Letters to Holly

Monday, August 31

Bossh Office: District 9

Once again, the two different versions of The Empire Strikes Back bounty hunter dissect a movie. This week: District 9.

Chipper Bossh: Finally, sci-fi in the traditional sense: metaphors for the human condition and analogies for political actions wrapped in alternate-universe technology. I don't ask for much really. So many sci-fi movies are really action films with lasers. This has more to say.

Surly Bossh: I was happier when it said less and got on with the blood and bullets. It sucked at the beginning. I saw some people leave the theatre, probably because they got bored.

Chipper Bossh: The early documentary style was fine for explaining the premise: A spaceship parks above Johannesburg in 1982, and the aliens are ghettoed. They can't assimilate in human society and exist on the fringe with no options. They are angry. They are desperate. But that's not where the movie goes really. And I like that. It picks a novel route through a cliche forest.

Surly Bossh: Coulda gotten to the good stuff earlier is all I'm sayin'. When it gets bloody, it gets REALLY bloody.

Chipper Bossh: Yeah, I think it goes too far with that.

Surly Bossh: It's like we're not even the same lizard.

Chipper Bossh: I was happy with the human drama, the agency stooge who gets in over his head and has no one to turn to. I enjoyed seeing the Nigerian criminal influence in the shantytown. I could have watched a miniseries just on the ramifications of aliens shoehorned into human society.

Surly Bossh: That Nigerian crime boss was kinda cool. The movie should have been about him.

Chipper Bossh: My point exactly. The film could have been told from any number of perspectives. That's a sign of good storytelling, I think.

Surly Bossh: So you're not gonna admit this is essentially the African Alien Nation?

Chipper Bossh: You know, I'd like to see a series of stories about how different societies handle a sudden alien influx. How would North Korea handle it? London or Russia or India? This idea has wings. We could have an anthology of this.

Surly Bossh: As long as we get another half hour of special effects and violence, I'm all for it. For all your talk about traditional scifi, this sucker's a running gunfight in the last half hour. Thank God.

Chipper Bossh: So we both like it?

Surly Bossh: Suppose so. Surly out.

I spent a week getting ready to completely change out the laundry room light. It went out the same day the water heater died, and I've let its mystery fester in my brain for a year now. I checked online tutorials on wiring and walked through the hardware stores to check their stock for whatever contingency pops up. Saturday morning, I was prepared to work four hours to finish this. I was going to run new wires to the fixture and the two light switches if it came to it. I was girded. I pulled the car out of the garage so I could reach the attic door, closed off the room, and psyched myself up.

Then I checked the fixture's wire caps, and noticed one was loose. I tightened it, reconnecting the wires from the fixture to the switches. And it worked. The light came on and the switches are fine and house has not burned down. It took five minutes. I now had half the day free.

When Your Sis was through meeting a teacher buddy over coffee, we went to the movies and Krispy Kreme. She's fighting the new school bug. Probably not swine flu. Maybe Pigs In Space flu. She used the Netti Pot you gave me, and it's helped her sleep better. She is, however, in the sick bed, and I wake up thinking she's back in Maine.

A student lent her a copy of Twilight, and she promised to give it a try. I'll debrief her when she's through. Some of the other teachers swear by it. My dental hygienists talked about it the entire time I was in the dentist chair Friday.

We went to this year's first football game on Friday. Fall is sneaking up on us.

My theatre liaison called me again to get me to join the fall play. I again begged off, citing my workload and the upcoming mom care. He said they really need me and are willing to push back the opening weekend to make it convenient for me. A tiny voice in my brain is telling me to do it. I, however, had a nightmare last night about working in two simultaneous productions, and it shut that voice right up. He also asked me about casting either of two actresses from the play I directed. I gave him my notes with the disclaimer that they may have behaved differently for me because it was my first time. I can and did confidently recommend one of them, and this play now has three people I'd enjoy working with and that internal play-eager voice is starting to get on my nerves.

Moving Picture of the Day
This was the original film expanded into District 9 here. It's about five minutes long. Same director and writer and at least one actor.

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