Wednesday, September 24, 2008

End of a Saga, Beginning of a Dynasty

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: Some "Willy Wonka" soundtrack that the boy picked out at the library.

WHAT I'M READING: Just finished a multitude of soccer magazines. Plus still working through some Frank books.

WHAT I'M WATCHING: Well, soccer. Duh. Plus more, which is hinted at in the above title and will be explained below in the body of the post.

SO after many weeks and billions of questions, the boy and I finished the Star Wars SAGA. He enjoyed it, though he missed 95% of the dialogue because he was peppering me with questions along the lines of "Why doesn't the Emperor have a child?" (which in Jude speak tends to come out as "Empirate") or "Where's Han Solo's daddy?" or "Why's Yoda a bad guy?" (because Yoda looks angry when talking to Mace Windu) or "Who's that?" (which was asked roughly ten times about Luke Skywalker IN RETURN OF THE JEDI!)

It was fun though. Cool to sit with my boy and see him experience these films for the first time. After some time, I'm sure I'll look forward to watching them with Sully when he's old enough.

One quick observation. The new "trilogy" is not nearly as bad as so many make it sound. In some ways, I like it as much as the original "trilogy". I mean, as bad as Jar-Jar is, the Ewoks are just as annoying to me. The acting in Jedi is lacking in parts, which you don't notice when you're nine years old. Natalie Portman is way too hot to be Carrie Fisher's mom. Okay, Fisher in Star Wars IV is pretty attractive, minus the cinnabons on her head. But in Star Wars VI, just six years later? The woman is shoe leather rough looking. Even the skimpy sex slave outfit (which is nice) only covers up a face that has been ravaged by what looks like six straight years of coke binges.

I love the political stuff in the new trilogy. Looking back on it, the Emperor's plan is brilliant. A brilliant set up of the Jedi and grab for power.

Call me an idiot, but the first three stand up well with the second three in my book.

To finish the title, after finishing the saga, I've moved on to a DYNASTY. That is, the twenty-one films in the James Bond ouevre (I probably misspelled the hell out of that). Thus far, I'm three films in. Good stuff. Yes, yes, Sean Connery is the best Bond. But I've always thought Lazenby had tremendous potential if he stuck around past one film. He was damn good. Moore is good too, but a little lighter. Dalton was okay, but for me the worst. Brosnan was the best choice at the time. So far, one film in, I've no problem with Craig. I would like to see him lighten up, and he needs a Q and a Moneypenny to play off. But Casino Royale was good. It'll take a long time to finish all the films, but I'm trying.

After that, I'll probably move on to the Living Dead films of Mr. Romero. Once through that, I might be ready for the films of Andrei Tarkovsky. The legendary Russian filmmaker who made films that moved slightly slower than molasses running down a tar hill.

But Solaris is brilliant. And I can't die until I understand at least three minutes of his sci-fi film "Stalker".

I picked my winners for the best in cinema 2007. You can check the link on the last blog, as it has been updated.


You can just read this.

MAKE-UP: La Vie En Rose
COSTUME DESIGN: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
VISUAL EFFECTS: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
ART DIRECTION: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
SOUND: There Will Be Blood
FILM EDITING: Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
ORIGINAL MUSIC SCORE: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Paul Thomas Anderson "There Will Be Blood"
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Cristian Mungiu "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days"
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Amy Ryan "Gone Baby Gone"
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Casey Affleck "The Assassination of Jesse James..."
ACTRESS: Marina Hands "Lady Chatterley"
ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis "There Will Be Blood"
DIRECTOR: Andrew Dominik "The Assassination of Jesse James..."
BEST PICTURE 2007: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

That's how I see it. I recommend any of them for viewing. Enjoy.

And if you hate it, don't blame me. Blame yourself for trusting an idiot who writes a blog called "Dung 2: Electric Poopaloo".

Be Seeing You.

Monday, September 1, 2008

And the Nominees are...(plus random thoughts)

WHAT I'M LISTENING TO: Some "Yankee Foxtrot Hotel" by Wilco.

WHAT I'M READING: A hilarious book about youth soccer written by a Scotsman living in America coaching an inept team. It's called "Kick the Ball". Even if you hate soccer, this book is hilarious.

WHAT I'M WATCHING: Well, some MLS action, some Football Matters (probably my favorite show in TV), and some movies...see below for more. Oh, and we did finally see The Dark Knight (helluva movie!)

AND THE NOMINEES ARE....Some may know, few may care, but I have another blog that is dedicated to my own version of the Academy Awards called The Jeff Awards (nice name, huh?). Every year I watch movies and decide on what I think are the best of the best. The last three years, that list was 100 films long. But time is short. This year, the list was 100 films long, but I set myself a time limit. Well, the time limit is up now. I only made it through 80 films released in 2007, but here is a link to the blog detailing the nominees for the uberprestigious Jeff Awards. Enjoy, complain, ignore, or use the list as a resource when you wish to see a good or great movie.

It's always fun to do. Now that the movies have been watched and the nominations announced, the only thing left to do is watch those five Best Picture nominees again, to see which is truly the best. I force my wife, Barefoot Adult, to watch any that she hasn't already seen. Thus far, she's sat through "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly", and thought both were excellent.

Of course, she doesn't get a vote :)

Some things floating around in my head on a fine Labor Day morning.

1. Still loving my time at the gym. I recently moved all my weights up. Results are starting to come in. I'm down to 209 (or 211 depending on the day). I'm able to run on the treadmill, at ever increasing rates of speed, without dying, so that's good. All around, I'm loving my Cardinal Fitness membership.

2. Well, the Democratic convention is over. I actually watched the speeches of both Biden and Obama. Good stuff there. Obama's speech was the kind that makes you think that things can really change for the better for all Americans. And I do like Biden as a VP.

With the GOP and McCain not really offering any change, and actually arguing that things are good right now in America, there's no way I can vote for him. Obama's speech made me proud that I'll be voting for him in November.

As for McCain's running mate choice, it's too early to tell. Maybe she is as great as some conservatives are saying, but I'll wait and see there. Even if she is that awesome, she's still just the VP choice, and McCain is still the candidate.

3. I never did make my annual English Premiership predictions this year. Well, as much as I love Manchester United, I'm thinking they might not be able to threepeat as champions. Chelsea are looking very strong right now, and have an excellent coach in Scolari. If I had to pick, I'd say Chelsea to win it all, with Man U finishing second. As far as the relegation battle, I see Hull and Stoke going right back down, joined by another club that I haven't decided on yet.

World Cup qualifiers have kicked off for the USA, and with a big win on the road. Got games coming up Saturday in Cuba, and next week in Bridgeview, IL versus Trinidad & Tobago. For Europe, the long qualifying process begins this weekend.

4. If you aren't part of the $500 million worth of viewers who've seen The Dark Knight, go do it. It's an excellent film. Not the best ever, and Ledger does not give the greatest performance ever, but it is a damn good piece of film.

5. Enjoy the holiday, get outside, and relax. Hard to believe it's already Labor Day. Summertime flew by. Seems like just yesterday that the pool was first put up, and the water didn't get warm fast enough, so that the swimming was ice cold. Now, the night's get cooler, and the water doesn't warm fast enough, so that the swimming is ice cold.

That's all I got.

Be Seeing You.