Friday, June 25, 2010

Hot in my living room

I watched the first episode of Hot in Cleveland, and that was some funny shit.  Not just Betty White, although of course she was fabulous (and I am not just saying this in a recent-bandwagon-jumping SNL fan kind of way--I have loved Golden Girls and the Mary Tyler Moore show since Betty White just barely qualified for AARP membership).  The other characters were funny too--I especially liked the bit where whatshername kept licking her arm because she'd eaten chili fries the night before--and they have a believable rapport with each other.  Do not listen to the reviews that say it's "dated" because it's a sitcom with a laugh track--they really just mean the actresses are old.  Which is the point!  They're old in Hollywood, but in Cleveland they're hot.  It's funny because it's true (and that is Hollywood's loss, not Cleveland's.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Step away from the email!

In the last couple of weeks I have had occasion to observe two different small email lists, a neigborhood one and a sports team one, devolve into bitchfests of fairly epic proportions.  It is not that surprising when people post rude or cruel comments anonymously on the internet, but I was surprised to see a comparable level of asshattery on small lists (a few dozen people each) of people who actually know each other and/or live very near each other. 
People on both lists have suggested that the problem is email itself, and I think that is probably right.  When people talk In Real Life, even if they are really pissed off, most of the time the human conflict-avoidance instinct, combined with the urge to not look like an dickhead, kicks in to keep everybody vaguely civil.  But when it's just you and your computer screen, you don't see anybody's surprised or hurt or bemused expressions when you start to talk like a crazy person.  So it's easy to work yourself into a later of self-righteous anger and to make dramatic pronouncements that you just would not make in person.  Then the problem becomes self-perpetuating, because once somebody has tossed some rude or email thought out there, other people get annoyed that somebody is clogging their inbox with nonsense or has destroyed their beloved email list, and they start to pile on too.
Anyway, this is all fairly depressing, especially since I conduct such a large portion of my life on email.  I'm not sure if there's anything to be done other than to throw out the occasional "I think everybody on this list is great and we would all get along fine if we were talking in person!"  But that kind of only goes so far. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

SEQUELS Sequels sequels

(Re blogging:  I have gotten into a bad habit of almost never blogging, and then doing it only when someone comments about my lack of blogging.  So, this one's for you, Sita!) 
I saw both Sex & the City 2 and Iron Man 2 a couple of weeks ago and, in a case of seriously low expectations, found both of them a lot less objectionable than the originals.  But I am worried that this is a bad sign. 
To review:  Iron Man 1 pissed me off greatly because the message was:  In order to become a superhero who will usher in world peace, all the arms-deaing Robert Downey, Jr. character needs to do is invent a super advanced weapon system that is shiny and red and he can wear and lets him fly, like a man-shaped Corvette with guns and wings. 
But in Iron Man 2, when Robert Downey, Jr. tells a Senate committee he is responsible for world peace, it's supposed to be obnoxious and over the top, not, like, totally true.  Refreshing!  And once that issue was addressed, I was able to just enjoy the rest of the huge-metal-things-colliding and Scarlett-Johanssen-as-a-ninja-who-moves-in-inexplicable-slow-motion elements of the movie.  Escapist fun! 
And Sex & the City 1 pissed me off in a less political, more personal way because Carrie ended up with Big even after he dumped her at the altar.  (Ahh, but the personal is political!  Like how Carrie marrying Big is relevant to ... well, who knows, but that's probably a separate blog post.) 
But by SATC 2, the philandering, commitment-phobic Big had been replaced by a Bigbot homebody who wants to get takeout and watch TV in bed.  Not believable, but I no longer despised him.  And once that was clear, the rest was ... well, not good exactly, but it kept me amused.  Sometimes unintentionally.  And sometimes (as with Samantha's making out in public in Abu Dhabi and then getting arrested for it) in a horrified-giggling kind of way. 
So it seems I prefer the sequels because they omit something I object to, even though they don't have anything else much going for them.  That's not great -- it's like eating only chicken fingers and cheese quesadillas, or something.  (And I do like a cheese quesadilla.)  Not sure where I'm going with this.  Should I perhaps watch fewer big-budget movies that are bound to be fairly mediocre?  Or should I just not think too hard about why I like them or don't like them?