Monday, May 29, 2006

Day of Great Geekery

Friday Jim and I had one of those days that kids think they’ll have all the time when they grow up and get to do whatever they want. You know, how we think we’ll live on ice cream and pizza and buy every coloring book we want and stay up all night watching TV? Well, in this case we went to two different movie theaters and saw two different comic-book-based movies, watched an episode of Battlestar Galactica in between, ate pancakes for breakfast, and pizza and beer for dinner. I joked that all we needed to make the day completely decadent was to smuggle a roll of cookie dough into the theater with us. We didn’t. The day was decadent enough as it was. If only the movies had been better.

X-Men 3. I know I’m a nerd for saying this but I was REALLY looking forward to this movie. I loved the first two. I wish Professor Xavier’s school was a real place. I would love to go there and interview the kids and write an article. Hell, I would love to BE one of the kids, though I would hope for a good and useful mutant power, not Rogue’s sad, isolating power, or a gross one like a big long toad tongue or something. As a writer I'm on the lookout for those things that make you want to live in the story, and cool schools really get me, like Hogwarts, or Professor Xavier's. But this movie, while still entertaining, was flat. BIG things happen to major characters and the director fumbles each one, making you care far less than you should. There's another thing to examine as a writer: how does a good director invest you solidly in characters' fates, while a mediocre director can use all the dynamite in the world and not coax out a single tear?

V for Vendetta. Saw this at the second-run movie theater Laurelhurst. I’ve mentioned before that Portland is a paradise of second-run movie theaters, most of which serve pizza and beer. Movies are $2 or $3 and you bring your pitcher and slice right inside with you. Awesome. The movie was a big ball of cheese, though. It has good, important themes and it draws uneasy parallels between how the Nazis managed to do what they did with the mute consent of the German people, and how our own government is wielding fear as a weapon against us, terrifying us into giving up our outrage as well as our rights. But the cheese prevailed.

Now, on the other hand: Battlestar Galactica. You might not even know it’s been remade by the Sci-Fi channel and recently wrapped up its second brilliant season, and if you don’t, if you haven’t seen it yet, I kind of envy you because you get to experience it from scratch. It’s that good. We’ve been Netflixing it and to our dismay, realized only half of the second season is available so far on DVD, and to our even greater dismay, that half ended on a royal cliffhanger! BUT... schwwwwwING!... Jim figured out i-tunes has it to download for $1.99 an episode so we actually ate dinner in front of the computer last night to watch it! (I heart technology.)

Honestly, television rocks these days. There are just so many good shows, and even a lot of the mediocre shows are better than the schlocky hundred-million-dollar blockbuster movies! The chance to develop characters and plots over time makes TV a very friendly medium for storytellers, and a treasure trove for novel readers who like that sort of thing, which we do, and which is why our Netflix queue is stuffed with shows like The 4400, MI-5, and The Shield. Now, if you haven’t seen Battlestar Galactica yet, do. It starts with a four-hour miniseries that is a much better investment of time than any summer blockbuster, and if you’re not a sci-fi fan, don’t let that deter you. This isn’t really a sci-fi show. It’s a smart, kick-ass drama about genocide, survival, terrorism, loyalty, ethics, democracy, and religious extremism, that just happens to take place on space ships.

P.S. After that day of leisure, I spent the whole weekend in a writing fever, working on an extended version of The Hatchling and I am delirious with the fun of it, amazed by the way ideas can materialize out of the air, the way a story can take over and assert its own identity, like a teenager. Wow. I love writing.


Jim Di Bartolo said...

Yes, t'was truly a lazy & fun day (but as you said, I WISH the movies'd been better :(

And one CANNOT mention a Netflix queue (pronounced "qwoo-woo" in OUR household) without mentioning the almost unparalleled show "The Wire." Dear Lord, when the f*%^ is Season 3 going to be available on DVD??!!!!!!


andrea said...

Thanks for the TV tip. The 3 shows I like to watch are done for the season and now I'm forced to read and PAINT in the evening. I need more balance in my life! :)

Deb R said...

That sounds like a sublimely wonderful day!

I haven't seen XM3 yet and I still want to, even though I've heard mixed reviews. Haven't seen VfV yet either and hadn't even heard much about that one. How disappointing it was so bad. But how COOL about the pizza-and-beer second-run cinemas! Wish we had something like that!

I've never seen the new version of BG, just the old one with Lorne Greene, et al. Sounds like I need to find the DVDs, yes?

What is "The Wire" that Jim mentions above? Never heard of that one.

Alexandra S said...

While I wish the movies hadn't been so stinky glad you two got some time off. (Thats actually THREE movies in 5 days since we saw Thank you For Not Smoking Sunday-you lazy,lazy bum) Looking forward to seeing yet another movie together tonight even though I am burning through my WW points and its only noon- (I'm so hungry today!) Looking VERY forward to reading the extended version of Hatchling too- have it done by 6 please.

Amber said...

I loved this post, because you sound so excited! LOL. BG is my husbands FAVORITE show. I am not a huge Sci-fi fan, but I did like it too.
Did you ever use to watch Serenity? That show kicked ass. I was so mad when they took that off!Grrrr. And Buffy. Double Grrrr.

Now I am excited about ROME on HBO, starting again soon. Did you watch that last year? So.Good.

Thanks for the smile. ;)


paris parfait said...

I can see what I'm missing, w/o American television. Your day sounds like such wonderful, indulgent, old-fashioned fun! Hooray! And good for you amidst the writing fever. It's wonderful when that happens.

Colorsonmymind said...

Ohhh that does sound like fun!

tinker said...

I am SO envious of Jim & Alexandra who may soon be reading further installments of the Hatchling! I can't wait to read more about Esme now that she's stepped slightly to the left. As a reader, her character & world have already come alive for me - I can only imagine how amazing it must be for you, the storyteller!
p.s. I'm also having to work through serious envy issues over the pizza & beer in theaters. If multi-plexes, Starbuck's and McDonald's spread like the common cold - why, oh, why can't this idea?!?!?

Bohemian Girl said...

you are so fracken cool, girlfriend!

okay, so at the end of X-Men, why didn't he shoot Jane up with one of those "cure" needles rather than kill her?

your geeky boho

Becca said...

I thought I had mistakenly clicked on my son's blog - he who is proud of his "geekdom," and is singing the praises of Battlestar (among others). He is also a writer, and swears that a day of indulgent geekdom is necessary every so often to get the creative juices flowing. Seems to have worked for you too!

I have not seen any of the Battlestar series, but have my own guilty TV pleasures on Netflix (Six Feet Under and West Wing). I had actually planned to spend last night in a marathon West Wing session and our power went out at 4:30!

liz elayne said...

you know we love battlestar...we should have a little party with the first show of next season :)

and i just read the i missed it i. have. no. idea. laini, what a mind you have there...i can't wait to read more and more and more. love it!

melba said...

Hi Laini,
I descovered this link on someone's blog and the first person I thought of was you. I didn't know there was a National Fairy Day sound cool, huh?
Maybe we can create a bit of a blog celebration for fairy day...

Take Care

Kim G. said...

Thanks for the comments on X-men. Was looking forward to seeing it but would rather go in with lower expectations and be surpised than the other way around. We saw Davinci Code this weekend and I was pleasantly surprised. I had heard the critics were bashing it but I thought it was OK. At least it stayed true to the book through most of it.

Is "The Hatchling" the book that's coming out next year or a new one? Looking forward to seeing your book on a shelf one day soon! :)

AnnieElf said...

I love the x-men. I'm doomed and don't mind saying so. I started collecting the comix in 1972. Then my son continued the collecting. Now you should see his closet. (rolling eyes here) Flat or no, I'll be there, probably this weekend. Wolverine is the best.

harmonyinline said...

Sounds like a wonderful day, and the idea of pizza with the movie, I thought that you could only do at home