These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Friday, March 10, 2006

shame on spielberg

just got through watching "war of the worlds" and i thought it was a piece of garbage -- from the acting to the action and dialogue to the sentimentality.

i had reserved watching it until now. i wanted to rent it and thought i might from the herrick district library but i read a comment by that astute critic gene shalit on the cover of the dvd saying "tom cruise's greatest preformance." i put it down, thinking shalit must have never seen "born on the fourth of uly" or "magnolia." so i ended up borrowing the flick from a friend.

well, must disagree whole-heartedly with shalit. cruise's performance, along with everyone else's, sucked. it wasn't over-the-top like usual for him. this time he underacted. he was just there, lame and useless. impotent, if you will, running from one spot to another.

the dialogue was lame. not much substance to it and things weren't quite explained. why did robbie want to see those aliens so badly that he could have gotten killed? don't know. the exchanges between cruise and that man in the basement went nowhere, as did conversations with minor characters along the way: the mechanic and the woman on the trail that didn't make the ferry. it was a meandering piece of junk.

i checked the dvd timer and saw 48 minutes had elapsed. nothing had really happened. it flew by and i thought 'geez, almost an hour's gone by and we're nowhere." still i plugged along like a faithful movie watcher.

in some parts you cold tell where the blue screen was when cruise was running to escap0e from the machine. it was too unreal.

the great morgan freeman was wasted with a little voice-over at the start and end of the movie.

then robbie was alive. the kid went into the fireball and at teh end he's alive and well in his grandparents' house. don't get it. he should have been fried. so at the end, it's a happily ever after deal. sucked.

i don't know what spielberg was thinking. i'm not a fan of the sci-fi stuff he does, to be honest, although i loved jaws. i enjoyed more "the color purple" and "schindler's list." but this one just sucked. maybe he was concencrating on "munich" and had this puppy on auto pilot or something.

shame on you, steve.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

idle guys...sorta

so they american idol men's competition wasn't as bad as the girls last night. still, it wasn't their best show yet. i was imporessed by two people last night, at the two best performances. taylor did very well and he sang the best. gideon was right behind him. i'm a fan of the guy. i don't know what it is about him, but he doesn't get on my nerves. i will be disappointed if he gets booted off.

ace is next. or maybe ace is between taylor and gideon. i dunno. either way. i dug it. he had good range. falsetto was nice and he even wore the beanie.

behind them are probably elliot and chris. chris didn't have his best song but he tried. he shouldnt' have sang a ballad, though. it's the final show to showcase the voice and the dude picks a ballad.

bucky might have his raspy voice, as if he'd been smoking and drinking hard the night before the show, but cool enough.

i'm betting on kevin and will getting booted today. if they don't people are crazy. kevin has worn out his welcome. i liked the guy before but lately, eh. will, or peter brady as i call him, i never really cared for.

but, all in all, the show was ah-right. not the guys' best. i hope when the 12 come together it'll get better.

final four prediction: (in no order) ace, chris, mandisa and taylor, maybe catharine mcphee.

if i'm wrong, i'll cut off the first joint of my right pinkie finger.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

idle chicks

i don't usually write about this stuff but i will today. last night was the final episode ow the women's competition on american idol before they get joioned up with the men for next week's competition's final 12. so there was much at stake, since two of the women will be booted on tomorrow's show (along with two men).

having said that, i'm quite disappointed by the women's performances overall. there are probably three strong women left in the roup of eight and that's it. the three are consistently good and have the potential to make it to the final six at least.

the remaining ones lack what i think is talent. sure they have great voices, but suck at choosing good songs or simply stand there crooning away. very bland performances.

here are the three that are very good. mandisa is the best of the women. she's leagues above the rest. so much for american idiot cowell commenting they'd need a bigger stage for her. perhaps, though, he was right. she's big in talent and a beautiful performer. next is catharine mcphee. she's got a really nice voice and good personality. then there's kellie pickler. i know, i know. she's a hick to the core. she's a little slow on the uptake. but you know, she's got a great voice and she's a country girl with simple tastes and attitude. in other words, she's not a fake like others. she is who she is. i like that about that girl.

and that's where my list stops. although, unlike cowell, i really liked her heart song. it was rough and loud but good. i don't like the way cowell says that last note packed your bags. to me, it's like he's trying to sway (no pun intended) the vote. let people decide without your stupid comments.

i have tired of all the right, even little paris. she was cute at one time, especially during the auditions. she came across as sweet. but i don't see her that way anymore. and yesterday's performce of "conga" or whatever the song is called by gloria estefan was bad. i didn't like it at all. no more bullshit from the judges. paris must go.

eila? to fucking methodical. she chick's like a freaking robot, studying and learning the technical aspects of the songs and how to sing it. that ain't natural. you have to go out there and sing it without that studying bullshit. i know you have to practice to get the voice right, but eila seems to work to get the singing down in a way that reminds me of a robot trying to adapt to the situation. sucks.

so while i can easily picks six guys who can make it through, only three girls stand out. it ought to be the final nine. it would cut the season by a fourth. i'd like that. although i think advertisers would suffer like crazy.

Monday, March 06, 2006

when will i be old enough to understand?

ok, i'm going to whine or complain or vent here. so if you don't want to read it, skip it.

i was talking to my mom late sunday afternoon. doing the bi-weekly call thing. the conversation meandered here and there. it started fine. then it started to fragment. i know when it starts to happen and i should just stop it and hang up. but i didn't do it in time.

she asked if i had called up my uncle who'd been sick with something or other. she suggestd i call a few weeks ago. i didn't commit. she asked again yesterday if i'd called and i said no. i said it was fake for me to call. i never really talk to him and i felt calling out of the blue would be odd and i'd think they'd know i calle donly because i was told.

so she says, well, it's because you're not old enough to understand yet.

hmmm, when the hell am i going to be old enough to understand? when i'm 40? 50? 60? i have the feeling, i'd still get the same response if i failed to do something she wanted me to do. i must've heard that same phrase now for the past 15 years, at least. or the variation of "when you're older, you'll understand."

no, i understand just fine. i've understood, in fact, for a very long time. i will make my own determination when and if i should make a phone call or otherwise. if it's one thing i don't like, it's being bossed around and told what to do, especially by my mom, who still thinks i'm a kid who can't do for himself.

it's getting to the point where i'm going to burst and let her know taht i think i'm old enough to understand and to stop using that cliche phrase that drives me nuts.

soon after, she went into something ridiculous that i won't mention here because of it's silly implications. however, it just illustrates what a bad turn our conversation took.

"let the wings of the butterfly extend/ let them flap lazily, together and apart/let the wings take flight and carry on that colorful beast away/ carry it far and wide, above the trees and homes, the current at its back/ let them carry it forth beyond the horizon 'til it can't be seen no more/and keep faith, for those wings will carry it far/a free spirit in the wind/a free spirit in the world."