Ups and Downs of the week.

Thesis Paper – Finally done. Just need to defend now, which should be a piece of cake.

Burn After Reading – I’ve been looking forward to watching it tonight, but it was so bad I finally turned it off. I understand the story is about the dark sides of life taken to the level of absurdity, but I don’t find humor in watching people going through painful episodes (which means, I suppose, that I don’t “get” dark humor even though I recognize it when I see it). And while I don’t mind profanity when the situation calls for it, I do mind when it becomes an overused “prop” in a movie. I stopped snickering at profanity before reaching adolescence. Now I just find it annoying when it comes up multiple times in every sentence. Call this one Burn Before Watching.

Patriots – They showed up against Pittsburgh. Maybe they really are a team to watch this year. Still tied with the pesky Jets, though.

Winter Sunsets – They can be pretty spectacular here.

Winter Sunset

Winter Sunset

Ups and Downs of the Week.

 Hopscotch – One of my favorite movies. Even more so now that I’ve been to Salzburg and recognize the scenery.

 Weather – After a week of rain, a bit of sun. Not looking forward to winter.

 Chuck’s home – My nephew is safely back from Iraq. His fourth combat tour.

Ups and downs of the week.

Meh    Red Sox – Three losses in a row, but still atop the AL East.

  Yankmees are also losing – So not gaining ground on the Sox.

   Mediacom Cable – Between the idiotic Emergency Alert System they over use and the useless DVR that resets itself every time they use EAS, I can’t dependably record anything. This is the 21st century, right?

  Celtics – Having an easy time of it so far.

Meh    John Adams on HBO - I added HBO just to watch this mini-series and it was just ok. Now I need to dump HBO again.

  New lawn mower – Toro knows how to make these things right. 

Ups and downs of the week.

Red Sox – Glad they’re back in Boston, but if only Beckett can win…..

 A Good Year – I like this movie. Screw the critics.

Fox sports – I’ve taken to watching the games with the mute on.

 Casper XP – Did what Ghost could not.

 The Onion – America’s Finest News Source. I was wondering where Gagme went.

Sarah and I have recently begun going to the movies fairly often. Getting me to go was no small feat as I generally do not like movie theatres and I think the price of a movie is way out of line with its value. Few movies we see are so timely that waiting for their rental release would lessen the enjoyment, so why pay big bucks. Having said that, though, if we do decide to wait for the DVD, we usually forget about the movie and never end up seeing it. The other difficulty comes in finding a movie we both want to see. Sarah doesn’t like violence and I’m not big on whining and crying or, god forbid, singing. So I’ll wait for Casino Royale and The Departed to come out on DVD and Sarah will probably go see Dreamgirls with her Mom while we’re in Connecticut for Christmas.

Still, we have managed to find a few movies to see together in recent weeks. Some have been good and some not, and that leads me to my point about movie reviews. Movie reviews are really subjective, more so than book reviews. Take, for instance, the movie Marie Antoinette, which we saw a few weeks ago. This was one Sarah had to prod me to see. I went in thinking I’d be bored to tears and I was right. What vindicated my preconception was that Sarah was also bored to tears. The movie was bad in so many ways. The only positive notes were the costumes, which were exquisite (so I’m told) and the scenery. Yet it is not hard to find reviews which rave about the movie and just as easy to find reviews which pan it, sometimes within the same publication. Check out this list of reviews from MRQE, the Movie Review Query Engine. There’s one review from Film Threat, Hollywood’s Indie Voice which gives it 4/5 and another which gives it 0.5/5. One thumb up and one down? Last night we saw The Holidayand today I read a review of it in The Boston Globe which gave it a so-so rating (2/4). The reviewer (IMO) was looking for a profound message when the movie was clearly meant to be an amusing way to spend two hours. The same can be said for A Good Year, which we saw a few weeks ago. Very enjoyable film, but not too deep. You could put your mind on cruise control and just be entertained. And that is exactly what we went in expecting to see.

I guess the goal is to find a reviewer who seems to mirror your own personal tastes, difficult as that may be. Or maybe just read many different reviews and try to draw a complete picture from the various points of view. Sometimes one review is all you need, though, as is the case with Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto. The only review I’ve read about it said that there is so much intense violence and gore that you become numb to it and actually begin to find it darkly amusing. Um, no thanks. Think I’ll pass on that one.