Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Good, the Bad, and the Silly

Have you ever noticed yourself picking up a verbal tic or tendency, yet have no idea where it came from? Maybe you start saying "alll riiiight" after something goes well. Or start referring to a favorite thing as "the tits."

Perhaps it's a favorite line from a TV show, which I'm often guilty of on Wednesdays, after watching Scrubs the night before. ("See you around six, wear something slutty - zoom, zoom, zoom!") Annoying for the people around me, but it usually only lasts a day.

Anyway, here's why I'm bringing this up: Over the past week, I've been referring to many people as... "Cowboy."

I don't know why I'm saying it. Is it anticipation of the new season of Deadwood? (If that was the case, I think a far less flattering nickname - rhymes with mocktucker - would be sputtering out of my mouth.) Is it because I think it's stupid when ESPN's "Baseball Tonight" guys call their colleague, Jeff Brantley, "The Cowboy"? Or has my recurring Clint Eastwood fixation returned?

I don't know where it came from, but I've said it more than a few times. Maybe it was to lighten the mood while Lil' Sis, Mama Cass, and I were slogging through Extreme Makeover: Casselberry Home Edition, and filling a dumpster with 20+ years worth of accumulated junk.

Nothing's funnier than calling an old Asian woman "Cowboy" while she's emptying firewood out of a garage. Am I right? But it wasn't just for laughs. The pet name also provided encouragement to a thin, not quite strong enough young lady lugging big-ass medical textbooks from her bedroom closet. "Way to go, Cowboy!"

So that's probably where it started. We were dirty, we were rugged, and I wanted to make note of it. Unfortunately, once those wagon wheels in my head get rollin', they can be hard to stop when I rejoin the society-at-large.

While using a restaurant bathroom with only one toilet, I locked the door because - hello! - the commode was now occupied. That apparently didn't occur to the jackass who kept tugging on the door, trying to open it, as I was attending to my business. After I was done, I opened the door, saw Mr. I Have to Pee Now, and said, "It's all yours, Cowboy." I think my humor was lost on him. Or he just really had to pee.

(Note to self: Using the term "Cowboy" around a men's bathroom is probably not a good idea.)

Yesterday at the movies, when a teenager was too busy talking to his girlfriend to notice that it was his turn in the concession line, I had to get his attention. "Hey! You're up, Cowboy." Don't mess with me when it's ten minutes before showtime and there's a long line at the popcorn stand, kid. What has two thumbs and hates missing the previews? This guy. (Um, I'm pointing the two thumbs at myself, if you're not following me.)

And that's probably the last time I should call a stranger "Cowboy," as I reckon that could get me a fistful of knuckles right in the kisser next time around.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Moonlight Serenade

Saturday marked the one-year anniversary (a word that seems entirely inappropriate) of my father's passing.

Though I think about my dad and feel his loss every single day, it was difficult not to dwell on the events of a year ago. Fortunately, my mother, sister, and I were able to be together, and we got through the day as a family. I'm just grateful that neither of us had to deal with it alone, because I don't think I could have.

It's hard to believe it's already been one year. I can still feel the memories from that week so vividly. My father telling me he was having trouble breathing. Standing at the foot of the driveway, watching the paramedics take him away. The last time I saw him smile, as he was sitting up in his bed to watch the news. The call from the hospital, telling us we needed to get back to the hospital immediately.

And I remember being escorted to another room, where I saw my mother, whose face was completely sunken as she said to me, "He's gone."

I can still hear my sister screaming when I told her what happened. That awful, awful phone call - one I hope I never have to make again. Her crying is the most terrible sound I've ever heard.

Then there was the call, hours later, to my friend Mis Hooz. I thought I was strong enough to talk, but as soon as I tried to say the words, I knew I wasn't. But she stayed with me as I pulled myself together. It wasn't until that point that I realized how much I'd been trying to stay strong for my mother and sister. I could finally let my guard down.

Dad - we love you, miss you, and feel you with us every day.

Over the past year, I've asked myself dozens of times, "Is this where you want to be?" I've tried to figure out exactly what I want to do, and where I want to go. Because it really can change fast. But when I see how my mother has found the strength to move on, I know that this is where I'm supposed to be right now.

One side effect, however, is that I've become much less compassionate, and less tolerant of anything I perceive as "bullshit." Because I don't want to waste any more time dealing with it. And that's cost me some relationships and friendships - likely for good. I'm not sure I like that about myself, and my dad would likely have something to say about it. But I'm also not sure it's going to change. Maybe someday.

I'm going to step away for a week and spend some time with my family. It feels like the appropriate thing to do. As noted above, my sister is in town, and we've planned a busy week for ourselves. So I doubt she and my mother would have much patience for me spending time with the blog while they're sorting and cleaning.

Thanks to all of you for stopping by to read, and I will see you after Memorial Day. Please take care, and enjoy your holiday.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

We want equal pant-lengths!

Back in the days when I had to dress up for work (excuse me while I scratch this itch - the flashback seems to have caused a rash), I was often jealous whenever the weather got warmer because women got to wear lighter clothes and skirts, while us guys were stuck in the same ol' starchy shirts and khakis.

Mis Hooz once insisted to me that lighter summer clothing exists for men, but I either haven't seen it or can't afford to be running around in seersucker suits like Tom Wolfe.

Since I haven't had to wear a tie to work in quite some time, those jealousies faded. But then I read this piece from last Thursday's New York Times (I just, uh, happened to be reading the Style section for, uh, pictures of models - yep), and the emotions all came surging back.

Shorts - "crisply tailored, razor-creased versions with hemlines that hover chastely at the knees," as the article says - are in style for the ladies. And they've apparently become acceptable office wear, too.

"Even in a law office, though, shorts are not necessarily an affront to convention. Last week, Melissa Gluck, a lawyer in New York, wore shorts to work with a tank top and a tiny black sweater. She conceded that her outfit might cause a stir if she wore it to court, but was quick to add that it would probably pass muster if she paired the shorts with a jacket."

I don't know how else to say it. This is bullshit.

Yes, a man trying to work shorts into conventional office attire - with long-sleeve or short-sleeve shirt - would look flat-out ridiculous. But it's just not fair, man.

If the ladies get to air it out, so should the guys. Am I right?

Fellas, weigh in on this with me. Why do we have to sweat it out during the summer while women get to cool off?

Shorts in the office, man! Let's start the revolution now! We promise not to wear black socks with them.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

It's not my birthday yet

Thank you to Mis Hooz for sending along a link to two of the greatest photos I have ever seen in my life. (With two of the greatest... um... better just check out the link instead.) It was a happy weekend. Sweet sassy molassy.

Big fan of Uma Thurman's... work. Big fan. What a talent.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Make your speeches on YOUR time, Mr. President!

Aren't President Bush's approval ratings already low enough? I'm not talking about his reported intention to station more National Guard troops along the U.S.-Mexico border when the Guard is already stretched as thin as tissue paper.

And I'm not talking about the immigration debate itself. I'm still wrestling with my opinions on whether or not immigration laws in this country should be overhauled. That's a post for some other time. (But if you do decide to grant citizenship to illegal immigrants, Mr. President, can you please take care of my mother - who's worked here legally for more than 25 years, yet has spent almost three years working through a tangle of bureaucratic red tape to get her citizenship - first?)

No, I'm talking about the President cutting into prime-time programming tonight - during sweeps - for a speech on the matter. Who decided that, Mr. Decider?

Fortunately, those who run the TV networks have only given President Bush enough time to say his piece, and then they're giving the people what they want, and getting the good stuff back on the air. C'mon, Prison Break's season finale is on tonight. And then there's 24! You're really going to push Jack Bauer back a half hour, Mr. President? Do you know how precious time is to him?

(By the way, did you know Jack Bauer can talk a homeless man into saying who he works for? I just had to sneak that in there.)

And did you see how bat$#!+ crazy Izzie went on last night's Grey's Anatomy? Will she still have a job at Seattle Grace at the end of tonight's season finale? Is Dr. Burke okay?! And most importantly, who will be boinking who?!?! Because someone's always poking someone on that show!

Worst of all, you pre-empted The Oprah, Mr. President. I don't even want to be in your shoes when you have to deal with that. Even the first lady's leaving you on your own for that one. You saw what The Oprah did to James Frey. Be afraid, sir. Be very afraid.

And save the speeches for after TV sweeps next time. Geez.

Overheard in Ann Arbor

Bookseller #1: You're getting a gift card for your mom on Mother's Day?

Customer: What's wrong with that?

BS #1: Nothing, it's just--

C: She likes books, she likes coffee, she likes magazines--

BS #1: Okay. I'm just--

C: I'm getting her other stuff. I'm getting her flowers. I got her some music. I'm cooking her dinner...

Bookseller #2: What are you getting your mother for Mother's Day?

BS #1: Well... er... uh... I haven't...

C: HA!

BS #2: Uh-huh.

C: Thank you.

BS #2: You're welcome.

BS #1: I have a couple of ideas... I might [begins gesturing with hands] get her...

C: Yeah, I tried waving my hands in the air, too. Didn't work. Couldn't think of anything.

BS #1: Maybe I'll get her a gift card.

BS #2: Maybe you should.

C: Don't knock it.

-- Barnes & Noble

Overheard by: ???

Friday, May 12, 2006

Ain't I a stinker?

Here's a story I thought I'd save for the Friday before Mother's Day. To me, it's a testament to what she's had to put up with from me over the years, and the inner strength that keeps from going all chop-socky on my @$$.

Last weekend, we bought my sister a new laptop computer for her upcoming birthday. Don't worry; I'm not ruining any surprise. She doesn't read the blog. ("I want to read it, but the site's blocked at work!") And I'll just skim over the fact that my Lil' Sis will soon have a totally better laptop than mine. Never mind that she makes more in a year than I'll be fortunate to make over the next three to four. Nope. Not bitter. No, sir. How can I be? Every day is a gift. [vomit]

So Mama Cass wanted to keep the laptop in the basement, where it's cool and dark (and I won't be tempted to infect it with viruses and spyware up the ying-yang). Also in the basement is the old box for my current laptop, which looks virtually identical to the box Lil' Sis' computer is in. Knowing that my mother would soon join me downstairs to make sure I put the laptop in a place where it wouldn't fall ("What? It'll be fine, resting on the handle bars of your exercise bike!"), I set my sister's box down, and tucked my old one under my arm.

As she came down to the basement, I asked her where she thought I should put the laptop, walked toward the staircase, pretended to slip on the slick tile, and... dropped the box on the floor.

"Holy shit!" I said. "Oh no! Oh my God!"

(The box was still full of packing materials, instruction manuals, and software discs, so there was enough weight to make the drop convincing.)

Now here's what makes me feel bad. Not that I tried to trick this poor woman into thinking I just dropped a $900 laptop on a hard floor. Or that I'm the type of person who would attempt such a prank on his 60-year-old mother. No, it's that the first thing out of her mouth was "Oh my God! Are you okay?"

I thought for sure she'd scream at me for dropping the laptop. Before doing it, I could imagine the look of horror on her face, and me laughing so hard I couldn't catch my breath. Instead, her first concern was for her son's welfare. And if that doesn't make a good mother, I don't know what does.

So I 'fessed up right away. I didn't really drop Lil' Sis' new laptop (which has tons more memory and a way bigger hard drive than mine - just an observation). I didn't really tear my knee ligaments to shreds or break my tailbone. I was trying to be funny! I was just kidding.

If it makes you feel any better, she smacked me on the shoulder and said, "You asshole! I thought you hurt yourself!"

I'm pretty sure I've never heard her use that word before. I don't know where she learned to talk like that. Lil' Sis insists Mama Cass learned swear words from listening to me after I came home from school. You know what I say to that? Bullshit. Mom totally learned to talk like that from her co-workers. Besides, I was a really sweet fucking kid - as long as I had a snack and could watch He-Man and the Masters of the Universe without being disturbed after school.

And with that, I'm off to do some Mother's Day shopping. I'm sure everyone says this about their mother, but she really is impossible to buy for. Almost every year, I think I'll convince her to finally let me get her a spa treatment or massage. But she refuses. So Lil' Sis and I are left to scramble. I'll probably end up getting her a book, CD, and some goodies to munch on. It never feels like enough, but I think she'll be happy with that. Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

Don't worry; I'm not ruining any surprise. She doesn't read the blog. ("I typed in 'fried rice,' and all I got were a bunch of recipes! Where is it?")

What are you guys getting for your mothers? I could use some ideas, even though it's late in the day. The comments are yours.

▪▪ I have to mention Kevin Antcliff's very touching post today, which is about his mother. Having gone through something very similar, my heart really goes out to you, Kev. You've become a good friend over the past few months, and I truly appreciate that. As you said, remembering what's good about your life is the best thing you can do, and I know your mother would want you to do that. My thoughts will be with you this weekend.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mr. TV Party-Pooper?

You know That Guy. Or maybe you are That Guy. (I've been That Guy in the past, but have successfully flushed it out of my system.)

"How can you call yourself a TV watcher," That Guy said to me, "and not watch Lost?"

It's my fault for having brought it up. After reading this USA Today article about fans' many obsessive theories about Lost earlier in the day, I asked This Guy during lunch whether he watched the show. After his gushing endorsement, I admitted I wasn't a fan.

I gave it a shot early in the first season (and dragged Mis Hooz into my curiosity over the phone, especially when Evangeline Lilly pranced around the island in her underwear - those must've been fun conversations for her). But it fell off my radar as I got busy with school last Spring and had to fight for TV time.

I meant to catch up on DVD at some point, but never got around to it. And once the new season started, I figured it was one of those shows where you'd be hopelessly lost baffled if you'd missed an episode. But I think there's more to it than that for me. Or maybe I just came up with this because I was so irritated by "How can you call yourself--?!"

With shows like this, the payoff never matches the build-up.

I think it's really cool that fans are so into the shows that they've come up with so many theories (it's an experiment, a shift in the space-time continuum, or all in someone's mind, etc.). And the producers clearly enjoy throwing clues at the audience, whether they're legitimate or meant to deceive. Hell, I'm envious. I kind of miss not being part of the national conversation every Thursday. And I'd want some answers, too.

But I feel like I've been through something like this before with shows like Twin Peaks and The X-Files, or movies like the Matrix trilogy. I had ideas about who killed Laura Palmer, or what happened to Agent Mulder's little sister. I had guesses about what would happen to Neo and Agent Smith, and the world they inhabited. I read all the theories I could find, and talked friends' ears off, too.

And ultimately, the ends to those stories were disappointing. The writers weren't nearly as clever as I thought they were. Maybe they had no idea where they were going with these stories in the first place. Fearing a quick hook by the network, maybe they just threw $#!+ at the wall, hoping something would stick. Or the rabid fan devotion caught them off guard, which compelled them to keep feeding a fire that eventually blazed out of control.

Or maybe our expectations were just too high.

So that's why I'm not watching Lost. Am I being too jaded? Am I being a Donnie Downer? If so, I apologize. I hate that. But it's because I care.

For the sake of those who really love the show - such as Fried Rice Friend, Mr. Donutbuzz - I hope I'm wrong, and that this is going to be different. I hope there really is something behind the curtain, and those responsible for the show aren't just taking advantage of fan interest. Because those viewers deserve to have their devotion rewarded.

What do you think? Should I still try to catch up on Lost? Or should I just fling food at That Guy next time?

Discuss amongst yourselves

Toni Morrison's Beloved is "the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years."

So says a collection of writers, critics, editors, and other pundits assembled by the New York Times Book Review.

Agree? Disagree? I'd love to argue, because this is just asking for it, but of all the books I read during my two years of studying literature and writing at the University of Iowa, I think Beloved might have been the best book I read. I read through it four times (and not just because I wrote a paper on it), and my copy is dog-eared to hell. Had I not gone back to school, I'm not sure I would've read it. So I'm definitely grateful for that.

The list of runners-up and honorable mentions is heavy with Don DeLillo and Philip Roth novels. Maybe my mind's been away from literature for too long now, but I can't think of anything to add. Not that's been written in the last 25 years, anyway. I love The Things They Carried and Jesus' Son being on the list, though.

You now have your (heavy) summer reading list. Off with you. Carry on to bookstores and libraries, fellow bibliophiles.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Hey Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit outta my hat!

I imagine that most bloggers have a subject that really touches a nerve in them, something that sends the blood rushing to their fingers, eager to type out a rant on a particular topic that truly stirs up their individual passion.

This, they likely think to themselves as the words fill up the screen, is the reason I wanted to start blogging.

That's where I find myself today. I have reached that point. I may have not consciously started this blog intending to write on this particular subject, but now that it's come to me, I have that sensation surging within my chest.

My purpose is clear. This is why I wanted a blog. I've always known that I had to speak (or write) in regards to one person and the total fraud that he has perpetrated on our culture. And today, I get to do it.

I fucking hate David Blaine.

Tonight, this no-talent assclown will hijack two hours of prime-time network programming with his latest "Look at me! I'm a total fucking idiot who won't eat or drink for a week" attention-starved stunt. Worst of all, he calls it - wave your hands around like Jon Stewart would - "magic."

Here's a quote from ABC on the show tonight:

David Blaine, known for his headline-making feats of physical, emotional and mental endurance, will once again put his life on the line in a death-defying attempt to hold his breath underwater longer than any human being, which is currently a stunning eight minutes, 58 seconds. He will undertake this latest challenge after living with a life support system in a specially built human aquarium -- an eight-foot acrylic sphere -- for seven days and nights, in full public view in front of New York's Lincoln Center.

Isn't this what children do when they want attention? Hold their breath until they turn blue?

I'm not impressed. And no matter how hard Blaine tries, it's too late. I know magic. One of my best friends wanted to be a magician when he was a kid. He could stick the knitting needle through a balloon without it popping. He could pull those three big inter-connected rings apart. He could guess what card I was holding. And this was back in fourth grade. Mike got all the chicks, while I was left alone with my Spider-Man comic books. David Copperfield had nothing on him.

So some moron spending a week in a fishbowl in front of Lincoln Center does nothing for me. How about sitting on a toilet for seven days and reading Infinite Jest without your feet falling asleep? Now that would be "magic." That would be a "headline-making feat of physical, emotional, and mental endurance."

Where the hell are the New Yorkers on this one, anyway? I thought you people were tough and didn't take shit from anyone. How has this guy not been rolled onto West 65th St. by now? You're going to let Londoners look like the tough ones for chucking eggs, burgers, and tomatoes at this guy while he was dangling above the city in a glass box? C'mon! You threw garbage at the Green Goblin in Spider-Man! We know you're better than this!

Mis Hooz, what are you doing on your lunch break? I know - Lincoln Center's pretty far from your office. But come up with something. Your tooth hurts. Some client needs a delivery. There was a really, really, really long line at the falafel joint. Get down there and drop this dude like a water balloon!

You can get past whatever security they have. I've seen you get your way to the front of the stage at concerts! It'll be just like the old days, man! Tap on the glass like it's a fish tank! Pull your pants down and moon the guy! Press those cheeks right up to his showboating face. The revolution will be televised! I'll post your bail! It'd be totally worth it.

Here's a stunt that might impress me, Blaine: How about you stand in front of an oncoming semi-truck going 85 miles an hour? Walk away from that, go get yourself an iced tea, and I'll call that "magic." I'll even pay for the drink afterwards.

Try to give birth to a child without saying a word. Let's see that. Hey, if Katie Holmes can do it...

How about making gas prices go down? Make the number "1" the first digit we see on the gas station marquee. That'd impress everyone, and actually provide a public service.

Or just beat Jack Bauer in the ratings tonight. Maybe that'd be enough.

You feel that? That is passion, people! My fingers are on fire. My body is surging with life. I am standing up as I type this! Stand up with me! Take back pop culture! Take it away from stupid dipshits like this "street magician," who thinks holding his breath, standing still, sitting in a giant ice cube, or not eating is worth your attention.

Man, I fucking hate David Blaine.

This is why I started a blog.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Should I choose to accept it

Is anyone else kind of pumped to see Mission: Impossible III this weekend, or am I in the minority?

Sure, I'm sick of Tom Cruise too; no celebrity is more annoying or tiresome right now. But I don't usually let that sort of thing influence whether or not I'll see a movie. (Or do I? I still haven't seen War of the Worlds. It keeps inching down my Netflix queue.)

Would you believe me if I said one of the reasons I want to see M:I:III is because of Philip Seymour Hoffman? It's true. He looks like a great villain.

Actually, I'm not sure why I want to see another Mission: Impossible flick. The first one had a plot that I never understood, even after repeated viewings on HBO. (Jon Voight's a good guy. No, wait - he's a bad guy. Hang on, Voight's wife is bad. What? Somebody take off another latex mask!) But Cruise jumping off an exploding helicopter onto a train was cool. Maybe I would've enjoyed it more if I'd taken a drink every time Ethan Hunt said "NOC list."

And the second one - which I also like to call Face/Off 2 - was John Woo at his absolute slow-motion, dove-flying worst. What I remember most about that movie is 1) snickering when Cruise yells "Just stay alive! I'm not going to lose you!" to Thandie Newton, and 2) a woman sitting behind me and Mis Hooz who yelled "Whatever!" when Cruise and Dougray Scott jumped off their motorcycles to tackle each other in mid-air. That was the best part of the movie for me. If I were to ever watch it again, I know I wouldn't be able to keep myself from laughing.

Yet here I am, wanting to subject myself to more. I think I just want some mindless action movie entertainment after seeing United 93 last week. The rumors that the Superman Returns trailer will play beforehand could also be a factor. And that theme song is just so damn catchy!

Or maybe I just want to see Felicity get tortured. Is that sick of me?

▪▪ The New York Times' Manohla Dargis calls it a "seriously strange vanity project."

▪▪ Ann Hornaday of the Washington Post makes a joke that I was going to make, too, but decided against it. Snooze, you lose. ("Is it too soon?")

▪▪ Roger Ebert is apparently trying to determine Ethan Hunt's motivation. I can only imagine what dopily snarky retort Roeper will have for him this weekend.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Great. Caesar's. Ghost.

I'm treading a bit on Kevin Antcliff's territory (well, not really, since he's already written about it), but the new trailer for Superman Returns is online now, and... I almost can't move after watching it. Actually, I've already watched it, well, let's say a few times last night. And a couple more times this morning.

I'm not even sure I should be looking directly at it. It's too cool. The Matrix sequels raised the bar for flying scenes, and it looks like Bryan Singer and crew met that standard. (Can't say they exceeded it yet.) Any doubts I had about Brandon Routh (He looks too young! Who knows if he can act?) as the new Superman are pretty much gone. And as the K-Dog said to me in an e-mail last night (we exchange many giddy, emotional letters whenever new Superman movie news is released), Kevin Spacey is the right mix of evil and devious as Lex Luthor.

But to be honest, they had me as soon as the first few notes of John Williams' theme song kicked in. (That's one thing newer blockbusters like the Spider-Man and new Batman flicks have lacked. Where's the signature theme song? Get on that, man.)

Less than sixty days until this movie comes out (June 30)? I will be The wait is almost unbearable.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Exactly what it needed to be

I was a bit surprised to see United 93 finish second at the box office this weekend (behind RV - ugh). As I said before, I thought people would generally steer clear of it, thinking it was too soon for this kind of movie or wanting to avoid the subject matter entirely. And to be fair, it's not like moviegoers came out in droves. $11 million isn't a record-setting gross.

(I'd argue that the second-place finish had more to do with the lack of options for adults. If you wanted to go to the movies last weekend, United 93 was probably the only film that looked remotely appealing. But that's another topic.)

As you can surely imagine, it was a tough movie to watch. It's not so much that it affected me emotionally (though it was certainly moving). I just had this sense of dread through most of its first half. I basically knew what was going to happen, but the anxiety over waiting to see it was a bit hard to take. At the risk of sounding like I want a blurb on a movie poster, my heart was pounding. It was kind of like watching a horror film.

Having said that, I never felt like United 93 was being exploitive or manipulative. There's nothing here that's designed to toy with your emotions (unlike its TV movie counterpart, Flight 93, which I also masochistically watched this weekend). Paul Greengrass just presents what happened - or what is believed to have happened - and leaves it at that. There's no melodrama. Violence is largely implied. The camera doesn't zoom in tight on Todd Beamer when he says "Let's roll." We don't see people tearfully say goodbye to their loved ones. Everything just blends into the overall story.

I was also impressed that Greengrass didn't try to remind us how terrible a day 9-11 was. We already know that. We were all there. And he knows that. There is very little shown, outside of some news footage, and very little said by the characters. And that blank space allows the viewer to fill in his or her own memories. We can remember where we were, what we were doing, who we spoke to, who we were worried about. I applaud that kind of respect for the audience. It's not shown nearly enough in movies these days.

(I'm not sure such respect was deserved by one of my fellow moviegoers, however. At the moment the passengers decided to attack the hijackers, some jerko at the back of the theater cheered like a touchdown had just been scored. I immediately thought of Susannah's comments here a couple of weeks ago. Look, if the movie compelled him to do that, fine. We all react in different ways, emotionally. But it was so inappropriate. Go home and watch Die Hard again, pal.)

In Slate, Dana Stevens asked what Greengrass was trying to say with this. And that's a really interesting question. But it never occurred to me while watching the film. Besides, what could he have said? (And with that, maybe Stevens is wondering what the point of the whole venture was.) Essentially, this was a dramatized documentary. I think that's exactly what Greengrass intended. And it's just how this material needed to be handled.