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Everything posted by tctruffin

  1. I haven't been able to find a thread on this, so here goes: Sound system promo trailers; you know, those little snippets usually shown right before the feature that show off the super duper sound system (Dolby Digital, DTS, THX, etc). The first such thing that I remember was the THX "The audience is listening..." thing before Return of the Jedi (the first one). It's now somewhat de rigeour on THX DVD's, but at the time it was super cool. My current favorite is a cute little piece featuring Curious George trying to figure out where the sound comes from. In addition to having some character, the trailer does a nice job of exhibiting sounds from all of the discreet directions as well as dynamic range and dynamic motion. Other faves/raves/rants?
  2. Mr. Mando is very kind. I keep waiting for a pack of oompa-loompas to come dance around me singing some didactic tune about the failings of my parents to teach me the value of reading all pages of a thread before waxing eloquent. Mea culpa. I just watched the film again this afternoon (a colleague of my wife's wanted to see it and got a group together). On a second viewing I'd like to make a couple of possible unconnected observations: 1. The musical score seems very aggressive to me. Whereas the score of Stuart's film was full of whimsy, Elfman seems to assault the screen. While I enjoyed the kitschy nods to rock&roll by the oompah-loompas, the rest of the score seemed a bit angry. 2. Stuart's 1971 film was entitled Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory but was ever and always the story of Charlie. Burton's film is entitled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and seems to actually be the story of Wonka. Hoping I haven't been again repeating the excellent observations of others without attribution.
  3. I must interject that the one of the reasons that I feel able to analyze the dramatic arcs of the characters and what not is that Burton has given us a film that is rather accomplished in other areas of the craft. Most blockbuster films are so devoid of plot or technical competence that it's hard to take seriously whatever philosophic inclinations they might have.
  4. Well, gee. I know I've spent way too much time watching re-runs of Road House on the telly, but really! I'm trying to digest the fact that I've only seen 3 of the top 10 films on this list, and only 19 of the 100. And I'm talking about my entire 35 years, not just the first 14. There goes all my delusions of grandeur. Of course, I guess I could argue that many of these films weren't made when I was under 14. I was happy to see King Kong and Jason and the Argonauts on the list. These two films did much to fire my young imagination and get me interested in HOW films were made. In fact, they inspired me to make my own stop-motion film about a hunk of clay using an 8mm camera. Raiders developed that desire to know how things were done--and gave me very agreeable nightmares. Inasmuch as I agree with the poster who was puzzled by Romeo + Juliet, the one film that I really have to wonder at is Finding Nemo. It wasn't bad, but what exactly makes it that much better than soooo many other Disney films?
  5. is his "test." Perhaps this came so late in the film and the gap of time between when Charlie and when made it seem to you (as to me) that this was an excercise the characters were going through and not a decision that the characters felt the weight of? ← That's a good question, Ken. On the one hand, the fact that I'd totally forgotten about that scene as soon as I walked out of the theatre probably says something about its effectiveness. On the other hand, I guess I need to flesh out my thoughts a bit more. Does Wonka's requirement that Charlie leave his family constitute an actual test? Sure the question is laid out there for him, but from what we know about Charlie to this point in the film--his willingness to sacrifice his golden ticket so that the family could have some cash, etc--I'm not sure that there was any real chance of him taking it. Another way of saying it is that dramatically Burton's Charlie is actually a rather static character. He's good at the beginning. He's good in the middle. He's good at the end. There's no real development of his character. In Stuart's version (and I daresay in Dahl's although it's been awhile since I've read it), Charlie certainly begins good, but he fails. It is how he deals with his failure that ultimately wins over Wonka. There is a dynamism to Charlie that is dramatically satisfying. Alan, I agree. Further, I would argue that in Stuart's version Wonka is actually a grown-up. One of the intriguing aspects of that film is that, contrary to a long tradition in children's lit, it has good adults in it that Charlie can trust. In as much as Wonka is childish in his embracing of wonder and imagination, he is still a mature individual who has a functioning set of morals. Burton's Wonka is childish in a very different, unlikeable way.
  6. Unlike Ken, I do have something of an investment in the 1971 film. (I was one of the incensed minons who boycotted WB until they released a proper widescreen version of the film on DVD.) But I was somewhat looking forward to Burton's version. If anyone was going to re-do Wonka, surely Burton and Depp would be the people to do it right. But... I, too, walked out of the theater being squarely on the fence and not knowing exactly what it was that kept me from loving it or hating it. I, too, have been reading the posts hoping to find something to crystalize my thoughts. And what I've come to is closely related to Ken's observation above. In this film, Charlie wins purely by attrition. He wins by not doing anything. All of the other children fail in some way, and they DO something wrong or foolish. Charlie, however, gets the prize simply by NOT doing anything. It is significant to me that Charlie is never tested. He is never put into a position where his character is tried. In Stuart's film, Charlie and Grandpa Joe are tested, and, in fact, fail. Their actions with the fizzy lifting gas--when they think no one is looking--initially relegate them to the same status as the others, as it should. It is Charlie's ACTION of repentence that finally wins over Wonka. This version of Wonka reminded me uncomortably with SW: Ep 1 in which Anakin saves the day not because he's a skilled pilot relying on the Force but because he's a bumbling child who happens to hit the right button by mistake. When Luke destroyed the Death Star he did it with skill and an act of trust in Ben and the Force. When Anakin wins, it's by an act of slapstick comedy. In Stuart's version of Wonka, Charlie wins by actively doing good. In Burton's version, he wins by (actively?) doing nothing.
  7. tctruffin

    Disc Golf

    Well, I've got it all: the discs, a bag, minis, something called a "Birdie Bag", a PDGA number and rating. Ken, of course, is responsible. He introduced to me to the game while we both lived in GA, and I've stuck with it the last 3-4 years. I'm still a hack though. Oh, and I'm in deep enough that I'm sad that Innova has stopped making Gazelle's in Pro plastic. Oh Oh and I'm really juiced cuz a course just got put in 5 minutes from my house. Waiting to join Ken in Baltimore for our New England Disc Golf Adventure, Todd
  8. Ah. I'm actually quite fond of the first HP film. And even the second. With Prisonor of Azkaban (and I fear with the rest), the amount of cutting that the directors legitimately have to do (unless we want a trilogy for each book) is lending itself to a kind of Lowest Common Denominator shorthand that made the third film less enjoyable for me. I don't think I ever used the term "dull literalism" but I may have said the third film lacks the charm of the book.
  9. Well...I'm not quite sure what needs clearing up in the other thread. I mean, it's Three Men and a Little Lady; I'm really not sure what more needs to be said. In terms of HP, I don't think I'm insisting on purity but on being treated like an intelligent human being and on artistic integrity (well, ok that's probably purity). It's one thing for changes to be made to a story when jumping genres or when translating into different languages. I expect that the Icelandic version of HP includes some odd changes to language here and there and that the rhythms and tone of the language is probably modified somewhat. But in terms of the British/American thing, we're talking about the same blasted language. Sure, there may be some idiomatic clangs, but I don't think children are stupid. (I think they get stupid somewhere between grade school and freshman composition class, but that's another thread.) If the character takes a spare tire out of the boot of his car, I expect that most american children can figure out without much difficulty that boot=trunk. Further, the Briticisms are part of what make the HP world such a wonderful example of subcreation. There's little there that pokes me with a stick and breaks the spell of imagination. Now, I know that your average 10-year-old doesn't care 2 bits about the loss of flavor in their American versions. In fact, there's a good chance that they'd get ridiculed or beat up if their HP book didn't have the same cover as the rest of the kids or some such. And I am absolutely atwitter with the notion that so many kids are READING. But I think Scholastic showed their true colors by insisting on these edits. They obviously think that their customers are dolts. When I make my choice, I'd rather read what the author wrote and be given the opportunity to enter her world on her terms. If the created world is going to fail, let be the fault of JKR rather than some editor at Scholastic.
  10. I laughed with glee when I saw that Uncle Ken had created this wonderful room. Then I cried when I couldn't generate enough energy to rant about something. I mean, sure, there are things that irk me or that I don't like that others do, but getting up the energy to rant about it? Couldn't bring myself to it. Then I started reading in various areas throughout this site posts in which Peter Jackson's triology of movies about little people are held in high esteem. [slow burning sensation] I put it aside for a while. I've already spent more energy on PJ's Playhouse than they deserve. Think on what is true and beautiful etc. [slow burning sensation grows] But there it was, like a pesky sweat bee buzzing around my neck while I prepare to drive hole #7 at the new Hedges-Boyer Disc Golf Course in Tiffin. Dammit. Now I'm sinning again. But how can I focus on what is right and true when I see all around me others in a dire state of confusion and bewitchery? No. I am responsible first for my own actions and thoughts. Must...control...self...must...not...become...Hayden...Christensen. [slow burning sensation becomes a burning] But am I not my brother's keeper? Am I not called to minister to the beaten man on the side of the road who is stumbling about in a daze after being bludgeoned with CG spears and boulders and fire? Am I not required to cry out in the wilderness even if no one listens? I am! I must! I will! [the burning turns to shining light] PJ's bastardized travesty of a hack-job which tickles the eyes of those wanting to see in accordance to their own desires is a mound of steaming HERESY seeping from the frozen sphincter of Satan in the lowest circle of hell. [sighs in relief] Wow. That really does work. I feel much better now. Thank you Uncle Ken! p.s. The BBC Radio dramatization of Mr. Tolkien's great work are quite well done and should provide hours of heresy-free entertainment.
  11. As we anxiously await the retail circus that is a Harry Potter book release, I find myself somewhat detached from the local excitement here in Tiffin, OH. Why? Because I pre-ordered my copy months ago. From the UK. I read the first three HP books in American and the last two in Brit. Personally, I think it no surprise that the Brit versions read better; the rhythm of the words is smoother, which is only natural since that's the way they were written. I know that Scholastic has made the argument that the American versions only change those pesky little British markers (like trainers and boot of the car) so that young ones don't get confused. Now, I may be an oddity (plenty of evidence for that elsewhere), but as a kid I read a ton of British children's lit and not a lick of trouble. When there was a question about a word, I did something drastic like look for a dictionary or figure it out from context. It's really not that hard. I'm curious how many others on this board have also turned to amazon.co.uk for solace. And why? Waiting with bated breath... Todd
  12. In Tiffin, OH: Where are you sitting? Smoking or Non?
  13. I'm not usually that up on the new releases, but here's what's been playing... First half of 2005 Over the Rhine: Drunkard's Prayer and Ohio Anonymous 4: American Angels Wilco: Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Sam Phillips: Fandance and Boot and a Shoe U2: Bomb and the soundtrack from Go Home Natalie Merchant: House Carpenter's Daughter, Motherland, and Ophelia Cake: Comfort Eagle Johnny Cash: American IV
  14. Wow. I mean, Wow. I started the thread getting all nostaligic about all the old CCM albums I no longer have due to a bone-headed decision during a move. Then I started getting all nostalgic in a bad way (is there a word for that?) about all the arguments I used to have with various people about the music industry, especially after Sam/Leslie Phillips bolted after The Turning. So, anyways, having recently had a bout of late night surfing wherein I dug up all sorts of sites devoted to the music of my highschool years, I had all sorts of band names and albums dancing through my head. My family ran a Christian book store from c.1970 through the mid 80's. There wasn't a CCM release that I didn't either hear or have a demo of. What I'm having the strongest feeling about right now are some 80's synth-rock faves of mine: Decent Beat by Quickflight with a killer song called "Metro Alien." Light Manuevers by Servant and several albums by an outfit called Crumbacher. Taking up space on my harddrive right now is an album called Sail on Sailor by Mustard Seed Faith. They were a group out of the Maranatha church in Southern CA in the 70's. The lead singer was Oden Fong, whose father was in several Charlie Chan films. It's got fantastic album art by Rick Griffin. At any rate, I know this thread has been dead for a year now, but I needed an outlet for my CCM nostalgia.
  15. I, like Ken, shudder in fear everytime I hear "And now being produced for the big screen __________." But I'll play: I think Terry Gilliam could sink his teeth into a version of CSL's Screwtape Letters. (An episode of Millennium has shown that this can be done to great effect.) While on the subject of Mr. Gilliam, I think he'd have great fun doing on of Nabokov's other works like Pnin, The Defense, or Invitation to a Beheading. Anne Lamott's Crooked Little Heart would make a quietly creepy little fun. L'Engle's The Other Side of the Sun in the right hands could produce a nicely gothic piece. And it'd be really swell if someone would do that Star Wars prequel trilogy that Lucas has been talking about for years.....
  16. The last wet shave I had was over 10 years ago at a barber shack in South Carolina. It's a fantastic experience. The hot towel, the warm shaving cream, the cool steel. I'm also convinced that there's no closer shave using any method. Since then I haven't been able to find a barber willing to do a full shave. There's a barber in Woodstock, IL that uses a straight razor to clean up around the ears, and I always used to anticipate the end of the haircut when I would get the warm shaving cream around the neck and ears. Quite frankly, I find it hard to find a good proper barber shop period. We just recently moved house, and our new town does not have one single proper barber shop. There are many pretenders, but they all rely on appointments and other mamby pamby practices. (I will say that they do have appropriately barber-shoppy decor.)
  17. It seems that most of the big guns in Lewis's canon have already been named more than once, which probably doesn't give much guidance. I think I have to echo a former poster who said that it depends on what you're looking for in terms of starting. Lewis was prolific in such a wide range of genre's that you're bound to find something you like or don't. If you want a story, you can't go wrong with Narnia. Although I had great success teaching Till We Have Faces in a class on Classical Mythology. It's a more grown-up book than Narnia and contains, I think, his most well-rounded characters. This shouldn't surprise us since he wrote it late in his life. As for non-fiction, I'm quickly learning that incredibly well-done spiritual books can still fall flat if you're not in a place to hear what's being said. I'd simply pick up a topic that sounds interesting. That being said, God in the Dock is a nice collection of essays on a variety of subjects. On my bookshelf, Screwtape and The Great Divorce occupy their own special category along with Pilgrim's Regress since they are unabashed allegories. Well, maybe Screwtape and Divorce are not so much allegories as spiritual life books dressed in a thin veneer of fiction. But they are wonderful. Well, I fear that this only adds little. One thing I will say, as with any thinker worth reading, even in the midst of being wonderfully enlightened by his words, if you don't find yourself disagreeing with CSL on something, you're not reading carefully. That's part of what makes him good; he'll make you think carefully about why you disagree because he already did. Peace and good reading. P.S. FWIW I'd steer clear of his poetry. Even he realized fairly early that poetry, while his dream, was not his gift.
  18. While we do most of our TV DVD watching via Netflix (whose going to pay to own all of those Star Trek series?) my wife and I have spent the dough on most of Chris Carter's canon (sans Harsh Realm, Joss Whedon's Angel, and seasons 1-5 of West Wing. I've tossed in a few select seasons of M*A*S*H (significant transition seasons) and King of the Hill as well. But the TV on DVD that gets the most airtime in our house is Sports Night. Can't beat it for smart writing, likable characters, and a serious engagement with serious issues all while making you laugh. It also doesn't hurt that being a half-hour show means we can watch an episode over lunch without blowing the afternoon.
  19. tctruffin

    Guilty pleasures

    Oooh boy. First, I'd have to start playing Kansas's Leftoverture over and over again. (I should perhaps mention at this point that I not only owned Lisa Whelchel's CCM album All Because of You, but that I wore it out. It had a great cut written by Steve Taylor. ) Then, I'd have to crack open a box of Kraft's Macaroni and "Cheese." After lunch I'd pop Tron on the DVD player while dreaming about the Speed Racer collector sets I can't afford. After which, I'd check the mail to see if the next disc in whatever Star Trek series I'm renting from Netflix came in the mail. And then, then, I could start thinking about my guilty pleasures. Of course, every time I'm with a certain circle of friends I start feeling a tad bit guilty about the Harry Potter tomes sitting on both my book and DVD shelves. (I get misty everytime Harry has to say goodbye to Hagrid for the summer.) [Only 14 more days to the next one! Shipping all the way from London since I'm a HP snob. ] Ooh. Is this where I mention Wimbledon? No other tennis, you understand, just Wimbledon. I have so much pleasure. It makes me feel...guilty. P.S. Ken, I think you should feel guilty about "Buster Brothers." If not for liking it yourself, then for getting me to like it.
  20. Spoilers abound below So, as the end credits of War of the Worlds were rolling and I was wondering just how much money Morgan Freeman was pulling in this summer with bit parts in blockbusters, I realized that Steven Spielberg was teachings 7 very important lessons. 1. Feasability Study Obviously the alien forces were led by bull-headed military types or pie-in-the sky visionaries. Who else would spend thousands of years planting equipment, develop wildly advanced technology, and launch a global attack without doing a basic environmental study to see if there was a deadly contagion? 2. Fix the basement. If you don't already have a finished basement, start putting away the cash now. Otherwise, you'll end up having to skulk around in a bug-infested, cobweb-covered, rat-crawling, damp cellar while aliens use their flexible periscope thingies to probe for you. It's much better when you have a comfy chair and don't have to worry about the spiders. 3. Buy a brownstone in Boston. After your basement is fixed, sell the house and buy a brownstone in a posh neighborhood of Boston. The rest of the world may get crushed, zapped, and sprayed with human blood/alien goo, but evidently aliens don't like brownstones. Not only will your building not get covered with space roots, you will emerge from the planet-leveling catastrophe with nary a scratch, smudge, or wrinkle. It's the latest in personal protection. 4. Angst-ridden teenage sons are like cockroaches. No matter how big the explosion/fire-fight/battle, even when they run straight into the fire, they always come back. 5. Charge! On a related note, evidently the best way to survive an alien invasion is to run straight into the path of the laser blasting, blood sucking aliens. While Ray and Rachel have to endure weird survival nuts that look like Tim Robbins, bubble-gum colored sphincters, and forced marches, all because they ran AWAY from the death-dealing big brothers of those Minority Report probes, Robby gets home without a scratch by charging right at the beasties. 6. When building a city, be sure to check under the rug. Somehow these tripod streetwalkers remained buried underground without detection despite huge cities with deep sewer systems and subways and skyscrapers with deep, deep foundations. Obviously someone was being careless. and finally... 7. There's nothing wrong with a family that a good alien invasion won't cure.
  21. The whole time I watched the "climactic" battle(s) in Braveheart, I couldn't stop thinking about the end of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Kept wondering when the bobbies were going to break up the party with their wonderful two-tone sirens and billy clubs.
  22. tctruffin


    Hmm...so if no one minds, it must be ok. However, stepping away from the logic problem, there seems to be a fairly clear difference between shooting someone who is chasing you and shooting at you or who is at least armed and clearly the enemy and inflicting pain on an individual totally within your power who may or may not be an enemy.
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