Monday, February 25, 2008

shame

is the theme of this post. we won yesterday's dodgeball game, a fact i attribute to a few factors:
a) i sent out an email using pointers from my brother (probably the best dodgeball captain i've ever known) who provided me with a detailed scouting report of everyone on the team's strengths and weaknesses and we all really took those pointers to heart and worked on our game
b) i did a pre-game huddle
c) we worked as a team together
d) there wasn't any music playing (music seems to be our achilles heel)

me, dr. rei and the dotytron stayed to watch my brother's game right after ours (as he was driving us up to my grandpa's birthday banquet). my brother was playing a team we had played last week. there's a little man on the team who just LOVES to call his opponents out for various minor (usually dismissed) infractions (a toe over the line, a player whose shorts got ever-so-slightly - and more likely questionably -grazed during play). it's pretty annoying because the way we play is that each team calls our own outs. and 99% of teams are really fair and balanced and good natured about it. in the heat of play, everyone misses something the odd time, and karmic destiny seems to make it all work out evenly in the end. anyway, little man was the last person standing on the court, and was hit with a barrage of balls that got him out. so what does he do? he claims that one of the people on my brother's team was actually OUT already, and shouldn't have been throwing in the first place. it was just a flagrant, crappy call, and my brother was the bigger person (as he always is in dodgeball) and pulled his player off the court and let the little guy stay on, and it got me hoppin' mad. [this is where the shame comes in]. we're all outraged on the bench and i'm all pissed off at the little twerp and i shout:

"dudes. DUDES. you are going to be SO. SORRY."

at which point, dr. rei turns to me, stares at me aghast for one second, and then bursts out laughing. as well she should, because at this point, i was dressed in my "grandpa's 85th birthday" finery, i'm a 5'4" short little asian girl, and i ACTUALLY SAID THOSE WORDS in the heat of a DODGEBALL GAME. ahahahahahahahahahaha! what's WRONG with me?!? who DOES that?!???? it comes down to a few things:
a) i'm a competitive hothead
b) i love my brother and i protect my family at all costs
c) i run my mouth like a motherf**ker

anyway, that was kind of embarrassing slash hilarious. so shame on me for being a giant loser who is easily riled by poor sportsmanship.

shame on paul haggis for in the valley of elah. this was presented as a "maturation" of paul haggis' writing style after the maudlin, patronizing abomination that was the grade-school treatise on racism, crash. this was slightly less maudlin and patronizing, but still fulsome in the heavy-handed sentimentality department. it was a mediocre movie featuring a finely calibrated, disciplined performance from tommy lee jones. paul haggis really doesn't like leaving things to the viewer to interpret. everything has to be foretold, forewarned, foreshadowed (frequently using the symbolic vehicle of a dog [twice in this film, once in that terrible piece, million dollar baby] - ie. stuff happens to a dog, and THEN in the last 1/4 of the film, happens to a human being). it's just so blatantly manipulative that i'm shocked that tommy lee jones managed to eke out some nuance and subtlety from his role. it makes it all the more striking that he managed, and not only that, does so with admirable grace and quiet, stricken restraint. it was beautiful acting.

be kind rewind is terrible and boring. i fell asleep periodically (granted, i was sick and tired), but i think even if i had been 100%, i still would have been pushed into slumber by the thin (read: nonexistent) story and even thinner characterization. now we know: eternal sunshine of the spotless mind was almost 97% kauffman (not that i had many doubts after watching the science of sleep) and 3% gondry. gondry should just stay well enough away from writing scripts. he's not good at it. at all. what he IS good at, is creating fanciful, charmingly naive, dreamscapes and imagery out of ordinary materials. he captures the spirit of child-like imagination very well, and hints at the sentiments of creativity and community that underlie people's connectivities through whimsy. however, a spirit and sentiment do not a movie make. mos def delivers a horrifically wooden performance and jack black needs to reassess his career after this (and king kong). the critic in now magazine (which i guess is toronto's answer to "the village voice") gave it one "n" on the premise that the plot device that has the narrative hinge on the notion that a community would still rent vhs tapes was implausible. with much respect to the film reviewer, that is the WORST CRITICISM EVER. that, i could buy. if that was the logic of the world that i was faced with, then fine, i can deal. what i CAN'T deal with is someone who is supposedly sensitive to inner city african american experience (and that is how gondry is spoken of, in the wake of the marginally successful dave chapelle's block party) populating that same community with people for whom "child-like innocence" comes across as mentally challenged. and yet, INCONSISTENTLY so. so that mos def's character on the one hand can have trouble deciphering a 3 word (11 characters total) message written backward (this after he copies the message [backward] out onto no less than 20 different slips of paper), but balk at the problematic of recreating driving miss daisy with jack black's character, and at the same time have no problems with jack black's character adopting the EQUALLY problematic slitted eye that is synonymous with "asian" to recreate rush hour 2. quoi? how the hell is that supposed to work again?

i get gondry's point and where he's coming from. blah blah blah, loss of innocence and wonder, blah blah. i don't think you need two movies with creepy man-children at their core to expound on this. i also don't think you need to make two full-length feature films as an excuse to show off your clever art direction.

and with that, i'm off to make tonight's dinner.

fin.

1 comment:

dr.rei said...

"so shame on me for being a giant loser who is easily riled by poor sportsmanship"

more like you rule for being HILARIOUS!!!!

those guys were little BIEEEEETCHES and i have no doubt in my mind that you could have taken them with one hand tied behind your back yo.