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Monday, November 30, 2009

That Being Said...

Though I don't feel the nurturing instinct as I mentioned below, when I say protect, I don't just mean standing at the door with a club. I just mean that when he cries, my instinct is to get him to stop crying, not because it hurts my heart that he is crying, but because if he or my wife have a need, I want to fulfill it to ensure their survival. What a strange, primal feeling.

I am a Father

Fox Etienne Loup was born 11/27/09 at 4 pm. At birth he weighed 8 lbs, 12.2 ounces, and was 21 inches long. He is probably bigger now, though, considering how often he eats, which largely consists of the time he spends awake and not crying. I love him, though I am not feeling any strong nurturing instincts or life-changing emotions as some people have told me. I am, on the other hand, feeling much stronger protective feelings, toward him and toward my wife. I think that is man's instinct. The woman has the baby and nurses it, weakened by the experience, so the man has to be there to protect her from sabretooth tigers and velociraptors and stuff.
Anyway, all three of us are home, healthy, happy, and exhausted.
We have to get this little guy to start sleeping more at night, so you can pray for that. Also, he has a little bit of jaundice, so we have to take him in tomorrow to make sure that is gone. You can also pray for that. Also, Crystal and I both have little colds, nothing major at all, but annoying nonetheless, so you can pray for that.
In the meantime, I have taken off the entire week to be home, and if I continue to get moments such as this one, I am thinking of making a bunch of end of the decade lists because you guys all know how much I love lists.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Precious

You do not stand up and cheer when Precious finally reaches its end credits. You sit in your chair and reflect in horror and awe that a human being can endure so much inhumanity and yet retain her dignity.
The film ends with a revelatory confession so revolting, you may want to take a shower when you get home. Mo'nique, playing the confessor in this scene, truly gives one of the most transformative performances in the history of cinema. Her previous comedic work cast her as an extremely likable, comforting persona; her role here as the titular protagonist's mother is anything but. What a protagonist the film has, though. Precious, pregnant for a second time with her father's child, overweight, uneducated, and completely broken is played so deftly by first time actress, Gabby Sidibe, the almost so-desperate-as-to-seem-unreal circumstances in the film seem as real as anything. Every other performance in the film is either solid or great, including a turn by Mariah Carey as a sympathetic social worker that has to be seen to be believed.
Despite all this, I am still hesistant to recommend the film. It is a great work of art, but the depths it plumbs are not for the weakhearted or weakstomached, and to be honest, I do not think I could sit through it again.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Why?

Last night my cousin and I watched the film G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra on a rented Blu-Ray. We knew beforehand the movie, which is only partially the focus of this post, would be terrible. We only rented this film because it co-starred Ray "Darth Maul" Park, someone who should be in much better movies. Park has made an artform out of the physical limits of what a human being can do. The guy can jump clean over a six-foot tall man from a standstill. Someone could just put a camera on Ray Park for a few seconds and make their movie better. Unfortunately, the G.I Joe filmmakers deciding that instead of taking the easy route, I.E. just leaving the camera on Park while he pummels someone, they should cut to a different angle any time a different square-inch of Park's body moved. This means even a simple punch takes 14 different cuts and angles. Though this makes the punch unclear and unsatisfying, perhaps the filmmaker's thought that an average human viewer would be unable to focus their attention on one five-second moving image of a man punching another man. Personally, if I simply wanted to look at a bunch of photographs of someone punching someone from 30 different partially obscured angles, I would not think I would need to watch a movie. I would assume that watching a movie entailed the viewing of "moving pictures", but I guess not.
Anyway, there is not a single moment in this film when one cool thing is going on by itself so that the viewer can focus on it. There are a multitude of moments where many assumedly cool things are going on at the same time, however they are intermingled like 40 different colors layered over one small space of paper, creating a decidedly fecalesque shade.
I get that this is a film based on a children's toy, specifically a boy's toy, but the film is rated PG-13, and features language and violence I would assume most parents would not be happy with.
To produce this film, the filmmakers spent almost $200 million. As a nation we create roughly five to ten films like this every year, spending about $1.5 billion. By comparison, the GDP of Somalia, a country populated by nearly 10 million people, is about $7.6 billion. The yearly market value of all goods and services in the nation of Somalia is only about five times bigger than our 7 most expensive films of the year.
What value do these monumental works hold? What good does a film like G.I Joe or Transformers 2 or X-Men Origins: Wolverine add to our society and the world at large? They are certainly not enduring works of art, nor do they stir our morality or our consciences. These films, or "entertainment" as you will, are certainly not entertaining, so logically we do not make them to be entertained.
Why do we make them?