Yesterday after pondering more about my sadness about Hussein's execution, I have decided I know where the bulk of the sadness comes from. And it's entirely selfish. I like warning. I need slightly longer foreshadowing at best. I need the cop to snicker about how he's retiring in a week, so when he gets shot at the top of act one, I'm not surprised. Hussein was convicted and sentenced a month ago, but we only learned of the imminence of his execution 12 hours prior to it. I'm an American. I'm used to people spending years on death row. Maybe that's what I'm umphed about: too short a notice. I couldn't find anything to wear.
Two Reviews. (I'll try to keep both brief.)
Honey and I took in The Holiday, yesterday afternoon. This movie should've been subtitled Where's Franzen's "The Corrections", because at some point I noticed that every scene that included books in the background, included that iconic spine or bookcover subtly placed to tickle the viewer's subconcious. That subliminal commercial aside, this film was a fun, forumulaic jaunt which still managed to seem new-ish. It asked Jack Black to tone his mania down (which he does palatably), Cameron Diaz to play a grown up (something she still needs help with) and Kate Winslet and Jude Law to do what they do best - namely play their default charming characters. Winslet fully invests herself into this performance and brings grace and honesty to a character a lesser actress (Kate Hudson, for instance) would have simply played as a mildly clumsy, less than lovable loser. Diaz plays somewhere between her Charlie's Angels ditz and her catty bride from Very Bad Things. Her performance is overall decent, but there are scenes where you can here the phone ringing when she opens her mouth. It makes me miss the years when she worked harder like she did in Things and The Last Supper. Nonetheless, her character was emotionally repressed enough that even in the few scenes where she checked out, it was believable. Casting Black as a film composer worked well, if for no other reason than we Jack Black fans would love to hear what Black would come up with for an honest-to-goodness film score one of these days. He played at a comfortable pace a la Shallow Hal, but less jokey and we got to see some of his nerdy "tenacity" in the Blockbuster video scene. Scroo-ba-doo-be-doo. Jude Law - sigh. What is there to say? He could play against a box of Cheerios and convince you he was desperately in love with it. His character was total emotional girl-porn: a suave, but slightly dangerous British hottie (hence Law); a book editor; a great father, and he's a widower. Characters like that pass GO and collect $200 from female moviegoers the instant they open their mouthes. I'm not really going to go into the plot because once you know the set up - two broken hearted women from across the Atlantic trade homes at Christmas and find love on the others' shores - you know the plot for the most part. What kept the script refreshing, though was Diaz's character's inability or personal refusal to completely reciprocate and the non-courtship of Black and Winslet. As romantic comedies go, this was one of the best I'd seen in a long time. There are scenes that will continue to replay in my head, so that's good. Honey and I enjoyed it so much, I think we'll buy it and add it to our Christmas Romance Movies list, which right now only includes Love Actually. I guess we'll need to broaden it. We're welcome to any suggestions.
Last night at home, we took in Why We Fight, the 2005 documentary exploration into the fulfillment of the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower warned us against in his departing speech from the Oval Office. It was incredible. Very well crafted. Immensely riveting. These days, I really try to pay attention to crafting of a story as well as to the information in documentaries. The film opens with a NY father describing the events of 9/11 and how they effected his family. We keep going back to him and we learn of his personal loss, his own time spent in VietNam, his support for Johnson and his feeling of betrayal after Tonken. His support for Bush and his feeling of betrayal after Bush admitted Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. He is Joe America. While writing this post, a friend called me and interrupted. We chatted, and without any knowledge that I had even heard of this movie, her husband yelled over from the passenger seat that I should check out a review he had written for this movie on his site. I LOVE little synchronous coincidences like that. Because he is far more eloquent than I am (I'm positive he wrote this in one draft), I'm going to suggest you read his review. It's a great review of a great documentary and the complex structure of war in modern America.
Und Drei Wunschen.
I learned the other day that the Germans have a tradition of stating wunschen, or futile wishes and curses at the end of the year. So here are mine for you:
1. May you forget to pay your bills for the rest of the year!
2. May you receive no mail for the rest of the year.
3. I hope you forget to take your vitamins for the rest of the year.
So that was my blind foray into another tradition. I won't do that for the rest of the year!
Party safely tonight, all! So long, 2006!