just tore open the letter looking for the justification. Thankfully, there wasn't any.

So, yeah, I'm glad that's how I found that I'll be starting law school in the fall and that our evening out ended up being celebratory for the both of us.

Current Music: Feist - "I Feel It All (Diplo Remix)"

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June 10th, 2010


09:48 pm - BEST MOVIES OF THE AUGHTS

Originally, I had hoped to have this list posted during the NFL Playoffs (that’s January for non-sports fans). And yet it took me until the NBA Finals (June) to get it done. It was not merely because I was lazy short of time, but also because our reactions to movies are very emotional. And just as our emotions fluctuate wildly, so do our preferences when it comes with respect to feature-length films.

See, it’s much easier to make a respectable list of the best TV shows of the decade because there are so many hours’ worth of content that you can step back and judge without passion. The TV show from my best-of-the-‘00s list that had the smallest quantity of televised hours was the BBC version of The Office: 13 episodes that lasted about 7-and-a-half hours. A movie – even a bloated epic – has less than half that amount of time to hook you in, keep you engaged and leave you feeling satisfied at the end. Because of that time crunch, in order to really feel invested in a movie, you have to do some of the work yourself by comparing it to your own deepest personal thoughts or experiences. When a movie speaks to some sort of specific feeling or situation that you are familiar with it’s ridiculously easy to fall in love with that film. I think that’s why you see so much disparity in a lot of people’s “best-of” movie lists and why those people defend their lists so passionately.

Now, not only could you forgo titling this list “The Ten Best Movies of the ‘00s” in favor of “The Ten Movies from the ‘00s that Sean Found Most Deeply Affecting” you could also name it “The Ten Movies Made from 2000-2008 that Sean Found Most Deeply Affecting” because it’s impossible to gauge how movies stack up against each other without the benefit of at least a couple of years of hindsight. Which is too bad since 2009 was actually a pretty good year for movies. So why don’t we start the list making with...

The Best Movie of 2009: Away We Go. I’m glad that I wasn’t able to see this episodic story about a young couple who travels to a number of different cities in order to figure out which one is the best place to raise their soon-to-be-born child until after I had my own kid. Without two years of child-rearing under my belt I wouldn’t have been able to appreciate just how ridiculous the ridiculous advice the couple receives is and how wise the wise advice is. The line that totally floored me is when an experienced parent tells our protagonists went something like, “It's all those good things you have in you. The love, the wisdom, the generosity, the selflessness, the patience. When you blink, when you blink! And it's 5:30 and it's time to get up again and you know you're going to be tired all day, all week, all your fucking life. And you're thinking what happened to Greece? What happened to swimming naked off the coast of Greece? And you have to be willing to make the family out of whatever you have.” This movie was neck-and-neck with (500) Days of Summer and The Cove for me, but ultimately Away We Go is as funny as it is moving and that’s why it’s my favorite movie of 2009.

Biggest Surprise of 2009: Inglorious Basterds. I disliked the script when I read it two summers ago, but there’s a reason Quentin is a director and I am not. The movie he had in his head is way better than whatever reverie I had conjured up. He knew exactly the kinds of performances he needed from his actors to make their characters feel like real people instead of the feeble cinematic archetypes that we saw in Kill Bill and Death Proof (God, those movies suck).

 

Best Ending of 2009: A Serious Man. A lot of people got up in arms over the “ambiguous” ending of the Coen Brothers’ latest opus. The uproar was so great that I doubted my own ability to process a film’s narrative. But a quick search of Teh Internets confirmed that, yes, I can correctly interpret the most on-the-nose movie of the Coens’ career. The film is just one part of a triptych, which includes No Country For Old Men and Burn After Reading, that concerns the consequences of our moral actions (why, yes, I did receive both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from film school. Why do you ask? Well, since you are asking, I’ll tell you that A Serious Man states that if we do bad things we will suffer bad consequences, Burn After Reading states that if we do good things we will suffer bad consequences, and No Country For Old Men says that it doesn’t matter what kinds of things we do because Death is coming for all of us regardless.).

 

Best Demo Reel of 2009: Avatar. The Jurassic Park of the ‘00s. It brought 3D and photorealistic performance-capture to the mainstream – which is important – but five years from now when somebody comes along (and maybe it will be Cameron himself with the sequel) and uses the same tools to tell a better story, Avatar is going to have all of the resonance of The Jazz Singer.

 

And now...

 

MY TEN FAVORITE MOVIES OF THE 00’s

 

#10. The Ring (2002) I wasn’t a big fan of this one when it first came out, but on subsequent viewings I realized that this movie wasn’t really a horror film, but more of an expertly plotted mystery. I only wish that they had kept the scenes that imply the girl from the movie is the anti-Christ. Then it would have worked as a (quite creepy) horror film as well. (Additional TMI fact that makes the movie feel more personal to me: The Daughter was conceived in the apartment building that Naomi Watts’ character lives in! Sorry if you barfed.)

 

Action Movie of the Decade: Children of Men (2006). Sorry Hurt Locker. You’re more of a suspense movie than an action movie. Sorry The Incredibles. Your philosophy of genetic objectivism creeps me out. But you, Children of Men, with your long takes of organized, bloody chaos, your shocking plot twists and your global warming allegories are pretty damn great.

 

#9. High Fidelity (2000) Has any movie, anywhere, better captured the mindset of those of us who are obsessed with pop culture? It’s also nice that the movie says that it’s okay to be one of those obsessive types (provided that you can, you know, find balance in your life). Also has one of my most favorite lines of the decade when John Cusack screams at the woman who just dumped him, “Charlie, you fucking bitch! Let’s work it out.”

 

#8. The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) I got pretty annoyed when I saw a lot of decade lists lump all three parts of the trilogy together and count it as one film – but then I remembered that they actually did screen all three of them together as one big event when Return of the King came out. I’m afraid I watched these movies to death in the early aughts and as hard as the filmmakers tried, they couldn’t completely overcome the flaws inherent in Tolkien’s original novels, so I don’t love the films (all of which finished either #1 or #2 on my year-end lists) as much as I used to. But I did love them as they came out and they were the last movies that instilled such a fevered anticipation in me that I made the effort to see them on opening day. And then, of course, The Wife and I would see them again with our extended families on Christmas Day which made for a nice little tradition that I’ll remember until the Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease start poking holes in my brain.

 

Christmas Movie of the Decade: Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000). The Wife and I walked out of this. It is absolutely horrible. A career nadir for everyone involved who wasn’t in the make-up or art direction departments. However, I think the film presaged the last decade’s economic meltdown. In the story, the Grinch learns that the gifts aren’t what make Christmas special. What makes Christmas special is spending time with your friends and family. After this realization the Grinch returns all of the present he stole from Whoville. In the book it is a moment in the book that is given two whole lines of text. More important is the fact that the Grinch stays in Whoville and becomes an active member of the community. That’s the book. In the movie, though, much more importance is placed on the Grinch successfully returning the presents to Whoville. Whomanity won’t truly be happy until they get all of their stuff back. This obsession with materialism is basically what fueled the sub-prime mortgages, credit default swaps and other banking-related malignancies that continue to wreak havoc on our economy today.

 

Actually Good Christmas Movie of the Decade: The Ice Harvest (2005). Another Christmas movie that deals in the greed that always seems to surface at Christmas time. And as dark and brutal (but funny!) as this flick is, at least it says that there is no use in having a ton of riches if there is no one there for you to share them with.

 

#7. Little Children (2006) Another film that I love because of the way I feel it parallels my personal life. There are a number of arch and melodramatic moments in this one, but that’s okay because Todd Field perfectly captures the angst of being a stay-at-home parent.

 

Best Director of the Decade: Christopher Nolan. Look at this filmography: Memento, Insomnia, Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, the trailer for Inception. The quality of those films ranges from “great” to “classic.” The day Nolan makes a merely good movie is the day he disappoints us.

 

Worst Director of the Decade: M. Night Shyamalan. Look at these titles: Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening. Those movies run the gamut from “laughably awful” to “coma inducing.” They not only erased the considerable goodwill engendered by The Sixth Sense, but made The Sixth Sense look like a total fluke. And it’s just plain sad that some of the best scores of James Newton Howard’s career are utterly wasted in Shyamalan’s drek.

 

#6. Milk (2008) I was worried about this movie. It was so hyped, but was that just because of the sentiment dredged up by Prop 8? Biopics, you see, have a tendency to be boring or sanctimonious and Gus Van Sant (especially when he goes all experimental) is hit-and-miss for me. Gratefully, it was not hype. With an outstanding script by Dustin Lance Black (who also gave the best Oscar acceptance speech of the decade), Milk surprised me by being so entertaining while still following the strictures of the biopic and imparting an political message.

 

#5. The Forty-Year-Old Virgin (2005) People in Hollywood always knew that Judd Apatow was really funny (that’s why they kept giving him money to make failed TV shows), it just took the rest of the country some time and the perfect vehicle to realize it as well. There was a time – about the middle of 2006 – that The Wife and I perform this entire film for you beginning-to-end because we had seen it so much.

 

Second Best Comedy of the Decade: Role Models (2008). The first time The Wife and I saw this and the writing credit came up (“David Wain & Ken Marino & Paul Rudd”) she said, “That must have been to work on.” So, yes, we expected to get a lot of laughs from a movie that promised to merge the comedic sensibilities of Judd Apatow and The State. What we didn’t expect was to also be drawn into the world of LAIRE and be emotionally invested in the outcome of a bunch of people whacking each other with foam-ended sticks.

 

#4. Before Sunset (2004) I saw Before Sunrise in the theater three times. A heterosexual teenage male shouldn’t have seen that movie once by accident on cable let alone three times in the theater. But that flick said everything about idealized romance that I wanted to hear at that time. Roughly a decade later, Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke reunited to make a sequel. I was excited, but also very nervous. What if they couldn’t recapture the magic of the original or, worse, tarnish the first film by failing to live up to my insane expectations in the same way that The Matrix sequels did?

 

Obviously that didn’t happen since Before Sunset is number four on my list. The film didn’t just match the quality of Sunrise, it also added layers of complexity to the 1995 original. When I first saw the end of the sequel – Ethan Hawke says “I know,” and then the end credits start – I jumped out of my seat and stood upright in the aisle. I was so energized by the fact that the film not only worked, but worked so well, that I couldn’t stand still and I had to tell somebody about how I felt. Unfortunately, I had gone to see it by myself so I wandered the theater like an imbecile hoping to bump into somebody I knew before I realized I had a cell phone. Then I called everybody who I thought would care (most of them, it turned out, didn’t).

 

Best Documentary: Beyond the Mat (2000), King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007), The Cove (2009) (tie). That feeling of exhilaration that I described above hit me in waves while I was watching my favorite documentaries of the past decade. The Cove is one of the most exciting records of a tragedy that I’ve ever seen. I still find it hard to believe that the events and participants of King of Kong are real and not the invention of a genius screenwriter. And Beyond the Mat actually made me care again (briefly) about professional wrestling. Aside from being documentaries, these three films are related in that they are all about manufactured events. I’m sure that says something about me, but I’m not sure what it is.

 

Best Scene: “Whoop That Trick” - Hustle & Flow (2005), Sneeze - The Lake House (2006) and Confession - JCVD (2008) (tie). I caught all three of the movies for the first time on disc and at the end of each of these scenes I immediately hit the scan-back button so I could watch them again. I thought I was too old and crotchety to get moved by hip-hop, but Hustle and Flow proved me wrong, Jean-Claude Van Damme proved that he could be compelling on screen without doing spin kicks and Keanu Reeves...well, he remains Keanu Reeves and I love him for that.

 

#3. Donnie Darko (2001) Remember the second-to-last scene in The Godfather Part II? It’s a flashback of the four Corleone siblings on Christmas Eve waiting for their father to arrive so that they can begin the celebrations. The main conflict in the scene is Michael revealing that he is going to join the army against his family’s wishes. Just as Sonny is getting really heated up, the front door opens off-screen signaling the arrival of Vito. Michael’s sister and two brothers leave to greet their father, but Michael stays behind in the dining room, smoking a cigarette by himself as the sounds of everyone else happily welcoming Vito drift in. It’s a breathtaking scene that perfectly sums up Michael’s character and the familial sacrifices he’s always been willing to make in order to achieve his own goals. Now, originally, Vito was supposed to come into the dining room and interact with his children, but Coppola couldn’t convince Marlon Brando to return for Part II, so he had to reconceive the scene. Which means that the defining scene of the Godfather saga is the result of a compromised director trying to do the best with what he had.

 

That pretty much sums up the entirety of Donnie Darko as well. After reading (or more accurately, trying to read) a number of his screenplays, trying in vain to understand anything about Southland Tales and suffering through The Box and the director’s cut of Donnie Darko, I feel confident in saying that Richard Kelly isn’t much of a storyteller when left to his own devices. However, force him to compromise during the editorial process and scuttle some of his initial music choices and Kelly will make something as ambiguous, moody and immensely pleasurable as the theatrical cut of Donnie Darko.

 

DVD Box Set of the Decade: The Budd Beotticher Collection (plus Seven Men From Now for the Budd Boetticher-Randolph Scott-Burt Kennedy completists out there). These movies had never been released on video before. The only way you could see them whenever you wanted to was if you had access to a recording of one of the films’ infrequent television airings. The USC film school library had such recordings and I used my last day as a student to watch a crappy VHS tape of The Tall T on a 19” television and I loved every second of it. The movies in this box set look at least as good as they did back when they were first released in the 1950’s and 60’s and the wealth of extra features is remarkable. They’re also good for making annoying John Wayne fans STFU when they see what true frontiersman badassery is in the form of Randolph Scott.

 

#2. Sideways (2004) A dramedy about a failed writer who loves visiting the Santa Ynez Valley and ends up drinking too much of the wine he finds there, but finds redemption in the love of a woman who is way out of his league? The only thing they got wrong is that Paul Giamatti doesn’t look a smidge like me.

 

#1. Shaun of the Dead (2004) The stones on this movie are incredible. Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg set out to make a zombie flick that was funny, scary, romantic, thrilling, heartbreaking and whimsical which is an impossible thing to pull off. And yet somehow they did. Easily the most rewatchable movie of the decade as well as the most quotable. It doesn’t hurt the I share a name with the main character, was roughly the same age as him when the film came out and was undergoing similar struggles with maturity. This is the film The Wife and I show to people when we’re considering whether or not to be their friends.

 

 



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February 24th, 2010


10:28 am - PROGRESS?
The Daughter went poop in the potty yesterday.

Unforunately, she was still fully clothed, which included her diaper, and she was standing in the toilet rather than sitting on it. But at least she got the location right.

Current Music: Gil Scott-Heron - "Me And The Devil"

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February 10th, 2010


07:29 pm - A QUICK NOTE ON THE OSCAR NODS
Well, it looks like my streak of having not seen the winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture will be coming to an end this year since I've gone out of my way to see both The Hurt Locker and Avatar and possible darkhorse contender Inglorious Basterds. Stranger, still, I liked all three. I feel it's just more evidence of my rapid aging -- my tastes are starting to dovetail with those of the notoriously ancient Academy.

Starting to dovetail. We're not in perfect alignment yet.

I was shocked and not a little disappointed that (500) Days of Summer didn't receive a single nomination, especially for original screenplay. Now, I haven't seen The Messenger or A Single Man (the Blu-ray of which is currently resting next to my TV), but I'd be hard pressed to believe that I would prefer the writing of either of those movies to that found in (500) Days.

And then I remember that (500) Days of Summer is a movie about young, imperfect love and would not necessarily appeal to the octogenarian set. So while I might not be able to see as far I used to and my back sometimes hurts for no reason whatsoever, I'm still enough of a baby-face to appreciate a romance starring Zooey Deschanel and the kid from 3rd Rock from the Sun*.

I was also heartened to see that Hans Zimmer got a nomination for composing the music to Sherlock Holmes. It's a really good score and I've been listening to it a lot. It builds from the sounds and themes found in his Pirates of the Caribbean scores, but doesn't necessarily repeat them.

Which brings me to James Horner. How the hell does he get nominated for Avatar? I wonder if the music branch of the Academy really listened to the music of Avatar or if someone from the studio, as a joke, slipped them the score from Willow or Krull or Battle Beyond The Stars and nobody noticed because Horner's been writing the exact same score for over thirty years now.

* I kid about Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I've been a fan of his since, no joke, H20: Halloween 20 Years Later in which his five minute cameo was the best thing of the movie.

Music Currently Running Through My Head: James Horner's Four-Note Motif of Danger (doo-doo-DEE-dooooo)

Music I'm Using To Try To Use To Replace The Music Currently Running Through My Head: "Who Shot The La La" on KEXP show The Roadshow which is doing its Mardi Gras Special

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