Returning to the Blog

Well, it’s been about two years since I’ve posted anything here, and I think that needs to change. It will change. Why? I don’t know. Mainly because I want to have some of the things that I write out in the world for public consumption. I’ll probably stick to movie reviews and the like, but there may be a few other things that I post from time to time.

We’ll see.

But at least I have my password saved on my computer, so there is that going for me.

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A Confession

Yeah. I committed an internet foul. I’ll admit it.

I just edited my previous post.

I’m a post tweaker. Deal with it.

But in my defense, I don’t think I materially changed the meaning of what I wrote. The edits affected clarity not message.

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Not Quite Sure What to Think of People Today

I witnessed a car wreck about a half hour ago. No one was injured, which was astonishing given the severity of the wreck.

What happened was this:

I was slowing down as I drove up to an intersection. It was that moment when the light has just turned from red to green. The first line of cars started to move, and then stopped as a lady ran the red light. A guy in the third or fourth lane didn’t see the car coming, and he drove through the intersection. The cars collided.

And everyone who saw it just drive off. They didn’t stop to make sure everyone was okay. They didn’t stick around to serve as witnesses to the accident. Nothing. Out of the roughly ten cars that saw what happened, maybe two stopped. I say maybe two, because there was one other woman who stuck around until the police arrived. I don’t know if she was driving or walking down the street.

Two people got out of their cars to make sure the people involved were all right. Two.

That’s just fucking depressing.

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Yet Another Illustration of the Generation Gap

At work today, one of the managers was singing a song.  When he saw me walk by, he stopped singing, and became sad.

Manager:  You probably don’t know what that song is.

Me: Yeah, I do.  It’s the theme from Rawhide.

Manager: I’m impressed.

Me: It was in the Blues Brothers movie.

He became sad again.

And somewhere out there, I know that a teenager is thinking, “Who are the Blues Brothers?”  It makes me want to cry.

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Well That Figures…

I’m not what anyone would call the most fitness minded person in the world.

I usually go to the gym about twice a week with the goal of doing enough exercise to convince myself that the next time I go, I’ll really start working out.  I find that this keeps me looking like I’m about a month from reaching whatever fitness goals I pretend to have, and I’m fine with that.  As long as I don’t slip into the “I’m two months from reaching my goals” category, I feel like I’m winning the war.  And it’s pretty easy to maintain that level of fitness, because I don’t have any actual goals to speak of.

Mostly, I just like working out on a semi-regular basis, because I feel good afterwards.

But I’ve taken around a month off.  And today I thought, “I feel like working out again.”

So I went to the gym.

And it was closed for remodeling.

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Thoughts on 127 Hours and Reviews

My relationship between movie reviews and movies tends to vary based upon the movie.

If the movie is something I want to see for whatever reason, I tend to check the basic rating of the movie.  How many stars did it get?  B- or a D+?  If the reviews seem to be in line with what I expect I’ll go see it without reading the details.  But I will read the reviews afterwards, just to make sure I saw the same thing the reviewer saw, and to make sure it’s still a good place to get a guideline on future movies.  If the reviews seem to be overly negative (or mediocre) I’ll read further to find out what the review thought went wrong to see if I still want to spend my money in a movie theatre or if I should wait for Netflix.

For the most part, this seems to work for me.

(There are the exceptions of the movie whose concept seem so awesome that I’ll see it no matter what.  Or the movie that looks like it has enough style to fall into the Gloriously Crappy Movie category, but that’s the subject for another time.)

And since the reviews seemed to be overall positive, I saw 127 Hours without reading any of the reviews.

Overall, I really enjoyed the movie.  There were times when I thought the movie was a bit excessive in its stylistic choices.  Especially in the very beginning.  (The ending, which mirrors the beginning, didn’t bother me.)  But when you get past the introductory moments, it stops being so hyperactive, while maintaining some of the initial energy that keeps the movie moving even when the character is literally trapped in one place.

I cared about the character.  Even though I knew that he got out alive, I cared about wether or not he got out alive.  I hoped that each of his successive attempts to get out would work, so that he wouldn’t need to cut off his arm.  Which eventually he did.  And I found the scene to be graphic enough to make me squirm, without feeling gratuitous.

But the most important part for me was that I thought the movie did a good job of not over-moralizing his predicament.

I’m emphasizing this last point, for two reasons.  First, some reviewers have criticized the movie for feeling like it didn’t have a point.  Or that  the movie felt shallow, because it didn’t really say anything substantive about Aaron Ralston’s experience except he got stuck under a rock and chopped off his arm.  On the other hand, some people I know don’t want to see this movie because they, “Don’t want to watch a movie about a guy stuck under a rock and thinking about his life.”

The movie does have some moments of meaning in it, but they are understated.  They exist, but you aren’t beaten over the head by them.  The flashback sequences tend to be about the little moments in life that everyone can relate to.  Which is what makes them work.

The movie focuses more on the ordeal than the meaning of the ordeal.  For some, that will leave you feeling like the movie is shallow and lacking a purpose.  For others, it will force you to find your own meaning in it, and you’ll appreciate it for that.

I fall into the second group.

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Cliches vs. Tropes

Cliches are what happen when lazy writers use tropes.

Tropes are what happen when good writers use cliches.

And you don’t know which category your writing falls into until the reviews come in.

This concludes your lesson for the day.

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