The Parents were in town this weekend which gave me an opportunity to do some of the LA things that tourists usually do. After four years here, I still hadn't been to the Getty Museum (which I pass daily driving to tutor). We cooked for them one night and went out the others. Their experience was a bit desultory I think--the freeways were even more clogged than usual and their hotel proved to be a major disappointment. But it was nice that they came. Exhausting, but nice.
I saw two new movies last week. One was In The Loop. A dark comedy about the political machinations that lead up to the US/UK declaration of war on Iraq, In The Loop is the only movie I can ever remember Netflix recommending to me with four stars (when they do the thing about "What YOUR Rating Will Be.") I had high expectations, therefore, and I have to say they weren't really met. Every character in the movie is deceitful or cowardly or manipulative or...base. It's supposed to be funny, but I found its cynicism so excessive that I couldn't care about the comedy. A fantastic cast with great performances (James Gandolfini as a coarse US General was particularly good) but the movie itself did not equal the sum of its parts.
My other recent viewing featured a corp of Scottish Bagpipers and Alec Guinness. Therefore, you would assume that it had to be great. And, indeed, Tunes of Glory did not disappoint. Well, okay, it disappointed a little (the ending maybe didn't work perfectly). But mostly, Tunes Of Glory gets an unequivocal "Yes" from the ANCIANT reviewing team. Guinness is the movie's center, of course; he plays a rough and ready, hard drinking Scottish soldier who's been assigned the command of a military outpost in the Scottish highlands. The plot involves his growing conflicts with a by-the-book commanding officer who's brought in to replace him, but the plot is less the draw than the performances. Also, the bagpipes. There are a LOT of bagpipes. Plus, a lot of people drinking Scotch and using words like "lassie" non ironically. It's a good time.