Monday, October 17, 2005

Boob Tube Weekend

It’s been a visually stimulating sort of weekend. We run into these every once in awhile, where, for whatever reason, we watch a lot of TV, mostly movies. My dreams during tend to be especially vivid during these periods and my brain often feels like it has a lot to process. I spend a lot of time in what I like to call “the gloaming,” that place between waking and sleeping, aware and yet not aware.

And what an eclectic selection we saw! Serenity (finally!), Dead Poets Society, Jersey Girl, Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason, an episode of Firefly, several episodes of CSI: Miami, NY, Las Vegas. Enough beefcake for me, certainly.

A couple of general observations…

George Carlin and Ben Affleck were raised blue-collar Catholic and the influence of the Church manages to color their movies. Catholic influence was quite obvious in Dogma, which, by the way, referred to the “Last Scion” long before Dan Brown did. In Jersey Girl, the young daughter goes to Catholic school. Their home in Jersey has a statue of Our Lady (of Lourdes?) in kind of a fake grotto on the front lawn. But no one actually goes to Church. That would be going too far, I guess. This movie is really about family values and deciding what is truly important. It also illustrates how we can really hurt those we love when we speak in anger. Some truths—or frustrations—are better left unsaid. Ben Affleck got a bum rap in this movie. I thought he was actually pretty good. Or maybe I’m just a sucker for his smile.

Bridget Jones is a sequel to Bridget Jones’ Diary. One of my favorite things is to identify bit players who are now different characters in different flicks. This one has the actress who plays “Moaning Myrtle” and the actor who plays Gaius Balthazar, as well as, of course, Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, and Hugh Grant (who is showing some wear and tear in this one). Bridget is madly in love with Mark Darcy and can’t believe he’s in love with her—some of her actions would have driven me around the bend. But Mark takes it all in stride, except that he hasn’t proposed and there is the teeniest bit of a class difference between working-class Bridget and Eton-educated, Human Rights lawyer Mark. Daniel Cleaver re-enters Bridget’s life just to complicate things and she has to make a decision whether or not to sleep with him. The ending is a bit too pat for my taste. Colin Firth makes it worth watching. Renee Zellweger actually looks like a normal woman, complete with “wobbly bits.” Hugh Grant, sadly, is wasted in this part.

I’d forgotten what an impact Dead Poets Society had made on me when I first saw it. Robin Williams (who I find strangely attractive) is a non-maniacal English teacher (okay, he has his moments) in a boys’ boarding school in New England in, judging by the music and the size of the ties (skinny) was in the late-1960’s. However, the teacher is not the main focus of the movie. The boys are. Robert Sean Leonard, as Neil Perry, and Ethan Hawke, as Todd Anderson, are so young! Aaack! Where did the time go? This movie didn’t wear as well with age as others have, in part, because I am now an adult and am in the middle of raising my own kids. The relationship of Neil and his father (who plays the dad in That ‘70’s Show) is too black-and-white. Prof. Keating’s isn’t as sympathetic to Neil’s difficulty in speaking with his father and, I feel now, should have been more of a go-between. Prof. Keating also should have been more aware of his influence on his students in general and the power of what his words.

Serenity deserves its own review.

The various CSI’s were standard police procedurals. Las Vegas is the best of the bunch, IMHO.

Tonight I’m going to catch up on what’s new with Jordan and Woody on Crossing Jordan. We recorded it last night because normally I’m in bed by 10:00 p.m.