basketball is a peaceful planet!

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No news--what is that? No news is no news, is what. The metaphorical foundation needed some structural help. Good that I've been getting out of the house for a weekly karaoke date, bad that I'm living for it more than is healthy. (When in Portland, make sure to go to Chopsticks II--just not for the food. Their book includes Liz Phair, Franz Ferdinand, Tom Lehrer, Digital Underground and Nick Lowe songs.) I'm attempting to cultivate the metaphorical and literal gardens.

The former one involves a little bit of travel, and just enough culture to make someone reach for a slingshot. Went up to Seattle this weekend for this conference, which a few friends helped me think about before and after--more details to come soon, one way or another. But while I was there, I went to see Revenge of the Sith with this church group. I hated it. (Great companions, but it was a bad sign when someone from the theater came up before the show started and said "I just want you all to know, there's an issue with the sound on the movie--we can either play it really loud or UNBELIEVABLY LOUD. How do y'all want it?")

My first thought was: the thing that made Star Wars (I saw it before it was called "Episode 4," & refuse to call it that) work was that it gave the sense of being extraordinary--that it was a boring and oppressive universe, and what we were seeing was an exciting moment when something huge was changing. There's lots of down-time in it, and that's when we learn stuff about the characters. The down-time in ROTS just feels slack, and the rest of it is bam-bam-bam, beginning to end, cranked up all the way--it gets very tiresome, very quickly. Plus, as everyone has noted, the dialogue is horrible. (What was it like before Tom Stoppard got his hands on it?) And the CGI stuff all looks hideously fakey--all the parts move all the time, independently of each other. A puppet Yoda I can suspend my disbelief for. A CGI Yoda I just can't.

When we got back to my hosts' place, Miller wanted to watch the "next part of the story," and of course Nathan had Star Wars on the original laserdisc--no CGI, Han shoots first, etc. I don't think I'd watched it in at least ten years, maybe more. It was wonderful The dialogue was light and witty and fleshed out the characters, the plot moved at just the right speed, the special effects looked natural and impressive, there was some new concept or image to latch onto every few minutes--I fell asleep before the movie ended, but that had more to do with it being 3 in the morning than anything else. How did the air go out of this vision?

(One thing that's true about both the original movie and the new one that I do like a lot: the sense that everything in the universe is a little bit grimy, a little bit rusty and salt-stained, unless there's lots of money to keep it gleaming.)

Unrelatedly: when Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings come to your town, don't even think of missing them if you like to dance. I went with a bunch of newbies, all of whom appear to have been converted. They played for more than two hours, and Sharon came out after the show to hug everybody in the audience, just like Damo Suzuki.

Also very highly recommended: Franklin's 33 1/3 book on Elvis Costello's Armed Forces--formally impressive (alphabetical lexicon as linear narrative!), well-researched, thoughtfully analytical, and way more entertaining than most things of which the first three conditions are true usually are. (Disclaimer: it cites me a couple of times. Call me a logroller if you like: I just really enjoyed the book.)

1 Comments

Matt Wright said:

chopsticks is indeed THE spot for kareoke. some friend of mine used to have a regular "mondayoke" tradition there. i can tell you that beck's "the new pollution" is not as good an idea as it might sound. my song is "don't you want me" by the human league.

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas published on May 22, 2005 3:04 PM.

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