Saturday, July 15, 2006

Movie Review: Waist Deep

This movie surprised me. Pleasantly. I was hoping to like it, I mean Tyrese Gibson, Larenz Tate, The's gotta be good for action and music, right? Right. And more so - it even had...dum, dum, dum, dum...A Plot!

I thought it would have a story - I mean, the previews tell you that it's basically about a guy whose kid is kidnapped and he looks for him. But it was more than that, and was actually pretty well developed. Now, this isn't an Oscar-worthy film by any stretch of the imagination, but it was pretty interesting.

It's been a few weeks now since I have seen it, I'm behind in my movie reviews, so I don't remember specifics to talk about right this second. But I will say that the ending, while not surprising, is surprising in the cinemetography and basic way it unfolds. I won't give it away...go watch it! It's worth it.

Movie Review: The Devil Wears Prada

Great, great movie. Go see it. Witty, funny, clever, sad, touching...all wrapped up in one big package.

I haven't read the book yet, I will admit. But I don't think that the movie was better because of that, because I have talked to a bunch of people that read the book & saw the movie, and they thought the movie was great, too. Meryl Streep was fabulous. She has such diversity as an actress, and has played so many different roles...and was really believable and amazing as the bitchy boss. And Anne Hathaway was pretty good, too. She's the kind of actress that you usually forget what movies she was in...she's kinda normal. There's nothing unusual about her features or her voice, she's not drop-dead gorgeous or ugly...she's just kinda normal. But she was really good in this movie, and I may actually remember somewhere down the line that she was in it.

There were also some hot, unknown (at least to me), guys in this movie. Put them in more movies and make them the focus! Then maybe I'll learn their names.

This movie is probably classified as a "chick-flick," but I think guys would really like it, too, despite that. It has all of the sterotypical "cat-fight" type interactions, bitchy boss moments and stuff like that that guys make up in their head as every-day reality.

This is probably another one of those movies that I would rank "Worthy Of Purchasing The DVD The Day It Comes Out And Is Only $16.99 For The First Two Days at Target." That ranking is pretty popular this summer.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Reality Bites

I have gotten hooked on “Reality TV” and “Competition Show TV.” It’s a sad, sad obsession...passed down through my family from mother to daughter to daughter. This summer is just a hot bed of great shows. And the problem is that every night 2-3 stations have these shows on. Here is what has happened to me the last 2 weeks, and is a main reason why I haven’t sat down and typed out an entry in a long time. I’m swept up in the excitement.

A couple of weeks ago, The Sister was here. She got me started on a couple of shows... “Big Brother 7: All-Stars,” and “So You Think You Can Dance.” Then she leaves and I’m talking to The Mom on a Wednesday that week, and she says, “Do you want the line-up for the shows tonight so you know which ones to watch and which to tape?” And like a sucker, I said yes. So I got the line-up, converted the times to CT (The Mom always tells me the times in ET...and I always get confused and have to convert them on paper.), set up a VCR to tape one set of shows, and watched the other. And that’s when I started losing control.

The following week I discovered that there were 3 shows on at the same time on 3 different stations. I didn’t know what to do. I only had 1 VCR hooked up in my living room! BUT...I remembered that I had an old VCR that had stopped working a year ago stashed in my extra bedroom in a box. I don’t know why I kept it, I thought about getting rid of it a few months ago, but I just put it back in the box. In my head I thought to myself, as I tried to figure out how to watch 3 shows on 3 different channels at once, “I wonder if I can awaken that old VCR from the dead. Because if I can, I can hook it up to the TV in my bedroom and tape 2 shows and watch the 3rd while that is going on!!” I have no idea why I thought that the VCR might suddenly start working for me. But I did. And I must be magical, because I hooked it up...and...IT WORKED! It was 6:55pm, just minutes before the show marathon, and I was in business. (Moral of the story: if an electronic device doesn’t work, buy a new one, stick the old one in a box, wait a year, and then hook it up and it will work. Trust me, I don’t understand it myself.)

So now I have 2 VCRs hooked up, and every day before I leave for work I set them up to tape a combo of shows since I haven’t been getting home in time to watch them. I map out which shows I want to tape on VCR 1 (in the living room, the more reliable of my VCRs – so I put the shows I REALLY care about on that VCR) and which are to be taped on VCR 2 (in the bedroom, my “awoken from the dead” VCR, hence more unreliable and is used to tape my second-choice shows). Then, when I get home, I have to stay up late watching the shows because usually the results show is the next night, and I can’t watch the results show without watching the performance show and if I can’t watch the results show because I didn’t watch the performance show then there is nothing to watch on TV. Did you follow that?

My biggest fear every night when I come home and rewind my tapes is that I will have set up the wrong station to tape. Or the wrong time. Or that I forgot to turn the VCR off before I left so it never started. And then I would miss the performance show and have to watch the results show without the performances. Or will miss the results show and not know who got kicked off. The first few seconds as I FF to the beginning of the show is always nerve-wracking. I can't take the pressure.

Here was the line-up from the past week:
Monday, July10th
VCR 1: NBC – Treasure Hunters 7-9pm
VCR 2: FOX – Hell's Kitchen 7-9pm

Tuesday, July 11th
VCR 1: CBS – Big Brother 7: All-Stars 7-8pm; Rock Star: Supernova 8-9pm
VCR 2: NBC – Last Comic Standing Last Comic Standing 8-9pm

Wednesday, July 12th
VCR 1: CBS – Rock Star: Supernova Results Show 7-8pm
VCR 1: FOX – So You Think You Can Dance 8-9pm
VCR 2: NBC – America's Got Talent 8-9pm

Thursday, July 13th
VCR 1: CBS - Big Brother 7: All-Stars 7-8pm
VCR 1: FOX - So You Think You Can Dance Results Show 8-9pm
VCR 2: ABC – Master of Champions 7-8pm
VCR 2: NBC – America’s Got Talent Results Show 8:30-9pm; Windfall 9-10pm

Friday, July 14th

And that was my week. By the way, to throw my two cents in...”So You Think You Can Dance” and “Rock Star: Supernova” are two of the best talent shows ever made. They are awesome. Watch them. “Master of Champions” may be the worst show ever made, period...not just in the talent competition world. Stay far, far, far away from ABC when that is on. I can’t imagine that it will last as long as that horrible NBC cooking show I hated so much. And I just don’t think I get “Big Brother.” Too much drama and stupid girls. I hate stupid girls.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Two Weeks of Randomness

The Sister just left town on the 4th of July, after two full weeks of fun. So much to catch up on. Here's some random stuff from the two weeks. Between a busy week at work and The Sister’s visit, I’ve been neglecting my little blog lately, so there’s a lot to say, now.

* I can’t get "Superman Returns" out of my head. That movie was so great, and the more and more I replay it in my head, I want to go see it again. I saw “Titanic” and “Walk the Line” three times in the theater, and I could go see “Superman Returns” twice the number of times. The new Superman/Clark Kent is just so good.

* I keep seeing these coffee table books and special edition DVDs about the making of “Superman Returns” and the history of the men that have played Superman, and I can’t help but get the urge to buy them. I have never, ever cared about the behind-the-scenes stuff for a movie. I don’t even watch the extra stuff on DVDs, I basically watch them as I did VHS movies – watch the movie and that’s it. Except now I don’t have to rewind it.

* "Pirates of the Caribbean II" comes out at the end of this week. What a freaking great summer of movies. I don’t know if I have ever been so eager to actually go to the movies as I am this summer. And surprisingly, I have actually been going to see the movies I want to see! Sorry, Orbitron, you may have to stop saying “I can’t believe you haven’t seen that!!” What is the world coming to?

* Have you ever thought about how people request “flavors” of Gatorade and Powerade by the colors? Blue, red, yellow, orange, green, etc. You never hear anyone ask for Lemon-Lime, Blue Raspberry or Strawberry sports drinks. I do it, too. But it just always strikes me as weird. We don’t order ice cream the same way. “I’ll have the off-white/eggshell/taupe/cream colored ice cream.”

* Why don’t cars in Minnesota come equipped with turn signals? Just wondering.

* Nomination for Best Fishing Story Of The Year – Comes to us from my friend, regarding his 4-year old daughter - “We went fishing today. She caught an alligator.” “WHAT??” “She caught a two foot alligator. She ran away, after she threw the pole in the water!” “WHAT??” “There is now an alligator swimming in the lake with a hook in it’s mouth because I wasn’t touching the damn thing! I just cut the line!! Most people catch a sunny or bass, no, the first time my daughter goes fishing, she catches an alligator.”

* Lionel Richie? Seriously? Did anyone else see the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular on NBC? Ok, probably not. But Lionel Richie and Liza Minelli? Are we celebrating the bicentennial again and someone forgot to tell me? And why do they sing “Georgia on My Mind” for the 4th of July? Do they have songs for the other 49 states and the territories, too? Ahhhh, and as I say that, the orchestra starts playing “New York, New York.” This is going to be a really long fireworks display if they keep this up.

* My upstairs neighbors with the squeaky bed apparently moved out because I met the new upstairs neighbors. I’m a little afraid of them…because they are friendly. Not that anyone in my building is unfriendly, just that no one in our building talks to each other, so I wouldn’t really recognize them in a public setting. The new guy started up a conversation with me and The Sister the very first time we ran into him in the parking lot. In broad daylight. Frightening. I know it’s Minnesota Nice, but no one in this building socializes with each other, so I’m not sure how to handle this new “relationship.” Do I say hi every time I see them now? Do I talk about the weather? Is a wave sufficient or do you need a vocal greeting each time? It’s another couple in that apartment. I guess I’ll find if they oil their bed springs, soon enough.

* At least this new couple seems normal, unlike the other new couple that moved into the building last month…they have a car that doesn’t run parked in our parking lot next to the dumpster. (I will say that they, too, are friendly – they always say hi when I run into them outside, which is frequently, because they are constantly hanging out in the parking lot, smoking. Or working on “The Shell.”) The Sister questioned why the car hasn’t “accidentally” been taken when the trash pick-up takes place. This car is LITERALLY a shell of a station wagon. That is why I call it “The Shell.” It has a driver’s seat – only, the rest of the car is just metal, no other seats. And a steering wheel. And 4 tires. And is covered (sorta) by a tarp. He took all of the windows and windshields out of the car and threw them in the dumpster one weekend. A couple of weeks ago he was working on the car and the gf/wife was actually tailgating while he was playing mechanic. She had one of those fold-up chairs, her cigs, a beverage and a book. Then last night he started spray painting the back hatch-back door with silver paint, but didn’t get too far. It can’t be very easy to rebuild a station wagon in an apartment parking lot with nothing but a couple of tool boxes you have to carry inside and outside every time you work on the car. If he ever gets that car running, I’m nominating him to go on one of those “Pimp My Ride” shows. Because simply being able to turn the key in that car is pimping it out.

* The Sister and I went to "Body Worlds" at the Science Museum of Minnesota when my attempt at the 3rd annual “Day of Wheels” (a Saturday of Back to the 50s Weekend during the day followed by Elko Speedway at night) was destroyed by an evening rain. What an awesome exhibit. The plastination process that was created to preserve and display these bodies is fascinating. And the bodies are not only amazing to look at in the scientific sense, but they are truly art forms, as well. From the ways that the bodies are posed to the wonder of the cardiovascular system and the beauty of it separated out from the rest of the body and the incredible formation of muscles. You can’t walk out of that exhibit with anything less than a true appreciation for the wonder of the human body and how everything works together. And if anyone isn’t convinced about the damage that smoking and second-hand smoke does to your lungs, go see the exhibit. Pink vs. black. If you think that’s good for you, then you need you head examined. Incredible.

* I have to admit that despite my resistance to all of those rewards/bonus/etc cards that you have to keep signing up for at gas stations, book stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, etc, I can’t help but get excited about the prospect of earning my free 44oz slurpie after my purchase of 6. It’s coming up sooner than I planned.

* While at the “Back to the 50s Weekend” events at the state fairgrounds, we went up the Space Tower, which is very similar to the Space Needle, except that it’s not in Seattle, and there’s not a restaurant and it’s way smaller and basically the only similarity is the word “Space” and the point at the top, which is probably just a lightning rod. It was awesome. It’s just a short, 3-4 minute, ride up to the top and back. But it gives you an amazing view of the downtowns of both Minneapolis and St. Paul (equidistant from the fairgrounds), and that, along with the skyride, was the most efficient way to see all of the cars on display at the fairgrounds!! $3 well spent.

* Banana splits can make any day perfect. So can a vanilla soft serve cone with a cherry or a black raspberry dip.

* I did something the other day that I’m not sure I have ever done before…left a baseball game early. We went to the Twins-Brewers game at the Dome on Friday night and I think that the first 6 innings took about 14 hours. And of course my friend and I missed the back-to-back solo HRs while getting a beer. And the game was so boring. Radtke disappointed me by not giving up 47 runs in the first 2 innings. The only reason I stayed until the middle of the 7th was because I wanted to prove to The Sister that the Twins were really doing a tribute to Kirby Puckett during the 7th inning stretch of every freaking game this season. That goal for the game started during the first inning when she said “Why are there giant 34s on the field?” (Painted in foul territory in front of each dugout.) I said “Kirby Puckett died.” She said “Still??” (As in, “The numbers were still on the field from that which happened before the season even started??”) I said, “Yep, I told you Minnesotans can’t let go.” And sure enough, we were treated to a Kirby tribute (Following “God Bless America” since we were within 5 days of July 4th. And you all know how I feel about “God Bless America” during the 7th inning stretch, still. And the obligatory “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” which is really just an afterthought at Twins’ games now), complete with touching music and insane applause because this is only the 487th tribute to Kirby that Twins fans have seen since he died months ago. Hey, this is the team that still plays the voice of a man that has been dead for almost a year and a half telling Twins fans to behave during the game and to “Remember, there is no smoking in the Metrodome.” They REALLY can’t let go. When old, awesome, Yankees players die we have a moment of silence and then go win a game. And then wait for ESPN to flash their picture during the “These Sports People Died In The Last 12 Months” montage at the ESPYs for our only other “hanging on” moment.

* On a better note, we roasted marshmallows on Friday night. It was the first time in YEARS I had done that. Possibly since the great spring semester RA training camp-out at Saint Leo years ago. The one in which parking barricades were used as firewood, one of my friends actually brought a TV and PlayStation down to the lake and plugged it in to the ONLY outlet because he can’t go 6 hours without it, and we discovered that throwing beer bottles into a lake is not a fool-proof way to dispose of them.

* Boof is right, the Taste of Minnesota is a HUGE rip-off. The Sister and I went on Saturday, and basically it’s the Grease of Minnesota, not like a real “Taste” event, or not like any “Taste” event I have ever been to. First of all, there are millions of great local beers (including those from Wisconsin, I usually consider the 5-state area – MN, WI, ND, SD, IA – to be one giant state that usually goes under than name “Minnesota” anyway), and all they have is Bacardi Raz and a couple of lame beers like Bud Light. Secondly, there are tons of great restaurants in the Twin Cities alone, and none of them are represented. Every other “Taste” of anywhere event I have been to has booths set up by tons of area restaurants and you basically buy tickets to get little portions of different things…a showcase of local great foods. At MN’s “Taste” you buy tickets to buy bull-sized versions of fair food (which is basically anything that can be put on a stick or deep-fried or both – and you would be amazed at how limitless that selection is, and how delicious they can be, seriously, you haven’t lived until you have clogged your arteries with deep fried Oreos, followed by a Pronto Pup – type of corn dog - and washed down with a roasted ear of corn slathered in butter. Oh boy, I can’t wait for the state fair!!). And it’s not even the full selection of fair food. So you really can’t try lots of different things, you just eat one thing. Thirdly, the Taste of Minnesota was apparently a giant avenue for advertisement of the NBA and WNBA. Which was my chance to say “Who cares?” I will say that they had a pretty impressive, and elaborate, set-up there. And at least the Disney stage was silent when we walked by! Phew. Unless there’s a great band playing sometime, that will be my first and last experience at Taste of Minnesota.

* Has anyone else seen these “satellite” pictures of the North Korean missile launch pads? I’m pretty convinced that our intelligence is coming from Google Earth these days. Those pictures look identical to the quality of pictures I find on Google Earth when I’m searching for my parents’ car in their driveway in Florida!!

* There are some funny ads on TV these days. I don’t remember what the ads are for, so they aren’t that effective on me, but they are funny. Especially the ad about talking to the dots. It’s either a delivery service or cell phone ad, not sure which. I stop paying attention when the tag line jumps in.

And alas, the end of a 4 day weekend…back to reality for 3 days and then the weekend comes again.