Notebook – December 6, 2000
Immediately after Sunday's episode of The Simpsons,
I sensed a million heads being simultaneously scratched in utter
confusion. Homer taken to a secret community and given a number? The
odd animals and colors? The balloon that chased him when he tried to
escape? The black and white uniform everyone in the community was
wearing? Had the writers taken some especially potent mushrooms that
week during the writer's meeting?
This is where it pays to be of a certain age and/or a big TV fan. It was a take-off on the 60s cult classic The Prisoner. Everything mentioned above was part of that show. In fact, The Simpsons
even got the star, Patrick McGoohan, to do the voice of one of the
other prisoners! That's one of the reasons I like this show. Sure, we
all know it's really a cartoon for adults, but it's also not afraid to
get surreal, and reference some somewhat obscure British sci-fi drama
from 35 years ago. Very, very cool.
I have to start going to bed earlier. I've always been a bit of
a night owl, but I've also been the type of person who likes to get up
early, maybe run, get things going. But the two, after several years
and when you are past 30 years of age, do not go together. And damn
Domino's for opening up an establishment right next door. It's so
tempting, being up at 12:30AM, watching Letterman, writing a column,
getting hungry for pizza. And if I eat a pizza, then I'm gonna wanna
run the next morning, but if I'm up eating pizza until 1:30AM or so,
then getting up at 6 or 7AM to run is out of the question. It's a
vicious circle. I can always tape Letterman or anything else I might be
missing after midnight (B movies, TV Land, food dehydrator
infomercials, the usual). That's why God made VCRs.
Two things that are very apparent from this whole election mess:
It's going to take one helluva awful candidate to make me vote for Al
Gore or Joe Lieberman ever again. They're politicians with a capital P
– and Gore thinks he DESERVES to be President more than anyone in
history – please. Now he's become cartoonish and self-destructive,
jeopardizing his political future and mounting legal battle after legal
battle. As if just because a person "can" do something (like appeal
court rulings and drag this election out til the end) that he "should."
It's not that I don't think Dubya isn't a politician as well, and that
the notion of him as the most powerful man in the world isn't scary and
that there weren't many screw-ups in the Florida ballot procedures, but
enough is enough. And the 24 hr. news stations should be ashamed of
themselves. I mean, come on: aerial updates of the Ryder truck carrying
the ballots to Tallahassee? And I thought live coverage of the delivery
of the boxes containing the Starr report was as asinine as they could
This past weekend was big movie weekend. I don't see as many
movies as I used to, but I'm starting to rent them again. I decided to
go a little crazy and see three in one weekend: one at the theater and
two on video. Fight Club is better than I thought it would be,
mainly because I expected a mindless, ultra-violent macho movie that
wrestling fans/guys who like hockey only for the fights would love.
Yeah, it's very violent, but also a lot funnier and stylish than I
expected. Brad Pitt is excellent, though I didn't completely buy the
twist ending. It seems to hold up, but only if you suspend disbelief in
many areas. Good effort though.
Speaking of twist endings, Unbreakable gets high marks. Believe me, you won't guess what happens (it's even better than The Sixth Sense
ending – because that's one ending that doesn't hold up under a second
viewing – he didn't know he was dead? How is that possible?). In fact,
if you haven't heard anything about the movie, you'll probably be
surprised at where this movie takes you and what it's actually about. I
was surprised, and I had read a bit about it beforehand. The director,
M. Night Shamalan (the spelling is wrong, I know), is one of the very
few directors whose next work I await with much interest. I can't say
that about many directors, not even Spielberg or Scorcese or
(especially) Woody Allen. Stephen Soderbergh, who directed Out of Sight, one of my all-time favorites, is an interesting director, and Darren Aronofsky, (pi) is as well. He's tapped to reinvent the Batman franchise, and that could be exciting. ANYONE is better than that hack Joel Schumacher. Batman and Robin is one of the biggest pieces of…well, if you've seen it you know exactly what I mean.
High Fidelity was also first-rate. Cusack talking directly to
the camera for much of the movie was annoying at first, but you quickly
get used to it. He's one of the finer actors in movies today, and he
makes any part believable. Of course, it helps that I've known many
guys like the guy he plays in the movie. In fact, I think I used to be
one of those guys: obsessed with rock music, an outlandishly large
CD/record collection, afraid of long-term commitment with any women.
Luckily things change when you go over the 30 mark. Or at least they
SHOULD change. If not…
It's always odd when you open up a book and unexpectedly see your name and words you have written. I'm reading Roger Ebert's latest, his 2001 Movie Yearbook
(he has one every year), and right there on pg. 781 is my name and a
question I had asked him regarding black and white films vs. color
films. He describes me as the "video columnist for The Boston Herald,"
which isn't accurate (I freelance once in a while for their TV
section), but it's cool nonetheless that he remembered and thought the
question was interesting enough for a mention in the year-end round-up.
Ebert's one of the good movie critics. I don't always agree with what
he says (see my Blair Witch review in the archives), but I agree with
him a lot, and whatever his opinions his love of movies is obvious.
He's a good writer too.
In fact, his book makes the perfect Xmas gift for the movie
buff in your family. And, no, I don't get any kickbacks if I say that.
I'd write more, but I just heard Rudolph start on television…look for a new column by me next week at Ironminds.com.