Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day

Our weekend, despite the storms, was pretty good.  Saturday night and Monday both involved storms and tornado warnings and general moments of weather-related anxiety.  We were monitoring the weather for long periods of time.  Over the years Amy and I have dealt with some minor flooding issues, roof damage, and power outages.  Our stuff has been relatively minor, and it's still a headache, so I'm very sympathetic to people who face serious loss as a result of water, wind, and weather-related damage.  It was pretty sad to hear about the homes that were destroyed in Wimberley and the lives that were lost.
We've had some flood control work done at our house, and it seemed to really help out this time (BIG knock on wood).  We had some really intense rains for a while, and this time nothing came into the house.  Which was nice.


I got to see Mad Max: Fury Road.
Fury Road was good.  It was pretty much everything that you might expect from a really good Mad Max movie.  It was intense, hyperkinetic, violent, funny, surprisingly thoughtful, and extremely imaginative.  The movie stood out as feeling extremely innovative and original, garnering an astonishing 98% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes after two weeks at the box office, and although I really enjoyed the movie, I'm somewhat confused by the adoration poured upon it by critics and audiences.  I feel like Fury Road was a great movie, but it was just another very good addition to a longstanding film franchise that's been around for decades.  I really enjoyed the movie, but it didn't depart much, if at all, from any of the material that had been explored in the original Mad Max, The  Road Warrior, or Beyond Thunderdome.  The popularity of Fury Road, I think, feels like a reaction to (or against?) the uninspired, bland, computer generated fare that audiences have been receiving for the past decade or so.  George Miller reminds everyone why it's worth taking some creative risks while making a film, making a movie which ended up pleasing everyone when, on paper, it probably looked like it might not please anyone.  If an unknown or younger director had approached studio heads with a pitch for a movie about insane, punk rock-ish, post apocalyptic warriors chasing each other and fighting  their way across a barren landscape for two hours, the studio heads would have balked.  In the era of big budget blockbusters that must guarantee a return on investment, even George Miller could have conceivably ended up producing this movie on a shoestring budget for the Syfy Channel.
This movie stands out from contemporary movies because it implements the risky but rewarding style of the other Mad Max movies before it.  Nothing is a sure thing in this movie.  Audiences might have rejected the characters, the story, the cinematic style, or even the premise of the whole thing (we're not exactly short on post-apocalyptic fiction these days).  But the movie, especially when held up against recent fare, is unorthodox.  Which makes it unpredictable.  Which makes it compelling.  The process which funds quirky, visionary, inspired movies surely must produce as more duds and flops as it does successes, but when a visionary film is successful it stands alone as a triumphant work of art.  The Mad Max films accomplish that sort of success, and it's the sort of success that the great Hollywood blockbuster-generating machine can't seem to achieve.
Many a Hollywood producer has run his profit algorithms and decided that's it's a sure bet to imitate, recreate, and simulate previously successful works.  Fury Road was successful because it wasn't a copy of a work that had previously been successful.  It was a continuation of a series of films that had been previously successful, and it felt every bit as vital and original as The Road WarriorFury Road didn't need to "update" Miller's previous work by way of direction, cinematography, or story.  It didn't insist that we know how to do things better these days.  Instead, Fury Road reminded us that the older films told their stories exactly how they needed to be told, and it insisted that, by and large, the old-school world of practical effects, accelerated film speeds, and live action stunt work is still the best, most convincing way to tell certain stories.  The characters weren't modified to make them more palatable to modern audiences.  The whole movie was chaos and violence and madness and determination.
The movie didn't reach out to find an audience.  It made the audience come to the movie.  The process began in 1979 with Mad Max, but 2015's Fury Road demonstrates what can happen when a persistent, dedicated group of fans fan the flames of cult film love.


Anyway, it was a good movie.  I enjoyed it.  But I wasn't surprised by it.  Maybe I should have been.  People keep expanding on classic old film franchises and then ruining them.  But I'm an optimist, and I liked the trailer.


We also went out to my parents' house this weekend.  They fed us grilled steak and salmon (Dad's gotten pretty darn good at grilling salmon), and we hung out and just talked.  The sun came out while we were over there, so we sat outside and took a short walk.  It was very pleasant.  Very relaxing.


Sunday Mom and dad came over to babysit for a while so we could run a few errands, and Ryan stopped by later to say hello and hang out with Raylan. 


We watched Game of Thrones.   


I'm not sure what else.  I'm tired.  Raylan likes to party at night.
Raylan is good, though.  He's eating and growing and sleeping and getting baths and doing some tummy time and playing on his mat and getting his diaper changed and looking at things .
He smiles quite a bit, and even though some would say that he's too young for social smiles, I would swear that we can get him to smile at us sometimes.  He just reacts to smiles and laughs and sometimes smiles back.
So he's good.  Amy seems to be doing really well, too.




Hope everyone is doing well.
I'm happy to say that the sun is out...



"Do that little thing that you do!"
"I got sunshine... on a cloudy day..."

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