Wednesday, May 31, 2006

A New Dot on the Radar

I really haven't had a whole lot of interest in "The Breakup", the new Vince Vaughn/Jennifer Aniston movie that opens this weekend.  The previews aren't bad, and I am a pretty big Vaughn fan, but I had just assumed that it would devolve into your normal sappy romantic comedy that I normally hate so much.

But then, this review popped up on Ain't It Cool News:

"this absolutely is not the cute date movie many are hoping it will be. . . if you're an indie lover, really dig 'uncomfortable' films or just have a general distaste for typical Hollywood romantic comedies, then by all means check this out . . .Closer in tone to The Good Girl, War of the Roses and the last half of Chasing Amy, this film is anything but heart warming . . ."

My interest is piqued.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Damned if you do . . .

I am so schizophrenic when it comes to my opinions about films based on real people or events.  They're almost always a frustrating experience for me. 

Stories about real events don't normally fit into a nice "three act" structure.  So, I will often criticize bio-pics for being "uneven" or not coming to nice and neat conclusions.  Even movies that I realize are technically great (that is, made with great cinematographic, directorial, and acting skill), I just cannot get fully behind.  Raging Bull is normally my classic example.  While the acting in that movie was fantastic and look and feel (direction and cinematography) were perfect, I just didn't find Jake LaMotta that interesting of a subject.  I felt that the movie meandered between highs and low, much like real life.  But I just didn't find it an interesting story, which, for me, is the most important part of a movie.

On the other, just last night I watched Finding Neverland, the bio-pic about J.M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan.  This was a wonderful little film about innocence and creativity, which used real events to tell a story.  Except, for the sake of the story, some pretty important events were changed.  Most notably, in the movie Barrie became enthralled with a widow and her children. But in real life, the woman wasn't a widow.  This changes the real Barrie's actions from charitable to kind of creepy.  But, that wouldn't have made as good a story.  Even though I understand this, I still can't help but criticize the movie for altering facts, which detracts from my enjoyment of it.

So a story about real life is uneven, and real life manipulated to tell a story is untruthful.  I know that there is a line in between the two which can be walked, and many movies have done so successfully.  But one step to either side of the line will always frustrate me.

Friday, May 05, 2006

I'm in.

Dear Mr. George W Page:

The Committee on Graduate Study in Computer Science and Software Engineering--On Campus Option has contacted the Graduate School concerning your application for admission.  I am in agreement with their recommendation and would like to congratulate you on your admission to Auburn University in the Computer Science and Software Engineering--On Campus Option program. A formal acceptance letter containing more detailed information will be mailed today.  Because of delays in surface and air mail, I wanted to share this decision with you immediately via e-mail.

Monday, May 01, 2006


What is it about an album that would make a band say "Yes, this is the one that will be self-titled."  Other than for a first album, I just don't get it.  Is it a lack of creativity?  Originality?  Or do they really think that this one is special.  And what happens if you release one later that is better (of course Led Zeppelin solved that problem by putting out Led Zeppelin I, II, III, and IV).

What the hell am I talking about?  Well, Pearl Jam has a new album coming out tomorrow (May 2), but thanks to Ten Club I got a copy of it on Friday and have been listening to it all weekend.  The album is quite succinctly named "Pearl Jam".  Ten, Vs., Vitology, No Code, Yield, Binaural, Riot Act.  And now Pearl Jam.  So what is it about this album that it gets the eponymous label?

I mean, it's good.  It'll take a while to solidify its rankings in the PJ discography, but right now I'd put it on about the same level as Binaural, Yield, and No Code.  Which puts it a step below the "classic three" Ten, Vs, Vitology, and the (IMHO) underrated Riot Act.

Am I reading too much into this?  Probably.  It doesn't really affect anything.  Its a solid PJ album and any Jam Fans will love it.  Its not going to win over any new listeners, but Pearl Jam quit trying to do that a long time ago (something I admire about them, actually).  While it certainly isn't the definitive Pearl Jam album as the name might indicate (and I don't really thing that there could be any such thing), it fits right into the catalog, and will get plenty of playtime on my iPod.