Thursday, June 18, 2009


Despite being a classicist, I have only seen the movie 300 three times. Since my Dear Husband has seen it ... more ... times, I decided to let him write this entry's movie review from our DVD collection.

What is it that makes this movie so great?
First is the sheer heroism. The story is ancient and true, and absolutely heroic. I know, people don't believe in heroism, but there it is - confirmed historical fact.

Other points are arguable - whether the adrenaline-pumping action, the witty dialogue, or just that the underdogs bloody up the pompous bad guys. At the risk of being to clever, I will chalk all this up to the excellence of the craft. While no movie is everyone's flavor, this movie is well-done from start to finish, even in the scenes I don't like. The story, the acting, the writing, the directing are all extremely well done.

I would also argue that this is true back in the story itself. The Spartans were truly great warriors, and this depicts (with some artistic license) their excelence of the craft as well. Any movie that depicts people doing amazing things by their skill and diligence is likely to be a hit. If the makers of said movie also perform with great skill and diligence, then you've got a sure winner.

The odes to freedom and the fight against tyranny attract me just surely as the other points I made. While people in high offices of the world, even occasionally here in the USA, seem to consider people merely as resources or worse, I have always felt the passion for freedom that the movie describes. I suspect this is true for many people around the world. This story is from a time long since gone and a place around the world from where I sit now. I find it comforting that people so foreign to me can have so much in common with me (and trust me, as much as we "inherit" from the Greeks, the Spartans would be unrecognizably foreign to us). As is directly mentioned in the movie, Xerxes uses a massive army of slaves, and they are barely a match for 300 free men. I find it alarming that so many people think the opposite on these issues, but that's for another movie review.

Now, there are things I would change. It seems like every movie today has either a love scene or at least a topless woman. Perhaps the award committees have this as some absurd requirement, or perhaps some "critics" don't consider it "real art" without some flesh. The sex scenes and nudity in most movies just get in the way, and that's especially true in this movie. I would give examples, but this is one of those things that mature people already understand. If you don't get it, me rambling on about it won't help you.

Similarly, I'd also drop some of the exageratedly long shots of the king groaning in defiant pain. I don't have a problem with the idea of the scene, but it's another one of those award-show requirements that it last an extra thirty seconds for no reason. I wish Hollywood would realize that it's becoming a joke about such things in the real world. In those dramatic pauses at the star's face, I can no longer help but hear a director in the background yelling "and hold that pose for the award shot!... hold... hold...hold...hold...hold...hold...hold..."

Despite those peeves (which I feel are more like commentary on all movies today), I still love this movie. These and other problems I'm sure people have (the violence? it's about Spartans!) barely dent my admiration for this movie.

RebelAngel's score 3 stars-*** DH's score 5 stars-*****

Bleeding Heart Barbie cried when she heard about the fly. She thought President Obama knew better than to take the life of one of the Universe's creatures. However, she understands that everyone can need teaching in some area. Bleeding Hear Barbie and her friends atPETA are offering the President a humane fly trap. She suggests that if Obama would just shut his trap, things would be much better.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Camp Rainbow

This week we are having our Camp Rainbow summer festivities here at Our House. It
may sound corny, but it works if done well. The house work will be game-ified. There will be prizes for who can do whatever fastest or best. We will have weed-pulling races in the yard, as well as washing the car and cleaning the patio. I'll have prizes and awards, and music, and whatever else I can think of to make cleaning our house the most fun we have ever had. Sock mopping is always a favorite with camp Rainbow campers.

I have craft supplies that need to be put into storage. I think we'll chuck them into a box from across the room and award points for making it in. In the afternoon, after "camp" activities are done, we'll go to the park or for nature walks, or to the zoo or something else cool and fun.

I have plenty of yard work that needs to be done that can be made fun. There are more than enough weeds, as well as ivy that needs to be trimmed, and sweetgum saplings from seed balls that fell from our front yard tree and were lucky enough to hit dirt rather than parking lot (We have a parking lot.) Since I am not fond of sweetgum seed balls, I do not believe that we need to allow 5 more sweetgum trees to grow. I like sweetgum trees just fine, but I hate the ugly, prickly seed balls. (Could be worse, though. Could be bodach trees.) The yard work will be fun, I think. One way or another.

Also, since kids at summer camp do not have to do school lessons, we will also be taking the week off. That certainly gets some smiles around here. I just hope they do not forget everything we have learned.

Upon learning that I intended to cut down sweetgum saplings, Bleeding heart Barbie has tied herself to one of them in a vain attempt to save my yard from deforestation.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

It occurs to me as I go throught this blog, rereading past entries and laughing at my own clever wit, that i promised to review my movie collection. (I also promised a bible commentary and to blog every day, but that is neither here nor there.)

Finally, I give you...

Hmmm...I probably should have chosen a movie before I started this. One moment, please

Oh Mandy, well you came and you gave without taking
But I sent you away
Oh Mandy, Well you kissed me and stopped me from shaking
And I need you today
Oh Mandy.

Galaxy Quest
This is a Trekkie movie. not a Star Trek movie, but a movie written for Star Trek fans. If you are not specifically a Trek fan but enjoy science fiction; you will probably still enjoy it. It pokes good natured fun a tthe Star Trek stereotypes and eccentricities. Even if scifi isn't really your thing, but you still like a good action/comedy, I don't think you would hate this.

For the trekkie, though, this film is the Mothership calling from home to say you were always her favorite, even if no one else can see how special you are.

Tim Allen does superbly. He never was someone I would peg as an action hero (Buzz Lightyear notwithstanding) but since his character is "not quite an action hero" it fits.

Alan Rickman has been a favorite villain actor of mine for many years. Die Hard, Quigley Down Under, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Harry Potter (sort of)
He only really played a good guy in Truly, Madly, Deeply and no one has ever seen that movie but me, so it hardly counts.
This movie brings out his comedic talent as even Marvin the robot from The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy does not. (another movie in my DVD collection)
I loved that, as much as Alexander professed to hate his prsthesis, he was still wearing it off-hours.

Sigourney Weaver hasn't been this funny since Ghostbusters (chucklefest that Alien was.) She was very good in Galaxy Quest and it was clear she was having fun.
There is an interview in the bonus features where she discusses the absurdity of the movie's plot (in a good way.) Imagine an invasion by freaky aliens...whom do we need to save us? Well, Sigourney Weaver made movies where she kicked some alien butt. Let's get her!

Sam Something-or-Other (IMDB; Rockwell) was hilarious as Guy, the Extra.
Wouldn't you hate to find out you were living a movie and you are just Crewman #6?...and the character's name is actually Guy! I love it!

The acting is good all around. Also in this film are Adrian Monk and Veronica Mars' dad. Just kidding.

I LOVE Tony Shaloub! Wings, 13 Ghosts (not a fav of mine), Men in Black, Monk...Are my husband and I the only people who remember Stark, Raving Mad? Tony's character on that (very short-lived) series was just about the exact opposite of Adrian Monk.
But enough about all that. The character of Fred Kwan (not his real name) is unphased by anything! Nothing gets to him (exceot operating the tranporter) I love it. Who else could eat cheese crackers while their shuttle is about to crash on an alien planet?

I love this movie. My husband and I often quote it to each other in weird, nerd-based (and even sometimes in normal) conversation.

This one is 5 stars. *****

DD11 starting to practice her geisha skills, in case she cannot be an astronaut.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Today was really great!

We didn't do anything special, but ended our brief hiatus from schooling to hit things back in full stride. No one seems to have forgotten what she had been learning earlier, and everyone seemed to grasp today's new concepts easily. And I didn't feel overrun, probably because I spent about an hour going over workbooks and files last night to prepare. Who would've thought?

So, in the interest of continuing what works, I believe I will spend a brief time this evening preparing for tomorrow. Maybe tomorrow will go smoothly as well.

Since I cannot spend so much time going up and down stairs anymore, I am planning to move my personal office into our sunroom and much of the resources we need here to the dining room. I was really stoked when we moved in to have the garage all to myself for a classroom, but now it is hard for me to get to and is sitting neglected. The dining room will be easier. And if things don't turn out that way...I can always switch back. I am flexible that way.

Math progreses, as math is wont to do. Reading leaps forward in unpredictable bounds, but I can take it. Science notes get lost, and then found, and then expanded upon. And we still haven't done Social Studies today, but what the heck, it'll keep for later.

Now, everybody make a sad face...

OK, now...back to normal!