Indiana Jones and the Raiders of My Fourteen Bucks

I was going to write this post last night, but opted to leave well enough alone, in hopes that anyone who might have visited the page yesterday would have seen my Memorial Day video tribute.

But now the holiday is over, so let us begin. If at the opening of the new Indiana Jones movie you were confused as to how a fifties car could drive 65+ miles an hour through brush desert without leaving it’s wheels in a rut or it’s oil pan on a rock, you wouldn’t be alone. If when the kids in said vehicle pulled up on a desert road amongst a military convoy and challenged the lead driver to race you wondered why any kid of reasonable intelligence would do such a thing in the mid Fifties – the height of McCarthyism, the height of the Red Scare, the height of Ike’s military-industrial complex – you doubtless would have been in good company. And if, when the soldiers revealed themselves to be Ruskies posing as U.S. soldiers, you wondered why the hell they would do something as trivial as actually take the kids up on the race, well then my friend, you have taken your first baby steps into a larger world of idiocy that is Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull.

I’m no movie critic and generally take critic’s assessments of movies with a very large grain of salt. Indeed, when I read a review of this movie on MSNBC that said this movie was “all the stuff you expect out of Indiana Jones movies, but nothing interesting,” I naturally assumed that this person was a typically snobbish movie critic. In point of fact, this movie was ten times worse than he described it and I have to wonder if he didn’t step out of the theatre half way through to go play with his Star Wars figures. I wish I would have done the same.

Because I certainly don’t expect much of an Indiana Jones movie other than plain good fun, but I’d like the plot line to at least make some limited sense and I’d like the stunts to seem at least mildly physically possible. Sadly, neither came to be in this movie. And while I would never recommend anyone take safety tips from Indie, I do have to make a special note: kids, if you find yourself in the middle of a nuclear blast site moments before impact (George Bush still has a few months to make that dream a reality) you’re going to want to find yourself a better shelter than a Fifties refrigerator. It won’t work like it did – beyond all reason – for Indie.

And the movie just keeps going like this, from improbable plot line to impossible stunt, for two hours, three locations and three crypts of near exact decor. It gets to the point that you just stop really watching and just start observing. Even worse, in direct contradiction of the afore-mentioned review, there is one overriding missing element that could have made this movie a bit more livable: some gratuitous, comically gratuitous violence and gore. No one’s face melted, no one’s back was thrashed into an airplane’s propeller, no one got crushed in a big wheel thing, no one’s still-beating heart was removed. . . I mean, what’s the point?

For chrissakes, they didn’t even pop any rotten corpses out at anybody in the temples. What the hell is an Indiana Jones movie without corpses? And bugs. Lots of creepy, crawly bugs. All there was were a couple of lame-ass scorpions. What? Were the beetles too expensive? There was one snake, whose introduction was the most flaccid, ineffectual moment of silliness in the entire movie.

But I begin to believe that all my childhood sci-fi directorial heroes have gone senile and become doddering old fools, parodying their own works. From the insufferable dialogue in the Star Wars prequels to the juvenile impossibility of the new Indie movie, it makes me think the best policy going forward is to avoid anything associated with Skywalker Ranch.

If anything, please take this post as a warning to at least avoid this movie, lest the entire Indie franchise be tarnished for you as it is for me.

Late Note: Perhaps the most telling thing about the movie is the fact that every single promotional image – from movie posters to Snickers kiosks – features images of Harrison Ford from twenty years ago.  Instead of a fun movie where we could have a little fun with the aged Indy taking over his dad’s role, we have a movie equivalent of Harrison Ford’s second childhood.


Wish I Was There. . .

Jane’s Addiction reunited for a gig.  Rolling Stone has the scoop.  Damn, Stephen Perkins got a little paunchy, but then who am I to criticize?  They played one gig in Rochester when I was a junior in high school and tragically unhip.  I totally missed what was probably the best show to come to Rochester since then.

Ah, well.  But hey, I did get to see the Monkeys reunion tour a few years before that. . . .


Coffee, Cheesecake and Squeaky Chair Jazz

My wife and I were trying to figure out something to do with our evening last night, and we settled on going to Starry Nights coffee house to watch the Squeaky Chair Band and enjoy some dessert.  What a great capper for a great day!

I really dig Starry Nights in the first place, having become a really great replacement for the old Moonbeans and even something a little better.  The Squeaky Chair Band reminds me of something you’re likely to hear on Prairie Home Companion, with a smooth jazz hollow body guitar backing up violin and upright base supporting the whole thing.  The lead singer’s voice was one of those classic reedy voices as he strolled through classics like All of Me and Summertime.

I had a nice latte and Sarah and I split a baklava cheesecake which was just ho-lee-shit good.

And that’s about all I have to say.


Kane-O’s Back? WTF?

I know you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but what the hell goes on over there at Entercom?  First they fire Kane-O, then they hire him back, give him his old slot and. . .  make him the freakin’ program director?

I presume they’ll be hiring Wease back to become the GM of Entercom?

They gotta do something.  That freakin’ “Men’s Room” tripe is for shit, people.  I dig Tom Mule and all, but who came up with “The Men’s Room?”  There’s a lady in there, besides.


Brother Wease Has Been Forced Out

What a shame.  It’s all over the news that Brother Wease’s long-time run on WCMF is at a close.  This is but a scant few months after Dave Kane was also canned, so I guess the writing was on the wall from the beginning.  So much for local flavour, it’s been outsourced to India by Corporate America.

One commenter there says we should all switch to XM radio.  Well, the local scene is certainly depressing enough to make you consider it.  But are we just kissing the days of local free media goodbye, then?


Celebrities, Scones and Solidarity

When we think of unions, we must remember that their purpose is to support the working men and women who make up the bodies of those unions. It’s about getting a fair deal for the work that you do. It’s about the boss man with his billions being forced, when necessary, to relinquish a few morsels for those on whose backs those billions were made.

Having said all that, unionism has come a long way from those old Wobbly days. Not all picket lines are populated by gruff longshoremen and work-weary steel men. That doesn’t make their cause any less legitimate, however silly it may occasionally look. I’ve never seen a picket line of pasty-white IT guys like myself, but I’m sure I will soon enough. Meanwhile, have a look at this free-for-all:

A Jovial Air on Picket Lines for Hollywood Writers – New York Times

There have been other attractions for striking writers. A special theme day, Picket With the Stars, drew celebrities like Ben Stiller, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Ray Romano in Los Angeles. Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams turned up in New York.. . . Pickets have been well fed. The longshoremen’s union sent turkey baskets, and stars have played caterer roles. Justine Bateman brought tacos, Jay Leno chipped in doughnuts, and Jimmy Kimmel contributed burritos. Eva Longoria handed out slices of pizza.