Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Past Month

It's been almost a month since moving. Hasn't been the best of times, but it could have been worse. While driving to Eau Claire I managed to pulverize a canine. Don't know if it was a dog or a coyote or a wolf. It was pretty messed up (I had to stop and check to make sure I didn't kill someone's dog). Unfortunately, so was my car. I spent my first three weeks here in Wisconsin driving a rental, which made me appreciate The Ultimate Driving Machine all the more. Turns out that Eau Claire is not exactly known for having European (or Japanese) luxury vehicles, so the repair process took about twice as long as it should have. And now the turn signals and the windshield wipers don't seem to be working as before.

I've been on leave this whole time so I'm sporting a rather full goatee, but it will be gone Sunday evening. I have a lot of gray. A lot.

Eau Claire is quite... agricultural. Lots of dairy farms and industry to support it. It is largest city in the area, happily situated midway between Minneapolis/St. Paul and La Crosse, WI. I have not exactly found a lot to do. So I've been going and seeing the occasional movie. Or staying in and watching a movie.

A Law Abiding Citizen. Best of the movies I've seen lately. I saw it while I was in Phoenix, but towards the end so I'm lumping it into my "Things Seen While Transitioning" accumulation. I really liked it, up until the end. I can't help but feel that the ending of the movie was something tacked on because of test audience reactions. It felt too "neat" and it really cheapened the motivations of the title character. As I've said before, I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for a lot, however it has to be believable within the confines of the reality the entertainer is presenting to me. I am willing to believe that a super-intelligent anti-hero would prepare and execute a decade-long plan for revenge. A revenge which requires several improbable things to work. I'm not willing to believe that he would leave his Achilles Heel completely unprotected, without a single system set-up to warn him of a possible security breach. This is a guy who built his own remote-control machine-gun and missile platform out of parts that were untraceable back to him. Yet he didn't have a security system on a store front in a bad part of town. Plus he missed out on the chance to take the sweetest of revenges by actually bringing down the whole system he loathed.

Ninja Assassin. It had everything the title promised. Ninjas and Assassins. And a lot of them. Over-the-top violence and a giant, titanic, epic deus ex machina. If I had seen it in the afternoon, at matinee prices (or if the theaters here had military discounts) I'd have liked it a lot more.

2012. I felt bad giving away important information about Law-Abiding Citizen. It was a good movie, even if it lost me at the end. I feel no such thing towards 2012. 2012 is horrible. It is a movie which insults you for every second of its 158 minute duration. That is 9480 seconds of being insulted. Neutrinos turning the Earth's core into a microwave? A tectonic event causing a 20,000 wall of water? The eruption of the volcano which is Yellowstone Park not being able to outrun an RV driving on improved-surface roads? World leaders, people who had spent the previous three years dooming billions of their citizens to death through their silence, were so overcome by the emotional, last second, pleas of The Operative from Serenity that they risked their entire operation, the whole reason they did what they did, because he said it was the right thing to do? Hell, some of those leaders were from governments with freaking elections between the start of their involvement in the plot of the movie (2010) and the conclusion. I'm expected to believe that they were all reelected? Hundreds of thousands of the most extremely wealthy people on Earth were involved in this, and no one could figure out why trillions of dollars were being spent on some dam in China? No one except some crackpot living in a tent in a National Park? The adorable family who nearly doomed 100,000 people to a watery death because of their colossal stupidity are welcomed into the fold instead of taken out back and shot. Why? Because one is a crappy author.

The worst thing about the movie wasn't the horrible science or physics. It wasn't the incredibly implausible plot or the impossible human reaction to it. It was that they killed the main character's ex-wife's boyfriend.

In the movie John Cusak's character is a self-centered boob who had no regard for his family. He wrote a book no one liked and he was so self-centered while writing the book it alienated his wife and kids. Even post-divorce he is a failure of a dad, forgetting important things about his children; including long-planned vacations together. He is, from all information presented, a loathsome human being. Of course his ex-wife, recovering from being married to such an awful person, finds love with a successful professional, a doctor, who is very devoted to her, is loved by her kids, and is an all-around decent guy.

How much does it have to suck to be the guy who has to die so John Cusak can get the girl?

This character spends the bulk of the movie saving everyone. And he is even denied the dignity of a noble death. He doesn't get killed by sacrificing himself to save the woman and kids he loves. He dies because he slips and falls.

I hated 2012.

Hancock. I just saw Hancock today. Great concept ruined by the whole "timeless love story from the Gods" bit. Seriously. How many people would have enjoyed a well-done movie about a man with superhero powers, who is hated by those who he saves and protects, and so he becomes an alcoholic? The director was given Charlize Theron and decided he just had to play with her. It took what could have been a great movie and made it terribly disappointing.


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