Monday, December 04, 2006

Today, I am an Old man..

This past weekend we had Korean TV filming at our house. Despite the fact that they made us play-act "working together" and "making dinner together", they were very intelligent and upbeat guys. They filmed everyone but Jeremy, who was passed out downstairs. The interviewer was asking us about things we didn't like about NH, and mentioned that he hadn't been able to buy hard alcohol because the state run stores close early in the afternoon. "Is there anyone in the house who is a heavy drinker?" Big laughs all around. It should be noted that this was around noontime.

After they left on Saturday, Ron let me shoot his AK. We shot Carl's .22 pistol for the camera, didn't want to look too outrageous with the 'evil' AK. I shot about 250 rounds under Carl's paitient teaching. I did better than I thought I would, though I still flinch waaay too much. After that, Carl showed me how to break down and clean the AK. A good day of learning a valuable skill.

Tying in to our latest 15 minutes of fame, these past few days I watched some great movies for the first time. A short review:

Hotel Rwanda
Obviously, I'd heard of this movie, but hadn't watched it untill now. A great, solid movie that has some heartwrenching scenes, but I'm too jaded and bitter to really be affected by the scores of dead bodies in the movie. One thing is for sure, Paul Rusesabagina has huge balls.

Joyeux Noel
This new movie(2005) is about the Christmas Truce of 1914. The film is in three languages, English, German, and French. The opening scenes are of young school children reciting patriotic poems full of wonderful imagiry, like kill all the Germans, even the women and children, so we don't have to fight them later. The war scenes are short yet realistic, and the Christmas mass attended by almost all the troops in the sector and presided over by the Scottish priest is amazing. Of course, the soldiers learn that they all hate the war and their commanders, and just want to go home. The brass find out, and all troops who took part are punished, even the priest who gets a dishonorable discharge for preaching to evil inhuman Germans. It is God's will that the British win and the Germans die, of course. A fantastic film with great acting.

Patlabor 2
This anime film from 1993 is directed by famed director Mamoru Oshii, and has the spectacular animation and detail that has made him famous. Set in the early part of the 21st century, where large maufacturing exoskeletons called Labors are busy working on creating artifical islands to allow Tokyo to expand. Of course, when you have 60-odd foot tall robots, you have 60 foot tall robots being used in crime, or simply breaking down and running amok. Therefore, the Patrol Labors(Patlabor) are created to give the police a equal chance.
Japan's peaceful existence is rocked when a fighter jet fires a missile at a main Tokyo bridge, causing part of it to collapse. The nation is shocked to find out that it is a Japanese fighter that is responsible for the attack. The police forces quickly see their oppertunity, and arrest many military commanders and set up a near police state. Further terrorist actions take place, and the police are forced to call in military units to help the set up martial law, hoping that they are loyal. Tanks now patrol the streets, and heavily armed troops set up checkpoints.
The movie is very light on action but raises many great questions on our global society and our role in faraway wars. Can we really be 'at peace' when our economy thrives because of wars elsewhere? How should a free society protect itself from terrorism? I'll give away a big part of the ending: The terrorists are backed by members of the US govt who want to see Japan take a more military approach to the problems in SE Asia. We must stop these Turrists!


This 1952 film is directed by one of the greatest directors of all time, the prolific Akira Kurosawa. Ikiru(To Live) is about one Kaji Watanabe, an aging bureaucrat who suffers from increasingly worse abdominal pain, which turns out to be stomach cancer. He has only weeks to live, and the knowledge of his impending doom causes him to re-examine his life. His wife died years ago, and since that time his relationship with their only child, a son, has declined steadily. Watanabe belives his son hates him, but flashbacks show that Watanabe was an emotionally distant father. Now his son longs for the day his father will retire, so he can get the large inheritance while his father lives on a pension.
Even though he has worked for nearly thirty years, he has nothing to show for it, other than an increasing pile of papers on his desk. After spending a good deal of money on nights out on the town getting drunk, a cheerful young coworker helps him find a way to leave his mark on the world. This ends part one.
Part two details what happens to his legacy after he dies. Rather predictably, his fellow bureaucrats mock his attempt to push his legacy project through the city offices. The Vice-mayor even takes public credit for it, refusing to even consider that one man could accomplish it, when all the various bureaus had to be consulted. Therefore, the city did it.
Even as his co-workers drink themselves silly at his wake, the people whose lives he touched come to weep openly. Humbled, the bureaucrats decide to fight the system like Watanabe did. The next day on the job, however, they quickly return to old form: "This isn't the right form, and this isn't the right office for your complaint-go see so-and-so."
Takashi Shimura is excellent as the emaciated and crumbling Watanabe. His moaning, croaking voice and pleading eyes are perfect for the part, although he does get a little creepy. The ending of this movie is very affirming and triumphant.

God, I'm winded... no more long posts...


At 9:53 PM, Blogger Insurgent said...


I now know what it must feel like to be on the receiving end of the giggle crew :\

At 5:01 PM, Blogger Lee said...

Ric Flair is so old.


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