Friday, July 01, 2005

Things to do while Morgan Freeman narrates.

- Apparently, we're deep within the Golden Age of Morgan Freeman at the movies this summer. Not only has he already appeared in two films since May, UNLEASHED and the superior BATMAN BEGINS, he's also providing voiceover narration for two more movies set to hit theaters, Steven Spielberg's WAR OF THE WORLDS and the cute-looking, MILO & OTIS-ish MARCH OF THE PENGUINS. (Plus, he did the overarching narration and won an Oscar for MILLION DOLLAR BABY, which is coming out on DVD in a couple weeks. And let's not forget THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION ... ) Now, with movies, I'm of the mind that narration is usually a bad thing. A very bad thing. I mean, according to ADAPTATION, voiceover narration is a sign of sloppy storytelling. I like Morgan Freeman's voice and all - resonant and knowing as it seems, but does he have to narrate everything? I feel we're one step away from having Freeman hired to follow a guy around, telling the story of his life as the guy goes through it. (I told Lupo that, for a laugh, he should hire Freeman to come in and narrate my life while I'm on my deathbed. I think it would be funny.) Frankly, I prefer James Earl Jones, anyway.
- Meanwhile, Stephen and I saw WAR OF THE WORLDS yesterday, and I thought it was just terrible. Not as bad as THE VILLAGE, but damn close. Of course, Lupo saw it and liked parts of it - until its disastrous mistake of an ending. See HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE at the Tara instead. (This week's Plugola scandal is brought to you by me ...)
- Jenipher recommended this ridiculous MTV reality show to me called MY SUPER SWEET 16, and I went to the website for it and found it to be everything she described. "It's bad," Jenipher told me. "You want to kill these kids, but you can't stop watching." Cameras follow around a ridiculously rich, spoiled rotten teen as the kid plans the birthday party to end all birthday parties. I didn't think that the premise would be enough to carry an entire show, but then I read the summary of a recent episode, featuring some rapper named Cee-Lo's daughter. Get this: A diva like Sierra can't pass out invitations the normal way either. She has hired a group of people to dress all in white, drive around in a limo and hand-deliver each invite, complete with a miniature Louis Vuitton cake and a speech. Sierra instructs them to let everyone know that if they show up without a present or money, they won't be allowed into the party. Jenipher says the show is worse than the newest REAL WORLD. On a related note, I was so happy when, at 25, I became too old for MTV's target demographic.

- I saw MYSTERIOUS SKIN at the Landmark with Brad this week, and it was fantastic, the best movie I've seen since OLDBOY. It was well-acted, well-directed and well-written, which is saying something if you've seen the other, horrid films of Gregg Araki. MYSTERIOUS SKIN, though, is also a completely unnerving and occasionally hard-to-take look at childhood sexual abuse, so it might be a little too much for some people. (Miss Gibson, fearing that it would evoke some memory of trauma in me, warned me about the movie, bless her. But, thankfully, I was fine during it.) Joseph Gordon-Levitt, a child actor I remember from the DARK SHADOWS remake who found more of a following in 3RD ROCK FROM THE SUN, gives a fantastic performance as a teen hustler named Neil, whose dark childhood has framed the way he addresses his entire life. Brad tells me that the book by Scott Heim is really good, too, which doesn't surprise me. Araki's usually no genius, but he made a genius movie. I'm thinking it's because of the source material.
- For the Fourth of July, watch your favorite patriotic movie. Maybe a Capra movie. Say the Pledge of Allegiance. Write a congressman.
- The new sci-fi novel THE TRAVELER came out this week, and it sounds interesting, though sci-fi isn't really my thing. The author is a guy named John Twelve Hawks or something, which for some reason strikes me as funny, even though he's probably just a Native American.
- Do the usual chores.
- Finish that damn book you're reading, and start a new one.
- Chris and Michael are running the Peachtree Road Race on Monday morning. Go to their blogs, and wish them luck.
- Write Oprah to tell her to get over herself and the whole Hermes thing, for, whether they should've let her shop in Paris or not, the store was technically closed when she came by. And, frankly, there are bigger things going on.
- See PEACHTREE BATTLE at the Ansley Park Playhouse. Everyone else in Atlanta already has. If there's any justice, AVANTI, DA VINCI! is sold out. But, if it's not, go see it.
- If the formatting on the screwed-up blog allows you to, check last week's list.
- "Catch My Disease," the fourth track on the new Ben Lee album, "Awake is the New Sleep," is so infectious happy that it makes me clap and sing in my car when I really ought to be driving. It reminds me of '80s New Wave and just makes me want to roller skate. There's even a line in it about loving someone "like fireworks." You should try it.
- So, did anyone see BEWITCHED or that dumb HERBIE movie yet? Yeah, me neither. If you ask me, it's no wonder that the box office for the year is in a slump, though THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST's success last year was particularly unmatchable this year. Most of the mainstream cinema this year just sucks. Mark my words, the slump isn't going to end for weeks.
- Finally, Terry McMillan's husband, the one who inspired her to write HOW STELLA GOT HER GROOVE BACK, is gay, according to reports on their pending divorce. How very Carrie Fisher. Thus, if movies were real life (as hypothesized by the folks at The Black Saint), a guy who looks like Taye Diggs would also be gay. And that would be a good thing.
- I wanted to see the upcoming Keira Knightley movie DOMINO, where she stars as a fashion model-turned-bounty hunter, before the real-life Domino Harvey died in a bathtub this week. But now that the real Domino has died under odd circumstances, I must admit I'm dying to see the film. It comes out in November, though.

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