Friday, June 29, 2007

Movie Stars!

The What I'm Whatevering List
because I know you care...

Last Movie I’ve Seen: Ocean’s 13. I loved the first one, didn’t understand why everyone acted like the second one killed their firstborns (or heard that the second one would kill their firstborn and decided to avoid it), and I’m pretty sure I liked this one more than I liked 12. To get one thing out of the way: yeah, three movies have confirmed that I’d watch these guys cool their way through two-hours of stealing from “take a penny, leave a penny” trays and not complain; not simply because “Omigosh it’s famous people hanging out!” but because we enter a scene and, for no apparent reason, Brad Pitt and George Clooney are discussing the heist in cartoonishly puffy winter coats with the tags still on, like they’re playing dress up in the mall or something—end of scene. Except that a few scenes later, we see them wearing the coats while they crawl through air conditioner vents: now I get it and ha! Which is my long way of saying: the writers are having fun, the cast is having fun, the key set production assistant is probably having fun, and I dig that.

Also diggable is the fact that 13 probably has more heart than either of the last two, with its increased focus on “guys watching out for each other” and even more so in the “times are changing” vibe that carries the movie—the Ocean’s Whatever movies have always had a kind of old-school vibe, both in their focus on Movie Stars and in the team’s insistence on doing it the hard (but way more fun) way, as far as the heist goes, and it's nice to see the themes coincide with that. But speaking of the heist, my only real complaint is that, as a fan of heist movies, the scheme is a little disappointing. It’s a cool multifaceted plan that’s fun to watch, but you never really get that feeling of tension, like there’s anything really at stake—that the plan could go bad in any real way. Still, it’s a good time, and probably the most all-the-way-through satisfying threequel (I know, ick, but it’s just the best word for that) I saw this summer.

What I'm Watching - TV on TV Edition
: American Inventor. Yeah, I know. It’s slight, even for a summer reality show, and it barely works as a competition. They’re never exactly clear on their mission statement—or maybe the subject matter is just too vague for this kind of contest (Is the “next great American invention” a potentially life-saving Christmas-tree-fire-safety device, an improved bicycle storage hook, or an air-freshener/artificial flower hybrid? Because that last one would totally sell the most, but...). Plus, televised open auditions pretty much mean “prototypes you've made in your home” will beat out “could-be-awesome concepts diagrammed on a posterboard," so we’re not exactly hoping for the next iPod out of this. And finally, the winner’s odds of post-show success seem even lower than that of an American Idol champion. But, all of that said, when an episode ends, I kind of find myself wishing that it didn’t. Simply put, the fact that the show celebrates thinking of/executing ideas, and requires that contestants do so to even audition makes an average episode way more watchable and even enjoyable than the first half of any Idol season. Plus: people with ideas are crazy, but not in an “I want to be famous on the TV!” way so much as a “I am dedicated yet socially inept” way, which is always fun.

What I'm Watching - TV on DVD Edition
: Seinfeld. It’s actually been a long time since I really watched this show, as opposed to keeping reruns on as background noise/distraction at 7:30 and 11. And, well, there’s not much more that needs to be said other than it’s so funny that I can’t believe it was actually on weekly TV at one time. And watching it As A Writer (sorry I had to go there) it’s doubly impressive that they can get 22 minutes out of, say, picking up a cake before a party. Also, it reminds me of when I used to tape all of the syndicated episodes in, like, 8th grade, and that my screen name actually includes a Seinfeld shout-out.

What I'm Playing
: Not my 360. Because they won’t fix it for less than $139. But then, that’s what you get for giving a company your confidence by buying their console at launch. That's right Microsoft--my blog is angry. What now, huh? What now?!

What I’m Reading: As a way of making up for my needlessly long dissertations on Ocean’s 13 and American Inventor, I’ll just say real quick that The Believer’s music issue/CD is good stuff and can be found wherever books are sold.

What I'm Refreshing
: My Facebook page, over and over. Somebody help.

Background noise
: See: What I’m reading.


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