Saturday, October 29, 2005

Right, this next bit is going to make me sound like a sap at first. Don't care.

Watched my new Titanic Special Edition DVD yesterday and today. Well, the movie and deleted scenes, anyway. (It's a three disk set, with three commentary tracks, making-of bits integrated into the viewing of the film, documentaries, and all sorts of stuff. Not going to see it all at once, obviously. Plus, the movie is like three hours, anyway.) And I realize that the movie has been at the receiving end of a considerable backlash since it's release, but--and here's the bit that makes me sound like a sap; don't care--I like it. I like it a lot, which is why I saw it a couple of times in the theater, and why I bought the DVD and watched it all straight through again.

And I'm not going to get into a whole discussion about whether or not it really is a great movie, or just a piece of overblown fluff, because that just doesn't matter to me. There are plenty of acknowledged classics and wonderful films beloved by many that I think are incredibly dull. (Hey! Gone with the Wind and Return of the King! I'm talking to you!) And there are many other films that I love as well. But I'm not going to be embarrassed about putting Titanic on the list, because it's my list, and I'm making it my way.

Part of the appeal, for me, is the time it came out. I was going through a great deal of personal upheaval at the time (quitting work, going back to school, moving to a strange town, falling in love, getting a cat) and so the movie reminds me of this pivotal time of my life, and how it all worked out okay. Which wasn't exactly apparent at the time, because I was right in the middle of it. And that's a reason that nobody else will have for liking Titanic, and that doesn't make it any less relevant.

And part of it is that I think it's a pretty good movie. Okay, maybe I am going to defend it a little here. I read arguments that it's too long and too padded; seeing what was cut out of it really gives lie to that notion. There's a whole extended chase/fight sequence that would have stopped the movie dead if it had been left in. And lots of stuff with the present-day characters in the framing sequence. All gone, all for the better. And there are those who say that it's too obvious and straightforward and facile. Again, seeing what was cut out makes the existing cut seem so subtle and understated, it's a revelation. The DVD includes the originally scripted and shot ending, which is so obvious and heavy-handed, it's almost like it comes from another movie. Almost every scene cut from the first half (pre-iceberg) part of the movie is a scene that explains the themes and emotions of the story and characters, for those members of the audience who just can't be bothered to think. That's the stuff that would have yanked me right out of the movie.

In the end, I like that it's this almost fairy-tale romance happening against this backdrop of epic tragedy. Because this is what I want to see in movies: Grand themes and emotions writ large, shown to me in ways I'd never see them in life. This is just me, of course, but I don't want to see a movie that presents a detailed portrait of the human condition, with all its subtle shadings and colors. That's the world I live in. That's the world where the once-greatest nation in the world places a higher priority on preserving the riches of the wealthy over helping the victims of natural disasters (victims whose lot could have been much better in the first place, had the government pulled its head out of its diamond-encrusted arse and prepared for a very predictable disaster). It's the world where people are dying in the thousands in a war started by a pack of lies, and the uncovering of those lies is being referred to as the "criminalization of politics."

And, on a personal level, it's a world where the stupid insurance company that authorized repairs to my car--which someone else hit while I was virtually stopped--won't authorize a rental car while those repairs are being done. Do I believe that the romance between Jack and Rose is a true reflection of the social mores of the time, and the complex interplay of emotion that genuinely represents the intertwining of two souls? No, of course not. But I get all that from playing "guess what I'm thinking" with the Girl in the Cafe, thank you very much; what would be the point of watching the exact same bloody thing as entertainment? The other day, at breakfast at another regular haunt of mine, the waitress I generally chat with sat down at my table to talk to me, even though she wasn't waiting on me. And I don't know what, if anything, that might mean. I like the relative lack of ambiguity, the straightforward true-love-ness of the romance in Titanic, because it cuts to the heart of things (no pun intended). It sends a different message than just, "Things are always all confusing and screwed up, and there's nothing you can do about it." And it still ends tragically. So there.

So, yes, the romance in Titanic is a fantasy. That is what I want to see at the movies. I don't need to pay to see a reflection of the ambiguities and gray areas of my daily life; I get those for free, thank you very much. When I pay my six to nine dollars to see a movie, I want to see spectacular ships sinking, and explosions, and cartoons, and spaceships and robots and giant apes (only maybe not for three hours). And that's why I like Titanic. KELLY & PORTER TAKE ON JONNY QUEST AT DC : "Joe Kelly's next take on a classic Hanna-Barbera character for DC Comics will be Jonny Quest. According to Wizard # 170, perennial favorite boy action hero Quest is returning for five issues next year. Artist Howard Porter will be digitally painting the limited series. Kelly, who worked on the critically-acclaimed Space Ghost limited series, is a big fan of classic Hanna-Barbera characters. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have his own vision for the animated staples. He told Wizard this version of the preteen boy will be a 'significantly darker Jonny and you will find out how he got that way.'"

The idea of a "darker" Jonny Quest should just turn my stomach. But Joe Kelly completely sold the idea of a dark Space Ghost story, so I'm willing to go with him on this...

Friday, October 28, 2005

Statler & Waldorf: From the Balcony: "THIS WEEK'S EPISODE
Muppet curmudgeons Statler and Waldorf take on Jarhead and The Legend of Zorro. Plus, the Weather Guy previews, appropriately enough, The Weather Man."

Laughed out loud at the Jarhead review.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Okay, is it stranger to discover that the song I was enjoying on about drink #3 at the bar is by Hliary Duff, or that the remake of Seal's "Crazy" (a song I love) by Alannis Morissette (a singer I like) at first had me convinced it was by Celine Dion?

Drinks wearing off now. Too soon.
Video Business Online - 10/21/2005 - Retailers rail over studio date switches - CA6276901: "Last week, Buena Vista Home Entertainment indefinitely benched expected Jan. 10 TV releases of Once and Again, Beggars and Choosers and Boy Meets World."

And we were so close to the complete series of Once and Again on DVD... Disney bastards!
Okay, as seems to now be the norm, this post is the result of some slight intoxication on my part. (Although the photo of traffic posted earlier this evening was done stone cold sober. This would be traffic at 9:30 at night caused by a SUV-involved accident. Bastards. Because, of course, it's all meant to personally inconvenience me. Anyway, the picture was taken and emailed to the blog as I was stopped completely, so no driving hazards there. Lets you know how traffic was flowing, doesn't it?)

So, aside from the car-repair/insurance frustration that is ongoing (still don't have my freaking car back), today was irritating for a couple of reasons. For one, I still don't have this week's 2000AD. Thank you, US Postal Service, where getting mail actually fucking delivered is apparently just a bonus. And normally, I would have had the Judge Dredd Megazine to hold me over, just in case. But this month's Meg had the second half of a story that started in last week's 2000 AD, so I've already read through it. Bastards. (Of course, I'm about four issues behind on the 2000 AD Extreme Edition, but that's old stuff, so it doesn't exactly count.)

More directly the cause of tonight's drinking safari (more like a drive-by, really; two beers and a raspberry kamikaze) would be the sudden appearance at the library of The Girl in the Cafe. Because I had actually deliberately avoided going to see her at the Cafe for going on two weeks now, and then, a block away from the library, I received a text message from a coworker that she and her son were at the library.

Some background: while we had talked about going out, and exchanged phone numbers and the like, it hadn't actually happened yet, because she's all busy being a full-time mom, full-time student, and full-time cafe manager or owner or whatever. So I was continuing to talk to her every Tuesday and Wednesday morning, like I always had been doing. But the weekend before last, we had some editors and artists from Tokyopop visit our libraries. Including a particularly cool female editor, who I found myself developing a crush on. If that's the right phrase. (Not enough alcohol to put this out of my mind, but enough that I don't care about my writing.) Then Monday, I managed to find myself encountering just about every woman in the library district that I had an unrequited crush on, none of which could be acted upon for a variety of reasons (married, doesn't date people, etc.). That, plus my crush on the editor, pretty much made me feel like there wasn't much different from my interaction with the Girl in the Cafe. Yes, we had acknowledged that we wanted to spend time together, but beyond that, I felt like I was trying to contrive to see her just the same way I contrived to see these other women. And I was getting as far with her as I was the others.

So, something had to change, I decided. And since I wasn't going to insist that she carve time out of her schedule for me, the only thing I could do was back off. So I did. I started getting my breakfast from Bob's East Side Deli, and figured I'd give her a chance to miss me.

So today, she turns up at the library to work on her homework while her son plays on the computer. And it's just weird, because it's almost never that she tries to get in touch with me (doesn't call, nothing). And we talk like we always have, and don't mention how I've been not seeing her. But it's weird, because for the first time, she's on my turf. And the control that I had taken, by deciding to step away, has been somewhat taken away by her coming into my arena, if that makes any sense. And part of me wants to think that she showed up in my place of work because I stopped showing up in hers, but that way lies madness, so I'm trying not to think about that.

But, the really frustrating bit, out of the many frustrating bits, is that I had pretty much resigned myself to the idea that I wouldn't be seeing her for a while. And I was okay with that, and not actually missing her, and then I saw her again.

And I think I need more to drink, but that's not an option, unless I go back to Timbers, which just seems lame at this point. So I'm going to stop writing now.
Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel: "Kong Gets Supersized
Less than two months before the Dec. 14 release of Universal's remake of King Kong, the studio has agreed to release director Peter Jackson's three-hour cut, which will push the budget to $207 million, Variety reported."

Okay, I was actually starting to kind of get excited about the King Kong movie, but... three hours? It's a movie about a giant gorilla! (Not to mention the last Peter Jackson three-hour epic I saw felt so overlong, it's why I hardly ever go to movies any more...)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Monday, October 24, 2005

Got a phone call today from the car rental place. Apparently, the insurance company (Titan, representing the woman who hit me, not my company) let them know that they were going to stop paying for my rental car as of 10/16. As this is the first I'm hearing about this, on 10/24, I'm a bit upset.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

The Muppet Newsflash: Henson takes Puppetry To The Next Level with "Francis"

Another childhood favorite brought to life by the Jim Henson Company... Must check out.