Sunday, April 26, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
SNMR 6.15: "What Happens in Vega$"
Tonight's SNMR feature is "What Happens in Vega$" (2008, PG-13, 99 minutes) starring Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher, Rob Corddry, Lake Bell, Treat Williams and Dennis Miller. The film was directed by Tom Vaughan.
PLOT SUMMARY: Slacker and slob Jack (Kutcher) gets fired from his job by his dad and goes to Las Vegas to let off some steam. Uptight neatnick Joy (Diaz) gets dumped by her fiancee' just before she was to throw him a surprise birthday party. She goes to Las Vegas to blow off some steam. Predictably they meet, get drunk and get married. When they realize what they've done they want a divorce. Complicating things is that Jack wins $3 million dollars on a slot machine with Joy's quarter. Both Jack and Joy believe they are entitled to all of the money. That's where the battle of the sexes begins.
MY OPINION: This story is very predictable, but that's okay. When you watch this movie you're not interested in Oscar winning performances, you're watching for the comedy. You're watching for rediculous situations to see how the characters deal with them. Diaz has proven that she can do drama as well as comedy equally well and doesn't dissappoint. The jury's still out for me on Kutcher, who is likeable enough, has a still hot wife, but is only a marginal acting talent. The supporting actors are good, especially the straight man role for Dennis Miller as the judge who sentences the couple to six months of hard marriage.
I have to admit that I was amused by this movie. It's a good waste of 99 minutes.
*** out of *****
Friday, April 24, 2009
A New Season - a Rivalry Renewed
Yes, it's that time of year again for the Red Sox and Yankees to renew their rivalry with the first three of eighteen meetings in the 2009 season. Entering the series, both teams are 9-6 and tied for second place behind Toronto, two games off of the pace. No matter what the situation, Yankees v Red Sox is always good fun.
As I always do, I'll update the post after each game, providing a link to the recap and box scores.
The pitching match ups:
Friday, April 24: at Boston 5, New York 4 (11 innings)
Chamberlain (0-0) v. Lester (1-2)
WP=Ramirez (2-0), LP=Marte (0-1)
Saturday, April 25: at Boston 16, New York 11
Burnett (2-0) v. Beckett (2-1)
WP=Okajima (1-0), LP=Albaladejo (1-1)
Sunday, April 26: at Boston 4, New York 1
Pettite (2-0) v. Masterson (1-0)
WP=Masterson (2-0), LP=Pettite (2-1)
A nice little sweep of the hated arch rivals to cap a perfect 9-0 homestand and 10 game winning streak. Each game provided much drama and definite excitement if you're a Red SOx fan, as I obviously am.
The Sox will visit the new Yankee Stadium for two games during the first week in May.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
Perspective is good
Have you ever thought about what one TRILLION dollars looks like?
All this talk about "stimulus packages" and "bailouts"...
A billion dollars...
A hundred billion dollars...
Eight hundred billion dollars...
One TRILLION dollars...
What does that look like? I mean, these various numbers are tossed around like so many doggie treats, so I thought I'd take Google Sketchup out for a test drive and try to get a sense of what exactly a trillion dollars looks like.
We'll start with a $100 dollar bill. Currently the largest U.S. denomination in general circulation. Most everyone has seen them, slighty fewer have owned them. Guaranteed to make friends wherever they go. Now you can see why they're called Benjamins... [$100]
A packet of one hundred $100 bills is less than 1/2" thick and contains $10,000. Fits in your pocket easily and is more than enough for week or two of shamefully decadent fun. [$10,000]
Believe it or not, this next little pile is $1 million dollars (100 packets of $10,000). You could stuff that into a grocery bag and walk around with it. [$1,000,000]
While a measly $1 million looked a little unimpressive, $100 million is a little more respectable. It fits neatly on a standard pallet... [$100,000,000]
And $1 BILLION dollars... ten standard size pallets.... now we're really getting somewhere... [$1,000,000,000]
Next we'll look at ONE TRILLION dollars. This is that number we've been hearing so much about. What is a trillion dollars? Well, it's a million million. It's a thousand billion. It's a one followed by 12 zeros. [$1,000,000,000,000]
You ready for this?
It's pretty surprising.
Ladies and gentlemen... I give you $1 trillion dollars...
(And notice those pallets are double stacked!)
So the next time you hear someone toss around the phrase "trillion dollars"... that's what they're talking about.
Just printing this amount of money would take a while, but the time it will take to pay it back with interest, is immense! This is a really BIG deal!!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
SNMR 6.14: "Marley & Me"
Tonight's SNMR feature is "Marley & Me (2008, PG, 115 minutes), starring Owen Wilson, Jennier Aniston, Eric Dane and Alan Arkin. The film was directed by David Frankel.
PLOT SUMMARY: John (Wilson) and Jenny Grogan (Aniston) are newspaper reporters and a newly married couple. One day John decides to surprise Jenny with a puppy. They pick out of a litter a quiet little Labrador. Three weeks later on the very first trip home, the dog gets the name Marley -- thanks to a Bob Marley song playing on the radio. The movie follows the life and adventures of the mischievous dog through the trials, tribulations and joys of the Grogan family.
MY OPINION: I first saw this film when it opened in the theater last Christmas, primarily because I wanted to see Jennifer Aniston's new movie. It was not at all what I expected. It was better. I was expecting a screwball comedy along the lines of the Beethoven movies but instead saw a comedy/drama that has its funny moments but also a serious side as well.
The script is excellently adapted from the book by John Grogan, which is probably based on some of his columns - which is precisely what makes this story work. It is eminently believable and you have reason to be invested in and care about the lives of the characters, including the dog. As anyone who grew up with a dog or pets in general, you know how easily attached you can become to that particular pet, no matter how much it chews, humps or pees on stuff it shouldn't.
I really didn't think Wilson and Aniston would have a good on-screen chemistry but they do. Alan Arkin gives a good performance as John Grogan's boss, the no-nonsense newspaper editor. Kathleen Turner, who has aged badly, is wasted in a brief role as the dog trainer.
This film is definitely worth a rental (who doesn't love a movie about loyal pets? but keep a box of tissues handy) and in my case the addition to my DVD collection.
**** out of *****
Saturday, April 11, 2009
SNMR 6.13: "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day"
Tonight's SNMR feature is "Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day" (2008, PG-13, 92 minutes), starring Frances McDormand, Amy Adams, Lee Pace, Ciaran Hinds, Shirley Henderson and Mark Strong. The film was directed by Bharat Nalluri.
PLOT SUMMARY: Set in the days just prior to WWII, Miss Pettigrew (McDormand) is a nanny who has just lost her job and is down on her luck. At an employment agency, she happens to overhear the contact information for a job that's just become available. So she niftily borrows the information. When she's hired as a 'social secretary' for high society singer and actress Delysia LaFosse (Adams), Miss Pettigrew's common sense approach to life brings order and clarity to the hectic lifestyle LaFosse is trying to live and bith women find strength in themselves that they didn't know they had.
MY OPINION: This movie was good but could have been much better. I'm assuming that there was a lot more to the novel on which the film is based, because it seemed like the film was way too short. I love the enthusiasm and energy that Amy Adams brings to her characters and this role is no exception. Frances McDormand was good as was the supporting cast of boyfriends.
This is a movie that has it's moments, but not enough of them.
**½ out of *****
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
Angelina Jolie v. Jennifer Aniston
Scribe thinks that Brad Pitt traded up in the looks department when he went for Angelina Jolie over Jennifer Aniston. I say he traded down. So I thought it'd be fun to put them side to side and see who is better looking. Of course, looks and Hollywood style glamour are in no way an accurate guide to judge a person's character or what's inside a person's soul. But.... Since physical attractiveness is all we've got to go on for this little excersise, let's consider the candidates. Of course, it's a matter of personal opinion but I still want to know what you think.
In all fairness, there were a great many photographs to choose from, and the choices were not easy. When selecting these pictures, I tried to find similar shots for each: a head shot and a bust shot.
Ok Brad, ya big goofball, you either are married to or have been married to both of these women. What does Angelina have that Jennifer does not?
First, a few pictures of Angelina and Jennifer together, side-by-side...
On the left, we have Angelina and on the right we have Jennifer.
First we have the head shots... then the bust shots:
Of course, if you've not been living in a closet, you know where my preference lies.
Monday, April 06, 2009
Can't really say I'm surprised...
No, I can't. Really. Say. I'm. surprised. To find out that Jennifer Aniston and John Mayer have split, especially after reading this article and Mayer's new song about it.
For a few weeks now I've been trying to confirm if the celeb couple did indeed break up- looking at the gossip mags, like US Weekly, Life & Style and People and getting mixed messages. Some apparently said they were still together and others said they had split.
Now I obviously don't know the details of the split, and I don't want to know. I just hope they split amicably. Most people, I'd hope, don't want to hear of nassssty splits. I certainly don't. I just hope they realized that whatever they had wasn't working and mutually decided to call it over. At least they weren't married and didn't have any kids. Those kind of splits have the very large potential to be messy.
I believe I wrote a post about Aniston and Mayer when they first started dating (actually it was when they split the first time and I believe I predicted it wouldn't work. One of those reasons I stated is their age difference and life priorities. Hey, with some couples such an age difference is no big deal and issues can be worked out.
There's always been something about Mayer that wasn't right, in my opinion. Reading (granted in the tabloids) about the high profile relationships he's had and that they've all ended badly made me wonder what she saw in him in the first place. Also, he seems like a party-boy and maybe even a heavy drinker.
Not to say Aniston is perfect, because she certainly isn't. I've read that she's obsessive/compulsive and has a hard time letting go of the fact that Brad Pitt effectively dumped her for Angelina Jolie (a clear downward trade for the Bradster in my opinion, looks-wise).
No matter if either of them is really as bad as has been written or even if they're not nearly so horrible as the bad news hungry, gossipy public has been led to believe, each one of them deserves to be in a happy, loving relationship. Maybe Aniston realized that "He's Just Not That Into You." Maybe she read the book after starring in the movie of the same name. Both were good by the way, even though the book is geared towards women.
Since I've seen the movie and since I've read the book (which was quite amusing BTW) - I have two observations:
A) Are most men that bad? Are there men out there who actually pull all that crap on women?
and B) If A is true, why do women fall for those types of guys?
Saturday, April 04, 2009
SNMR 6.12: National Treasure 2 - Book of Secrets
Tonight's SNMR feature is "National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets" (2007, PG, 124 minutes) starring Nicholas Cage, Justin Bartha, Diane Kruger, Jon Voight, Helen Mirren, Ed Harris and Harvey Keitel. The film was directed by John Turteltaub.
PLOT SUMMARY: Benjamin Franklin Gates must prove his family's innocence when confronted with evidence that a family mamber may have been deeply involved in the plot to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. In so doing, Ben, Abigail and Riley must discover the location of the lost city of gold and kidnap the President of the United States to gain a crucial clue.
MY OPINION: I liked this movie almost as much as I liked the first one. Almost. This movie to me seems a bit more campy than the original, but is still enjoyable. The reason I didn't like this film as much was due to the lack of a compelling "bad guy," who isn't really bad. Ed Harris, fine actor that he is, just can't seem to pull it off convincingly enough. Cage, Kruger and Bartha once again are excellent. The script is good and there is plenty of action to keep the story moving at a good pace.
**** out of *****
Friday, April 03, 2009
Post 1,000: One of the best investments I ever made
When I was a kid I used to love to play catch with my dad. It was fun, quality time that we spent together, bonding in that special way that only a father and son can do. He bought me a Wilson Jim Rice autograph model glove which I used for my little league years and up until my birthday in 2002, when K bought me the glove I presently use. As I got older, I would ask my father to play catch and more often he would say no, that he had other, more important things to do. Of course, he didn't always say no, but the times he said yes got fewer and farther between and I missed that sense of togetherness we had.
When M was born in 1999, I hoped that one day he would ask me to play catch with him, just like I used to ask my dad. When he was still a baby, I bought him a cute little kiddie glove at Building 19, holding it aside for future use. When M was a toddler and we had the house in Merrimack, I would take him outside into the street (we lived at the end of a dead end street, so traffic was never an issue) and I would lightly toss him a ball and he'd always miss. I wondered then if he'd ever learn to catch a baseball. We were bonding and having fun (or at least I was having fun).
Naturally, when this day came, I was excited and ecstatic - the realization of a dream I'd had since long before I became a dad myself.
For the rest of that summer, M and I would go out behind the apartment and play catch, usually for 15-20 minutes at a time. The more we played, the better M got with his throwing skills. Catching the ball was still a hit or miss prospect. We had fun every time and life was good.
During the course of the summer of 2007, I found my old baseball glove and thought M might be able to use it - but the lacing had broken due to wear. That sucked. M is going to need a bigger glove soon, I thought. Should I buy him a new one? Maybe I can get the old one re-laced? Who does baseball glove re-lacing, anyway? Certainly a new glove would be the cheaper option, but than what will I do with this old glove?
Yup, re-lacing was the way to go.
Fortunately these days you can find just about any service or company you want on-line. So I went to the trusty old Google page and typed in the search for "Baseball Glove Repair." Sure enough, the top listing that I found was this site. Good enough. After checking it out, looking at before and after pictures of old baseball gloves brought back to life, a picture of the lace colors to choose from and checking the prices, I decided it was worth the chance to send my glove there (the company is located outside of St. Louis) and have them re-lace it. All together it cost me around $60.00 for a complete re-lace job including shipping/handling. Their web site says they can turn around a glove in about 10 business days, sometimes less. Sure enough about 10 days later I had my glove back, with brand spanking new black lace. And what a quality re-lacing job they did! The glove is good to go for another 20 years!
Towards the end of the summer, I told M about my old glove and that I had it re-laced for him. He tried using it but said it didn't fit his hand too well. No worries, I thought - he'll grow into it.
By that point, V had shown some interest in playing catch with M and I, more so I think to be included in our activity than any real interest in it. What was I to do, since I had no old glove for her to use? Even if I had an old glove for her she couldn't use it, since M and I are both right-handed and V is not. Simple enough - one Friday night we went to the Sports Authority and I bought V her very own lefty glove. V doesn't play catch with us very often, but I always ask her and even if she doesn't want to play, she knows that she can. The option is always open to her and that's what matters.
Sure enough, in the spring of 2008, M started using my old glove - his new glove - and he loves it. I can't tell you how many hours we've gone outside to play catch or what a simple pleasure it is to spend time with M, throwing a ball back and forth.
Now that the spring of 2009 is here and the piles of snow are gone, we've been outside the last few weekends playing catch. Every time we go outside to play and I see him use the glove, I smile inwardly to myself, and think, 'how cool is that?' That my son will use this glove for the next ten or fifteen years, until his hand outgrows it - and one day, possibly give it to his son to use.
Sixty bucks invested and I've now got a great family heirloom that can be passed down through the generations to come.
About two weeks ago, my dad found his glove on a shelf in the basement, with it's own set of broken laces. Knowing what excellent work they did on M's glove, he sent his glove out for re-lacing, and just this week he got it back in the mail - good as new!