Monday, July 30, 2007

Movie Review: Match Point

Watched Woody Allen’s latest on DVD last night. It’s good film; the old man still makes very good films. And it’s entirely comedy free (on purpose). Like Annie Hall (1976), the setting is the world of educated, yet neurotic; financially comfortable, yet wanting social urbanites. Match Point (2005) happens to be set in London instead of Allen’s beloved NYC but he still absolutely nails the posh dialogue.

Match Point also has Annie Hall’s quirky meet-cute scenario; relationship navel-gazing; and a love that initially blossoms but ultimately fades. Unlike Annie Hall, there’s a gruesome shotgun blast double homicide.

I don’t recall if neurotic Alvy Singer ever filed down a shotgun while laying in wait to murder Annie. Maybe it was one of the Annie Hall deleted scenes. I'll have to check the DVD for extras.

So Match Point can be found in your video store’s drama section. The themes it explores include:

Luck - How we may delude ourselves into thinking that hard work and intuitive goodness determines what we achieve in life, but how so much is just dumb, blind luck. Luck in tennis is the metaphor here for luck in life.

Class – The main character is poor Irish tennis-pro but works hard to move up. He’s well read, appreciates fine culture and through chance at the opera meets a lovely girl and marries into her wealthy London family. He’s set up for life but jeopardizes it all for a torrid affair with a smokin’ hot sultress played convincingly (method acting, perhaps?) by Scarlett Johansson. The cinematography is so good, you practically taste the sultry temptation.

Destructive Desire – I found it a bit awkward to watch a hot adulterous affair with my significant other. The tennis pro’s caught in a web of lies and keeps spinning. I’m on the couch stuffing my mouth with popcorn, avoiding eye contact. He wants to keep his comfortable life but wants to have the passionate woman too. I don’t want to get punched in the arm.

As a man, I felt vicariously guilty. Especially since I’d so have a hot adulterous affair with Scarlett Johansson. So if you’re reading this right now…[makes “call me” hand sign]. I feel guilty already.

Justice – The plot recalls Allen’s previous dark drama Crimes and Misdemeanors and that Russian guy’s Crime and Punishment. Reasonable circumstances get out of control and the tennis-pro reaches a morbid conclusion that should not be reached.

In a dream, he muses:

It would be fitting if I were apprehended... and punished. At least there would be some small sign of justice - some small measure of hope for the possibility of meaning.

On some level, he wants to get caught. And he was sloppy in execution, almost inviting his condemnation. The universe remains indifferent.

Plot - The plotting is commendably even and not to spoil the surprise ending, but...Harry Potter dies in the end. Also, Rosebud is a sled.

Summary - Match Point is pretty darn good. It's been hailed as both a critical and commercial success and heralds a welcome return to form for Woody Allen. Critics rate it 4.5 out of 5 possible asian stepchild brides.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cheapness Studies

Apparently, day-of-week matters when you’re buying certain things. If you must buy things, and many of us do, then read the article to know when.

Dinner Out
When to Buy: Tuesday.
Why: Most restaurants do not receive food deliveries over the weekend. "Sunday is the garbage-can day of the week," says Kate Krader, senior editor at Food & Wine magazine. "No doubt, they're cleaning out their fridges. Tuesdays, they're starting fresh." Dining out on that day offers the best odds you'll get a meal worth paying for, no matter your price point.

When to Buy: Thursday, before 10 a.m.
Why: The price of oil isn't the only factor influencing costs at your local pump. Consumer usage plays a role, too — and weekend demand is high, prices usually swing upward on Thursdays as travelers fuel up to head out the following day. By hitting the pump before 10 a.m. (when many station owners change their prices), you'll beat the rush and the price jump.

Friday, July 13, 2007


I'm in southern Ohio!!!! For 2 weeks!!!! Suckas!!!!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

A Good Band Name...

Inflatable Giant Monkey Scrotum

Multiple Sushi Sclerosis

You probably didn’t know this, but Seattle has the highest rate of Multiple Sclerosis in America. It’s about 3 times the rate of southern states and the reasons are somewhat of a medical mystery.

Anyway, I’m eating at my favorite sushi restaurant ($1 rolls at lunch, pretty decent quality) and I go into the men’s room. On the wall is a public service poster that reads:

“The Pacific Northwest has the highest incidence of MS in the nation. If you experience symptoms, get diagnosed!”

Then there’s a beautiful montage image of Mount Rainer, a waterfall, and some of Seattle’s lush evergreen forests with text asking intriguing questions:

“Is it in the air?
“In the water?”
“In the trees?”

To which someone scrawled in ballpoint pen: “Is it in the sushi?”

Friday, July 6, 2007

Still Dead, Still the Man

Kurt Vonnegut: AV Club remembers the man

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Bottled Up Inside

Eloquent informed anti-endorsement of bottled water called Bottled Water Is Still A Scam. And it is.

A little ironic, but Google Ads attached these 2 ads...

Bottled Water Delivery
Get Delivery of Fresh Spring Water- Poland Spring, Arrowhead & More.

Private Label Water
Custom Labels for any occasion! 5 case minimum order (120 bottles)

China Takes the Lead

Another distressing trend, the US is losing its leadership in a field where it's traditionally led the world: misinformed backwoods hijinx. Chinese peasants have inadvertently been eating fossils.

Villagers in central China spent decades digging up bones they believed belonged to flying dragons and using them in traditional medicines. These were dinosaur fossils, which were boiled with other ingredients and fed to children to treat dizziness and leg cramps.

So we have rural folks with some wildly misinformed beliefs; a distrust of doctors with their fancy doctorin'; and a willingness to put anything whatsoever in their mouths.

This is China, but could've just as easily been Georgia. Let’s bring the pride back home.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Fourth of July!

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

An Editorial: Scooter

With this pardon business, Bush is simply not respecting the system.

The system has been carefully designed to help all of us feel better; to help the public get some closure. The system provides that for every outrageous screw-up, exactly one sacrificial lamb (or scapegoat) be tossed to the wolves. Sad as it is, Scooter Libby is that lamb.

Much like when villagers tossed virgins into the volcano, this act appeases the gods and spares the village. When a scandal breaks, a jittery public gets angry--but after the sacrifice, they can rest easy knowing that the guilty scapegoat is safely fired/ in jail/ in rehab and that no more stupendously stupid screw-ups like the one that just happened, will ever happen again. Everyone wins.

Past examples:

Mike Brown. The FEMA guy who single-handedly destroyed New Orleans. He was a bad apple.

Whatshername from the Abu Ghraib scandal. She single-handedly tortured every Iraqi detainee in US custody. She was a very bad apple.

Martha Stewart did something bad with stocks or something. Bad apple.

These people went to jail and/or got fired...proving that the system works!

Scooter Libby is the designated scapegoat in this case, and as such, is expected to perform some very well-defined scapegoat duties:

1) Take the blame.
2) Frown, a lot. Practice his Mr. Frowney sad faces in the mirror.
3) Do a little min. security time: edit his memoirs / perfect his tennis swing
4) Learn a very important lesson about not doing whatever bad thing it was he did. Frown to show how deeply learned the lesson was.

With this early pardon, the entire system breaks down. Nobody is paying for this awesomely corrupt screw-up, whatever it was. The virgin has escaped the volcano and the public desperately needs some closure.

Bush should just say a hobo leaked that CIA agent's identitiy and be done with it.