Sunday, January 30, 2005

Has it really been a week...

...since I last blogged? Well, almost a week. And it was a busy one. I just haven't had the time to collect my thoughts. I get home at night and veg watching TV (after we get the kids to bed). And everyone in the house, including me, got sick by the end of the week. My oldest had ear infections in both ears and was miserable for several days, and I've been hacking up a lung for the past twenty-four hours. Finally showing some improvement today.

Lawrence Kasdan once said that being a screenwriter is like having homework every night for the rest of your life. Meaning, there's always work to be done. And I've always agreed with him. I'm starting to think being a professor is a lot like being a screenwriter in that regard. There's always something I could or should be doing, and I never feel as prepared as I should or could.

To whit: while watching a movie today, I spent most of the two hours also working on a lecture for this week. And I'm stressing over trying to figure out how I'm going to fit six hours of material (which includes a 90-minute film screening) into two hours this week, because some departmental events are truncating my class. Give the students edited notes to read whatever we don't cover in class? Seems like a copout, but it may be my only choice. I have to get the screening in, and a quiz, so how am I going to do the lecture?

Avoiding work and with everyone sick, I decided to get caught up on my NetFlix movies...

Wimbledon: This was a pretty decent little romantic comedy/sports movie. I actually enjoyed it and couldn't imagine why it didn't find an audience. Maybe I just like British humor, or maybe I just like Paul Bettany, who stars as a journeyman tennis player about to play in his final Wimbledon before retiring from professional tennis. His ride to the top while falling in love with an American tennis star played by Kirsten Dunst pretty much follows the traditional stereotypes, but it's done with restraint and class, and I for one enjoyed the ride. It features some stylish touches to take us into his head during matches that I think worked pretty nicely.

(We interrupt this post for the following: why, even in a blog, do I find it hard to depart from grammatical rules? As a screenwriter, I frequently use choppy sentences and fragments to tell a story, but when I'm writing e-mails or blog posts, I often think people will think I just made a mistake... so weird and hopelessly neurotic.)

Also just watched The Bourne Supremacy. My review of this film should start with this: I started this blog post with about fifteen minutes left in the movie. Sigh. Action movies just get boring. A car chase is just a car chase. We've seen it a hundred times or more, and yes, you can make it interesting and cool, but if it lasts more than two or three minutes, you're just showing off and hiding the fact that there's very little story to tell here. The only film I've ever seen where the sheer visual spectacle of the car chases interested me was Ronin, and there the story was fascinating and the dialogue sparkled, almost as if they'd hired a surrealist playwright to write a movie thriller. The dialogue sometimes sounded like it was out of a Beckett play. So yes, I'm spending this review of Bourne writing about a completely different movie. Shows you what I thought of this one. Competent. Well acted. Technically well-executed. But soulless. Just nothing to it beyond pyrotechnics. I guess it's better than, say, a Jean Claude Van Damm movie, but it's nothing worth spending too much time on.

If I get back to the blog before next weekend, I'll count myself among the shocked and surprised. This is shaping up to be another crazy week...


At 8:44 AM, Blogger chutry said...

The car chases in "French Connection" were, of course, pretty amazing. I liked the chases in "Ronin," too, but I was very sleepy when I saw the movie, so don't remember them as well.

At one point in my life, I used to be bizarrely fascinated by the car chases in "CHiPs," but that moment has passed.

At 12:19 PM, Blogger TerminalMFA said...

I have one CHiPs memory that has stuck with me for reasons I cannot explain. In one episode, apparently a bunch of guest stars were going to a "funny car" car show, and people kept getting pulled over for their weird cars. In one scene, an old guy is driving on the freeway when he sees a car coming right at him... and he has or nearly has a heart attack, and we then see that the car was in fact traveling normally up the freeway but was one of the 'funny cars,' having been built with 'two fronts' -- a real front on the front of the car and a fake front on the rear.

Why I remember this episode of CHiPs, and why I felt compelled to tell you this bizarre bit of info stuck in my long-term memory, I have no idea.

At 11:13 PM, Blogger Kristen said...

I felt exactly the same way about The Bourne Identity. And the Bourne Supremacy. You just kind of check out mentally. I found myself getting excited about the moment when he sticks a magazine in a toaster, though. That was innovative.


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