anything but appetizing
Monday, February 28 2005
Gretchen and I have watched two hilarious movies on DVD in the last few days. The first of these was Napoleon Dynamite, an überquirky teen coming of age/loser revenge sort of movie. If you subtract all the quirky details (the untransformably nerdy hero, his Mexican sidekick Pedro, his absurdly non-nuclear family, the Idaho setting, and the gratuitous avoidance of obscenities), you're left with a fairly conventional teen movie. But this movie is all about the quirks, which are so original and supply so many possible destinations for the plot that you don't really know exactly what kind of movie this is until the very end.
One quirk that demands further explanation is the strange anachronism of the movie. In all respects: set design, fashion, music, etc., the movie seems as if it is set in the early 1980s. The one thing about Napoleon Dynamite indicating the present is that one of the characters, Kip, spends hours "chatting" in "cyberspace." Kip's connection to the whiz-bang internet prompts his uncle Rico to ask if perhaps Kip could use the internet to find him a time machine "so I can go back to 1983" (just before all Rico's fortunes took a turn for the worse). The machine arrives and various characters try it out, but from our perspective it seems like it's already worked its magic because, with the exception of the machine itself and the always-offscreen cyberspace, we might as well be in 1983.
By the way, someone who recommended it to me told me that the movie had been produced by Mormons, which accounts for the many aw-shucks substitutions made for profanity.
right wing reviews:
Neo-Nazis giving amateur movie reviews - it's yet another opportunity to complain about race mixing and "Jew propaganda."
ChristianAnswers.net - always a hoot.
The other movie we watched recently (yesterday) was Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. Much more even than Napoleon Dynamite this movie was something of a concerted effort to smash stereotypes. Our two heroes are Asian potheads, who, beset with a serious case of the munchies, head out for their local White Castle burger franchise. From there it's a fairly typical adventure movie, though (as in Napoleon Dynamite) the details are what matter. There are the hot chicks who, beset with diarrhea, play "Battleshits" in stalls on either side of our heroes as they hide from campus security. There is the scene with the hillbilly covered with hideous boils who takes our heroes home and invites them to have sex with his wife. Then there are recurring elements: a group of "extreme" hooligans who spend their evenings hurling racial slurs and wrecking convenience stores. There are the two seemingly orthodox Jewish stoners who use a shofar as paraphernalia. Then there is an enormous bag of pot which, in a flash before his eyes, Kumar imagines an elaborate future spent married to. Some of the scenes are gratuitous in their idiotic fratboy-targeted breast nonsense or in their demands on the audience's ability to suspend disbelief. Then there's the fact that on some level the movie is a 90 minute advertisement for White Castle. (Interestingly, the actor who plays Kumar is a vegetarian and the burgers he eats in the movie contain no animal products.) But it's a fun movie nonetheless.
right wing reviews:
The Neo-Nazi take on the stereotype busting - "The only negative point from this film is its blatant race mixing" and "LOOK HOW THEY POTRAY OUR WOMEN!"
ChristianAnswers.net - there's just too much for a good Christian to take in H&KGTWK.
Today was the sixteen anniversary of the day Gretchen and I stopped speaking to one another "forever." It was also the fourth anniversary of our getting back together. She showed up at my door in Los Angeles four years ago wearing the same sweater she wore tonight when we went out for our anniversary dinner.
We went to the meat-rich Hickory Restaurant on Route 28 west of Kingston. It was a snowy night and predictions were for a whole foot of accumulation, so there weren't many others there. We made the mistake of ordering a side of onion rings as an "appetizer," but the effect was anything but appetizing. We ended up having to bring almost all our food home in to-go boxes. Later in the night the onion ring grease gradually crept up on us and made miserable. "If I could make myself throw up, I would," Gretchen declared. I actually can make myself throw up, but I didn't think it was worth it in this case.
As an anniversary present, Gretchen bought me a "bolt-on spoiler" for my pickup. It isn't that I actually ever wanted a spoiler, mind you. It's more that I'm always joking about them, usually in using an Appalachian accent. I've often made observations about the robustness of the "Kingston Bolt-on Spoiler Scene" because it's not unusual in this area to see small gatherings of cars, all of them different save for the presence of bolt-on spoilers. I've seen spoilers bolted onto vehicles that could barely run, let alone worry about the effects of ærodynamics. My truck fits into a different category, the one where it's more a question of whether there's sufficient uncorroded metal present to which I can bolt anything. So I'll probably end up using the spoiler as a shelf for CDs or DVDs, unless I can think of a use requiring an engineered air foil. After all the trouble Gretchen went through getting it for me, it would be good to actually use it for something more interesting than a shelf.
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