Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On Friendship, Likely and Otherwise

I watched Meet the Robinsons this morning during breakfast. Disney's latest animated film is the tale of an orphan named Lewis who wants to be a great inventor, but his crazy gizmos never seem to work and frighten off potential parents. Lewis is about to give up after his newest invention, a Memory Scanner he hopes will help him find his birth mother, nearly destroys his school science fair. He gets a boost when he encounters Wilbur Robinson, a strange boy with pointy hair who turns out to be from the future. He takes Lewis to his time in the hope that he'll be able to stop the evil Bowler Hat Guy, who's stolen his father's time machine, but Lewis ends up falling for Wilbur's wacky family and really doesn't want to leave.

Kudos to Disney for trying something completely different, both in the film's story (based after a children's book, A Day With Wilbur Robinson) and design. Perhaps the film's motto, "Keep Moving Forward," will finally inspire Disney to follow the words of its founder mentioned at the very end of the film and move past the formulas and sequels they've relied on for over a decade and move into, if not newer, at least more unusual territory.

It was an absolutely perfect day out, still windy but sunny and bright, a marked improvement over yesterday. It was too nice to be inside all day, so I went for a walk. I wanted to bring Uncle Ken and Bruce some of my Orange Spice Cream Cake, but there was a very, very long train blocking the path over the tracks I usually take. I ended up going down Manor, around West Clinton, and up to Hillcrest the long way. (And it's a good thing I did - I would have NEVER gotten around that train. There was more of it on the bridge over West Clinton Avenue, and even THAT didn't look like anywhere close to the end!)

I hung out online for a little while after my walk and tried to call Verizon, but but the phone still wasn't working. I did find out what may be the problem with my Internet, though. Apparently, wireless phones that have 2.4 GHz, the same as the DSL, interferes with the DSL. Guess what my phone has? Since it's not working anyway, I unplugged it while I'm online. I haven't had any internet problems tonight, so I hope that was it. Maybe I'll try my old phone tomorrow and see how well that works. It's not a wireless phone. If the phone isn't working by tomorrow, I'll need to go to Miss Ellie's side of the house or to Uncle Ken's and call Verizon. I'd e-mail them, but I really think I ought to explain my work schedule and that there are only certain hours I'll be there one-on-one.

I went to work after lunch. Work was steady during the usual 4-5 rush hour, otherwise was dead as a doornail and about as much fun. The 4 1/2 hours seemed to drag on forever. We had plenty of help once the kids let out of school, and Sue, the head front end manager, was training three more older cashiers in the back.

I watched Sideways when I got home. I've rented this acclaimed comedy three times, but just never got to watching it. I'm glad I finally did. The reason most of the movies I rent or buy that were made in the last ten years were kids' movies is...most of the movies made in the last 10 years for adults have been pretty bad. I find most romantic comedies boring, bloody action leaves me cold, horror makes me queasy, and I could care less about teenage boys and their hormones.

Even so, for all my love of Disney, animation, and family films, sometimes, I just want to watch competent adults behave like real, competent adults - cursing, drinking, going through real life and messy love affairs that maybe could actually happen. I'd heard wonderful things about Sideways from all over and thought it sounded exactly right. Two now-middle-aged college buddies go for a road trip through California Wine Country to celebrate the upcoming wedding of one of them.

I was right. This was a great movie, well-deserving of the praise heaped on it (and the Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay it won in 2005). The cast deserved much praise as well. Paul Giamatti, who usually plays heavies and quirky characters, was a revelation as the high school English teacher, struggling writer, and wine connoisseur who learns to put his messy divorce behind him, but all four leads were wonderful. The best part of all, though, was listening to four literate, intelligent, middle-aged adults discover love, sex, and fine wine...all without coming off too sweet, hormonal, or goofy. This is a comedy and you will laugh, but it's laughter as bittersweet as a grape off the vine.

I got so into Sideways (and doing my bills), I was late joining Lauren in our second chat and first writing session in over a month. We did manage to do the tag for "The Monkee Magic Show" and finish that story off, and will be starting the next one tomorrow. Look for the tag in a few days, and the next story by the end of this month!

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