Getaway Weekend

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A good time was had by all this past weekend… or at least I did. There is nothing better than a three-day weekend. Better still is a three-day weekend when your significant other has to get up early to go to work (or school) so you get the entire bed to yourself and you can sleep diagonal.

Diagonal makes me happy.

Lots of movies were had over the course of the three days.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding was picked up at Costco and enjoyed just as much the second time around. I am looking forward to see what they do with the spin-off show, My Big Fat Greek Life. I hope they can maintain the writing and quirkiness of the whole thing, but somehow I doubt it. There’s something in the genuineness (yes, that’s a word) that gets lost when a movie gets translated to the small screen. The only exception to that I can think of off hand is Buffy. Let’s hope these guys can pull it off.

Simone was decent, too, but really hit home with me on another level. The whole story is that this down-and-out director gets ahold of some computer software that allows him to insert a computer-generated perfect actress into his movies. The story goes about how he dupes the public and they all love her, how he keeps up the appearance that she’s real, etc. All in all, a good show.

The thing about that one is that my friend Gerb and I had been having a similar discussion about this a while back. He’s trying to get into the film industry and he brought up the idea that we will eventually get to this point where people can invent computer-generated actors and you would stop seeing actual people in movies. His point was that people would always know the difference between a real person on screen and a computerized person and the public would demand real people. I made the counterpoint that you would eventually not even be able to tell just by looking, you’d have to watch the actor’s actions to determine his/her nature… but until artificial intelligence is sufficiently developed enough to emulate human behavior (and that’s going to be a long time), it’s moot - there will always be a real human behind the scenes controlling the computerized actor anyway. Wouldn’t that be the same thing? It’d just be like wearing a more complex level of makeup, to a point where you’re actually emoting through an entirely different body.

Taking that one step further, that would actually open up the acting field to people who, in real life, don’t meet the “standards” for what an actor/actress should look like but who can actually act very well. That might even provide a broader selection of talent to choose from. Wouldn’t that be a good thing?

After seeing Simone, I’ll have to pick up that debate with him.

We also rented Formula 51, which was a decent if shallow action/gangster film. It was fun, but definitely a rental. I enjoyed Samuel L. Jackson, though I could have done without his bare ass at the end.

So. Valentine’s Day (Friday) Jenn and I went to get Chinese food at a local restaurant. After standing in the lobby for 30 minutes, crammed in like a Crayola 48-pack, we got our to-go order and returned home.

Chinese food rocks. I love the deep fried prawns. Lots of deep, extra fried, with a smathering of prawn. It doesn’t get much better than that.

While eating our Chinese, we watched My Big Fat Greek Wedding as described above. We also gave each other our gifts. I got her Orchestra level seats for Mamma Mia! when it comes to Portland in July, and she got me a PS2 game that I’ve been longing for, The Getaway (more on that later). That was Valentine’s Day.

Saturday and Sunday not much happened. I stopped in at my comic store to pick up the latest issues of the crap I subscribe to and we cleaned up the apartment a bit. Oh, and I played a lot of The Getaway.

Monday (President’s Day) I had the day off while Jenn had to go to school, so I was alone for the first half of the day or thereabouts. During that time, I got to stretch out and sleep in my beloved diagonal position. One would think such things would provide little joy, but when you hang over the edge of the bed regardless of what you do, diagonal is a Good Thing.

Monday afternoon my dad, Jenn, and I all went to see Daredevil. I liked it, but I feel that I’m probably biased because there were a lot of comic book in-jokes that only the people who read the comics will get. My dad and Jenn, neither of whom read the books, also liked it though, so take that for what it’s worth. If you liked Spider-Man or Batman, you’ll probably like Daredevil. It’s got the action and coolness of Spider-Man with the darkness in Batman. Plus, Jennifer Garner.

Anyway, The Getaway. This game rules. It’s an accurate scale re-creation of 40 square kilometers of London. Within this world, you play a gangster named Mark Hammond who’s child has been kidnapped by a gangster named Charlie Jolson. Your object is to run missions for Jolson while trying to find where he’s got your kid.

The game plays like a British gangster movie, a la Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. They’ve taken it to the next stage, though, and the whole game is in widescreen, and there are no “gaming indicators” on screen - if you want to know your health level, you look at how badly your character is limping; if you want to know which direction to turn while driving, watch the car’s turn signals. That rocks because you’re never sucked out of the idea that the thing is a movie. The controls are simple and intuitive, too - there’s an “action” button that allows you to crouch, hide, roll, etc., all based on the context the character is in; there’s an “attack” button that shoots your gun, pistol whips people, etc. It’s all very simple, allowing you to do more complex things without having to remember loads of button combos. And it’s not so difficult that you can’t beat a mission. You may have to try several times, but it’s not impossible the way some games are. I’m loving it. If you have a PS2, check this thing out.

(An interesting item of note - Formula 51 takes place in London, and as I was watching, certain places looked familiar, probably due to my exposure via The Getaway. Or maybe all of Britain looks the same…)