Post-President’s Day Weekend Stuff

Sunday – tea at Sweet Melissa Patisserie‘s Park Slope location.

Sunday night – watched the latest Knight Rider movie. What possessed me to watch…? My explanation: sentimental 1980’s nostalgia and the temptation of seeing how bad it was. Mostly lame, as expected; some thoughts:

Lots of driving around (what else?), and pointless dialog as the daughter of the inventor of (new) KITT had to go rescue her kidnapped dad. Sarah is herself a scientist and a prof at Stanford, but apparently is reduced to being the Damsel in Distress; too bad because she had some personality.

Character actor Bruce Davison does the simple job as the Inventor of (new) KITT.

The (new) Knight Rider, Mike, is the long-lost-son of Michael Knight; Mike lacks the camp factor that Michael had. Mike’s mom had more personality. The Return of actor David Hasselhoff as Michael Knight… umm, not much could be said about it because he didn’t do much.

Val Kilmer as (new) KITT, replacing actor Will Arnett (because Arnett is contracted to do Ford or Chevy (or whatnot) commercials and they weren’t pleased that he wanted to be KITT) sounded bland (or irritated that the NBC folks weren’t paying him more; who knows?).

TV Guide’s Matt Roush’s review made sense about how not fun the Knight Rider movie was. As a pilot for a prospective series, it didn’t make me want to watch more. Sorry, NBC. Not unless you show me that you as a network care about telling a story and having some interesting characters.

Monday – watched “Michael Clayton,” starring George Clooney. Really strong movie. Clooney as Michael Clayton, a son of a NYC cop; a Fordham Law grad; a former Queens ADA; a former federal prosecutor – and he’s now stuck as a Special Counsel at a Big Firm, Kenner, Bach & Ledeen. As Special Counsel, he’s not a Partner (despite having been with the firm for way too long) and he’s not on any litigation stuff – nope, he’s The Fixer, The Bagman, The Janitor. It’s starting to drive him nuts; being with The Firm already took the mind of his colleague, the firm’s litigation partner, Arthur Edens, played by Tom Wilkinson. Edens is a manic depressive, and he went off his meds and made a scene (to put it mildly) during the deposition for a major case for the firm’s client, UNorth. UNorth makes agricultural products that caused health problems for the farmers that made the stuff.

Other stuff: Tilda Swinton plays Karen Crowder, UNorth’s General Counsel – who really crosses some legal ethics boundaries (umm, Karen, no one said that murder is involved in trying to force a settlement for a case. Really!). Firm Partner, Marty Bach, is played by Sydney Pollack – pretty convincing as the partner who has his inklings about how ugly things are but pressing on with business. Bach sends Clayton to clean up after Edens, but Crowder makes things difficult, as the Difficult Client. Lives are at stake. Can you keep a conscience in the middle of such ugliness? Hmm. Clooney as Clayton seemed a bit stilted in some of the reading of lines, but he did such a strong job as the burnt-out lawyer – the one whose life is pretty much falling apart, but somehow he keeps going.

What a movie. Kind of makes one think twice about joining a Big Firm. Manola Dargis in her NY Times review of “Michael Clayton” makes the point of how there were no real good guys in the movie, but Clooney… well, he embodied the closest thing to what was left of Good in the corrupt corporate world. Entertainment Weekly’s Owen Gleiberman puts an even Good vs. Evil opinion of the movie. (although I still have a hard time believing that a corporation would get its hands dirty in retaining assassins, but hey, who knows? If you’re crazy enough to pay so much for Big Firm Lawyers, what’s to stop you from hiring other ugly sorts?).

Okay, so I’m behind on watching the current season of “Law & Order” (yep, Season 18, people!) – but managed to catch a scene or two. Cute little scene here on – (a minute and a half in), where Executive ADA Cutter and Detective Lupo are bonding. Lupo’s apparently taking an evening law student — at the Alma Mater Law School! We got mentioned! High Five, people! A Law & Order character’s one of us! (ok, I wasn’t an evening student, but how often does the Alma Mater Law School get mentioned in pop culture items?).

As I previously noted, the ripped-from-the-headlines plots make the series almost laughable, but the characters – for a show that claims that it’s not about the characters – sorry, it IS about characters. What else would really make me care about a show – characters make the plot work. So, in a way, it has this season. Legal ethics, moral issues – characters being just a bit amusing. Man, is Season 18 turning out to be pretty interesting or what?

Time’s Lisa Takeuchi Cullen posts her observation how APA’s of the 18-25 age range don’t nearly vote as much as we’d like and she embedded an old and strangely campy video from the 2004 Presidential election to encourage APA’s to vote (you can tell it’s old because the video needs to update its collection of APA celebrities; no offense to Russell Wong and Ming Na, but neither of you are quite up on the A-List these days):

This more updated one is less hokey and straightforward:

I liked how the multicultural one has some of the stars from “Ugly Betty” – getting more diversity in our celebrities, are we?…

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