Letters to Holly

Tuesday, April 10

Snow, Movies, Cars

I watched three movies this weekend.

City of God
, a Brazilian street gang movie I TiFauxed a year ago. This took two viewings as it's a mighty long film, but it is stylish and energetic. Also, the soundtrack is fuhntaztik. This is Romeo and Juliet without the romance as we watch kids grow up and dominate the slums of Brazil.

Grindhouse, a marinade of every bad film our parents won't watch. The first half, Planet Terror, is gory and camp, and it starts to wear after a bit. But Death Proof decides to forgo mocking the targeted genres of car stunts and female revenge flicks and actually IS a car stunts and female revenge flick. I prefer it much more, and it's a shame Your Sis will in no way watch the first film to get to this, a movie she will adore. Rumors abound that the startling BO failure of Grindhouse may lead to separate releases of both films. However, each film must include all the fake trailers as they brought the house down when I saw them. There's so much to love here, but Kurt Russell as the bad guy is just dead perfect. The combined z-movie glory of Jeff Fahey and Micheal Biehn is almost too pure a dream to capture in the measly flesh of the human brain. This is crap-movie nirvana.

The Host, a South Korean monster movie that brings dignity back to its genre. It's very, very good and in no way shrimps on the monster or the suspense. But it doesn't try to make the monster sad or misunderstood. I liked this a lot and was shocked when Your Sis suggested we see it. She caught the trailer for it while watching The Namesake and knew I wanted to see Host. Maybe the most satisfying monster film since Jaws.

Amid the films, we shopped for a car. On Sunday we hit the Land Rover dealership and laughed out loud at the prices and accompanying gas mileage, but were momentarily distracted by the used BMW Mini Cooper for $18,000. But we need more cargo space not less. We needed a four-door hatchback, preferably not an SVU. The BMW lot was also a herd of cars out of our range and on we went to the Saturn dealership. However, not only was it cold as hell, it had snowed, and all the outside cars were covered. We couldn't even read the sticker prices. The nearby Nissan dealership had a showroom Versa, and it charmed us with a small price and good space. Unfortunately, it has a thin candy shell. We tried the Pontiac dealership to look at Vibes (a car we noticed years back in a mall show), but the cold drove us away. As the snow melted, we enjoyed a fabulous Chinese lunch and browsed for garden plants. We then hit a Subaru dealership for our first look at those cars. We went back to the Saturn place, and the salesman tried to sell us a tank of a car called the VUE. I told him it was just too big for us. Next door was the Toyota lot, and we checked the Scion (too small), RAV (too big) and Matrix (just right). But the lot was closing, and it was cold, and we went home.

On Monday, we went back to the dealerships. Online comparisons made us reconsider the Vibe and Versa. We checked out a Matrix in the showroom and took to it. We tried to find something wrong with it but couldn't. We moved on to the Nissan dealership to see the Muranos, but man are they expensive. We liked the luxury options (such as the rear-view camera), but the price removed it from our list. The Subarus looked rather old inside, like late '90 cars, and the price wasn't comparable to the front-runner Matrix. So they were out. Once more to the Toyota lot and we actually drove a Matrix. Here I have to commend sales guy Allen who talked with us just barely and gave us time and room to browse. The perfect car salesman, I think. He gave us the Matrix key and an hour to try it. It runs great, sounds great, handles great. But we checked a used model for price comparison, and really the used prices aren't that much different. We'd rather spend the extra money and get the color and options we want. But that's for another day. We also looked at a Prius, the Toyota hybrid. It's sharp to look at, but it doesn't seem any safer than a economy sedan. The Matrix has traction control. We killed time at Barnes & Noble and had Chick-fil-A before seeing The Host. And then it was time to go home.

And this morning ... well, that will wait for tomorrow's entry.

Picture of the Day
The Toyota Matrix, a wagon on the Corolla chassis. Palm trees not included.

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