Perhaps it was a mistake to start this project at the bottom of the list. So far, I’ve not run into a movie that I can say I’ve completely enjoyed. Not to say I’ve seen a bad one, just not any that were the type of film I like. Will I have better luck with the next three?
246 – Jurassic Park (1993)
Yes, yes I will. Perhaps its because I still remember being excited about this film and going to see it in the theater with my Dad on release day, but when I saw this on my list, I was a little geeked. Sadly, that geeked feeling was quickly stomped out and spit on when I discovered that Hollywood was blocking me from watching this film in a accessible, affordable format. Amazon Instant did provide a way to “buy” the movie, but $10 for a 20 year old movie in a DRM poisoned format? No, I’m sorry, screw you. So I tracked down easy, fast, alternative viewing methods. I’ll do a post on this at some point in the future, but at the moment, I don’t feel guilty and neither should anyone else.
So here we have a 20 year old movie about a eccentric rich guy who buys up an island, clones dinosaurs, and thinks it would be an awesome idea to encourage families to vacation there. Naturally, everything goes as planned and nothing like ravionous, man-hungry monsters break out of their cages and begin to hunt for flesh ever happens. Oh, wait, no, that’s exactly what happens.
Now, I haven’t seen this movie in at least 10 years, and even then, I don’t think it was the whole thing. So when I went in, my expectations were already rather low. Imagine my surprise when I found myself captivated by the story and the suspense. This is a film that has aged extremely well in both the acting, directing, and shockingly, even the computer generated effects. This was a fun trip down memory lane and once my kids are a bit older, we’ll be watching this one together, I’m sure.
245: Castle in the Sky (1986)
Apparently, Disney doesn’t feel a classic 1986 anime would have any sort of market on the internet. Not streaming, not through Amazon, not though any channel I was able to find. I suppose I can understand this logic considering how high-brow and anti-anime the digital population is, but this left me in the position of having to view this film through unsanctioned alternatives. Sigh.
That said, I’m an anime fan. That isn’t to say there haven’t been a few that I’ve enjoyed, but I don’t seek them out, I don’t follow them, I don’t give them any attention. In fact, I have a rule that if an anime is about robots, fighting, or robots fighting, it’s going to be awful. While I’m happy to report this one wasn’t that, it didn’t exactly convert me, either.
The story kicks off on a floating airship and a band of pirates raiding it. You quickly get the idea that what they’re after is a young girl on the ship, Sheeta, who has some special crystal they’re interested in. During her attempt to escape, she falls from the airship, but instead of making this the shortest movie ever, the magic crystal comes to life and lets her slowly float down into the waiting arms of Pazu, the young boy she’ll be shacking up with for the rest of the film. After introductions, the two of them find themselves caught in the middle of a fight between the priates and the government to find this mythical castle that belonged to an advanced people that lived, amazingly, in the sky.
For the first 60 minutes or so, I was ready to gouge out my eyes from how typically anime it was. The story wasn’t very compelling, the characters were trying WAY too hard to establish themselves, and while I know a fantasy involves a degree of suspension of disbelief, there were moments where I just had to roll my eyes (him jumping off a second story roof and crashing through a house below without so much as a scratch, for example). At some point after that, however, I found myself drawn in. There was a minor twist in the middle of the movie that really gave value to the overall story and gave you a reason to root for the protagonists. While I didn’t find the ending as enthralling, I felt it wrapped itself up neatly enough that I wasn’t left frustrated and annoyed.
244: Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
Sadly, this is yet another film that oddly kept from any streaming service I subscribe to, but is thankfully was available through Amazon for $2.99 for a 24 hour “rental”. So for this one, I put down the bucks, but very much in protest. Here we have another 70 year old film that, while available in a digital format, is grossly overpriced regardless of any opinion of the movie. I’m quickly finding that this project is not going to win any points for the movie industry in my book.
The crime drama, if you can really call it that, has you follow “Charlie”, a person with whom you are instantly tossed doubt. While not spelling anything out, you quickly find that a “couple of men” where looking for him. This sends Charlie into a mild panic and he rushes to get out of town. Lucklly for him, he has some family in California and after a quick telegram, heads off to see them, but his isn’t enough to escape those “couple of men”. As the story progresses, you slowly begin to find out more about “Charlie” and what sort of man he really is.
I’ll admit that when I first saw the age of this film, I was instantly turned off. I walked into this blind, expecting the typical acting and cinematography of a 1940′s movie.That was quickly subdued as the opening credits rolled and the name Alfred Hitchcock showed up. It’s not that I’m a particular fan (in fact, I’ve seen very, very few of his movies in their entirety), but I’ve studied some of the unique qualities his films offered in regards to framing and lighting and found myself excited to see what was coming.
The story itself really did pull me in from the start. Ignoring the famous name, the way the lead character was introduced left me wondering what I was dealing with here. The very subtle suggestion of the paranormal was a clever device to keep me guessing on what sort of mystery was ahead without feeling like it was going to be the central plot point. When the story progressed to the point where you figure out what Charlie was up to, I really found myself wanting to see some sort of resolution. Even with a somewhat predictable ending, I found the movie very enjoyable and was far less bothered by the $2.99 spent to view it.
Last year, shockingly around this same time, I kicked off my first real go with Tony Horton’s P90 program. It’s the more introductory version of his far more famous and successful P90X program for lazy, out of shape slobs like me. Considering the popularity I’ve heard around the series both around the internet and my office, I figured I’d give it a go.
For about 3 weeks, I was right on top of things. I was getting up around 6am to make myself some breakfast so I could dive into the workout by 6:30am. I was really feeling good about the program for a while there, but as life does, it had a different plan and infected me with an awful flu-like condition that had me in bed for the better part of a week.
This is where my problem started. With the plague finally out of my system, it was time to hop back up on the horse. I was already seeing results in terms of overall performance and found myself picking up the intensity of the aerobic days and adding weight to the sculpting days. Even with this progress firmly in my mind, I just couldn’t get past how dull and boring the whole package is.
The program is divided into two 45-day segments, with 6 days of workouts divided between weight training and aerobic exercises (sculpt and sweat days, respectively). For this, you are provided with exactly two variations of the each 30-ish minute workout. So for 45 days, you get to watch the same two videos, with the same three people, doing the same workout, making the same cracks, with the same posture advice. So it gets old very, very quickly. This just feels like a lame cost cutting tactic when I can’t imagine it being prohibitive to have included a handful of variations on the DVD.
All that said, I’m giving it another try. With the C25K program knocked out and my overall athletic ability on the upswing (even though I’ve taken two weeks off as a result of an calf injury), I’m interested in finding out how far I can make it this time. I mean, it’s not like running the 1/8 mile track in my gym 24 times is much more exciting than these videos, so maybe it’s all just an attitude thing. Time will tell, I suppose.