Monday, January 30, 2012

Moves Like Ebert

What the hell did I do this summer? Tasmania: Check. Golf: Check. And in addition, I did quite a bit of entertaining. Not martini lunches, high tea and catered affairs; more like parental entertaining where you make sure that the party doesn't stop and everyone is enjoying their summer to the fullest. It can be a little "full on" but it ensures that no one is going back to school saying...geez Dad, we never did anything.

The family split up this summer, Shannon and Malcolm went one way and Mackenzie and I the other, and over the last couple of weeks Shannon took off with Mackenzie and her best friend and Malcolm and I indulged in bachelor glory. And through it all, I watched a lot of movies. It didn't seem excessive at the time but the count back makes a total of 7 feature films in which I partook over the school holiday with various members of the family. As a public service I detail each of the motion pictures below with my personal critique. I dare say my ratings are all but meaningless as I have yet to meet the human that approaches "art" in the same twisted way as I. In the final analysis, movies are merely a delivery device for popcorn, hence they rarely disappoint.

Onward (on a five star rating scale):

1. Mission Impossible ***

It boggles me as to why they bother numbering Mission Impossible movies. Every scene is so over the top I end up getting fairly blase about the whole thing - and it all just runs together... Now he's going to scale a 50 story glass building - sure why not. Still I get sucked in because I think that there is a twist and I have figured it out in the first 10 minutes and I wait for the whole movie for the chance to tell my family how smart I am by revealing the true identity of the real villain - oh, OK they are rolling the credits and that guy I thought was evil never did turn bad, don't I look silly. Speaking of silly, watching Tom Cruise run is worth 2.5 stars just on its own - so there's that.

2. Moneyball **

It's long. Real long. I was once a real life baseball scout, I never thought a movie could be made about the topic because it was just such an esoteric field. It turns out I was right. I love how they made the entire billion dollar baseball industry look like it is run by a collection of fools; because it is. Did I mention it was long.

3. Descendants ***

I wasn't really watching this movie, I was more picturing what was going on at the set while they were filming. Here is what we have: a great setting, poor screenplay, weak acting and George Clooney. I am picturing George on the set saying to himself, "good god how am I going to save this scene", and like a battle scarred old warrior he comes to the rescue almost every time. Any other actor and this baby is a one star, double popcorn yawner, but somehow George makes you almost care. And speaking of Tom Cruise running scenes, George running down the street of his Honolulu suburb almost made me cry / wet myself with laughter...Mackenzie and I looked at each other and simultaneously said - that's not real is it...hehehehehehehhehehehe.....

4. Tower Heist *

Um, yeah.

5. J.Edgar **

I am sucker for a biopic. If I know a little about the topic I get all "into" the historical inaccuracies. I thought Clint Eastwood did a great job telling the story of J. Edgar Hoover and the Titanic brat did a real nice acting job.  But unfortunately it turns out the Head of the FBI wasn't all that interesting. Who knew.

6. Iron Lady*

Have I ever said that I am a sucker for a biopic? Well I got suckered at this one. They skip over the good stuff and dwell on the mundane. Painful.

7. Sherlock Holmes ****

There are so many things that I hate about this movie. They have the casting all wrong. The guy playing Watson, should be playing Holmes and the guy playing Holmes would be a great Watson. But the true tragedy is the lack of Rachel McAdams. If I'm writing that movie - she's in every scene; maybe she could play Holmes! OK that's a stretch, but she is one of the very few actresses that I would give up popcorn for - there is no higher honour. In the end, though I would do things differently, I wouldn't change much. It's pretty clever, pretty funny and I will go to see the next installment. The movie ends with a tremendous impersonation scene that I was ready for and I still didn't see it coming. Well done, Holmes.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Mackenzie and I had an interesting week. We hosted a professional golfer visiting Canberra to play in the Ladies Classic at Royal Canberra Golf Club. The young woman was a delight; she plays on the European Tour and travels the world playing the sport she loves. Mackenzie was able to caddy for Beth in the pro-am tournament on Thursday, an eye opening event for Mackenzie who assumed that an amateur playing with golfers in a pro am would know how to play...nope. Instead Beth and Mackenzie spent the day trying not to get beaned by wayward Titleists. I enjoyed attending the golf, and was impressed with a few of the players that clearly know how to play the game that I play "at".

The end of January is coming soon, and with it comes the end of the school holiday. Still, we have Australia day this week and I will continue the Aussie tradition and probably be on a beach somewhere, not singing "Advance Australia Fair", or whatever they call the National Anthem these days.

February will also see the resumption of Malcolm's baseball season and I am looking forward to seeing him back up on the mound on Saturday mornings.

So it's all back to routine soon enough after a splendid summer.