Posts Tagged ‘reviews’

Unsatisfying, Part 1

Posted: November 7, 2013 in Random Thoughts
Tags: , , , , ,


Maybe it’s me, but I’ve found the last two or three movies I’ve seen a little less than satisfying.  This weekend, I saw Bad Grandpa and Last Vegas.  Both had potential, but I felt they fell flat.

First, Bad Grandpa told the story of a grandpa taking his grandson on a cross-country trip.  The whole idea was for Johnny Knoxville and the cast to act out scenes in front of real people and film their reactions for some laughs.  The movie put a smile on my face for most of the film, and I did laugh out loud a couple of times, but I remember the way I roared and rolled in my seat during Borat.  I loved Borat, and now I measure similar films against it.  While entertaining, Bad Grandpa falls short.

Then there was Last Vegas, a 2-hour long commercial for Las Vegas.  The story had potential, but watching the old guys misbehaving among girls in bikinis at the _____ Hotel (I remember the name of the hotel, so the movie turned out to be an effective commercial, but I refuse to do any more advertising).  The whole point of the movie seemed to be “come spend your thousands of dollars and get all the sexy women you want.”  While I like the cast, I just didn’t enjoy watching them behave like they were in that Project X movie.  I expected something a little more sophisticated.  I remember Adam Sandler‘s Jack and Jill and how much I hated it.  The main reason was it was a big commercial for a cruise line.  I’m surprised Branson hasn’t taken a cue from Las Vegas and started funding its own 2-hour long commercials.

At least I can rest assured a few upcoming films shouldn’t be unsatisfying experiences for me.  I’m really looking forward to the new Thor and Hunger Games movies.




So, I started my new (old) job in Field Service on Monday.  That afternoon, I was in Cameron, Missouri working at a site.  The field tech I was teamed up with had been a recent trainee of mine, and I found myself slipping into my instructor role, showing him some tips and tricks I use when troubleshooting issues.  Wait a minute!  I’M supposed to be learning how the field tech job has changed in the last two years!

So, I’ve been trying to learn the admin side of the job.

So, yesterday I was assigned what seemed like an easy computer replacement job in Iowa I could do today and be back home tonight.  I was scheduled to take some training tomorrow on how to create expense reports.  Well, as is usually the case, things didn’t go the way they should have, and I need to spend the night here.  That means I’ll miss tomorrow’s training.  Working this job, I’m also learning my paperwork weaknesses I’ll need refresher training for.

So, today I was able to have lunch at a local restaurant, and for the first time in two years (I think), I’m able to write a restaurant review.  Here it is:  I had lunch at Grinnell Steakhouse and Family Restaurant.  I remember writing once about being in the south, where the waitresses were always calling me hon’.  Today, I found myself in the land of sweetheart, which is what my waitress kept calling me.  The waitresses were friendly and efficient.  The food was OK (I had a pork tenderloin sandwich, fries and the salad bar.  I really liked the salad bar.  I’d never before been in a restaurant where the seeds were scoops out of the cucumber slices — that was a nice touch.  But this restaurant had the best bleu cheese dressing I’ve ever eaten!  It was thick and creamy, and contained huge cubes of bleu cheese.

So, today I was working in a grocery store pharmacy.  After the pharmacy closed, I bought food at the store and took it back to my room — trying to eat healthier and lighter in the evenings while I’m traveling.  Eh, the jury’s still out on grocery store food.  There isn’t much I can do in the way of food prep in a hotel room.  I think I may have enjoyed going back to the steakhouse for the salad bar more than eating the salad I bought for dinner.  Dinner will be a continuously evolving experiment, I have a feeling.

So, since this blog entry is called “On the Road Again!” I’ll talk a little about my car rental.  I have a Chrysler 200.  The first time I’ve driven this car.  I was very comfortable during the drive to Grinnell.  The seat doesn’t make my back stiff, and the car is very quiet, except for the booming heavy metal music coming from the speakers.

So, the other night I was listening to some James Taylor songs and ran across this one, which I think will become my new personal theme song:

“Highway Song” — by James Taylor

Father, let us build a boat and sail away, there’s nothing for you here.
And brother, let us throw our lot out upon the sea. It’s been done before.

I’m thinking about a broken heart, I’m talking ’bout the break of dawn,
you love me while I’m here and you can miss me when I’m gone.
Sweet misunderstanding, won’t you leave a poor boy alone,
I’m the one eyed seed of a tumbleweed in the belly of a rolling stone.
Back on the highway, yeah, yeah, yeah, back on the road again.

I had a little woman in Memphis, she wanted to be my bride.
She said, settle on down, traveling man, you can stay right by my side.
I tried so hard to please her but I couldn’t hold out too long,
cause one Saturday night I was laying in bed and I heard that highway song.
Back on the highway, yeah, yeah, yeah, back on the road again.

Now one of these days that highway song will lose its appeal to me.
I’m gonna settle on down like a natural born man,
I’m gonna live my life naturally, free and easy, mmmmm.
Until that day the thunder’s gonna roll and I notice there’s a sign of rain,
so I grab my bags and I pack my clothes and I’m back on the road again.
Back on the highway, yeah, yeah, yeah, back on the road again.

I’m thinking about a broken heart, I’m talking ’bout the break of dawn,
you love me while I’m here and you can miss me when I’m gone.
Sweet misunderstanding, won’t you leave a poor boy alone,
I’m the one eyed seed of a tumbleweed in the belly of a rolling stone.
Back on the highway, yeah, yeah, yeah, back on the road again.

Here I am again, Holiday Inn, same old four walls again.
Gee, but it’s fine to be back home again, whoa, now.
Said, Holiday Inn, I’m on the road again.


Sometimes it pays to keep checking for freebies.  I’ve tried for the last couple of weeks, to get free passes to an advance screening of Pacific Rim.  Yesterday around 4:30, I received word from one of my usual sources, I could get some passes for a 7pm screening.  I acted quickly enough this time, unlike my three previous attempts to get passes.

I didn’t really know what to expect from the movie other than humans build big robots to fight big invading aliens.  I figured there’d be good fight scenes….

The movie reminded my of Space Troopers in that the movie’s story begins years into the epic war between the humans in aliens, so the main character narrates the scenes before the opening credits, catching us up to the movie’s present, which is just a few years from now.  Almost immediately, we’re thrown into the middle of a battle.  I saw the movie in a big-screen format, so I felt like I was RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE!  I felt myself twitching and dodging in my seat, as if I were throwing the punches.  Now, it escapes me why the humans decided to build big robots instead of using the weapons we already have, since the robots really didn’t seem to have especially unusual weapons, themselves.  I’m sure that was explained, but I missed the explanation.

Then, the movie reminded me of The Matrix because the good guys fought by slipping into a shared consciousness with each other and the bad guys, and the home base and equipment were grungy.  Also, many of the ninja-fighting robot pilots had some sort of relationship between them.

Then, the movie reminded me of Independence Day, what with the invading aliens intent on colonizing earth and destroying all humans, and the way the humans decide to take the fight to the aliens.

Then, the movie reminded me of The Fifth Element in some spots.

Then, the movie reminded me of Scott Pilgrim VS the World, in that many scenes in this movie struck me as a live-action video game.

Then, I was reminded of Twelve Monkeys, because of the wacky scientists, who were the comic relief.  By the way, Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was one of the wacky scientists.  I really enjoyed his performance.

And, the movie reminded me of the old Japanese disaster/monster flicks I used to watch when I was a kid.  That impression was reinforced by the fact the monsters had Japanese names and the good guys were giant karate-champion robots.  In addition, the interaction between subordinate characters and their masters reminded me of Sumarai movies.

So, what I’m trying to say is this movie seemed very familiar.  The script wasn’t very original….

But OMG!  The fight scenes between the robots and aliens were awesome!  When I realized I was dodging blows and wriggling in my seat, I tried controlling my arms and legs and found I started clinching my teeth instead.  I figure the movie would be worth buying a ticket just because of the action and special effects.  Don’t go to this movie expecting enlightenment — go expecting an adrenaline rush.  This movie is anything but pacific.



Sandra Bullock still brings it.

I couldn’t keep my eyes off of her. I enjoyed watching her play the prim and proper know-it-all against Melissa McCarthy‘s street-smart scrapper. This was a good buddy movie, in my opinion. Physical comedy reigned supreme, yet there was a streak of dark, cerebral humor to balance it out. I especially liked seeing Thomas F. Wilson from Back to the Future playing McCarthy’s hen-pecked captain. A totally different character than what I remember him for (Biff). I also enjoyed seeing Marlon Wayans in a low-key role, playing an FBI agent with a crush on Bullock. I laughed a lot, watching this movie and I think most people would.

stuckinlove-poster-jpg_173305This is a good movie about a famous, divorced writer and his kids.  As a family of writers, the identity of each character’s favorite writer was a major subject of discussion in the movie.  The son liked Stephen King.  The daughter, someone I’m not familiar with.  The dad — in one scene, he tells his daughter’s college writing class he was inspired to write after reading a book by Raymond Carver called What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.  My jaw dropped and I felt chills when I heard this.  That book was one of my favorites when I was in college.  I was in awe of Raymond Carver’s style and loved reading his short stories.  Though I was never inspired to become a writer, I could understand how someone would be.

The movie is actually about each writer’s relationships — the father moving on after divorce (or not), the daughter overcoming cynicism and learning to love, and the son finding his first love.

The impression I got from a Q&A session with a couple of the actors after the advance screening I attended was this story was based in real life on a story written by the son.  I liked the movie, though there were a couple of scenes that seemed cliché (i.e. a couple falling in love, holding hands as they awkwardly skate around an ice rink).  I felt the story was interesting enough to overcome the clichés, and I especially enjoyed the characters.  I would recommend the movie to an adult audience, as there were scenes about sex and drug use.