06 October 2013

What the Young People Call "Random" Stuff; Breaking Bad Binging; And A Not So Great Gatsby


If necessity is the mother of invention who is the father? And if we don't know who the father is then is it not true that necessity is a harlot? And can it be further stated that invention is a bastard? Asking for a friend.

I am -- generally speaking -- a very happy person. When my head collides with the pillow at night it is usually the end of another fruitful enjoyable day. But there are any number of things that annoy the hell out of me. Take for example the phrase "no worries." Every time someone says this to me its like being stabbed in the thigh by a serrated knife. I'm not even exaggerating. It is exactly and literally the same as knife plunging into the meaty part of my leg. And being twisted. Really no different at all. The other day I nearly bumped into a co worker and offered an "excuse me." She answered with the odious "no worries." Ya know what? I wasn't worried at all. I don't think anyone was or should have been. Once someone emailed to ask if I had a particular DVD they could borrow. I replied that I was sorry but I didn't have it. This person took the time to compose the following email which I quote verbatim: "no worries." I wasn't not at time worried in the slightest that I did not have this particular DVD for them to borrow. Not even a little bit. If someone you know is saying no worries please report them to a mental health professional or apply duct tape to their largest visible orifice.

If a white person jokingly said to you the following: "if I were black I'd totally name my son Rastus just to fuck with people," would you accuse the speaker of being a racist? Culturally insensitive? A nitwit? Me I'd chuckle maybe even guffaw but then I'm somewhat of a nitwit. Just ask my wife.

Back to things that bug me. There is no s at the end of the word anyway. I've said this before but obviously it bears repeating. When you say or write anyways you seem like a functionally illiterate teenager high on bad pot. Allow me to refer you to the Urban Dictionary on this one.

A message to people having loud cell phone conversations on public transportation or in stores: WE CAN HEAR YOU! Furthermore we really don't want to hear you and quite often you're saying things that you probably don't want other people to hear if you think about it. Oh yeah I forgot you don't bother with niceties like thinking.


I know from addiction and so I know when I'm hooked and can't control myself. With drugs and alcohol its not an option any longer so I've taken recommended measures. Other forms of addiction are less likely to have devastating effects on one's family or bank account or health. So maybe not so bad. Case in point is my recently acquired addiction to Breaking Bad which I only recently discovered for myself. Two and half weeks ago to be kind of precise. It started with watching an episode a day but now I'm up to two sometimes three. But I can totally handle it.

Suffice to say that I find this show (they used to be called programs as in "there's this program I like to watch" dig) to be quite enjoyable. The thing with TV shows is that you can really tell a story. You don't have 90 minutes or two hours or three hours tops like in a film. You can go on for years which can total 40 plus hours. That's not to guarantee quality. As we've seen countless times most of what shows up on the boob tube is rubbish -- which I realize is harsh on rubbish. But every now and again you get something like The Sopranos or Boardwalk Empire or Band of Brothers or Breaking Bad which is right up there among the top four or five programs I've seen on the small screen. I'll  discuss the show at greater length once I finish which at this rate is likely to be in less than a fortnight (for those of you scoring at home I'm currently on season four and just finished episode four of said season). I will now put in a plug for binge watching. (Writer humorously mimes insertion of plug.) With old fashioned viewing it would have taken five years to watch the total series but I'll be doing it in just over a month. I don't have to wait a week for the next episode or in the case of a season finale months. It's great for continuity and one could even argue this is the way episodic TV should be watched. Story lines and characters are fresh in my mind and connections made more easily. I'm digging it. And I can quit anytime (no I couldn't there's no way I could stop.)


Watched Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby last night for the first and last time. I'll forever think of it as Who Framed Roger Rabbit meets F Scott Fitzgerald. Hearing Jay Z and other current performers as the soundtrack for this film set in 1922 I had to wonder why Lurhman didn't just give his characters cell phones. Nick Jay and Daisy could have texted each other and checked one another's Facebook status.

Here was a Gatsby told at a frenetic pace -- no it never lagged would that it had -- and replete with CGI.  The colors the scenery resembled something from a sci fi action movie. Here's the horror of the modern film which in total contrast to works of art like those produced by Antonioni and Bergman allows no space for the viewer to contemplate or ruminate. We are overawed with spectacle with nothing being asked of us. This is cinema for a generation too zonked out on video games and texting to bother with ideas.

The actors were all fine -- Leo DiCaprio Carey Mulligan Toby Maguire Joel Edgerton (an excellent choice for Tom) and Elizabeth Debicki (yum). They gamely read their lines and demonstrated a true commitment to Fitzgerald's story. But Luhrmann is nothing if not a big show off. I really don't understand the point of this exercise. Taking one of the great works of American literature and making a spectacle out of it. One shudders to think what Lurhmann will desecrate next. Maybe he'll put Ulysses* on the big screen with Justin Beiber doing the soundtrack and a highly stylized Dublin with merry leprechauns cartwheeling past a bemused Leopold Bloom.

Shocking stuff.

*Carraway's cottage boasts a copy of Ulysses though the film is set in 1922 and the book was at that time banned in the US and not available until 1933. Oh well.

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