Thursday, September 22, 2011

Thursday, Sept 22

Long tedious day of driving and errands.  First to Gucci to haggle with people about a purse I've finally convinced them to take back (it's involved two separate trips and a long, crafty letter to their corporate offices).  That took an hour each way in traffic.  From there to [Bank Name] to deal with more ridiculousness for our refinance plans.  Even describing what the underwriter for our hopefully-soon-to-exist new loan is asking us to do, the hoops within hoops within hoops he wants me to leap through, singing, would take more energy and time than I can summon.  And it might not be plausible anyway.  Suffice it to say that the mortgage industry has gone from a policy of giving anyone off the street who wants a loan whatever they want without any background check to one of requiring DNA extractions, personality tests, and donations of blood and kidneys.  It's horrible.

Watched a fairly mediocre Samurai film a few days ago—Zatoichi: The Blind Swordsman.  (Directed by Takeshi "Beat" Kitano).  Zatoichi's a classic iconic Japanese figure, maybe a bit like Robin Hood for the UK or The Lone Ranger here.  He's a blind samurai master who travels around Japan righting wrongs and saving the downtrodden and such.  All sorts of directors there have used him in all sorts of ways--this is the second movie I've seen in which he was the hero.  

Movie didn't work on various levels.  Main problem was the hero's near total invincibility.  He can win at dice by listening to them roll in the cup; he can defeat any other samurai in battle; he can sense when a man is dressed as a woman just by...I don't know.  Smell?  Point is, this Zatoichi could basically do anything, which makes for poor drama.  Heroes without flaws are not heroes--they're Gods.  (How much less interesting would Superman be without kryptonite?)  The only drama in this Zatoichi was seeing HOW he would eventually be ranged against the various baddies threatening the peaceful countryside.  Once that happened, there was no doubt he would defeat them.  And so, no point in watching.

Movie was shot in 2003 and had some very stylized violence in it that made me think in bad ways of Tarantino.  Also, Monty Python (the skits where people have their heads cut off and blood shoots twenty feet out of their neck like from a hose).  Actually it may have been one of the no doubt nine dozen samurai swordfight movies that inspired (if that word can be used so loosely here) the two Kill Bill movies.  I don't know.  But it wasn't worth my time.

Tomorrow I go back to REAL samurai movies, with some Kurosawa and some Mifune.  And some real work without driving.  And, maybe, in the evening, a Sierra Nevada.  Sweet, sweet Sierra Nevada.

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