Thursday, March 29, 2007

This All Seems So Familiar...

So, I watched Star Wars last night.

I didn't think it was Star Wars when I put it in the DVD player, and I think George Lucas has gone too far with his changes now, but I recognized the story as Star Wars. It had a farm boy who was the chosen one. It had the mentor who starts said farm boy on the path, then promptly dies saving the princess. It even had a final, climactic battle where the bad guys, led by the evil wizard, attack the rebels at their base. The main difference was that all the space stuff had been taken out and replaced with dragons.

The title on the DVD said it was called Eragon and I'm guessing that Christopher Paolini is a pen name Lucas used so as to keep Star Wars purists from firebombing Skywalker Ranch.

That said, it wasn't a bad movie. I like Star Wars in its many incarnations, so there wasn't really much to dislike. Jeremy Irons was good as Obi-Brom Kenobi and the CGI dragon was convincing enough. The kid Murtagh was a poor Han Solo, and there wasn't any wookie at all, but the dragon was an acceptable trade for R2-D2 (which I guess makes the farm boy part C-3PO) even if she lacked R2's charisma.

All in all, worth Netflixing (does anyone else use Netflix as a verb?), though I'm fine with having missed it in the theater.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Good, The Bad, and The Broken

By the power of Netflix, I discovered a new love in the spaghetti western. I also discovered, make that rediscovered how easily my back can be injured.

Let's start with the pain so we can end with something good.

I've mentioned, more times than are necessary, how my house is old and not terribly well put together. Of course, I've also mentioned how I'm not terribly well put together, as well. This is more related to the latter. You see, since my house is old, we cool it with window unit A/C. It reminds me of this quote:
No pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater... than central air.
Totally true. Also, with central air, you don't have to store, unstore, lug around, and finally place huge chunks of machinery until it gets cool enough that you have to store them again. A major plus. And, as a geography note, to make sense of the how in a second, Andria and I have a "queen" sized bed in a "twin" sized room. Not to mention Aaron's bed, my dresser, her dresser, the nightstand and the dog's bed.

Yeah, yeah, the dog gets lonely in the house at night. Lonely dogs make lots of noise.

Anyway, so I'm carrying the A/C unit from the storage closet into the bedroom and everything is going as well as expected. I've managed not to destroy anything or get any storage room nastiness on our bed as I squeeze past, but the window is closed and I've got no hands left. So I start to set the unit down. I was trying to observe the "lift with the knees" rule, but with as little room as there was, I got tilted forward a little. Suddenly, the weight of the unit was now on my lower back.

It gave.

Fortunately, the unit was only about 6 inches off the ground and NOT over my toes. Still, I needed to see the chiropractor and he was out Monday. I got popped, but my back muscles are still pretty sore.


Last week, Andria was gone on choir tour, so we set our Netflix to send all 3 of the movies from my list instead of splitting them. I got A Fistful of Dollars, A Few Dollars More, and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

Guys, it is your duty as men to see these films. At least the first and last of them. Sure, A Fistful of Dollars was ripped off from Yojimbo, but Eastwood plays the perfect anti-hero in it. And The Good, The Bad and The Ugly was just plain goodness. Technically, it comes first, being a prequel, but the techniques used filming it shame the other two, so it's better to watch them in the order they were filmed.

I'll probably order some more of Eastwood's westerns in a while, but since the last two didn't come until after Andria was back (poor girl didn't enjoy A Few Dollars More, so I waited to watch TGTBaTU until she was in her night's three hours long!) I'll give her a break first.

I'm almost convinced to try and revive that western comic I had a few pages sketched from...

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Only About 4 Decades Late

So, this weekend Andria and I watched Jesus Christ Superstar, the "rock opera" by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. This was brought on, of course, when Andria heard one of the female contestants on Grease: You're the One That I Want sing a song from it on Webber's guest judging week.

I don't remember which song it was.

Anyway, I decided, upon viewing that the name would be more properly rendered The Adventures of Pansexual "Jesus" and his Travelling Boy Band. Might as well call it like it is, right? Now, one who knows me might have expected that I would already be going into it with strikes against PJ&hTBB, given my rather conservative religious leanings, but I was aware that I probably wasn't going to be getting anything I was that familiar with. I mean, it's a friggin' Broadway musical! You want theology, go to church. You want a song a dance, you go buy a used car.

I mean, you go see a Broadway show.


My problems with the whole thing, putting aside what I was expecting, stem from some really odd choices with the story they told. I mean, Simon the Zealot has an entire song of his own, but Peter only gets a solo at the beginning of the reprise of "What's the Buzz"? What the heck? I mean, Peter, James and John, the big three disciples are almost entirely absent. Yet, in the "Garden" scene before Judas pops back in, "Jesus" still calls out to them specifically.

I suppose I should mention that the version I watched starred Glenn Carter as Jesus. Andria also got an older version (both through Netflix) and said that it had its own oddities. I don't understand Judas in it at all. He's supposed to be "Jesus'" right-hand man, though "Jesus" really doesn't seem to care about him (which makes sense contextually), and yet the only people Judas considers going to are Caiaphas and the temple leaders?


I find the particular line of thought "I'm irritated by the direction my best bud is taking, so I'm going to turn him over to the people most likely to kill him" a little off unless it is preceded by "A bathtub full of vodka? Drink it all? Love to!"

Of course, they never really touch on how, if "Jesus" is just a man, then he must be insane, 'cause I know if one of my coworkers started having audible conversations with "God", I'm using my sick days until after they decide to bring a gun to work. And yet, this doesn't concern Judas, who's the only one that isn't buying what "Jesus" is selling.

All these are a problem of incongruity. They felt they had to leave certain elements of the Biblical Jesus in, but they didn't consider how it was a poor fit for what they did with the rest of it. Much like "What's the Buzz" seemed out of place EVERY TIME it was sung. Like in the Garden...WAY too happy for the boy band to be waking up to Judas and the mob.

Anyway, out of the whole thing, the only shining star was the guy who played Pilate. And not because he was good, but because he looked like M. Bison.

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