I’ve been in one of those frustrating phases of late where I feel the need to write but the combination of absolutely no time, and no mental energy, leave me struggling to make the arc from thought to action. When I’ve had time to myself – as I have several evenings lately, with family away on minor summertime jaunts – I wind up spending the remaining energy on stupid-yet-imporatant activities like the paying of bills (dammit, why can’t I just do this every second or third months? I’m happier that way!), and the doing of taxes (yeah, I just finally got around to that; it’s a long story why but this is the first time, ever, that I’ve been late with my taxes).
When I do sit down with the intent to work on a story I’m writing, I get no further than adding a bit more to an outline or writing a sentence or two. When I try to work on some of the half-dozen blog entries I have barely started, I find my eyes glaze over.
Yes, I know, you’ve all heard this before. No helpful suggestions, m’kay?
In any case, I have managed to see quite a number of movies lately. So let’s do some quick summaries.
Shrek III – skip it. Not funny. The best of the film’s in the preview. The animation’s great, but that’s part of the problem; shrek is real enough to actually look like a giant stinky ogre, which just makes him creepy. There are a few good gags, but it doesn’t work.
Surf’s Up – here’s a surprise winner. I expected, when I saw the previews, for Happy Feet to be the winner and this film, he loser. That’s backwards. Happy Feet looked great, but was vastly too long, had little or no story, and though some of it was brilliant, it wound up being very dull. This film, though, was shockingly clever. SHot as a mockumentary, it manages to work perfectly, poking fun at reality teevee, sports films, and cartoons. It’s vastly funnier and better than I expected it to be.
Ratatouille – ok, this should be great; it’s pixar, it’s Brad Bird; it’s about cute rats and cooking, and Thomas Keller, possibly america’s greatest chef these days (certainly one if the best) was a consultant. But with that much buzz, you have to fear. The good news is, it’s that good. Well written, stunningly well animated, great voice acting all around, it’s not just a good cartoon, it’s a really good film. This is one of those that needs to get nominated for something higher than just best cartoon; it won’t be the cartoon that wins best picture, but it certainly should be one that gets nominated. Forget your fear of rats; this is just a good film.
Knocked Up – made by the 40 year old virgin guys, this film works the same territory. But I think it’s better. Despite being about some incredibly crude, juvenile characters, it’s a heart-warming sort of story. The moment when Ben (Seth Rogen, whom I think I’d have a crush on if I swung that way) wakes up to realize he’s just slept with the hottest girl he’s ever met; well, let’s just say, most of us can imagine (or have experienced) that moment. I liked this movie a whole lot more than I expected to; everyone in it was exactly someone I know. My only real issue with the film was that I found Leslie Mann’s character (Debbie) so utterly dislikable that I found it distrating. I don’t think the director was aware how hateful she was; I think he thought she was funny and dysfunctional. She was so familiar to me (I know her exactly, in real life) that I felt my hands twitch with the desire to choke her every time she was on screen.
Live Free or Die Hard – I think this movie has a terrible title but that’s the only thing about it I don’t love. The rest of the series is, you know, ok; this film rocks. It’s cleverly plotted, well written, has amazing stunts; the cast is fantastic, and Bruce Willis as John McClane has now taken Jack Bauer’s place as the butchest action hero around. This movie is everything 24 aims for but often misses. I’d happily see this movie two or three times through; it’s an absolutely classic action film. Also, I have to say, The “I’m a mac” guy, Justin Long, is absolutely great in this film. All the teenage girls I know who have wicked crushes on him from the commercials are gonna fuckin’ swoon when they see this. I’m not kiddin’, they’ll swoon.
That’s how it’s been. Work, movies, sleep, and mythbusters. But that is another post.