A joke, a bore and a pleasant surprise

Bobby Z

I spent the entire weekend at the movies. And not just any movies… but action packed, gun wielding films featuring some pretty hot guys.

The Death and Life of Bobby Z

I love Paul Walker. I also love Joaquim de Almeida and Laurence Fishburne. Which is how I ended up watching this travesty. The predictable plot, the over choreographed fight scenes, the implausible shoot outs, and all’s-well-that-ends-well ending only gave me a greater appreciation for Shoot `Em Up.

3:10 to Yuma

Though I’m generally not a huge fan of westerns, my favorite two are Blazing Saddles and Young Guns. That said — Yuma was filled with so much drama. So. Much. Drama. The shoot out at the end was ridiculous. And Ben Foster delivered an annoying, one note performance as psycho Charlie. I was praying someone would put me out of my misery and just kill him.

Shoot `Em Up

From the opening tight shot of Clive Owen’s eyes to the credits — this is one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a long while. Apparently the critics don’t share my sense of humor. Or that of last night’s audience who laughed throughout most of the action. One guy belly laughed through entire scenes, egging the rest of us on. Owen should win a prize for his delivery of truly absurd and clichéd zingers with a straight face. If you have not already seen this — go. If you weren’t planning to see it because of the bad reviews — go. It’s bloody hysterical!

Shoot ~Em Up was the perfect remedy to the all-too-serious gun fights of last night’s Yuma and Friday’s Bobby Z.

What films do you recommend? Or not? And what did you do this weekend?


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There’s something about the naked potential of a day off… a free day… a holiday.

Though I toyed with the idea of doing some work, checking email, reading a report — before the temptation could seduce me — I grabbed my Shuffle, shoved my house keys in a pocket, slung a camera around my neck and headed out into a glorious day.

And I was struck by reflections. On Connecticut Avenue, the Mayflower Hotel reflected off of the curved windows of the office building across the street. The Sumner School reflected off the National Geographic Explorer’s Hall (above). The University Club reflected back from the original National Geographic building. The Smithsonian Castle reflected off of the tranquil pools of the Moongate Garden.

Everywhere I looked, something else reflected back.

I wrapped up the day with an evening showing of the 11th Hour. Though I felt the movie dragged a little and the message got a little convoluted in the end, it did get me thinking about the disposable society we live in and my contributions to waste. It’s actually been on my mind for a while now.

While I’ve made some lifestyle changes, I’m still not doing nearly enough. As Michael Jackson so eloquently put it, “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change.”

So how did you spend your Labor Day?

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The Grid

The Grid

I thought this was an interesting mini-series… better than a lot of the other terrorism programs that have cranked out recently.

One point struck me. There are two female lead characters — Maren in the US and Emily for the UK — who rely on the advice of a “mentor.” The American lead confides in a powerful shadowy male named Jay. Her British counterpart consults with the female head of MI-6.

Why is the UK more accepting of a powerful female politician?  I think it’s because of those long years of rule by the monarchyMargaret Thatcher ruled Britain for 11 years as the first female Prime Minister.

In portrayals of an ambitious American female, she is always advised by a powerful man. I’d like to see a film or program where a woman is supported by another woman.

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Night at the Museum

Night at the Museum

Some weekends I volunteer at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Lately one of the most common questions I get asked is — “Was Night at the Museum filmed here?”

Before I answer that question let me ask — Did you SEE the film?

Because dinosaurs and cavemen running through CENTRAL PARK is kind of a dead giveaway. And no, the National Mall in no way resembles the wooded park featured in the movie. Sorry.

To the father of the four most adorable towheaded children… you should have approached the information desk before taking your kids on an hour-long “remember this from the movie” tour of the museum. I would have been happy to inform you that setting wasn’t DC’s famed natural history museum, but New York’s American Museum of Natural History.

It’s tricky… I know… what with the one word difference in the names — American vs National — and the fact that the museums are located in two different cities 200 miles apart.

Stiller and Williams

I’m real sorry your kids were devasted to learn that Teddy Roosevelt is in NY and not DC, and will no longer trust a bloody word you ever tell them, but really, when in doubt, ask the friendly volunteer first.

That’s all.

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When in Rome…

Rome Rebuilt

Rome Reborn went online today. The 3D simulation shows the ancient city within the 13-mile-long Aurelian Walls as it appeared in A.D. 320. A team of archaeologists, architects and computer specialists recreated the city when it was the multicultural capital of the western world and had reached the peak of its development with an estimated population of one million people.

It’s a nice tie in to my recent addiction to ROME. I’ve watched a lot of miniseries and movies on that great civilization, but HBO’s series truly outshines the others. This stellar program truly depicts the politics, the flavor and day-to-day life of these ancient people. It’s fantastic!

And as a longtime fan of James Purefoy, I’m thrilled to see him in such a meaty role as Marc Anthony.

You won’t regret finding time to check out both the virtual Rome online and HBO’s fantastic  series!

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The Boob Tube


The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report that 90 percent of children under two years of age watch television regularly … and by regular they mean two hours or more per day.

This can’t be good.

It reminds me of the apparatus the Riddler invented to drain the brains of Gotham’s fine residents. Think about it for a second… 9 out of 10 toddlers are getting two or more hours of programming a day.

Though it sounds so wrong I can see how it’s easy to happen. Parents are tired, they’re paying bills on the net or waiting for the pizza deliveryman or talking on the phone and plop the kid in the playpen in front of the tv or strap them into their portable carrier/carseat/stroller command center and turn it to face the pretty pictures and before you know it baby John Doe has absorbed about 90 minutes worth of quality tv in one sitting.

When I reminisce over how I learned to count to 10 in Spanish with the Sesame Street’s Count, I often find that my brothers and I watched a lot more tv growing up in comparison with my friends. But then, we were ages 3 and 5 and watched about 2 hours per day — Sesame Street, the Electric Company and sometimes, if we were lucky, Wild Wild World of Animals.

When I think of childhood, most of my memories are set outside — playing kickball or “Mother May I” or tag or searching for “ancient” Indian burial grounds or walking through various parks and zoos. I grew up on a cul de sac and would often ride my bike or climb rocks or pick flowers or play games like 4-Square with the other kids in the neighborhood. The only time we’d scatter is when one of the big dogs would break a chain and run loose.

When we were forced indoors because of rain or a blizzard, I’d read one of the library books or write letters to Santa or play a highly educational board game like Operation or Battleship or Connect-4.

If I wanted to be alone, I’d color or create illuminated masterpieces on my Lite-Brite.

Though I’d hardly call the alternatives I grew up with high-brow, all these babies sitting in front of the tv for hours and hours just can’t be good.