I spent half of Saturday working on Sabino’s computers. I spent the other half of the day lying on the couch, suffering from a low-grade fever of unknown origin. I played Nintendo half-heartedly. I watched home improvement shows. Mainly, I stared into space.
Today, mysterious fever mysteriously gone, I was ready for an outing: Trader Joe’s! Powell’s! A movie! Dinner at a fancy restaurant!
We stopped at Trader Joe’s first. I loathe Trader Joe’s on weekends; it’s crowded and I get frustrated with all of the traffic.
On a whim, I sampled some cheese: raclette. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I knew instantly that I’d made a terrible mistake.
It was as if I had just eaten fresh fecal matter. Ugh. The stench! The taste! After one chew, the lump of cheese sat in my mouth, a gritty, slimy ball of crap. I looked in vain for someplace to spit it out. I decided to swallow the thing, but that only exacerbated the trouble; I gagged, could not get it down. My stomach heaved. I felt certain I was about to vomit all over the $2.99 bottles of Charles Shaw chardonnay (against which I was leaning).
At last I spied a stack of napkins on a sample table. I literally shoved a woman aside to grab a napkin. She glared at me — and rightfully so — but I didn’t care. I spat the hunk of cheese into the napkin and prayed the foul taste would leave my mouth quickly.
Later Kris told me that raclette isn’t designed to be eaten like that. “It’s a fondue cheese,” she said. Right. Everyone wants fondue that tastes like shit.
At Powell’s I spent money compulsively, picking up a Modern Library edition of Proust’s The Past Recaptured, a compilation of Dick Tracy comic strips, another Flash Gordon comic strip compilation (this one in color!) and volumes one, two, three, and eight of a Terry and the Pirates compilation. Oh — I also bought a librarian action figure to go with my Shakespeare action figure.
As we were driving away, Kris sighed. “I’m having one of those days where everyone looks familiar to me, even though I know they’re not,” she said. “Does that ever happen to you.”
“Yeah,” I said, nodding in agreement.
“Like them,” she said, pointing to a couple waiting to cross the street. Then she did a double-take. “Oh! It’s Lance and Miriam.”
Lance Shipley and his wife, Miriam, whom we had not seen in fifteen years, and now we’ve seen twice in two months (though they’ve only seen us once). We were seated behind them at the David Sedaris lecture.
I understand that many, many people love the Lord of the Rings films, especially The Return of the King. That’s fine. They’re fun films.
I have trouble, though, when people start trying to pitch them as deserving of Best Picture. I want to ask them, “Have you seen all of the other nominees? If so, what makes you think this year’s Rings film is better than this year’s other films? If you haven’t seen the other nominees, how can you argue your point?” Last year, for example, Jen at the Very Big Blog was adamant that Peter Jackson’s Helms Deep should win, but I’m not sure she ever saw any of the other nominees (although, in retrospect, last year’s crop looks pretty week except for the winner, Chicago).
This year, there’s a good chance that The Return of the King will win as some sort of reward for the entire trilogy. If some other, better, film loses because of this, that’d be a shame. I realize that film preferences, like all preferences, are subjective, but I find it difficult to believe that many people could consider The Return of the King superior to Mystic River.
Mystic River is a fine film. It has a wonderful story, a wonderful script. It is well directed (by Clint Eastwood, who also wrote the music!?!?!?!). The acting is superlative (Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon, Tim Robbins, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney, Laurence Fishburne — some cast, huh?). It’s a great film. (It’s only real flaws are some patches of flubbed editing and, like The Return of the King, an over-long ending.)
For my part, I still prefer Lost in Translation, though I think Mystic River is probably, in an objective sense, a better film.
Kris suggested a great solution: award The Lord of the Rings trilogy an unprecendented honorary award of merit, recognizing the achievement. Reward the accomplishment without taking away from other potentiall more deserving single films. What do you think?