Tinkering with the new site layout. I'm trying to decide if I really
want to drop the whole
personal directory. I'm
definitely leaning toward it—after all, this is my
personal site, and it seems kind of silly to have a
personal directory just to preserve a nice hierarchy.
(Technically, after all, even the stuff in my
directory is really personal.)
On the downside, moving the blog up a level will break any permalinks
people may have made to entries on my site. On the other hand, Google tells me that isn't likely to be a problem.
We went to see Gosford
Park this afternoon. The film itself was well done,
although it certainly seemed to me that very few (okay, none) of the
“upstairs” characters really had anything to recommend them—great
acting, just awful people. But mostly it served to reinforce my
feeling that the universe would be better off should the Earth spin
off into the sun.
The sad thing is that no matter how good a film is, the experience of
seeing it in a modern American theatre in the Los Angeles area is so
unpleasant that it overshadows the film.
At some point after I left the States, the people running these places
decided that bombarding the audience with ads was not just acceptable,
it was a great idea. Never mind that the cost of tickets has pretty
doubled from when I was a kid. And the ads are amazingly stupid—the highlight this time was a “bottle race” between various kinds of
fizzy sugar water from a large Southern manufacturer. What kind of
low-grade morons could they expect to get excited and involved in such
an ad? They're slides!
The ad bombardment is accompanied by one of those corporate satellite
“radio” stations playing the most pathetic music imaginable. We had
some of that horrible lovely-dovey, vaguely hip-hop stuff that sounds
exactly like much of the forgettable music of the seventies, followed
by a county-westerny piece that may well have been one of the Shrub's
choices for annoying the Chinese. (it worked for me.) I can only
hope that what we heard isn't representative of what most people in
the States are listening to, but I suspect otherwise.
Once the lights dimmed, we were treated to a slew of previews for
films I wouldn't be caught dead at. The best was for The Bourne
Identity, based on a Robert Ludlum book written in 1980
(that I read when I was in high school). It looks like they've tarted
it up with lasers and computers and satellite tracking systems and all
the other lame crap Hollywood puts in every spy movie these days. (It
wasn't clear from the preview, but I wouldn't be surprised if the evil
American spy agency is the NSA, as well. The NSA as villain was fine for
Sneakers and Enemy of the State, but not for
several other films it's been used in lately. I always wonder if the
mathematicians and language experts at the NSA order in some pizza and
watch these films and make jokes about not being able to kill anyone
they want like the guys in the movies do.) Weirdly, they also had
bits of Tom Tykwer's
soundtrack from Lola
Rennt, apparently because Franka Potente is
in this film, as well. (Playing the French-Canadian economist—German, Canadian, whatever—they're all ferriners, right?)
I couldn't choose a worst, however, because, based on their previews,
all the other movies were incredibly, horribly, awful dreck meant for
the dumbest of the dumb. How they figured that anyone who wanted to
see Gosford Park would be interested in any of these
other films, I don't know.
Except that they were probably right. The audience was pretty dopey.
They laughed loudly and long at an incredibly stupid ad that gave away
its joke within the first few seconds. And, wow, could they talk. We
actually had to ask the people sitting next to us to shut up, as they
were busy reading every credit that appeared on the screen and
remembering other things they'd seen the actors in.
Yuck. And if that experience wasn't bad enough, we went to Evil Sam's
Club afterwards to pick up some large-size containers of stuff that we
can't find anywhere else. Even though they're evil. And we're
complicit in that evil just by living here.