Chaos Attraction

Nice Droning!

2004-03-26, 11:43 p.m.

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(Warning: Jersey Girl spoilers at bottom of entry. Don't say I don't tell you anything.)

Much to my annoyance, I found a note today from the management, saying they plan to come through and install new closet doors. Any time from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. the entire weekend, they may show up. I can't even clean out the closets enough for major access- they'd better only need minor access. Oh, and they're going to mess with the air system or something. Which I fear means that they're going to mess around in the bathroom again. They won't tell us when they might come by, or even in what order the apartments are going to be done. Theoretically if they start in number order/smaller apartments first order I'd get done pretty quickly, but who knows?

So, if repair guys are going to be wandering through the house, leaving the front door open and opening up every bedroom in the house, AND the bathroom...what the fuck am I supposed to do with the cats all weekend so they don't get out? I have nowhere to put them for 9 hours a day with no doors. Am I going to have to lock them in the litterbox? And what if Jasmine goes into heat again? She's due on Sunday.

And of course, this is all going to be my problem to deal with since Heather won't be home. Why didn't I leave for the weekend?

Even more unpleasant is knowing that at any time in the early morning hours, strange men with keys to my apartment may barge into my bedroom while I'm trying to goddamn sleep. Or while Heather's trying to sleep. This gives me the major wiggins.

Dumb thing I did tonight: both April Winchell and Wonderfalls were on at 9 p.m. April on radio, Wonderfalls on TV. Wonderfalls is shorter and probably going to get canceled at any second, but I am taping it for posterity. April's on for three hours as opposed to Wonderfalls's one. April records her shows, but she doesn't put them online for ages and ages (she just put up January and February). It's easier to listen to the recorded shows, but when I'm home I attempt to listen with all the glitches and commercials and glitches.

So I tried to listen to both, with adjusting the volume on the TV accordingly. This worked well for the first ten minutes because for some slow-ass reason, the KABC show didn't actually stop with the commercials and crap until then. After that, uh...not so much. I am a great multi-tasker, but listening to two voices at the same time is just not doable for me. Guh.

So, today's big activity for me on my day off was to go see Jersey Girl and Eternal Sunshine again. Nice to be able to go from one movie to another without Dave bitching at me for even suggesting the idea. I could not believe when I suggested this to him the first time how ballistic he went about it. Dude worshipped at the altar of Kazaa, but not going back out of the theater to buy another ticket? The horror! "You're not supporting the artists!" For the love of God, you're paying for admission into a building! Or in our case, I'M paying for admission for the two of us into a building, and no, I'm not paying double at his more expensive theater to "be honest."

Anyway... you can perhaps tell that I am enjoying going to movies alone?

Okay, I'm going to go into Jersey Girl now. The non-spoiling review says: kinda saccarine, but with some edge. It ain't his best, but it's not total crap either. In my pantheon of Kevin Smith movie rankings from worst to best...

Clerks, Mallrats, Jay and Silent Bob, Jersey Girl, Chasing Amy, Dogma. So it's around the mushball middle. It's of a different quality from the first three (more jokey), but not as good as the last two (made me think more).


To be honest, the quotes here seem to be pretty much true, especially the "Kevin Smith would have made fun of this flick years ago" thing. Obviously, he's done the old "I had a kid and now I'm all sentimental and shit" thing that we childfree folks secretly worry about. But he's still got some edge, which is very reassuring.

I rather liked Ebert's review, though I think I could understand both why Ben was celibate for 7 years and why he was doing a crappy job for just as long. Single parenting and living with your dad and working a crappy job all kinda contribute against dating, even if you look like Ben Affleck. And as for the crappy job, I think for him it was either "I work in my dream job, or I work at something I REALLY don't care about that's easy to do until I can work in my dream job" at the time and then it just carried on and on. And yeah, who'd hire a guy to BS when he's publicly slammed his client and the guys that make the client's bread and butter?

Character rundowns:

* Ben Affleck: His character's about 50% ass, which works for the plot. He's a sweet dad once he gets into it, but his tendency to totally let loose and say mean things when he's really mad is definitely a foot-shooter trait. He's obviously a Scorpio.

* J-Ho: Obviously, her scenes have been cut down a LOT so as to not have people walking out of the theater. Much with the quick montages that make her look cute and pretty. As for speaking scenes beyond a few seconds, she has about three: one in which she's nice and two in which she's bitching out Ben. Real pleasant. And yes, you do see her literally die on screen!

* George Carlin: He rocks. 'Nuff said.

* Liv Tyler: I love her. She's foul and unique and funny. You just don't expect that stuff to come out of almighty holy Arwen's mouth, so this is fabulous. Then again, I find myself somehow loving Liv Tyler no matter how little she has to do in a movie (LOTR, That Thing You Do, etc.). She and Kate Winslet are both in the category of "Girls I'd Do, If Only I Did Girls."

* Raquel Castro: I liked her. She's funny and cute and smart and everything J.Ho ain't. It's like if J.Ho was reborn with talent. Great casting.

My favorite moments:

* "Nice droning!"

* All of the little Catholic school kids giving reports on their family and being inadvertently dirty about it.

* The fact that J.Lo's scenes have very obviously been cropped into montages for the most part so she's onscreen less and speaking less.

* Maya. Especially any time she's talking about sex.

* That Gertie loves Dirty Dancing. That she's even SEEN Dirty Dancing at the age of 7 must be plotzing every parent who sees this movie. I saw it when I was only a few years older than Gertie and felt the same way.

* That Gertie does pull off the "older than her years" thing in a believable way.

* That Gertie has a sick love for Sweeney Todd. Her dad's freaking at the throat-slitting, she doesn't bat an eyelash.

* Everyone in Gertie's school loves Cats, for some mysterious reason.

* "God, It's Good!" must be some kind of hymn..

* That Kevin Smith had the balls to make the final show piece of the flick a very elaborate Sweeney Todd performance, complete with funky set piece and throat-slitting. Righteous! I need to tell my cousin Matt (who adores Sweeney Todd) to see this flick.

* Will Smith. You knew he'd end up giving some kind of "parenthood is fabulous" speech if he showed up as his current incarnation in this movie, but he still manages to make it work, even in a kinda silly outfit.

The problems:

* It ain't Kevin's best directing ever. The sappy moments are lingered over just a bit too long and are too gooey. Like suddenly having taffy poured over your head. You can tell that uh, this isn't his normal milieu. I think he'd improve in the future, but right now, he's halfway going with the stereotypes and halfway going against them.

* Something I had a big problem with is in one scene: Ollie's been blackballed from his glamorous career as a publicist for REALLY shooting his mouth off about the Fresh Prince and the press (what did I tell ya? Scorpio!) and is working at the Public Works department with his dad, and they need to shut down a main street in town for a few days. The town's going ballistic about this at some meeting, and Ollie's told by his daughter, "hey, you used to do that kind of stuff, go calm them down." So at first he goes up there and kinda wusses out, but looking at his daughter, there's a Corny Magic Moment and suddenly he has the ability to BS again. That's bad enough, but this is what annoys me: we don't get to hear his speech. We hear a bit about what he said later- something about how he's glad he doesn't have to wear a suit every day to work or something- but we can't really hear it because the camera cuts away and music starts playing and it montages off to Ollie being all proud of himself for making this speech. But we don't even see it, and it's important!

* The final dichotomy of the movie: Ollie desperately wants to be able to get his old job and position and money and ability to live in New York without living at Dad's again. Very badly. He's tired of having a crappy job where the one benefit is getting to ride a street sweeper. BUT, Gertie doesn't like the city as much as he does, and doesn't want to leave her school, and doesn't want to stop living with Pop, either. "And you already have a job!"

So basically, his options are to make himself happy and his daughter miserable, or to keep himself not that happy to make her happy. Of course we all know how this is going to go, given how many times people tell him that he's not the happy career guy any more, he can't be, and (implied) he has to sacrifice everything he loved to raise his daughter. (Which is usually what's said to women...hmmmm.)

But really, should the guy have to work as a street sweeper for the rest of his life? Stay in Jersey, sure, but there's gotta be some kinds of jobs in the state that require a man to use his brains. Why can't Ollie look into another career? Why can't he, say, apply for a PR job with the city he lives in? Or get some kind of office job? Some sort of compromise where she can stay in Jersey, but he can use brain cells and have showering at the end of the day as an option instead of a necessity? Clearly there were other aspect of the job he loved besides tons of money and feeling like a big shot and hanging out with celebrities. He could have done something else. But no, that's not offered. Gertie wants him to sweep streets, and do nothing but sweep streets he shall do.

But other than's not bad. Not fabulous, but not bad.

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