This was an eventful weekend for me in the Land of Movies. I rented a couple and went to one. Here’s the rundown…
Training Day: This is the Denzel Washington vehicle to the Oscars. Long story short, Denzel’s a corrupt narcotics cop and has to train rookie Ethan Hawke on the ways of Street Justice. You end up hating Denzel by the end of the movie because he’s a bad, bad man, and you’re happy he gets the Street Justice he deserves.
I liked this movie because it’s not the standard fare for Denzel - normally he’s the “good cop,” but this time he’s the “bad cop.” It was good to see him change. Not sure if he deserved an Oscar or not for it, but I can’t say he wasn’t good.
The Last Castle: Robert Redford is a court-martialled General in the US Army who gets sent to prison because he disobeyed an order from the President. While in there, he finds out that the warden is a jerk who abuses his power and treats the prisoners poorly. Redford takes over the prison in an attempt to get the warden ousted.
This was a pretty good one, too, though a bit predictable. You can guess exactly what’s going to happen, who’s going to die, etc., before the first ten minutes is through. However, if you’re looking for something just generally good and fun to watch, I recommend it. Jenn and I both had a good time with it.
Ice Age: This is the animated feature about animals in the (you guessed it) Ice Age from 20th Century Fox. It was very clever and fun with some pretty darn good animation. There’s a little recurring character (the “Scrat”) who has nothing to do with the story really, but cracks you up. The voices they chose for the characters fit well and were well done.
Before you go see this, though (and I do recommend you see it), know two things: First, it’s short. 81 minutes isn’t the longest movie in the world. Second, you can’t compare it to Shrek. Just don’t. Shrek was a lot deeper as far as plot development, characters, and the level of humor they stuck in there. Ice Age is inherently a kid’s movie and is pretty shallow as far as all of that’s concerned. It is well done, though, which is why I recommend it.
Saw my friend Gerb for the first time since, like, Christmas and we went to Starbucks to hang out and talk (though why he couldn’t have driven the extra, like, half mile and just come over to my apartment is utterly beyond me). Guess what I ordered while I was there…
I’ve been fighting with this stupid broken turntable I’ve got for a while now. The extra turntable I bought to scavenge parts from supposedly worked when I bought it from the guy, but it sure as hell doesn’t work now (and, no, I didn’t break it; it never worked while in my possession). My dad fixed the part that was broken on the original turntable I was trying to fix, but then when I plugged it in, I discovered a new problem - the turntable gets power now (yay!) but once you start a record playing, the turntable never stops. It finishes playing, the needle lifts up and returns to its resting position, but the record keeps spinning.
I traced it down to this stupid lever/arm thing underneath it that’s supposed to move back and forth to engage/disengage the power to the turntable. It pushes forward to turn the thing on, but it never pulls back to turn it off. Not being mechanically inclined, I’m about ready to go buy a new one. I guess I never realized how stinking Rube Goldberg record players are.
Now I’ve got a query in to Fred’s Sound of Music (where the thing was bought, like, 20+ years ago or something) to see if they can fix it. Here’s hoping.
In other news, Jenn and I are working on a trip to Las Vegas. I want to stay at the Paris Las Vegas since I’ve been there a couple of times and it was really nice, but it’s gone way up in price since last time. I suppose I’ll just bite the bullet and stay there anyway.
Speaking of Paris Las Vegas, last time I stayed there I bought a ceramic balloon mug from the gift shop before I left. Took extra special care of it on the plane to try to get it home in one piece - and succeeded. Used it once, stuck it in the dishwasher. Destroyed it. It wasn’t dishwasher-safe. Of course, there were no labels or anything that would indicate it wasn’t safe for the dishwasher, so I called ‘em. They very kindly sent me a new one for free. And, of course, it had a label on the bottom - “Not Dishwasher Safe.” So if you see these balloon mugs and they have that label on them, it’s my fault. Heh.
So, Vegas. It’ll be a lot of fun. And, to the people who we said we’d try to coordinate with if we went to Vegas (you know who you are), sorry. I’ll try to get in touch with you to personally apologize. Jenn and I just felt that since we haven’t ever actually been on a vacation with just the two of us, we didn’t want to try to coordinate with other people - we want to be able to do what we want, when we want, and not have to try to make time to hang with other folks or meet up anywhere. Next time, okay?