December 25, 2003

Fa-La-Frickin'-La (Our Temporally-Oriented Christmas Entry)

WE CAN ASSURE OUR READERS that we spent this Christmas Day in the time-honored tradition of bachelors everywhere: namely, we slept in late, we went out for dinner, and we went to the cinema, where we watched a relatively decent film. It was not how we would have preferred to spend the holiday, but it did suffice.

"GAD!", PERSONIFIED: In this still image from the 1983 film "A Christmas Story," Darren McGavin carries himself in a manner astonishingly similar to how we looked and acted immediately after waking up today.

We had originally planned to spend the day at home, on the assumption that practically nothing would be open on the holiday. However, after arising at the sinful hour of 12:30 p.m., we decided that we would at least decide to make a day of it. So after a few hours on-line, we got ready and ventured out. And we can assure you that we learned many things this fine day:

* For instance, we learned that even on Christmas Day, people will look at you rather oddly should you forget to comb your hair before going out in public.

* Chinese restaurants, in addition to 24-hour filling stations, perform an important public service to the nation. Targeted tax breaks for these businesses might not be such a bad idea.

* Peking Duck really is all it's cracked up to be. Even though duck meat can be quite fatty, we would argue the combination of hoisin sauce and a lot of vegetables make it quite a healthy dish. Further, since the only carbohydrates come from the pancakes, it would probably fit in with anyone trying to stick with an Atkins Diet. If you can't stand duck meat, go for the chicken variant.

* The waiter at the Chinese restaurant will not chop off the duck's head at tableside; indeed, one will not even get the duck's head. Despite this disappointment, we found our waiter did prepare the dish expertly.

* Movie theatre concession stands offend our sense of ethics. We did not appreciate the clerk's repeated insistence that we purchase a soft-drink larger than the 32 oz. "small" size. Paying $3 was bad enough, but we rationalized this based on market forces. But nothing can justify paying close to $5 for soda, bad CD embedded in the lid or not.

* Speaking of bad, we noticed that the movie theatres around town have replaced their hideous, pre-show slide-style advertisements with hideous, pre-show video advertisements. Now that's unpleasant. With the old advertisements, one could at least ignore them. But it is impossible to ignore packaged pitches for bad movies, bad music, and most of all bad products, when the pitches are as loud as some jet engines.

* Again speaking of bad, we noticed -- couldn't help but notice -- that a couple sitting a few rows in front of us started making out at the show's start, even though the house lights were still on. It wasn't the making-out which bothered us, mind you. What struck as odd was the fact they were making out at a showing of The Last Samurai.

* The Last Samurai was actually a pretty good film, except for a few minor points.


The first point with which we took issue was Tom Cruise, whose acting ability continues to underwhelm us. He was not aided, of course, by an annoying and preachy script that did its best to mock modern life. That was our second big gripe: as a student of history, we were biting our lip watching old-style bushido held up as some pleasant, rustic alternative to the cruel workings of industrial civilization.

This, of course, is pure and unadulterated crap. We are sorry, but we just can't buy into the idea that an oppressed peasantry -- taxed to the hilt by a parasitic warrior class, and whose sole right was to work the land their fathers had -- really had it all that great in pre-Meiji Japan. Further, we nearly gagged at the end, when we saw the actor playing Emperor Meiji proclaim that while modernization was good, so was old-style bushido -- for Japan could not forget its identity or from whence it came. And lo! the Kwantung Army was born!

The battle scenes were very cool, although this was our third point of complaint: for we must say we were amused at the tactical simplicty which the script gave them. Gad. It was as if the Emperor's generals woke up in the morning and said to themselves, "Gee, I'd really like to be cashiered for my own incompetence today."

Watching as a four-star general sent his entire forward force after a fleeing enemy was bad enough -- but to then have thousands of trained men thrown into a panic because of a simple flanking maneuver nearly caused us to knock over our overpriced drink onto the floor.

But still, it was a fun movie and we enjoyed it -- and there were certainly worse things we could have done on Christmas. Like, let's say, nothing at all.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at December 25, 2003 11:16 PM | TrackBack

BWAAHAHAHAHA! People making out at the Last Samurai?! Boy they must have been"urgent"...? Sheesh, get a room...

Sorry, I never even made out at make-out movies. Mostly because I never went to them. BUT I never was the leg-grabbing groper-type...I was always waaaay too curious about what was going on on the screen!

There was a couple groping when Hubby and I went to see Return of the King last week. A first-showing movie, no less! My thought on the matter was something along the lines of "Why didn't you do this BEFORE you came to the theater?!"


Posted by: Denita TwoDragons at December 26, 2003 12:01 PM