Things are going pretty well these days. I found out today that the contract I am doing at a company I really like has been extended by a month, which works out well given the whole furniture thing. My boys are coming home from camp on Saturday, which is good news and bad news, because of course I love my boys and am anxious to have their company, but I also find life very easy with just one 18-year-old who drives at home. I have a lot of freedom to come and go and to work whatever hours I need to without worrying about feeding people or carpooling or doctors appointments and whatnot. But now it’s back to my real life.
I find myself feeling sad today for reasons unknown. Sometimes I wonder if I can ever be satisfied with what I have for more than a few ticks on my life’s clock. I think sometimes the fact that I can’t control what other people do and say is what leads to the occasional desolate feeling. As a writer, I want to put the words in others’ mouths, map out the plot lines, write the scenes. When life doesn’t unfold according to my script, when people aren’t really the characters I’ve drawn them to be, I allow myself to be disappointed. Silly me.
Or maybe it’s just the Mirena.
I wonder how other people do it, if they just let life happen without expectation. I’d sure be interested to know. I do try to be zen about things I truly have no control over, but it goes against instinct.
Vacation revisited, Batman reviewed
The rest of last week’s vacation was pretty good. On Friday, the weather was just good enough for me to go to the lake—first time all summer. Funny how that makes that sadness wash over me again. I hate to watch summer rush by like that, to feel that I’m missing it. Maybe I’ll need the Caribbean this winter…
The time at the lake was nice. It was nearly empty, and the sand was a wreck because of all the rain. The water was not as clean as it could have been, with some trash in the water and all manner of things (not trash) floating near the shore. But the water was very warm and I went in a couple of times to practice my pathetic dogpaddle. I also actually did a little reading—of something I am actually enjoying, which is Philip Roth‘s autobiography, The Facts. It’s a little pathetic that I haven’t finished it, as it’s fairly short, and I started it months ago. Also pathetic that it’s pretty much the only thing except the newspaper I have read in months. Considering I sometimes will read three books in a week, this is very odd.
I ended up staying at the lake just a little too late and had to rush to meet Mr. S at the IMAX. There was no time for dinner, as I thought we should queue up for Batman early (we had prepurchased tickets for what turned out to be a sold-out show) to get good seats.
The IMAX theater was great. We were able to get seats around middle-middle (the only place to sit, dahling), and the theater was very well run. The seats were unusually comfortable, the perfect shape to hug your body. I regretted I couldn’t pick up a few for my living room!
As for the movie, I had tried not to set my expectations too high given the hype, but I did enter the theater with a positive attitude. People have been calling Batman: The Dark Knight the best movie they have ever seen, and they’ve given similar accolades to Heath Ledger‘s performance. I doubted I would agree with either of those assessments, but I did expect to like it.
It was quite a disappointment.
There were certainly many things to like about the movie, including performances by Ledger, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gylenhaal, Tom Skerrit, and Christian Bale, who has so little screen time it’s practically a cameo. I especially liked Eric Roberts, who I think is aging very well as an actor. I like him in a comedic role in particular, and he did have a somewhat light touch in this film (for a murderous villain).
My biggest issue with the movie was that it was plot-dense, an expression I made up just for this movie. Whereas The Hulk had very little plot and jumped from action scene to action scene, this movie had more plot than a normal human being could follow (which is probably why people are seeing it multiple times, my son pointed out), and each plot point came with an action scene. I couldn’t tell who was fighting whom or why.
Really, I was expecting a ride like Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark for the type of money Dark Knight’s taking in. Instead I felt like I was sitting in a wagon being pulled by a series of scenes. It just wasn’t any fun. It’s the difference between being on Space Mountain and the Peter Pan ride at Disney. The Peter Pan ride is detail-rich, but you’re just an observer. You experience Space Mountain.
Regarding Heath Ledger’s performance, let me preface this by saying I was in tears when I found out he’d died, not because I felt like I knew the guy, but because of the performances by this fine actor that the world (okay, selfishly, I) would never see. I knew when I saw him in Monster’s Ball that he had something special to give the film world, and Brokeback Mountain confirmed that.
But while I’m an ardent admirer of his, I didn’t think this role had the range to make it the performance everyone has been saying it was. It was a small part, not just in terms of screen time (though he probably had more lines than Bale), but in terms of what the character could show us about himself. The role wasn’t quite one-note—and it would be a crime to refer to it as a one-note performance—but it wasn’t rich enough to have the impact I expected based on the reviews. That said, he was every bit as good as the trailers suggest; there just isn’t much more to the performance than what’s in the trailers.
The person who stole the movie, to my mind, was Aaron Eckhart. He’s another fine actor, one who I thought was appropriately dynamic (given the role of moral hero) in his role. I loved him also in Thank You for Smoking, and hope he has the big career he should have.
I did like the gadgets.
Between the gadgets, the visuals (not as interesting or distinctive as Tim Burton‘s from the first Batman movie, but good), and the performances, I’d give it about a 6 out of 10 (imdb style). I’ll give the IMAX theater a 10.
Kayaking at last
Saturday afternoon, I picked up my doggy from the kennel, then finally got my kayaking in. Lovely. Here are a couple of pictures floating along the Concord River into the Sudbury River.
Thank you for putting up with yet another long post. I totally did not have the time to write this, but it’s been that kind of writing week.