Monday, January 29, 2007

Movie Reviews 8-12

Okay, I just wrote an entire post and somehow managed to erase it... so I'm going to skip the commentary for now and give some more movie reviews. I haven't written lately, largely because I haven't been doing a whole lot that's been worth writing about. However, I have been watching a bunch of movies, so here are my thoughts on them...

Network - This movie was incredibly intense and altogether excellent. When it came out in 1976 it was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won four. One of the ones I was shocked to learn that it lost was the one for Best Picture. Then I looked it up and found that the other Best Picture nominees that year were All the President's Men, Bound for Glory, Rocky, and Taxi Driver. I haven't seen Bound for Glory, but I don't even know which movie I would choose out of the others. They're all on my own Best Movies Ever list. Anyway, back to Network. It was a very sharp reflection of the media world, particularly the entertainment-ification of the news. I was amazed to discover that, despite the fact that the movie came out in 1976, it's not at all dated (save for the costumes and sets). While being one of those movies that just completely sucks you in, it delivers a smart social commentary, complete with the very clever incorporation of the Patty Hearst/Symbionese Liberation Army saga as a plot device. Apparently the writers claimed that the movie was supposed to be purely a reflection of the industry and not a satire, but given the context of the current state of the media, I absolutely took this as a satire - and as such I was incredibly impressed. All in all, an absolutely excellent movie - and Faye Dunaway more than earned the Best Actress Oscar she won for this.

The Girl Next Door - This movie was surprisingly fun. It shouldn't have been surprising, given the person who recommended it to me (thanks, Ev!), but I digress. It was actually a pretty well-written comedy that was over-the-top and completely fun to watch without coming off as entirely ridiculous and stupid (see below). It's not exactly cinematic genius in the realm of Network, but it's an entirely entertaining movie and an excellent way to spend a couple of hours.

My Super Ex-Girlfriend - Now this was entirely ridiculous and stupid, but somehow I still thought it was fun. Perhaps this was because I elected to turn it on somewhere around 2:00am when I couldn't sleep last night? Either way, it's a total "chick flick" and completely silly, but it totally fit the bill for me last night.

13 Going on 30 - And now this movie was just ridiculous and stupid. They keep playing it on TNT or TBS (can't remember which) so I've probably caught it about three times in the last three days and I have yet to figure out why I keep watching this sorry excuse for a movie.

Little Miss Sunshine - Please forgive this line, but I have to say that this movie was a fantastic bright spot between showings of 13 Going on 30. I thought it cleverly done and likable without pandering to the audience or crossing into the realm of being corny. It was completely entertaining and funny without condescending to the audience anywhere along the line. And I know I'm not the first to say this, but I just totally adored Abigail Breslin. She was just such a kid, which was so sweet to watch. No wonder the child is only 10 years old and already has 18 acting credits to her name. But the true highlight of the movie was Alan Arkin, who managed to be completely likable and totally hilarious even though he was a crabby old screwup. I loved this movie - and not just because it relieved me of that 13 Going on 30 nonsense.

Next up in my Netflix queue: The Jerk and the first season of The Larry Sanders Show. Until they arrive, I do have some more great DVDs here at home (thanks, Matt!) so I'll keep the reviews coming until I think of anything more interesting to say!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


As of today (er, as of yesterday... and by "yesterday" I mean "an hour ago") it's officially been four weeks since my surgery. And it's officially been three weeks since I've posted anything here. I apologize for my absence and promise to get back to writing more regularly in the hope that I can provide some entertainment for anyone out there who is looking for a distraction. I do, however, have good reason for neglecting this blog over the last few weeks.

After my first few (hellish) days at home post-surgery, there was a great upswing in my progress. I started feeling better, moving around more, and progressively cutting down on the painkillers. The reason I haven't been posting here, quite simply, is that I'm no longer spending all day in bed with only my laptop for entertainment. These days I'm out of bed most of the day, and when I am in bed it's generally because I'm completely exhausted. I do still have pain, but the pain is generally surgical pain. My whole abdominal area is still very tender, as is the area around the incision on my back. The solution to this (the solution to everything, really) seems to be ice. I'm not sure if it's actually helping the pain or if it just soothes me psychologically, but it does help. This stupid brace, on the other hand... it doesn't bother me when I'm standing or walking, or when I'm sitting straight up in a hard chair, but it becomes unbelievably obnoxious when I lie down in bed. But if that's the worst of my troubles at this point, I think I can consider myself to be in pretty good shape. I still take three doses of percocet daily, but I've cut the doses down to one pill each (originally when I got home from the hospital I was taking oxycontin every 12 hours, too, but no more) and I don't usually need to take anything during the day. So I'm definitely making progress. My daily activities generally include a lot of walking around the house (without the walker - I stopped needing it after that first week), sitting around the house, more walking around the house... you get the idea. It's not exactly thrilling, but it's much better than being confined to bed. My next follow-up appointment with my doctor is in two weeks and at that point I'll actually be allowed to go places beyond my backyard. Ahh, how wonderful to anticipate being able to ride in a car again...! Really, though, I don't mean to be sarcastic here. I've come a long way in the past month.

I have, however, been admittedly unimaginative in my attempts to keep myself entertained. I've been astoundingly unproductive and seem to spend an awful lot of time these days watching TV or knitting. My new favorite show is the "Growing Up..." series on Animal Planet, and my absolute favorite episode is "Growing Up Walrus." Yes, it seems that somewhere over the last few weeks I morphed into a five-year-old. Really, I could watch those over and over again. But the best entertainment by far has been the steady stream of visitors I've been lucky enough to have. I continue to be amazed at the loyalty and devotion of my friends and, as always, just love spending time with everyone. I'm flattered that people have taken the time to come and see me - some traveling quite a significant distance. Your visits make me feel normal and social again, like everything is just as it always has been. I love seeing everyone, spending time catching up and talking and laughing like we always do.

Simple pleasures, true, but real pleasures indeed.

Wishing each and every one of you a very happy and healthy 2007.

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