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From “Oooh” To “Eeew”
Jay is away on business this week. Filling in for him is The Last Word's Kristine.
Yesterday when Jay asked me oh so politely with an air of desperation if I would fill in and be a “guest writer” for his column because he was swamped with a previous activity, I said I’d do it, but what do I write about? He suggested porn.
Now, I like porn as much as the next girl. I even own some. (Yes, I’ve paid for it.) But what’s there to say about porn? Something from the female perspective? No. I think I use the male half of my brain to deal with porn because I can’t stand scripts or talking (in porn anyway). I fast forward to the goods. So scratch porn.
Next I was thinking about food. Probably because it was about 4:30pm and I was driving home from work, and while in traffic my mind wanders to things like food and what things I need to clean.
The thing about food I was considering was holiday food. Two things came to mind: Turkey and ham. Why? One day years ago while at my parent’s house for Thanksgiving, I watched my mother putting the neck and gizzard and whatever other innards are in that bag inside the turkey, into a saucepan full of water and put it on the stove to boil. After the boil she lowered the temp to warm and that was that.
A few hours later I watched her take the saucepan to the sink, pour out the remaining water, and then dump the solid contents into the garbage can.
This struck me as odd. So I decided to ask, “Mom, why do you put that stuff in the pan and then just throw it away? What’s the point?” The way she looked at me told me that she had never really thought about it. Her answer? “I don’t know. I just remember my mother always boiling the parts, so I do too. I think it’s like potpourri, making the house smell like turkey.” This led to us walking over to Grandma and asking her what was up. Grams looked at my mother like she had clearly been dropped on her head too many times then said, “you’re supposed to use that for making gravy”. Well then. Oops.
Another incident similar to this involves ham. This time Easter dinner. I again sit there and watch my mother performing the ritual of unwrapping the honey baked ham, turning on the oven, and then she cuts off both ends of the ham and sticks it in a pan. This has occurred for as long as I can remember, but once again I have no idea what it’s for. Does it make it juicier? Retain flavor? I’m sure it’s some culinary secret that will improve ham greatly. So again I ask what is the purpose of end cutting the ham.
Again, she doesn’t really know, her mother just did it.
So we trek over to the phone and call Grams up to inquire about handling ham.
The silence that ensued pretty much answered everything for me, but what my Grandma ended up finally saying was, “the reason I cut off the ends of the ham was to make it fit in the pan I had”.
Well then. Oops again!
I thought I would recount these moments for you and the ask if any of you had ever done something akin to the above. Any traditions or styles of cooking that you do because you have observed generations doing it and just presumed it’s the proper way of doing things? Without really knowing why?
But then I thought, “how much can I stretch out meat for? That isn’t gonna take up much space”. So I ditched that idea.
I sat here, staring at my laptop screen, and then it hit me when I looked up at my TV. Ultra Violet was on one of the movie channels. I’ve never seen that flick all the way through and probably never will. I’ve seen bits and pieces and the part I viewed tonight was the main character riding a motorcycle up the front and sides of buildings. It looked ridiculous. It looked fake.
So that brings me to the true subject of this mind babble: CGI
If you knew me in life, you would have heard me lament CGI. Now, I love effects as much as the next gal. When I first saw Star Wars in 1977 in the theater, I specifically remember being awed and overwhelmed and unable to stop saying “ooooh!!!” Years ago, before the last three additions to the story, I bought the Stars Wars Trilogy on VHS. Watching it now I can see how antiquated some of it looks; check out the battle scenes with Luke and Han in the Millennium Falcon, shooting at those Tie Fighters. Clearly not a smooth melding of real and animated. But it was still great.
In 1984 one The Last Starfighter was the first movie to use CGI for all the spaceships instead of using models. I love that movie! To this day I will sit and watch it over and over.
Hell, even Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade made strides when it came to using CGI in movies. Remember when the Nazi fella chose unwisely and his face melted off? Fantastic!
There are many other movies I enjoyed that utilized CGI. The first Terminator, Time Cop, Total Recall, Backdraft, Jurassic Park. Even my beloved Casper. The list goes on and on. I love movies. I don’t require something with subtitles or a Bergman film. I like to be entertained and to lose myself for a couple hours in another world.
But here’s the thing, I’m a writer. I like scripts. I like dialogue. I like to see a character and a storyline. And it seems to me that lately moviemakers are depending far more on computers than people.
The last two movies I saw in the theater are The 300 and Ghost Rider and I enjoyed both. > But in both the script was short on verbal interaction and strong on visuals. I like a good war scene or things that blow up and I especially love creative deaths—but there seems to be a large movement away from actually acting.
Where has all the talent gone? There’s just been too much of a good thing in the last, say, 7 years of movie-making. Even a movie like V for Vendetta, which relied heavily on CGI, had a man playing the lead with a mask. That forced him to act using his voice and body language. I admit the movie put me to sleep, but at least Hugo Weaving had to have some sort of ability to pull off the part. Even if I kept hearing “Mr. Anderson” in my head.
Has Hollywood given up? Is it my choice in movies? I just think that today’s films rely far too much on animation and computer generated graphics. It is possible to make movies without faking it.
Where are the movies like His Girl Friday or Laura or The Maltese Falcon? Casablanca, The Bridge on the River Kwai, Easy Rider, The Quiet Man?
Is it even possible in this day and age to make a movie that spends more attention on character development and plot? Is there anything original left to be made? Let me clarify that. Something that’s actually decent and doesn’t try too hard to be impressed with itself. I want more Little Miss Sunshine and The Departed. I want less movies from comic books and video games. And dear lord, stop with the remakes of TV shows! I really didn’t need to ever see Bewitched or The Dukes of Hazzard on the big screen.
If I’m going to pay $8.00 for 20oz. of soda I better enjoy the flick. It’s bad enough that I have to deal with people kicking my seat, talking on their cell phones, and generally yelling at the screen. But I won’t go off on that tangent, even though I was about to rip someone’s braids off their mouthy head during 300 ‘cause they would not shut the fuck up.
But I digress.
What movies in the last seven years would be worth my running out to buy on DVD that are engaging, entertaining, and story driven?
What movies with oodles of CGI do you enjoy that don’t go overboard and look fake?
I will go see the third Spiderman and I saw the latest Superman in 3D in IMAX. I’m not trying to be an elitist snob, I promise. I adore movies and being entertained. Especially horror flicks that have zombies. So I’m truly not entirely picky, I just beg for more story instead of short cuts with a computer.
What say you?
I hope I haven’t embarrassed Jay too much with this rant but if I have, maybe he’ll have learned his lesson about abandoning us, his loyal readers. Ha!