Friday, December 20, 2002

I have three other movie recomendations.

First is the Two Towers. The battle scenes rock and overall it stays pretty close to the book. I rarely pay even matine prices for moveis anymore (I like the dollarmovies and am planning to see veggietales Jonah there tonight) but this one is worth it. The three hours fly by. The ents are great and gollum is one of the best CGI creations yet. It took me a few minutes to get used to him, but the whole gullum multiple personalities thing is done very well. The wolves the orcs ride were the only CGI that really stood out to me as the fur did not look real. The hobbits play a bit too small of a role and the action a bit too much. The books are so popular in large part because of the internal struggles against temptation that the characters face and this is done well with all the characters, but I hope they focus more on this aspect of Frodo and Sam in The Return of the King film. Plus some of the little details like the entdraught are left out (hopefully the directors cut will include it). Shelob is hinted at by Gollum, but you do not see her and that is how I heard the next movie will probably start off. Any tolkien fan should see it along with any epic battle fan or action faction fan or anyone who just likes a good story.

My biggest complaint was the insane amount of commercials before hand. After paying six bucks for a matine I should not have to sit through that much crap. But to get a good seat you have to arrive early and you never know when the actual movie starts, so fans are screwed until theater managers or whoever is in charge realize that this really ticks us customers off.. I will remember it next time I debate spending two bucks for a video or twelve bucks to take my wife to the theater. There were ten minutes of just commercials. Not previews-commercials. I paid to see a movie not commercials. This was followed by previews, which I do not mind as much because they are often targeted towards what the audiance likes and are often entertaining, but they went on for 15 minutes. That is twenty five minutes of crap (we ended up timing it) before a three hour movie starts! And some of the previews sucked. Why would you show a preview about some motorcycle movie to a bunch of tolkein fans? A friend sitting next to me made the comment that one of our friends that we joke about having bad taste in movies was probably already clearing his schedule for the motorcycle movie, But it would be a could day in Hell before we went to see it.

My next recomendation is Monsoon wedding. A story about a big Indian family wedding and the families conflicts and secrets. The bride is having an affair with a local TV guy, her little brother wants to be a dancer, which horrifies his father, who in turn is spending to much money on the wedding, whose coordinator is in love with the shy servant girl etc. A good story with lots of beautiful images, especially with the sleazy wedding coordinator and his attempts to win the heart of the servant girl. Tons of memeroble characters, including my favorite: the lazy looser nephew who listens to American music and try to talk like a gangsta. It is in Punjabi, Hindi, and English with English subtitles and is pretty easy to follow. They switch back and forth constantly between the different languages, but it seems natural and isnot hard to keep up with.

Final recomendation is for Lilo and Stitch. This is one of the better recent Disney movies and is not a straight musical like many of the others although it has a great elvis soundtrack. I have been to graceland before and own several elvis cds so this is fine with me and musical montages make sense. It has a lot of good gags and decent action, with lots of beautiful pictures of hawaii. Stitch the alien is digusting (not cute-a change for disney) and destorys lots of stuph. Lilo is cute, but strange. And of course this is disney so she is an orphan (no parents at all just an older sister) and a social worker wants to take even that away. They play well off of each other and have lots of good gags involving him destroying stuff and fighting off the aliens trying to capture him. One thing I liked that was a change for disney is that there is no really evil characters. One of the aliens and the social worker start off kind of bad, but really are not and another alien is bad, but not Cruella Deville/Evil Queen/evil guy in Hunchback/Mulan/Pocahontas type cruel. He is more trying to stop destruction and do his job. One of the better disney movies in recent years that both parents and kids will like.
Speaking of the Russian Front of WWII, I saw Enemy at the Gates a few weeks ago. It is pretty good movie about a duel between a German and a Russia sniper during the batlle of Stalingrad. The two snipers and some of the other soldiers on both sides are presented as regular normal moral people. This is a good trend in movies and I noticed it in Saving Private Ryan and We Were Soldiers. Some soldiers are evil, but most do not want to be there fighting at all. Either they are doing it because their government forces them to or they feel there countries survival, values, etc. is at stake. Saving Private Ryan had the German soldier who who killed the American Jewish soldier with a knife and he was not portrayed as evil, just as another soldier. He is later killed by a cowardly american soldier after he is taken prisoner because the german saw his cowardlyness. We were soldiers has both the Vietnamese commander and a regular soldier shown as normal. The commander is shown as a brave and cunning commander and as a good leader. The only thing bad about him is that he was against america, but in the end he even rights an american flag left on the battle field. The other soldier is just a private, but his is singled out for attention and is given glasses to make him distinct. You see him struggle up his courage to attack the americans and you know he would rather be with the girl he keeps a picture of than out fighting americans.

Both of these movies and Enemies at the Gate, do a good job showing you where the action is and what is going on. This is a skill that has been lost by most action film directors who think that just having lots of choppy editing makes a movie exciting. If you can not tell what is going on that is confusion not excitement. I recomend all three movies for people who like war or can handle war movies. They all show the human face and cost of war, but none of them are antiwar movies. Spielberg is the same director who gave us Schindlers list and funds holocost rememberance stuff so you know he thought Normandy was a good idea, even though it caused tons of suffering for both sides. We were soldiers shows how brave and skilled the Americans who fought in Vietnam were and I can not think of a Vietnam film since John Wayne's Green Berets that shows that. Enemies at the Gate shows how bad both sides were, but it does not say the Russians should not have fought back and given up.

One last thing about enemies at the gate was that is was hard to know who to root for/against: The Nazis or the Commies? I like the Simpsons version where they are all commie-nazis.
Some other propalestinian types ask what would you do if you were in the palestinians position and America was taken over (ala RED Dawn) If the U.S.A. started a war of agression and lost, then (although I would not like it) our enemy would be justified in taking our territory from us if they could. I would defintely not respond, lets say to a Canadian invasion, by intentionally murdering Canadian two year olds in their sleep, or by blowing up pizzarias and discos filled with teenagers, or blowing up old Canadian civilians attending chruch, or blowing up schoolchildren on a bus. And this is true whether or not the Canadian invasion was justified.

I would fight. But I would fight justly, with honor and courage.

Canadian soldiers would have to watch out for me and they would fear me since my goal in life at that point would be to kill as many Canadian soldiers as possible. But innocent Canadian civilians would have nothing to fear as long as they avoided being around soldiers and military instilations and if they avoided attacking me. Even if this meant I might lose and we would have to suffer under the tyranny of harsh Canuk rule and be forced to sing Oh Canada before every baseball game, then I would still not target the innocent. I would do this even if it meant I would more likely die by attacking soldiers than by attacking civilians.

I would die an honorable man.

Why is this so hard for some to grasp the difference between how America and Israel fight and how Hamas and Al-quaida fight?
Some propalestinian types claim that it is unjust that Israel controlls the west bank and Gaza. They say as long as this unjust "occupation" occurs than there will be no peace. This ignores the fact that there was no peace before the occupation anyway, but this is besides the point for today's subject. They claim the occupation is unjust. Lets see with some examples from WWII ho wconsistent they are with their outrage.

Germany attacked the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union responded with a defensive invasion of Germany. They won control of about half of Germany. Even though I think the Soviet Union was evil, they were justified in taking over East Germany. Germany attacked them. The Germans stopped killing Russians and until the Soviet empire collapsed, the Russians kept control of East Germany. They same propalestians never complained about the Soviet control of Germany being unjust. If they complained at all it was because the Soviet treatment was harsh and unjust. No one thought it was unjust that the Russians had conquered Germany in the first place.

Take Germany and France for instance and compare it to the current Israel situation. Germany started a war of agression with France with the object being the complete destruction of France. Germany lost. France took Alzace from them as a just conquest of war. Germany has accepted the fact that it lost and was at fault and no longer tries to kill French people. The Palestinians started a war of agression with Israel with the complete destruction of Israel as its goal. They lost. Israel took the west bank and gaza from them as a just conquest of war. The Palestinians refuse to accept that the land is no longer theirs.

The difference between France and Russia vs. Israel is that Israel is merciful (a mistake I believe). The French and Russians (and the other allies) expelled all the Germans they wanted to, killed their leaders and helped denazify the country. The Germans no longer try to kill the French or Russians. Note that it would also have been just for the other allies (as in the US) take control of the Axis territories (if it wanted to keep west berlin for instance) like the Russians did with the Sakhalin Islands or how Poland and Czechoslovokia did with Silesia. The Israelis have let too many leaders live, have not expelled enough people, and have not denazified the Palestinians. The Palestinians still try to kill the Israelis.

However, none of the propalestinian types are advocating for the return of the Sakhalin Islands (even though Japan wants them back). None of them are advocating the return of Silesia. Or Alzace. Or heck, even California. If they are advocating it, they are awfully quiet about it.
We have a tree next to our bedroom window. I am a heavy sleeper, but this morning I awoke to the sound of a very loud bird I thought was outside my window. It kept making the same cawing sound every five seconds or so. I was about to go over to my window window and start banging on it to scare the thing off, when I realized it was not coming out of the window, but from my wife's side of the bed and she was not there. We got a clock radio alarm that can make nature sounds and my wife had accidently set it to the nature sounds last night, and this morning she woke up before it went off and forgot to turn it off. I hit the alarm a couple times and it went off.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

I just finished reading Huck Finn the other day. I had almost forgotten how good of book it is. I still have not decided if I like Huck or the adventures of Tom Saywer more, which I reread a few months ago. I still fail to see what the ig controversy is. Jim is the most simpathetic character in the book. He is the only major character without any malice or deceit in him. The best and most emotional story in the whole book is when Jim tells Huck about the time he struck his daughter for disobeying him, without realizing she had gone deaf and dumb. The conflict and guilt in Jim for trying to do the right thing in diciplining his daughter for something she had no idea she had done is very sad.

I almost do not like the last few chapters where Tom has his elaborate scheme to free jim, but Tom is only a boy and only knows what he has read in books. His theories are quite entertaining if you remember that Jim is going to be free by the end anyway. One thing I like about both books is that they are told as a series of anecdotes and not just a straight plotline. You could pick either up and randomly read a chapter and still understand what is going on and be entertained by the satire. The best anecdotes tend to be the ones involving the two con men, the Duke and the Prince. As long as they are not being completely evil they are entertaining and enlightening on how people can be conned. All it takes for them to be outsmarted in the end is a man with just a little bit of learning. It is also a good book in that it avoids being heavy handed and yet still makes good moral points, which is no easy task.
I quit my job on Monday. It felt really good. I liked my boss and my coworkers, but I was in sales and was not making much off of commissions and not enjoying it much the past four or five months. I am going on vacation in a couple of days and plan to really strt looking for a job in the beginning of January. I will probably stay in finance, but will not take another commission sales job.