Thursday, December 16, 2004

Killing time

Oy, humbug!
Nothing makes me feel more bipolar than Christmas shopping. One moment, I feel good because I'm buying gifts. Finding the right present for someone is a nice feeling, isn't it? But then the next moment, I want to strangle my fellow shoppers. Like the morons I encountered at Best Buy today who blocked up entire aisles with shopping carts. Unless you're buying a TV, computer, or washing machine, why the hell do you need a shopping cart at Best Buy??? These people had a couple of CDs and DVDs in the compartment where your kid would sit. Then there was the guy who stood reallyclosetome in line. You know what, pal? You're not getting out of here any faster if you spoon with me, okay? Back off. And if you're trying to hit on me (and hey, I'd love attention from anyone at this point - homosexual or not), come up with something witty when we're both reaching for the same DVD. Us guys love romance - y'know what I'm sayin'?

Twelve is the New Eleven
And despite the lukewarm reviews, I saw "Ocean's Twelve" today. (Free time = movies, baby.) I'd challenge almost anyone to explain the plot clearly to me; there were a lot of tricks and double-crosses as the story wore on. It was fun to see all the Superfriends get back together, though a few of them really had nothing to do. (Poor Bernie Mac.) And the new additions, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Vincent Cassel were good (and good-looking) too. A gag subplot involving Julia Roberts was pretty funny; I imagine it would've been even funnier if Stephen Hunter hadn't blown it for me in the Washington Post.

Manohla Dargis of the New York Times said that Steven Soderbergh had to challenge himself to make this interesting, and I think I agree with that. Quick edits, freeze frames, quirky camera angles, different film stocks and lens filters - he pulled a lot of tricks out of the bag to keep this interesting. Actually, I thought it was Soderbergh's homage to one of his heroes, Richard Lester (an admiration clearly expressed in the book "Getting Away With It"). Many scenes reminded me of "A Hard Day's Night."

It's been nauseating and eye-rolling to watch Clooney, Pitt, Damon, and the rest of the gang pimp their movie on every show imaginable, and talk about how much fun they had together. But that fun is certainly apparent on the screen, and makes for an enjoyable flick. But maybe we don't need to see "Ocean's Thirteen," okay? Soderbergh should be frying bigger cinematic fish next time.

Fly the Wireless Skies
I caught this in USA Today this morning at the coffee shop: airlines will soon offer high-speed internet and cellphone service on their flights. I've always been hesitant to bring my laptop with me on flights, mostly because of the delays they cause with security. But if I knew I could check my e-mail or surf the web - especially on a long flight - that would be great. However, I'm not sure I want to sit next to some dope yakking away on his or her cell phone during a long flight.

"Oh yeah, we just got on the plane... No, we haven't gotten any drinks yet, we haven't even taken off yet... You know what, I think I want a pillow, I just leaned against the window and it's cold... So where are you right now? Oh yeah? Mmm, coffee sounds good right now... No... No, they won't bring the drinks until we take off... Oh, I think we're taking off now, the stewardess is doing the put-your-seat-belt-on-your-oxygen-mask-is-here thing... You know, I wish I could afford first-class, these seats are tight... maybe the guy next to me can find an empty seat after we take off... Ha ha! Yeah, people should lose weight... I bought 'Digital Fortress' for the flight... Dan Brown... Yeah, I loved "The Da Vinci Code," I told you, you have to read it..."

On the bright side, I'd have internet access and could immediately complain about this jackass on my blog...

Another Reason I Should Bring My Camera Everywhere
But where I should've been today is at the Iowa City Sheraton Hotel. "Hi, my name is Ian. I'm a photographer."