Archive for February, 2008

Oscar Party

February 26, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Leisure, Movies

Sunday was the Oscar party, and the cake read 8th Annual Oscar Party, when Donna wanted it to read 80th Annual Oscars. Oops! I think it’s been 8 years now, which is cool, and I do believe that our friend Dana has been to every single party. This was a wonderful party, and I think part of that was because we had it catered. We also hired a babysitter for Claire, which is the coolest thing. Hire a babysitter while you are home. Wow. We had about 25 people show up, and Donna and I tied for first place this year with 13 each! We have never tied, and this year may have been my highest scoring year yet. I am an idiot thought since I would’ve had 15 but I picked There Will Be Blood for best director and film — do NOT ask me why! I mean I knew No Country would win, but I think I was too busy preparing to be smart about it. Damnit. So I picked the wrong films. I had MCC friends come, and Basha friends, and friends from neither place. My student teacher brought me some home brewed beer that I am still enjoying, and our friend brought their one year old who enjoyed playing with Claire half the evening. Pictures are forthcoming on flickr.

Gone Baby Gone: A Review

February 22, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Movies, Reviews

On the insistence of my student teacher, my next film was Gone Baby Gone. I guess I was in a cardboard box behind Circle K or something, but I didn’t know what this was about either other than the mother character (Ryan) is up for a best supporting Oscar and Casey Affleck is in it. My student teacher said that at times he completely forgot that this character was not ben Affleck, and I agree. I also agree that when we forgot which Affleck it was, I found Casey much more compelling than Ben. This is obscenely surprising to me after hating The Assassination of Jesse James. I am relieved that Affleck was good in this one, because I could not stand his other role.

Minor SPOILERS ahead… Toward the beginning Baby felt like a simple detective story set up South Boston in present day, but then these twists and turns emerged and I began to enjoy it. I had read a review a few weeks ago about how the reviewer totally caught the end immediately, but I didn’t. Perhaps it was my grading while watching or my two year old having me pause it often to deal with her, but I never caught on to the end until I was among it. This all star cast of Affleck (yes, here I will say that), Ed Harris, and Morgan Freeman made this an enjoyable film, while Monaghan’s girlfriend character wasn’t fleshed out enough by director Ben Affleck (yes, you did read that correctly). When she eventually leaves him, I didn’t really care, and when C. Affleck voice-overed her pain of losing Amanda, I didn’t buy it for a second. The twists were just enough to enjoy the movie without getting lost, and B. Affleck’s adaptation from Lehane’s novel was well done, and perhaps some would concur that he was robbed of the adapted screenplay nomination nod.

Michael Clayton, I thought I liked it?

February 22, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Movies, Reviews

Not to sure what to think of Michael Clayton before seeing it. I guess I thought he was some real guy, like McCarthy or Charlie Wilson, but I didn’t expect it to be a pseudo-legal thriller. Maybe I thought it was a historical biopic. Anyway, I watched it over a few evenings this week, and I actually did enjoy it. A friend really didn’t enjoy it and couldn’t stay awake, but I found the triumvirate of Swinton, Clooney, and Wilkinson well performed. To begin, I am still trying to wrap my mind around the frame of Clayton (Clooney) standing on the hillside with the three horses as if he’s the fourth horseman of the Apocalypse (the dark one even), and I enjoyed that he was this "ghost" that no one really knew. Albeit I found the narrative characters of his brother and sister’s husband as almost banal, needed plot carriers (the cop who helps him and the drunkard who saves him). Clooney was fine in the film, but I found his substory of owning the restaurant and owing the money almost detracting from the main story, and I wish I understood more about his son’s book in terms of Wilkinson’s character of Arthur. Moreover, the relationship Clooney had with his soon wasn’t fleshed out whatsoever, although I think I still liked the film.

SPOILER Coming….. Perhaps the two shining stars in an otherwise average film were Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton. Swinton’s lawyer begins the narrative obviously distraught about some thing (which it seems turns out to be ordering Wilkinson’s death), and concludes the narrative in a fetal ball of failure and despair, while Wilkinson’s overly neurotic, off medicated maniac was played well. These two characters kept Clooney’s Clayton in check, a Clooney whose pretty boy visage has begun to droop around the jowls. Over all, it was an amusing ride that I enjoyed a little less and less as I write this review. And what was with the guy upstate who’d hit someone with his car? Huh?

Call me back, landscaper

February 19, 2008 By: nooccar Category: House

Not much of an update I would say, but I am so itchy to write and don’t care to spend more time working on English 101 tonight, which I have been posting here. I would say I wish Tim would call us back from the landscaping company that painted out house. I even called his boss, and he said he’d remind Tim to call me. I saw another guy in the paper the other day, and I left him a message and am waiting. I just want to get someone to level the yard, put in my dog run and build a shed. Stick some lights here and there, too. Today I went back to Lamp Plus and the "Lighting Associate" who gave me bad advice still wasn’t there. Tonight I got to talk to the store manager who agreed with his Assistant Manager that she gave me terrible advice. One of them xeroxed my receipt and when I think about it, I bet they did so so they could dock her commission pay
since they refunded me about 40% of what I originally paid. The manager even threw in some free light bulbs today.

I also painted the foyer light and hallway light. We used this cool brown speckle paint that turned out very nice. I will install them later this week, but I am more concerned with getting ready for Sunday’s party and getting my garage back, too!

The Assissination of what could’ve been a good movie

February 17, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Movies, Reviews

Wow. That was long. Too long. I don’t know what I expected but I sure didn’t think I would be so bummed out tonight. It was in several ways the second western I’ve watched and reviewed this week, but while I really enjoyed No Country for Old Men, I wonder why I wasted 2 1/2 hours of my life watching The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. As producer and title character, I don’t know why Brad Pitt was too much of a coward to write a really good story. Affleck’s dopey, wimp with his whiny, homoerotic, pasty undertones lent his performance to that of the film itself.

I sure didn’t vote for Affleck for Best Supporting Actor, but if I had a chance I wouldn’t’ve done so either. He just really annoyed me, and the Ford brothers did nothing more for me. Even the annoying voice over narration did not allow the viewer to be an educated participant, as it kept trying to narrate what hoped to see on screen. Skip this movie. I wish I had.

No Country for Old Men

February 15, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Literature, Movies, Reviews

I tried to read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road about a year ago, but it’s lack of dialogue is not something I’ve ever been able to appreciate in any literature. I expect some external dialogue and would almost rather have all dialogue than none. Although I could not finish the book The Road, I will watch the movie when it’s released. And tonight I watched another McCarthy adaptation: No Country for Old Men by the Coen Brother’s whose  O’ Brother Where Art Thou? was absolutely not my favorite film. I liken No Country more to their Fargo (starring the wonderful Frances McDormand) with the subtly, mundane motif of fate pulling the puppet strings of humanity in the furthest reaches of Middle America.

Bardem’s buzz is dead on, and albeit I’ve not seen all Oscar nominated films, My God, this man’s already won his Oscar, and I would even contend that his hair should get its own statuette. Bardem plays a terminator-like assassin chockfull of actual emotions. His looping, frame play with the quarter of fate toyed with the idea that in the large scheme of things, everything is absolutely inconsequential and completely noncoincidental all-at-once. He fails to assassinate the first game’s player, while the second it’s understood he’s murdered her before he simply walks for her house as he checks for blood on his shoes.

Although I can barely consider anything Brolin’s ever been in, I think we can agree that Tommy Lee Jones is one of the most talented (and sometimes underrated) actors of his generation. His age, dropping wrinkles, and eyes just add watery charm to his Sheriff’s character who’s subtly torn between bringing home Brolin’s Llewellyn to his wife Carla Jean and retiring from the force. He eventually makes one decision that directly correlates to the other.

If you’re looking for a thinking man’s movie with a paucity of action then enjoy this film. It’s brief staccato violence only enhances our final ironically enigmatic scene with our antagonist, while Jones’ discussion with his wife about a dream in which his deceased father goes ahead of him over snowy mountains to make a fire and await his son’s arrival, truly suggests that the onset of Jones’ final adventure into retirement makes early 1980’s Texas no longer a country for old men, or at least for the men in this book as the screen turns black.

Across the Universe: A Review

February 11, 2008 By: nooccar Category: Movies, Reviews

It’s been a long hard week, but I’ve finally been able to sit down to another Oscar contender. Wifey and I wanted to watch Atonement or Elizabeth: The Golden Age or I’m Not There, but we finally came down to Across the Universe. A student of mine had been bugging me to see this since before Christmas, and I finally had a chance tonight. I expected the film to refreshingly surprise me like a good Baz Luhrmann film, but it didn’t quite do that. Evan Rachel Wood’s Lucy looks a lot different than I remember her in Thirteen several years ago now, but she was endearing, while Joe Sturgess’ Jude played the Liverpudlian with aplomb. No one character stood out for me, albeit I loved Bono as Dr. Robert singing "I am the Walrus", the Jimi Hendrix-character, and the Janis Joplinesque singer.

The film has been nominated for Costume Design, and while I feel it was done well, I was surprised the film was not nominated for Art Direction. Perhaps some critics felt the psychedelic nature of the second half of the film detracted from a story line that I felt was universal and well done. Although my wife would argue that they should’ve used sang "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" earlier in the film, while I would assert that Taymor’s use of "Revolution" and "Dear, Prudence" were film highlights for me.

This is the kind of film I would’ve watched once with a case of beer, good friends, and cold pizza in the middle of a summer night when I wanted something fun & odd.


February 11, 2008 By: turtlegirl Category: Claire

Tonight Claire got a package from Mimi with a rolling backpack.  Claire was dragging it around the house and outside and then told me that she would take it with her on the plane.  I told her sure, that was ok, but that it would be a while before we go on a plane.  Then I told her that she could take her new bag to Los Angeles when we go to see Sarah next month.

She started packing her toys in the backpack and said that she was ready to go.  I told her no, no, we will go to LA in a month – 32 days.  Claire: "ok, maybe tomorrow after my nap."  Me:  "No, no Claire.  Maybe after 30 naps."

Claire:  "Why?"

Me:  "Because we have to work tomorrow"

Claire:  "I don’t like working."

Me:  "Me neither, Claire.  Me neither."

The Neverending Night

February 11, 2008 By: turtlegirl Category: Claire

Last night Devon was bowling and Claire and I ate an early dinner.
After playing for a while, I started prepping her for bed by giving her
"alone time".  She proceeded to collect her crayon purse, her play
phone, and her baby dolls, then walked over to me and announced "I go
out eat".  After showing me what she "packed" for the trip, she looked
down and noticed "I no shirt on" (she was indeed only wearing
panties).  So I laughed and said "No shirt!  Kid, you need a shirt,
pants, socks, shoes, a hat, and your jacket if you think you’re leaving
the house". 

I thought that would keep her busy until she became distracted with
another activity…  10 minutes later she emerges from her room with
armfuls of clothing and other items.  She tells me that she is putting
them on our couch and then describes the items to me.  I told her that
she was still missing the shirt!  She actually ran back to her room and found the matching shirt to the
skirt she had picked out. 

At this point I was rather amused and
started video-taping Claire through the process.  It took a half-hour
to get her dressed … mind you, a half-hour past her bedtime at this
point.  I told myself that if she actually got everything on and ready to go,
that I would have to take her out – somewhere.  So, I put on my shoes
and walked towards the door. 

Claire turned, put her hand out ("talk to
the hand") and said "No mama, you stay here.  I  go myself."  I tried
to ask her where she was going and how she would get there without me
and she replied "fast".  I asked if I could take her out to eat ice
cream and she agreed, after thinking it over for a while.

So, we got in the car and went to Baskin Robbins.  I was excited to see
a new flavor – Jamoca Oreo!!!  Claire had green/blue/purple sherbert
which perfectly matched the ski hat her pap-pap got her for Christmas.
I was sad that I had left the camera at home.

When we left and I told her we were going home, she became upset and
said "No mama:  two more stores!".  I decided that I may as well run to
the grocery store since their was no chance that she was sleeping
anytime soon (even though it was an hour past her bedtime).

We went to Safeway, bought some fruit, meat, YOGURT! ( a must for
Claire’s breakfast), and some wine for the Oscar party.  As we left,
Claire said "one more store".  I informed her that there was absolutely
no where else to go on a Sunday night at 9pm and she might as well fall
asleep.  I actually drove around for a while thinking that she would
doze off, but went home when I realized that was not happening. 

Devon was home cooking pizza for his dinner when we arrived.  I asked
him to brush her teeth, put her pjs on, read her a book and get her in
bed — the usual evening ritual.  However, Claire noticed the pizza box
and made it known that she wasn’t doing anything without pizza in her

Well, 44 minutes later, Claire was finally asleep.  Devon and I sat down to unwind and to see what was on TV at 9:50 pm…

Shoveling river rock

February 09, 2008 By: nooccar Category: House

We’re trying to get the side yard ready for a shed, and we hate all the rock we have in the back yard. (Actually we don’t like most of the rock out front also.) The guy who painted our house offered to bring out a Bobcat to level the entire yard and we declined. I should’ve said yes. Last Saturday I shoveled rock to level the area where we want our new shed for a couple of hours, and I was sore for days! Today I went back out there and shoveled more, and I even brought out a spotlight after it got dark out. I think we’re mostly ready for the shed, but I am going to talk with the man at the hardware store today to make sure I have my ducks all lined up before I proceed. Wish me luck!

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