Archive for Miscellany and Whatever

Movie Review: X-Men: First Class

X-Men: First Class (2011) 7/10
A “reboot” prequel of the X-Men franchise: It is 1962, and mutants are gathering together, some to end their isolation, and some to avenge themselves on mankind.


Holocaust survivor Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender), who will become Magneto, seeks the man who tortured and experimented on him in 1944. That man, 18 years later, will be known as Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon). Shaw is controlling major government figures with his three mutant accomplices, including Emma Frost (January Jones).

Meanwhile, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), PhD in genetic mutations, is working with the CIA to gather mutants to help save the U.S. and the world from Shaw’s threat.

If all this sounds a little top-heavy, it is, and the movie threatens to topple over with the weight of front-loaded back-story. It just maintains its balance on the back-story issue, even though I haven’t even mentioned Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), or CIA agent Oliver Platt. This movie is so busy that Platt isn’t even given a name in the script.

It’s very hard to review a movie that earns a “B-” grade. “A” and “F” are what make writing reviews fun and easy! This movie does a lot right, and a lot wrong. Great movies can have flaws, but you don’t think of them until after you leave the theater. In that sense, X-Men: First Class is surely not a great movie.

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A long time ago, I blogged about forgetting to put the coffee filter in the coffee maker. Today was one of several days since that time that I almost did the same thing again, but remembered blogging about it.

Maybe, if I hadn’t blogged it, I would remember, instead, doing it, and stop myself from doing it again. But maybe not. Telling stories has a powerful and magical function within us. It alters what we remember. Maybe it’s grandiose to say it changes who we are, but it gets inside us and changes…something.

I read earlier this week that blogging is declining among teens and twentysomethngs, replaced, I suspect, by tweeting and updating your Facebook status. And there’s nothing wrong with just needing to say something, which is what 140 characters does. It doesn’t tell a story, it just says something, and we need that too.

But storytelling serves a real and age-old human need. Blogging is, in that sense, old-fashioned: Have a story to tell, tell it. It’s just a new way to tell stories, but so was the Guttenberg press.

I dreamed of handfasting

In my dream, I was marrying Isaac (whom, in real life, I married in 1988 and divorced in 1998). I think Emily & Tim were the officiating High Priestess and High Priest.

There were two large picnic-style blankets laid out in the center, and I was behind one and Isaac behind the other, standing at the long end facing each other. On a signal, the HPS & HP ran around the blankets to the space between them, and then on the next signal, Isaac and I went to the short end and flopped onto our backs, so we were laying on blankets, side by side with the HPS & HP between us. Then they began the ceremony looking down at us.

That was very strange.

Friday Random Ten

1. My Father—Judy Collins (The Best of Judy Collins)
2. Which Way Does That Old Pony Run—Lyle Lovett (Lyle Lovett & His Large Band)
3. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood—Yusef (An Other Cup)
4. Innocent Not Guilty—Garland Jeffreys (Times Square: Soundtrack)
5. Know Now Then—Ani DiFranco (Up Up Up Up Up Up)
6. Sweet Toxic Love-Deliverance—Culture Club (At Worse…The Best of Boy George & Culture Club)
7. Sweet Baby James—James Taylor (Sweet Baby James)
8. Turn Turn Turn—Judy Collins (The Best of Judy Collins)
9. Sunny Skies—James Taylor (Sweet Baby James)
10. Under the Milky Way—The Church (Living in Oblivion: The 80s Greatest Hits, Volume 1)

Bonus: Manhattan—Ella Fitzgerald (Kissing Jessica Stein: Soundtrack)

Bizarrely repetitive day.

I dreamt about Peter Dinklage

I recognized him working at a bookstore. I handed him two DVDs to sign. One was The Station Agent. The other had a holographic surface so you couldn’t see his signature.

Gotta mean something.

Friday Random Ten

Have a happy and random holiday celebration.

1. Young Blood—Rickie Lee Jones
2. I Wanna Be Sedated—The Ramones
3. Free Yourself—The Untouchables
4. That’s Right (You’re Not from Texas)—Lyle Lovett
5. Night Train—Steve Winwood
6. Ya Got Trouble—The Music Man
7. We Care a Lot—Faith No More
8. Someone to Watch Over Me—Nancy Wilson
9. Round Eye Blues—Marah
10. Pretty Boys—Joe Jackson

Bonus Track: Babylon is Burning—The Ruts

Friday Random 10

1. Little Green — Joni Mitchell: Except the sound was screwed up, so now I have to figure out if I need to remove and re-upload this one.
2. Whispers from a Spiritual Garden — Yusef
3. Louisiana 1927 — Randy Newman
4. My Romance — Michael Feinstein
5. Know Now Then — Ani DiFranco
6. El Matador — Los Fabulosos Cadillacs: I had no idea this thing was on my iPod. Turns out it’s from the soundtrack of Grosse Point Blank, which is continually rewarding.
7. Don’t Touch My Hat — Lyle Lovett
8. Come Away With Me — Norah Jones: I almost want to remove this one, it’s so familiar and so beloved that it lacks something of the surprise and delight of using shuffle.
9. I Was Doing All Right — Annie Ross: Another one I didn’t know I had.
10. Farewell to Tarwathie — Judy Collins: I swear to the gods, I thought I removed this from my iPod already. It’s lovely, but not really iPod music, y’know?

Friday random ten

1. Willow Weep for Me — Billie Holiday
2. Bye, Bye Baby — The Commitments (soundtrack)
3. Goldeneye — Tina Turner
4. Precious — The Pretenders
5. Medley: Hold Me Tight/Lazy Dynamite/Hands of Love/Power Cut — Paul McCartney & Wings
6. Summer in Ohio — Five Years Later (soundtrack)
7. Time and Time Again — Counting Crows
8. Suffer to Sing the Blues — David Bromberg
9. Winterlude — Bob Dylan
10. Someone to Watch Over Me — Nancy Wilson

An exceptionally satisfying selection.

Friday Random Ten

Ooh! I’ve had my iPod a whole ‘nother week!

1. Touch Me Fall — Indigo Girls (which wasn’t really on shuffle, apparently shuffle had turned off and I didn’t realize it, so then I turned shuffle back on and got…)
2. Crazy Baby — Joan Osborne (which actually started boring me, so I did that shake-it-up thing and got…)
3. Fast As You Can — Fiona Apple
4. Hey Baby…So Sad — New Skin
5. Bitch — Meredith Brooks
6. It’s Only Money, Tyrone — Marah
7. Romeo and Juliet — Indigo Girls
8. Touch Me Fall — Indigo Girls (so that was really not okay, so I shook it up again, and got…)
9. Willy — Joni Mitchell
10 Take This Town — XTC

So, not exactly a lot of variety today, but a lot of really good songs.

Friday Random Ten

I got an iPod! I can now join the rest of the blogosphere in posting a random ten. Let’s see if it works out. I’m still figuring out how to use this thing, what songs I want loaded on it, and so on. I’ve mostly loaded whole CDs so far, so my 3 gig of music isn’t as varied as you might imagine.

1. It Ain’t Necessarily So — Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
2. Tossin’ and Turning’ — Bobby Lewis
3. Aisha Duo — Amanda (songs #2 & 3 are brought to you by “I own this? Really?”)
4. Shiksa Goddess — The Last Five Years, original soundtrack
5. Culture Club — Generations of Love
6. Amazing Grace — Judy Collins (brought to you by “not really energizing at the office”)
7. Slang Teacher — Wide Boy Awake
8. Live and Let Die — Guns n’ Roses
9. Alison Krause — Down to the River and Pray, soundtrack to O Brother Where Art Thou?
10. She’s Got You — Patsy Cline

A lot more country and show than my usual mix, but that’s shuffle for you. I can’t seem to find a way to show the list that’s actually in the shuffle; I don’t know what the next song will be until it starts, which isn’t great.