For What it’s Worth 9/18/12

Wow—I must’ve had either the busiest or laziest week of my life last week because I can’t think of too many recommendations to share.  Let’s call it the busiest and leave it at that.

Movies:

We rented Snow White and Huntsman on Friday but I fell asleep (passed out, which is not the same thing, I’m told) about fifteen minutes in.  We got the BluRay, and it took me a half-hour to figure out how to update the software on the Playstation 3 so it would play.  After that I was exhausted.   I never had to update my VCR.  New tech sucks it.

Way too many easy jokes…

The Cabin in the Woods: Cute premise, fun movie that believes itself to be a little smarter than it actually is.  Richard Jenkins steals the show as one of the office drones/puppet masters.  As a comment on horror and violence in cinema, the film had my attention until the last ten minutes or so.

Carnage: Cute premise, fun movie that believes itself to be a little smarter than it…actually…is.  Oh.  Same diff.  Jodie Foster is histrionic.  John C. Reilly is overmatched.  The timing is stilted and it’s stagy and claustrophobic, and not in the awesome, Roman Polanski’s-early-films-like-Rosemary’s-Baby-or-Repulsion.  That said–and reviewing the previous lines it looks like I hated this film—it has it’s moments.  Christoph Waltz is fine, though he has a bit of trouble with the accent.  Kate Winslet is given a whole lot to do, but not enough of substance with which to flex her muscles.  The ending’s a bit pat. Maybe I did hate this movie…

Also Carnage, but not in the movie

Music:

No new music.  The only chance I had to listen to any thing was when I went shopping with my kids and had my iPod on shuffle.  Neil Young’s “After the Goldrush” came on and my kids asked why the Muppet singing the song was so sad.

After that, a new cut by Bob Dylan started playing and they made fun of me for having pirate music on my iPod.  I felt like firing up Tom Waits and Nick Cave for the remainder of the trip, but thought better of it.  Philistines.

Books:

Finished a book of poetry by Forrest Gander called Deeds of Utmost Kindness.  I read ten or twelve books of poems a year.  I can’t remember any of it.  They go through me like lentils.  I’m surprised I remember the title and author.  Sorry, Mr. Gander.  You’re very talented, I suspect.  I am just a moron.

This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz: I have it on good authority (a colleague who spoke with Diaz for all of three minutes) that Junot Diaz is a Class-A asshole.  If his stories are in any way autobiographical, it must be true.  I don’t put much stock in reading an author’s life into her stories, though, if only because I’d hate to piss anyone off with my own.  Stories have to be autobiographical, to a degree, right?  If only emotionally or intellectually or thematically autobiographical?  That said, there’s no need to get all “Dwayne-is-actually-Wayne-and-Stick-Cornhole-is-actually-Dick-Pornpole.” Anyway, the point is, that Diaz writes with electricity.  He manages to combine a Dominican street patois with an earnest, over-intellectual and even geeky joy, all the while telling tales of desperation and violence and sex and especially love in all of it’s spine-curving, head-exploding power.  Definitely the pop culture highlight of my week.

Television:

Wow.  Literally nothing.  Cincinnati Reds games, mostly.  Thirty games over five-hundred.  Keep rolling, Redlegs!

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Filed under Best of Lists, Books, Film, Kids, Music, Sports, Television, The Muppets

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