Month: June 2009

Movie Review – The Proposal

This was supposed to be a Gut Reaction Review (GRR), but I didn’t have the time to write up anything soon after seeing the movie when my thoughts could still be considered gut reactions.  Instead, here’s what I think of the movie a few days later.  Amazingly, my thoughts haven’t changed much since I walked out of the theater.

On Friday night I saw “The Proposal”, which stars Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds.  The story is that the mean Canadian boss, played by Sandra Bullock, will be deported back to Canada-land unless she is married.  She then orders her executive assistant, played by Ryan Reynolds, to marry her.  In order to fool the federal investigator into believing their story, they take a weekend trip to Reynold’s home town to learn more about each other.  Craziness then ensue.

While it sounds like your typical romantic comedy, “The Proposal” isn’t.  Yes, it follows the usual flow of this style of movie, but it remains genuinely funny throughout and actually shines where other rom-coms feel forced or predictable.  One scene in particular involves some dancing in the woods and I almost rolled my eyes when it started because it felt forced.  However, by the time the scene was done I was laughing harder than I have in a theater in a while.

Sandra Bullock is simply amazing in “The Proposal”.  She’s been quite good in everything I’ve seen her in, but I have to admit I was a bit worried that she would be phoning it in with this movie.  She’s done several romantic comedies over the years and I was afraid she was going to simply go through the motions and phone it in.  I couldn’t be more wrong.  She owned this role and gave it 110%, including doing a rather long and very daring scene for her and for romantic comedies in general.  No offense to Ryan Reynolds, but this is Sandra Bullock’s movie and she owns it.  Except for Betty White.  Betty White managed to steal most of the scenes that she was in.

If you are looking for a fun date-night movie, I can’t recommend “The Proposal” enough.  It sits comfortably in the romantic comedy genre while also being different and uniquely funny enough to not feel like every other romantic comedy out there.

My Walkway

Click to enbiggen

Click to enbiggen

“Don’t you even think about walking on my walkway.”

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Choose A Caption

1. All we need is a ninja.
2. The most unusual police lineup ever.
3. Pirate didn’t get the memo that he was supposed to leave his treasure at home.
4. Taken just moments before Cylon got kicked out of the party for Disney characters.

Or submit your own in the comments.

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Heat Wave

Wasn’t it only 50 degrees a few weeks ago? I don’t get you, Wisconsin.

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Photo Drama (not)

I had a neat little update planned for today.  An update with photos, even.  Unfortunately, I forgot that I needed to slightly edit the photos before they were going to be ready for public consumption.  I realized this as I was about to publish the photos.  Alas, no photo update for you today.

Maybe tomorrow will bring the update.  Unless I forget, yet again, to edit the photos.  Then you’ll have to wait another day.  Or maybe even longer.  Maybe I’ll forget about these photos all together or be too lazy to edit them.  The world may never see them.

Look at all the fake drama and fake excitement for 2 photos that are most likely not deserving of it.

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Summer Break

I do enjoy well-done television, but I’m very much enjoying summer and my extended break away from all of the shows I usually watch.  I’ve enjoyed spending my evenings playing “Oblivion” again and the occasional game of Spades online.  It’s been nice to watch a few movies on DVD that I repeatedly put off.  It has really been fun to rediscover “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” on DVD after enjoying the new Star Trek movie a few weeks ago.  It has also been extremely satisfying to turn on my DVR and not see hours and hours of television to watch.  A full DVR list all of the time made watching television feel more like a chore and less like a leisure activity.

Still, there are a few shows that I miss and secretly wish would be on year-round with new episodes.  I can’t wait for “The Big Bang Theory”, “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, and “The Office” to return to the air.  “Dollhouse” also finished quite strongly and I can’t wait to see what happens next with the exciting world that show is (finally) taking place in.  “Fringe” has been a surprisingly good watch and I’m curious to see what J.J. Abrams has up his sleeve.

While I will also continue to watch a few other shows, specifically “How I Met Your Mother”, “Heroes”, and “Bones”, I think that may be where I draw the line next year in respect to what I watch.  While the break from television has managed to show me that I do miss certain shows, it has also reminded me what it’s like to do other things with my evenings.  Several weeks ago I wrote about shows that I was going to stop watching in the fall because I had felt their quality had slipped.  That list mostly holds true, though I may be willing to give “24” another chance.  There’s something about Kiefer Sutherland’s portrayal of Jack Bauer that keeps me tuning in no matter how good or bad the season may be.  I digress.  That list was initially compiled because I didn’t feel like wasting time watching bad TV, but my drive to stick to the list has been fueled by everything else I’ve been doing with my evenings in the absence of new programming.

If a television executive is reading this blog, they should read between the lines and push for quality new programming during the summer to keep some viewers around.  I really hope that there’s no TV execs reading this blog, because I really don’t need any new shows this summer.  I have kingdoms to save and 8,750 more stars to get in Spades.

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The Return of Cap

The big announcement from Marvel this week, which was only big if you didn’t pick up on the blatant hints that they had been dropping for months, is that Captain America, who was gunned down back in March 2007, would be coming back.  I’m not sure how this is all going to go down, but I think it may be started in anniversary issue Captain America #600 (out today) and then continuing in the announced five-part series “Captain America Reborn”, starting in July.

I’m not thrilled with this, even though I prefer the original character of Steve Rogers as Captain America to Bucky’s current Captain America.  I know this is comics and this is how the industry works.  A character is killed off and is then brought back sometime in the future.  But I’m  new to comics, having started reading seriously less than 2 years ago, and that doesn’t mean I have to like this practice.  In my opinion, two years is not long enough for a character to be out of the books for their return to get any kind of huge, news-making hype.  Ten years, maybe, but two?  At least Cap’s death lasted longer than Superman’s, which was only about a year.

But I’ll deal with it because I trust writer Ed Brubaker to do the right thing with Captain America.  Brubaker is an amazing writer and I know that even if Marvel wanted Cap’s death to be a big publicity stunt, he won’t write it as one.  I may also be ultra sensitive to this whole thing as it’s my first big death-rebirth as a relatively new reader; a new reader that was hoping the death-rebirth cycle that I’m not fond of would possibly be abandoned by Marvel for a while.

I’ve already sat down over the past few weeks and made decisions about which comics to keep reading and which ones to let go.  While this was originally done as a measure to cut down on the amount of money I was spending on comics from week to week, it also reflected I slight loss of interest in comics.  Instead of reading anything in main Marvel continuity I could get my hands on, I was choosing the few writers/characters I really liked and getting rid of the rest.  I’m not giving up on comics, but the voracious reader I once was is gone, replaced by a selective reader that is more concerned with how he spends his free time and money.

At a time when I’m looking to significantly cut back on the number of comics I read, it doesn’t work in Marvel’s favor to employ the one device that I really don’t like.  What were they thinking?  They really should have consulted with me first.  If they really wanted a big return, I would have pushed them to bring back the not-actually-proven-to-be-dead Kitty Pryde from the X-Men.  They get their big return without having to resurrect a character, as we don’t know for sure that she’s really dead.  I love Joss Whedon, but I still haven’t forgiven him for “killing” one of my (and his) favorite characters.  But I should have expected that from Joss.  He takes characters that you love and destroys them, either metaphorically or by actually physically doing it.  But that’s another blog post for another time.

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Leash – Haiku

Running wild like a
rabid dog that was once calm.
Put a leash on them.

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The Hazards of Dreaming Big

My love affair with The Hazards of Love by The Decemberists has reached a new level.  I can now play guitar along with two of the songs from the album.  I learned the basics of “The Rake Song” last week.  As much as I love that song, I was disappointed in the complexity.  Even my way-out-of-practice skills didn’t have too much trouble with it.  Looking to learn more music from the album and challenge myself a little more, last night I learned how to play “Won’t Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)”.  That song is again not too difficult, but the arrangement I made for myself has me going back and forth between the lead and rhythm guitar parts throughout the entire song.  It’s a lot of fun to play and now I just need to stick with it for a few more nights so I don’t forget how to play it.  My mind is already blanking on the chords for “The Rake Song” because I haven’t played it in a few days.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, The Hazards of Love is a story told through a concept album.  It’s practically one long song that is broken up by the chapters of the story.  When I saw The Decemberists in concert a few weeks ago, the first half of the concert was the band playing The Hazards of Love in it’s entirety without stopping or taking a break, exactly as it’s presented on the album.  Now that I know how to play most of two songs, my mind start to dream of learning the rest of the tracks and then playing the entire album myself, just like the band did.  Alas, I need to be realistic.  This would be my largest musical endeavor by far and a challenge for many musicians with way more skills than me.  Also, it would take my hobby and turn it into something more than that.  At the very minimum, it would become my main hobby and be the focus of my free time for a few weeks.  As awesome as this idea sounds and as much as I enjoy playing guitar, I don’t want this particular hobby to rule over my free time.  I need some of that free time to begin developing an uncomfortable obsession with Hello Kitty.

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On Not Writing

I have always had the urge to write something more substantial, but never the all-out drive and ambition to do it.  Although I don’t read as much as I would like to, I still really enjoy working my way through a well-crafted story.  I admire authors and have always wanted to be one myself.  I don’t know if I necessarily want to have something published, but I want to craft a story of decent length and at least put it out there where friends could read and comment on it.

This little desire of mine has been around for many years, although I rarely act on it.  About 17 years ago when I was in middle school, I wrote a story for “Back to the Future – Part IV”.  It was 22 double-spaced pages in length.  Barely even a short story, but by far the longest thing I had ever written.  Sadly, it may still be the longest thing I’ve ever written.  I think I only asked three people to read it.  One thought it was okay, but didn’t really like it.  One had practically no comment at all. Finally, the third person never actually read it.

Since that story, I have only once attempted to write anything long-form.  Last summer I had planned to write a piece about the S/S Norway (formerly S/S France) ocean liner that was being scrapped in India.  The idea was that I was going to write about how I came to know of the ship and then write about it’s terrible, controversy-filled demise.  I had planned to put this piece up on my old blog, split into about 10 segments.  I wrote a nice, detailed outline, but never  was unable to get going on the actual writing.

Someday I still want to write something more long-form, but the desire to this is not nearly as strong as my other desires to spend time with loved ones, play games, watch movies, or read what “real” authors have already written.  Maybe this is why I enjoy blogging so much.  It gives me the opportunity to flirt several times a week with the writer in me without sacrificing any of the other things that I would never sacrifice for the opportunity to write.

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