Friday, January 04, 2008

Hey, guys. I'm enjoying having some time off. Yesterday I went and saw Juno, and today I went to see The Orphanage. I thought Juno was pretty good, although I'm not sure it lived up to all of the hype that it's been getting. It just felt to me that the main character, who was supposed to be sixteeen, kind of talked like a 30-something hipster, even though the writer occasionally threw in lines about how she was dealing with things that were way beyond her maturity level. You wouldn't have known she was immature from the way that she acted. She handled the whole thing better than most 30 year olds would when dealing with a completely unplanned pregnancy. Plus, I'm just tired of these movies where there's some cute, witty, funny kid who's into really cool music and movies and stuff, but then for some reason we're expected to believe that they're social outcasts at their school. The kids at my school who were social outcasts weren't witty. Kids at my school who were clever were at least respected, if not admired (which is, I think, part of the weird universality of high school movies- I think that most people who weren't at the absolute top of the social strata in high school like to look back on their high school experience and think of themselves as outcasts, but it just isn't true. I think high school had a few really popular kids and a few kids who were actively unpopular, and a whole lot of kids milling around inbetween. There really are kids at the very bottom, and their lives were pretty painful, and I don't think many of those kids grew up to write successful movie scripts). On the other hand, the performances in the movie were pretty strong (it was just the writing that I had some issues with), and there were some funny scenes.
Like I said- I also saw The Orphanage. It was a Spanish film, and I guess Guillermo Del Toro helped produce it or something, because his name flashed across the opening credits at some point, and it made me cringe. Guillermo Del Toro makes beautiful, fairly creepy movies, but ultimately, his films (well, his less commercial films) tend to be morose, melancholy examinations on the way that people deal with death rather than just scary movies. I'm thinking Pan's Labyrinth and The Devil's Backbone here- not Blade 2 or Hellboy 2. Anyway, The Orphanage was, for me, more depressing and extraordinarily sad than scary (although there were a couple of scary scenes). Even depressing wouldn't bother me if it lent some insight into the human condition, but The Orphanage, like Pan's Labyrinth, seemed to have an underlying theme about how fantasy (and ultimately, perhaps, delusion or borderline madness) are ultimately one of the more satisfying and beautiful ways of dealing with the pain of death. I'm just not sure that I'm ready to get onboard with that message, and since I don't find the overall theme very convincing, it just kind of leaves me feeling depressed at the end of the movie (it's like he walks you into this really dark place, with the promise that there's going to be some kind of reward at the end of it, but at the end, I just don't find myself buying into the message that seems like it's supposed to be the big payoff). I guess that to me it just feels like Del Torro romanticizes death in some weird way, and I'm not all that big a fan of it.

Anyhoo, I know I just pounced on both of those movies, but the fact that they both even generated thought and discussion (I've talked about Juno with several people already) means that they had some merit and are probably worth checking out. The Orphanage, in particular, was a really beautiful movie, and definitely has some haunting (no pun intended) scenes. It's just damn sad, and I was in the mood for creepy and scary without all of the accompanying angst and depression that this film brought with it.

What else? We went and saw Hillary and Stuart's band, The Flyin' A's, last night at Artz Rib House. They sounded good.

I'm a little surprised that Barack did so well against Hillary in Iowa , and I'm really happy to see that John Edwards did so well. Frnakly, I'd be happy with a win by any of the three in the general election, but Hillary just seemed like she was going to steamroll over everyone in the primaries, and as I've said before, I have some issues with the way that I think she'll galvanize the conservative base in the general election.
Huckabee is making his run, but I was listening to Rush Limbaugh the other day (I do that sometimes during lunch- know your enemy and all that), and the neocons and the far right really don't like him a whole lot, so now I'm thinking he may be a decent choice within the Republican camp. I think he'll be more of a consensus builder, if he takes office, than Bush's administration has even been (well, he really couldn't be worse about it, but you get my drift).

Well, I gotta run. I'll rap at ya later.

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