May 31, 2007

May 31, 2007


Downtown Dining Week started here today. In case you're having trouble decoding the name, it's a week during which Milwaukeeans are encourage to dine downtown. Yeah, very tricky, I know. Anyway, it's a pretty good deal, since you get three courses for either $10 (lunch) or $20 (dinner) and you can choose from 30 or so different restaurants.

My co-worker Amber and I decided to kick it off by going to a place called Mo's Irish Pub near the Grand Avenue Mall (Plankinton and Wisconsin for any of you that know where that is). We ended up taking an hour and a half, eating way too much, and having an awesome time.

So if you're in town during the next week, you might want to check this out. You know how rarely I recommend stuff like this, so you know it's worth it. The menus for all the restaurants are on the website, so you can go in knowing what you want, as opposed to pulling a Heather and spending 15 minutes reading the entire menu.

May 30, 2007

May 30, 2007

Unfogging the Future

Have you ever had a dream so confusing that you woke up thinking, "Where did THAT come from?" I did recently and decided to get a book to clear things up. I thought about Freud's Interpretation of Dreams, but it turned out that didn't have nearly enough pictures. So I instead checked out something called 10,000 Dreams Interpreted: An Illustrated Guide to Unlocking the Secrets of Your Dreamlife by Gustavus Hindman Miller. For one thing, you gotta respect an author with three names. And "unlocking the secrets of your dreamlife" sounds like something any person should get excited about. The 10,000 really sealed it for me, though, since I figure anyone who bothered researching (or making up) 10,000 dream interpretations is worth listening to. (Also, lots of pictures. Yay!)

Unfortunately, the book's conclusion was…unclear. I'm either going to be very lucky…or totally screwed. Here are the elements of my dream and Miller's interpretations:

Abroad: To dream that you are abroad, or going abroad, foretells that you will soon, in company with a party, make a pleasant trip, and you will find it necessary to absent yourself from you native country for a sojourn in a different climate.

Day trip
Tourist: To dream that you are a tourist, denotes that you will engage in some pleasurable affair which will take you away from your usual residence.

Sun: To see the sun at noontide, denotes the maturity of ambitions and signals unbounded satisfaction.

Notre Dame
Cathedral: To dream of a vast cathedral with its dome rising into space, denotes that you will be possessed of an envious nature and unhappy longings for the unattainable, both mental and physical.

Shopping Mall
Market: To dream that you are in a market, denotes thrift and much activity in all occupations.

Sand: To dream of sand, is indicative of famine and losses.
Ocean: To dream of the ocean when it is calm, is propitious.

Train Station
Subway: To dream of riding in an underground subway means that you will soon have many problems disturb you. These problems will involve emotional and psychological turmoil.

Elevator: To dream of ascending in an elevator, denotes that you will swiftly rise to position and wealth; but if you descend in one, your misfortunes will crush and discourage you. (I can't remember whether I was going up or down.)

Rather a mixed bag, no? I had a really good time looking up the meanings, though. I think I'm ready for tea leaves and the crystal ball.

May 29, 2007

May 29, 2007

Wonder Boys

I just finished reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. It won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize, so it has clout. I, however, have had it on my list since I saw a woman reading it on the D.C. Metro. Never underestimate the power of suggestion, I guess.

It's hard to categorize, though I consider it essentially a historical coming-of-age novel. It has (as far as I know) fictional footnotes that mesh the story nicely with actual people and events. If you're interested in comic books, World War II, Jewish history, or magic, all of those topics are touched on the novel. There are also a few less savory things, but you can discover those on your own.

It didn't make me laugh very much, and made me grimace more than once, but I stuck it out to the end and don't feel too bad for having done so. I liked the beginning and end best; the middle seemed a bit muddled. The D.C. reader had one thing right, though; the short chapters make it an excellent way to while away a commute.

(Speaking of comic books, saw Spider-Man yesterday. I liked it.)

May 25, 2007

May 25, 2007

Listen to This, Volume 2

My friend Nicholas recently introduced me to a band called The Postal Service. And while he's into a lot of, um, different music, this actually isn't too bad. My favorite song off the album is Nothing Better, which you can listen to here. I also like Such Great Heights, but I prefer the Iron and Wine cover from Garden State. It's less…hyper.

And yes, I know it's a weird (but cool) name for a band. My favorite part of the Wikipedia entry for the Postal Service is this paragraph:

The name "Postal Service" was chosen due to the way in which the band produced their songs. Jimmy would write the music then send DAT tapes to Ben, who would add his vocals and send them back to Jimmy via "Postal Service." In 2004, however, the United States Postal Service sent the band a cease and desist letter citing their trademark on the phrase "postal service." After negotiations, the USPS relented, allowing the band use of the trademark in exchange for promotional efforts on behalf of the USPS and a performance at their annual National Executive Conference. Additionally, the USPS website sells the band's CDs.

The mental image of the band playing for a room full of USPS executives causes me great amusement.

And since if you're still hungry for more, here's video of a Harvard singing group performing an a cappella version of Nothing Better. The audio sucks, but I'll bet it was interesting if you were actually there. Those crazy Ivy League kids. (I thought about going to Harvard…but that's another story.)

May 24, 2007

May 24, 2007

May 2007 Sweeps in Review

Well, now that Sweeps is over, and having watched much of it either live or on tape, I feel somewhat qualified to make a few comments. Here, then, are my high- and lowlights:

Best Finale: The Office. I've blogged about this already, so I'll spare you any more gushing.

Most Disappointing Finale: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. I've been looking forward to the miniature killer reveal all season. That was it?

Somewhere In-Between: Heroes. My expectations were impossibly high and thus not met.

Best Scene: Let's just say it involved an explosion and Jack Bauer hanging off a helicopter.

Worst Scene: The death of Charlie Pace. I got all choked up.

Best Cliffhanger: Lost. Every finale has a code-named ending scene; this year was "The Rattlesnake in the Mailbox," because it's unexpected. Holy %$@#, was it ever.

Most Literal Cliffhanger: 24. Don't jump, Jack!

"Hey! That's…" Ending #1: La Grenouille, NCIS.

"Hey! That's…" Ending #2: Ralph, My Name Is Earl.

Best Sweeps Stunt: National Bingo Night. I and millions of seniors were thrilled.

Sweeps Stunt I Cared Nothing About: American Idol. Sorry, folks, I don't buy it.

I Yelled the Most at My TV During: Lost. I half expected the neighbors to call the police.

I Did Chores and Stuff During: NCIS. Honestly, I only caught about half of it.

Overall, not a bad month. A few deaths, some set-ups for the fall, and the best use of a yogurt lid EVER.

May 23, 2007

May 23, 2007

Assertive, Yet Non-Threatening

Yesterday's Pop Candy led me to a hilarious blog of passive-aggressive notes. I think it strikes me because I once was a passive-aggressive note writer. Freshman year of college, a couple of my roommates had the habit of putting their dirty dishes on the bookshelf until (I can only assume) they got a chance to wash them. Or the world ended. Whichever came first.

Anyway, I got a little annoyed at this one day, so I put a Post-It on the bookshelf that said "This is a bookshelf, NOT a dish rack." Thankfully, when my roommates saw it, they laughed (as opposed to, you know, killing me) and the smackdown was defused. I'm still friends with them today, in fact. And once I moved into a campus house, I just started doing everyone's dishes. I mean, the additional time involved was negligible.

May 22, 2007

May 22, 2007

Eastern Time

So they tell me the PTB have set up a convention for fans of The Office. And I would likely be so there, except that it happens to be during the week I'll be in Washington, D.C. Also, I'm not sure exactly how much there really is to do in Scranton. Milwaukee's a second-tier city at best; I'm not sure what tier Scranton is on. Honestly, it may not even have a tier.

A trip to Scranton, though, would be a good springboard into three eastern cities I hope to someday visit: Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. They're chock full of that historical crap I love. Unfortunately, Megabus only goes as far as Pittsburgh. I got some Pittsburgh literature in the mail yesterday and…eh. Sienna Miller's comments can't be totally unfounded, can they?

I guess my best hope is that my mom at some point gets temporarily assigned to one of these places; then I can stay with her for free. She's already been to Boston once, so there's hope. Unfortunately, her usual TDYs are of the Phoenix, Portland, and Denver variety.

May 21, 2007

May 21, 2007

The Office Finale: My Thoughts

Having seen it twice and had a few days to digest it a little bit, I'd like to share my thoughts on the third-season finale of The Office. I'm probably jumping the gun here, since the finales of 24, Heroes, and Lost are still in the offing, but I believe that hour with our favorite Dunder-Mifflinites was the best part of Sweeps.

The quality of a program is usually inversely proportional to the quality of my notes on it. For example, I've been so bored during certain hours of 24's current day that I wrote complete sentences. For this, though, I couldn't take notes fast enough. My notes look something like:

boob job
Schrute bucks
(about a dozen more things continuing on in this manner)
Is that it?!?!?!

I may be a little off on the punctuation for those last two, but I'm close. I know I was almost shrieking as I wrote the last one—how completely brilliant and unexpected was Ryan's getting the job? Since I'm diehard Team Pam and I know Rashida Jones has another show in the fall, I fully expected Karen to get the job.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. I should address the primary characters first.

Michael. We open with a classic Michael gaffe, in which he mistook the day of his interview with corporate and "accidentally" drove to New York. Good thing he already sold his condo. On eBay. For 80% of the purchase price.

Jan. Like a lot of people, I expected Jan's "big news" to be a pregnancy. As my friend Amanda said, "Looks like it was twins." Her refusal to leave her office reminded me again why I seriously would not want to meet this woman in a dark alley. She scares me. The possibilities opened up by her showing up at the office in stretch pants with Michael's lunch is exciting, though.

Pam. I like the new assertive Pam. On behalf of Pams everywhere, let me state that we're happy when one of our own steps up to the plate. And the whole yogurt lid message thing? Genius.

Karen. I think I can best sum up my feelings toward Karen by noting that after she called Pam a bitch, my note reads, "Karen must die." I will refer to this character from now on as she-who-must-not-be-named.

Jim. The haircut made me happy, though I think I prefer the floppy hair. It seems to fit in better with Jim's personality. But never mind that…despite the apparent fun he had in the city with she-who-shall-not-be-named, it just took one sweet reminder to send him back to Scranton. And I love that he didn't sweep in and start making out with Pam or anything. He kept it very cool and just asked her out. This is the start of something big.

Dwight. Wow, who knew that Dwight would rule with such an iron fist? (For anyone interested, Schrute bucks are real and can be printed here. I gave several out today.) Seriously, though, between the black walls ("It's like staring into my soul!") and the soil sample lectures…wow.

So what's set up for the fall? Well, Ryan is the new Jan, JAM appears to finally, finally be a reality, and we still need to be rid of she-who-must-not-be-named.

"Once I'm officially regional manager, my first order of business will be to demote Jim Halpert. So I will need a new number two. My ideal choice? Jack Bauer. But he is unavailable. Fictional. And overqualified."

May 18, 2007

May 18, 2007

Listen to This

Since I'm not one to shy away from making media-related recommendations, let me encourage you to discover The Shins. The fact that they use tambourine should really be enough to get you to check them out. In case you need more convincing, though, try the Phantom Limb video below.

I had a hard time choosing between Phantom Limb and New Slang for the Shins song I'd most recommend, but Phantom Limb won out by its virtue of sticking in my head. I find myself singing it all over (on the bus, in the shower, in elevators, etc.) at all hours. And though the lyrics make very little sense (fabled lambs of Sunday ham?), I think the overall sound is really quite something.

May 16, 2007

May 16, 2007

My Favorite Movies: #1 - Gosford Park

Very few of my acquaintances have seen my favorite movie. I'm not sure what that says about them. Or me. I know it wasn't a very popular movie and I guess I can see why. There are a lot of characters and they're all either related or co-workers. There aren't any big-name stars. And nothing explodes.

Still, I find several things to love about this film:

It's British. Okay, you probably have a normal amount of affection for British things. I do not, as anyone who spoke to me whilst the Queen was here can attest. (Also, note my use of the word "whilst." Very British.) I mean, I used to be able to quote the pound's exchange rate. It's not healthy.

It's a period piece. I've watched a lot of crappy movies solely because they were set in the past. I mean, we're talking stuff like Kingdom of Heaven, Troy, and Alexander. And whilst (there it is again!) 1932 isn't all that long ago, there's definitely an historic thing going on.

It's a murder mystery. After a fantastic setup, one of the main characters gets murdered (twice), and the remainder of the film is focused on discovering the who and the why. And whilst (oh, three for three!) some people figure it out right away, I actually didn't completely understand what happened until about the third time I watched the film. Maybe that's just me, though.

It's about high society. Now, it may just be the Edith Wharton fangirl in me, but I find the whole titles system very intriguing. Almost all of the "above stairs" characters have some sort of title, whether it's baron, countess, lord, or whatever. ("Whatever" is not an actual title, although "Lord of Whatever" would look really good on a business card.)

It's got a great soundtrack. I know I keep harping on movie music, but this one's really something. Very evocative of the late 20s/early 30s sound. I also like that one of the characters, Ivor Novello, was an actual person, and that songs he really wrote are performed in the movie by the actor playing Ivor Novello. If you can make any sense of that at all, I hope you see how very cool it is.

"I haven't a snobbish bone in my body."

Mary: "Nobody can stab a corpse and not know it."
Parks: "Really? When was the last time you stabbed a corpse?"

"I've rather gone off cards. I've never been very lucky with them."

May 15, 2007

May 15, 2007

My Favorite Movies: #2 - The Royal Tenenbaums

A lot of people these days seem to think they're part of a dysfunctional family. I daresay the Tenebaums, though, could give anyone a run for their money. This is a good film to watch when you're feeling a little depressed about your own life, because you have nothing on these people. Well, unless you and your siblings were prescient geniuses who are now miserable while your father pretends to have cancer, your mother is preparing to marry her accountant, and you have sons or nephews named Ari and Uzi.

I love, love, LOVE Wes Anderson movies, and this is a perfect example…almost an archtype. His films are in an almost parallel universe, in which people still use typewriters, ride in beat-up cabs, and practice falconry. The Entertainment Weekly review calls it "a landscape that doesn't exist, and perhaps never existed, but seduces with the possibility of having existed once in a cozier, more Christmasy past." Just watch the opening credits. Those will give you a pretty good idea of the tone of the movie.

The soundtrack (since I'm realizing more and more what an essential element that is) is also quite good. The pieces by Ravel and Nico are my favorites; the bits composed by Mark Mothersbaugh specifically for the film aren't bad, either. They definitely evoke specific scenes when I hear them, and I guess that's the main purpose of movie music.

Oh, and it stars Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Ben Stiller, Luke and Owen Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Danny Glover, and Bill Murray, and Alec Baldwin narrates. Enough said.

"Why would a reviewer make the point of saying someone's not a genius? Do you especially think I'm not a genius?"

Richie: "I wrote a suicide note."
Chas: "You did?"
Richie: "Right after I regained consciousness."
Chas: "Can we read it?"
Richie: "No."
Chas: "Can you paraphrase it for us?"
Richie: "I don't think so."
Chas: "Was it dark?"
Richie: "Of course it's dark, it's a suicide note."

May 14, 2007

May 14, 2007

My Favorite Movies: #3 - School of Rock

The very first time I saw this movie, I had a grin on my face the entire time. I'm not sure whether it was the cute kids, the music, or the strong suspicion that Jack Black was drunk throughout. Actually, it might have been a combination of all three.

The cute kids. I really like kids from ages 5 to 9. They're old enough to have a personality, but not old enough to be wiseasses. I also liked that this movie was set in a really exclusive prep school. I wish I had gone to one of those. Seriously, I was watching this thing about Eton last night and if I ever end up rich and in the United Kingdom, I'm putting my kids down for Eton.

The music. The one good thing about being a band geek is that you can always tell when people are faking playing an instrument. It's like…an affront to the craft. Or something. So the fact that the kid actors actually play the instruments is excellent. The music itself is really good, too, especially the songs the class "writes" and performs. Get the soundtrack if you don't believe me. Get it even if you do.

Jack Black. I like Jack Black. Really. I find him very amusing in a recklessly abandoned kind of way. And while you may find his vocal guitar weird, I quite enjoy it. This musical man-child role seems almost custom-made for him. For all I know, it was. I should look into that.

Kudos also to Joan Cusack, the flowchart, and Volvo.

Dewey: "All right, look, here's the deal: I've got a hangover. Who knows what that means?"
Frankie: "Doesn't that mean you're drunk?"
Dewey: "No. It means I was drunk yesterday."

"Now you played hard in here, people, and I am proud of every last stinking one of you. So let's just give this everything we got. We may fall on our faces, but if we do, we will fall with dignity! With a guitar in our hands, and rock in our hearts! And in the words of AC/DC: 'We roll tonight to the guitar bite, and for those about to rock, I salute you.'"

May 11, 2007

May 11, 2007

My Favorite Movies: #4 - The Mummy Returns

Because my list wouldn't be complete without one trashy popcorn flick/movie based on a theme park ride. A sequel, nonetheless. It's got a few redeeming qualities, though. For one thing, it's quasi-historical, set in 1933. And there are some pretty cool locations. If you're at all interested in Egyptology, terms like "canopic jars" and "Anubis" get thrown around with relative abandon.

While I don't mind any of that, I just like the mindless action sequences. Like those freaky undead pygmies. Or the double-decker bus scene. And anything with the scarabs.

I'm not sure why I like this one better than the first movie, but I do. Maybe I sense a kindred spirit in the wise-cracking kid. Or it could be because I saw this one first. And while I know they're going to make a third film, rumor has it the son is going to be 26. Um, no.

Evelyn: "No harm ever came from opening a chest."
Rick: "Yeah, no harm ever came from reading a book, either. Remember how that one went?"

"There's a fine line between coincidence and fate."

May 10, 2007

May 10, 2007

My Favorite Movies: #5 - O Brother, Where Art Thou?

Yes, this movie is set in the South. The Deep South. And it's almost all in sepia. But the lines….oh, the lines! You have to watch this film more than once just to catch all the dialogue. Or, you know, turn on the closed captioning. While it's set in Mississippi (not known as a bastion of education), most of the characters have better vocabularies than I do. Seriously.

Forget CliffsNotes…if you want an adaptation of The Odyssey, watch this. Because I guarantee that little yellow and black book isn't going to have a one-eyed Bible salesman, Soggy Bottom Boys, the Klan, or Baby Face Nelson. (If the CliffsNotes for The Odyssey do in fact have any of those things, well, my mistake.)

And while George Clooney isn't at his best, a grungy, drawling, thieving George Clooney is still pretty damn hot.

"Well, ain't this place a geographical oddity. Two weeks from everywhere!"

Tommy Johnson: "I had to be up at that there crossroads last midnight, to sell my soul to the devil.
Everett: "Well, ain't it a small world, spiritually speaking. Pete and Delmar just been baptized and saved. I guess I'm the only one that remains unaffiliated."

Delmar: "This stew's awful good."
Wash: "You think so? I slaughtered this horse last Tuesday. I'm afraid she's startin' to turn."

May 9, 2007

May 9, 2007

My Favorite Movies: #6 - The Truman Show

I'm a little bit of a voyeur. I think most people are. Watching stuff is just a human tendency. Hence the popularity of television and the continued existence of shows like "Big Brother" (also known as "People Tanning and Whining").

The Truman Show is about the ultimate reality show: a man who has been on tv all the time, his entire life, without knowing it. His entire life is a work of fiction; he lives inside a giant controlled community where everyone is playing a part. It's Shakespeare's "the world's a stage" taken to the extreme.

While I enjoyed watching the logistics of such a big production, the character stuff is pretty good, too. Jim Carrey's not bad in this role, despite its not involving pratfalls or juvenile humor. You find yourself rooting for his character at the end, as he's trying to…well, I don't want to give that away. Let's just say that, the first time I saw this movie, I actually cheered out loud at the very last scene.

"Cue the sun!"

"We accept the reality of the world with which we are presented."

"Somebody help me, I'm being spontaneous!"

May 8, 2007

May 8, 2007

My Favorite Movies: #7 - Little Miss Sunshine

I tend to find that most indie movies don't really match the hype. But how can you cheer against a movie that includes a gay Proust scholar, a yellow VW bus, and an illegal corpse abduction? Yes, this film is rated R, but it's a happy R. Really. Hence all the yellow.

I'm just going to blatantly steal from Wikipedia here to explain the characters:

Little Miss Sunshine is the story of the Hoovers, a fictional dysfunctional family from Albuquerque, New Mexico. The characters are introduced in the opening sequences: Sheryl Hoover (Toni Collette), a stressed and over-worked mother of two, picks up her brother Frank (Steve Carell) at a hospital after the depressed, gay Proust scholar has recovered from a failed suicide attempt. Richard Hoover (Greg Kinnear) is a manic go-getter striving to sell his motivational nine-step technique to becoming a winner. Dwayne (Paul Dano), is an angst-ridden, avowedly mute, Nietzsche-reading teenager who has dedicated his life to joining the U.S. Air Force Academy in order to become a test pilot. Richard's father, Edwin (Alan Arkin), recently evicted from a retirement home for snorting heroin, is shown to have a strong bond with his seven-year-old granddaughter Olive (Abigail Breslin), and coaches her to perform in a child beauty pageant.

Yes, it's about a dysfunctional family's road trip. But there are also a couple of plot twists, some great scenes from the Southwest, and a dance number that will leave you laughing for days.

"Oh my God, I'm getting pulled over. Everyone, just... pretend to be normal, okay?"

"I'm madly in love with you and it's not because of your brains or your personality."

Olive: "I'd like to dedicate this to my grandpa, who showed me these moves."
Pageant Official: "Aww, that is so sweet."
[Audience applauds]
Pageant Official: "Is he here? Where's your grandpa right now?"
Olive: "In the trunk of our car."

May 4, 2007

May 4, 2007

Where a Kid Can Be a Kid

My first birthday party was held at a Chuck E. Cheese's. I'm told I cried during the entire thing. In my defense, I was probably used to a pretty quiet environment; it was just me and my mom for, like, 10 hours during the day. At any rate, my anti-social tendencies probably date back to this period.

I found out recently that one of my co-workers was Chuck E. Cheese at the location I frequented as a child. While I was frequenting it. She actually wore the outfit and everything. It's very likely that she and I spent time together in a rat-toddler capacity. My life has come full circle.

"To me, the thing about birthday parties is that the first birthday party you have and the last birthday party you have are actually quite similar. You know, you just kinda sit there. You're the least excited person at the party. You don't even really realize that there is a party. You don't know what's going on. Both birthday parties, people have to kinda help you blow out the candles, you can't do it. You don't even know why you're doing it. What is this ritual? What is going on? It's also the only two birthday parties where other people have to gather your friends together for you. Sometimes they're not even your friends. They make the judgment. They bring 'em in, they sit 'em down, and they tell you, 'These are your friends! Tell them thank you for coming to my birthday party!'" –Jerry Seinfeld

May 3, 2007

May 3, 2007

My Favorite Movies: #8 - Alice in Wonderland

You have to admit that for something animated, this is a pretty trippy little movie. When I was younger, I used to try to put all kinds of meaning into it, equating the pursuit of the white rabbit with the search for truth or some such. I now realize Wonderland is just a colorful, illogical little place filled with anthropomorphic animals and playing cards. My favorite bits:

Eat Me/Drink Me. Wouldn't life be so much simpler if everything were labeled thus?

The flowers. Sadly, much of my ability to identify flowers comes from this movie. "Ooh, it's a shy violet!"

The Cheshire Cat. The Cheshire Cat scared the hell out of me when I was little. At night, I was often afraid that I'd see just a smile hovering in mid-air. He stills creeps me out a little. According to Wikipedia, he may have been modeled after Lucifer. So that might explain it.

Un-Birthdays. Because we as a people really don't celebrate enough.

Not until I'd seen this movie many, many times did I learn the following bit of trivia: In "The Walrus and the Carpenter" sequence, the "R" in the word March on the mother oyster's calendar flashes. This alludes to the old adage about only eating oysters in a month with an R in its name. That is because the months without an "R" are the summer months (May through August), when oysters would not keep due to the heat in the days before refrigeration.

"Read the directions and directly you will be directed in the right direction."

"In my world, the books would be nothing but pictures."

"Ahoy, and other nautical expressions!"

May 2, 2007

May 2, 2007

My Favorite Movies: #9 - Men in Black

You know what the first thing I did after seeing MiB for the first time was? I rewound it and watched it again. While that's not unheard of for me, it's rare. Anyway, this film is just what I look for in a light diversion. It's short and exciting, involves government conspiracy, and has all kinds of stuff blowing up.

And of course, that ending sequence…holy crap. Brilliant.

"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals, and you know it."

"You know what the difference is between you and me? I make this look good."

"Congratulations, Reg, it's a...squid."

May 1, 2007

May 1, 2007

My Favorite Movies: #10 - Ocean’s Eleven

The heist movie may be my very favorite genre. If someone's stealing something, I want to watch. And while I have by no means seen every heist film in the history of cinema, I've seen enough to realize what a gem Ocean's Eleven is.

The cast. Don't get me wrong; I liked the original Ocean's 11 with the Rat Pack. But I have to pledge allegiance to any movie that features George Clooney, Brad Pitt, AND Matt Damon. I mean, it's like a trifecta—and those are just the main players. Even the bit parts crack me up, like the little Chinese guy or the quarreling hick brothers.

The plot. I was totally taken the first time I saw this movie. Didn't see the twist coming at all. (Then again, I never do.) I was simultaneously confused and impressed. In a good way.

The locale. Vegas. Enough said.

The music. By now, we're all familiar with the bouncy main theme. One of the local radio stations here is actually using that music during commercials for a "win a trip to Vegas" contest they've got going on. Another scene I really, really liked was the use of Debussy's Clair de Lune during the fountain scene. An excellent match of music and mood, I thought.

"Ted Nugent called, he wants his shirt back."

"The house always wins. You play long enough, never change the stakes, the house takes you. Unless, when that perfect hand comes along, you bet big, and then you take the house."

"Off the top of my head, I'd say you're looking at a Boeski, a Jim Brown, a Miss Daisy, two Jethros and a Leon Spinks, not to mention the biggest Ella Fitzgerald ever."