24.8.05

misc. wednesday

--I don't really know what it takes to win the Tour de France(s) or hit thousands of home runs over one's career, but I do know what being an athlete is like, even if it's small potatoes.
My policy regarding doping would be simple: you dope and you're out. No ifs, ands or buts.
Deal with it.

--If I had kids, here are some of the things I would let them/allow them/encourage them to do (obviously pertaining to the appropriate stage in their lives):
-draw on one wall (designated) of the house
-make forts and sleep in them at night
-have little glasses of beer/wine at dinner and come up with a toast
-pick out their own clothes atleast once a week, regardless of what it ended up being
-let pet (gerbil, hamster, etc) run free around house or area of house at set times
-smoke pot, at least once, or provide safe space to do so
-have their own subscription to Highlights magazine
-pick out music/tapes/stories for car rides; also, help pack car
-have small garden of whatever they want to grow
-talk about curfew, come to mutual agreement thereof
-read a different newspaper once a week
-read Roald Dahl
-question authority in respective manner
-say their opinions and what they care about/how they feel

--Some things I would not let them do:
-watch TV/video games more than 1 hour a day, excluding PBS. Excessive exposure to media such as Nickelodeon/Disney/megacorporations with A.D.D-inducing programming=bad. (Old timey Disney movies and Looney Tunes=good).
-use calculators until algebra II
-throw away food
-drink soft drinks/sugary juices in the house. have conversation about why.
-call friends' parents by first names
-pout

--Some things I would make them do:
-make up their bed in the morning
-pick up after themselves before bed time
-share something once a day
-eat dinner as family then help as family cleans up after dinner
-go to the library (if they still exist). oldest takes younger by themselves once appropriate.
-go grocery shopping with me. help make list and then pick out items/make decisions based on nutrition and price when comparing two similar items.
-have an odd job or semi-job once 15
-extra-curricular activity
-have checking account (real or fake)

--Even if it's gotten silly and overrated, at least Cindy Sheehan is standing up for what she believes in.

--I think I'm getting sick of my 'swing' bangs. I'm thinking of growing them out.

--I recently saw the re-make of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If you're at all familiar with my obsession with the original, you might be wondering why it took so long.
Well, I had made a pact with my friend Katie wherein neither of us would watch the movie without the other one (we share a long long historical love for the book and the original).
Duly, I made a personal pledge not to ever read any critics' notes or reviews so that my experience would be based solely on my own opinions, thoughts, and knowledge of Dahl's story ("CharlieATCF")/Mel Stuart's classic film ("WillyWonkaATCF").
I still haven't read any.
So here goes....
[I should add here that I'm not actually a "strict constructionist," of any sorts, when it comes to my beloved WWATCF. I am all about creativity and story "enhancement." However, I am strict when it comes to CATCF. ]
Let's just say that the only things Tim Burton's movie keeps true to the book are its title and the basic (very basic) premise regarding a kid and a factory. As such, here are some of the top things I found appalling with the new version:
-Charlie Bucket DOES NOT HAVE A FATHER! Dahl made Charlie fatherless for a reason.
-Willy Wonka DOES NOT HAVE A FATHER! Dahl made Willy fatherless for a reason.
-Oompa Loompas were supposed to be tortured and terrified creatures before coming to the Factory. All we see in the movie is that they live in a jungle that "sucked." Either keep their background out of the movie, or make it believable that they needed to be rescued by Wonka.
-The Great Glass Elevator's magic is supposed to be 1) relative to the times and B) special.
In the film, it was just a way everyone got around.
-Slugworth was in the story for a reason. Namely, to test the loyalty of the children. And, hello, that's why Charlie gets the factory in the end.
-The fizzled ending leaves you with no moral, no conclusion as to how you should live life. None.
In fact, at first Charlie reject's Wonka's offer because Wonka makes him choose his family or the factory. WTF??
-Burton's Charlie doesn't even do anything notable that should get him the factory. The kid basically walks through the tour with no challenge, no dilemma, and is randomly offered the loot for what seems like 'just because the tour is over'.
-And, finally, the biggest problem with the film according to Ms. Slocum and myself:
YOU SEE THE BAD CHILDREN COME OUT OF THE FACTORY IN THE END.
Must I really emphasize the importance of not knowing what happens to Augustus, Violet, Veruca and Mike??
Overall, I thought this movie was a thin and shallow version of the original story. Except for Mr. Depp, the roles were generically and unimaginatively cast to boring actors. (Although, I do like how the Oompa Loompas were all played by the same eerily-goofy, native-looking fellow.) Also, the factory tour itself was actually pretty dull, considering it's supposed to be the coolest place on the face of the Earth. I mean, the one scene that's supposed to take you to your highest indulgent fantasy--entering the Edible Park--is hurried and, quite frankly, bland.
As the tour continued, it seemed like you already were supposed to know the story and that these people on screen before you were merely going to half-ass it out for you just to get the job done.
And rather than being poor, down-and-out "good" people, the Buckets seemed like they were doing just fine, cabbage water and all. I never connected with them or their plight, and we never saw them in relation to others in their town. As such, the viewer could really care less whether they made the next month's rent or if Charlie even got the factory in the end. What's more is that you didn't even despise the other "bad" kids. Sure, they were kinda annoying, but the Schadenfreude of watching Augustus get stuck in the tube or Veruca fall down into the garbage chute was completely absent.
Then, like I said, seeing them emerge slightly altered was simply a slap in the face to Dahl's moral of the story.
And don't get me wrong--I'm not speaking as an adult here. Of course a 24-year-old will have a different opinion than a kid, and I realize that. However I was obviously surrounded by little kids and I frequently checked out their response to the movie. Looks of confusion and boredom glazed the audience, young and old.
Sure the effects were neat-o...Right when your mind started wandering to what you were going to make for dinner...er, which Happy Meal you were going to order at Mickey D's...a flashy spout of animation and a large, corresponding sound effect would snap you back into viewership.
But that's all it was. Moments of heightened, colorful excitement with none of the magic and wonder underneath. I could go on and on, but I won't.
To sum it up though, it didn't even leave you wanting a candy bar.

--At a news conference unveiling the administration's new plan to overhaul fuel economy regulations for light trucks (SUVs, pickups and vans), Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta showed up in a Lincoln Navigator. WAY to lead by example.

--Google News is really, really awesome.

3 comments:

withknivesout said...

excellent review. i havnt seen the movie, because my friends insisted that i not waste my money on it. i figure it will show up on HBO one of these days.

nicole said...

dont you mean after algebra II?

emilie said...

no, I think you got confused. I said I would NOT let them use calculators UNTIL algebra II.