Monday, November 19, 2007

'300' Minus 299

Before the first scene, when the overwrought, bombastic soundtrack began to play in the dark theater, my daughter looked at me and laughed "oh my god this is going to be awful." Wow, was she ever right! Beneath the horribly garish facade of Robert Zemeckis' wretched Beowulf lies a classic tale of epic heroism and tragedy. Too bad it was smothered by stupidly macho posturing and a Beavis and Butthead sense of "sexy." I'll be the first to admit that Angelina Jolie's cgi tits look fantastic, but that doesn't quite get the job of making a movie done.

I really wanted to enjoy this film. There were a few good scenes, to be sure, and battle with the dragon is terrific. But on the whole, I would be remiss in my duty if I didn't give you the bottom line: save your money. If you want to see a decent movie about the heroic Geat, have a look at Beowulf & Grendel.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


A gang-rape victim in Saudi Arabia was sentenced to 200 lashes and six months in jail for her part in the crime. This is an allied nation, in good diplomatic standing with the United States.

I cannot claim to be a strong advocate for exporting American democratic values, nor do I particularly want to go abroad to forcibly abolish gross human rights violations. But as a nation it sure seems like we could do a better job of leading by example. I think we could show intolerance toward this kind of "justice" among our supposed friends without resorting to violence.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Sad Day For Baseball

George W. Bush called Barry Bonds' indictment for lying about steroid use "a sad day for baseball." I wonder what he'd call lying about yellow cake uranium.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Punk Rock Warlord

The Future Is Unwritten tells the rich and kaleidoscopic story of John Graham Mellor, the man who became known as Joe Strummer. The film is filled with information even longtime fans will find new or at the very least retold in a different and interesting way.

The third film to deal with Strummer (the other two being Westway to the World and Let's Rock Again), it was far more personal and broader in scope. Just when it seemed to approaching mere hagiography, it would reveal some of the more sordid pieces of his past.

Ya know, I had started to write a long review detailing what I loved about the movie and what I love about Joe. But I just deleted it. Go see the movie. Joe was a mensch. One of the few people I genuinely think of as a hero. 'Nuff said.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Is There a Downside?

Great news! A new congressional report contends that the wars in Iraq and Afganistan are costing the American taxpayers twice what is currently acknowledged, due to interest payments and the costs of health care and disability for wounded veterans. I would hate to think we were getting a stinker at $800 billion when we can actually pay $1.5 trillion!