November 29, 2004

The Weekend Entertainment Wrap-up

You've got four days, four solid days, ahead of you in the form of a nice long weekend. What are you going to do with it? If you're a sloth like me, you rent some movies, buy some CDs and stare at your ever-growing pile of books. Then you pull your sleeves up and start plowing through them.

The Movies:
When a Coen brothers movie works, its a wonderful thing to watch. There are, of course, duds in everyone's resume. That's where The Ladykillers comes in. Everyone over-acted, the jokes were stale, and the only reason to remake the movie from the 1950's original seemed to be dropping the f-bomb every 30 seconds. Seriously, no fucking problem with the fucking f-bomb here. Just a problem with this movie. Yes, there were a couple very funny lines. For those, I'm eternally grateful. They kept me awake.

Secret Window was a bit better. But is it me or is King constantly writing (and then selling) novels about writers who don't quite fire on all cylinders? The acting was good, Johnny Depp in particular, and the movie itself, while not earthshattering and somewhat generic, was entertaining. In stark contrast was Tape, a low-budget stage adaptation starring Ethan "White Trash, Bad Teeth" Hawke and then-wife Uma Thurman. In an effort to find the good in everything, I'll say it was marginally well-acted. That didn't quite save it from sucking, however.

Beth and I ventured out to see Finding Neverland, something I was convinced would be a schlock-fest in the form of a strident family film. Do you get the impression I wasn't too keen on seeing it? Yeah, not so much but I'm a good husband and went anyway. The verdict? It was a slight schlock-fest and it was kinda strident but it was actually a nice film. And for those of you who just see Depp for the stud-factor, this one proves he's a damn fine actor.

When we first saw the trailer for Sideways, I wanted to see it. It opened this weekend so we hit the theaters to catch it. It wasn't quite as strong as I'd hoped, but it was an excellent film. The acting, primarily Paul Giamati, was excellent. And who knew that dude from Wings could actually act? The music was good and if you're at all interested in wine, you need to see it. But can you tell me why we were the youngest people in the theater by a good ten years?

I saved the best for last - Man on the Train is going on my all-time favorite movie list. Yes, its French and subtitled but that really shouldn't turn anyone off. A certain blogger (that would be me) disses a lot of foriegn films. Prior to this one I could have been heard attempting a white trash southern accent saying, "Dis ones one dem fern fims. Got dem poppy-up eenglish words on da bottom." This film proves something through - many foreign films, particularly French movies, do more for character development in two hours than Hollywood crams into ten hours of good filmmaking. I can't recommend this one enough.

The Music:
What's the most hyped album this year? U2's How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb. Is it worth the hype? Eh, kinda.

Granted, the hype was huge. "Vertigo," the lead-off single from the album, got everyone thinking this was a high energy album. So imagine my surprise when the second track limped along losing any momentum the opener had created. Gone was the sense of immediacy. Sure, it picks up but never completely delivers on the promise of a return to the great anthems and urgency of Joshua Tree. That said, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb combines the experience the band showed with All That You Can't Leave Behind and the strengths of Joshua Tree to provide us with their best in a long long time. I may not buy into the "greatest band in the world" theory, but they're sure trying and they sure sound good doing it.

I found myself listening to other things as well...Dylan's Blonde on Blonde and Blood on the Tracks, The Stones' Exile on Main Street, Rufus Wainwright's Want Two, Marillion's Marbles and Peter Gabriel live in Vienna.

The Books:
What's a weekend without reading a few books? I wont talk about any of them here (that's what my end-of-the-month review is for), but three books ain't bad in a weekend.

And now, the ratings...
The Ladykillers:
Man on the Train:
Secret Window:
Finding Neverland:
How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb:

Did you guys actually make it through this whole thing? I'm impressed!

Posted by Chris at November 29, 2004 7:27 PM

I did make it through...and I gotta buy the U2 ASAP!

Posted by: Sue at November 29, 2004 8:06 PM

I'm not much of a movie person but I love the new U2 recording :) I think it's a mix between "Unforgettable," "Joshua" and "Achtung."

And I keep forgetting to pick up that Dylan CD! I'll write it down this time. Thanks for the reminder.

Posted by: Colby at November 29, 2004 8:13 PM

I have listened to the new u2 approximately 57 times already. I LOVE it. LOVE LOVE LOVE it. All hail Joshua Tree type U2 and may the Zooropa u2 never come back!

Posted by: amy at November 29, 2004 8:36 PM

I always want to turn off the subtitles on french movies, because then I actually *try* to translate. If I leave them on I have an excuse to be remarkably lazy.

Posted by: Heather at November 29, 2004 8:38 PM

Thanks for the great reviews - and am very jealous that you live in 'the big city' where they show French movies and 'Sideways'.

I am also really ready to hear the new U2 - Bono is so very hot, and the Ipod commercials never fail to make me drool. And your asides for Ethan Hawke - too funny.

Posted by: lady jane at November 29, 2004 8:47 PM

Hmm . . . I wanna see Finding Neverland. I should have my boyfriend read your blog so he can follow suit and be a "good" boyfriend, hehe! =P

Posted by: Jennie at November 29, 2004 8:48 PM

I hate the song Vertigo. Not because it's a bad song, but it's on everytime a commercial comes on.. and now the radio's playing it, and if I hear that song one more time, someone might die. :)

I also didn't like the Ladykillers.

3 books in a weekend??? I remember when I had time (and no other hobbies) to do that. LOL

Posted by: Manda at November 29, 2004 10:13 PM

I have had a not so secret crush on Bono since U2 first hit the scene. I grew up in Long Island NY, and used to work at a resort out on Montauk Point. There was a rumor that Bono was out there incognito. What did I do? I called a friend, and we stalked all the places we thought he might be!! Alas, we never did see him

Posted by: csm at November 29, 2004 10:39 PM

Are you on crack? Because, seriously, how did you cram SO much into the weekend. All I did was hang out with my family and see the SpongeBob movie. And an episode of some TV show or other.

I didn't hate The Ladykillers, but I'll agree with you that it certainly wasn't great.

Posted by: DeAnn at November 30, 2004 4:06 AM

Beats Spongebob, which I was forced so sit through with my almost 4 year old. Depp has ALWAYS been a good actor...he's just a GREAT actor now that's he's stopped taking drugs! He's amazing...and I'd kick my hubby outta bed for Depp!

Posted by: Randi at November 30, 2004 10:17 AM

Do you harbor a secret dream of being a “reviewer?” Because you’re really good at it. I especially liked the one about “Man on the Train.” And your observation about Ethan “White Trash, Bad Teeth” Hawke. Do you mean to tell me that you don’t find the scroungy-look attractive? What about all those chicks that swooned for him, back when he made “Reality Bites?” (Don’t worry, I’m not trying to take up for him. Your description made me laugh.)

Posted by: Zandria at December 1, 2004 6:18 AM