Sunday, November 4, 2007

Weekend of Watching

As the title of this post indicates, I spent much of this weekend watching stuff. Some interesting stuff, some pretty banal. The important part was my passive participation in entertainment. By the end of the work week I had magically accomplished everything on my list and am already pretty well down the list for next week, so I have the weekend open for laziness. (Of course, I'd have been lazy either way, but this way it feels like I earned it.)

On Friday, I came home mid-evening, fixed myself some chili dogs (the last for a while, as I embark on a 2-week apples and beer diet manana) and watched American Psycho. After dinner, I took Ellie for her evening consititutional, and then went over to my friend Mike's house to have some beers. Over there, I watched the original Rocky (and managed not to weep) while he fiddled with a massive puzzle. I came home later and had a nice co-buzzed conversation with Ducky before floating off to sleep around 3.

Today, the watching was considerably more extensive, ambitious, and - some would say - sophisticated. I spent the early afternoon answering emails and searching ebay for Ikea Klippan slipcovers while watching the first half of Thank You for Smoking. Then it was off to the east side for a double feature at the Cedar Lee.

Isn't that a great name for a movie theater, The Cedar Lee? I love it. It is thus named for the intersection at which it is located (i.e, Cedar Road and Lee Road), so the name is less than inspired, but the coolness I think it imparts continues when you walk in the door. As the main commericial independent film theater in town (the Cinematheque is more artsy and academic, while the Language Foundry is more experimental and DIY), they have a good selection of movies at any given time. Plus, the concession stand sells beer -- really good beer, including a few different bottles from Great Lakes, as well as Pabsts for 2 bucks. Though I'm not sure if the PBR is an everyday thing, or was just being offered this weekend in conjunction with their showing of Blue Velvet as this month's selection in their Cult Film Series.

Today, I went to back-to-back showings of Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited and Goran Dukic's Wristcutters: A Love Story. Showing during the pre-film commercials each time was a preview for an interesting movie titled Juno (starring Ellen Page). I definitely plan on checking it out when it is released in mid-December. The ads for Margot at the Wedding (with Jennifer Jason Leigh and directed by my man Noah Baumbach) looked cool, too.

The Darjeeling Limited was good, especially the little vignette at the beginning with Jason Schwartzman and Natalie Portman. Owen Wilson seemed to have mailed his effort in and Wes Anderson's fascination with set pieces and short-legged suits once again gets in the way of what could have been a great movie. It was better than The Life Aquatic, though.

Wristcutters, on the other hand, was fantastic. The concept itself was out there. In the film's alternate universe, when an individual commits suicide, instead of going to heaven or hell, they actually go to a parallel world that really sucks, in a general smoggy malaise sort of way. The film is a roadtrip through this bleak world, featuring Zia (the protaganist, who offed himself because his girlfriend was cheating on him), Eugene (Zia's Russian friend, whose entire family has committed suicide and live together in this life as they had in the past), and Mikal (a recent suicide played by Hollywood's hottest actress, Shannyn Sossaman. On the trip, Zia is looking for his girlfriend, who killed herself shortly after he did, Eugene is going along to have a good time, and Mikal is looking for the PIC (People In Charge) to see if she can get a visa back to life because her overdose was accidental, not directly suicidal. Throw in bit parts by Tom Waits and Will Arnett, weird plot devices like a black hole underneath Eugene's beater car's passenger seat, and imparted wisdom such as the fact that people who ride in the back seat clearly have no cock (something apparently everyone already knew, except me), and you have a great movie. The ending was kind of weak, but not weak enough to matter that much. 5 stars, I say.

After the film, I headed back to Ohio City and swung by the Glass Bubble. I met up with Mike and we headed up to Detroit and 65th to check out Osama the Hero, a play on its final night at the Cleveland Public Theater. The play was really good, and the actors were surprisingly talented -- I keep underestimating the artistic community in Cleveland, stupidly -- but the topic and story brought a lot of anxiety to bear. After the play, Mike and I walked down the street to the Happy Dog for beers and dinner. On the way, we passed the studio of a friend of his who makes neon signs. We stopped in and chatted, and the dude gave me an impromptu lesson in making neon signs. Nickel summary: it is really cool and really difficult.

Finally, we made our way down to the Happy Dog. We had a pretty good waitress who kept telling us about her cleavage awards and a decent meal, which included a small order of sauerkraut balls. I'd never heard of them before, though now that I've tried them I don't think I've been denied all that much.

Tomorrow, the watch-o-rama will likely continue. The Browns play around 4 (the Bears are thankfully, mercifully off) and the Language Foundry's Sunday film series is at 8. Of course, whether I go to the latter will depend on whether this time change will cause me to gain or lose sleep. 6:45 comes like a bitch no matter what, but an hour one way or the other makes a HUGE difference.

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