Tuesday, June 17, 2008

FOR THE LOVE OF DOGS, EVEN LEO THE (GASP!) PIT BULL





One of the charities that Jason and I support is Best Friends Animal Society, which maintains a no-kill sanctuary in Utah for abused and abandoned animals. Some no-kill shelters have awful living conditions which prolongs a poor quality of life for the helpless animals, so I understand the argument that no-kill shelters are not always good, that euthanization may in fact be better. However, if the animals can live and be loved in a good environment, I am all for a no-kill option. Best Friends is more than a no-kill shelter, it's like a miniature city. It's one of the biggest sanctuaries of its kind, and no animal is ever turned away. They helped lead the movement to save, and reunite with their owners, the animal victims of hurricane Katrina. Recently they rescued over 700 cats from a hording situation in 115 degree desert heat. And they agreed to take in and rehabilitate 22 of the tragically infamous Michael Vick pit bulls, unlike some other major animal rights organizations who felt that the only reasonable option for the Vick dogs was immediate across-the-board euthanization. I'm glad to say that several of those pits are now in permanent homes, while others remain in therapy and training at Best Friends with the hope that they will someday be adopted out. Regardless of the outcome, they will have permanent and comfortable lives at the Best Friends sanctuary, never to be abused again.

One of the biggest things that irks me about the stigma of pit bulls - in this case specifically the Vick dogs - is that people assume every dog is a fighter. Some of Vick's were bait dogs who had their teeth ground down so they couldn't bite or fight, and their whole purpose in life was to be attacked. These are some of the most amazing "comeback kid" stories from the rehabilitation effort at Best Friends. At first, these bait dogs were scared shitless of any human AND any dog they encountered. There was not an ounce of aggression in them, for their whole purpose in life was to be submissive. And they have slowly developed the ability to trust people. Even some of the fighter pits have grown into loving and docile animals. Aggression is not instinctive, it's taught. And if you want to argue with me on this, I've got a great article about the myths of pit bulls and other banned breeds that's eye-opening.

Now for the meat of my post:
I came across this story tonight and wanted to share it. I don't know the history of this particular dog, other than it is a rehabilitated Vick dog who is now helping to rehabilitate people. Overlook the clown collar and see the dog for who he really is - a survivor. Animals need us, and we need animals. Go help a dog or cat or bunny or mouse or moth. It'll make you feel good.

REGARDING HOT! A photo essay...

It's in no particular order, so it's not really an "essay". I'm not smart enough to outsmart Blogger's seemingly random ordering of my photo submissions.

Q: "Who's that Muslim guy?"
A: Matisyahu. And he's a Jew.

I bet no one can name all of them correctly on the first try.

Monday, June 16, 2008

HOT!
A photo essay brought to you by Cruzan Vanilla Rum



















Saturday, June 14, 2008

MOVIE REVIEW: FRIDAY NIGHT TRIPLE FEATURE

The Air I Breathe
Grade: B

Great cast: Andy Garcia, Kevin Bacon, Julie Delpy, Forest Whitaker, Emile Hirsch, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Brendan Fraser.
This is one of those post-Crash movies with poignant vignettes that are all intertwined to make one large compelling story. And for the most part, it's a success. It's a movie about the human condition, about raw emotion, and the viewer really does feel empathy, sadness, fulfillment, regret, and joy along with the characters. It's nice to see true character depth and development, because that's sorely lacking in many films today. Andy Garcia plays a hardcore bad-ass gangster, probably the grittiest role I've ever seen him in. Supposedly his method acting on set freaked Gellar out so bad that she had to walk off set to shake it off. But why oh why must he have the name "Fingers"? Can't they come up with a more original gangster name? Gellar does a great job in the Avril LaVigne type role of snotty pop princess who gets her shit dealt straight by the Garcia gangsters. And Brendan Fraser has a hot love scene with her. I admit it - Fraser is the one and only reason I rented the movie. He's friggin hot. And he plays a bad-ass, too, much like his recent role with Mos Def in Journey to the End of the Night. He's been typecast in the duddy Dudley Do-Right/George of the Jungle family movie genre and action packed hero genre (Mummy I, II, III, IV), and I'm glad he's been taking some headier roles that show he's got some chutzpah. I feel like Forest Whitaker and Kevin Bacon were sort of wasted, but with such a large, strong cast, anymore development of their characters would have made the movie entirely too long. Emile Hirsch has a very short but perfectly acted role. Props to him (and the casting director.) Why a B? I can't get over the name "Fingers." And - spoiler alert - almost everyone dies or should die and doesn't. So it makes the 1.5 hour time investment feel futile.



27 Dresses
Grade: A-

What?! I'm... a... girl. I'm genetically predisposed to watch and sometimes enjoy chick flicks. And this was one of the best I've seen in a long time. It's silly, it's fun, there are hot guys, and Judy Greer plays the best friend role, of course. She's like a good biscuit - always around as a staple, enjoyable, reminds you of home. It doesn't hurt that there's actually a decent plot and not too much sappy romance stuff. It's like Wedding Crashers Lite. It is what it is, and for what it is it's good.



I Am Legend
Grade: A-

In true Castaway/Tom Hanks fashion, Will Smith does a superb job carrying most of the movie all by his lonesome. He's strong, independent, smart, and the viewer feels compassion for him and his dog Sam. The ONLY thing that made this an A- rather than an A+ is the computer generated zombies/vampires (zompires?) There was so much anticipation built up before the first sighting, then when I saw one up close I said to myself "Oh puhlease." It's like they combined Gollum with the gratuitous yellin' black man zombie from George A. Romero's Land of the Dead. Totally unbelievable. I still enjoyed it immensely, but I wasn't scared at all once I saw the zompires. And I sort of wanted it to be scary.

Friday, June 06, 2008

IN A FUNK (not the James Brown kind)

Warning: The following is a non-happy post.

A long long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I used to write on this blog. I've been conspicuously absent for many months because, well, I just didn't feel like writing. I've been more than a little down for the past six or so months, and most of that has to do with the fact that 1) I was always told that "in order to make something of your life you have to go to college" and 2) I did just that, even got an advanced degree and 3) the people who told me that are all lying bastards and 4) I'm unsuccessful and sulking.

Here's my sap story...

I've had tunnel vision for the past 10 years that I wanted to be an art professor. I'm good at it, I love it, it's the only thing I've ever seen myself doing. So I've taken all the necessary steps to follow my dream. Unfortunately, professorships in my field are few and far between for a couple reasons. First, schools are churning out MFAs (terminal art degree) like nobody's business. And most people who get an MFA do not plan to teach. But then they get out of school and realize that they can't do a damn thing with that degree, so the only option is to teach at a university. The statistic right now is that for every open art professor position there are 300+ qualified applicants. To make matters worse, MANY schools are going to adjuncts to save money. That means that when a full professor retires, instead of hiring another full time professor, the school hires three or more adjuncts for the same price. Adjuncts often teach the same amount of classes as full professors, but get paid 1/3 the salary, with no benefits. And there's no stability because it's a year-to-year hire basis. Why on earth would anyone be an adjunct? Well, you need several years of experience to qualify for one of those few and far between full time jobs. You have to grind for a few years, pay your dues, so to speak. Which is exactly what I've done. I won't go into details about how much I've been paid as an adjunct, but let's just say it's well below the poverty level, and the Mexican immigrant janitorial staff who can't speak english get paid more than I did, plus I'm pretty sure they get benefits.

This was all put into perspective for me when I received a one-year full time position this past school year. I did the same amount of work that I had done the previous three years as an adjunct, but got a real salary and benefits. So while I was enjoying the lap of luxury, I applied for over 30 full time positions around the country, hoping that I would slide from that one-year position into a permanent position at another school. I have excellent credentials, a kick-ass portfolio... I really honestly thought I would be offered a job (which would start this next school year.) And all I got was 30+ rejection letters. Not one interview. And let me tell you -- applying for an art professor job is a huge undertaking. You have to send slides/CDs of artwork that has to be formatted a special way (and every school has different requirements) plus tons of letters, teaching philosophies, syllabi.... basically, each school I applied to received a thick dossier from me that took hours to prepare. And I sent over 30 of these. So having spent MONTHS applying for these positions, it was a real jab in my ass that I didn't get a single interview. Because I'm good. No, I'm DAMN good. I consistently get excellent evaluations from my students, usually better than the full time faculty. I really care about my job and my students. One of the reasons I want to be a professor is because I've had so many shitty ones, and I want to be a good one. I sincerely want to make a difference in the lives of my students (and I know for a fact that I already have.)

But that one-year position just ended. If I go back to the school I've been at for the past 4 years, I take a demotion back to adjunct status (not because of anything I've done wrong, but because of University fiscal issues.) So I've applied for jobs at galleries and museums. Galleries don't want me because they are trying to make a profit and they want a salesperson (I have no sales experience.) Museums aren't interested because I don't have a Museology degree. I can't teach K-12 (nor would I want to!) because I don't have a teaching license. How messed up is that - I'm qualified to teach college but not high school.

Long story short, I'm unemployed and having an early midlife crisis. I'm regretting my education choice. I look at the fact that I spent 8 years in college and 4 years getting "hands-on" experience in my field, and I could have gone to veterinary school and already have my own lucrative practice going. I look at redneck retards that went to high school with me who never spent any time in college, and they've miraculously landed great jobs and have nice houses and drive nice cars. This idea of "go to college or else!" is a total sham. It's a stupid myth propagated by ignorant people. Sure, you can make more money if you're a college graduate - IF YOU GET CERTAIN DEGREES. That should be the caveat whenever anyone tells a high school kid to go to college. Go into business, pharmaceuticals, real estate. But a degree itself is pointless, and you end up with student loans you can't afford to pay, without a job in your field of study.

I'm realizing for the first time that I probably won't be a college professor. And that's freaking me out because my two degrees do not qualify me for anything else. I feel like I've wasted over a decade of my life. I'm 30, and I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. And if I continue grinding it out as an adjunct and eventually get a full professorship, odds are it will be in a place where no one wants to live. I'll be in Bismarck or something (no offense to Bismarckians, really). And I don't want to be stuck in a job I like in a place I hate. Which is why I'm freaking out.

By the way, I'm not as sad or mad as this post sounds. I WAS, but I'm over the initial depression. Now it's more frustration. I've battled clinical depression since I was 14 years old, back when there was still a stigma attached to it. I have ups and downs, and I'm more up right now. (That's why I'm able to write this post - I actually feel like writing!) I've got two silly dogs and an incredible husband who keep me going. And I will succeed, I will end up in a good job. In the meantime, though, I've got to vent. The world is designed to protect idiots, good people get shit on. It's a fact of life and I must deal with it.

I saw a rainbow not too long ago. I wish they weren't associated with little girls and gay men. Because rainbows are really amazing and magical. Every time I see one, it affirms that things will get better. It's the gods' way of saying that everything is going to be alright. I believe it, but sometimes it takes some repeating - and some Bob Marley - for it to sink into my thick skull.

I broke down and went to a temp agency yesterday. I'll write about how I flunked the pre-test in another post.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

My Halloween Post

Since The Husband has given me a prominent link on his snazzily updated blog, I guess I'll have to start posting again. Here goes...

Halloween is my most favorite time of the year, and to get in the spirit of the season I try to watch as much Halloween related television programming as possible. I'm a fan of horror movies, particularly the classic 1930's Universal monster movies. I'm not so much into blood and gore slasher flicks. I lean toward somewhat whimsical, fun creepiness (I'm a die hard Munster's fan, if that gives you any idea.) I was ultimately disappointed with this year's Halloween TV programming, but I saw a few things that got me in the Autumn mood. What follows is a brief version of what I have and haven't been watching.


The scariest thing I saw this Halloween:
The documentary film Hell House. Well, the film wasn't scary, but the ridiculously out of touch hard core Texas Christians in the film are scary. It's about this Halloween haunted house church production that scares people into converting to Christianity. There are different stages with themed performances such as: a gay man dying of AIDS who goes to hell for not repenting (being gay is bad ya'll, mmmkay?), a girl who aborts a baby and goes to heaven when she asks for forgiveness, a school shooting scene where a kid commits suicide, a rave scene that results in date rape... you get the picture. And so all these heinous unchristian acts are taking place and we see the consequences of not asking Christ for forgiveness. It's actually a pretty good tactic, for people who are easily controlled by fear. But the thing that made it scary (and absurdly funny) is the Satanic ritual sacrifice scene. Instead of a pentagram, the huge backdrop is a Star of David. I guess being a Christian does not make on an expert of etymology.


The most beautiful thing I saw this Halloween:
A silent Swedish film from 1922 called Witchcraft Through the Ages. It's GORGEOUS.

The most traditional things I saw this year:
1) The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! (Poor, poor Linus. By the way, just last night Jason mentioned hearing or reading about someone who is posing the idea that Charles Shultz was a sad, depressed person. I've always thought it was blatantly obvious that the mission statement of any Peanuts comic and/or cartoon is "Life is futile. Suck it." Meaning Shultz wasn't the most optimistic person in the world. That's why I respond to it so much.)
2) The Nightmare Before Christmas
3) Ghostbusters

The most childish things I saw this Halloween:
1) Casper. Before Christina Ricci got big boobies and had them shrunk back down again.
2) Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the WereRabbit

The things I had never seen until now (but should've seen years ago):
1) Psycho
2) Halloween I
3) Halloween II
4) Hellraiser
5) The Pit and the Pendulum
6) Misery
7) The Fog

The classics I didn't see because they're in my collection and I watch them year round:
1) Dawn of the Dead
2) The 'Burbs
3) Frankenstein
4) The Wolfman
5) Dracula
6) Bride of Frankenstein
7) Beetlejuice
8) 28 Days Later
9) Nosferatu
10) Shadow of the Vampire
11) The Shining
12) (I have more horror movies than this, but I'm too lazy to go look through my collection just for the sake of listing them. I've already made it pretty obvious that I'm cool, probably cooler than you, and I needn't impress anyone by namedropping move titles.)

The things I wish I had seen but didn't because I didn't catch them on TV:
1) The Witches
2) Hocus Pocus
3) The Frighteners

The most awesome NEW fright flick I saw at the theatre:
30 Days of Night

Something else I watched:
Gods and Monsters (It counts as Halloweeny because it's about James Whale, director of two Frankenstein movies. And Brendan Fraser is HOT.)

Other:
Golly gosh, there are SO MANY good movies that one can watch in celebration of Halloween, it's impossible to list everything. I mean, you've got the Abbott and Costello Meet (insert monster here) classics, the cheesy 80's things like Pumpkinhead, CHUD, Creepshow, American Werewolf in London, Fright Night... Of course there's Blacula, Polish Vampire in Burbank, Vampire in Brooklyn, and the myriad other vampire spin-offs. I'd also include some Hitchcocks in my Halloween list (although my favorite, North By Northwest, is more of a suspense thriller than horror.) Of course there's Ed Wood, Christopher Lee, Vincent Price, Clive Barker, John Carpenter... And what about alien movies? There's a shit ton of those.

What about it, gang? Are there any classics I missed? What's YOUR list of all time best Halloween/horror movies?

I will leave you with a quote from my favorite classic. Can you guess which one it is?
Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night,
May become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
And the autumn moon is bright.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Yikes.



Uh, yeeeaaahhh. Sorry 'bout those last two posts. I got a little tipsy last night. I was apparently speaking in tongues, something about "Iggy Pop has veggyveins and they are scattern." I don't know what it means either. But I texted it to Jason, so it must have been important at the time.

Anyway, time to go drink a bunch of water. And please ignore those posts.

Follow-up to 2007 WPBT Summer Classic - In Vegas, Baby!

Let me start the post with this -- I've had too much to drink.

Next...

I've read the re-caps of the blogger tourney, and I should do a little follow up to explain how I played (and won.)

So the structure at the Orleans sucked my ass. And the poker room manager was a cocksucker. Truly. I don't use that term lightly. As a matter of fact, I don't know that I have ever called anyone a cocksucker. But he was one. So much so, that when I was at like my third table, he came over and hovered over our table, telling everyone what to do and when. "FOLD NOW! PUSH YOUR CARDS IN! TURN THEM OVER!" and shit like that. I had the distinct impression that we were not welcome there. They just wanted to take our money and push us the hell out. Which made me mad. And yeah, I'm little and all, but you don't make this Scottish girl mad. Bitches.

Anyway, by the time I got to the final table, I was ornery. Then when we decided to chop and give everyone their buy-in back, my attitude shifted. I'm typically a pretty tight player. So when I knew I had nothing to lose, AND I was short stacked, I played to win. Yes, I probably played some marginal hands, but I bet you would've, too, had you been in my position. For those of you who think I played poorly, put yourself in my position. You've got your buy-in back, the room manager is standing over your head like a father chaperoning a first date, and you get a semi-decent hand. What do you do? As my mom always says, you either "shit or get off the pot." So I decided to shit. And shit again. And keep shitting until I had some ground to stand on. It wasn't until it got to heads up with Grubette that I actually stepped back and switched my mode of thinking from "tread water to survive!" to "alright lady, it's time to play some poker."

I don't think my real skills came into play until heads up time. The structure went so damn fast that it was all I could do to stay afloat. It really was a crapshoot there for a while. But I feel pretty good about my heads-up play. All I know is that the dickhead manager at the Orleans took a big 'ole crap in his britches. And I hope he enjoyed the soothing warmth, cause he won't be feeling it from us again.

Thanks again to Falstaff and Sloshr for setting everything up. And keep in mind it's not their fault the room manager screwed us... They worked hard to pull everything together, and for that I am grateful.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Saturday Night 2:24 PM Central

Haven't posted driunk in a WHIL. ITT'S about toime. my friend brian and lydia and my bfrother josh came over for a night of rum anmd diet cokes, woodchuck ciders, bavarian wheat beers, and mint juleps. had a great ttime reminoiscing about college and fun times pertqainting to the 80s. is ity opkay for classic alternative radio tO PLAY NEWER DURAN DURAN, OR should they stick to new wave only? ordinaryh world ca,e on and we talked./ then we wacthed mtfvs the state. talkefd about my brun-in weith the local mail caarrier and the toime i went to the police to see if i could get pe5rmission to shoot a dog that my mail carrier was feeding on his oln time on private property. I got permission from l.ocal law enforcemwent ot shoot the dog bvecausei had been jogging with a baseball bat. but that afternoon i got a really hateful phone call from my ail carrier and so i went to the postmaster and complained and i never saw the stray dog again. and the mail carrier got a different routr. moral ofthe stry? don't fuck with rachel. cause she'll deal yourf shit srtraight. you don't want her jogging toward you with a baseball bat. heh heh. everyone el;se went to bed already and i'm sticll awake. gues i;ll surf the web for a while. havingf a goodtime. we talked about iggy pop and his nasyty veins. my cvat is dizzy. i think she has vestibular disease. i haven't taken her tyo the vet yet but she's dizzyl. i bet she feels a little bit like i do right now, eh? h heh. its now 1:32 am and i don't want to go to bed yet but everypne elxe has to get up really early. suck. wish i could stay up all night and sleep all day. but i guess i could do tat anyway. happy weekend to everybody!

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

2007 SUMMER WPBT IN VEGAS

I just want to say that I had an incredible time hanging out with everyone at this year's summer blogger event. And I especially enjoyed playing in the tournament. That's probably because I won it.

Yes, that's right, Mrs. Spaceman is a luckbox.

I decided to save some of the first place winnings, but I wanted to have fun with it, too... So Mr. Spaceman and I went to a Cirque de Soleil show -- something I have wanted to do for years but was never able to afford. I really wanted to see "O", the underwater one at Bellagio. Jason wanted to see "Love", the Beatles one at Mirage. We went to three half price ticket places and of course they didn't have discounts on those two major productions. On our quest for cheap tickets, we happened to come across a premium ticket box office and decided to check it out. "O" was off for the night, but "Love" was playing. And they just happened to have a few VIP seats left, so the decision was made! With these most definitely non-discounted VIP tickets we got awesome seats, from which we enjoyed the 360 degree spectacle. It was amazing, unlike anything I had ever experienced before. And as a huge Beatles fan, I was in awe of the digitally remastered music. My only criticism of the performance would be that there was too much dancing and not enough death-defying acrobatics. But I knew this show would be a little different from the classic Cirque shows before I went. I also wasn't so keen on the narrative aspects of some of the performances - I preferred the totally abstract performances the best. But I really really REALLY enjoyed the experience, and it's all thanks to you bloggers.

One of the best things about this blogger event was getting to know people better whom I didn't really know that well before. I especially enjoyed hanging out with Grubby and Grubette (2nd place tourney finisher... heads up was all ladies!), Doug, Zeem, Pauly, Falstaff, StB, and BadBlood, among others. A brief appearance by Change100 on Saturday really made the day! But I missed the loads of people who decided to sit this one out. Maudie, Gracie, Pablo, Iggy, The Human Heads, Joe Speaker, F-Train, Dawn, Karol, Derek, The Brothers Nardi, The Rooster, CJ, Helixx, Al, and so many others whose company I enjoy weren't there, which was sad. But of course all good things must come to an end. I really hope this wasn't the end, just a bunch of people taking a conspicuously choreographed communal reprieve.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

MOVIE REVIEW: PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN 3

For some reason I was wide awake the whole time. I wish I'd had a couple Ambien. The three hours would have passed much more pleasantly.

Monday, April 23, 2007

I'm Now A Physicist, Subconsciously


Anyone who knows me knows I hate math and science. I don't understand them. Therefore I have never excelled in those subjects in school, never even took a physics class. But something strange happened in my sleep last night.

I dreamt that I saw the first "thermal propulsion commuter train" in Japan. It was this crazy space age mass transit system that looked like a bunch of intertwined roller coaster tracks. There was one main hub where passengers would go to board these pods that were shooting all over the place on the tracks. And in the dream this was all created by the "AdCom Corporation."

So today I get online and look this stuff up -- thermal propulsion engines are REAL things. Spacecraft travel is the current goal of such engine systems, but in a slightly more advanced society I bet they could be applied to train type travel. And the AdCom Corporation really exists, too... But instead of a Japanese physics-based company, it's a high tech computer company.

What does this mean?

A few weeks ago I dreamt that poker pro Gavin Smith became co-owner of Dannon yogurt and made mad cash. I don't even eat Dannon yogurt, I'm a Yoplait girl, so I don't know why I was dreaming about it. Gavin, if you're reading this, here's my disclaimer: don't blame me if you invest in Dannon and it crashes. But if you DO invest and make money, I get 10%.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I GOT A SHOW IN NEW YORK!!!!!

This officially elevates my status from "Regional" to "National" artist. It's a group drawing show at Spencertown Arts Academy, and they want to hang three of my newest drawings. And while the show is a couple hours outside New York City on the Albany side, I don't have to call attention to that on my resume. "Show in New York" seems to be plenty of info for prospective employers or gallery owners. Cause everyone knows that pompous art pricks see NYC as the only credible place to show your work.
Anyway,

WOOHOOOOO!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Hey World,

Check out my rockin' new website: rachelhallkirk.com

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Movie Review: THE QUEEN

I have very mixed feelings about this movie. I went alone, so I haven't had anyone to discuss it with. All I know is that I came home and watched First Blood - I had never seen a Rambo movie before - and I thought it was waaaaay better than The Queen. But is it really fair to compare John Rambo to the Queen of England?

But for now let's just talk about The Queen...

I took my backrow seat, stuffed receipts in my ears*, and thus began the film.

Without giving anything away, because there's nothing to give away, the basic plot is: Tony Blair is new to office, Princess Di is killed a few shorts months later, and what we experience is the ensuing interaction between Blair and the royal family, in regards to how the figureheads should react toward Di's death. We never see Diana, except for a glimpse of blonde hair diving into the car right before her crash. We see just a few short seconds of an intense car/motorcycle chase, and right before the infamous crash the scene changes. I think that was a smart move - throughout the film we only see Diana in terms of newsreels after her death. The newsreels are seamlessly pieced into the real time of the film, and it's brilliant that we are never introduced to her as a character. She is the catalyst for the action of the film, but it isn't about her. The music was also brilliant - it was absolutely perfect throughout the entire film, setting the right mood and tempo for each scene.

Great music, great solution to inserting Diana into the story.

What wasn't great was the fact that the characters were over the top caricatures of themselves. The Queen was portrayed as a cruel, cold, heartless bitch. Her husband, Prince Philip, was a fairly domineering emotionless ass. Prince Charles? Well I'll get to him in a minute. The Queen Mother was a lot like Aunt Bethany, the loon who put cat food in the jello mold in Christmas Vacation. Tony Blair was a sincere, benevolent, thoughtful, compassionate, unpolished oaf. And his wife was a bumbling idiot. Put all this together and it sounds like the good earmarks of a comedy, right? Well, yes there were many funny parts in the movie. So many, in fact, that people were laughing in parts that were obviously meant to be for dramatic effect. Was it a comedy or a drama? I don't know. I don't THINK it was supposed to be a flat out comedy. Which is why I have mixed feelings about it. It was sort of weird.

Now to Prince Charles. There's this thing called willing suspension of disbelief. And in order for me believe a character that is based on a real person, one or more of the following three things must happen. The actor must a)look like the person they are portraying, b)have the same mannerisms as the person they are portraying, and/or c)sound like the person they are portraying. The dude who played Prince Charles didn't look, sound, or act anything like him. In fact, he looked a lot like a Spencer (one of Diana's folks.) The actor in question sqwunched up his face in a contorted way and every once in a while I could see a slight resemblance to Charles in his brow. But the nose was WAAAAAY different than the honker Charles has - and that is quite easily remedied with prosthetics. If Nicole Kidman can wear a fake nose for a role, surely this guy could. So I never ever experienced the willing suspension of disbelief with Charles. I am embarassed to admit it, but I've seen several made-for-tv Charles and Di movies, and all the Charleses in those were a hundred times more convincing.

You know who WAS convincing? Helen Mirren. She was the perfect actress for the role of the Queen. And the guy who played Tony Blair had a rather uncanny likeness to him. But I just don't get the characters. I mean, Blair appeared to live in a run down tiny working-class flat, which was rather unbelievable. And the Queen was broken up over a fourteen point buck getting shot by a hunter, but she wasn't the least bit remorseful over Diana's death. I really want to know how much of this was based on reality and how much was fiction.

I'm not really sure what the point of the film was. I don't know what the filmmakers were going for. I don't think we're supposed to come away hating the Queen and loving Blair. But you know what's going through my mind? I've seen old footage of Beatles concerts where the crowd would sing "We love you Paul, oh yes we do, we love you Paul, it's true. We love you Paul oh yes we do! Oh Paul, we love you!" And so I want to sing the same thing, insert "Tony."

Helen Mirren deserves the nominations and awards. She was a great stodgy, cold, disengaged person of privelege.

And that's all I have to say about The Queen. Grade? 85.

*I have some Obsessive Compulsive tendencies and when I hear popcorn crunching my mind picks out and embellishes that sound so that it's all I can hear. So I sit in the back of theatres in order for the open mouths to be facing away from me. And I crumple up receipts or napkins or whatever I can find to stuff in my ears in order to block out residual popcorn crunching sound.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Many M. Night Shyamalans


M. Night Sha-na-na
M. Night ChakaKhan
M. Night Shawhozit
M. Night ShittyShittyBangBang
M. Night Shhhhhhhhhhh
M. Night SucksaBigOne
M. Night Stickybun
M. Night SirMixALot
M. Night Shyamastrantonio
M. Night Dodecahedron
M. NIght OptimusPrimealan
M. Night ObiWan
M. Night Shyamasan
M. Night Shyamalamadingdong
M. Night Statoozilan
M. Night Mazatlan
M. Night Shyamalanianderson
M. Night Alanon
M. Night Nor'easter


and my personal favorite...

M. Night ShyamalamaRamadan