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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Quick Thoughts

First and foremost, I want to apologize for the lengthy delays between my posts on this blog, for anyone who might be reading. I just haven't really had any ideas on what to write about, so here's a bunch of uncollected thoughts on matters diverse.

I'm moving back to Chicago to try and get a job there. I'm going to do things differently this time around, in that I'm going to go all out trying to get anything at all, just to be doing something with my time. I wasted far too much of my time the last go-around, and the situation, while not necessarily desperate, isn't far from it now.

I don't get the negative hubbub surrounding the Mets right now. Is it just me, or have they won 10 out of 12 with Santana staked to a 3-run lead already this afternoon. I understand that the Mets contributed to this atmosphere with their miserable performance in the last two Septembers, but can we at least wait until they are giving credence to the criticism? And I think people need to realize that Jose Reyes is one of the best players in all of baseball, and his "alleged" lack of hustle on a ball he thought was going out of the ballpark isn't that big of a concern. I was there in person and I never thought he could make it to third.

I finished Season 2 of Weeds the other day and it was just as good as the first. The cliffhanger season finale was one of the tensest I've ever seen, and I'm moving Season 3 up to the top of my list. The show so capably builds the relationships between the characters and increases the drama of the story-lines.

How often do you give up on a book? I'm severely struggling in my attempt to read Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children, pressing on only because of the book's reputation. (Last year it was named Best of the Booker, as the best book out of the 40 that have won the Booker Prize.) I give up on books fairly often for a variety of reasons, but I never like doing it. The only way I can justify it to myself is with the thought that there are so many books that one will enjoy reading that it really is a shame to waste so much time boring through the wall of a massive classic just because other people have wanted to sound smart by saying they've read it.

I recently had a Coen Brothers double feature courtesy of Netflix, watching Fargo and Barton Fink. Fargo was even better than I expected. One of the things I like most about the Coens is their playful nature with their movies. Fargo takes a scenario straight out of the noir/Hitchcock tradition but instead of creating a drama featuring suave and charming heroes and scenic locales they set the movie in Minnesota and populate it with a bunch of desperate morons and assorted other quirky folks. Frances McDormand won the Best Actress for playing a pregnant police chief who puts together the pieces of a fake kidnapping turned deadly. 9.0 out of 10.

Barton Fink is one of those films that, depending on your philosophy and temperament, will make you angry or make you feel dumb. John Turturro is the titular character, a playwright with noble ideas hired to write a humdrum Hollywood movie. Fink checks into a seedy hotel and develops a bad case of writer's block and befriends his next door neighbor, a dimwitted insurance salesman played perfectly by John Goodman. Fink's ideals, career and life are all threatened when he becomes involved in a murder investigation and has to beg Goodman to help him. From there the movies becomes surreal and overtly symbolic. The ending is maybe the most confusing I have ever seen, and makes the ending to No Country for Old Men seem revelatory in comparison. Barton Fink is rarely comprehensible but always fascinating, but loses points for the former. 7.6 out of 10.

30 Rock seemed to have a bit of a ho-hum finale, especially considering the hype put on by NBC about the episode's song becoming a youtube sensation. I was impressed at the show's ability to attract guest stars, even though I was only able to recognize a few of them. Best of the bunch was Elvis Costello, or should I say, Declan MacManus, international art thief. The highlight of the episode to me was the meta-humor about the MASH finale, when Jack's father, played by Alan Alda, passes a crying Tracy Jordan and says "A man crying over a chicken and a baby? I thought this was a comedy show?"

On that note, what the hell am I going to do with no new TV shows until September? All I've got is one How I Met Your Mother to go until the idiot box becomes useless to me, outside of the Mets, naturally.

Lastly, my heartfelt condolences to the Class of 2009. You don't have any idea how much it sucks not to be in college. Seriously, you just don't.

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