Monday, June 23, 2008

Picks and Pans

I don't have any pictures lately, because I just realized today that I only seem to break out the camera when the kids are doing something absurd. All their activities lately, while not necessarily normal, would not have produced interesting pictures, and I wonder a little, what kind of a message I'm sending them. "Mommy likes you best when you are socially unacceptable and rediculous." Probably because weird is how I feel most of the time, and I like to see the kids getting their piece of that pie.

Anyway, since I have been sort of a stationary person of late, my free time, previously occupied by trips to the gym, has been spent reading and watching movies, and I wanted to offer a few small picks and pans. Since there hasn't been THAT much free time, I only have one book rec. Actually, make that two. Last month, our book club read Water For Elephants, and I'm going to go ahead and pan that one. Here's why: I read the first two chapters, (got the point that this old guy used to work in a circus among many "interesting" characters) and got annoyed with the narration so I skipped to the last few pages, read those, and then was able to fully participate in my book club as though I'd read the whole book. Attribute it to my genius if you wish. But I find it more likely, that the book continued in its irrelevant plot projectile for those two hundred pages I skipped, then kaboomed in the last three pages.

Fortunately, I chose the book this month, and veered away from the tendancy to choose new releases from hot young authors. We read "The Moviegoer" by Walker Percy. And while I read this once in high school, I really only read it because it was on a list of books everyone should read. While this book lacked a slam-dunk plot line (it's about a guy to goes to movies to escape the grim realities of life), the narration along the way held so many interesting diversions, I didn't want to miss a page. It's been awhile since I read a book that I didn't want to skip over the blah blah blah's. And I recommend spending some time with this book if it's been awhile, or never since you've read it. (An interesting theme in this book: free-wheeling libs in the south actually wishing they had someone to tell them what to do. Call it a God-wish).

Apropos, I have become a moviegoer as well, or at least a movie renter.
Recent watches:
Jumper--mildly entertaining, but doesn't make much sense
Dreamgirls--(loosely based on the life of the Supremes) A musical that never should have been. A welcome reduction in the time required to watch this movie could have easily been attained by saying rather than singing their arguments.
Death at a Funeral--Everything that can go wrong at this funeral does. If you find that idea funny, you might like this movie. It's British.
There will be Blood--lots of squinty eyed sweaty faces looking for oil. Didn't grip me.
August Rush--a lighthearted love story (not for kids) that makes you feel good. An orphaned boy leaves town to find parents he believes are still alive. The boy, a musical prodigy, uses his gifts to locate his parents who are also both musicians. A welcome bit of fluff that didn't make me feel like I needed a bath.
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.
It's been a long time since I've seen a movie that was beautifully filmed, intellectually stimulating, had coherent values, and an interesting story line. I watched this movie by myself which was a mistake because I wanted to talk about it almost immediately. It's about a magazine editor who has a massive stroke and is entirely paralyzed except for one eye. He has all his faculties still, and is able to write his autobiography. What's interesting though is the support he receives (and doesn't receive) from the people in his life. Rent this movie ASAP. With Pan's Labyrinth, it's one of the best I've seen in years.

That's all for now. I need a movie to watch tonight, so if you have recs that aren't on this list, please let me know.
Taking book suggestions as well.


Kate said...

I've expanded our Netflix list... thanks!

Kate said...

Also, I like the pictures of your kids' absurd activities!