Tag Archives: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

Film snob?

Last weekend, I was accused of being a film snob because I have (very legitimate) complaints against Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

It came on t.v. while I was at a friend’s house visiting and her husband insisted that as an Indy fan, I should just appreciate the movie rather than pick apart its (many) faults.

I studied film, so this isn’t a new thing. My defense against accusations of snobbery is always – Dude folks, I own and enjoy Crossroads. And I make people watch it when they come to my house.

Accordingly, I am super excited about Fast & Furious. Seriously. The fact that Vin Diesel and Paul Walker and the uber talented Michelle Rodriguez are back – “New model. Original parts” – makes me a happy, happy girl.

And then there’s the fact that I may actually watch the Hannah Montana movie. Willingly. Even…maybe…happily.

I think I have successfully acquitted myself on all counts of snobbery here. Just remember, not everybody can be this refreshingly honest.

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What a wonderful experiment… Redux

I had a bitty panic after announcing I’d essentially review the cds I bought blind from cdbaby.com. I’m in a place where I’d rather rave about the things I really like rather than spend time ranting about things I don’t (Crystal Skull is an important exception). So I thought, “What if I don’t like one of these cds, what am I going to do?” And purchasing four cds in a very random way seemed to pretty much guarantee I’d dislike at least one.

And I’m not exactly qualified to review cds in any way that pretends to be objective and technically informed (Dave tries, but I just like what I like, despite how great the production quality is). I mean, keep in mind that you’re about to read reviews by a person who tends to dislike one word song titles. Not necessarily the songs themselves. But one word song titles annoy me. They remind me of when I was writing poetry and when a title didn’t come naturally, I’d just slap one word on it that seemed evocative or, even worse, “Untitled.”

Luckily, I liked all of them (despite a plethora of one word titles). Some more than others, granted. But I don’t regret purchasing a single one. In the order I listed them before (i.e. alphabetical), drumroll please:

Aquaboy The World Still Turns Without You – I’m only just now, as I’m looking up links, realizing that Derek Buckner and Aquaboy are one and the same. I purchased TWSTWY because it was recommended if you like Beck, Wilco, Pavement and Air. And I do like all those folks. The title track is my favorite and also Mediocre Man. One customer likened them to the Beatles. Not really seeing that one, but I’ll vouch for the Wilco and Pavement.

Derek Buckner Symptoms – I saw Lucinda Williams in the recommended if you like and I was all in. This was an okay cd for me. Nothing, after repeated listens, has really stood out, but it was an excellent soundtrack for part of my recent road trip.

Sarah Burton Love Is For Pussies – This is recommended if you like Alanis Morissette, Sheryl Crow and Feist. While I like the first two ladies, I’m a big Feist fan so it was that and the title that struck me. Sarah Burton is probably a compulsive self-Googler (important for an indie musician, in my opinion) because she contacted me the same day I posted about the experiment. On the previously referenced road trip, I was writing the review for her cd in my head. I really like Sarah’s voice, but I’m left hungry by this c.d. It’s not a full meal, but rather an appetizer. In the best sense, it whets your appetite for more and I’ll definitely follow whatever she does next. I think she can ditch the first version of Barcelona because it felt a bit jerky and loose to me whereas the extended flamenco version settled those issues very nicely. Also liked I Hate You quite a lot. Every time I’ve listened to this EP, I’ve liked it more and more, heard something new each time.

Tiffany Randol Kiss Me Kiss Me – Recommended if you like The Cardigans, Regina Spektor and Feist. Then compared to June Carter and Kate Bush. The cover art is a tad reminiscent of my favorite Suzanne Vega cd, Nine Objects of Desire and I wouldn’t say it’s inappropriate to compare Randol to Vega. If I had to pick a favorite of the four, this would be it. Loved every second of this too-short EP. I would recommend it enthusiastically.

So cdbaby – let’s do this again. If you ever need someone to test whether your “recommended if you like”s work, please feel free to send me cds. Or if you’re dying for some really random, entirely subjective reviews…

Now, in other music thoughts.

So, I’ve been really struck by those great Liberty Mutual ads, especially the music. I took a sec to try to find out about the songs in the ads and I’m a bit embarrassed because all of the songs are already in my iTunes. They’re all the work of Hem, a band that Dave turned me onto a while back. Then, I found this really wonderful piece where Mary Chapin Carpenter talks about the ads and Hem for The Washington Times.

And it probably goes without saying that I’m pretty devastated that Alexis Grace got booted off. I have to say that I don’t think that her performances of Jolene proved that she should’ve been given the judges’ save. The entirety of what she’s done on the show does. Part of me keeps hoping that it’s not too late and they’ll change their minds and save her. Why not? This season’s been incredibly wacky anyway. Regardless, I look forward to seeing what she does next.

I felt like Randy Travis was rather wasted in that duet with Carrie Underwood, but I was in love with it anyway. Her voice when she belted out “I told you so.” Wow. It was incredibly cute the way Randy Travis kept looking at her adoringly while she sang. If you don’t believe me, watch this. Didn’t know this song existed before and now it’s in regular rotation – and I still get chills every time.

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Sex in the City and "uncontacted tribes"

No spoilers here, this time.

First, let me say that I never watched Sex in the City except in snatches whenever my former roommate T. used to watch it. I did read the book, which wasn’t very good, and saw enough snatches to know that the t.v. show brought new life to it. It’s not that I think the show was a bad one – I suspect that it was very well produced, written and acted.

I just can’t be bothered. I’m not interested.

So no biggie. The movie’s not for me. I’m not going on a rabid rant about the fact that the movie exists, but I would like to complain for a second about the fact that Entertainment Weekly, which I subscribe to, devoted over 80 PAGES of their magazine (two issues ago) to the SiC movie. WTF???? WHY??

I understand that some people will find this fascinating and will lap up every exquisite detail of the articles from varied angles. But what about those of us readers, male and female, who don’t give a shit about this movie? That was a wasted issue for us because there were maybe 10 pages we could actually read. I’ve NEVER seen EW devote so much of an issue to a single item (a lot of an issue, yes, but not over 4/5, not 80 FREAKING PAGES). Even if they devoted 80 pages to something I cared about, I’d still wonder why they were doing it. 80 pages is a lot in a floppy, glossy entertainment magazine. I mean, why didn’t they just publish an insert that those of us who don’t care about SiC can throw away???

What makes me sad is the fact that I haven’t seen and will likely never see SiC and I’m still willing to bet it’s a better movie than Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. At least in the sense of keeping true to its universe and having a legitimate story that makes sense.

I still don’t care, though. That’s probably SiC‘s worst crime – failure to make me give a shit. Otherwise, it’s pretty freaking awesome, I’m sure.

Now. “Uncontacted tribes.” Yeah. Go read the article and look at all of the pictures they link to. Two thoughts. First, if they’re aiming weapons at you, you have contacted them. They’re not “uncontacted.” Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m splitting hairs. But still. Second, what’s with my suspicious mind that immediately thought – this is a hoax or an advertisement for Survivor. I love me some Survivor (been watching it my entire adult life), but I seriously wouldn’t put it past Probst and Burnett. If there are “uncontacted tribes” on this planet, let’s all do them a favor and leave them that way. That means, no logging their villages away and no flying aircraft over them in order to get pictures. Get it? Got it? Good.

And no matter what you think, SiC and uncontacted Amazon tribes ARE connected in a very real way and viable co-subjects for one blog post. Promise. 🙂

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The Enemies of My Childhood

If you haven’t seen Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, do not read this. Unless you like having movies be ruined before you see them, as opposed to, I don’t know, while you see them. Though if you haven’t heard that the folks behind this monstrosity killed my childhood (specifically, mine) and exactly how they did it before now, you’ve been living under a rock.

SPOILER SPACE FOLLOWS

LA

LA

LA

And one more la….

One word: aliens.

Two more words: nuclear bomb.

All of the ingredients were there for a spectacular movie, which is what made me suspicious and wary. I mean, more Indy after so long away from him. Karen Allen is back as Marion and probably the mother of Indy’s love child played by the spectacular actor Shia LaBoeuf and then the villain is an awesome Cate Blanchett. Soooo much goodness. My now adult suspicions warned me that you have to pay a price for that kind of goodness. I was right to be suspicious. It WAS too good to be true, much to my chagrin.

Whoever’s fault it is, the story sucked. I don’t even mind that obviousness of Mutt being Indy’s son. I’m cool with that. I went into the movie willing to forgive a lot because I was so excited to see Indy and Marion and this world again. And honestly, hate to say it, but Mutt (aka Shia LaBoeuf) was the thing that felt most “Indiana Jones” to me in this movie. I’m there. I’m loving that Karen Allen is back, that she’s the mama of Indy’s love child. But WHY is Karen Allen pretty much wasted throughout the movie (yeah, she does some cool driving, but that’s essentially it and otherwise, she just looks up adoringly at Indy, grinning like a hollow shell of her former spectacular cheeky self)? WHY? I was even willing to go along with the “this is the 50s, not the 3os anymore,” that difference in atmosphere. But they lost me when Indiana Jones escapes his Russian captors and wanders…yes, WANDERS into an eerie fake town built as a test for a nuclear explosion. WTF? And then he hops into a lead-lined fridge, is thrown who knows how far out of the town and STEPS OUT OF THE FRIDGE WITH THE MUSHROOM CLOUD STILL BLOSSOMING BEHIND HIM. And survives.

It’s not even that this is completely improbable. That annoys me, but only after the fact. The reason I was screaming no, no, no, no, no in the movie theater and am still screaming is because this was entirely gratuitous. There was NO POINT to this that makes any kind of movie sense. It’s been suggested to me that it was to show the era. This is where, were I more technologically savvy than I am, I would insert a video clip of me giving you the, “I’m gonna kill you for being so unnecessarily stupid” look. You do not set the mood or indicate the era by making a character improbably survive a nuclear bomb. This was done perfectly well in later scenes. We get it, it’s the 50s. We hate the Russians, they hate us. Everyone’s paranoid. We get it. We would have gotten it perfectly well without the enormous jackhammer of a freaking nuclear bomb. Who thought this was a good idea? Who? I wanna go back in time and pants the person responsible while he’s a vulnerable teenager. “THIS is for what you will do to Indiana Jones in 2008, suckah!”

Because one of the elements I liked about this Indiana Jones was the fact that he’s now older, a bit more frail, losing family and friends like flies and still saves the day, despite it all. It was freaking scary for me to see Indiana Jones all tired and saggy, but it was an amazing chance film-wise. And they ruined it all. If he can escape a nuclear blast after wandering in the desert all night by jumping in and then out (while the mushroom cloud’s still freaking there!) of a lead-lined fridge, there’s no room to doubt him or worry about him. As any of my screenwriting teachers would ask – what’s at stake? Yes, indeedy, what IS at stake? Yes, he’s freaking Indiana Jones, but he’s also a frailer Indiana Jones, out of his element in a paranoid era.

But instead, he’s posing and preening throughout the movie. His lady-love is grinning maniacally and adoringly at him. They tried to re-create that delicious cheese and corniness that the best of Indiana Jones has but they really, really, really failed.

At the end of the movie, when Indy and Marion have gotten married and are walking out of the church, Mutt picks up a hat that blows in from outside. WHERE does this come from? Whose hat is it (it’s not the same one Indy’s been wearing throughout the movie). He picks it up and puts it on and Indy takes it from him, puts it on and swaggers out of the church with his bride. This made me sad. First of all, what’s wrong with Indy wearing his hat at his wedding? That is something he would do. Why have a random hat blow in on a wind from outside the church? And if you’re going to end on this kind of symbolism, you have to be fearless and make a statement. As it stands, it’s sort of, “Mutt’s going to inherit the whip, no he’s not, Daddy’s still around to take the hat.” It would have been entirely appropriate for Mutt to take the hat and put it on. Period. PERIOD.

I can’t even talk about the aliens. I just can’t. It’s too stupid to discuss.

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