Review: Knightriders (1981)

Knightriders (1981)
Ed Harris, Tom Savini, Gary Lahti, Amy Ingersoll, Patricia Tallman. Written and directed by George Romero.

Ed Harris plays Billy, known in his traveling Renaissance fair as King WIlliam. His troupe includes musicians, craftsmen, jesters, jugglers, and motorcycle-riding knights who joust for the favor of Queen Linet and the chance to usurp Billy from the throne.

Some troupers are committed to Billy’s Arthurian ideals. Others just love motorcycles. Still others are along for the counterculture dropping-out, roaming wherever the wind and road take them. Billy is aware of these motivational disparities and tries, by forces of conviction and charisma, to lead his motley crew through financial insecurity to some vision only he seems to grasp.

A weird convergence of personalities sends the group into conflict when a TV producer, her photographer, a talent promoter, and a crooked cop all get involved just when one of Billy’s knights aspires to the throne.

This movie is out there, but writer-director George Romero has captured something I’ve thought about a lot since my days in college in the early Nineties. Underneath the spectacle of jousting men (and one woman) on motorcycles is a cause, but most people — insiders and outsiders — don’t understand the cause or don’t care about it, appreciating the mini-society for their own reasons, which may be commercial, hedonistic, or romantic.

Billy also deals with tension between people’s admiration for him and his wanting them to care about the vision, not the visionary.

I’m reminded of how Flower Power began as one thing, then became many things to many people for their own reasons. I wasn’t really around for that, but I was on college radio when Nirvana exploded, and I was 15 credits from graduating when Kurt Cobain shot himself. I saw a great deal of the 90s grunge scene, with its attendant cultural-fashionable-commercial appropriation, in Billy’s traveling circus.

Strictly on its narrative and flavor, Knightriders is somehow engaging even with a lead character I never really understand and antagonists I don’t much care about or believe in. The action really drags in poorly framed, too-long sequences, and supporting characters’ arcs are resolved too quickly and with little explanation. Yet I find a few characters intriguing, like Steve the motorcycle-riding lawyer, Sheila the TV producer, and Merlin the shamanistic first-aid doctor. Combined with Billy’s conviction and dissatisfaction, the positives outweigh the flaws and make it an unpredictably satisfying watch.


The rubble, or our sins?

but if you close your eyes
does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?
and if you close your eyes
does it almost feel like you’ve been here before?
how am i going to be an optimist about this?

2200 new cases. 1500 the day before. 1800 the day before that. This is getting insane.

I finally got the text message from my boss urging everyone in our department to work at home at least through Wednesday. An hour later, an email from our COO said we’re going to have a reduced in-office presence through the holidays. It only makes sense. I’m mildly surprised it took until Sunday evening to let us know.

I suppose I’ve said this already, but I’m dealing with some depression about this. A lot of anger, too, although I’ve decided mostly to process the antivax stuff later, perhaps when this is all over, if it is ever over. It infuriates me to think about it now, and it keeps me from thinking kind thoughts about people, a major failing of my spiritual gift of mercy.

Yeah, I’m doing an okay job of not getting too messed up about people prolonging this thing far, far beyond its reasonable life because of — oops. Let’s just say “for whatever reason.” And mostly, on a day-to-day level, I can handle this. Yet when I zoom out a little and realize my life is passing chronologically and biologically while I’m in a kind of personal stasis, I feel the spiraling again, as I’m feeling it this moment while I write about it.

Christmas was pretty mellow, and only slightly less mellow than Christmas last year, which of course I spent alone. This year I spent the morning alone, then went to my parents’ for dinner, picking it up on the way from Big City Diner in Pearlridge. It was the same meal as last year, a lovely prime rib with mashed potatoes, a Caesar salad, a green bean salad, some crab cakes, and macarons. I left the macarons for my mom (I don’t care for them) and most of the potatoes for my dad, but did bring leftovers home of half the remaining prime rib and all the remaining salad.

Came home and watched Remember the Night (1940) with Barbara Stanwyck and Fred Macmurray. It was lovely. Fantastic. It had most of the stuff that made me fall in love with old movies when I was a teen, and was just a really nice surprise. It doesn’t measure up to Casablanca (I mean, nothing does, right?), and it’s a different genre — romantic comedy vs. romantic drama — but it’s thoughtful, sweet, and witty. It’s immediately a new favorite.

Then I watched Desk Set (1957) on the recommendation of a coworker, whose cube is right behind mine and who also loves old films. She’s the only person I know who also subscribes to the Criterion Channel. This is the seventh or eighth of nine films Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy starred in together, and I have never gotten into Tracy (except in Boystown and Men of Boystown), but I think in this one I started to see him better as an actor. Might have to look into some of his other stuff. Hepburn, of course, is great. This film’s quite a bit sillier, but it’s also witty if also fluffy and insubstantial.

They are both Christmas movies, and I’m happy to add them to my list of good films for the holiday.

Breakfast Saturday was overnight oats, as it has been every morning for a couple of weeks. Lunch was the Big City Diner meal at my parents’. I should have had a dinner after that, but I had a couple of quesadillas and the leftover Caesar salad very late before bed.

Breakfast Sunday was overnight oats. Lunch was nigiri sushi from Kuru Kuru, picked up on my way to my parents’ again. Dinner, which I just finished, was a dish of yogurt (yes, my homemade yogurt) with some granola and raw honey.

Texting Saturday was the usual Christmas greetings from all over, including from coworkers, from Excrush Girl, and from Reid-Grace-Penny. Sunday it was a little more of the same, but also with the others in my department after my boss told us not to come in. Oh, and the writing partner texted me to thank me for the gift I mailed her — a hardback copy of The Lost Apothecary, which I’m pretty sure she’ll really like.

Sunday NYT xword in 32 minutes, slower than my Sunday average. Monday xword in 4:15. That’s around where I usually finish a Monday lately.

It’s coming up on 2:30 and I still have a couple of quick tasks to hit before bed. Then up early to get my work laptop from the office, before anyone else gets in because I’m trying to avoid everyone. I have kind of a slow week ahead of me, if nothing pops up on short notice, so it’ll be a good few days to catch up on a few things. Kind of looking forward to it.

and the walls kept tumbling down
in the city that we love
great clouds rolled over the hills
bringing darkness from above

Review: Secret in Their Eyes

Secret in Their Eyes (2015)
Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, Chiwetel Ejiofor.  Written and directed by Billy Ray.

I’ve mentioned many times that I’m no fan of thrillers.  Yet I’ve seen a few movies in recent years that either qualify as thrillers or were marketed this way, and I survived mostly intact.  While I doubt I’ll ever seek them, I think maybe for a time I will no longer avoid them if other factors draw me in.

Such as Julia Roberts.  In Secret in Their Eyes, a remake of a 2009 Argentinian movie reviewers seem to like better, Julia is out-prettied by both of her costars, Nicole Kidman and Chiwetel Ejiofor.  Kidman as a Los Angeles prosecutor is just gorgeous, equal parts uptight, straight-shooter, and professionally flirty.  Ejiofor, whom I don’t think I’ve seen before, (edit: he was in The Martian but I don’t remember him) is charismatic and handsome in a tortured way.

As most films in this genre, this one’s difficult to review without giving anything away, so I’ll say what I like and what I don’t like as safely as possible.

The premise is intriguing.  Roberts plays a cop whose daughter is murdered.  Ejiofor is a counter-terrorism FBI agent assigned to LA to work with the police, as driven as Roberts to find the killer, but reasonable factors about the prime suspect make pursuit complicated and difficult.

However, we’re meant to care about the story’s relationships, and here’s where the film fails.  We get barely enough of the Roberts-Ejiofor relationship to explain the characters’ actions, but the Roberts-Kidman and Ejiofor-Kidman relationships are never established or developed, while certain parts of the film rely on them.

It’s too bad, because the acting is very good.  I don’t mind where the movie goes, but I’m not given enough to embrace it or reject it, so all that’s left is a kind of icky, hollow feeling and an affection for the actors.

You could do worse, but you could do a lot better.


Review: I Love Trouble

I Love Trouble (1994)
Julia Roberts, Nick Nolte.  Written by Charles Shyer and Nancy Meyers. Directed by Charles Shyer.

What a stinker of a movie.  I Love Trouble is proof you can’t just throw together two charismatic actors and expect them to work well on screen.  This is not to say Julia Roberts and Nick Nolte as investigative reporters for rival Chicago newspapers have no chemistry at all, and they are both skilled enough to create a certain believability, but every time they kiss in this film, all I could think was, “Gross.”  Except that one time I said, “Ew” instead.

Roberts and Nolte famously did not get along while making this film (Julia said Nolte is the worst actor she’s ever worked with), but I seriously don’t think their dislike for one another is the reason the movie is so bad.  It’s the writing, which is preposterous.  Nolte’s character is a cartoon, both actors deliver lines they must have hated, and the movie doesn’t give us any reason to believe their characters have genuine feelings for one another.

It still has its moments as the reporters realize the only way they’re going to get to the bottom of a suspicious train crash is by working together.  There are a few genuinely funny moments, and a few lines that had me laughing aloud, a few clever turns of phrase.  And of course Julia is beautiful to look at, her doe eyes and toothy smile lighting up the screen as they always do.

Its few good moments make it not a complete waste of time, but keep your expectations low.  It’s one of the worst Julia Roberts films I’ve seen.


Review: Jay and Silent Bob Reboot

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019)
Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, and a cast of thousands.  Written and directed by Kevin Smith.

In 2001’s Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, two side characters in Kevin Smith’s early films become central characters.  Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith) learn a movie is being made about them without their permission, so they drive to Hollywood to stop the film. While the stoner-slacker buddy road-trip movie is stupid beyond words, it’s also smart, clever, and fun, and I’ll repeat my assertion that Smith is the most Gen X of Gen X screenwriters.

In 2019’s Jay and Silent Bob Reboot, the same characters learn a reboot is in production — without their permission — of the movie they tried to stop in 2001, so they drive to Hollywood to stop the film.  Jay and Silent Bob Reboot takes aim at Hollywood’s recent creative climate of sequels, remakes, and reboots, while at the same time being all three.

I’m not kidding.  In one very explainy scene, our heroes learn the difference between a sequel, a remake, and a reboot, and it’s clear very early that the movie we’re watching is all of them.

The easiest thing to say about a Kevin Smith film in his View Askewniverse is that it’s so self-referential with so many jokes about itself, if you’re jumping in for the first time, you’re unlikely to enjoy it, because you’d have to appreciate it on its surface, and there’s just not enough there.  Chasing Amy is probably the one exception.

Yet if you see more than one of these films, it’s nearly impossible to miss the thing that makes Smith a hero to his faithful: his characters grow up, and in doing so, they show us Smith’s (and now Mewes’s) own growth.  Smith doesn’t merely wear his heart on his sleeve; he paints it on his forehead, openly discussing — in podcasts, interviews, and his live Q&A shows — not only his fears and failures, but his love for his family and friends, and his tenacious loyalty to both.

I saw Clerks II (2006) in a theater and hated it until the closing credits rolled and I realized I loved what Smith did.  He brought his characters back for yet another stupid-smart movie and delivered a treatise on Gen Xers hitting middle age.  Not just these Gen Xers, but Gen Xers as a whole.

So here’s this movie, laden with callbacks and appearances by characters from his past films, referencing Smith’s real-life, well-known adventures (a near-fatal heart attack and subsequent weight loss and conversion to veganism; a highly publicized adventure in an airplane where he was ruled too fat to fly) and loaded with his friends and family (his mother, wife, and daughter are in the film, as is Mewes’s daughter), plus stupid jokes and entire dialogues lifted from other films.

In one scene, a klansman steals Cyrus’s “Caaaaaan youuuuuuu digiiiiiiit?” from The Warriors and immediately after, in the same scene, Silent Bob delivers Alec Baldwin’s “always be closing” monologue from Glengarry Glen Ross. It’s shameless idolatry and it’s pretty dang funny, because Smith’s purpose is not to create a coherent story.  It’s to have as much fun with as many friends as possible while allowing his characters to grow up the way real people do.

Because I’m Smith’s intended audience, I can’t lie.  I bought it, and then I watched it twice more. My only real disappointment is that the DVD doesn’t come with a director’s track.  The director’s commentary is the best thing about a Kevin Smith DVD, so I’ll be waiting for a tenth anniversary re-release by the Criterion Collection.


Review: Borg vs McEnroe

Borg vs McEnroe (2017)
Shia LaBeouf, Svirrir Gudnason, Stellen Skarsgård.  Written by Ronnie Sandahl. Directed by Janus Metz Pedersen.

In July 1980, the world’s second-ranked men’s tennis player John McEnroe faced the world’s best, Björn Borg, in the finals at Wimbledon, in what many have called the greatest tennis match ever.  I hadn’t yet gotten into tennis, but I had discovered CNN Sports Tonight, a nightly half-hour television program featuring highlights and commentary like nothing I’d seen before.  Until then, my sports highlights existed only in the final five minutes of the local news, or during Howard Cosell’s “Halftime Highlights” on Monday Night Football.

This is when my interest in tennis was born: with CNN’s regular coverage of McEnroe’s serve and volley on the court, and his tantrums on the sideline.  He was the kind of athlete I always favored as a boy. Muhammad Ali, Ken Stabler, Reggie Jackson, John McEnroe. Don’t tell any of those guys what to do, because they’ll just do the opposite, and then beat you while you whine.

I say all this to explain how I was once an avid pro tennis fan, John McEnroe was my gateway drug, there was an era when the characters in tennis were as fascinating as its competitions, and Borg vs McEnroe is a great trip back to a much funner time.  You don’t have to be a tennis fan to appreciate the film; in fact, it might be better for your enjoyment if you’re not. Still, if you are a fan, you’ll appreciate the memories of the stoic Borg, who had won Wimbledon four straight years before 1980, and tempestuous McEnroe, gunning for the world’s top ranking.

Believe it or not, Shia Labeouf is excellent as McEnroe.  I suspect Labeouf identifies with McEnroe in important ways.  You never really think you’re looking at McEnroe’s body or face, but you do get a sense you’re seeing the person.  Svirrir Gudnason looks exactly like my memory of Borg.

The film sets us up for this Wimbledon final with flashes back to each man’s past, framing the confrontation at Centre Court as a meeting of surprisingly similar characters, each with sympathy for the other.  It’s a compelling story, drawn so that rather than foils, the athletes are parallels. If you’re hoping to get a deep psychological exploration of what made these seemingly different men so great at hitting a yellow ball, you’ll think this movie is a tease.  If you’re looking for a little bit of character analysis to go with your service aces, you’ll be pleased.

Viewers are unlikely to agree with my one major gripe unless they enjoy watching tennis on television or in person.  The action on the court is edited in such a way that you don’t see very much tennis. This is utterly maddening. You see and hear the racquets making contact; you see the expressions, the blurs of power and speed.  You sometimes see the ball hitting the court. You almost never see a rally from serve to point, and you see very little of the action from the usual angle, behind the receiver and over his shoulder. With the exception of one series of very cool overhead shots, none of this is an improvement in any way.

You could make the argument that it makes for better cinema and better storytelling, and I might understand.  After all, in Searching for Bobby Fisher, a movie I love, I never complained that chess games (or whatever they’re called)  aren’t shown in real time with realistic flow, because who wants to watch that except maybe chess spectators? However, this is tennis, not chess!

Thank goodness for the film’s ending, which heals some of my wounds.  Where the tennis action fails, the closing scene succeeds, showing us the action and giving us a resolution the competition denies us.  Very, very well done. Stick around for the closing credits too, which treat us to actual photos of Borg and McEnroe. They made me a little teary. 

As a film lover, I think it’s excellent.  As a sports film lover, I think it’s pretty good.  As a sports lover, I think it’s agonizing. For this, I have to penalize the film one point for unsportsmanlike behavior.


Review: The Lighthouse

The Lighthouse (2019)
Willem Dafoe, Robert Pattinson.  Written by Robert Eggers and Max Eggers.  Directed by Robert Eggers.

For a psychological horror film, The Lighthouse is quite watchable if you (like I) shy away from such pictures.  It’s unlikely to give you nightmares or to gross you out, so it’s worth a shot, because this is one compelling and gorgeous movie.

Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson play Thomas Wake and Ephraim Winslow, lighthouse attendants on a remote island in the north Atlantic.  Wake is the barnacled veteran with a pirate’s aaaaarrrrgot, a grouchy taskmaster to first-timer Winslow. Their relationship begins tenuously and continues contentiously, the men’s interactions swinging from testy to amiable depending on how much alcohol has been consumed.

Wake and Winslow are stationed for four weeks, but a vicious storm extends their stay.  The men’s quarters are cramped, and they spend just about every minute together. This reality is heightened for the viewer by the film’s 1.19 to 1 aspect ratio, a frame that’s practically square, much narrower than a high-def television screen, even narrower than pre-HDTV television screens.

The acting is fabulous, but excellent performances by the principal actors highlight one of The Lighthouse’s major obstacles.  When great actors overact in service to the movie, we have to work out a certain tension.  When skilled writing goes over the top, we have to decide whether or not to accept it. At the height of one conflict, one character accuses the other of being a parody, so Pattinson, Dafoe, and director Robert Eggers are clearly aware of these issues.

Eggers’s commentary track reveals meticulous research and thoughtful filmmaking, so I’m inclined to accept the film on its terms.  Accepting the acting and writing makes it easier to accept the other strange sights and developments; my advice is to appreciate everyone’s considerable chops.  There’s almost no way the film satisfies if you can’t.

The Lighthouse is compelling and gorgeous.  Block off two evenings because it rewards a second viewing.


2019 consumption recap: film/whatever

First a quick few lists of (most of) what I saw in 2019.

2018 movies I saw in theaters in 2019
On the Basis of Sex
If Beale Street Could Talk
The Favourite

2019 movies I saw in theaters in 2019
Captain Marvel (twice)
Avengers: Endgame (twice)
Late Night
Spider-Man: Far from Home
The Farewell
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Blinded by the Light (twice)
Downton Abbey
Knives Out
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

A sorry showing to say the least. I will have to do better in 2020.

I also took the morning off from work to see The African Queen in a theater, my second-favorite film of all time. And I saw three concert films in theaters: Rush’s Cinema Strangiato, Metallica’s S&M2, and Slayer’s The Relentless Killogy. All quite good but Rush especially.

Movies I saw via streaming or on DVD in 2019
The Last Detail (1973)
First Reformed (2018)
Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018)
Hearts Beat Loud (2018)
Mid-90s (2018)
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies (2018)
Twilight (2008)
Noelle (2020)

This is not counting movies I re-watched, which would include multiple viewings of Hell or High Water, The Muppet Movie, The Princess Bride, All the President’s Men, and The Greatest Showman.

I no longer have the attention span to truly binge-watch a TV series, but I did take my time through Silicon Valley seasons 3 and 4, Downton Abbey season 1 and some of season 2, Æon Flux the second series. I re-watched Silicon Valley seasons 1 and 2 and Forever season 1.

…and dang it. I just learned that Forever was canceled. So annoying. The first season was freaking brilliant. I’m pissed. And I also discovered that Atlanta will air seasons 3 and 4 in 2021. Also annoying, but at least it’s coming back.

In retrospect, I guess the best film I saw in 2018 (not counting The African Queen, because that’s cheating) was If Beale Street Could Talk, but my favorite is probably either Downton Abbey or Spider-Man: Far from Home.

I thought Silicon Valley lost some focus in seasons 3 and 4, but it was still hilarious, and I imagine without T.J. Miller it should be a lot more focused for seasons 5 and 6, which I plan to watch this year. It really couldn’t stand up against Downton Abbey, though, which is wonderful.

There is a movie in this list I think I will always think of when I remember 2019. I won’t say what it was, but it’s the movie I invited Crush Girl to see with me, that evening I was friendzoned. I went to see it anyway, by myself, and it was rather good, and someone in it is likely to be nominated for an Oscar. I really thought she was signalling me for takeoff, but I was shot down in flames. I’m still recovering in case you can’t tell, and while the movie is good enough to be remembered for much better things, it will remind me for a while of the beginning of a few months of pretty dark stuff.

As depressive episodes go, this wasn’t nearly as dark or crippling as others I’ve gone through, but it was pretty long, and it comes back every so often. I suspect that Crush Girl shooting me down in the year of my being XXXXX years old is part of it — it’s excellent fodder (I use present tense because it’s still present) for who-am-I-and-what-am-I-doing-with-myself ruminations and reflections.

I suspect this will be my journaling theme for MMXX, which is a nice segue into resolutions, which I’ll post in a day or two.

Even at My Worst, I’m Best with You

I can’t tell you why the title of this entry is relevant, but the song is playing on the speakers in this establishment, and the song is an especially good soundtrack to part of what I’m writing here.

I don’t know if I have it in me to do the Friday 5 this late Sunday evening. I’ll type a few thoughts and see.

My part in the stressful project at work isn’t as finished as I thought. I’m not sure when my part will be done — it seems when I think they’re happy with my draft, they come at me with “can we do this?” And it doesn’t bother me much but the communication this past week was weird. Like people are saying, “Why did you do this?” And I’m saying “You know why I did this. If you wanted to reverse it you totally could have, or just told me you wanted it reversed and I’d have been happy to do it.”

I understand my role, and I embrace it. I’ve embraced it for going on three years, and usually it’s not a problem. Tell me what you want, and I’ll write it. If I disagree, I may say something about why, but I’ll almost always defer unless the point of contention is about grammar or some other mechanical aspect of the language, which I consider myself better informed about than almost everyone I work with.

People I work with appreciate and respect my expertise. I don’t know much about most things, but I know what good writing is, and I know how to produce it. On this project, though, I think people aren’t being clear about what they want and don’t want. So I assume the drafts are fine until I’m told that I need to change certain things and I need to change them now.

Geez. I wouldn’t really mind that either, but be a little nicer about it, you know? And don’t make it sound like the draft is where it is now because of me. If I’m waiting for you to tell me what you want, and you don’t tell me what you want until seconds before you need it, don’t act like I’m the reason nothing’s been done yet.


This project has been making me lose sleep, and it’s not the work itself. I haven’t been nervous or stressed a single moment about the work, which involves some very high stakes. This team I’m part of always produces excellent work. High stakes don’t change any of that. I want our project to succeed, but I’m not afraid of its failure. That’s how you do good work.

It’s the communication that’s been driving me insane.

I’m working myself up just typing this, so I’m going to back off a bit.

This is going to sound a little weird, but I’d kind of like to piss Crush Girl off. Not about anything important, but maybe some minor way that sets her off. I haven’t seen her mad (although I’ve certainly made her mad; I just wasn’t around to see it!), and I suspect she’s beautiful when she’s angry.

I can think of two friends who got really beautiful when they were mad. One is Janice, with whom I spent a lot of time before she married my former college roomie Sterling. I was on the receiving end of at least four very angry scoldings and I have to tell you, that fury made a beautiful woman beautiful. A few times I saw her unleash it at others, and how great it was when I wasn’t the target. I could get a closer look, for one thing.

The other is R, whom I’ve seen angry more than anyone I’m not related to, and only a very few times was I the person she was angry with. Hers was a little different — she went right up to the line between anger and psycho. Once, when she was mad at her mom, I am quite sure I saw her go a step or two over the line, and that was pretty scary. I didn’t have anyone to compare it to until Helena Bonham Carter’s performance as Bellatrix LeStrange. Yeah, it was that kind of psycho-beautiful.

I’ve only noticed in the past couple of months (that is, in the time since she friendzoned me) that Crush Girl has a really musical way of speaking, especially when she’s either going a little gaga over a doggie or a baby, or when she’s listening sympathetically to someone else’s sad story.

I’m actually trying to learn a thing or two from her on that last thing. She makes all these really sympathetic sounds that I’m not sure would work coming from me, but the vocalizations are so sympathetic that I think they help all by themselves. When I hear someone telling her about their bad day or whatever, and she makes these (I’m not even going to try and spell them) sounds of caring, I feel like little daggers are going right into my heart.

I still don’t know her very well, especially not outside the one context in which we interact, but when I see the way she listens to people, I think she’s someone I could love. That’s never enough, I know, so don’t remind me. It’s a good sign, though. There’s a really good person in there.

R had a very musical way of speaking, which over many years of being her friend I picked up a little of, which I’m sure doesn’t help my already semi-effeminate speaking mannerisms, which have led many people to ask if I’m gay, which I’m not. Or from California, which I also am not.

Crush Girl’s musical inflections are different. Like she’s singing along with a completely different orchestra. Like she’s got a story to tell, and if you just wait a moment, she’s going to sing it to you. I’m picturing Amy Adams in Enchanted, although it’s not quite like that. I need time to think about it, because I’m pretty sure I can think of an actor she reminds me of.

this is a crappy picture of the movie on my tablet, but there are NO good still images on the web for this film! but dang: isn’t she pretty?

Speaking of Enchanted, I saw the new Anna Kendrick movie, Noelle, which is streaming on the new Disney +. It’s not great, but Anna is great in it, so I’ll probably see it a few times a week between now and the new year. It reminded me of a cross between Elf and Arthur Christmas. It’s going to remind everybody of Elf.

A coworker also saw it, and she said it reminded her of Elf and Enchanted, and I can see that too.

It has moments of cleverness and genuine, sincere kindness. It has moments of stupid, too, like when Noelle is required to address the North Pole denizens about what Christmas means to her. Ugh. Ugh. Bleah. Vomit.

But you know, I teared up twice and actually shed tears once. Anna really sells the kindness.

Now that things aren’t going to happen with Crush Girl, I should probably give Anna another chance. Although really, if she goes another ten years without calling me, I might stop waiting around.

Is this thing on?

So yeah. My brain’s been a little drained lately, specifically the part that writes stuff. I get home lately, have a small dinner, and hit the sack. Consequently, this will probably be short and will undoubtedly be a bit shallow, not to mention ineloquent.

Reading. I just finished Flour Babies, something I picked up used at the annual Friends of the Library book sale. Proper review later, but it was an interesting read. I couldn’t decide until the very end whether I liked it or not. I did. Anne Fine, the writer, does something really strange, unless I misread the novel. She’s certainly a fine writer, but in the last five pages or so she really cranks up the writing, and it sounds almost like a different person. The last five pages are lovely, almost heartbreaking prose. I’ll probably skim it again to see if I missed something earlier.

I’m now in the middle of Lynne Rae Perkins’s Criss Cross, my favorite book of the 2000s for sure. It received the Newbery Medal in 2006, the year I wrote my master’s thesis on the Newbury Medal, and honestly it’s the book I’ve been trying my whole life to write. It’s possibly better this second time through.

Amazon says I’ve purchased the book six times, which doesn’t include my original purchase at the local Barnes and Noble. I like giving it as a gift.

I saw Spider-Man: Far from Home last week. Fun movie! It’s really sweet, like a good teen flick, and the web-slinging is the coolest it’s ever been. And holy moly Marisa Tomei.

In the evenings before bed, I check my BP, but I have to sit still a while before I hit the button on the machine, and then I sit still a while more so I can take a second reading. Usually during this sitting still, I watch an episode of Silicon Valley, of which I’m nearly finished with season three. It doesn’t match the first two seasons’ creativity and genius, but it’s still pretty smart, and despite one story arc that’s distracting and stupid, it seems to have concluded that arc and done something pretty neat with the character involved. I’ve got season four on DVD on its way to my mailbox. Ordered it on physical media so I could pass it around.

Concert scene’s been a little dead after what’s been a pretty great previous twelve months. I’m okay with it, really. My last show was Michael Franti in early May, and I left the concert while it was still going on. I think he’s great but his audiences drive me crazy. I didn’t enjoy myself the last time I saw him a couple of years ago either.

But Keb’ Mo’ is coming next month, and he’s terrific, and last week I purchased tickets I can’t afford for Patton Oswalt in the lovely Hawaii Theater. It’s the night before my birthday so I couldn’t resist. Now I gotta find someone for the other ticket. Still on the fence for Keb’ Mo’. Gotta decide this week.