Monday, March 30, 2009

What The Hell Was That?

So last night we watched The Dark Knight.   Two hours and thirty minutes of torture, sadism, and gratuitous violence, intercut with half-baked, incoherent gibberish about anarchism and man's fallen nature.   

This was a hit, right?  This was the "best Batman ever?"

I kept thinking: why am I watching this?  I don't care what happens to ANY of the characters--whether they live or die; whether Batman violates his one, unbreakable rule; whether they all get turned into giant penguins and hunted down by deranged psychotic polar bears.  It was all the worst aspects of a cartoon combined with all the worst aspects of a live-action 'naturalistic' movie.  Just enough stylization to render the characters two-dimensional, but not enough to distance the viewer from all the violence.   Fight scenes that were simultaneously wonderless and absurd.   It was ridiculous.  More than that, it was insulting.  Humorless, portentous, sophomoric dribble.  I would have walked out if I'd been in a theater.

Also, maybe I have a much lower tolerance for on-screen violence than other people, but did anyone else find it was too much?  Could you imagine taking kids to see that movie?  I felt like I was watching Reservoir Dogs at certain points.  Only, you know, without any writerly or directorial talent shoring it up. 

I don't know.  I guess I'm a grumpy old man.  In the immortal words of Krusty the Klown: "I could have pulled a better film than that out of my...Hey Kids!" 

But maybe I've missed it.  Have I?  Someone who liked this film--and it seems like everyone did--explained to me what I'm missing.  Did it just catch me at a bad moment?   Was Heath Ledger really THAT amazing?  Would anyone ever watch this twice?  If so, why?

Friday, March 27, 2009

It's My Birthday Too, Yeah

Today was a big day for a certain small dog: today Elliot "Bink(ers)" Lake officially turned one year old. It’s been quite a year.  Not only was I radically unprepared to be a dog owner, I was actively unwilling.  Only one person in the world could have overcome my host of reservations.  Luckily—I think—she happens to be my wife.

Bink celebrated his birthday by gnawing--and in some places actually consuming--the border and understitching of our expensive new carpet.  He’s sitting on a chair in the photo above because he’s been given a "Time Out."   He doesn’t look very chastened, does he?  Regret, I think, is not a common emotion for small dogs.  If it were, he might consume a higher percentage of actual food, and a smaller amount of rubber, cardboard, styrofoam, and sundry other organic substances too unpleasant to mention.  He’s a mischevious, rascally, and incredibly joyous little creature.   I can’t believe I ever got along without him.

One of the reasons we chose a Maltese over other dogs was because of their longevity. Apparently, many can live to be fifteen or sixteen years old.  In other words, I’ve got many years of Bink-dom in store for me.   I doubt they’ll be enough.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Added to the Blogroll

Not content to manage and run two internet blogs, my friend John has now begun a third.  Called Second Pass, it's dedicated to shepherdry.  And drag racing.  There may also be some books on there somewhere, I don't know.  Read it.  One day soon the world wide web will be called the world wide John.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Seen and Known

At ASWOBA recently, John linked to a music critic who reviewed songs using no more than six words. (To help clarify he also awarded stars.) I love the idea and intend to use it for movie reviews from now on. Here are thoughts on some of my recent viewings. In the interest of change, my rating system will run from one (worst) to seven (best).

Burn After Reading: Does not add up. (* * *)

Crossroads featuring Def Leppard and Taylor Swift: No one is Def Leppard. Even them.  (****)

Winter Light: The church is bare.  (****)

Pretty Young Things: Fizz only hurts the head.  (* *)

Ninotchka: Communist delight? No.  (* *)

2046: Time is longing. Both are infinite. (****)

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Shift in Emphasis

I have given up online poker. I will have less money but I will gain in time, time and mental clarity. Now I will read. Read and read and read and read. For the last year or two I have not been reading, not enough, not with intensity. Now I will. In the queue: Hunger (K Hamsun); The Way Through Doors (Jesse Ball); Diaires, Vol I (Gide); The Dead Fish Museum (Charles D’Ambrosio); Collected Poems (Alan Dugan); Anglo-Saxon Attitudes (Angus Wilson). Also, screenplays—all and sundry.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Morning

Elliot scurries from window to window, warily monitoring our backyard.  A squirrel kneels beneath our peach tree, resting.  Elliot is not amused.

"Don't you people realize what is happening out there!?  There are squirrels!  Running rampant!  Something has to be done!"

I nod, chewing on a muffin.  My wife has woken up early to bake them from scratch.  I have woken up more recently.

Outside the squirrel and a playmate streak across the lawn, flaunting their freedom.  Elliot frowns.  It is the frown of an old man, in a block of council flats, watching a group of youths smoke cigarettes on his frontsteps.  "The barbarians draw nigh!" he seems to say.  "Why won't you act?"

In an hour or so, the neighbor's cat will show itself in our driveway, and Elliot, once more brought face to face with his great, inveterate nemesis, will whinny and howl and probably even bark.  The price of comfort is eternal vigilance.  He, at least, understands this.  I am coming to.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

"Lovecraftian School Board Member Wants Madness Added To Curriculum"

My friend L sent me this link to a piece from The Onion.  I encourage all of you to read it.  It contains this excellent paragraph:
"Fools!" said West, his clenched fist striking the lectern before him. "We must prepare today's youth for a world whose terrors are etched upon ancient clay tablets recounting the fever-dreams of the other gods—not fill their heads with such trivia as math and English. Our graduates need to know about those who lie beneath the earth, waiting until the stars align so they can return to their rightful place as our masters and wage war against the Elder Things and the shoggoths!"