Letters to Holly

Monday, November 19

Neil Simon and Meteors

Thanks to a DVD-burning trade with a fellow university alum, we now have many new movies to watch, and Friday was The Bourne Identity. Tight, small action film, and you can tell they hedged their bets on the ending in case the profits didn't warrant sequels. If it ended there, all would be well. Now we want to see what comes next.

I met with the director Saturday morning for coffee and gift exchanging. She bought gifts based on the original play Witness for the Prosecution, and I never did learn just when the switch to the Ayn Rand was made. She got pen sets made to look like pipes. It's cute. She liked her book and the cast messages. She pressed her case about the stage lights (even handing me a handout of pictures from the DVD with and without lights), and I mollified her politely. We traded war stories, and she took every opportunity to insult the backstage director. I don't think she knew his behavior problems on previous shows, and I didn't know that he had tried to name himself technical director during the show. It was a nice chat, and I'd work with her again if the stars aligned.

We met up with an alum of Your Sister's for dinner and a play. We caught The Good Doctor at Furman, an anthology of small skits written by Neil Simon inspired by Chekov. I consider myself a fan of Simon, yet had never heard of this. It was great. Very funny, with a sharp young cast. I'm not used to good theatre from college kids. But they nailed this.

On the way back up home, she and I stopped on Bald Mountain to catch the Leonid meteor shower. We first saw them in 2001, one of first dates. Thhis night's show was milder but still worth the time and cold. The very, very cold. We nestled in a crater on the flat rock side of the mountain for an hour before drunks and shivers made us leave. We stopped in farm land and saw some more before getting home right before 2 a.m. And now I'm sick. I've fended off a cold for a week now, and it finally struck Sunday. I'm at home sick from work as I write this. I'm hoping to assault my sore throat with buffalo wings tonight to teach it a lesson. I'm also determined to kick this before the drive to Birmingham Thursday.

We watched Beowulf Sunday. My eyes hurt from looking at everything. Because this is animated through motion capture, I'm squinting to see eyelashes, beard hairs, scale detail, light play, etc. I have a headache from staring over this film.

It's a tight action film. They've made changes to the story that even my English teacher wife approved of. What I really liked were the creative camera movements and the attention to conveying the actors' choices. Anthony Hopkins acts like Hopkins. Malkovich is undoubtedly Malkovich (the scene where Unfirth confronts Beowulf steals the film). The animation isn't consistently fluid, but there are some images that make me gasp.

The elements make this movie sparkle and they all involve the monsters. Grendel is fully formed in concept if not biologically, and I miss him when he's gone. The dragon is, of course, designed well, but the movie takes of when it first flaps its wings, and we get about ten solid minutes of action.

It's going to be compared to 300, and they're similar but descended from different perspectives of animation.

This is fun, and funnier than I expected.

The NFL Contest
NFC: New Orleans (4-6), St. Louis (2-8)
AFC: Indianapolis (8-2), New England (10-0)

NFC: New Orleans (4-6), Carolina (4-6)
AFC: New England (10-0), San Diego (5-5)

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