January 2008 Archives

1988 Called - It Wants Its Car Back

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So I guess the Smart Fortwo is now available in the US. Two seat micro-car, $12-15K, 33/41 MPG.

I used to drive a Ford Festiva back in the day. I paid about the same for it in constant dollars, got about 32 in the city and about 40 on the highway.

Oh, yeah - 'back in the day' == 1988. Good to see that the auto industry has come so far. Tell me again why they stopped making Festivas (especially given the automotive abortion that replaced it - the Aspire)?


Went to see In The Name Of The King with my son yesterday, mainly because we're both big Jason Statham fans.

The good:

  • Claire Forlani, Leelee Sobieski, and Kristanna Loken (double points for her as a vine-swinging lesbian forest nymph) are all hot.
  • I could listen to John Rhys-Davies read from the phone book.
  • The fight scenes were generally well done.
  • Statham played pretty much the same character he always does, which was fine by me (kind of like how Ryan Reynolds plays Berg most of the time, regardless of what role he really has).
The bad:
  • I would have preferred Rhys-Davies reading from a phone book to most of the lines he actually had.
  • Some of the casting was just terrible. Burt Reynolds as the king?!? Ray Liotta as the evil wizard?
  • About Liotta: he probably could have pulled it off, even without your standard-quasi-British Eurofantasy accent, but his hair and costume people couldn't have been working from the same directions as everybody else. His hair was a straight-up Mob pompadour, and his collared tunic and black leather coat made him look like he walked in from the set of Goodfellas III whenever he was shot from the waist up!
  • One of my fantasy movie pet peeves: it's not clear Who's running the theology. There were occasions where characters talked about God; on others, they talked about 'the gods.' Sure, they could have done it on purpose (after all, we're not all the same religion), but I think the continuity guys were just asleep that day.
  • The dialog was... off. It wasn't really the accents (although Liotta didn't even bother); it was more like they couldn't decide whether they wanted a medieval/fantasyish or a modernish tone to their dialog, so they took constructs and phrasing from both, and accomplished neither. I'm not a fantasy snob, so I don't need "thou's" and "mayhap's" (and in fact I tire of them quickly), but you can set the right mood without doing that, and they didn't.
  • The wire work was blatant and obvious, especially the catapulting Krugs and the levitating Liotta.
  • I swear I'm not making this up - In this Euro-esque fantasy setting, the King's personal protective detail is... Ninjas!

The Verdict: My son liked it a lot. I thought it was OK.
Under What Circumstances Would I See It Again: Probably none. I might rent the DVD if the director's cut has nekkid scenes.


Normally, I really enjoy it when Bill Scheft comes on Bob & Tom. However, he was pretty focussed on talking about the writers' strike (he's the 'strike captain' among the Letterman show writers), which turned Tuesday's appearance into 24 minutes of laugh-free radio(*). If I wanted to watch Meet The Press, I'd roll out of the rack before one on Sundays. Of course, that would require me to radically change how I spend my Saturday nights, which ain't gonna happen.

By the way - American Gladiators (re)premiered earlier this week, and 12 million people watched. If I were in the writers' guild, this would scare the hell out of me.

(*) OK, I laughed twice. But that's still way below average.



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