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Apr 27, 2011

The State of the Cabins (4/27/11)

Movies watched for the first time (non-theatrically) since last week:
None. Been too busy watching A) Parks and Recreation (and loving it, after a rough first few episodes to start off), and B) movies I've already seen. In the past week or so, I've watched:

* Avatar - Played out the same as the theatrical viewing, generally speaking. Re-hashed story, pancake characters, and offensive stand-ins of the Na'vi (or however it's spelled) for Native Americans. Did that aspect (the indigenous people) have to be sooooo blatant?

Still, it's a marvel to look at, has some solid action, and I can't help but love Stephen Lang in it, since he's the only character with any character in the damn movie. Everyone else is so bland.

* Terminator: Salvation - Also felt the same about this one. I was one of the eight people that liked this when it came out, and that held true. I still have to kind of marvel at Sam Worthington in this one; I don't know if it's good direction or just an interestingly-written character, but he really was the standout of the film and, if you'd only seen this performance from him, you'd think he was destined for bigger and better things. I guess the jury is still somewhat out on that front, but Avatar and Clash certainly didn't help. Solid action and a good, logical progression of the story benefit this greatly. And, of course, having Michael Ironside in your movie never hurts, either.

* Dead Poets Society - Watching this will take you back to a time...not necessarily 1988, but a time in which we all believed that Robin Williams was destined for a great career as a dramatic and comedic actor (see Aiden's recent poll/comments for more on this). Well, his batting average would probably be pretty good for baseball, but not so much for movies. Still, this one is a classic, not only for his performance and the tear-jerker ending, but for the chance to see Bob Sean Leonard, Ethan Hawke, Josh Charles, and That 70s Show's Red before they were famous(er).

(Random note: One thing I couldn't help but notice that bugged me this time was the snow. Of course, like many flicks, it's fake, which in and of itself is annoying, but there are several goofs in which it is snowing in one angle and gone from the next. When it's bouncing back and forth between the two, it's a bit annoying, especially coming from a "prestige" Hollywood film like this. Boo, Peter Weir.)

* Hot Tub Time Machine - Oooh boy, did this go down a few shades. Has it been only a year since this came out? Look, I'm gonna be a sucker for any flick with a Billy Zabka cameo (shame on you if you don't know who he is) and constant references to the 80s, but this thing is pretty shoddy and worse, not all that funny. It just feels half thought-out - undercooked and lazy writing and filmmaking, with enough bright spots to carry you from start to finish. Though I did catch a "You owe me two dollars!" line that I didn't get the first time around. That was nice.

* Three Men and a Baby - AKA the top grossing film of 1987. If you haven't seen this in a while, go back and watch it and then marvel at that fact. Sure, it's got its charms - chief among them Tom Selleck, one of the best simultaneous man's man and ladies' man there ever was - but yeah, this is really not a very good movie. Makes Crocodile Dundee look great in comparison (note: I actually really think Croc is pretty great, despite its high level of datedness). I understand that they looked at the titular situation and thought "Uh, we kinda need something else here...this thing isn't gonna be 45 minutes long at this point!," but the drug angle was a fairly misguided one. Of course, the most stunning thing about Three Men was, is, and will always be the apartment/penthouse that these guys lived in. Sure, they were doing pretty well financially (one an architect, one an apparently syndicated cartoonist, and one a struggling/semi-successful TV actor), but this is still New York we're talking about here, where a shoebox currently rents out for probably $2,000. How much did that place cost, or rather, how much would it cost, since it wasn't even a real place to begin with? One reviewer guessed half a million per month, and they wrote that in 1987!

Music I'm currently obsessed with listening to:
* Changing the name of this section. I am certainly capable of getting obsessed with an artist, but it surely doesn't happen every week - more like a handful of times a year. Of course, I often have one awful song stuck in my head for several days in a week, but I doubt you want me to share those.

Instead, here's a song that came up on the iPod earlier that was sadly never as popular as I thought it should have been. It's not deep or meaningful, but it's a hell of a lot of fun. Note to self: buy an Everclear greatest hits compilation (and get the Foo Fighters one while you're at it); both are bands that I generally like, but not enough to buy any of their studio albums.

Book I'm currently reading:
* Still with the omnibus. It's been a truly fascinating experience: I more or less dread reading it, largely because of my aversion to short stories and the fact that most end ironically and/or full of spite towards the characters, but I can't deny that they're well-written, and I continue to get sucked into nearly all of them. Dahl might not have had the widest array of characters (most are bourgeoisie types, either in London or New York), but his knowledge of various subjects is pretty vast (or at least, appears that way).

Still, I'm looking forward to getting to a novel, and I probably won't get to one for another couple weeks.

Things to Click OnLink* Jess did a pretty sweet analysis of some of the most well-known romantic comedies, looking for trends and identifiable issues - what are the common themes/plot devices, and what works and - even more - what doesn't. (Insight Into Entertainment)

* Fitz isn't all that thrilled with the actor chosen to lead the next Bourne flick. I can't say I blame him (even if I'm fine with the pick), though I'm all thumbs up for his choice. (Nevermind Popular Film)

* Some crazy guy named Unicorn came up with a nice twist on his weekly DVD post to celebrate the fact that it was also his 900th post. (A Life in Equinox)

* Vancetastic wants to look away from a certain gothy, fairy taley director...but can't. (The Audient)

* Where does he get those wonderful toys? Castor nails another solid Top 10 list. (Anomalous Material)

8 people have chosen wisely: on "The State of the Cabins (4/27/11)"

Jess said...

Thanks for the link love.

I actually saw Robert Sean Leonard (all grown up) on Broadway last week. Still amazing. Born Yesterday is hysterical.

Castor said...

Much to kind to link to us sir! Thank you :)

My favorite Roald Dahl is still Matilda. And yes, I kind of liked Terminator: Salvation. Definitely not as bad as people made it out to be.

Jack L said...

I didn't think Terminator Salvation was that bad either, certainly not deserving of all the hate it received...

Avatar was just terribly written, but then again, I say that about all of James Cameron's films.

I haven't seen the other two
and who is Billy Zabka ?

cinemasights said...

I told you Hot Tub Time Machine was terrible.

Nick said...

I love Parks and Recreation. It's hilarious. Season 2 is even better than Season 1. Haven't seen season 3 yet. Also, I told you so with HTTM!

Alex said...

Aw I used to love Everclear! "AM Radio" is a great song and that's a pretty decent album, though my favorite was "So Much For the Afterglow".

Also glad you're enjoying Parks and Rec! I think it gets better and better it progresses. I love Leslie Knope more with each episode.

Univarn said...

You wrote an entire writeup without acknowledging the power of the Guttenberg? Fail.

On a related note: did you know he still does movies? I thought he died in a mining accident in the 1940s....

Fletch said...

@ All - wow, I suck. Never responded to your comments, and that's a bloggy no-no. Been super busy and have been slacking. My apologies!

@ Jess - You're welcome! I always though Robert Sean Leonard was going to end up a big name, great actor. Nice to see he's stuck around, but not quite what I was thinking.

@ Castor - You know, I don't think I've read a single Dahl novel. Just all these short stories...

As for Terminator 4 - yeah, it's a pretty solid action flick, and considering they had all these gaps to fill in due to the bits we've seen of the past and future, I think they did a pretty good job. I'd have been happy if the SW prequels were this good...

@ Jack - Yup. Avatar feels like it was written by a teenager. Speaking of The Prequels...the writing in Avatar isn't that bad, but it's not much better.

Billy Zabka is famous for playing the villain in a few high school-y 80s comedies, chief among them The Karate Kid, which is his tour de force performance.

@ James - Hot Tub Time Machine isn't awful, just not the hilarious film I recalled seeing in the theater. Though an appreciation for 80s teen comedies helps, and you're clearly lacking in that department. :)

@ Nick - Yep. We've inexplicably lost our momentum with our Parks and Rec watching, but I aim to get it back soon. Sad to see that Mark isn't in season three. :(

@ Alex - You'd have to wait, but you could hear it on the AM radio....

I probably should have gotten Everclear albums in the 90s, but I think the time has passed for me now. Like I said, a greatest hits CD from them is in my future, but that's probably about as far as I'll dig there.

@ Univarn - You know I only just learned that Three Men and a Bride is in the works? Then again, it sounds like it's been in the works for a number of years, so all I really learned was to be disappointed. You know The Gute is dying for that project to take off...

I saw him on an episode of Party Down a couple years back. He's scary looking these days. Not quite Carrot Top, but not far off...