Best Summer Movie

I’ve seen many movies this summer. Many good movies. However, I just saw the best one of the summer.

Little Miss Sunshine

This small indie flick was absolutely terrific. It is difficult to describe. But it is a tale of rich characters, dark humor, disfunctional familes, road trips, death, pornography, childhood, dreams, loss, suicide and more. Like I said, it is very difficult to pigeon hole into an easy category. All I know is this… it is ABSOLUTELY worth seeing.

This movie earned a rating of 93%.  One of the top reviewed movies of the year.

The cast is amazing. The story is at turns outrageously funny and quietly poignant. A very brief outline of the plot is this family traveling 800 miles so 8 year old Olive can participate in a beauty pagent. But I could spend 20 minutes describing them all. Far easier for you to just see it. The family feels very authentic. You believe that this really is a family. They fight and squabble, yet there are multiple demonstrations that the really do love each other despite it all. Even though the movie only takes place over a few days, you really feel like each character has grown and changed by their experiences.

Of course, the anchor is the Mom, played by Toni Collette. She does her best to hold this circus together despite some very interesting circumstances. She plays these events in such a way that she just rolls with it and makes the best of it. Doing whatever is necessary to keep it together, even though she knows she’s not perfect. The look she gives her husband, Greg Kinnear, at the gas station is priceless.

Steve Carrell, one of the funniest people on the planet manages to be funny despite not having a funny line in the movie. Alan Arkin as grandpa is hillarious. Greg Kinnear is one of the most versatile actors out there. Even Paul Dano as the affected teenager does a lot with a rather limited character.

The little girl, Abigail Breslin, was unbelieveable. She’s an amazing actress, that more than held her own with all these very good adult actors. The ending of the movie is priceless.

I cannot recommend this movie highly enough.

Do yourself a favor and go see it.

It’s back

The blog is back. After some technical difficulties, we are back up and running. Initially there was a scare that this all might be gone into the computer ether, but we’re ok.

Happy labor day everyone. For the record, is there anything worse than waking up absolutely starving, but not having a damn thing to eat in the house? I have some Cheerios, but no milk. I have some aging wheat bread, but nothing to put on it. Perhaps I could whip up the never before seen ‘Cheerio Sandwich’. Were this a normal work day, I would be at work and could hit the cafeteria for something. I really gotta stop watching the Food Network before I go to bed. Last night it was ‘Good Eats’ and he was doing tenderloin. Dear god… I cannot tell you how bad I would like that right now. Tenderloin, that is, not ‘Good Eats’.

In other news, I read this morning that Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, was killed by a stingray. He was filming a show called “Ocean’s Deadliest”. Gee, you ain’t kiddin. But honestly, who couldn’t see this coming? I would have bet $1000 that one day, one of those animals would catch up with him. I’m sorta surprised that it didn’t end with a croc chomping down on his head Joe Dirt style. Anyway, I feel sorry for is wife and kids.

In other other news, I’ve discovered something very cool. I have been a netflix subscriber for the past couple years. I love it. I’m not as fast as I used to be watching and returning the movies, but the selection they have is second to none. Plus, anytime I think of a movie I want to see, I can head right out to their site and put it in my queue. Brilliant.

Anyway, I received my latest shipment this past week. It had been at least a month or more since I had last returned movies. So, when I got my movies much quicker than I had before, I was confused. Turns out, Netflix has opened a shipping facility in Boise! Before, we had to send them to Salem OR, which added at least a day each way. Now, I can get a disc turned around in half the time. It is terrific. That will be great for getting the TV serieses on DVD, when they are like 6 discs for a season. You can ship the first disc back, and still be watching one of the ones you still have when the next arrives. Perfect.

I can’t recommend Netflix any higher. They have a free trial, and if you love movies, you should try it.

I’m going to now go forth, foraging for food.  Wish me luck.

Solo part Deux

I wrote about how I’m getting into doing things solo.Well, I’ve expanded on that lately. The past two days, I’ve gone to see 2 separate movies that I’ve wanted to see. Now, they were both mediocre, but that is beside the point.The point is I was out and about, mono-style.

Sunday, I woke up and was bored. I killed some time… watched some football (but its still preseason and sucks. Side note, watching 2 games now I can say, good lord the Raiders suck. Holy Cow. That is a 3 win team if I’ve ever seen one. They couldn’t even move the ball against 2nd string defenses. Brooks has completed 2 passes in the preseason. Good luck Raider fan… gonna be a loooong year.). I decide I would just take in a flick. So, I looked at the listings and decided I would catch Pirates of the Caribbean on the digital screen here in town. So, 2:00 rolls around and I motor out the house. A large drink and a small popcorn later, I’m taking in this so-so movie. Plot was kinda confusing. They might have been trying too hard. However, it was probably worth the matinée price of admission.

Then, Monday while at work, I decided I had a good time on Sunday, that I might as well do it again. So, I lined up to head directly from work to catch Miami Vice. It kinda sounds strange, but it was kinda liberating to be able to leave work and go to a movie. No checking in with anyone. No asking if anyone else wants to do it. Nothing. Just go. Mini review of the movie is this: it is ‘Miami Vice’ in name only. Little to nothing to do with the TV show other than the character names. The way they played it, neither Crockett (Farrell) or Tubbs (Foxx) had one ounce of personality. Especially Farrell. He could not have played that roll any more boringly. Tried way to hard to be ‘cool’, but mainly came off as bored. I remember Crockett being the wisecracking, womanizing cop who lived on a boat with his pet gator Elvis. None of that came through here. Not to mention, the movie has ZERO of the flash and style of Miami, which again was a major part of the show. You’re telling me you couldn’t work in one scene where Crockett is driving the Ferrari on deserted Miami freeways while some great music is playing? Really? Oh yeah, the music. Again, boring. I think the old theme perfectly set the tone for the show. The movie is a tuneless mess.

Alright, I’d better stop writing about it. The more I write, the less and less I like the movie. I’m glad I saw it, but don’t know if I’d recommend it.

Anyway, the point of this post is I’m still getting my ‘single’ on. Would I rather have someone on tap to do these things with? Absolutely. Am I gonna sit around and piss and moan about it? No. I’m through with that shit. If I stay single, well, then I stay single. Ain’t the end of the world. I believe I was single with nary a date from 1995 to 2000. (Full time work and full time school will do that to ya) Didn’t kill me. I just gotta learn how to do that all over again.

Onward and upward.

July 4th Quiz

Just a little post for the 4th of July. Happy Independance Day everyone. has a little quiz on their site. I fully believe that the questions on there are things that EVERY SINGLE AMERICAN should know. Period. End of story. No ‘ifs’ ‘ands’ or ‘buts’. I’m not saying you have to get 100% on it… personally, I only got 95%. I missed question #20 regarding what is the form to apply for citizenship called. The way I figure it, I have never had a need to know what the form is called, since I’ve been a citizen for my whole life… plus, my mail order bride from Russia hasn’t come in yet.

The only other question that I had to pause on was naming the original 13 states. That was something that we never had to memmorize in school. But, through process of elimination (they make it real easy to eliminate 2 choices right off the bat) it should be fairly easy.

But, take the quiz. Let me know how you score. And, if you score lower than 40%, lie to me and tell me you did better so I can still respect you…

See the quiz

By the way, saw Nacho Libre last night. Fairly funny. Very ‘Napolean Dynamite’ like. Had that same sort of “randomness” feel to it. The way it was written, Jack Black was channeling Napolean many times throughout the film. It was quite absurd in points, but that was the point of it. I doubt this movie is for everyone. I know lots of people who would probably hate it. But being a Jack Black fan, I enjoyed it if for no other reason than to watch him for 90 minutes.

One thing that got me was watching it, I kept thinking, “wow… that really is the best the Penelope Cruz has ever looked.” It wasn’t until I got home and onto that I realized that it WASN’T Penelope Cruz at all. It was a Mexican actress by the name of Ana de la Reguera. I then read that Ebert & Roper made the same mistake I did, but they’re professionals and talked about it on TV, so I don’t feel so bad.


I went to see the movie Cars last evening. By myself. Just to get out of the house and do something. It’s a step in the right direction.

For the record, I really enjoyed the movie. I knew that I would for a number of reasons. First, I’m a car guy. Not in the sense that I know how they work and how to fix them, but I’m more of a car admirer. I like to see cars, all kinds of cars, and not-so-secretly wish I drove something far more expensive and exotic than I currently do. (For the record, if there are any fabulously wealthy benefactors out there who would like to do something for some anonymous schlub on the web, my dream car is a 2007 Mercedes SL 550. Any color would work.) So, ‘Cars’ would be right up my alley. Although, I am REALLY glad that the cars in this movie didn’t come across like the cars from the Chevron commercials. I don’t know what it is, but every one of those things just feels to me slightly creepy and like the cars are always whining. Those things make me absolutely crazy. Can’t stand them. Luckily, this movie is lightyears from those damn things.

Also, I like Pixar’s work. Toy Story, Nemo, Incredibles were all terrific. I saw no reason why this should be any different. You can bank on lots of good little jokes, some visual treats you didn’t expect, and some real quality animation. Speaking of the animation, I read something interesting online about the movie. Even though the processors they used while animating this movie had 4 times the power of the ones they used while making the Incredibles, it still took an average of 17 hours to render a single frame of film. Do the math… 24 frames/second * 1 hour 56 minute runtime = 167,040 frames of animation * 17 hours = 118,320 DAYS of cpu time. Wow. I saw the movie in a digital theater, and the results were simply amazing. I might have to see it again, if only for the artwork. Some of the animation, like when the cars move at times, just looks really really good. For example, the Porsche looks really good in some places when its moving like a car (and not an anthropomorphized hunk of metal and rubber)

Third, I like all of the actors involved. Owen Wilson is one of my all-time favorites, even though he is almost the straight man in this movie. Paul Newman was friggin Reg Dunlop in ‘Slap Shot‘ for pete’s sake. Not a huge Larry the Cable Guy fan, but he is terrific in this movie as the bumkin’ tow truck. When you add in all the other little pieces that come together, the movie really starts to shine; Tony Shalhoub dusting off his Antonio Scarpacci voice from ‘Wings‘ as the Italian tire store car… Jeremy Piven playing Wilson’s agent (just as he does on Entourage) is deliciously slimy. Cheech Marin and George Carlin playing… well… Cheech Marin and George Carlin. But still terrific. Not to mention all of the cameos/famous non-actors doing voices including: racers Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Mario Andretti, Michael Schumacher and Dale Earnhardt Jr… Bob Costas… Tom & Ray Magliozzi (better known as NPR’s Car Talk guys)… Everything was just terrific. If I had one casting choice to do over, there is no way in the world that I wouldn’t have R. Lee Ermey as the voice of the jeep. I think they dropped the ball there, but that is a minor quibble.

There are lots of nice little pieces in there… a automobile version of cow tipping… the Porsche’s ‘tattoo’… the valley made up of automotive looking buttes and bluffs… look closely at the flies that are buzzing around from time to time. All hallmarks of Pixar’s style. They also add some nice references to their past movies during the credits. Stay through them all… they’re worth it.

Finally, I think there is little doubt that my emotions are still not exactly what I would call ‘normal’. Tell me I didn’t feel like an ass being about 3 seconds from tearing up in various spots in the movie. I think I feel like I’m holding everything just a few inches under the surface… and it threatens to boil over at the drop of a hat. I mean, we’re not exactly talking Old Yeller here or anything. And, it wasn’t even the parts involving the ‘relationship’ between Wilson’s Lightning and Bonnie Hunt’s Sally. The things that got me were some of the friendship stuff… the route 66 and dying of ‘quaint Americana’ stuff… the pure joy of just going out for a drive… I dunno… tough to explain. Maybe the movie is designed to do this. Hopefully, its not just me. Or, maybe I’m just more susceptible to these sorts of things right now. One can wish that this is not a permanent condition.

The music was also good. A new song by Sheryl Crow… remakes of ‘Life is a Highway’ and ‘Route 66’. Even a sappy James Taylor song, that was just a little too over the top in its sentimentality (even that one didn’t get me).

All in all, I would highly recommend this movie. If anyone is interested, I would be willing to see it again with someone if they want to go to the digital Majestic theatre. It was that good. If anything, it really makes me want to get that late 60’s Cadillac convertible that my buddy George has wanted, loading up on the road trip music, and actually hitting Route 66 cross country. Staying in road side motels, eating cafe food. Enjoying the wind in your hair and the sun on your back. Maybe kids won’t get this movie. I’m seriously doubting whether a 5 year old has an appreciation for the lost Americana of yesteryear. But then again, maybe you don’t need that to enjoy the movie…

There is a terrific quote in the movie (I’m paraphrasing), “Now, people get on the road to make good time… used to be, people got on the road to have a good time.” Yeah, it harkens back to a simpler, slower time, but for me, it works.