Monday, July 30, 2007

"24" seems to be all the rage for so many of my friends. I finally borrowed the DVDs from a friend and watched the first several episodes.

I'm not sure what the big deal is. For all the action and frenetic pace, it's boring. (I'm also amused by "everything happens in real time" which must mean that every location in the city must be a thirty second drive away.)

I might watch a few more to see if I can get into it, but not so far.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Biblically, we each have a guardian angel. While I have no interest to promote angel worship, what do you think they do, and how do you think they do it? Any guesses on what they look like?

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The kidlings in Seattle (and a friend). :)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

It's my daughter's birthday today. Charlene is 11 years old. They are going to the Woodland Park Zoo to celebrate. Wish I could be there. Ah well, they'll be back in little over a month.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Hollywoodland Review

Caught this on DVD the other night. I would say it's an art film with pretensions to commercialism.

Okay, to reveal my own bias, I like George Reeves as the almost original Superman (there was a guy before him, very forgettable) and as a Hollywood actor. He was a classic Hollywood leading man who couldn't rub sticks together and quite get a spark. He had the goal of being one of the heavyweights, but it just didn't happen (or it purposefully didn't happened with some background help from his sugar momma, Toni Mannix).

To the positive side of George's character, he was a sincerely charming man with a great love of kids. He felt a responsibility to the kids who idolized him, even though Superman was not his ideal job. Despite it being "just television" he was a talented actor who shone as Superman.

The downside of his character is that he drank and partied heavily (a prerequisite to Hollywood success at the time) and he was a "kept man" accepting favors, money and a house from the woman he was having an affair with (she was married, not him).

I think the movie played too much to his downside and not nearly enough to his upbeat side (it wasn't a biography, so they didn't have to, but it would have been nice).

Ben Affleck received rave reviews for his portrayal as Reeves, but I don't see it. He was Affleck with a rubber nose. Charming, but nowhere near the real thing. The parallel construction between Reeves and the P.I. investigating his death was interesting, but again, the Reeves story is so compelling that the P.I.'s story pales in comparison (which is saying something because Brody is very good).

Was Reeves murdered or did he commit suicide? Personally, I think he was murdered, and that's the feeling the movie leaves you with. Reeves had three suspicious car accidents in the weeks before his death, any of which should have killed him. One with another car, the second with a cut brake line and a third as a pedestrian where he barely got out of the way. The movie mentions on of them, but that's all.

Here's the thing: Studios and Hollywood execs at the time of Reeves death habitually paid off police to keep things quiet, so what really happened is anyone's guess. There were enough power players around Reeves, enough dicey situations and mangled relationships that murder is very real possibility. Unfortunately, there was enough personal issues that it could have been suicide. He'd had some bad years and a career that didn't go the way he wanted, but it was picking up far more than the movie indicated. He was drunk and on painkillers (from the car accident) and that can mess up one's mind. There were a number of suspicious things at the scene, tons of bad guys and girls with motive and opportunity, but there were people in the house, so how would a killer get out? Of course, they didn't call the police for 45 minutes after it happened...

As with so many things, years and poor crime scene technique has muddied the water (and oddly, the facts of Marilyn Monroe's death and Reeves' death are often mixed up... you'll hear that Reeves was found face down - though not in the movie - which is odd for suicides by gun, but it was Marilyn who was found that way; and people mess up the kind of drugs each had taken... I suppose us conspiracy nuts follow the same cases...)

So, for the record, I think Marilyn Monroe and Vince Foster were murdered (both by presidents, oddly enough) and I want to think Reeves was also murdered, but might not have been.

As for Hollywoodland (originally titled "Truth, Justice and the American Way" but a lawsuit prevented that; why they changed it to Hollywoodland - which was taken from the famous Hollywood sign... originally Hollywoodland sign for a real estate promotion, but the "land" fell down) I wouldn't waste your time. I found it disappointing.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Transformers Review

Okay, the things you do for friends. I went entirely because Brian C. was so excited about this movie (and spending time with Mike, Brian, and any other friends is worth the time).

Very glad I did. Let's say the movie "transformed" my outlook. Having no experience with the original Transformers, I didn't know if I could get into it. But is was funny, action packed, well paced, well acted (maybe a little over the top from John Torturro), and overall impressive.

A couple of the funniest bits are not for kids, though. At least not for our kids. I suppose more worldly kids know all about this stuff, buy mine don't and won't need to for awhile, so Transformers isn't a kid's movie - a shame, since the toys target kids, but Michael Bay, like Brian C., were into the Transformers as a child and wanted to update it to make it fun for the 30 somethings who originally adored the toys, comics, and cartoon. Make it "just for kids" and you'd loose the largest paying audience, or at least disappoint them.

For Action/Adventure I give it an A-

Monday, July 02, 2007

Institutionalized racism can be very subtle.

I received a map of the rezoned high schools in my area which showed the old zone and the new zone for each high school AND a breakdown of race in each school. It looked like this: (numbers fictitious)

W: 54%
B: 41 %
H: 5%

W=White, B=Black, H=Hispanic. Why the racial breakdown was necessary, I don't know, but is not, in itself, racist - it's just information (though poor information; how are students of mixed heritage represented? Is the son of a white mom and black dad white or black? I'm thinking he would be considered black, but why? Because any other color is considered a dilution of white? Maybe it is racist - especially since Adam and Eve were most likely black.)

It's the ORDER that's racist. The mapmaker could say it's in order of majority to minority, except that Edgewater High School has a majority of black students, then white, and finally Hispanic. Was the order changed? No. The mapmaker could say that would be confusing; you don't change the order for a single listing.

No, you use a different classification for your order. Alphabetical, not majority, which would make it consistent for each list.

B: 41%
H: 3%
W: 54%

One has to wonder why the list was there to begin with. Does knowing the racial mix serve a purpose? Too many of one "kind" and you'll yank your kid from that school?