Sunday, May 07, 2006

"We've implanted an explosive charge in your head. Does that sound familiar?"

Who doesn’t love the study days leading into Finals Week? There are basically three types of people in regards to this bonus free time Our Lady’s University throws at us:

1) The people that starting their studying as early as they can Thursday morning for exams next Friday, then burn out by the time Saturday hits, curling up in the library with coolers, elephant guns and blankets

2) The people that wait way too long to start, citing that “Oh, I have plenty of time”, only to find that they don’t and now they’re desperately behind.

3) The people that pace themselves just fine, getting a little free time in, but a lot of library and review time.

I’m somewhere between two and three right now, as I haven’t really wasted a lot of time, but only was steadily productive today and yesterday. However, I did complete the main objective of every set of study days, imagined by the ingenious Peter Winter last spring:

The cinematic catharsis before Finals Week, letting all your emotions go for an action movie that allows you to forget about the impending doom for a bit.

Last spring was xXx: State of the Union, in December it was King Kong and Friday night it was Mission: Impossible: III. If we were doling out grades – and who isn’t at this time of year? – I’d give it a solid B to B+, as long as we’re considering it a “Summer Blockbuster” and not “Oscar Material”, which is notably addressed by Time and the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

My main complaint with the film would be that it underutilized Philip Seymour Hoffman. The one scene he really got to sink his teeth into – the dual interrogation on the plane – was so fantastic that you wished there was less IMF bullshit and more Truman Capote laying the smack down on Maverick. Granted, just having PSH in the role made the movie better, but I just wish we got to see more of him.

There are plenty of plusses in the movie – the heist at the Vatican, the attack on the bridge, Ving Rhames being awesome – but I couldn’t help but feel a little bit underwhelmed. I think that is the only consistent theme of the Mission: Impossible movies: Seemingly a step away, but not quite there. The first one was too confusing, the second one was too action-oriented and this one just left me with a feeling that it could have been significantly better. A solid start to the summer movie season, but nothing overly spectacular.


Of course one of the many benefits was getting to see the trailers for both Superman Returns and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest on the big screen, and my feelings remain the same:

A) Kate Bosworth makes a terrible Lois Lane.

B) The Superman suit looks padded. You cannot deny this.

C) Kevin Spacey makes a fantastic Lex Luthor, and might just save the movie.

D) Pirates is going to be a total success or a total failure. Relying so much on CGI and Johnny Depp will either be boon or bust.

E) Keira Knightley retains her “cheekbones sprinkled with God dust”. Definitely going to be Netflixing Pride and Prejudice over the summer.

I’m not sure if there will be one more trailer for each before their premieres, but if I’m the folks behind Superman, I’d get on that quickly.


The first post I write when I’m done with finals sometime Wednesday afternoon is going to be a virtuoso ode to basketball and the joy these NBA playoffs have been so far, or, at least until the last two days, when the Cavaliers and Lakers not showing up coupled with the Mavericks and Spurs forgetting how to play offense sort of took things back a step.

But regardless, the Agent Zero vs. King James war going seven games was stolen from us by Damon Jones -- Damon bleepin’ Jones -- and that was our only Game Seven of a professed “Best First Round Ever” by the ESPN, knee-jerk experts. There were some great games, but only one Game Seven, and it was anticlimactic, and you had three series that were jokes – Dallas/Memphis, Denver/LA Clippers, Detroit/Milwaukee – and one that might as well have been invisible – Indiana/New Jersey. Two great series and one decent one (Spurs/Kings) does not a memorable first round make, although Games Four and Six of the Suns/Lakers series will go down as two of my all-time favorites.

LeBron:Damon Jones (Friday Night) :: Pistons:Cavs (Today)

Anyway, that long diatribe was to get you to this, a fantastic comparison of the NBA Playoff teams to 1980’s sitcoms. Honestly, I’m just putting this up because it defends the comedic genius of Golden Girls, but it’s a good read nonetheless.

(And just incase you were feeling bad about not really enjoying the LeBron James Experience in Round One, here are a series of stories that will help you not feel so bad about yourself. Here, Here, Here and Here. And here’s one just on how awesome Gilbert Arenas is.)


For my money, the original Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Sexes remains one of the best seasons of reality television ever-produced. For a high school male, it served to be as allegoric as possible to real life: The guys devised a system where the lowest scoring contestant would be eliminated, while the girls made things as dramatic as possible. Plus, Puck got married and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Obviously, I was disappointed with the last season of Gauntlet, but I’m even more upset with the plans for the new Challenge, which involves pitting twelve former MTV “stars” against twelve random viewers pulled off the street. I hate to be using this post to go over problems in things, but there are two glaring holes:

1) The beauty of Challenge is that you don’t need a whole lot of set-up for the characters. You already have some basic idea of them, and it’s fun to see them put into new situations, especially if you really liked or disliked a certain person.

2) The people they’re bringing in are terrible. Four from Real World: Austin, one of the three worst series of all time? Thank God for Coral being involved, but I really can’t deal with the boringness that is Melinda and Danny for another season.


This was a headline on Yahoo!. I thought I’d share it with you, as I enjoyed it immensely.


I’ll leave you with this, easily the highlight of everyone’s television viewing week. Good luck with Finals, folks, and remember, a going-by-too-quick summer is just around the corner.

(From Thursday night’s absolutely awesome episode of The Office)

Michael (reading Dwight's complaint): “This morning, I knocked myself in the head with the phone.”
Jim: That actually took awhile. I had to put uh more and more nickels into his handset, til he got used to the weight, and then I just ... took them all out.

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