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: Tuesday's bad decision
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Jan 30th 2008
I tell myself to take a break. It had been too good a day. Too much accomplished with just a couple of personal goals left to make sleep fulfilling. A couple hours. That's all. Just enough for a minor distraction.
I'm at the Metro station around the corner by 7:30, two stops south of the 8:00 at the Chinese. I pass some time watching a vlog on Moore's Law. That type of day. A smart day. One where all the things I seek to understand feel attainable.
I'm still playing with the iPhone while waiting for the movie. Syncing e-mail was today's excitement. It's amazing when you send out a bulk "new email address" email to all your contacts. Suddenly people I haven't spoken to since my last bulk announcement are appearing on my iPhone, looking to catch up, reconnect, wishing me well with Gmail. It feels like I've done something major with my life by following the set-up screens correctly.
I do my best to rekindle old friendships during the previews. So many previews.
When I go to a movie I look for the genius. This was not always the case. Somewhere in the mid to late 90's I morphed into the sort of insufferable snob one can only find sitting in coffee shops in front of a laptop working on their screenplay. They will never get a taste. They will never know the sweet joy of typing out those last few sentences while the messenger from the agency waits at the door.
But they will talk. God how they talk.
So, I will critique the genius of Cloverfield.
It was a stunning creative choice to make the heroes so colorless and milquetoast that we could barely care if they lived or died. It was equally daring to make the concerns of their everyday so WB (CW for the kids) I couldn't help but wait for Paula Cole to show up on an iPod.
The genius continued in this vein by making the movie 98% Dawson-2% Monster-creating an inverse monster movie. Normally the only thing you care about in a monster movie is the monster. This anti-formula afforded me the opportunity to care about nothing.
Equally daring, and a choice surely meant as a statement on the psychology of group dynamics, was to give the camera to the most annoying of all the characters. The fucktard. The shy pup yipping around the Alpha males. A man so invested in finally acquiring a calling that he never, ever puts the camera down. Not even when climbing the dangerous slope of a rooftop.
To be honest it made me feel old. The noise gave me a headache and the hand held camera made me queasy. I was already pretty bored with the forever it took to introduce the monster, and the 9/11 imagery only exacerbated my lack of interest.
Honestly, the movie recalled Aliens for me and not just because of some parasitical monster bite. There's that great scene when the marines first encounter the Aliens from all their multiple POV's. The beautiful thing is that there's a master shot, music, structure, and characters.
JJ Abrams received due praise for making this flick a viral success. If he had serialized it on the Net in five to ten minutes segments he'd have been praised as a visionary. If it started on the 18th today probably would have been the day for the big monster reveal. Probably wouldn't even be able to get on the damn site. That would have been ingenious.
On the big screen it's just a bad movie. Or thing. It's just a bad thing I paid nearly twelve bucks to see. In one choice all those hours of smart just drifted away.
And are you Trek people really excited that this Abrams guy is reimagining your religion? Has he ever made anything satisfying in his entire career? Guess I missed the sparkle of MI3.
Jan 30th 2008
I gave up Star Trek when TNG ended, as an adolescent. I also gave up smoking.
Some things you just grow out of.
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