“Small Time Crooks,” etc.

Deep Water — I’m slowly losing my taste for films about people who do adventurous but stupid things (e.g., Grizzly Man, Into The Wild). Deep Water is a documentary about a guy who enters a competition to sail across the world non-stop by himself, and fails. It’s mostly a sad story and not nearly as gripping as something like Touching the Void, but it’s interesting, especially for viewers who know anything about sailing. (Mar. 29/08)

Black Book — A story of a Jewish woman who, as an undercover operative for the Resistance, develops an intimate relationship with a high-ranking SS officer and falls in love with him. I took a look at this film because James Berardinelli selected it as one of his top 10 of 2007. He called it “a powerful and compelling World War II thriller that features note-perfect performances and an almost flawless screenplay.” But mostly it’s an excuse for director, Paul Verhoeven, to show off Carice van Houten‘s breasts whenever possible (fess up Berardinelli). For me, Black Book felt like a CBC mini-series: exactly the same sharp and clean cinematography, the same self-consciously emotional style of acting — TV, not cinema. I just got an email from someone who watched the movie with me: “The more I think about the movie we watched last night, the less I like it. It seems like manipulative and slick schlop.” I can’t argue with that. (Mar. 25/08)

Small Time Crooks — Here’s the set-up: Some small time crooks devise a plan to open a bakery next door to a bank and tunnel underground into the bank’s vault. But the bakery does such good business that they make more money from the bakery then they would have from robbing the bank. That’s the first 30 minutes of the movie and it’s funny as hell. These guys are completely incompetent criminals. The scene where they first try to dig the tunnel with a jack hammer in the basement of the bakery had me howling. After that the story drags and becomes too serious. Individual scenes work on their own, and Tracy Ullman gives an excellent performance as the baker (and Woody Allen’s wife), but the comedy loses it’s momentum long before the final credits. (Mar. 18/08)

Ode To Fred

fred and jahI’m taking our 14 year old cat (the black and white one) to the veterinarian in about an hour to be euthanized. She never was a friendly cat, but she’s become worse the past year: swiping at our other cat and anyone who gets to close to her; not using the litter box regularly; isolating herself from everything. She still has that growth on her leg, but it hasn’t gotten worse. We took her to the vet a few months ago about her behavior and they agreed – her behavior is probably due to age and who knows what’s growing in her.

Fred was never tolerant to people; not your ideal cat; however, she was our pet for 14 years. She’s more my wife’s pet than mine, but still, it’s hard.

Jody Saves The Day!

plumberThe phone rang around 7am. I was just waking up. It’s one of my wife’s friends: her basement is flooding from a water leak near her clothes washer and she doesn’t know what to do.

“There should be two pipes leading to the washer,” I say. “One for hot water, one for cold. There’s usually a shutoff valve on each.”

“I see it! Just a sec…” and she puts the phone down as she tries to turn it off. I hear the rush and sloshing of water throughout all this.

“I can’t turn it!” she says.

“Try the main water line. Its valve is usually along the front wall under the front door,” I say.

“Okay, I think I see it…” A few seconds go by. “That won’t turn either! I have to go!” she announces.

“I’m coming over; I have to get dressed first,” I say as we disconnect.

I arrive within 5 minutes (I DO speed in emergencies). Her two upset kids greet me at the door.

“Hi guys!” I say. “Is the water off yet?” They’re upset because their mom’s upset with panic.

“No!” they say in unison.

I go downstairs and see their mom under a utility sink still trying to turn the water off. The cold water hose leading to the washer is cracked and water is shooting out like a geyser. Carpet in a six foot radius is soaked. The knob for the water is broken so it’s hard to get a good grip. I try it with a towel and it won’t budge. My hand is starting to hurt from the effort.

“We’ll have to turn off the main water line,” I say, which I should’ve done as soon as I got there. The main line has a knob on one pipe and a handle-like valve on a nearby pipe. I try the knob first and can’t move it. So I push the handle-like valve instead and it easily shuts the water off.

“Oh, Jody! Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

And the only thing I’m thinking about as I drive home is this will make a great blog entry!

(I looked for posts related to this and the only one is I Saved Someone’s Life, which is in a different league, I think.)