The Squid and the Whale

Vision Entertainment Services. © 1995-2005Tonight I went to go see The Squid and the Whale at the Westcott Cinema, in Syracuse’s Westcott neighborhood, right around the corner from where I live. While the Westcott Cinema could desperately use some of the renovation the Palace Theatre in Eastwood has gotten, it isn’t in too bad of a shape. I definetly want to see more movies there in the future, seeing that it’s right around the corner and it generally plays good movies. A couple of weeks ago it screened Wal-Mart:_The High Cost of Low Price, which I unfortunately missed.
Movie PosterAnyway, I liked The Squid and the Whale. It had that kind-of “real feel” to it, probably aided by the use of 16mm cameras, and the movie is kind of a tragicomedy, a genre I like very much.
The movie has a ton of anachronisms, some of which I noticed while watching the movie. The film was supposed to be set in 1986. Two of the ones I noticed were the U.S. flag on subway cars (didn’t appear until after 9/11), and a Purell hand disinfectant dispenser (didn’t appear until a few years ago). Unlike some people, anachronisms don’t usually anger me, with the exception of that really stupid one involving a video camera in The War of the Worlds, which I mentioned in my hate-rant about that movie this past summer.

Good Night and Good Luck.

Tuesday night I saw Good Night and Good Luck. at the Palace Theatre in the Eastwood Neighborhood of Syracuse, in what would be the first of a two-night tour of old-school Syracusan theaters. The Palace reopened this year after a half-million dollar renovation. It’s a pretty cool place… It even has a café. About 25 people were there. I estimated that the theater holds about 600.
Movie PosterAnyways, the movie was pretty good. McCarthyism is a pretty relevant topic again today. With Bush authorizing wire tapping and people randomly being labeled as terrorists simply because they look Islamic. It is quite ridiculous that Senator McCarthy got away with what he did for several years. A great moment in the movie was the rebuttal segment, where his arguments started falling apart.
The whole fifties flair was great too, including the TV cigarette ads, and somebody lighting a cigarette virtually every five seconds.

Regular Discouragment

I took some time off today to watch Morgan Spurlock’s Supersize Me, something I like to do regularly when I think I’m eating too much fast food. It is pretty effective.
As a college student, I stereotypically eat unhealthy most of the time. A good 90 percent of my meals are consumed at Kimmel Food Court, three blocks away, where my choices are Dunkin’ Donuts, Sbarro, Burger King, KFC, Taco Bell, Häagen Dazs, some bad sandwich place, and a very limited Chinese grill.
In order to improve and diversify my diet somewhat, I subscribed to an off-campus meal plan this semester, which lets me eat or order from over a dozen places, most of which are on Marshall Street, four blocks away. I only chose a very limited meal plan for that though, so I probably only had somewhere around 25 meals off campus, all semester.
I really hope I end up marrying a vegan chef someday, like Morgan Spurlock is, or at least develop an interest in healthy cooking. The way America’s nutrition is heading is absolutely disgusting… The half-gallon (2-liter) soda cups, the Triple Whopper (quite tasty) and its near equivalent breakfast sandwiches… It’s ridiculous. If I didn’t walk the great amount I do almost nearly every day, to/from class and at work), I’d be horribly obese. No wonder that fast food, coupled with cars and delivery service, has achieved this.
Super Size Me brings in so many facts, that really drive home the argument. Just about all food products marketed to kids on TV are for fast food, sugared cereal, or soft drinks. McDonalds serves as the “community playground” with its PlayPlaces. Too bad its Happy Meals aren’t that easily burned off climbing and sliding for twenty or so minutes.
Then of course there are school lunches. When I was in elementary and middle school, you were basically forced to purchase a somewhat balanced lunch. Spurlock visits schools where kids are allowed to just purchase fries or a pile of Little Debbie snacks. One great moment is when a lunch supervisor mentions that the school recently got rid of soft drinks, upon which Spurlock notes that there is just as much sugar in the Country Time Lemonade they were selling. Even poor schools, receiving nearly all their food in boxes from the federal government, are receiving nothing but disgusting junk.
As if that wasn’t enough, schools are cutting recess and physical education. Isn’t this a wonderful combination!?
Spurlock’s movie was “rebuttaled” several times by journalists and other independent filmmakers. All ate at McDonalds for 30 days, but limited their calorie consumption. Too bad most Americans don’t do that.
Anyway, so now I’ll be scared of fast food again for a couple days. It can’t hurt.

War of the Worlds

Sim City 2000 Monster - This is a screenshot of a copyrighted computer game or video game. It is believed that screenshots may be exhibited on under the fair use provision of United States copyright law.
Yes, there’s some resemblance…

War of the Worlds is a horrible movie. Oh wait, I guess I have to write “WARNING: Spoiler Below!!!” or something like that before I proceed. Then again, you might as well spoil the movie for yourself, because it’s not worth your time.
Complaint #1: Sim City: The “tripods” reminded me of the monster in Sim City 2000. Granted, the later didn’t have feet, but it zapped things and set them on fire. Furthermore, it doesn’t make sense to me that their zaps dissolved people but set things on fire. And why would they zap people if they really needed them to survive?
Complaint #2: Minute-long goof: Almost all movies have little mistakes in them, like a set guy in the corner of a frame, actors wearing different clothing from one shot to the next, or things that don’t make sense as part of the plot. To me, these aren’t big deals. But how can a guy using a digital camcorder in the foreground for an entire minute, while all electronics have been fried, be overlooked!?
Complaint #3: Dakota Fanning: Such an annoying young actress. Or at least she gets put into roles where she’s annoying. She always plays this “little adult” role where she’s as smart or (as in this movie) smarter than the adults around her. Well… Until the attacks begin, then she becomes a little kid again, which also doesn’t make sense.
Complaint #4: The Son Survives: The son in the movie hates his dad and/or is a marine-wannabe. Every time the military passes him, he wants to jump aboard. Eventually he does, and when the dad can’t convince him to stay, he crawls along with the armed forces. As soon as the dad and the daughter are a safe distance away, there’s a huge explosion, during which the entire hill lights up on fire. The dad and the daughter are even scoped out in a basement, yet the son survives explosions and being in a middle of a field. He also beats the dad and the daughter to Boston, where the movie ends.
Complaint #5: Sparing of Boston: Well, a lot of Boston looks like Cologne or Dresden after World War II, but the neighborhood where the ex-wife’s parents live is perfectly intact. The mother, her new husband, her parents, and the son, come out of the house “as if they were just finished having tea” (Forums on IMDB). Spielberg must love Boston.
I guess I should have read some of those bad reviews that were already on the internet the night before.