Friday, May 27, 2016

Big rock candy mountain

Blarg. I've kept this blog so I can keep up with non-political, non-policy, non-work-related writing (mainly book and movie reviews and travel musings). Every now and then I get overwhelmed and ignore it for a few months. And then every now and then I have a chunk of free time to go back and reflect on half the stuff I'm feeding my brain.

Lately, it's been spy and superhero flicks: everything from Foyle's War and The Bletchley Circle on Netflix to cheesy blockbusters on the big screen. It's great escapism, and for the most part there are no gray areas in the battles against good and evil. Nice and clean, unlike real life.

Captain America: Civil War was about 20 minutes longer than it needed to be, but it was still thoroughly enjoyable. I've only seen a few of the Avengers movies or back stories, but you didn't really need the history to be able to follow the story. It's the age-old debate about whether it's better to work from within or without in order to create change. (Hello, 2016 presidential election! But crap, I was trying not to go there...) But really, it was just an excuse to put all the Marvel superheroes in one film. Every kid does that in their imagination. What, Rainbow Brite and GI Joe never teamed up in anyone's childhood fantasies? Just me? OK...

Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice was also way longer than it needed to be. I've never been a fan of the Batman story, and Ben Affleck did nothing to further endear him to me. My motives for seeing the movie were pure Henry Cavill eye candy. (Plus, I like the Superman story as a better metaphor for America.) The whole movie is just one big misunderstanding between the two superheroes, who distrust each other's underlying cape-flapping philosophies. It gets boring quickly, and their eventual reconciliation is the most unoriginal thing ever.

Johnny English was a complete waste of my time, but I was in the mood for something stupid so it I saw it through to the end. I generally like Rowan Atkinson, and I understand that the whole thing is tongue-in-cheek and deliberately over-the-top like John Malkovich's French accent throughout the whole ordeal. It's just a pretty unremarkable, unmemorable movie unless it's exactly the kind of junk food you need after midnight. Unfortunately, now Netflix keeps suggesting the sequel to me.

I might need to hit the gym hard after this latest binge-fest.

But that's why I do the NYT crossword puzzle every day.