Wednesday, July 29, 2009

(500) Days Of Summer.

So... Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I had a crush on him in "3rd Rock From The Sun," and then fell in love with his brooding noir performance in Brick. (Read my 2006 review.) Now, as an aspiring architect-cum-mediochre greeting-card writer guy who falls for the office dish, played by the beguiling Zooey Deschanel, he's a mess - lovesick, confused, angry, and oh-so-endearing.

I love this movie. It was funny as, sweet, and so real, except for this scene I'm linking, which I can't embed (sorry). Click the button all the way to the right if you just want the music, or left for director's commentary. Any movie that has a choreographed dance sequence makes my heart race (except 13 Going on 30 - I hate that movie). I breathlessly watched this scene, and I didn't want it to end.

The storyline is non-linear, but a running total of days in the relationship pops up on dialogue cards, so we can keep track. We know early on that the story doesn't end with Lohengrin's March, but somehow that's ok. Maybe it's because of the finite title. Maybe it's because we can clearly see the pair falling apart. Maybe it's because we've all been there - the obsession melting into apathy.

Maybe it's because he's too good for her! He belongs with me! Ahem...

(500) Days of Summer is a delight. I highly recommend it.

I also saw HP6 and Funny People this week. I might review them from home. I'm on a flight home to PEI tonight.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Son Of A Teacher Man.

When I was teaching last year, I figured something out: a teacher would be less likely to raise a kid who's a dickhead. After seeing dozens and hundreds of other people's dickhead kids, I think a teacher as a parent would be less tolerant of such behaviour in his or her own children.

So, there it is: I'm going to marry a son of a teacher. He'd be respectful, polite, and probably not a spoilt, entitled weasel.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Everything Old Is New Again.

In the history of my too-long academic career, one of my favourite professors is Dr. Shannon Murray, of the UPEI English Department. She taught with enthusiasm, passion and compassion. She valued innovative teaching methods, and pushed us to analyze literature in ways we didn't expect.

I took multiple classes with her, but my favourites were probably the full year of Shakespeare I did with her. (I also loved the Paradise Lost course.)

I took many pearls of wisdom away from Dr. Murray, but I've recently been returning to one again and again.

She thought it was amazing that we once wrote on scrolls of parchment and would roll our ways down the document, but then bookbinding became more popular and we all got used to turning pages.

Then, with the advent of the internet, we are back to scrolling.

Cool, huh?

I think I've found another one: before people wore wristwatches, we carried our time pieces on chains in our pockets.

Now, again, we're returning to pocketwatches. Fewer and fewer people wear watches, but rely on their phones for telling time.

Ooh! Clever!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Modern Life Is Rubbish.

Here in Toronto, we are in the 31st day of a City employee strike. Normally, I wouldn't pay very much attention to a civil servant strike because I don't have kids in summer camp and I don't need any buiding permits. Unfortunately, under the umbrella of City workers are garbage collectors.

That means we're going into our 5th week without any garbage collection.

Things are getting a little desperate here at Love House. There's very little room left in our recycling bin, and there are some Tupperware containers in the fridge that are growing mould like it's a fridge in a high school biology classroom. We don't want to empty them because they'll just sit in the small compost bin outside, enticing the zombie raccoons to come feast.

Outside the realm of my house, the city is getting narsty. I think the zombie raccoons are breeding, if that's even possible. Litter is everywhere in the gutters. The first day of the strike, all City garbage cans were wrapped in saran wrap (no kidding) with signs that read, "Temporarily Out of Order. Please Don't Litter." Yeah. That lasted for about 10 minutes, which is when the first douche tore the wrap off and started filling the cans with garbage anyway. Some are not only filled up, but broken open and spilling over. Some business owners near my work have taken it upon themselves to seal over cans near their shops. It's usually cardboard boxes and lots of packing tape that does the trick, but it don't look so purdy.

The City has set up temporary dump sites, but those sites are simply selected City parks. Some have even filled up and have been closed, and now are shoulder-high football fields of black plastic bags, stinking to high hell and attracting frothing raccoon zombies*.

Happily, Toronto has been unusually cool for summer. It's rarely gotten hotter than 22 degrees, and it rains often. This is not cooking the garbage like it could, and how it did back in 2002, when the last City strike lasted only 16 days. (Unfortunately, the cool weather is also preventing my tomatoes from ripening.)

Also, the general litter in the streets distracted everyone else's eyes from the crumpled American $20 bill I found a couple of weeks ago. Rawk! I'm going to spend it recreating Ferris Bueller's Day Off when I go to Chicago for a friend's wedding in September. (I heard that you were feeling ill, headache, fever, and a 20 dollar bill...)

*Zombie racoon sightings would usually be investigated by City employees. I'm not taking any chances - it's zero hour, people.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

And Away We Go.

When I see a good movie, I get this rush of creativity. It makes me want to run home and write and draw.

Away We Go had that effect on me. I haven't seen such a winning movie is ages.

It's about a couple, played by John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph, who are expecting their first child but find themselves entirely unfettered. In a quest to find a new home, they visit what few friends and family they have.

What they find is a dubious cavalcade of parenting practices that have them going from asking themselves if they are fuckups to asking if they are the only normal people left on earth.

Their love and intimacy is so sweet and real, it makes me ache for a relationship like thiers.

It's nice to see Krasinski away from "The Office." He plays Burt. He is a real candidate for the Husband List, but he doesn't have a big enough portfolio of work to be admitted just yet. He does grow a good beard. A good beard. His beard and this movie work in his favour.

Maya Rodolph is great in this movie. She's always cited as excellent in this movie's reviews, and I have to agree. She is a soft-spoken, thoughtful Verona.

This movie has the potential to be too quirky, but it isn't. Its charms are balanced between funny and touching. Some of the stories told in this film are so bittersweet. I love bittersweet.

I don't think Away We Go is playing in a lot of theatres, but if you have a chance to see it, I would highly recommend it.