Not too much going on. Jamie made a big ol' chef salad last night for Ryan and me (and her, of course). I have to admit that I was initially skeptical about the idea of salad for dinner, but it ended up being really good. Thanks, Jamie!
Over the last couple of days I watched a couple of movies.
One was Redacted, which was a Brian De Palma movie about the Iraq War. Frankly, it kind of sucked. It's not that the movie was against the Iraq War (that doesn't bother me, because I'm against it, too). It was just a lame movie with a stale plot that we've seen a thousand times before (although usually in the context of Vietnam War movies). The soldiers depicted in the movie are pretty much walking stereotypes, and you can sense the American atrocities coming from early on in the film (when these soldiers have their first, predictable argument about the value of Iraqi life). Anyway, the movie had no real insight and wasn't particularly interesting or compelling. It didn't even really make for a very good anti-war movie, because it tries to justify an entire anti-war stance by pointing to the crimes committed by one particular group of rogue soldiers who are involved in one isolated incident (which is sort of like saying that we shouldn't have a police force because every once in awhile you get some bad cops). I'm not saying there aren't good arguments for why we shouldn't be in Iraq (the facts that we went to war under false pretenses and that we're helping to breed a new generation of insurgents come to mind)- I'm just saying that these arguments don't appear in this movie.
Anyhoo, mediocre writing and acting and a predictable, rehashed storyline. Skip Redacted.
Last night I also watched a movie called The Last Winter. It starred Ron Perlman, and it was about a group of people working in some kind of arctic, Alaskan outpost, trying to put in ice roads and conduct survey missions for an oil company who wants to drill out on the tundra. Tensions rise between the oil company's faithful employees and some independent enviromental inspectors who are monitoring the project. Strange weather phenomena begin to occur, people begin to go kind of crazy, and there are even fears that something may be trying to strike back against the exploration team for violating the wilderness that they find themselves in.
It's a strange movie. It has genuinely creepy/scary moments, but the movie manages to build a kind of ominous sense of dread without ever really letting you know what you're afraid of. Then there's a whole, "can't be sure what's real and what's happening in the character's heads" type of thing.
I'm not sure how I felt about the movie. On the up side, there is a specific wendigo reference (hell, there may even be a wendigo appearance- I'm not really sure), so people like Palka should be happy about that.
Anyway, the whole thing is clearly meant to be a cautionary tale about the environment and about nature's power and wrath. I guess it's at least some kind of accomplishment to turn an environmentalist message into a horror movie (I guess).
Anyhoo, The Last Winter was a pretty unique film, so I guess I'm glad I saw it.
On a final note, I watched Hillary Clinton's speech at the Democratic Convention last night. I thought she gave a good speech, and took care of some of the things that needed to be done. In particular, she pointed out that it didn't make sense for people to support her and then to vote for McCain or to abstain from voting just because she isn't the Democratic candidate. She pointed out that Obama shares almost of her policy views, and that he wants to work for most of the same changes that she was seeking to bring about (more universal healthcare, a better energy plan, an end to the Iraq War, and an economy that offers more support for middle and working class families). In the end, she said that the people who were supporting her were actually supporting all of the people who might be helped by her policies, and that to abandon the Democratic Party now would mean abandoning the people that she intended to help.
I think she gave a good speech, and although I'm sure the pain of losing the primary hasn't entirely subsided, I think she was sincere when she told her supporters that Obama was their best and only choice if they wanted to see real change.
If nothing else, I think the strength of Clinton's speech left a lot of people wondering whether Obama hadn't picked the wrong person for his running mate (nothing against Biden, per se, but Hillary really got the crowd fired up last night).
Oh well- I'm sure Hillary Clinton will continue to be one of the most prominent Democrats in the Senate for many years to come, and it wouldn't surprise me at all if she ran for president again the next time she got the chance.
Well, I gotta run. Hope all of you kids have a kid day.