The movie

Mar. 23rd, 2009 04:27 pm
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My stepmother Moher took me to see "I love you man," because everything else that was playing was brutal (except a couple which took themselves too seriously for the moment).

It's shockingly good. I expected to have that men-are-pigs lie rubbed in our faces over and over, and there were a few men who used it to structure their lives, but it was celebrated as just one of the ways people lived in the movie. It was sort of a lovesong to a certain upwardly-mobile community in LA (people I personally don't often like in life but who deserve their own movie), not the ones who make their living in Hollywood, but minor realtors in major firms, personal trainers to the middle-level and lower-level businessmen, investors who don't live in big glass houses on obscure canyons, and so on. The women were their own real people, and they had that look of women who have swallowed the fashion magazine standard of beauty, or more importantly, who think their men have: but they didn't look like actresses in a movie dressed and made up fashionably, they looked like realtors and beauty parlor managers and lower--level businesswomen and yes, I noticed that I said the women looked like they sat exactly one rung below the men, and I think it's interesting and lifelike.

The main thing is that the men were all different -- and out poor protagonist who is trying to make friends so he'll have a best man on his wedding day meets some very different men who have very different understandings about what their doing. I remember getting in an online argument years ago about this very thing in whih some men got very heated defending the men-are-pigs lie (though I really gathered that most of them didn't actually live by that lie, they just wanted it in readiness to fall back on if they felt they needed it as an excuse), insisting that all men are alike and they would all do the same things that they have been taught are reprehensible, vulgar, selfish, or dirty if given the chance. The obvious rejoinder is "what's stopping you then, Mr. I can can do anything I want because I'm a libertarian?"

What's stopping them is that enculturation is actively participated in on both sides by men as well as women. It isn't just women and girls putting pressure on men and boys to believe and act certain ways. It's also men and boys developing their own patterns of thought and behavior, thankyouverymuch Mr. Piaget for articulating it so clearly.

The man who articulates the "men are pigs" theory in this movie glories in it. He's pretty vulgar. He does some things you wish he wouldn't. But -- and if there is a point to the movie, this is part of the slope that goes to it -- he's in many ways (though not as many as the people in the movie come to believe) a pretty good guy and a loyal friend.

So there are other pretty good guys who live by other beliefs. There's a couple of actually nearly evil guys in the movie -- one you get to see his meager redemming features in a way that lets you knoiw he's still a pig, very nicely done, all around, that guy. Another is a kind of a cartoon, but it's a clown shoes movie in a lot of ways so it's appropriate.

I'd go on but Truffle is letting me know she needs to go out right now.
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I thought for sure that "my father's axe" computer needed a new sound card because I couldn't get sound out of any device whatsoever. Then I plugged the speakers back in so I could run through all the steps I had run through before and discuss the deal with Frank.

And the sound works perfectly.

Nothing different from before: just the passage of time between tries.

Frank says if your technology is distinguishable from magic it's insufficiently advanced that is, the inverse of Clarke's Law). I spose this behavior on the part of my computer is a demonstration of sufficiently advanced technology.

Meanwhile, we watched a movie called "Swing" -- I think Emma bought it because there's swing dancing in it. It was terrible. There was some good swing dancing in it, and some good music, and a nice plot bunny, but the plot was a betrayal of the bunny, and the protagonist's dilemma was dumb (every musician needs a day job for a while: why couldn't he and his father work that out and just give him the day shifts at the grocery store???) and the music the protagonist was so devoted to was tuneless, lackluster, whiny, and annoying. And the unsuitable lover was portrayed as a clown in a pomo wig.

I did like the lesbian roommate and Jonathan Winters as an old guy with some unfortunate dialog.

Persepolis

Feb. 10th, 2008 03:15 pm
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Go see it.

It's even better than the books: the addition of motion and shifting perspectives does a lot for the art.
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"The Astronaut Farmer" is a dumb movie that pretends to be a lot more fun than it is.

On another front, I think I have yet a different way to structure Afterwar but it's going to take real scissors and paper to figure it out.

On a further front, the dishwasher appears to have a clogged hot-water intake but the real issue is how to get the dishwasher out, since the floorboards are too high and the screws that were put in just so they could be lifted to get the dishwasher out are stripped. Last I heard they were going to try drilling them out. Meanwhile, the dishwasher makes an excellent two-tier drying rack.

Also -- this is a question for you romance readers -- is it just my impression, or is it true that historical romances are more likely than modern ones to have really disgusting sexual politics in them? And the most likely to really make a sensible person gag have those simpery covers with flower-covered gate arbors or lawn swings on them? And urban ones are less likely to be really sanctimonious than rural ones?

Or is this a collection of artifacts of the Watsonville readers of romance who donate their old books to the Sallies and the Goodwill?
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Here are two of the ways that education dramas can be done:

"Inexperienced white teacher saves the brown children through sincerity and unconventional methods and in opposition to experienced teachers and thugs." I'm not going to see "Freedom Writers" because I'm sick of these. I want brown teachers, I want experienced teachers, I want cooperating communities of teachers. Okay? Any single one of these white-teacher movies might be very good and well-meaning and affirming, but a huge pile of them accumulates to produce a message that brown children are doomed until the callow white teacher frees them with their innate superiority, that brown teachers are unthinkable, that no teacher ever learns their craft: either they're magical or their burned-out.

"Undisciplined but genius brown child prevails through accepting brown traditional values, especially discipline and teamwork, under the sometimes harsh but loving tutelage of usually brown mentor" ("Drumline," "Akeelah and the Bee," "Stomp the Yard") These are going to fester and shred soon, probably, but for now they're very cool. But -- here's a note for the next "historically Black college" movie -- can we please have enough of the princess-prize young woman whose only function in the movie is to give the young man something to strive for? Could we please have the next one of these center on a young woman and her group? And if we do get this, can she be elevated and saved by something other than percussion, rhythm, and sexy moves? For example, maybe, lab science. You can have that whole individual genius versus discipline and teamwork dialectic in the lab, too. Her cohort could discover a way to cure sickle cell anemia or something.

All that being said, go see "Stomp the Yard." Do not be taken aback by the first ten minutes of intense, violent "dance battle" in the abandoned warehouse district of LA. Hang in there. You will be rewarded.
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For some reason, all day, the second page back of my friends list is dated Nov.17. The third page reverts to the current day. The posts that have the Nov. 17 listing vary, but the top of the second page is always the Making Light syndication with a link to the article about Village Voice contemplating dumping "Tom Tomorrow."

On another front, there's two-thirds of a good movie packed into five-ninths of "Deck the Halls." (yeah, well, I didn't have to see "Happy Feet," at least) The other four-ninths is repetition beyond the effective point, scatology that doesn't help the story, people stating the obvious, and excesses that don't contribute to the "over the top" feeling.

On yet another front, I'm wearing my emergency backup glasses again which means I can't see a damned thing at near and mid distance. I can take off my glasses for the very near, but the middle distance, I have no way of coping with. The middle distance means the computer screen. Far stuff is fine. I always put my glasses in the same place on the bedstead as I climb into the bed. Sometimes I don't qujite reach the bedstead shelf and my glasses end up in the pillows. I tore my bed apart but didn't find my glasses. I hope I do. The only other time this happened I found my glasses the next day, tangled in my favorite "crunchy blanket" which I usually crunch up into a pillow shaped thing and sleep with just like a child sleeps with their security blanket.

Anyway, this time I've already shaken up my blanket and it's not there.

I never lost my glasses. My keys, my phone, my shoes, my bills, my checkbook, money, jump drive . . . but not my glasses!!!

on yet another front, all of a sudden I have lots of ideas for Marek and Jackson stories. I kind of think they might get boring if I wrote them all, though, because almost all of them end the same way. I do know of at least one that doesn't end with Jackson walking off, congratulating himself for not getting involved with Marek, and Marek moping: it's sort of more perverted than I usually write, though, so we'll see if it really gets written the way I think it goes.

Americans are really weird. We didn't stop the Israelis from blowing the country to bits repeatedly -- but we fucking airlifted 300 stray dogs and cats to be adopted here.
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I didn't want to see "Flicka" because I'm not a horse girl and I'm not crazy about horse movies. But we had seen everything else in Watsonville that either of us would be willing to see, so we went.

can you spoil a remake of an old movie of an older book? )

I wish that "Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles" hadn't already left the Nick: I'd have driven into Santa Cruz for that.
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However, I did finally get those five stories mailed today. And I used the treadmill at Gloria's house though it was terribly boring because I couldn't get my book to stay in a readable position. The book is Kim which I read four times forty years ago. I wanted to read Zola, but I keep having this problem -- I hate the books. Is it the translation? Or is Zola really hateful?

We saw "Akeelah and the Bee" today and it is very heartwarming and sentimental, but it is also interesting and cool. There's some stuff about redemption through what? the dictionary? competition? helping? reconciliation? jumping rope? I'm not sure. Maybe all of these things.

Gloria's on a new medicine for the dementia, its stats look good. In general, her cognitive deterioriation has been accelerating, and physically she's been getting frailer. But this last two days, while she's been really very befuddled, she's been engaged, and her eyes have the light of human intelligence in them. No thanks to her regular doctor, who did not prescribe the medicine, and who, when I took her in last week for pelvic pain (and a history of bladder infections and intestinal difficulties) prescribed 800 mg of ibuprofen twice a day. No, we didn't do it. The other doctor gave her the dementia medicine and treated her bladder infection.

Tedious bad radio luck and annoying music most of the last two days no matter what station I turn to but I hit "The Elvis Blues" on the way home.I started free-associating about songs in general.

On another front -- I finally know how Winston got his own apartment.  And it sucks that there's only one person in the whole wide world who's actually read The Conduit besides me and who therefore has a chance in hell of knowing or caring anything about it.  Since Forager Girl is the protagonist of the next thing I'm writing when I finish Afterwar  (real soon now, I've got five or no more than ten pages to go, and I'm able to do this again), I understand that Winston is a major supporting character.  And he also gets a true lover in this book, in the process of F.G. getting hers.  I'm pretty happy with the way it's shaping up and it just might be one of those fast ones like The Conduit.  

I'm about to get maudlin about writing all these terrific things and not getting them read, so I'm off to bed.

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