I saw Shop Girl recently. I was looking forward to this movie but sadly it ended up being one of those movies that I can see critics loving, but it just didn’t feel fully flushed out to me.
I felt like they tried to get the point across that these characters are boring people . . . for a great deal of the movie. I am not a movie maker so I wouldn’t know how to tell an audience that a character or two are not particularly exciting or remarkable. I’m also not sure it takes as many scenes as Shopgirl took.
The character of Mirabelle might be more interesting if the movie didn’t avoid telling us anything about her for fear of making her interesting. How did she get from Vermont to L.A.? How long has she been there? Besides her drawings what does she do with her free time? What is she thinking? What do she and Ray talk about when they’re together?
The character of Jeremy is so totally dysfunctional that it’s almost hard to believe he exists at first, and by the end of the of the film the character isn’t much more believable. The character of Ray seemed lifeless. Almost like some “man not in touch with his feelings” cliché.
The cinematography is beautiful but often distracting. It seemed like every other scene was supposed to be a heavily Photoshoped photograph. There is something to be said for saving the heavy handed filters and such for key scenes. Movies like Traffic where they go crazy with the cinematography can work, but I think quiet scenes sometimes require a lighter touch.
Other parts of the film like the seemingly pointless conversation between Mirabelle and someone at what seems like a bank, and the reason for the final scene are such obvious plot devices that they’re a bit disappointing.
The narration during the final scene sort of pulls the movie back up on its feet, but even that seems a bit heavy handed and honestly I don’t think the Ray character came across in the film the way the narration describes him.
The movie was taken from a story written by Steve Martin so at least that gives me hope that the original story was a bit more flushed out than the movie. Little things like some meaningful conversations between the characters might have made everyone seem less robotic. We know they’re lonely, but it seems in the movie they’re lonely because they don’t say much.
All in all not a bad movie, but there were too many things that I felt didn’t work. I give it 1.88 out of 3.14.
A side note. I don’t care about L.A. I know Steve Martin does, and I know folks in Hollywood think that everyone outside L.A. wants to know more about L.A., wants to move to L.A., and generally needs movies to take place in L.A. Someone please tell them we don’t.
Memoirs of a Geisha
Take some good actors and actresses, add some material that baits you into thinking there might be more to this film than you see on the surface, and then mix in a painfully predicable plot. The post war sequences and the ending made me want to claw my eyes out. I can’t imagine why I watched this whole film. Something that I can’t put my hand on kept me interested but the more I think about the film the less I liked it. 1.57 out of 3.14.
A Prairie Home Companion
This is the first time I went to a movie in the theater since March of the Penguins. A Prairie Home Companion was an OK film except that the whole “lady in white” concept felt awkward and Tommy Lee Jones’s walk on appearance was one too many famous actors in the film. If a famous actor or actress doesn’t establish their character I tend to find them distracting, more so when there is an entire horde of them. Kevin Kline did alright except that wasn’t how imagined Guy Noir, and I thought making him a security guard seemed nearly as weird as the lady in white.
It was an ok film, probably better if you’re familiar with Minnesota and the actual A Prairie Home Companion radio show. 2.19 out of 3.14.
The Wedding Nears
The wedding date nears (three weeks I think), miscellaneous conflicts mostly involving the well meaning but unnecessarily panic ridden mother of the bride pop up here and there. Aside from that things are moving along and even the panicky mother of the bride can be tolerated as they are paying for most everything. I estimate that if I were paying I would be working an insane number extra hours for every minute I’m dealing with the panicky mother of the bride in terms of money. Fine by me.
One unpredictable wrinkle has involved the older sister of the bride. She is a level headed lady and has often selectively brandished many of the “wedding traditions” in order to keep the mother of the bride in check. Oddly she recently riled up mother of the bride with the theory that all “out of town guests” should be invited to the rehearsal dinner.
My bride and I have never heard of this tradition and we figure this comes from the older sister’s recent experiences going to insanely extravagant weddings, ah la Martha Stewart. Fortunately, that wrinkle was quickly ironed out when the older sister agreed that since the groom’s parents were planning the rehearsal dinner they should make the call. The rehearsal dinner is again the small affair that we wanted, the only small thing in this wedding other than the bride.
Things I have learned:
Never make your own invitations by hand (duh).
Start making invitations ASAP.
Do not marry until your in-laws are dead.
Kill your in-laws if they’re not dead and you want to get married, unless they’re going to pay for much of it, then you’re going to have to take the bad with the good.
Things I have left to do:
Call and confirm wedding night hotel, honeymoon hotel, airplane reservations. Figure out what all this “e-ticket” airplane ticket madness is.
Purchase groomsmen gifts.
Buy more clothing as I do not have enough clothing to last me the time I will be gone for the wedding and then honeymoon.
Give the house a good cleaning before we leave.
Question: Groomsmen Gifts
What would be a good gift for groomsmen? I have no idea what a good gift would be. A Swiss Army knife and this weird cooler / stool thing are the only things I’ve found that seem tolerable. For the record the groomsmen are: 1. A family guy with one little daughter who works in the news industry. 2. A Lutheran minister in training.
Work: You Can’t Make this #### Up!
The Human Resources department is no longer named Human Resources. The department that I so often make fun of now has a name that is so hilarious that it has to be a joke, and yet it clearly is not a joke. I won’t give away the name as I don’t like to give away much info about my work, and it doesn’t matter because you wouldn’t believe me anyway.
Meanwhile a group of unused cubes are being removed from a fairly common area in the building. My guess is that my request to use that space to construct an Ultimate Fighting octagon will not be fulfilled.
Diplomatic Correspondence from Civilization IV
I realize that as neighbors with relatively equal territory my notably high culture score creates some tension. In addition my modest army might seem like a tempting challenge, especially as our common neighbors such as Julius Caesar or Queen Elizabeth would present a clearly greater opponent for you.
Yet after fighting two short wars I thought you would have learned that I am a more than competent general. I know when and where to maneuver my troops to present you with the greatest challenge possible. Also I expected that you would have given up on directly attacking me after conclusion of the second war where I captured a fairly large city from you. I had hoped that taking a city would have sent a message that further conflict between us will only annoy me and cost your nation dearly.
I certainly understood why you would keep troops along our border after the second conflict where I gained the upper hand both economically and in terms of strategic territory. Yet even with troops on the border I was surprised when your troops crossed that border in clear violation of our peace treaty in an effort to retake your lost city.
Did you really think that I would just leave a couple archers in a recently captured city? Were you really surprised when you found nearly half of my total military forces holding that town? Did you really think that you could take a fortified city garrisoned by forces in at least an equal number to your striking forces?
In response to your latest incursions into my territory I can only respond:
IT’S ON $%#&#$ $#@&! I’VE HAD ENOUGH OF YOUR %@$#! YOU HAD BETTER RUN NOW BECAUSE I’M GOING TO GO BRONZE AGE ON YOUR &%$&!
Supreme Leader of the Persian Empire
Water Softener: My water softener died. Depending on who you talk to you get different opinions on water softeners. There are the inexpensive models sold at appliance stores, and there are the midrange and higher priced models sold thru water softener dealers and service people. All I know is my drinking glasses are fogging up over time and yet I don’t know what new softener to buy. I get the feeling I’m going to go the inexpensive route and be done with it.
Ceiling Fan: The previous owners of the house had a ceiling fan in the bedroom and as part of the agreement they took it with them (fine by me). Several years pass, I bought a new ceiling fan and discovered the outlet cup is plastic and feels weak. The new ceiling fan feels as if it is made of lead.
So I cut a little hole to see what is in there and plan to install a new metal outlet box with a crossbar that will attach to two beams. I look inside, yeah packed tight with insulation. I do not have attic access (townhouse). Now I’m stuck. I can cut a bigger hole but I’d like to limit bedroom demolition as much as possible. Yet I can’t even get the stupid plastic cup out of there without doing so. I’m stalled on that project and feel like an unhandy boob.
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