Fewer Bars in Fewer Places

The title of this post actually works on a lot of levels, since not only am I writing this post before we have internet hooked up at our house (i.e. fewer bars of wi-fi), but now that we live in a less downtrodden, much nicer/safer part of LA, our apartment doesn’t have and/or need cast-iron bars on all the windows, doors, etc. to prevent people from breaking in and robbing us blind (at our old house on USC campus, even the little window on the stove had bars on it…although how someone could break into our house from inside the stove is still a mystery to me, but better safe than sorry, I suppose). Conversely, an initial scouting report of the area reveals that there are actually more bars (that is, the kind that serve delicious and refreshing alcohol to patrons over 21) in more places around here than at our old house, so that’s a definite boon as well.

-Stating the Obvious-
So it’s been a smidge over a week since moving into my new abode, and as you shouldn’t be surprised to hear, I love it. Literally. I both love and am in love with it. My roommates and I are the only male residents of the entire complex (bonus features!) and every single characteristic about this apartment pleases me to no end. I made one of my now-frequent trips to the beach yesterday, chatting up a lovely blonde female who was reading the same thing I was (that is to say, we were both reading a book — not the same book, mind you — but still, what are the odds?), had myself a nice Jamba Juice, made some phone calls and just had a splendid time. On a minor downside, I put on some SPF-8 sunscreen yesterday, but missed the spot right underneath my left eye, so now it’s sunburnt and red-ish, and it looks like I got into a wicked fight with someone who got a direct hit to my left eye. Oh well, maybe I can tell people I joined a Redondo Beach Fight Club and I’ll get mad amounts of street cred. But probably people will just assume that I got tipsy and made some unwanted sexual advances to a girl who then proceeded to knock me out with a single punch to the eye. Which, truthfully, is much more likely.

-Panda Watch-
At the sacrifice of less-important things such as clothes, gas, and food, I have been spending my money by going to see at least one awesome movie each opening weekend (minus the one-weekend hiatus I took when Sex and the City came out*), and this week, Kung Fu Panda was the movie du jour (…du week?). In keeping with the tradition of most of the summer’s fare, it was awesome. The animation is obviously amazing since it was produced by Pixar (the world’s only company to make their entire fortune of a singular curiosity-ridden, bouncing desklamp) and the story is an uplifting one that will appeal to chubby kids everywhere. As well as their chubby friends, chubby families, chubby coworkers, chubby neighbors, and (probably also chubby) pets. All faux-fat-jokes aside, the movie is good, and the only thing that baffles me is the casting: you obviously see/hear a ton of Jack Black and Dustin Hoffman in the leading roles, but it took me until the end credits to realize that their costars were bigtime names such as Angelina Jolie, Seth Rogan, David Cross and Lucy Liu (minus David Cross, whose voice I recognized after the second syllable of his first line…a side effect of being an Arrested Development obsessee, no doubt). The reason for this delayed recognition wasn’t because their voices were disguised or unrecognizable, it’s just because they really didn’t have that much dialogue in the movie. I bet cumulatively they had fewer than 11 pages of scripted lines that made it into the final cut of the film. This is pretty much par for the course for David Cross, whose Hollywood niche seems to be the perpetual sidekick, but was especially surprising for the others — especially Angelina Jolie and Seth Rogan, both of whom have major, recent hits under their belts with more on the way in the near future. So my question to you, the Hollywood movie producer, is this: in an industry as budget-driven as film-making, why pay Jolie/Rogan/Liu/Cross-sized money when their parts are so secondary that you could’ve cast nobodies in the same roles without a noticeable difference? If you’ve got an answer for me, I’d love to hear it, but until then I’m just going to add it to the ever-increasing list of things I don’t understand about “the biz” (a list which includes such conundrums as why hasn’t Brad Pitt aged in the past two-and-a-half decades, why people find Sarah Jessica Parker attractive but not Lindsay Lohan, why everybody doesn’t own an iPhone, and whether or not Haley Joel Osment is actually a genetic clone of Macaulay Culkin sent in by the U.S. government as a spy to steal the fabled “Secret Scroll of Movie-Making” from James Cameron).

-Somehow I Still have $4 Left on My AMC Giftcard-
On the new-movie dossier for this week: The Incredible Hulk (aka “The Incredible to Think That They Just Made This Exact Same Movie a Couple of Years Ago, But Are Pretending Like That One Never Happened Since it Was So Dreadfully Bad Hulk”), and The Happening (aka M. Night Shyamalan’s last chance at salvaging his career). I’m excited for the new Hulk because the immensely-talented (and my favorite actor and personal hero) Edward Norton is involved, and he’s been fighting with Marvel Studios to make sure this movie comes out exactly how he wants it to (you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry). I’m less excited for The Happening, but like everybody else in the world I’ll go see it with the hope that M. Night (the “M” stands for Magic, but he didn’t want people to confuse him with the former NBA great) can repeat the critical and financial success he had with The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable (although Signs, Lady in the Water, The Village and Stuart Little hardly make a compelling case for that outcome).

=w=
Weezer released their third self-titled record this week (their sixth album overall), and like its color-coded predecessors (The Blue and Green albums), The Red Album is some of Weezer’s best stuff, and is going to do a lot to put their glasses-clad, perpetually-dejected founder/frontman and the rest of his emo-rock quartet back on the map of relevance. I like the album, is what I’m saying. It’s got the right amount of catchy vocals, the right amount of pensive sadness, and plenty of Rivers Cuomo’s trademark musical talent mixed in throughout. It doesn’t quite recapture the musical genius of the life-changing Blue Album (and at this point, it’s hard to think that any of their offerings ever will) or the grungy goodness of Pinkerton, but it’s still a good listen and definitely worth your time and money. Oh and get the Red Album Deluxe Version — those four extra songs really help add a lot more depth to the record and it’ll be cheaper than downloading them on iTunes later.

Well believe it or not, I STILL have more to say…but at this point even I am losing interest in reading this thing, so I’m going to wrap things up for the moment, grab some In N’ Out Burger, and get on with my evening. See you on the flip side, as the cool kids say.

Cheers,
Dustin


…i think that might be too many bars. And yeah, I admit this is a pretty weak photo and/or caption, but I’ve been busy…cut a guy some slack, ok?

*During a recent trip to the theater with my roommate, we had a lot of time to kill before our showing actually started, so I briefly poked my head in to an in-progress showing of the Sex and the City movie across the hall from our theater. And wow. I mean, good Lord, I expected it to be pretty bad — but this was just downright horrendous. I only saw about 90 seconds of it, and it was the scene where the ladies are laying out at some kind of resort and discussing waxing, and then the next scene where they go to the resort’s restaurant. I was appalled. The dialogue was weak, the acting was sub-par at best, the one liners were as jagged and lifeless as the movie’s leading ladies themselves, the jokes (if you can call them that) came off more like post-menopausal bitchiness than anything intended to be funny, and the characters’ motivation was nonexistent. Obviously I can’t fully judge a movie without seeing it in its entirety (though that’s never stopped me before), but let’s just say my first (and probably last) impressions of this film and this franchise were not particularly favorable. That said, I can see why this series and film is so popular within its demographic (well-funded middle-aged and quarter-aged women who desperately want/need a feminine mascot to rally behind), but I hope that we (as the viewing public) have gotten the taste for the sickeningly sugary and shallow SATC out of our system and are ready for something with a little more substance that everyone can enjoy. I propose margaritas. On the rocks, no salt. Now that’s a meal.

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One thought on “Fewer Bars in Fewer Places

  1. Stephen says:

    you missed jackie chan as the monkey. but i loved this movie myself…

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