Monday, January 26, 2004

No More Lazy Weekends

I think this will probably be my last weekend of loafing around. I have some quizzes to grade but that won't take too much time. Starting this week, I will be getting a stream of papers to read for my film class and I will be spending more time on that than Xanga. While its more fun to be on Xanga, it doesn't pay for my food or mortgage, so I gotta focus on work... Life... or something like it.

The Good, the Bad, and it was Ugly
Last night, I saw two DVDs that I rented from Blockbuster. Sometimes I feel like I'm making them rich. As a BB member, there are a few perks such as getting a free video once a month, and a free video for every five I rent, as well as two-for-one on non-new-releases Mon-Weds. It costs around $10 to become a member, but I've already made up the difference. I've gotten about 8 free videos, and $4.53 per DVD (tax included) that's... well you do the math.

Anyway, I saw Open Range and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. Once Upon a Time... is the "sequel" to Desperado and stars Antonio Banderas and Johnny Depp. It was awful. Desperado was campy with Banderas as an action hero with a machine gun dressed as a guitar. The tale was simple and the movie was supposed to be for the action. Unfortunately, Once Upon a Time--perhaps trying to outdo its predecessor--was way too campy. Lots of blood, a few more gadgets, and a plot that was too vague for me. And what a waste of Depp. He plays a ruthless CIA agent who kills the chef that makes each excellent roast pork he eats in his attempt to maintain some sort of balance in Mexico--suggesting, I think, that Mexico is not supposed to have good cooks, a very condescending joke. It's so ridiculous. Depp walks around in a CIA t-shirt, and in the end has his eyes bored out, literally. The only thing good about the movie was Cheech Marin (of Cheech and Chong and more recently of Nash Bridges). His sarcasm is always great and he doesn't disappoint here. Sadly, he only has two scenes and dies early. I think he knew something that even the great Johnny Depp did not recognize. ** stars (look at left column for rating standards)

On the other hand, Open Range was actually quite good. It is an old time western when men adhered to values such as honesty and justice. Critics have called it the best western since Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, and this is true. Indeed, with its revisionist approach to the Old West--men regret and feel guilt for their killing ways and seek some form of redemption--it is perhaps a more "human" representation of people of the time. While Open Range is a throwback to the old western, it is not the same. There are no strong and silent types in this film. Charley (Kevin Costner) and Boss Spearman (Robert Duvall) have their own speeches about what men are, how they feel and how they should approach life. As in Last Samurai, the fight scenes are riveting. As I think about it, a lot of this can probably be traced back to Saving Private Ryan where the fight scenes were grainy and loud and ugly... and ultimately realistic. When Charley strides up to the hired gunman Butler, asks "You the one who shot my friend?" then puts a bullet in his head, I knew this was going to be a classic gun fight. And I was not disappointed. Duvall is a great actor and I always enjoy his work. Costner is actually a piece of plywood with two arms and two legs. His acting is always stiff like a board, but when he plays roles such as this--a man awkward with and unsure of himself, as in Field of Creams and Dances with Wolves--he excels, I guess cuz he's just playing himself. A mild surprise was Annette Bening. I thought she was kinda cute in The American President (with Michael Douglas), but she is much more attractive with longer locks... Well Boss, I reckon I'm just a might partial to purdy long hair. Yup. *** ス stars

Or maybe the hair has to be longer than mine! Hahahahahahahah!

So did anyone else see a good movie this weekend? Or a good TV show?

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