Archive for the ‘TV/Movies’ category

Elizabethtown

April 4, 2012

When I was living in Louisville, Kirsten Dunst and Legolas (Orlando Bloom) were filming a movie called Elizabethtown on location in Elizabethtown, KY. A couple of years ago, I finally got [around] to watch[ing] the movie. It was a cute but very dark romantic comedy. The film centers around a suicidally depressed New Yorker, whose family hails from central Kentucky. He learns that a family member dies and he must go back to the Commonwealth for the funeral. Through the course of the film, Legolas meets and begins a relationship with a flight attendant, Kirsten Dunst, who challenges him to both grieve and find himself. The line from the movie that I always remember is “If it wasn’t this, it’d be something else,” meaning no matter what circumstances under which it happens, things are going to happen. In this case, it meant the family would gather together again. In all, it wasn’t a terribly great movie, but it wasn’t bad either.

On Monday, I was returning home from the 150th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Shiloh and visiting Fort Donelson. My journey took me on the freeway along the outskirts of Elizabethtown, KY, and I considered stopping. It was about 2 in the afternoon, and I knew a stop would give me a delay of about 3 hours. You see, my grandmother lives in E-town. She’s in an assisted living facility there. I decided to press on to try to get home early, and I’d plan a longer visit later this month. As I made my decision, that line popped into my head. If it wasn’t this, it’d be something else. I made it home relatively early and finished unpacking my truck before the basketball game started. (WAY TO GO CATS!)

I found out yesterday at lunch that my grandmother had fallen on Friday and was taken to the hospital. She wasn’t seriously hurt, but they took her as a precaution. She was recovering very well, but mentally, she was in an age 10 or more years ago. She was talking about seeing long-dead family over the past few days and the coming days. She would never have recognized me if I had stopped to see her. As much as I would have liked to spend time with her, I felt a little less bad about not stopping.

Late last night, we got a call from my mother’s aunt. My grandmother had just passed away. Now I’m trying to find out how much work can be put off for another week and preparing to travel back to Elizabethtown tomorrow or Friday. I don’t know the funeral details yet, but it will likely be Friday morning or Saturday. Once again, that line is going through my mind: If it wasn’t this, it’d be something else.

Stopping wouldn’t have made a difference that she’d know, and to be completely honest, stopping wouldn’t have made much of a difference to me. Seeing her one last time in her mental state, would not have left me with a better memory of her life and the time we got to spend together.

I used to spend a week visiting when I was younger. My parents would meet my grandparents at either King Fish in Louisville or Frisch’s in Winchester, KY, and leave one of us with them and take the other two back home. For three weeks, my grandparents had one or another of us. We used to take walks on the trail to Freeman Lake. She always got after me whenever I ran ahead and got out of view, and I’d have to come back to her. We golfed at Fort Knox. Whenever we’d go on base, we’d stop at the PX, and I’d get Pringles. We stopped by the Coca-Cola bottling plant in E-town. We never went on the tour. We would just go in to look at the koi pond and get free drinks from the fountain. Nearly every time I was there, it was Shark Week. I don’t know if my parent’s planned it that way or not, but I’d watch all the shows on Discovery Channel in the evenings. My grandmother never understood why I’d want to watch shows about shark attacks every night for several hours, but she’d sit down in her chair and watch them with me.

When I was in college, I would call my grandmother from time to time. When she asked who was calling, I’d always announce, “It’s your favorite grandson!” She actually seemed to enjoy hearing me declare that. Those are the memories that I will keep with me of my grandmother.

Now, I find myself getting ready to go back to Elizabethtown a few weeks before I had initially planned to see my grandmother again. This time, it will be for one last time. The troubles my grandmother has had for the last seven or eight years are finally over. I’ll again make the journey to where my grandfather was laid to rest twelve years ago. I know that they’re together again. If it hadn’t been this, it’d be something else. Family together again.

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What was I saying?

February 27, 2012

Why is it that I can’t think of any of the wonderful topics to write about that popped into my head last week? You see, I have this problem. I used to think it was “ADD” (short attention span – thus forgetfulness). Now, I’ve come to realize that it’s called “being human”.

I’m pretty sure I had no intention of writing about the Academy Awards, since I didn’t watch them. Based on the comments I’ve seen on facebook, Angelina Jolie needs to eat something, Jennifer Lopez needs to cover up a little bit better, and the Academy gave the middle finger to sound technicians everywhere by giving best picture to a silent movie.

I know I feel that everyone should go to Rev. Bugg’s Sunday School class about why we worship the way we do, but I don’t think the people who read this blog are the ones who need to be concerned with it.

Jeremy Lin is still playing basketball, and ESPN realized the “chink” is not just part of a common sports analogy but also a highly offensive racial slur.

I helped a friend paint her bathroom, put up a mirror, and remove an old sink cabinet. In the process, the mirror fell from the wall and a water pipe broke. I was not responsible for either, although I did act like the Dutch boy for about five minutes.

I’ve dated as many woman in the past five months as I had in the previous five years. Hopefully, that’s a trend that will balance out soon.

I watched Love Letters at ACTC on Sunday. Yeah. That one will do. Expect a post on Love Letters sometime today!

2012 Grammys

February 13, 2012

I think the correct way to spell it is “Grammys” although it could be “Grammies.” For some reason, “Grammies” sounds like a snack food for British kids.

Anyway, I’m not here to talk about how to spell Grammys. I’m here to talk about the ceremony: the one I slept through. This was completely unintentional. I was exhausted and lied down for a nap around 4 or 4:30 and slept, with only one interruption, until 4 in the morning, when I went back to sleep for another couple of hours. I noticed a tweet during the half hour that I was awake that was something about Chris Brown dancing with bats. That’s when I first realized that I missed the Grammys.

So apparently, Chris Brown was performing at the Grammys. This surprised me, because I could have sworn that he was nearly universally disliked and still under probation. Apparently, that’s not the case, at least one the disliked portion. Here’s the mix in the form of celebrity Twitter feeds.  According to less-than-irrefutable sources, Rihanna and Chris Brown are even back together. Some writers didn’t feel the need to point why that the choice to have Brown perform is controversial. Others only referenced it as a way to say how much of a recovery his career has made. An article on the show celebrating the life of Whitney Houston didn’t bother to mention the irony of Brown performing.

A writer for Philadelphia Magazine got it. The first thing that clued me in on this Grammy performance, though, was a blog on HelloGiggles. The entry chronicles the response to the the abuse since it was first reported. It seems a lot of the sentiments expressed at that time haven’t changed either. If you really want to get your blood boiling, look at the comments section of the link to the report that Rihanna and Brown are back together.

The most disgusting part about it is the statement that Grammy Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich made to ABC: “If you’ll note, he has not been on the Grammys for the past few years and it may have taken us awhile to kind of the over the fact that we were the victim of what happened.” I’m really sorry you had to go through that Mr. Ehrlich. I’m sure that Rihanna is also sorry for getting beaten and choked, because she would never wish that on you. I’m sorry…. but this is a little bigger than your awards show. This is society accepting and promoting a man who assaulted his girlfriend. You only have so much control over how many people buy his albums and request his songs on the radio, but you have total control over whether you have him a stage to blow off his crime against Rihanna and by implication, every other instance of domestic abuse. People may want him, but you should feel a bigger responsibility to society and the stigma placed on the true victims of domestic violence. You may have, but probably didn’t, lose ratings from not having Chris Brown on your awards show for the past two years, but you are not the victim of his crime. The victim was the young woman, who was left bloodied and unconscious from Chris Brown’s violent attack. All you saw was that he sold tons of music and you couldn’t have him on the show because he had a restraining order placed against him by an artist he physically beat. You couldn’t have him then because everyone would talk about how she wasn’t invited. Now that the restraining order has expired, you’ve jumped all over the chance to jump on the Chris Brown money-wagon. The worst part is that you did it on a night dedicated to the memory of a woman, who dealt with the same thing for a large part of her life. It’s like you gave a large middle finger to each and every person who has been the victim of domestic violence, and a pat on the back to those who committed it. Well, I’m sorry… but you’ve lost a viewer of future awards shows as long as you’re in charge of them.

On planning an evening

March 4, 2010

I have Copa rehearsal tonight as I do pretty much every night between now and when we perform.  Since there’s no UK basketball game tonight and I still have a movie pass for Cinemark from a disastrous attempt at a Youth event, I was thinking about going to see a late showing of something tonight.  The movie pass is only good for until the end of this month, so I thought now was as good a time as any to catch a movie. 

I’ve been wanting to see Dear John, mainly because it stars Amanda Seyfried.  I went to the Cinemark website to see when it was showing and what else was starting late.  I noticed that Wolfman was still on.  I had absolutely no desire to see it when it came out.  I figured I’d wait for it to hit television and watch it then.  I’ve never been very big on werewolves with a few exceptions – most notably the episode from Series 2 of the new Doctor Who.  For some reason, I thought it might be fun to watch tonight, knowing that I’ll change my mind before I could actually get to the theater.  Surely it has to be better than Valentine’s Day, which was okay but didn’t live up to its cast’s potential.

While I was on the Cinemark website, I decided I’d see what was going off and coming on this weekend.  That’s when I noticed Alice in Wonderland.  I didn’t have much desire to see that movie in the theater either, but for some reason I thought I might enjoy it after all after seeing its listing.  I definitely won’t be watching it in Ashland though, because if I do end up seeing it, I’ll want to watch it in 3-D, which will require a trip to Huntington.  I was thinking that the movie would probably end up with a PG-13 rating, but I was surprised to see that it is only PG.  Even more surprising was the reason that it is “PG: For fantasy action/violence involving scary images and situations, and for a smoking caterpillar.”  I can understand being PG for violence and things that would be scary for little kids – like the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter – but the smoking caterpillar: I find very amusing.  I’m actually starting to look forward to Alice in Wonderland, but only in 3-D and only not at full evening price.

Avatar

January 14, 2010

I saw Dances With Wolves Avatar last night.  It was better with Kevin Costner 20 years ago.  Has it really been that long?

Anyway.  Avatar did have amazing visuals and effects.  James Cameron is good at that.  In fact, that was probably the best part of Titanic.  The movie looks amazing.  The acting was good.  The story has been done: Dances With Wolves, The Last Samurai, which I can’t believe I watched.  I’ve even seen the visuals before.  Floating mountains have appeared in numerous video games, as well as at least one movie, whose name escapes me.  The planet looked like Fern Gully.  The creatures were straight out of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ John Carter-Martian series of books as well as the Resident Evil games and movies.  The exo-skeletal suits for the marines looked exactly like Uller battle mechs from the BattleTech and MechWarrior games, and they are supposed to be piloted the same way.  Yes, I realize that none of you have a clue what I’m talking about with that last one, but that’s not the point.

Granted, it’s nearly impossible to come up with completely new ideas for a movie.  Cameron made everything in the movie amazing to look at.  The political themes in the movie were easily pushed aside.  Yes, the movie is about destruction of the environment for economic pursuits.  Yes, the movie is about the lack of respect for other cultures.  Yes, the movie is about how militaristic conquest is bad.  It’s actually pretty easy to push all that aside, even though Cameron tried his best to bring it forward every five minutes, to enjoy a fairly entertaining if not long movie.

I won’t say it was a great movie or that it was some kind of masterpiece.  It was a decent movie, and it was pretty to look at.  It did not come close to being as good as the hype.  It was not as good as Titanic, the other decent yet over-hyped James Cameron epic movie.  What Avatar really left me with was an opinion that James Cameron would be a pretty good film maker if he could tell a story in less than three hours.  It’s really not his fault that everyone declares him to be so great, when he really is not.  Good.  Not great.  Me?  Yeah.  I’d be downright awful, so I’m going to shut up now.

Sherlock Holmes

January 10, 2010

I braved the ice and snow (Yes, it’s still on the ground and to a much lesser extent, roads.) to see Sherlock Holmes yesterday.  I admit that I’ve only read The Hound of the Baskervilles, and it has been quite some time ago.  In fact, it has been so long, that all I remember is something about smoking a pipe.  Nevertheless, I went to see the movie and found it to be entertaining, if not a bit action-oriented.  It was kind of like Adrian Monk meets James Bond.  The bits where it shows precisely what will happen before it happened were annoying, although it did show a well thought-out plan.

I have a feeling that I appreciated the Victorian British mannerisms much more than the average movie-goer due to my reenacting.  I recognized proper behavior and often Holmes’ lack of it, much to my delight.  Also, due to my ability to slip into a Victorian mindset for reenacting, I probably got more enjoyment out of Rachel McAdams than the director probably intended.  I never caught the actual date in the film, but based on clothing and references made, I would place in the 1860-1890 range.  During this time, it was completely inappropriate for women to wear trousers.  Trousers showed the shape of a woman’s leg and also exposed her ankles, which was likely to make men randy.  In fact, assumptions could be made about the lifestyle or occupation of women who dressed like that.  I do completely understand the reason for putting Ms. McAdams in pants though.  It is probably quite difficult to run, jump and fall in a dress without hurting or exposing yourself to the unwanted gazes of the crew, those filthy gaffers and best boys!

Sherlock Holmes was far from a masterpiece, but it was quite entertaining and somewhat more intelligent than your typical summer action movie.  I’d probably still wait for it to come out on tv to see it.  I don’t think the editing will cut much out for the networks.  I’m definitely looking forward to Mr. Downey’s Iron Man 2 this summer even more now.