Odds and Ends

The last few weeks have been spent on my thesis, which is near completion. This post is a bunch of stray thoughts I've had lately, nothing terribly coherent.

New VW Commercial

I hate it. It's the "low ego emissions" commercial. Actually, there's a series of them. I watch them and think, Do VW owners really think this way about themselves? That everyone else is self-absorbed and egomanical while they are just SOOOO laid back and unconcerned? It would be funny if the commercials were playing off of that self-perception (as some commercials do) but the commercials are more about reinforcing the self-perception than making fun of it. They are really disturbing. They also remind me of the art crowd I knew in high school who were so concerned over not being cliqueish, they kind of turned themselves into a clique. In any case, I have decided to never, ever, ever, ever buy a VW.

More jerks (see previous post)

Bob (Saverrio Guera) from Becker: he also showed up on a few Buffys and Monk. He is a fine actor and hilarious as Bob. He plays the token jerk, but he is allowed to get in some zingers and has a great straight-man demeanor.

Janice (Maggie Wheeler) from Friends. I rewatched some Friends episodes recently. Janice was Chandler's reoccuring girlfriend with the horrible laugh. She did an excellent job of being obnoxious and funny and almost charming. You could see why Chandler went out with her, and you could see why it was never going to work.

Newman (Wayne Knight) from Seinfeld. Seinfeld is a show that I get tired of very quickly. (I like the play on language, but it is mostly the same thing over and over.) But I love Newman. He's the bad guy in Jurassic Park. He also showed up in Branagh's Dead Again. He is great. I love him in anything. He knows how to play scary nerd almost effortlessly.

Richard Dean Anderson

I recently (about a month ago) watched some old MacGyvers. Yeah, I was a MacGyver fan back in the day (as well as a Knight Rider fan, which I have no desire to rewatch). I can't say MacGyver impressed me particularly. What did surprise me is that although, naturally, I thought Richard Dean Anderson was so, so cute back in my teen years, he struck me in retrospect as way too much of a pretty boy. This is a man who has aged extrememly well and is about fifteen billion times handsomer now than he was in his twenties. Granted, I tend to like my men a bit aged (older Angel is way more attractive than younger Angel), but, too, I think teenage girls have a penchant for male effeminate looks (such as Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic). Maybe, they find effeminate boys less threatening? I have no idea, and I was a teenage girl.

The Da Vinci Code

I may have been wrong about Hanks never choosing the wrong movie. I've heard The Da Vinci isn't doing so well (although doing so well is a relative term). I can't say I'm upset. I realize that movies mangle history all the time. Look at Pocahontas. But Dan Brown allowed himself to be pulled into making out that The Da Vinci Code was real history. In other words, he turned it into a cause (I can't say whether he set out to do that or not, but once the book became a bestseller, he certainly did). I've read several Bible scholar commentataries, and this is precisely their beef. They enjoyed the book, but the moment Brown started selling it as non-fiction, they got a little testy.

Thing is, the book isn't just a little wrong, historically speaking, it is REALLY wrong. As in REALLY, REALLY wrong. As in SOOO wrong, it's kind of embarrassing. As in Pocahontas wrong, without the animation or singing trees to hide behind. It isn't even vaguely right. And all the wrong stuff was checkable. And Brown didn't check it. In other words, he is no Michael Crichton who becomes, briefly, an expert on dinosaurs or submarines of whatever. He's a guy who read a couple of books and then made out he was an expert. (And now the couple of books' authors are upset.)

However, despite the movie's non-smash-hit status, I doubt Brown is crying on his way to the bank. It's not like this is some kind of morality lesson. (Check your facts next time!) And golly, look at the industry he spawned!


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