There are two major tasks that I must complete today, along with at least five smaller ones. The majors are to draft a couple of things for work that are just barely overdue (a synopsis of my class, and "goals and objectives" for my department over the next year). The first minor: write out and send cards for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. I've gotten pretty good at buying the cards on time, but I haven't sent a card on time (other than to my parents) in months. Like maybe 6 months. So I naturally can't just sign the card...I have to explain why I didn't send it in February. Yargh. Nothing like self-imposed punishment. The second minor: take photographs to work from coworker E's going-away party last August. In my defense, she's literally been away since then, so this is really the first opportunity we've had to make the photo trade. Some of them are really great but others kind of suck. I'll paste in a couple right now, and you can decide for yourself what's good and what's not. The third minor: deal with the ginormous heap of financial crap on the dining room table. That will mean subtracting debits from the checking account, adding my biweekly pay (thank heavens), balancing the other account, paying some bill that came yesterday...ah, Comcast [cable TV & DSL]. The fourth minor is really basic: make appointments for a hair color and an oil change for the dinged-up Civic. Fifth, I need to organize the bead stuff that I bought last night. The basic stuff (head pins, crimp beads) are just replenishing supplies, so they will be easy to sort. The new ones (aventurine in various shapes, and some funky sort of triangular red deals) will need completely new homes. Not such a bad thing, though, 'cause it's always fun to play with the new doodads when they arrive.
If I was smart, I would actually be performing these tasks, rather than merely writing about them. And I suppose that I am smart, in some ways, but right now, I just don't feel like doing necessary things. I want to blog about some films that I've seen, and my headache is telling me that to do so is within my intellectual boundaries right now. Ergo, movie reviews.
I had never watched Casablanca until last night. The Boy and I watched it, very late. He had seen it once or twice before, so he not only got to see a great film, but also to see me falling in love right before his eyes. What an amazing movie! I know, if you've seen it you're thinking, "Duh", and if you haven't seen it, you're thinking, "I've heard this all before and I haven't seen it, so what are you going to tell me that will change my mind?" Only this: the story of Rick, Ilsa and Victor was something that I thought I knew. I thought that the film was so ingrained in the cultural memory that there was nothing left for me to get out of it, no lines I had not heard, and certainly no emotion that would seem legitimate. As in a dozen other ways, though, I'm glad that I just shut up and listened to The Boy. He told me that I had to see it, and he was right. Some of the dialogue did seem familiar, but in a good way. And though I didn't cry (he teared up twice, even after having seen it twice before), I was into it the whole time. I kept moving closer to the TV, I think so I could block out anything else that I was seeing. I loved it. And when it was over, I wanted to watch it again. That's the mark of a great movie.
It seems unfortunate that the review for About Last Night... has to follow Casablanca, but it really never had a chance anyway. Not a huge Rob Lowe or Demi Moore fan anyway, I found the most skilled acting in this movie to come from Elizabeth Perkins as Moore's bitch-tastic friend Joan. I think that Perkins is one of the most beautiful women in the world. It doesn't matter that Joan is a bitter, whiny, acidic person with whom I couldn't stand to spend five minutes in real life--she's just that much better than Lowe's vacuous Danny Martin and Moore's gravel-voiced malcontent, Debbie Sullivan. Bernie, played by Jim Belushi, is a relatively appealing caricature, but in all, that the movie is watchable has only Perkins to thank.
Well, her, and the bathtub scene. If Lowe & Moore weren't actually having sex in that bathtub, color me very, very surprised.
I got this crazy idea that I should watch both Jane Austen's Emma, the A & E version starring Kate Beckinsale, and the major studio release Emma, featuring Gwyneth Paltrow in the lead role. I consider myself something of a Paltrow fan, given that I absolutely loved her in Sliding Doors and Shakespeare in Love. However, Beckinsale's been a favorite since I first saw Much Ado About Nothing--her unique blend of bouncy naivete is particularly appealing.
I watched these 2 films on consecutive nights. Let me just say, first off, that that's waaay too much Jane Austen, especially for someone who's never read the book. [shudder] On the first night, I took in the Beckinsale version. I was charmed by the title character, entranced by her male counterpart (Mark Strong as Mr. Knightly), and over the moon to discover that one of my favorite actresses of all time was in the role of Harriet Smith--Samantha Morton. (Watch her in the A & E version of Tom Jones [a.k.a. The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling], with Max Beesley, and you'll see what I mean.) The film was witty, light, and seemed to be "meaningful", although perhaps more so after I watched the other one.
Yes. On night number two, I sat through the [seemingly] indecently long Paltrow version. Her Emma is an unbelievably incredulous snob, and watching her vacillate between meddling and regretting throughout the film was almost beyond bearing. Jeremy Northam played Mr. Knightly, and while he was very good (perhaps the most credible acting in the film, in fact), he could not match Mark Strong's performance. The stand-out for me in this version was Alan Cumming as Rev. Elton: unexpected, nuanced, and fascinatingly reprehensible.
I can't say that the second film is 'not worth seeing,' but if you're going to limit yourself to one Emma, watch the first.
My head's still throbbing and I'm suddenly quite hungry. At last count, I'm completely out of:
- cereal [except for The Lucky Charms That Would Not Die, which Johnnie would remember if he were still reading the blog]
- pasta sauce [though I think there are 5 boxes of various pasta shapes in that cupboard]
- "things to do with ground beef"
Looks like I'll be going to the grocery store today. Man cannot live on Uh-Oh Oreos and Coke alone.
It's 11:18. Time to do something useful.