Thursday, December 28, 2006

"Rocky Balboa" (2006) -- Initial Thoughts

I went to see Rocky Balboa last night. For once the reviewers are right -- this movie harks back to the original Rocky in all the right ways. It's a quiet story of a gentle man with a kind heart and an amazing capacity to absorb many forms of pain. The film, and the main character, are full of a grace and dignity that compel you to love them for everything they are and forgive them for what they aren't. I cried many times during this movie -- at one point, I dont think my tears completely dried up for over five minutes.

You see, I grew up watching the Rocky movies. They, with The Man from Snowy River, are my earliest movie-memories. I cannot remember a time when I didn't know and love these movies and their characters. And so, seeing Rocky Balboa as a middle-aged father of a grown child, as a man trying to figure out how he fits into today's world... well, it was almost like watching my own father getting older, facing uncertainties with admirable courage and strength of character.

Only one thing bugged me about Rocky Balboa, and that's how they filmed the big final fight. The rest of the movie was shot very classically, with "normal" camera angles and movements, but the fight went all flashy modern HBO pay-per-view and silly. I know they were trying to emphasize the juxtaposition between the way boxing (and life) were in Rocky's heyday and in modern times, but I wish they would have eased off on the modernity and allowed the audience a good old-fashioned Rocky boxing match. At least the final round was more normal, with the action building in a steady crescendo to the final triumphant blows.

Oh, and they never mentioned this in the movie (or if they did, I missed it), but it sure looked to me like Rocky got to battle a fellow southpaw! I wish they'd mentioned that, since I seem to remember that in at least one of the original movies, Rocky's opponents were disconcerted by the fact they'd be fighting a lefty. And, for Rocky, this had to be interesting, because not often do southpaws get to fight other southpaws. I'm sure the strategies had to be a little different, and I wish the training montage had been a little longer and included this sort of thing.

Anyway, really lovely movie that I definitely will buy when it comes out. Now I want to go back and rewatch the first four (I, like many, don't consider Rocky V to be part of the true canon) and pick up threads of continuity that I may have forgotten, as it's been a while since I watched any of them.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I got snow for Christmas! Woooo! Okay, it's not exactly Christmas yet, and it's not exactly the kind of snow I wanted, but it's Christmas Eve and the ground is white, so close enough! Actually, it's a really hard frost with a light dusting of snow over it so, as I drove home from work this morning, the grass and trees and rooftops looked white, and if I squinted it looked like real Christmasy snow :-D And stretching above the whiteness was a dawn as rosy-fingered as any that ever glowed over the fields of Troy. The whole morning was like a Christmas present from God just for me.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Do you know what it is doing outside the Crypt right now? It is raining. Flamin' raining! On December 21st! The grass is turning green! It's 40 degrees out! Pretty soon the trees will start to bud!

This is completely not fair! What is the point of living all the way up in flamin' Wisconsin if I can't have a white Christmas? I might as well move back to North Carolina!

Hmph. It's almost enough to make me feel a little Scroogish.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Just because these are so funny....

I, Hamlette, being of sound mind, hereby bequeath my entire estate to the Town Drunk. I do this because I like the cut of their jib.

My only regret in this life was that I didn't cry in the corner enough.

'What will your Last Will and Testament say?' at

I, White Queen, being of sound mind, hereby bequeath my entire estate to a wet mop. I do this because I want to support their efforts to take over the world.

My only regret in this life was that I wasn't evil enough.

'What will your Last Will and Testament say?' at

Thursday, December 14, 2006

"What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like a god! The beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!" --Hamlet, Act II Scene 2

Yesterday I opened a can of sweetened condensed milk in preparation to make some tasty treats to send in Christmas packages to family and friends. As we all know, sweetened condensed milk is very tasty. As we also know, Hamlette has an uncanny knack for injuring herself in stupid, bizarre, or heedless ways. No, I didn't cut my tongue while licking off the can lid. I sliced open both corners of my mouth. Yup, stuck the can lid partway in my mouth, started to lick, and zzzzip!

Yes, there was blood. Not a lot, although I did put Neosporin on the two tiny wounds to make sure they wouldn't get infected. And I felt like a good candidate to play the Joker in the next Batman movie (but Heath Ledger's mouth is plenty wide -- he'll do fine, I'm sure).

But tonight, I can barely tell I was injured at all. My lips don't really hurt, unless I scrape against the injuries with a Dorito or something. Isn't that amazing? In a matter of minutes, the tissues that I had thoughtlessly sliced apart began to stick to each other, then actually to heal together and reform what had been destroyed. I didn't have to think about this, I couldn't consciously make it happen or not happen. My body simply repaired itself.

Truly, as the Psalmist said, "I am fearfully and wonderfully made" (Ps. 139:14).

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Although I did once wear the top part of a Darth Vader helmet for several hours at work one night, I didn't have this much fun with it!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Is it just me, or does the lead singer of Hinder really wish he was Steven Tyler of Aerosmith? Honestly, this video for "Lips of an Angel" bugs me, he's so wacked out and weird. But the song is awesome -- it reminds me a lot of the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo this year. Haven't yet found a 'real' video for the song, this is just them performing and it doesn't sound nearly as good as the version on the radio.

If you're wondering why I'm linking to a bunch of vids lately, well, we got a new monitor and all of a sudden I can see videos so much more clearly! Our old monitor was, well, old... everything was kinda dark and murky. Fitting considering we call our apartment The Crypt and keep vampire hours, but not very good for watching stuff.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Bah. I've been meaning to blog about so many things lately. Like Casino Royale (loved it -- Daniel Craig is an acceptable James Bond) and Superman Returns (it was okay -- but Brandon Routh made James Marsden seem dashing, mysterious, and cavalier....). But instead I'm going to just link to a sunny, light, almost happy Nickelback video! The one for "Photograph", of course ;-)

UPDATE: They yanked the "Photograph" video from YouTube, but here's a cool live version done in some tv studio. It doesn't rock as hard as the regular version, but I like watching them play live too. And I'm finally getting used to Chad Kroeger's shorter hair.