Thursday, December 29, 2016

Passengers. It didn’t suck!

Let me say up front that there will be spoilerish things in this post.

You were warned.

When I saw the initial ads for PASSENGERS I got really excited. Two of my favorite actors in a science fiction drama. What more could I ask for?

Well, I could ask for a lot of things, actually, like good special effects, a good script, and a good finish. Opinions on movies vary about as much as anything on Earth. And I rarely agree with the professional critics, and man oh man were they being tough on this movie.

David Edelstein, a film critic for New York magazine and for NPR's Fresh Air, is the only critic I found (in a very small sampling) that said he actually liked the movie. But even he didn't like the ending. Most of the negativity was relayed to me from my son or from a few articles online. But there seemed to be a general consensus that the movie sucked.

Given all of the naysaying and negativity, I had modest expectations. I went in with a half-open mind, expecting the ending to suck.

I enjoyed the opening. I really like Chris Pratt, and his mechanic alone on a huge ship and looking at spending the rest of his life in the midst of five thousand sleeping people worked for me. His character felt believable and then the moment comes when, on the verge of suicide, he sees the Jennifer Lawrence character, and the movie takes a darker turn.

I’ve heard about the discussion that the premise of waking her up was a plot contrivance. Those people completely missed the entire point of the story. It was about a guy who has a choice to make, live forever alone, or ruin someone else’s future so that he doesn’t have to be. That is the WHOLE PLOT! Then others said it was tantamount to rape. PLEASE. Are you effing kidding me? Did you even watch the movie? Was it extremely creepy that he knew about her and had read all her published work? Yes. Clearly. But it felt plausible the way it was played. He had agonized for months about doing it, then they became friends and then lovers over the course of time. It wasn’t rushed, played about as well as it could be to show time without being pedantic. And it was Pratt and Lawrence. They were right for their parts, or at least made them seem like people. People put in an impossible situation.

Was the screenplay perfect? No, but it was plausible and some of the plot issues people discussed were lamp-shaded right up front. It was enjoyable seeing the two of them together.

Then comes the moment of truth when she finds out that he woke her on purpose, which he did not flinch from, and her reaction felt realistic.

Things start progressing when one of the crew also wakes up, because the ship is dying.
All this time I’m waiting for the suck. Surely something blaringly bad was going to happen. A horrible line or something really cliché or just plain awful plot. I kept waiting, and expecting.

They deal with the ship starting to have problems individually, because she was trying to avoid him. But, it turns out if he hadn’t woken her up everyone on board would have died. In the process of saving the ship both of them have hair-raising experiences where I was sure they were going to die. That had to be the part that ruined the movie. This happened multiple times for both characters. No, they live through one heroic thing after another. Still not sucking. In fact, it is really working for me. I am feeling the characters. I care. Then as the climax comes, I was starting to think it was going to have one of those cliché Romeo and Juliet endings, and that really would have sucked, because I am still waiting for it to suck.

But no. It has, to me, a satisfying conclusion. A happy ending. I like happy endings!

The final scene can be taken many ways, but I will say it was the simplest choice of endings. The screenwriter or director could have gone a multitude of different directions at the end, but chose the easiest closing. It was fine with me.

I walked out of the movie happy. It didn’t suck. It actually exceeded my expectations! So, I guess I owe all of the naysayers a thank you.

I have no idea why so many people were so hard on this movie. Okay, it won’t win an Oscar, and there were no truly emotional moments for me, ones that make something memorable, but I did enjoy it. Is it really too much to ask for a movie with a nice happy ending to be released at Christmas time? I don’t think so. All the Grinches out there need to get some perspective.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Dune Abides...I mean...

I saw a book being advertised on the interwebs. It was a new cover for Dune, but I mistook it initially as saying Dude. The image refused to leave my brain, so it must be purged. This is what I came up with.

Anyone care to write this crossover?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Christmas at Our House - A Photo Essay

My wife loves to decorate for Christmas. 

And I love the Result. This is our master bedroom.
After 25 years of marriage visiting craft boutiques and shows, and hunting for bargains after Christmas we have amassed a lot of stuff to decorate the house.
This only the inside of the house, and not a comprehensive photo-essay, but it covers most of the stuff we have out right now.

Moving down the hall to the entryway. A lot of these things she created herself.

A few years back we decided to switch things up from the traditional. This is the living room.

Yes, we have eclectic taste, but we made a decision a few years ago, to decorate with stuff that made us laugh. Life is too short! Her trees and boughs are the best!

Now we transition into the dining area.

 We have a more traditional  Red and White Tree in here.

  Mud Room.

That just leaves the basement where the boys live and game. 
We used to put up another big tree down here, but the cats were always rough on it. We have lots of room to expand on the decorations down here.
That’s it for now. I hope you all have a wonderful and Merry Christmas!