Archive - 2008
Back in December the kids watched Balto (1995,G) for movie night. From Reel.com:
When Nome, Alaska runs out of the antitoxin needed to fight off a diphtheria epidemic, dog teams are the only way to obtain the crucial medicine. Balto the wolf-dog proves his loyalty by leading a dangerous mission through the Alaskan wilderness.
It's interesting that this was based "loosely" on a true story...but it must have been quite a disappointment in its day that this was turned out by Spielberg. It was OK but unremarkable.
I give it 3 out of 5.
Members of the Massachusetts State Police plant an insider within a mob boss' inner circle in hopes of bringing him down, unaware that he has a mole within their organization.
With a cast including DiCaprio, Wahlberg, Nicholson, Baldwin, Sheen, and Damon and Scorsese in the director's chair, this one had a lot going for it (plus the 237 f-bombs that ScreenIt! counted. though I'd hesitate to categorize those as assets or liabilities). It didn't disappoint. It was excellent. I give it 5 out of 5.
Last week I went to Germany. I flew out of MBS Sunday afternoon, made a connection in Detroit, then to Amsterdam, then finally to Hanover, Germany. On the Detroit to Amsterdam flight I thought I was going to watch 3:10 to Yuma and Into the Wild, but the video system wasn't working properly. It would play for 15 or 20 seconds, pause, and then start playing again at some other point in the film.
In the Amsterdam airport there was a guy reading Stephen Colbert's book. I spotted it by the red-tinged pages. As I got up to board the flight to Hanover, I told him I had the book with me in my backpack but haven't started it yet. He said it was funny, and we shared a moment.
Scott, David, and I got a car to drive from Hanover to Bomlitz. On the drive, I tuned to an English-language radio station out of the UK. They were talking about a father who jumped from four stories with his 6-year-old son and younger daughter. His marriage was in the process of breaking up. The man and his daughter survived. The boy died of massive head trauma. It's not like I'm not used to hearing terrible things on the news, but for some reason (probably because I was so far away from my kids at that moment) that story really got to me. I started trying to imagine myself in a state of mind like that. I imagined how terrifying it must have been for kids for their dad to do what he was doing. I wondered if that guy had anyone to talk to...maybe his wife was his only friend. Maybe there were other people who knew the state he was in but didn't know what he was capable of...and didn't reach out to him. I was convicted by a desire to be someone who takes the time to talk to people in crisis.
It was raining in Germany and obviously hadn't just started because water was standing everywhere. We stayed at the Hotel Forellenhof in Walsrode. Most of the week was spent in a conference room or eating meals. No site-seeing. Almost no pictures. Below is a photo of the hotel room and of me having dinner in a hole-in-the-wall bar.
Friday afternoon we drove back to Hanover and then flew to Amsterdam. We spent Saturday night at a hotel at the airport and then flew home the next morning. On the flight back I watched 3:10 to Yuma, The Beach, and Balls of Fury. All three were enjoyable, but surprisingly Balls of Fury was the best of the three.
Today was the presidential primary in Michigan. I wasn't too excited to vote because voting uncommitted against Hillary wasn't too motivating...so if I had made it to the polls I would have voted in the Republican primary. I would have voted for McCain. I like that he's generally moderate and isn't afraid to go against the party base to do what he thinks is right. Romney could be interesting as generally competent and a successful businessman, but I can't get past his desire to "double Guantanamo". More on Romney later. In a similar way, I could have been interested in Giuliani as a competent administrator, but he seems to be too much of a warmonger. Huckabee appears to be likeable and can at least admit that waterboarding is torture, but I'm afraid there isn't enough substance behind his likeable tv personality and am disturbed by talk of amending the constitution to God's standards (link). Thompson? Whatever. Paul? Could be interesting if he weren't so extreme.
An article in today's Washington Post by Juliet Eilperin and Michael D. Shear contrasts McCain's and Romney's approaches to campaigning in Michigan. Not that McCain has never pandered, but Romney is over the top:
Mitt Romney said Monday that as president he would ease fuel-efficiency standards and spend billions more in federal money to bolster struggling automakers...
McCain, on the other hand,
...took a different approach, continuing to deliver the kind of hard truths he believes are essential to mobilizing the independents...
At every stop, he went out of his way to make comments unpopular with many Republicans, saying he does not support drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and giving them "straight talk" by vowing that if elected he would never allow torture. The audience applauded heartily at that, even though his position runs counter to the way many in his party view controversial interrogation tactics.
McCain also told reporters that any candidate who says traditional auto manufacturing jobs "are coming back is either naive or is not talking straight with the people of Michigan and America." Instead, he said, business and political leaders should "embrace green technologies," adding: "That's the future. That's what we want."
After the whimsical owner of a magical toy store announces he's leaving, his protégé has doubts about whether she can run the shop without him.
Lisa really liked it. I though it was OK, and the kids seem to like it. I give it 4 out of 5 for actually being a decent movie that doesn't make you cringe for you kids to see.