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Diary
By duxup (Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 11:56:46 AM EST) food, sports, movies (all tags)
Food, Sports, and a whole lot of short thoughts on recent movies I've seen.


Newspaper Solicitation

A different nice young man of minority background shows up at my home about twice a year.  They sell newspaper subscriptions and if they sell x amount they earn points toward some money for university.  I feel for these kids assuming that they are those folks who are SOL when it comes to being born into crappy neighborhoods and crappy situations.

At the same time I’m happy with my newspaper subscription (Sunday only) and it is crazy they don’t let me extend my subscription rather than add weekdays with that program because I’m the kind of schmuck who would do it every time and probably have like five years of newspaper subscriptions built up, but they don’t let you do that for that program.  Instead I just say no and move on.

Let’s Dish

For the on the go 20th century family there are these places where you can go and you put together meals that you store in your freezer and then about 24 hours before you cook you take them out and the next day you have a meal ready to go the next day.

My wife and I have gone to Let’s Dish a few times and we’ve been pleased with the results.  The food is far better than some preservative heavy salt laden frozen dinner and relatively easy to make.  I’ve not sat down and really calculated the value here, I suspect it is better than going out to eat, but not as good had I just whipped that stuff up at home.  Not that I ever would.

Sports

The Minnesota Golden Gophers won the WCHA tournament this past weekend.  The game winning goal in OT was pretty cool.  I used to by tickets to the WCHA tournament each year and request those days off from work.  Three days and five good quality hockey games at Xcel are tons of fun.  I need to do that again when tickets come up.

Movies I have seen recently:

Children of Men

Intriguing premise, women no longer can conceive and nobody knows why.  The whole world except Great Brittan descends into anarchy.  Great Brittan develops on of those not so nice right wing governments.  If you’re at all interested in that premise, don’t bother with the film.  It is just an excuse for a sci-fi chase flick, a well filmed flick but the movie never elaborates on the story beyond what you get in the trailer.  It is all just the basis for some running around and cool camera tricks.

One odd note is that assuming the whole world did descend into anarchy...  Why is it that life in Great Brittan seems relatively unaffected?  Sure there are some dark overtones and some particularly serious immigration issues but it’s hard to imagine any nation in this world could survive reactively unchanged if suddenly cut off form the outside world.  Food, fuel, technology, people to buy their products?  I would think there would far more fundamental changes.  Heck technology appears to even have advanced nicely during that time period, eh?

Wordplay

A cute documentary on crossword puzzles and people who do and make them, I had no idea that humans could do crosswords so fast.  The part where a man builds a crossword puzzle and explains as he’s going was amazing.  Those are some smart cookies.

I occasionally shout answers to my wife as she does the online USA Today crosswords online.  I’m alright but I’ll be damned if I could ever reach the level that some of these people are at.  Heck I seriously doubt I could ever finish a paper crossword on my own :(

Fun film that the whole family can enjoy (well maybe not little kids).

Bee Season

This is sort of your standard “family issues uncovered as a young child engages in some spelling Bees” meets 2001 kind of film.  Thru the first part of the film I’m just sitting there waiting for it to unfold.  Ok what exactly is the problem with this family?  When it finally does the characters seem disconnected.  These people are related to each other?  By the time the problems pop up the issues they have seem unrealistic considering the film goes out of its way to indicate how good these people really are early on.  These people seem perfectly capable of addressing their issues at the beginning of the film and it’s just hard to believe everything falls apart so dramatically.

The special effects deserve some note as well.  I won’t say why they occur so I don’t ruin the film for anyone except to say that few films seem to know how to use a light touch on the special effects.  The origami bird in particular seemed about as convincing as a special effect as I’ve seen in a film.  Very nice touch.

Ong-Bak: The Thai Warrior

I’m not sure if it should say “guilty pleasure” as I can’t imagine anyone would go to this film looking for something deep.  Anyway it’s just a martial arts film and nicely done using only some crazy athleticism, slow motion replays, and camera angels to make everything look awesome.  Story, cast, etc are irrelevant.  Fun arm and leg flinging to be had here.

The Da Vinci Code

Oh grod.  The less you know about history and religion the more you’re likely to enjoy it I think.  I only watched it because my wife wanted to.  Like Ong-Bak it is what it is no amount of explaining would make anyone like it or hate it more than they do.  Not particularly convincing, not particularly interesting, ridiculously conveniently solved thousand plus year old puzzles. 

Munich

Considering current events, the film seems more timely than a great film IMO.  Although I guess these questions are probably being asked several places in the world at any one time…  I can’t say I was impressed by the acting or anything in particular.  It’s an adequate story that sort of winds down abruptly but considering what they know about the actual events I guess it makes sense to do so.  Nice film, but it didn’t make me think any differently about the subject matter or approach it in another way.  The sex scene near the end seemed odd, but maybe I missed something there.

Everything Is Illuminated

I saw a preview for this film on some other DVD and thought it worth a rental.  An eccentric Jewish guy heads off to Poland to find the answers to some family mystery.  He meets up with some eccentric Polish people, one of whom doesn’t like Jews, and there you go.  At first the film seemed like another independent film where they just shove in odd characters rather than develop an interesting story, but quickly that changes and plot, characters, and details are genuinely interesting. 

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut

Billed as a different film than the originally released version of Superman II the film just doesn’t succeed.  Despite word on the internet, and even the documentary on the disk outright says so, there just wasn’t enough film to make what Richard Donner originally wanted.  The combo of Donner and the other director’s work often doesn’t work.  The movie really is more of a “what if” sort of mishmash of scenes probably only interesting to real big Superman fans.

I will say that Donner’s scene where Clark reveals himself as Superman to Lois with Lois shooting him intentionally to prove her theory was far better than the scene used in the original film where Clark just stumbles into a fire.  The additional scenes with Brando are nice as well although they don’t add much background like I had hoped.  More flashback scenes like at the beginning of the film would have helped but I assume they didn’t have more footage there.

The World’s Fastest Indian

Anthony Hopkins plays an old New Zealand man who travels to the U.S. to see just how fast his old motorcycle can go.  It is one of those feel good movies that I found legitimately watchable.  A few of the events along the way of his trip seem a bit too . . . hollywoodish, but only in hindsight.  If you watch the documentary included on the DVD it is amazing how well Hopkins mimics the man in question.

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I like cheese | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
re: by spacejack (4.00 / 1) #1 Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 01:31:26 PM EST
Children of Men - I thought the same thing. Pretty well-directed flick, but felt way too much like a videogame to be getting all the "most intelligent thriller in years" accolades. The chase scenes were good, but the characters felt very re-hashed and cliche. Clive Owen's character - the burnt out cynic who is suddenly motivated to help a cause seemed ripped right out of Road Warrior, and Michael Caine seemed like every crazy old guy with useful contacts who sacrifices himself to help the protagonist I've seen before.

If you liked Ong-Bak (I did) then be sure to check out The Protector, which is both better and worse than its predecessor.

Ditto re: the protector by theantix (4.00 / 1) #9 Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 10:27:46 PM EST
I also like cheese.
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I'm sorry, but your facts disagree with my opinion.
[ Parent ]
"Britain alone soldiers on" by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 3) #2 Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 01:39:55 PM EST
Not sure how much of that was supposed to be real, and how much just government propaganda.

However, in both the later stages of the Roman Empire, and the Middle Ages; Britain retained stronger, more centralized government than the rest of Europe. Geographically; as an island it's hard to invade, small enough to be centrally administered, but large enough to support a fairly powerful army. I suspect also that the wet, temperate climate isn't as prone to droughts and famines as some other parts of Europe.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

Brittan by duxup (2.00 / 0) #3 Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 01:58:22 PM EST
If anarchy was to reign I don’t doubt that Brittan would be a relatively good place to be geographically, easily isolated, fairly good weather for farming and etc, but in the movie there seemed to be few changes to daily life.  Does Brittan alone farm enough food to maintain the current population, let alone produce locally the products we all use daily?  If some major farming initiatives were introduced I wouldn’t think the countryside would be nearly the wild place the movie implies at some points.   I was thinking along those lines.

I didn’t buy it, although it is possible that as I think you hinted that was just government propaganda.  Perhaps there is a larger story there that the movie skipped and the people’s distrust of the government extends beyond domestic concerns and possibly some misrepresentation of the rest of the world.  That would explain why the Human Project would exist on the outside.

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[ Parent ]
Food self-sufficiency by TheophileEscargot (4.00 / 1) #8 Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 09:38:16 PM EST
Well, the farmers are always claiming that that's why they deserve all their subsidies...

Apparently the UK is 60% self-sufficient in food. However, with a declining population due to no births, and some switching from meat to crops, it might be possible to do without food imports. Doubt that the film-makers thought that much about it though.
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It is unlikely that the good of a snail should reside in its shell: so is it likely that the good of a man should?

[ Parent ]
However by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #4 Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 04:39:00 PM EST
Japan has all the same characteristics.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
No. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #5 Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 05:12:52 PM EST
Japan, unlike Britain, is dependent upon others for steel and other killing goodness.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Britain by ucblockhead (4.00 / 1) #6 Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 06:26:48 PM EST
Modern Britain is equally dependent on foreign trade.

In the times TE is talking about, Japan was entirely closed to trade. And like Britain, Japan was able to keep foreign invaders away for centuries.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman

[ Parent ]
That depends upon how you define open. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #7 Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 07:42:07 PM EST
They certainly had no problem extracting iron ore from China.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
Not by ucblockhead (2.00 / 0) #11 Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 06:17:36 AM EST
Prior to 1853.
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[ucblockhead is] useless and subhuman
[ Parent ]
The Fastest Indian by Phage (4.00 / 1) #10 Tue Mar 20, 2007 at 11:49:51 PM EST
I really enjoyed this both as a biker and as family man. Yes, there were some parts that were just a little too glossy, but overall a great family movie (where kids >8yrs so they have some appreciation of just how unlikely the story was.).

Cutting the grass with a gallon of fuel was a personal favourite. Or, "Why does the tea taste metallic ?".

duxup has become theantix. by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #12 Wed Mar 21, 2007 at 09:32:40 AM EST

If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.
I like cheese | 12 comments (12 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback