"So Let it Be Written... So Let it Be Done"

The life and times of a real, down to earth, nice guy. A relocated New Englander formerly living somewhere north of Boston, but now soaking up the bright sun of southwestern central Florida (aka The Gulf Coast). Welcome to my blog world. Please leave it as clean as it was before you came. Thanks for visiting, BTW please leave a relevant comment so I know you were here. No blog spam, please. (c) MMV-MMXV Court Jester Productions & Bamford Communications

Sunday, January 28, 2007

sigh

No football to watch today.

That's the one bummer about the NFL playoffs - the week off between the Conference Championship games and the Super Bowl. And there's still about a month until Spring Training begins for baseball...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

SNMR 2.21: "The Conversation"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "The Conversation" (1974, PG, 113 minutes) starring Gene Hackman, John Cazale, Allen Garfield, Cindy Williams, Harrison Ford and Frederic Forrest. The film was written, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

This is one of those DVD's that I bought when I was considering movies to review for this column in July 2006 for Harrison Ford month. It was not selected and I had never watched this film until tonight. But that's no problem, since SNMR is generally a fan of Gene Hackman's work. In 2006, Premiere magazine rated Hackman's performance in this movie as the 37th best on their "100 Greatest Performances of All Time" list. I'm looking forward to watching it.

From the DVD's dust case:
Francis Ford Coppola's provoking mystery-drama explores the morality of privacy and stars Gene Hackman as Harry Caul, expert surveillance man. A routine wire-tapping job turns into a modern nightmare as Harry hears something disturbing in his recording of a young couple in a park. He begins to worry about what the tape may be used for and becomes involved in a maze of secrecy and murder. Set in San Francisco, the film also features Cindy Williams, harrison Ford, and Frederic Forrest. Nominated for Best Picture of 1974, The Conversation was made between The Godfather and The Godfather, Part II.


From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 228:
Following his box-office and artistic triumph with The Godfather, director Francis Ford Coppola made this absorbing character study about a bugging-device expert (Gene Hackman)who lives only for his work but finds himself developing a conscience. Although not a box-office hit when originally released, this is a fine little film.


This film was not nearly as good as I'd hoped it would be. That's mainly due to the fact that the pacing of the film is so slow and there is very little action or suspense to keep your attention until about an hour or more into the movie. The storyline has potential but the writing is weak and the ending seemed incomplete to me. There were a few characters that could have easily been written out of the movie without taking anything away from the story. Hackman's performance was decent, given the material. This is certainly not one of his better films in my opinion, nor is it one of Coppola's best efforts. I'll give this film two out of five stars.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

It's about time

Due to the size of this blog, I just recently was able to switch over to the new blogger. Tonight in fact was the first time that I was able to move it.

I've emailed blogger support because the title of my blog has been covered over with the blue bar thing at the top of the screen, which shouldn't be.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

King George and the State of the Union

Reporting live from his living room, while watching dubya on television....and typing on his laptop - lil' ol' me.

He opened his speech with some nice little domestic items - but nothing incredibly new that hasn't been bandied about Congress for quite some time. These would be nice if they can get done but we shall see.

The main part of dubya's speech was in defense of his failed Iraq policy and pleading with a hostile Congress to authorize more troops to send over there.

But Iraq will not be stabilized with more American troops. We need to have more international troops there - sent by the United Nations - who have an interest in peace/stability in the middle east. With more UN authorized troops, the American military can begin to withdraw from Iraq. I think the US Armed forces are spread out too thin as it is.

Hopefully the Democratic controlled Congress will tighten the purse strings. Sen. Clinton was interviewed on ABC after the speech and she said that she'd like to see the funds we're using to subsidize the Iraqui troops taken away. Perhaps this will make them realize that they need to defend their own country from insurgents. I really think the majority of Iraqui citizens would like nothing better than to see American forces pull out somewhat if not all together.

Of course the question is - can the newly elected Iraqui government withstand all of the insurgent factions who would then likely start/continue civil war to gain power? Can the US handle another hostile government to American interests come to power if the current leadership is overthrown?

If I knew the answer to that...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

2006 NFL Playoffs - Conference Championships

New Orleans Saints (11-6) at Chicago Bears (14-3): Chicago is favored by 2 with an o/u of 42 1/2. Chicago leads the all-time series 12-11-0. This is their second playoff matchup (1990- @ Chi 16, NO 6). The Saints are the chique pick to make it to the Super Bowl in two weeks. What a great story that would be. They've got the best offense in the league this year and a very good defense. Their running back duo of Deuce McAlister and Reggie Bush is fantastic. Drew Brees was the QB with the most passing yardage in 2006 and finished 2nd in the MVP voting to the Chargers LaDanian Tomlinson. Still, a dome team playing outdoors in chilly winter-like weather makes me nervous. For the Bears, once again the pressure relies squarely on the shoulders of QB Rex Grossman. If he doesn't throw interceptions and just manages the game, the Bears will do well. However, the Bears defense isn't as good as it was a few weeks ago. Expect a very good game but a relatively low scoring one. Despite a good Saints offense, wind and weather will ground their passing game. Can the Bears contain the Saints RB's? I think it will be very close in the end and though I'd love the Saints to win.... well they will, but barely. Take the Saints to win outright and take the under. Prediction: New Orleans 20, @ Chicago 17. Actual Score: @ Chicago 39, New Orleans 14. A close game into the third quarter turns into a blowout for the Bears. Chicago had no turnovers, their QB was not sacked and their first penalty came at 7:21 of the fourth quarter. New Orleans had four turnovers and their RB's, except for one play (an 88 yard catch-and-run by Reggie Bush), were non-factors.

New England Patriots (14-4) at Indianapolis Colts (14-4): Indianapolis is favored by 3 with an o/u of 48. The Patriots lead the all-time series 43-26-0. including a 27-20 loss in early November at home. This is their third playoff meeting (2003- @ NE 24, Ind 14; 2004- @ NE 20, Ind 3). The Colts have won the last two series games, in 2005 and 2006, both at New England against banged up Patriots teams. However, in the playoffs where it counts and where legends and legacies are made, the Patriots are 2-0 against the Colts. But does history matter in a game like this? Only in the psyche of the Colts heads. Regular season wins are nice but post season wins are better. The Colts unquestioningly have a great QB and WR's in Manning, Harrison and Wayne. Throwing against a questionable Patriots backfield could give the Colts the edge. The Patriots also have a great QB and their WR's, Gaffney and Caldwell have played superbly in the playoffs so far. But this game will be won in the trenches. The Patriots have the better defensive line and linebackers and if they can control the line of scrimmage, the Colts will become one-dimensional. The Colts defense was last in the league vs. the run in the regular season but has been super so far in the playoffs. But is that a reflection of the defense or of questionable offenses of the Chiefs and Ravens, who have lost to the Colts so far. I think the Patriots will be able to run on the Colts defense with RB's Dillon and Maroney. For both teams, the TE's will be huge: Graham and Watson for the Patriots and Clark for the Colts. All are capable of excellent yards after the catch. The one other huge advantage that goes to the Colts is this: Mr. Clutch, ex-Patriot K Adam Vinatieri, whom I would hate to see line up for the game winner. He just doesn't miss in the playoffs. The Patriots K Gistkowski has been good all year - but is still a rookie whose legacy starts now. Finally, statistics don't lie - the Patriots are 13-6 lifetime vs. the Colts at the RCA Dome. Tom Brady is 12-1 in the playoffs, Peyton Manning is 5-6. Brady is also 10-0 in domed stadiums and 23-1 on artificial surfaces in his career. You should look for a classic battle and a high scoring game. However, until Peyton Manning beats the Patriots in the playoffs, take the Patriots to win outright. Prediction: New England 38, @ Indianapolis 31. Actual score: @ Indianapolis 38, New England 34. Well, this game played out pretty much like I expected it would, except for the final score. Even though my team lost, it was an excellent game with a lot of exciting plays on both sides of the ball. You can say what if this or what if that happened but you have to give credit to the Colts for coming back in the second half after being down by 18 points late in the second quarter and by 15 points at halftime. Their FG to close the first half and opening drive for a TD in the third quarter were HUGE in the momentum swing that was clearly in the Patriots favor at the beginning of the game.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

SNMR 2.20: "The American President"

In recognition of the fact that there are exactly two years left in the Bush Monarchy, tonight's SNMR feature is "The American President" (1995, PG-13, 115 minutes), starring Michael Douglas, Annette Bening, Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox, David Paymer, Samantha Mathis, Anna Deavere Smith, Richard Dreyfuss and Shawna Waldron. The film was directed by Rob Reiner.

The first time I saw this movie was in flight from New York to Tel Aviv, when my ex and I visited Israel and Egypt. Since then it has become one of my favorite movies.

From the DVD's dust case:
Boy meets girl - and the press tracks their every move, rivals fore broadsides and a Presidency with a 63% popularity rating plunges to a 41% in seven weeks. When you're the President, everyone knows where you live. Michael Douglas portrays the widower Chief Executive who falls for a lobbyist (Annette Bening), then freefalls in the polls in this winning romantic comedy directed by Rob Reiner. Bustling staff members (Martin Sheen, Michael J. Fox, David Paymer, Anna Deavere-Smith), a sneering opponent (Richard Dreyfuss), state dinners, formal protocol, informal moments, global crises - all come into focus as Reiner and his stars explore the balance between private romance and public Presidency.

From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 32:
Ah, if only American politics were blessed with so much nobility! Michael Douglas is just right as a chief of state who enjoys unprecedented popularity until venturing back into the "dating scene." American citizens admire a man who grieves for his wife's untimely death, but their not so sure what to make of his growing passion for a perky environmental lobbyist (Annette Bening). Aaron Sorkin's script is clearly a populist fantasy, but so what?


From the writer/director team that brought us A Few Good Men comes another winner. The cast is superb from top to bottom and the script is smooth and flows well. I always have a good patriotic feeling at the end of this movie. Surprisingly, this film was only nominated for one Academy Award (Best Music, Original Musical or Comedy Score - Marc Shaiman) which it did not win. Really, you can't say enough good things about this film, which gets five out of five stars.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Brand Identity-Crisis

I was standing in the shower this morning, looking at my bottle of shampoo and remembering the story of how I came to use that particular brand. And it struck me that I have certain brands of all kinds of items that I like and use all of the time. I also wondered what it would take for me to switch from brand x to brand y.

I've also noticed that once I start using a certain brand of product that I keep using that brand for many years. Here are a couple of stories about my brand identity crisis.

In 1992, I was a senior in college and doing my internship with the US Luge Association in Lake Placid, NY. While I was there, I had several different roommates at the Olympic Training Center. During one particular week, we had some folks from the Norwegian Luge team training with the hopefuls for the American team, who were in training for the 1992 Albertville Olympics in France. My roommate that week was one of their coaches. One day not long after he and his team had left, I was in the shower in my room and realized that I was out of my brand of shampoo. When I looked down to the base of the tub I noticed that his shampoo bottle was still there, which happened to be Pert Plus. So, being tight on money (as all interns usually are) and in need of shampoo at that very moment, I decided to use what had been left behind. And I've been using that brand of shampoo ever since.

How about brand-name footwear? When I was a kid of about 12 or so, I guess, I started wearing Nike high-top sneakers. Only last year did I buy a pair of sneakers not made by Nike. And I only broke tradition because I needed a cheap pair of sneakers to wear in the cleanroom at work. Actually, the pair of Nike's I had for outside use were wearing out. The sneakers I had originally bought for cleanroom work were Nikes. So I decided to buy a cheap pair of sneakers and convert my cleanroom sneakers to my everyday sneakers. Outside of work, I still wear exclusively Nike sneakers.

I don't like mint or minty stuff. Makes me gag. Well, when I was a kid, I started using regular Colgate toothpaste. It, to me, was the least offensive minty toothpaste I could find. To this day I can't use anything else. Boy, if Palmolive ever stopped making this toothpaste, I'd be in trouble.

I can't say when the transition happened but once upon a time, I used a foam pillow at night. Then at some point I began to use goose down feather pillows. Now I can't sleep on a foam pillow and I bring my pillows with me whenever I travel. My ex used to tease me becasue of this, so one Christmas I bought her two king size ones and told her that once she started with the feather pillows she wouldn't be able ot go back either. Maybe she doesn't carry it to the extreme as I do, but she's hooked.

Maybe I ought to get some endorsement deals from some of these companies....

There's also the "you get what you pay for" or "which is better" brand name vs. generic battle. Never was this more apparent to me than when I was married. You see, growing up, my parents always filled the medicine cabinet with only name brand drugs. Bayer Aspirin, Tylenol, Aleve, Robitussin, Dristan and Nyquil to name a few. These are also more expensive than their generic substitutes. My ex-wife is a nurse, and she quickly informed me that generic drugs were just as good as the brand names with about 1/3 of the price. I challenged her to prove it, which she easily and quite convincingly did.

"Just look at the active ingredients in each and tell me what you see?" she would say as she handed me a bottle of Aleve and the generic equivalent naproxin sodium. Right down the line I was amazed. Lo and behold, they were exactly the same!! Now I hardly ever buy a brand name drug, unless there is no generic substitute available. Why should I give the drug companies more of my hard earned money for the privelege of using a product with their name on it whe I can get something equally as good for less?

But the psychological battle remains. Just the other day, in fact, my mom said to me that she had had a headache and that she took some of my naproxen sodium and told me that it didn't work at all. She then took some Aleve, she said, and her headache went away. I told her that it was all in her head and that the generic works just as well. Yet my mom, whom I love dearly, is as stubborn as a mule when it comes to these things and prefers those brand names. (No wonder where I get my stubbornness from...)

Brand loyalty goes beyond products too. Take sports for example: I've been a Red Sox fan since 1975, partly because I've lived in the Boston are for most of my life and partly because they played in the World Series that year and the Red Sox had become my dad's favorite team (he grew up in Philadelphia) and thus became my favorite team too. I never really followed American football until 1985. That was the year that the New England Patriots first made it to the Super Bowl. And though the Chicago Bears opened a case of whoop-ass on my team that day, I've been a Patriots fan ever since.

Then there are times when we use a brand of a product for a while, then stop for a period of time and start back up again some time later. In a way, you could equate religion as a brand. I grew up in a protestant Christian home, so naturally that's what I became (used). I went to The Salvation Army, a church of the Wesleyan "brand". Then for a while, as an adult, I didn't go to church at all and stopped using that "brand", though I still had some in my closet. Then when I started going back to church regularly, I went to a Baptist church, still protestant and Christian but of the Calvinistic "brand". My parents still tease me about being a Baptist instead of going to the Salvation Army. Don't worry - I tease right back. But it's all in good fun, though.


So, I'll end by asking you what are some of the brand name products that you use frequently and why do you use them? I'll bet you have some odd little stories, too.
----

Birthday wishes to my oldest sister C, who turns 42 today.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

SNMR 2.19: "Along Came Polly"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Along Came Polly" (2004, PG-13, 91 minutes), starring Ben Stiller, Jennifer Aniston, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Debra Messing, Hank Azaria, Bryan Brown and Alec Baldwin. The film was directed by John Hamburg.

I had never even heard of this film until recently, when I saw it in the store for under $7. Some of Ben Stiller's movies are funny, some are not. What made me buy it was Jennifer Aniston, whom I like.

From the DVD's dust case:

Reuben Feffer (Ben Stiller) is a guy who's spent his entire life playing it safe. Polly Prince (Jennifer Aniston) is irresistable as a free spirit who lives for the thrill of the moment. When these two comically mismatched souls collide, Reuben's world is turned upside down, as he makes an uproarious attempt to change his life from middle-of-the-road to totally-out-there! Along Came Polly is the most hilarious comedy smash to come along in years.


From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 26:

The tropical honeymoon of risk analyst Reuben Feffer screeches to a halt when he finds his wife having sex with her French scuba instructor while still wearing her swim flippers. The starched-shirt husband returns home humiliated and is sucked into a whirlwind of extreme sports, spicy foods and salsa dancing by an adventuresome, commitment-challenged former female schoolmate. This romantic comedy is sometimes hilarious but dips into the toilet tank for humor when the love story veers from inspired to moronic.


This was a cute movie. I liked it in part because I can identify with the play-it safe nature of Ben Stiller's character. Stiller isn't the best actor in the world, but he does a good job with the material at hand. I think Jennifer Aniston is underrated as an actress and gets hammered unfairly in the media. The basic storyline here is not all that original but for some reason it works. There are some very funny scenes in this movie and others are downright dumb. I think Philip Seymour Hoffman is brilliant as the annoying, full of himself best friend. Hank Azaria is an excellent and versatile charachter actor. Any actress could have played Debra Messing's part. This movie is worth a rent for good mindless entertainment. I'll give this movie four out of five stars.

Friday, January 12, 2007

NFL Playoffs 2006: Divisional round

Ok I had a bad week last week as all four of my picks lost against the point spread. I did pick three of the four winners, though - as only Kansas City lost. Did they even show up to play last week?

Anyway, on to this week's picks:

SATURDAY, January 13:

Indianapolis Colts (13-4) at Baltimore Ravens (13-3): Baltimore is favored by 4 with an o/u of 42. Indianapolis leads all-time head to head series, 4-2-0. This is their first playoff matchup. How cool is it that the Colts get to play in Baltimore, in a playoff game, as the road team? Indy's Offense is great but their defense is suspect. Baltimore's defense is great but their offense is suspect. Peyton Manning to Harrison and Wayne is just too good to be kept off of the scoreboard, but they will be held in check by the Ravens' defense. On the other hand, Indy's defense doesn't scare anyone - and even a suspect offense can score on it. I predict a relatively low scoring affair. Take Baltimore to cover and take the under. Prediction: Baltimore 20, Indianapolis 14. Actual Score: Indianapolis 15, @ Baltimore 6. Vinateri proved again how automatic he is in the playoffs. You could read Tony Dungy's lips when he said "Money," as #4 lined up for his 5th FG of the game. Wish he was still on my team...

Philadelphia Eagles (11-6) at New Orleans Saints (10-6): New Orleans is favored by 5 with an o/u of 48 1/2. Philadelphia leads the all time head to head series 15-9-0 including a Week 6 loss (@ NO 27, Phi 24 (by a last second 60 yard field goal)) This is their 2nd playoff matchup (1982- Phi 36, @ NO 20). After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the Saints last year, they certainly are the feel-good story of this year's playoffs, and rightfully so. They have an excellent QB in Drew Brees, the NFL Coach of the Year in Sean Payton and an excellent defense. The Eagles are the hottest team coming into the playoffs, winning their last six games, including last week 23-20 vs. the NY Giants. Can QB Jeff Garcia pull off another win here? Logic says he can but my guess is he won't. The Eagles simply have too many injuries on defense to win this game. I expect them to keep it close for the first half but the Saints will pull away in the third quarter. Take New Orleans to cover and take the over. Prediction: New Orleans 35, Philadelphia 17. Actual score: @ New Orleans 27, Philadelphia 24. The game was much closer than I thought it would be. I'm 0-6 picking against the point spread so far this post season....

SUNDAY, January 14:

Seattle Seahawks (10-7) at Chicago Bears (13-3): Chicago is favored by 8 1/2 with an o/u of 36 1/2. Seattle leads the all time head to head series 6-3-0, including a 37-6 drubbing at Chicago in Week 4. Thus is their first playoff matchup. Seattle got lucky to win last week's game on a tremendous flub by Dallas QB Tony Romo that would have won the game for the Cowboys. In the Week 4 game, Seattle was without Matt Hasselbeck and Shaun Alexander and got the stuffing beat out of them. That was before the Rex Grossman implosion of the second half of the season for Chicago. Which Bears QB shows up? My guess is the latter. Seattle's defense, while banged up is good enough to force Grossman into mistakes. which Seattle must convert into touchdowns, not field goals. The Bears excellent defense will keep them in the game because the Seahawks offense is due for a breakout game. However, that breakout game will not come here. The Seahawks playoff experience will be the difference and WR Deion Branch will have a great game. Take the Seahawks to win outright but take the under in a ridiculously close game. Prediction: Seahawks 14, Bears 13. Actual score: @ Chicago 27, Seattle 24 (OT). Rediculously close as I thought. A much higher scoring game than I thought. Most importantly, I'm off the schneid against the point spread!!!!

New England Patriots (13-4) at San Diego Chargers (14-2): San Diego is favored by 4 1/2 with an o/u of 46 1/2. New England leads the all time head to head series 17-14-2. This is their 2nd playoff matchup (1963 AFL Championship - @ SD 51, NE 10). Something's gotta give here- the Chargers are 8-0 at home this year and the Patriots are 7-1 on the road. We all know about the vaunted San Diego defense but the Patriots defense is no slouch either, allowing the second fewest PPG (after Baltimore) in the NFL. The Chargers QB is making his first playoff start and Bill Belichick loves to scheme his defenses for rookie QB's. Belichick also loves to take away what the opposing offense does best, in this case run. RB LaDanian Tomlinson is the NFL MVP this year, and rightfully so. So goes Tomlinson, so go the Chargers.
Here's the game plan for the Patriots as I see it: Use the same plan you did when pummeling the Vikings and Jaguars in the regular season. These teams had excellent defenses as well. What did the Patriots do? Throw over the defense with little 7 and 8 yard patterns and let the WR's and TE's run after the catch. Screen passes work well too. A quick release by QB Tom Brady neutralizes the Chargers best pass rushers and forces them to loosen up on the DL. This will open holes for Patriots RB's Dillon and Maroney and allow Brady to use his excellent play action fakes and take some shots down the field. More importantly, the Patriots need to get an early lead in this game and keep the pressure on the Chargers QB to beat them. San Diego didn't have to play catch up too often this season, which was a large part of their success and allowed Tomlinson to run wild. If the Chargers get behind early, it will force the Chargers to throw the ball and will lead to mistakes. Tomlinson is too good not to get his 100 yards. Just make him get it in 30 carries, not 10-15. Another thing working in the Patriots favor, I think, is the supreme overconfidence/cockiness of the Chargers players. Oh, and did I mention that Belichick and Brady are 11-1 in the playoffs (with an offense that is humming right now) and Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer is 5-12 lifetime in the playoffs? Take the Patriots to win outright and definitely take the over. Prediction: Patriots 38, Chargers 24. Actual score: Patriots 24, @ San Diego 21. WOW!!! With a game like that, how can you NOT love football? Pulse pounding to the end. I actually thought it would be a tight game score-wise, no matter who won. It's my home team biased favoritism that was the cause of the lopsided score prediction in the Patriots favor. Don't even say it was a lucky win. The Patriots truly earned this one, from start to finish. They were outplayed for most of the game, yet found a way to stay close and pull it out in the end, as they so often have done in the last five years. I'm already looking forward to next Sunday.

Of course, with any football game, turnovers are a killer and can radically change the outcome of any game. So the teams that take care of the ball better will, in most cases, win.

40 1/2 hours in four days

Sorry for being absent from bloggerland for the majority of this week. I just worked 40 1/2 hours in four days. Working well into the evening hours every night left me quite tired. Aside from leaving a few comments here and there on other people's blogs and keeping up with my eharmony matches was all I could muster.

A busy week for me this past week means an extremely light week this coming week. I've only been offered hours to work on Tuesday next. Yes, I've been fortunate to get hours at what my friend G calls the "plastic fun house". But the time off this week will be good for me in that it will allow me time to apply for other permanent, full time employment and to work on some unfinished business.

So I'd expect that I'll manage to make more time to blog in the next week...

Lucky you.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

SNMR 2.18: "Finding Neverland"

Tonight's SNMR feature is "Finding Neverland" (2004, PG, 101 minutes), starring Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Julie Christie, Dustin Hoffman and Radha Mitchell. The film was directed by Marc Forster.

I'd never had an opportunity to watch this movie before tonight. I'd seen this movie at the store a number of times and had considering buying it for my DVD collection because I like the work of both Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. But I never did. So when I saw it on the library shelf this week I could not resist checking it out for free...

From the DVD's dust case:

Award winners Johnny Depp ("Pirates of the Caribbean"), Kate Winslet ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"), Dustin Hoffman ("Rainman") and Julie Christie ("Troy" and "Hamlet") star in this magical tale about one of the world's greatest storytellers and the people who inspired his masterwork, "Peter Pan"! Well-known playwright James M. Barrie (Depp) finds his career at a crossroads when his latest play flops and doubters question his future. Then by chance he meets a widow (Winslet) and her four adventurous boys. Together they form a friendship that ignites the imagination needed to produce Barrie's greatest work! An enchanting big screen treat with an acclaimed cast of stars, "Finding Neverland" has been hailed as one of the year's best motion pictures.

From Martin & Porter's DVD & Video Guide 2007, p. 386:
This story behind J.M. Barrie's (Depp) creation of his classic Peter Pan emanates a resonant gentleness and sense of wonder. The film begins in 1904 London with Barrie's marriage on the rocks and his latest play bombing on opening night. He crosses paths with the widow Sylvia Llewelyn Davies (Winslet) and her four young boys in a park and strikes up a friendship that feeds his creativity, the indignation of his wife and her mother and the local gossip mill.


I liked this film. Johnny Depp is as versatile of an actor as you can get and once again gives an excellent performance. Kate Winslet is one of my favorite actresses. Her performace is understated. This marks the second Peter Pan related movie for Dustin Hoffman. Though the pacing was a little slow throughout, I thought the script overall was decent. The beginning of the film claimed that this story was based on true events. Since I'm not familiar with Barrie's background, it's hard to tell how much artistic license was taken. I'll give this film three and a quarter out of five stars.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

91,399,728

That's the distance the earth is today from the sun (in miles)- the closest we'll ever get this year. The technical term is PERIHELION. Too bad the angle is all wrong for us northern hemisphere types.

You can figure out what that works out to be in kilometers, if you're so inclined.

The opposite, APHELION, will be on July 6, 2007. (Link added 07/06/07)