A Pre-Nor’easter Saturday

What does it say about my taste that I kind of think the “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movie is kind of cute? The NY Times review seems to be the kindest review I could find: Andy Webster writes that it’s “a slick updating of the musical-cartoon franchise created by Ross Bagdasarian Sr. in 1958. Remodeled over the years on television and recordings, the ’munks have been given a digital coat of paint this time out, but the movie doesn’t skimp — lasso those nostalgic parents! — on the memories of old. [….] But, alas, its animated protagonists are egregiously eclipsed by the live-action characters. Despite its shout-outs to the holiday season, this is essentially airplane fodder, not a perennial. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the sequel.”

Umm… okay. I won’t wait for a sequel.

Speaking of remakes of my childhood, my brother and I were joking that, since the ubiquitous “they” are making a remake of The Knight Rider (oh, God, please!), why not make a remake of The A-Team? Instead of being framed Vietnam War vets, maybe the A-Team – Hannibal, Murdoch, Face, and B.A. – can be framed Iraq War vets. And, maybe Hannibal could cool it with the cigars (didn’t exactly help the actor George Peppard). But, just think: “If you need help, call the A-Team…” What a tv show that’d be – not quite original, but a decent sounding revision for the sad times that we’re living in – I mean, come on, they re-did BattleStar Galactica into something really quality, and, okay, so Bionic Woman hasn’t been nearly that successful (bionic Alias is what it has been), but the idea was kind of there.

But, lo and behold, Time Magazine reports that director John Singleton is dwelling on an A-Team movie! (okay, I read it in the actual magazine; can’t find an on-line version of this, but thanks to Google, I’m linking to a Rotten Tomatoes article on it instead, for those really curious). Well, I don’t really want A-Team as a movie, but if it happens to become remade as a tv series – well, I won’t say my idea is short of amusing. It could be brilliant!

Speaking of Time magazine… Time Magazine’s art critic Richard Lacayo on MoMA’s Seurat exhibit, on his Time blog: “the really superb show, “Georges Seurat: The Drawings”, organized by MoMA associate curator of drawings Jodi Hauptman. I can’t think of another 19th century French painter, not even Ingres, whose drawings were a more important part of his overall practice as an artist. Even if Seurat had never developed pointillism as a means to restabilize painting after the Impressionists, his drawings would have made him a major figure for the way they provided an early glimpse of a drawing as an all-over field of marks, a fine mesh of particulates where image and ground interpenetrate.” I’ll agree!

Now, I had read the book “P.S. I Love You,” and I noted that it was a nice book. Nothing spectacular, but a pretty good subway read. The commercials for the movie version… well, I like the idea of Scottish actor Gerard Butler as the husband, Gerry, since Gerard Butler is drool-worthy and I had trouble picturing Gerry when I had read the book (considering that Gerry died of a brain tumor… well, there is a difficulty in portraying him quite right, I guess). But, re-locating the story to America and having Hilary Swank as Holly? Umm, sorry, but I just have trouble with that. The early Reuters review on-line seems to say so too; Kirk Honeycutt writes that Butler and Swank didn’t exactly conjure the right chemistry and:

…Nothing here outside the realm of plausibility, but how exactly are these constant communications from the dead supposed to ease Holly’s transition to her new life? They serve, for dramatic purposes, to remind her of their courtship and marriage. Just once you’d like to see her get annoyed at these messages from a dead spouse who won’t go away. But then she has her disapproving Mom to do that.

It turns out Gerry’s parents weren’t too thrilled about the marriage, either. So why, you wonder, is an audience supposed to care about this couple?

Which echoes my trouble with the book (hence it’s only a good subway read and not, say, a fantastic must-read): is Gerry a loser for leaving these messages for his wife, yes, intending to help her, but really holding her back? Well, okay, the book was really about Holly, not Gerry, but she wouldn’t have pushed herself as much as she did without his post-humous letters to her. Plus, his parents couldn’t bother with Holly and vice versa – which bothered me a lot. That couldn’t happen in real life, could it? I think I forgave those weaknesses in the book, because it was Cecilia Ahern’s first novel, but it sounds even less forgiveable in a movie. Oh well.

I managed to finally watch one of the presidential debates – the last Democratic debate in Iowa (I tried to watch the Republican one; while Huckabee came off interesting, the GOP debate was, to me, unwatchable, so I turned off the tv). It was nice to see that the last debate was more or less positive, with the Democrats talking about their ideas and not ripping each other endlessly. They’re all qualified, as far as I’m concerned; the hard part is deciding who to vote for.

The NY Times article by Elizabeth Bumiller on Joe Biden was moving reading. The man has done a lot and been through a lot – tragedy (having lost his first wife and a child), illness (two strokes), and political travails (the first presidential campaign really didn’t go well). Senator Biden seems to realize that this is a last shot, and life has its turns, as Bumiller writes: “These days, life looks good. ‘I wouldn’t trade places with anybody right now, in or out of the race,’ Mr. Biden said. A short time later, he tempered his enthusiasm. ‘I’m almost superstitious saying this,’ he said. ‘Everything could change tomorrow.'”

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