Monday, March 10, 2008

Reviews

Heavy rains for 3 days can be a bore. Add a sick kid and weekend plans get even less exciting. I solved it by renting an armload of movies. so here's a review of my favorite, and a book, and maybe some other stuff.

FLICKS
Once
is one fabulous movie. Seriously, run, do not walk to your nearest video place or put it on top of your Netflix list. It's such a simple and unembellished story but that is half the charm. I kept thinking, "I am so glad Hollywood didn't make this movie. Some executive would have felt compelled to punch it up a few notches and then it would be ruined. They would have changed the ending to something syrupy and I'd have gagged."

It's the story of a relationship between a Dublin musician and a Czech immigrant and how they gently nudge each other into their respective dreams. The story and details of the characters' backgrounds unfolds very subtly without a bunch of condescending dialogue spelling it all out. It's filmed in a way that seems almost like a documentary but again it just highlights the sincerity of the characters. The ending was understated and not what we are conditioned to expect from a Hollywood flick (again, thanks be that this was not done in Hollywood) but it was satisfying. Calypso's comment was, "Oh! I like that! It was an HONEST ending, not made up." Right on, kiddo. Glad that point wasn't lost on her.

I think the back of the box called it a modern musical which really does it a disservice because I think that sort of billing could turn folks off who would be repelled by the notion of some huckster marching down Main St. with 76 trombones or a bunch of oddly happy Depression era orphans dancing around. The musical performances flow naturally rather than coming across like strange interjections. The music in the film is terrific and written primarily by the two lead actors. It's good enough that the girls and I immediately went out and bought the soundtrack. Yes, all three of us with our divergent tastes agreed on this one. So 5 twists of lime for Once. Watch it.

BOOKS
Moving on to books. While I was in Georgia with my MIL I finished 1491 by Charles Mann. Now, if you know me at all you know I am a nonfiction geek so understand that up front. This book explores the Pre-Columbian history of the New World and I have to say it was fascinating. The author admits he is not a historian but a journalist instead. He says he wrote the book after doing research to satisfy his own curiosities and finding how wrong a lot of what we were taught really is. He covers both North and South American cultures and makes the case for those societies having a great deal more technology and complexity than we've given them credit for. He counters the notion that they lived in a vast untouched wilderness by providing evidence for how they managed and manipulated natural resources as much as their counterparts in other parts of the world. Mann shares theories about how rapidly disease spread across the continents from even the briefest contacts prior to the major influxes of European population so that by the time the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock the continent's population had already been devastated in worse ways than Europe had been by the plague. The author is not shy about stating his opinion on various controversies but he is clear as to what evidence he uses to come to his conclusions. He also seems fair in presenting evidence to the contrary in an even manner.

I found Mann's style to be very engaging and readable too. I've read three of Thomas Cahill's Hinges of History Series and wanted to tear my hair out because even in areas where I already have a fairly decent grasp of whatever Cahill was discussing he presented it in a chronology that was totally convoluted and confusing. He also seemed more interested in having the reader come away saying, "Oooooh, he's a smart guy!" rather than actually understanding the subject any better. Ignore Cahill. Go read Mann. Four twists of lime for 1491.

MISCELLANY
Diana got her learner's permit to drive a week and a half ago. Yesterday I rode as her passenger for the first time. I think I have a few more white hairs. I've noticed her father simply has fewer hairs over all. I've said all along that he needs to be the one to teach her because to be honest he has better driving habits than I do plus Diana and I butt heads so much. He taught me to drive stick way back when we got engaged too and he was a patient teacher. I thought they'd do well together. She tells me he makes her nervous though and I didn't because I was quieter about the whole thing. Maybe it was just because I was too busy praying to arrive safely to our destination. In any event I was pleased with how she did even if this process takes years off my life. Three twists of lime for this first experience.

Now for the Sour Lime Award for Gross Imbecility. And the award goes tooooooo.......my Pastor. Someone really needs to duct tape his mouth at times. Here's a guy in a profession where an above average understanding of how to relate to people is kind of important and yet he has a decidedly below average ability to keep demeaning and obnoxious comments to himself. To make things worse when people dare to let him know he has been offensive, and there are a few of us who do, he always makes it out as if we are too thin-skinned and can't take a joke. Now I am not a big fan of being politically correct but I think basic respect is important. Guess what? Misogynistic and bigoted comments veiled as jokes during a time of teaching don't fly. Ever. One time when I called him on some asinine thing he said I got the response, "Well, being a pastor is stressful and I blow off steam by saying stupid things." I told him he needed to find a less damaging way of dealing with his stress. See, there's this thing bit in the Bible about doing unto others the way you'd have them do unto you and letting only that which is good for edification come from your mouth... This week it was all I could do not to hurl a hymnal at the guy. Yes, pastors are human and therefore prone to all the weakness the rest of us are prone to, but this guy is straining my forbearance to the limit. Ok, so sorry about that. I figured last week I had the rare political rant so this week I will cover religion and all the taboos of conversation are evened out.

So as to not end on a sour Lime Award let me share a funny one minute song from the movie Once that I have been humming all weekend. Cracks me up every time...of course it might help to have the context of the movie...so go watch that later.


25 comments:

furiousBall said...

LOVED Once. I'm going to see Glen and Marketa this May in Philly - you should go!

KFarmer said...

I'm headed to the movie store in the morning and will rent see if it is there :)

God bless and keep you during your rides. I made Dave teach the kids. I just couldn't take it...

Seamus said...

I just ordered Once from Netflix. :)

Funny, but teaching my 3 girls to drive was a rewarding and fun experience. All 3 started at around 13-14 in parking lots and back roads, so by the time they got to their learners permits they were actually able to pay attention to the road and not the operation of the car/truck.

citizen of the world said...

I've put Once on Netflix. Have to wait on the book - so little time right now.

As for the pastor making sexist/bigoted commetns, I'm not sure I could stay in a church whose leader did that. Any chance your congregation can mutiny?

Jocelyn said...

OMG, if you and FB met at a Glen and Marketa concert, that'd be like, um, two really big worlds colling, and wouldn't the pretty colors in the resulting explosion be pretty?

We watched ONCE last week. I adore a small movie in which very little happens--like real life!

I came over to thank you for your follow-up to my comments over here...and, yea, I don't have email available (since I teach largely online, I already wade through a hundred emails a day, so the idea of opening up an opportunity for even one more email sometimes makes me want to scream). But I'm going to pop off a message to you now, if I can find yours.

Jocelyn said...

Okay, now this is getting funny. I can't find an email for you. I checked your profile, even.

Good thing we have this intimate space of the comment section!

Casdok said...

Great reviews! And religious rant!

lime said...

furiousball, oooohhhhh, i'm green with envy!

kfarmer, oh, good. you'll love it!

seamus, awesome on ordering the movie. mr. lime has taken diana out a number of times before she got her permit. the problem is that in our area the backroads are twisty, turning, hilly affairs with no shoulders and lots of deer running around. but i do like your idea.

citizen, where are my pegleg and sword!

jocelyn, the explosion might almost be tie dyed! lol, sorry. i don't htink i have mine up anymore...i'll come give it to you

casdok, thanks, dearie ;)

Suldog said...

MY WIFE and I left the Catholic Church because of one too many idiotic comments. The one that broke the camel's back was when our Bishop refused to wash a woman's feet on Maundy Thursday (when many pastors and priests replicate Jesus' washing of disciples feet.) He said Jesus only washed men's feet, so he wasn't going to wash a woman's feet. That was just wrong on so many levels, we couldn't take it any longer.

P M Prescott said...

I'll have to check out the movie and the book.

jillie said...

After all of my fun times with my mom learing to drive...NOT! She rode with the Fred FLintstone breaks the whole time and I kept telling her to knock it off. Then, by my own stupidity, my mother tore up my learners permit and said I couldn't drive until I was 18. My friend and I "borrowed" her parents car when I was 15 1/2. They were on vacation and I just got my permit and I thought I was hot stuff. Little did I realize someone would see us. Go figure in a little town of 1200 people...lol! But it's all good now. Now I am a crazy CA driver and my mom and I laugh at the memories.

Your lemons are on the way ;o)

coopernicus said...

I found that driving with the kids was less daunting than the first few times they went out alone after getting their license...that's when the prayer really kicks in...

lime said...

suldog, the medieval thinking of some people is astounding.

pm prescott, hope you enjoy!

jillie, that is quite a story. reminds me of being stopped by the cops when i was 14 because my cousin was teaching me to drive. lemons, yay!!!!

cooper, you had to remind me that's coming, didn't you?

barman said...

Lime, you think you got white hairs? Come drive with my Dad. Now he is not any worse a driver now then he was 20 or 30 years ago. I just can't take his driving style. I think I used those Fred Flintstone breaks that Jillie mentioned her Mom using when I was driving into work with him one summer. I wore out more pair of shoes that way.

That just is not right for the
pastor to do something like that. I know I am putting a lot on a person but I am afraid he took on that responsibilty when he took the job.

Oh and you forgot one taboo you know. You never mentioned abortions. Then you have all your bases covered.

OK, will have to see if I can find Once. If not I suppose I will have to go rent it. Coming from you it must be a great movie.

coopernicus said...

That wouldn't happen to be the one near Pottstown/Rt 100 would it? I almost stopped there first...but then kept going and hot the one near Nishaminey Mall...

david mcmahon said...

I like the sound of the movie. Will check it out. Thank you!

lime said...

barman, i'd consider abortion to fall under both the political and religious taboos.

cooper, the one what? mall? the one in pottstown is the coventry mall, zat whatcha mean?

david, it's a wonderful movie. ui hope you find it so too.

~Tim said...

I'll look for that movie next time I'm renting. Thanks for the recommendation.

Have you read "1421: The Year China Discovered America"?

Gawpo said...

You iz amazing.

Sick is not good. You sounded better in your voicemail.

S said...

Always lookin for a new flick! Thanks....runs to Netflix.


I don't think I am going to be the one to teach LR how to drive....

Cosima said...

I am hoping that my local movie rental has "Once". Their selection tends to lean to action flicks and horror movies, but sometimes they surprise me. It sounds wonderful, and the video is too funny.

lime said...

tim, i have seen that book but have not read it. good review from you?

gawpo, i iz?

s, well at least you have a few more years with LR

cosima, oh i hope they give you a pleasant surprise with this one!

G-Man said...

Michelle...?
Can we now get back to normal?
First you were gone, then I was gone...
The world was askew!!
xoxox

Mona said...

watching movies is a nice way to spend time, specially when you are sick, It takes your mind off yourself. Last month I watched a whole series of old classics !

The pre-Columbus history sounds interesting. I has always wondered how such a large continent was so thinly populated before it was discovered by Columbus!

Your Pastor could do with a mouth rinse with a detergent.

Loved the Irish Girl song :D

TorAa said...

I love movies with stories that are unpredictable or high quality "crime" and nature movies.
In books 1491 and 1789, when coming to titles with only a "year". Great.

That YouTube is fantastic. It's a demosntration how simple it is to communicate messages that matters.

--- minutes later

had to take out my shirts from the drier and feed the cats (supper). Anna is cencoring her pupils "dictate".