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Archive for December, 2009

Me and Orson Welles

I managed to catch this film in Sacramento while I was visiting. It’s really fantastic. It walks a fine line between depicting Orson Welles as an asshole and a genius. That’s not easy. I also thought Zac Efron was adorable. I can see why all the tweens love him.

The best performance hands down is Christian McKay’s fantastic non-impression of Welles. It’s as accurate as an impression but it’s so full of life and sincerity. There’s no hint of caricature here. James Tupper’s Joseph Cotton wasn’t bad either.

Probably my only disappointment came during the closing credits when I found out it was based on a novel. It seemed so real, I was hoping it was an autobiographical piece.

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Not a fan of his personality, but I always find Hitchens a great read:

In my boyhood, there were signs on English buses that declared, in bold letters, “No Spitting.” At a tender age, I was able to work out that most people don’t need to be told this, while those who do feel a desire to expectorate on public transport will require more discouragement than a mere sign. But I’d be wasting my time pointing this out to our majestic and sleepless protectors, who now boldly propose to prevent airline passengers from getting out of their seats for the last hour of any flight. Abdulmutallab made his bid in the last hour of his flight, after all. Yes, that ought to do it. It’s also incredibly, nay, almost diabolically clever of our guardians to let it be known what the precise time limit will be. Oh, and by the way, any passenger courageous or resourceful enough to stand up and fight back will also have broken the brave new law.

Why do we fail to detect or defeat the guilty, and why do we do so well at collective punishment of the innocent? The answer to the first question is: Because we can’t—or won’t. The answer to the second question is: Because we can.

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On Christmas Vacation

I’ll be in California for the next few days visiting my mom who has dial-up. Needless to say I probably won’t be blogging. See you back on December 28th!

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Heard on the radio

Wow. Last night listened to crotchety old man Harold Bloom on npr about the decline of the humanities. Translation: people study books and poetry that he doesn’t like. However, if like me you like literary criticism and you have the stomach for listening to him (he is quite amusing actually) then here is the link.

On to this morning where on npr they featured a story about moving the Guantanamo Bay prisoners to an Illinois prison. How do they begin this interesting feature? By interviewing a woman whose son fought in the Iraq war. After she tells us about the sacrifices her family has made, she says that bringing terrorists to America is like a direct slap in the face to soldiers like her son.

Excuse me? Did someone at npr think that interviewing an intellectually challenged woman about completely unrelated topics would have anything to add to the discussion? In what real world is harboring prisoners a direct slap in the face to soldiers. How is it that this would a slap in the face merely because it’s in America? I just don’t get npr anymore. None of it makes any sense.

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My review of Avatar

Don’t see it. Sorry, I hated it and I probably should have never gone. It’s extremely depressing in a colonial sort of way, and the feel-good ending doesn’t really change that. I would include details but I don’t want to depress anyone who liked the film. If you care to comment though, I will respond.

Now on to what I really liked. Michelle Rodriquez kicked ass. Now don’t get me wrong it’s a stupid part. All she does is look sexy, deliver cheesy Cameron one-liners, and do the action star thing, but she does it so well. In fact, she does it like a man. She is every bit of the action start that Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwartzenagger, and Bruce Willis are. I’d love to see her in a James Bond style movie where she toys with men. I think with Rodriquez we actually would enjoy that very similar to Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction. Or maybe a Rambo0-type movie. One thing about the eighties action stars is that they talked very little. You didn’t see too many heart-wrenching scenes. There wasn’t a lot going on upstairs and it didn’t matter. They did their thing. I think someone needs to give Michelle Rodriquez the chance to do it.

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Not only are roasted chestnuts perfect for the holiday season, but you’ll get a lot of accolades for bringing them to your holiday party despite the fact that they are easier than pie to make.

Cut a an X in each chestnut. Roast in the oven at 425 degrees F for a half of an hour. Pile them up in foil and take immediately to the party. If you’ve invited me over this season to a party, you may find that I’ll be bringing these. More info here.

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Two short observations

Pat Robertson on NPR speaking about Oral Roberts’ 1987 plea to his supporters that they donate money to his church or God would kill him:

It was unseemly. We all have a mole or a wart somewhere in our lives.

What do you mean it was unseemly? He said God told him that he was going to kill him if he didn’t raise the money. Are you insinuating that Oral Roberts was lying? Is it so common for televangelists to lie that you can use that word unseemly instead?

Second observation of the day.

A new provision being rolled into the unified House health care bill would allow young adults to stay on their parents’ health care plans until they turn 27, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters Tuesday.

I think it says a lot about the state of this country’s health insurance problems that reform involves infantilizing adults in order to get them covered. And how classist is this anyway? This is a big benefit for upper middle class families who sent their kids off to college when their kids have not yet found work that includes benefits. Baristas anyone? What about poor 27 year olds? Chances are their parents don’t have insurance either. What a bunch of crap. Full disclosure: I was on my parents’ insurance until I was 23 years old.

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