Wednesday, November 08, 2006

San Diego

I am in San Diego-- have been here a few days. I mysteriously lost an earlier blog entry regarding the trip. The first time I was here I stayed in a dirt-cheap hostel. Now I am at the Hotel del Coronado--- an amazing resort hotel on Coronado island. The first time I was here was the first time I was on a plane. How times have changed. I can't even count how many flights I have taken. The temperature has been in the 80s all week. It is beautiful here.

I watched a few movies on the flight here and in my jet-lagged middle of the night insomnia. Here are my mini-reviews:

Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest
I was disappointed. Jack Sparrow is an excellent character, as are Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan... in an excellent "Disney character" sort of way. The trouble is that the special effects played a too prominent role. The "scary characters" bordered on the absurd, and possessed unpredictable physics. Also problematic was Swan kissing Sparrow. I am quite convinced Sparrow plays for the other team. Next time, more Sparrow--- and less dead creatures.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
I generally do not like Will Ferrell, but paired with the most excellent John C. Reilly and, well, it was as close to magic as Ferrell will ever see on screen. Actually, Ferrell is more entertaining and less offensive than he has ever been. NASCAR is such an easy target that I can forgive him for almost anything... except the French-bashing that is somehow pulled off without being completely idiotic. Definitely not a must-see.

You, Me and Dupree
Is it just me, or is Matt Dillon starting to wear a little with age? And can Owen Wilson only play one character? Kate Hudson was almost adorable in this movie, but Michael Douglas was merely phoning it in. Michael Douglas? Either his agent should be shot, or he is donating his salary to charity. Not the worst movie ever, but it seemed to be rather misdirected. As far as it tried to go, it should have gone all the way and descended in complete farcedom.

My Super Ex-Girlfriend
Something about in-seat on-demand video compelled me to watch this Uma Thurman/Luke Wilson "effort." Rainn Wilson must be completely typecast as a dork/loser by this point after almost reprising his Arther/Six Feet Under role. Anna Faris from Brokeback Mountain was the high point of this movie-- for whatever that is worth. I will briefly embed a Brokeback Mountain review, since we recently rented that movie. Actually, Lise and I each picked a movie-- I wanted to watch Donnie Darko, but they didn't have it, so I picked Jarhead. Lise picked the only movie I hoped she didn't rent: Brokeback Mountain. Actually, Brokeback was a very well acted movie-- but not at all what I expected. Knowing it was a "gay cowbow movie" I fully expected that it was set in the 1800s. But I guess I am just like that. Jake's other movie was a bit of a mess-- although it is to be expected for a "war movie" for a war that only lasted four days.

Lords of Dogtown
I spend half the movie trying to figure out if that was Heath Ledger. After I decided that it was, I was wondering what the hell he was doing in this disaster. Dogtown and Z-boys is FAR superior-- and the real deal. Why watch a "movie" when the documentary has far better skate action and character development? Skip it. They could have just as well animated this wreck.

Buffalo '66
I don't know if it was insomnia that kept me up watching this movie, or if this movie kept my up on the basis of its own merit. I had seen this movie in video stores, having no clue what it was about. I watched it simply because it was on at 3am on HBO. I was floored at how excellent his Vincent Gallo/Christina Ricca vehicle is. Simply amazing. Ben Gazzara and Anjelica Huston are priceless as Vincent's parents. I have never seen family dysfunction magnified to this extreme without dripping into absurdity. I have never felt such sympathy for such a loser character. Christina Ricci was practically a child when this movie was made, but truly steals the show, which is no easy feat when paired with Gallo.

The Dukes of Hazzard
I was reaching psychosis by the time this movie came on. It is truly sad that this film was ever made. At least the Charlie's Angels films clearly showed that the filmmakers were in on the joke. DOH took itself far too seriously as being a feature film based on the TV show--- without a hint of irony. Imagine an earnest Weird Al imitator. It just isn't right.

Donnie Darko
For $9.99 I purchased this at Best Buy--- almost cheaper than I can rent it in Norway. This is my new favorite movie, even though I have only seen part of it. It also completes the Jake trifecta.

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