Friday Five

1. Everyone who hadn’t deserted New York City to escape the heat last Saturday was at the movie theater. I know this because I was there planning to see Inception. Me and thousands of my closest friends. Tickets sold out hours before the show. I admit I’m a Fandango idiot. Whenever I Fandango, there are two people in the theater, and whenever I don’t, I get shut out. So my friends and I ended up seeing The Kids Are All Right. In the second row. Despite a massive headache by the end, I thought it was good. Refreshing to see two older actresses (and when I say older, I mean more than a week beyond their 21st birthdays) not forced to succumb to the Demi Moore syndrome. Demi Moore looks amazing, but come on. In this movie, Annette Benning and Julianne Moore show off little wrinkles and freckles and some jiggles here and there. And that goes for Mark Ruffalo, too!

2. Speaking of movies, Daniel Craig has signed on to play the journalist in the US adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. What? You haven’t read the book yet? Get thee to a bookstore immediately. (Although I’ve heard from several credible sources that books 2 and 3 of the series aren’t all they should be.)

3. Still speaking of movies, I finally watched The Hurt Locker on DVD. I usually end up not liking war flicks. Most, I find, are completely gratuitous or try too hard to send a “message” or rely on CGI to tell the story or can’t decide if they want to be a character sketch or plot-based. (My prediction: Apocalypse Now 3-D!)  Even though The Hurt Locker had been nominated for several Oscars, I was prepared to turn it off in a hurry. But I changed my mind quickly. The film is worth a looksee. The story focuses on three Army specialists  in Iraq whose job it is to diffuse bombs under enemy fire. They must have the most terrifyingly dangerous job of the war. It was so suspenseful and riveting because the story was  suspenseful and riveting. The director, Kathryn Bigelow, didn’t have to create an illusion. As exciting as big budget action scenes are, it often seems that the director is covering up for the fact that something is lacking. There is no “there” there. Good storytelling is when the writer, director and actor can check their egos at the door and tell the story without a lot of meddling and interference.  So, this movie is gritty and real, but you won’t find a lot of gory, bloody scenes. Nor will you find a narrative voice over explaining what you should be taking away from it. (Hate that!) Hitchcock said when there’s a bomb under a table, and it explodes, that’s action. When we know the bomb is there, and the people at the table play cards, and it doesn’t explode, that’s suspense. In The Hurt Locker, there are many bombs under the table. They could go off. At any second. And the people are playing cards. (I won’t spoil it for you.) It takes a confident crew to tell that story.

4. Remember the old (bad) joke about going to an Ethiopian restaurant…Well I’m here to tell you, it ain’t true. I had my first taste of Ethiopian food and man, was it good! There were assorted dips and spreads, paired with a spongy buckwheat flatbread. And you get to eat with your hands!

5. Have you ever tried to meet up with someone who’s got a lot of excuses? You offer a variety of times and places, only to be thwarted at every option? This is happening to me right now. Finally the girl (I use the term girl because she uses “like” every five seconds.) confesses, “Like how about we meet Friday-ish? I’m just not really like a planner.”

Like, what?

Are you free on Friday? Yes? Then it seems settled to me. I’m not asking if you’ll organize the Middle East Peace Talks. I’m not even asking you to pencil me in 5 months from now. We’re talking FRIDAY. Isn’t it rude, not to mention self-centered) to keep someone else dangling until you, um like, decide that you don’t have any better offers?

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