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04 July 2007 @ 12:26 am
Surrounded by Crickets  
So, kind of quiet these last few days, huh?

Not that I'm helping. I'm swamped with the Prison Break Fic Exchange again (new stories up since yesterday), and too much beta work on some of the returned stories (plus... absentee authors. My least favorite thing). Lots of flurry, but once again the stories are really good.

Tomorrow we'll be off at our neighborhood do-it-yourself-parade in the morning, and then at my brother's for BBQ and pyrotechnics into the evening. We go there every 4th of July, and love it, but I admit that that's the one time I wish they didn't live an hour away (because we have to wait on the fireworks until it gets darkish, and it ALWAYS seems to be a work day the next day).

The parade will once again be in around 100-degree F heat. God, I hate our Julys in Sacramento. Though better than the one year where it was over 100 for ten straight days in July, including the 4th (which was itself around 110F).

There are so many random things I'd be writing about if work and the PBFE (and ficcing!) weren't so busy. That SPN poll is one. Another is a rant about writing prompts, which is begging to come out. Maybe someday...

We saw two movies on video this weekend, with mixed results~~

Because I Said So:
I love Diane Keaton even more in these recent years than ever, and though the idea for this movie was fun the execution was as high-pitched and neurotic as the mother and main daughter in this movie.

It's one thing to love your children, and I can understand struggling to let go (especially if they seem to be emotionally floundering). But the obsessive nitpicking over every detail of who they are and what they do-- and then blaming them for being overly sensitive and inconfident? Gah! That's necessary for the premise of this story, but it's still annoying (and makes Keaton rather shrill here). The other problem is that the youngest daughter (the target of worry) just plays right into all that.

The story involves the mother picking (from the respondents to her highly detailed personal ad seeking a life mate for her daughter) a Mr. Right for her daughter while a different Mr. Right selects himself on the basis of meeting her. The daughter begins dating both and likes both, and there's pushiness and flailing over dumping the "unsuitable one" who is by far the better emotional match.

I really feel my generation watching movies like this, in that in many ways I'm more like the 60-year-old mother (!) than her daughters. Tattoos are still icky to me (sorry, inked-over f-list!), sleeping with two people at once is still a big No (you should have narrowed it down to one by the time you reach the sleeping-together stage), and oversharing private sex details with sibs/parents/what-not a la "Sex In the City" is still uncomfortable (those details usually reveal secrets about partners and not just you, for one thing).

However, both the mother AND daughter scared me in this movie. But not as much as the two "song fests" that didn't fit into the movie and made me fast-forward through them. Urk-- bad choice.

The Gilmore Girls actress and some snotty blond are in the movie too, but the family is kind of annoying. However, "Buster" from 'Arrested Development' does appear as an eternal therapy patient (to which I say, the therapist clearly isn't doing much good for him. Time to change-up the approach).

The Last King of Scotland:
Well now, this one was pretty much just as advertised. It has an interesting, twisty story, and it shows the dual sides of the very deadly Idi Amin-- both the charmer that worked his way into power and the paranoid butcher that ruled by metaphorical axe.

The movie's anti-protagonist is a young, Scottish doctor played by (again) James McAvoy. This character probably thinks of himself as altruistic, but his decision to go to Africa and help the poor was in part just a desire to get away from his father. Dangling wealth in front of him soon redirected him into becoming Amin's personal physician (and unofficial adviser). He wants to do good for the country and the world, but at the same time he never met anyone's wife that he didn't also want to seduce. He's moral in the abstract and amoral in the concrete, much of the time.

The two main performances are wonderful, and the doctor's realization of what Amin is rather than what he'd hoped him to be unfolds well.

Liked this one very much, and it was wonderful to see Forest Whitaker getting such a visible role. :)



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The Good, The Bad and The Lanathelana on July 4th, 2007 07:30 am (UTC)
Rant about prompts? I'm intrigued!
The Good, The Bad and The Lanathelana on July 4th, 2007 07:34 am (UTC)
BTW: You are doing betawork for the whole fic exchange? You are a saint. Especially considering how much you dislike betaing for others.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on July 4th, 2007 07:49 am (UTC)
Not for the whole exchange, though I always say I won't do it at all and it still seems to happen. :(

We have some 50% or more authors this round who are British/Aussie/Canadian, and you know where that leads with the word-choices and spelling (though I asked people to change their word-processors to American English to avoid some of this problem).

But the bulk of the work this round thus far was for an author who had a beta-- two, she said-- who don't appear to know enough English to do a really thorough job. Not as drastic as the one I know you're thinking about, but not ready to be posted up either. :(

I'm going to try to hand this comm off before the next round, but if I were doing it again I'd consider leaving a week between the fic deadline and the posting to 1)return stories to people that need rework and make them do it themselves and 2)have more time for nagging stragglers or finding backup authors.

We've had at least two backup writers needed every round. And darn if that doesn't get tiresome. :(

What I dislike most about beta-work is that it's as much effort as writing a story myself (and sucks up the same creative effort). Given that I don't have time to both write and READ all I'd like, I don't want to add a third thing to the list. :0
The Good, The Bad and The Lanathelana on July 4th, 2007 07:55 am (UTC)
You could always put the comm on hiatus for a bit and then after some breather space decide whether you still want to do it.

Or gets a bunch of helpers with an eye on "grooming" them/handing them comm eventually.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on July 4th, 2007 07:35 am (UTC)
Part of the rant started while jogging yesterday, and then solidified while beta-reading a PBFE story where the author had made genius use of a really cracktastic prompt. :0
The Good, The Bad and The Lanathelana on July 4th, 2007 07:41 am (UTC)
Ah, I was wondering whether it would be about like 100 Table type of prompts or PBFE prompts. You should totally do a Guide to Writing Prompts: Words from the Expert's Mouth :D

I remember, I was always really crappy at giving short prompts :D

And I have to repeat: you => Saint. I remember the old exchange always had some very ??? or poorly written stories. I mean, not many, but some. Not to mention I know you have your share of squicks, so again, kudos to you for reading in anyway for the sake of quality.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on July 4th, 2007 07:51 am (UTC)
Oh, the 100-Table started the rant, but the PBFE story reminded me that the particular prompt that went with it was something I balked over even when I was handing out the stories. :0

But! Must delay to actual written rant, and not comment-rant. ;)

Plus.... bedtime.
The Good, The Bad and The Lanathelana on July 4th, 2007 07:56 am (UTC)
Sleep tight :D
zora_souritzora_sourit on July 4th, 2007 12:37 pm (UTC)
Hey, I've seen TLKoS as well and was truly impressed by it. i think it took me a good week to shake off the feeling it gave me. it was a truly powerful movie. And I loved both JA and FW in it, they played off each other so well.

but at the same time he never met anyone's wife that he didn't also want to seduce.
That is a wonderful point. He was so sure of himself and so arrogant in a naive way that he thought he knew everything. But what he would experience in Africa was beyond anyone's imagination.
I've read that is character was based on a real person.

I`ll make sure to watch BISS when it hits Germany.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on July 5th, 2007 07:29 pm (UTC)
I've read that is character was based on a real person.
One would hope so, almost, given how historically based the rest of the movie is. I was completely shocked to see footage of Idi Amin's Scottish obsession-- that was extreme. Wow.

I`ll make sure to watch BISS when it hits Germany.
I don't actually recommend it. It's "okay," but by no means a "must see."

And here I thought you were in Israel, for some reason! :)
zora_souritzora_sourit on July 6th, 2007 12:59 pm (UTC)
footage of Idi Amin's Scottish obsession-- that was extreme. Wow.
I haven't seen it but that doesn't surprise me. The whole movie was extremely intense. I had a hard time afterwards looking at FW and not having a creepy feeling about him.

And here I thought you were in Israel, for some reason!
LOL! Oh well, just around the corner, I guess ;P.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on July 6th, 2007 05:21 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen it but that doesn't surprise me.
It was actually in the closing parts of the movie-- they showed some historical footage. There was a parade with everyone in kilts and full-dress-Scottish and everything. Ungandans, that is. *boggles at the crazy*

LOL! Oh well, just around the corner, I guess ;P.
If by that you mean a wholly different continent, why yes. :D My brain is clearly scrambled. (But not in an Idi Amin way)
zora_sourit: prison brotherszora_sourit on July 6th, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC)
Ungandans, that is. *boggles at the crazy*
now that you say it, I think I remember this. It was grotesque. This is one of those movies I would love to have on DVD because they're so brilliant but somehow I dare not watching them again.

My brain is clearly scrambled.
Naaa, you mind's full of wonderful stories, you can allow yourself a little brain-scrambledness ;)! and it's hard to tell where a person is from just from the written word.

I was wondering, given the fact that I'm totally on a Prison Break-trip at the moment, are there any eps you would recommend? Any eps that are especially... uhm... brother-ish?
bluesister on July 4th, 2007 03:22 pm (UTC)
However, both the mother AND daughter scared me in this movie.
That in itself is a good review, I think.

I do appreciate your movie reviews. Who knows how much suffering you're saving?

I'll see Last King of Scotland eventually. I remember Idi Amin as the first crazed killer/ruler I was aware of, kind of a boogieman. You know, before I started to see a pattern with Nero, Hitler, Jim Jones, Manson, etc.

Stay cool!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on July 5th, 2007 07:33 pm (UTC)
I do appreciate your movie reviews. Who knows how much suffering you're saving?
:D I hope so. Or encouraging people toward particuarly good stuff, though it's all my opinion vs. someone else's, of course.

I remember Idi Amin as the first crazed killer/ruler I was aware of, kind of a boogieman.
He was the first LIVING crazed leader for me. Hitler was a horrifying part of the past that you hope people would have the sense never to repeat. Nero was off my radar (too young). Manson was a serial killer (he and Gacy were of the same era I think, when I was about 11-12 and starting to become aware that there were people sick enough to do those things. What an awful awakening that was).

And Jim Jones was his own kind of crazy, and again much later-- during my Freshman year of college, I think.

Idi Amin was not only "of the now," for me, but I think the horror of the things he did under-registered with me at the time. Just too unfathomable, and so clearly nuts. :(
sassy, classy, and a bit smart-assy: Drakestreetbadboy_fangirl on July 5th, 2007 09:50 pm (UTC)
Just had to say thanks for the review on BISS, because I love Diane Keaton and wanted to see that, but after reading what it entails I know I would hate it. Thanks so much. Have you seen The Family Stone? That was a great movie where she played an interesting matriarch.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Bladehalfshellvenus on July 6th, 2007 01:48 am (UTC)
I love Diane Keaton too-- especially in her recent years-- which is why we watched that in the first place. And it really wasn't worth it. Now, "As Good As It Gets" with Jack Nicholson was a different story. She was in prime form there, just wonderfully funny.

We have seen The Family Stone! I'd forgotten it, and I think had mixed feelings about it (not quite funny enough, plus the blowhard girlfriend's utterly stupid attacks on the gay brother really hacked me off). But it was fun all the same, and I really liked her in it. :D
sassy, classy, and a bit smart-assy: Lincsmilebadboy_fangirl on July 6th, 2007 02:02 am (UTC)
I'm sure you mean Something's Gotta Give, and yeah, that is a hilarious movie. I love it.

I think The Family Stone was wrongly promoted as a romantic comedy. It's most definitely a family dramedy. I loved the family dynamic (and I hate Sarah Jessica Parker so it was easy to hate her character anyway). I loved the family element of it way more than the romantic stuff anyway.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on July 6th, 2007 05:19 pm (UTC)
I'm sure you mean Something's Gotta Give, and yeah, that is a hilarious movie. I love it.
*fires brain for the week* The one I named is the Helen Hunt/Jack Nicholson, isn't it? :0

I loved the family element of it way more than the romantic stuff anyway.
Oh me too-- and I have a weakness for Luke Wilson, for no good reason whatsoever (his movies are really a mixed bag).
sassy, classy, and a bit smart-assy: Domopenshirtbadboy_fangirl on July 6th, 2007 10:36 pm (UTC)
As Good As It Gets was a great, funny movie too, just no Diane Keaton ;-)

I loved Luke Wilson in The Family Stone. He is a hit or miss with me too, but his character in this one was so delightful, he even made me believe he saw the good in Meridith and could actually help her get over herself (and as I mentioned, I hate SJP). *You have a freak flag, you just don't show it.* He was great, and definitely one of the many reasons I enjoyed it. I just felt like they were so real as a family, and that even though I had just met them, I was really just seeing a few scenes from their lives. They made me believe it all. So great.

Anyway, what is it about you that makes me need to leave such big-ass comments all the time!? ;-)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: DominicSexyhalfshellvenus on July 6th, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC)
It's conversing! Discourse!

So much better than, "Yeah."

I did like the family quite a bit in that movie, and hated the SJP character with a passion (I just wanted her to go away). It wasn't that the family was so awful, it was that she was awful and even though she suspected it, she didn't do much to actually change that rather than whine about it.

If you like Luke Wilson, you might like the movie he made with both of his brothers, "Bottle Rocket." It's quirky and just strange, but it's cute in that they make allowances for each other. Owen Wilson is made up like a nerd and plays a total goof who never quite knows what's going on, and overcomplicates the simplest little things. He's in love with scheming, whether it's necessary or not. :)