Archive for January 2010
For my dad’s 60th birthday—which was actually last September, but whatever—we’re taking a massive road trip to a town of 10,000 people on the coast of Florida. At 10:30 on the night of Saturday, February 6th, we check in at the Kennedy Space Center and are bused out to a causeway and dropped off with our cameras and folding chairs. And at 4:39 on the morning of Sunday, February 7th, we see this:
This is in all likelihood the fifth-to-last space shuttle launch, and the very last night-time launch, in its 29-year lifespan. I realized a year or so ago that I’d like to see it go up before it ends; there are rocket launches all the time, but they look like rockets, not like this–
For all its trouble (2 destroyed shuttles in 129 flights), it’s almost impossible not to feel a little love for the shuttle. Maybe it’s just cause I was born and raised with it. Maybe it’s projected patriotism. But I still feel like the thing itself—an oddly-proportioned cargo jetplane with the engines sticking at odd angles out the back—is just a little beautiful.
Either way we’re going through serious effort to get there; it’s a 19-hour drive for me, dad, and his wife Diana; Mary Beth and my sister Margaret are flying in a day early for girly-time at a spa in Orlando and we’ll pick ’em up on the way. Then it’s a quick nap at the Hampton Inn in Titusville before we head out to the Cape for the launch overnight. Price for the bus tickets to watch the launch from the NASA-owned causeway: $56 per person. Yikes, people. Oh well, NASA needs the money.
So I’ll post more about the big trip as it unfolds.
Without further ado…
Best in Show (2000, Christopher Guest)
I wanted to make sure a straight comedy got in here. The latter half of the Aughts saw the triumphant return of the rated-R comedy, from Knocked Up to The 40-Year-Old Virgin to The Hangover. Any of these are worth considering; but I’m going a different route with Best in Show, Mr. Guest’s finest outing at his trademark mockumentary format.
Just like a well-done documentary, it lets you make fun of the ridiculous characters while empathizing with their love—irrational, like all love—for their dogs. A few of the humorous bits are a bit too broad (you’re gay, we get it) but you’re usually giggling too much to care.
Life Imitating Art: When the owner of the poodle playing Rhapsody in White was presented with this movie, she didn’t read the full script. When she realized that her dog would not be winning ‘Best in Show’ at the end of the movie, she quickly pulled the dog out of production. The crew had to get a different poodle and spray paint its fur so it looked exactly the same.
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I spent a little time on the drive down to San Antonio the other night discussing the films of the decade with my wife, since so many professional critics have had their crack at it (here’s Ebert’s).
It’s hard to concoct such a list off the top of one’s head; we couldn’t even remember which movies came out in the last ten years—it’s a long time. Slight difficulty is added by the fact that 1999 was one of the best years for movies ever, too. So those are all out.
But using a complex system of red felt pen and index cards, we perused the Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for the last ten years, the IMDB Top 250, and our own foggy memories. This list is semi-collaborative, though MB had a few differences.
One more note: it’s funny how tastes change over time. I made annual “best of” lists from 1999-2002, and flicks that were somewhat down the list at the time (I marked Almost Famous as the 6th-best of 2000) have not only held up but proven themselves to be classics.
Okay, enough talk, let’s get crackin.
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