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media, movies, tv comments edit

Jessica Simpson is Daisy
DukeSaturday Stu and Tif joined Jenn and I in checking out The Dukes of Hazzard.

I didn’t go in expecting too much. I was a fan of the show even when I was a little kid, but knowing that the whole thing revolves around escaping the county sheriff by jumping your car over the local ravine didn’t seem like it was going to lend itself to film too well - I mean, it’s a great, fun show, but a movie?

They rocked the house with this one.

Again, keep in mind that a Dukes movie has to address certain points:

  • Boss Hogg is a rich, greedy asshole
  • Sheriff Coltrane is Boss Hogg’s pawn and doesn’t actually uphold any laws
  • Cooter fixes the General Lee
  • Fight breaks out at the Boar’s Nest
  • Daisy looks hot and kicks someone’s ass
  • Poorly conceived jailbreak
  • Car chases, several jumps
  • Something goes down involving Uncle Jesse
  • Random freeze-frame in the middle of a climactic moment with the narrator saying something that would lead you into commercial

All points were addressed, and the cast did an excellent job. I particularly loved Burt Reynolds as Boss Hogg - he updated the character and really just executed it with style.

Something I didn’t get, which was funny but didn’t really have bearing on the show (so far as I recall)… They really played up how Bo always drives the car and loves the General Lee but never gets a girl, and Luke gets all the girls but doesn’t know how to drive. Maybe that’s something they sort of inferred from the show that I guess I missed, but they really played it up like it was a major part of the series.

I would be remiss in failing to mention how hot Jessica Simpson is in this one. She may or may not be dumb as a box of hammers, but she is fiiiiiine.

Stu says he’s going to buy it when it comes out on DVD. I’m not sure if I’ll buy it or not, but it was a hell of a lot of fun. Several laughs, great excitement. If I see it on the “previously viewed” rack for a discount, I’ll grab it. Do you have to see it in the theater? No - there really weren’t any scenes that required a big screen. But do see it, especially if you liked the show. It’s a great time.

Another busy weekend this past weekend. I always think my weekends are going to somehow be restful, but it usually turns out the “work hard, play hard” thing rears its ugly head and I end up running all over town having fun.

Yeah, that sounds like a real complaint there, doesn’t it?

It’s fun, but exhausting. I’m totally dragging this morning.

Friday night we saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with my parents.

Saturday Stu and Tif came over so Tif and Jenn could wash and wax their cars the way Stu and I did a couple weeks back.

Stu and I took about an hour to put some edging up along the side of the house (we have some barkdust that always seems to overflow onto the sidewalk, so the edging should hold it all back). After that, the ladies washed and waxed while we played video games. It had been a while since I had played really anything but Dance Dance Revolution, so playing some cool game demos to see what’s coming out and throwing down for a while in Burnout 3 was a hell of a lot of fun.

When it started heating up (too hot for the ladies to wax anymore), we took some time and went to see The Dukes of Hazzard, which was great fun.

We got back and the ladies went out to finish their cars while Stu and I gamed and watched some TV. Long about 11:30p they finished and we all called it a night. Stu and I were fading fast, and I’m sure Jenn and Tif had had enough for the evening.

Sunday was chore day. Jenn and I did the vacuuming, laundry, dusting, shopping, and everything else that doesn’t get done all week.

My parents got cable Internet access so they needed me to come over and set up their wireless router for them. On the way over, we had a little issue where this guy cut across three lanes of traffic and jammed his stupid minivan nose slightly in front of me in the left hand turn lane and tried to wave it off, like, “Sorry! I realize I just cut across three lanes of traffic to try to get right in front of you, but it’s okay because I’m waving!”

It’s not okay; this isn’t Hawaii, there’s no “Da Kine,” motherfucker. You screwed up - accept responsibility for that and turn around legally, the way everyone else does, and come back from the other direction. No cutting across three lanes of traffic because you were reading to the kids in the back seat and weren’t paying attention and missed your turn. Ass. I laid on the horn and gave the guy the finger. No way he was getting in on my watch. Fuck that.

Whew.

Okay, so, anyway, we got to my parents’ house and I set up Dad’s wireless router. That didn’t take too long, and it was nice to sit and talk with them for a bit. After that, home, more chores, and, finally, bed.

And, like I said, I’m dragging this morning. I may have to go get a Jamba Juice or something.

media, movies comments edit

Charlie and the Chocolate
FactoryOn Friday I went to see the latest version of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as seen on the big screen. Huge screen, in fact, as I saw it in an IMAX theater.

I didn’t go in expecting much. The original movie holds a special place in my heart with its songs and Gene Wilder’s couldn’t-care-less Willy Wonka.

I came out very pleasantly surprised.

Tim Burton took the film in a more true-to-the-book direction (at least, so I’ve heard; it’s been years since I read the book and don’t remember too well), and did a great job at it. Plus, with the usual Tim Burton surreal thing going on, it all came together to be pretty darn entertaining.

Johnny Depp did a great job as a pretty freaky Wonka with some pretty obvious family issues. I was worried about how he’d be able to pull off the character, but he did a fantastic job and made it his own, without a hint of the Gene Wilder influence. (That’s actually what I was more afraid of - that it’d be a bad imitation of an excellent Gene Wilder performance.)

The story was slightly updated, too, to account for more recent times. Mike Teavee, for example, was a video game addict rather than just a TV addict. Of course, once Wonka’s factory was entered, all that went out the window anyway.

Which actually brings us to Wonka’s factory - excellent job on the rendition of that. In some cases, particularly the first room they enter where the chocolate waterfall is, it was just like the original movie, but in others, like the invention room, it was entirely new. A pretty good vision for what such a place should look like. And the Great Glass Elevator? Way better than the original movie.

The Oompa Loompas were done very differently from the original movie, and each style has its merits. I’m not sure I was into the outfits the new Loompas had on - the original movie had funnier costumes that I liked. The new Loompas were more playful, though, and I think some of that was missing from the original movie. Plus the songs were more authentic in this latest version, which was cool. (No “Oompa Loompa Doompity Do” in this one.)

I think the IMAX theater added to the surreal nature of the film. The camera angles and sets, which were already pretty crazy, were just made more crazy by the larger-than-life size of the screen combined with the curvature of the IMAX dome. (That’s the only downside to seeing a regular movie in IMAX - the screen curves, which takes some getting used to and sort of makes you a little motion sick at times. Plus it’s so big it’s hard to figure out what to focus on at any given time. Movies that are originally filmed in IMAX don’t have this problem because the filming accounts for the curvature.)

All in all, I liked it, and recommend seeing it. Maybe at matinee prices, or rental - it wasn’t $10-a-seat-in-a-regular-theater worthy, but if you get a chance to check it out on IMAX, do it. Pretty cool stuff.