Monday, August 28, 2017

But the World Goes 'Round

Began a cool, cloudy morning with Sailor Moon and the Pumpkin Spice Cheerios with blueberries for breakfast. Did two episodes of Sailor Moon while I ate. Dove into the second half of season two for "The Shocking Future: Dimand's Dark Ambition." Chibi-Usa has taken Tuxedo Mask and the Guardians forward in time to 30th Cenutry Tokyo. The group is shocked to find it in ruins. King Endymion, the future version of Tuxedo Mask, explains that they were attacked by the people of the Dark Moon Clan. The head of the clan has something even more evil planned for Sailor Moon, who happens to be a dead ringer for the queen of Crystal Tokyo, Serenity.

While Tuxedo Mask rescues his beloved, the evil Wise Man is luring away Chibi-Usa in "Wise Man's Evil Hand: Chibi Usa Disappears." Dark Moon Clan third-in-command Esmeraude isn't happy about any of it. She wants to be queen of the Dark Moon and rule with Dimand. Wise Man uses her jealousy against the Sailor Guardians and keep them from coming after the little girl.

(Oh, and by the way, the Pumpkin Spice Cheerios are really tasty. They're nicely spiced and just sweet enough, rather than sticky-sweet like the Monster marshmallow cereals. They're a nice choice if you want to celebrate the beginning of fall at breakfast, but aren't into cereals that have marshmallows or are too sugary.)

Headed to work around quarter of 11, dodging road crews on Kendall laying new sewage pipes. Once again, work wasn't really much of a problem. I wish they could have staggered our breaks a little better so I didn't have to wait for lunch. Otherwise, it was on and off steady. I gathered carts and baskets and did the trash and plastic bag recycling.

Took the long way home down down Nicholson Road to avoid the ongoing repairs to Kendall. It just before rush hour and really busy, especially down by the Spanish church and apartments. The traffic ended once I pushed up the hill to Manor Avenue. It was still cloudy by then, but unusually cool for August, barely in the upper 70's. The rain's been a boon for the local flora. Clover, Queen Anne's lace, and goldenrod brighten roadsides. I passed by a rose bush on Nicholson Road with the largest, most beautiful blooms I'd ever seen in vibrant shades of blush, cream, and peachy-pink.

As soon as I got home, I changed and went right into writing. Arturro rushes over to Yoda's house as Yoda and Luke are meditating in Yoda's living room. He tells them about Chip's truncated message and his fear for his friend. Uncle Ben calls and also tells them about Vader's threat. Ben and Yoda don't want the boys to go to Bespin Island to face Vader, but not because they're worried about Luke being "corrupted" or falling to evil. Ben insists that rescuing Leia and Hank is a job for the police. Luke doesn't care. Leia is his twin sister, and Hank's a good friend. They take off...just as Ben decides he's going to tip off the cops anyway.

Had leftovers for dinner, then made Blueberry-Lemon Muffins while watching New York, New York. Just out of the service on V-J Day, saxophonist Jimmy Doyle (Robert DeNiro) ends up celebrating in a night club in New York City, where he encounters USO singer Francine Evans (Liza Minnelli). He keeps pestering her and pestering her, ultimately shanghaiing her into an audition for a local club with him. They end up doing a boy-girl act, then joining a band together. They're so popular, Jimmy finally starts his own band. Obsessed with her, he corrals her into marrying him. He thinks they'll be able to handle it when she's pregnant and wants to keep the baby, but he hates not being able to tour. Ultimately, he leaves after they have a violent argument that ends with her going into labor. She does raise their son, becoming a successful recording and movie star. He finally opens his own, equally popular jazz club, writing the hit "Theme from 'New York, New York'." When he meets her after the opening of her new act, they finally realize that, no matter how much they love each other, they will always love performing and their careers more.

This reminds me a lot of La La Land, set on the other side of the country and with a far more bittersweet tone. Both films portray a man obsessed with jazz and his own talent, a woman who's pushing for more, and show how ambition can come between even the strongest love. I really wish there had been more music in New York, New York and less soap opera. The movie is strongest when Minnelli's belting out several Kander and Ebb tunes (including the smash hit title number and the massive MGM musical spoof "Happy Endings") and the big bands are blasting hot jazz tunes. DeNiro's abrasive performance as the nasty Jimmy gets annoying after a while, to the point where you wonder what Francine sees in the guy. (Also, both films feature a relatively unhappy ending that doesn't really jive with what came before it.)

It's too bad that the theme song is about the only thing from this movie that was successful at the time. Not only was its director Martin Scorsese having major problems (including a drug habit), but most critics didn't really understand what he was doing with the old-style Hollywood tribute, with obviously fake sets to emphasize the fantasy in a brutally down-to-Earth story. This is really too big of a movie (another one that lasts for more than two and a half hours) for a story that should have been kept intimate.

If you're a fan of big band, Kander & Ebb, Scorsese's work, or the stars, this is worth checking out at least once if you have time on your hands.

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