Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Final Frontier, See Spot Run, -and- Here Spot

The Final Frontier - Astronomers say Pluto is not a planet
See Spot Run San Jose to pay Hells Angels $800,000 for dogs killed by cops
Here Spot - Britney Spears wants to be buried with puppy

On this day in history: August 24, 1981 - Mark David Chapman sentenced to 20 years for killing Beatle John Lennon.

Born on this day in history: August 24, 1925 - Shirley Hufstedler (1925 - ____) government official. She was first secretary of Education during the Carter administration, 1979-1981.

We watched "Zathura" last weekend. [Jon Favreau directs this science-fiction adventure from the creators of "Jumanji," based on the book by acclaimed children's author Chris Van Allsburg. After discovering a mysterious game in the basement of their house, pint-sized brothers Danny and Walter Budwing (Jonah Bobo and Josh Hutcherson) are sent flying into space, where they must finish the game by reaching the planet Zathura—or be trapped in galactic limbo forever.] The acting was very good, the special effects were excellent, the story was creative and exciting, and the movie was entertaining and very appropriate for all ages. It was a thoroughly enjoyable movie, and I highly recommend it.

We also watched "Million Dollar Baby." [This multiple Oscar winner follows a determined young athlete who, through her sheer determination, awakens a long-lost fire within two aging boxers. Despondent over a painful estrangement from his daughter, trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) is not prepared for boxer Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) to enter his life. Maggie is determined to go pro, and she eventually convinces Dunn and his cohort (Morgan Freeman) to help her get to the top.] The ultimate theme of the movie—assisted suicide—predetermined that I would object to the movie, if only on that basis. I was actually eager to like the movie, however, since it featured two of my favorite actors (Eastwood and Freeman). I disliked it, however—considerably more than I imagined that I would. The characters are really caricatures: Swank's character is uber-plucky; Eastwood is the standard grizzled veteran hiding a heart of gold; and Freeman is the wise and sad mediator helping the two come together because he knows they need each other. However, the worst cliches come in the form of the antagonists. There is no subtlety about who the bad guys are and how unredemptively bad they are. I do not recommend this movie.