Showing posts from May, 2005

Choice Timewasters of the Week

I'll try to be brief today. I can be brief, sometimes. I swear. Here's the stuff that's occupying my spare time this week when I'm not earning a paycheck: Currently Reading: Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy--Sharply observed drama of the title character, a commoner with a hunger for knowledge who trudges off to the big city in Victorian-era England to acquire an advanced education only to be beaten down by the iron-gloved fist of the British class system. Like many novels of the era it takes awhile to get up to steam, and Hardy's well-educated narration flirts with condescension at times. But it's an invaluable window into another time and a subtly powerful indictment of English social strictures. Jude's no-win infatuation with his cousin Sally rings with aching universality here, too. Currently Watching: Masque of the Red Death (1964)--All of Director Roger Corman's 60's Edgar Allan Poe adaptations (available on MGM/UA DVD) are worthwhile, bu

Why I'm scared to see Star Wars III

There have been choruses of hosannas for the new (and final) Star Wars prequel, Revenge of the Sith. Fanboys and critics alike are crowing about what a return to form this marks for director/idea man/control freak George Lucas. Like every good geek, I love the first three movies (OK, the first two, and the first third of the third). But Christ in a Burlap Sack, I dread going to this final installment. Here's why. 1) The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones sucked like a Dyson Bagless. The law of averages would seem to bode ill here. And, if you think about it, this trend of Star Wars letdowns actually started with the overstuffed and under-involving finale of Return of the Jedi (or, as Harrison Ford tersely-yet-eloquently described it, "The Teddy Bear Picnic")back in '83. 2) Hayden Christensen. He reputedly delivers good performances in Shattered Glass and Life as a House (neither of which I've seen), but his alternately wooden, pissy, and ridiculo

Starcrushing on Starcrash

Like you wouldn't guess from reading most of the entries in this Blog, but I spent a lot of my youth in the dark, in a movie theater. Literally, in one particular movie theater. I was nine years old in 1976, when my family moved from army housing at Fort Lewis to Spanaway, a little suburb about eight miles south of Tacoma, Washington. A couple of weeks after arriving in town, my mom took us to the nearest local theater for a double-feature of the Doug McClure/ Edgar Rice Burroughs monster-fests, At the Earth's Core and The Land That Time Forgot . The modest movie house in which said films unspooled quickly became my haunt du jour for over a decade. The Parkland Theater was a squat, old-fashioned building situated just outside Pacific Lutheran University in Parkland, Washington. A tiny Hoover Vacuum store sat imbedded into the theater's north side, a typical flourescent marquee shone out front, and the unchanging beige-and-mauve interior color scheme felt very early-sixt