Movie night.

Someone I met recently said she’d just seen “Hustle & Flow,” that she’d liked it a lot, but that it needed subtitles. I saw it last night, liked it a lot less, but didn’t think it needed subtitles. Once I got accustomed to the hustle and flow of the accent — which I understand is authentic Memphis African-American English — it was relatively easy to follow, and of course there’s no mistaking those m-f-bombs, no matter what the accent. It (the accent) was one thing I liked about it, one of a nice scattering of journalistic touches that tells you the writer knows his stuff.

Terrence Howard was another thing to like about it. Isn’t it thrilling to see an actor having a great year? You look at that face, and think: That’s a movie-star face. Why hasn’t anyone noticed until now? Maybe he had to grow into it.

The music? Was ludicrous. I like hip-hop as much as the next middle-aged white girl, but come on. How do recording engineers not burst out laughing when they hear some of this stuff? The central song we see produced in the movie, “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp,” is nominated for an Academy Award. It’ll most likely win, too. I can’t wait to see the audience-reaction shots when that one rolls out. Maybe Reese Witherspoon will bob her head along.

And that’s about all I have to say about the Oscars. Every year since Kate was born, I think, “Next year I’ll see all the Best Picture nominees before the Oscars are awarded” and every year I fail. When you add the baby-sitter surcharge, I just don’t care enough; there’s always one stinker. This year, for me, and your mileage may vary, it’s “Munich.” My severe Steven Spielberg allergy makes my head swell whenever I get near a theater showing one of his films. I regret missing “Capote,” though, and of course “Brokeback Mountain,” but I’ll get around to them.

Washed the dog today. He hated it, as all dogs are required to do. He fussed and objected and glared at me when it was all over. And an hour later? He loved me again. Ask yourself: What if someone dragged me through a very uncomfortable physical experience that left me smelling all wrong and my skin itchy? How soon would I feel like being nice to that person again? Inside of an hour? Not bloody likely. Dogs really are man’s best friend.

Later: OK, that gay-Western montage was funny. Settling in for the rest of it now. Feel free to turn the comments into your playground.

Posted at 8:35 pm in Movies, Same ol' same ol' |

28 responses to “Movie night.”

  1. basset said on March 5, 2006 at 9:33 pm

    Let me say right up front that I do not care about movies and I am not watching the Oscars; I can hear it from the next room, Wife and The Boy are paying close attention, but I’m not interested.

    My all-time favorite movie is “A Hard Day’s Night.” Last movie I saw in person, in a theater, was that one about the penguins. Last one before that was the movie where Chris Rock gets elected president.

    “Head of State,” I think. Our son had a school event on that side of town, we had a couple of hours to kill and a couple of those convenience-store free tickets. Movies are not an important part of my life.

    Reading is, though, and when I noticed a Red Hat Society magazine at the grocery store I skimmed through it for a minute before I got it for my wife, who is, indeed, Red Hat-eligible.

    So what do I see in the advertising section, among the many ads for vacation spots, one touting the Fort as a tourist destination.

    “Experience Fort Wayne,” it says, “with our fabulous shopping, sumptuous dining, interactive museums and world-class entertainment!” Punctuation, and lack of it, theirs.

    Now, I don’t claim to be the most cosmopolitan guy in the world. I am from Crane, Indiana, I lived in Wichita, Kansas, and liked it, I shop at Wal-Mart, I live in a suburban tract house, and in truth I am pretty much all-around boring – but I am going to open a damn vein and bleed to death in the bathtub before I take a vacation trip to Fort Wayne. The pinnacle of Fort Wayne entertainment, as far as I know, was the Fewdle Lords opening for Herman’s Hermits at the Allen County Coliseum in 1967, and I can only imagine what the “sumptuous dining” must be like.

    Not to be negative or anything, but can someone with a greater knowledge of Fort Wayne please explain exactly what the tourist bureau is talking about?

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  2. brian stouder said on March 5, 2006 at 11:12 pm

    Basset, visit the Lincoln Museum; eat at Cork and Cleaver; catch a Wizards game; and do the Zoo – eh?

    Walk the Line is getting shorted so far, but Reese definitely succeeded in ‘trying to matter’… if only it would win Best Pic. We’ve seen 3 of the nominated pics – most skippable was Constant Gardener (we rented it)

    I have become a fan of Jaquene Phoenix, even if I cannot spell his name.

    Pam and I laughed as the “It’s hard out here for a pimp” song was performed (and blipped), and then WON (and the acceptance was blipped). Hey – whatever…..I guess it beats the hell out of Celine Dionne ceaselessly soppy “My Heart Will Go On”.

    btw – made me mad when the Academy didn’t include Don Knotts on (or Darrin McGavin, for that matter) on their ‘we lost them this year’ list

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  3. basset said on March 5, 2006 at 11:33 pm

    >catch a Wizards game

    I’ve been to a Komets game, back when the I was a real minor league. All I remember is that they were playing the Mohawks at Muskegon and the program had a feature about how wonderful the Komets’ goalie was, seeing as how he kept the team’s books and drove a Pepsi truck in the off-season.

    nothing wrong with that, it’s honest work… just says a lot about life in the low minors.

    so if the winning song was “blipped,” and the acceptance was too, what does that say about the level of artistic expression in that timeless performance?

    me, if I hear the rap beat… thump-whack-athumpthump-whack… I either change the channel or leave the store.

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  4. Nick said on March 6, 2006 at 7:28 am

    I was more invested in the Oscars this year than I’ve been for the last ten – I saw nearly everthing in the major categories. The baby-sitter made out like a bandit, although there were several titles already on DVD (Hustle & Flow, Crash, Constant Gardener, Wallace & Grommit). My pre-schooler had been asleep for twenty minutes last night when Wallace and Gromit won best animated film. The theme music played and my son called out from his room “Daddy, Mommy, are you watching Wallace and Gromit without me?” Good ear on that boy.

    I think that IHOHFAP winning best song proves conclusively that the academy is no longer filled with old folks, for better or worse. Brokeback was a truly excellent adaptation and I really expected it to win best picture, but I was pleased that they spread the statues around so liberally this year.

    And Brian, don’t be too mad at the Academy – Mssrs. Knotts and McGavin both passed away in 2006 – we’ll get a one second clip of them in the tear-jerker montage next year.

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  5. Dorothy said on March 6, 2006 at 8:56 am

    Okay I’ve been an Oscar and movie junkie for years so naturally I am not without opinions here. But I’ll try to be brief.

    Crash deserved to win, Brokeback did not. I did not get swept up into the story. I found it a yawner and I was impatient for it to DO SOMETHING. I loved Walk the Line, too, and was astonished at how well Reese and Joaquin could sing. I bought the soundtrack. I liked Hustle and Flow a lot, too. I’m not a rap fan at all, but the tune was catchy and the acting was superb. Terrence (Terrance?) Howard is amazing and he’s going places.

    Constant Gardner was just okay to me – I can’t understand why Rachel Weisz won so many awards. Amy Adams should have won. She was luminous in Junebug. The story was a little depressing but she was a standout. I did not see Capote, Good Night and Good Luck or Syriana so I can’t comment on those actors.

    Basset I don’t know why, but that whole Red Hat Society thing just makes me ill. Any of the women I’ve met who belong to it are not people I want to be friendly with. I think you can get together with contemporaries without having to play dress up in red and purple. To me it takes away your individuality and personality. I’ve never been a joiner to groups like that so it must be something lacking in my genetic makeup.

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  6. Carmella said on March 6, 2006 at 9:23 am

    I feel exactly the same way about the Red Hat Society, Dorothy!

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  7. brian stouder said on March 6, 2006 at 9:52 am

    I never even heard of the red hat society until a year or two ago.

    Didja notice that the glitterati didn’t go for Jon Stewart? Ithought he was entertaining – so of course he probably won’t get asked back!

    and the Oscar (went) to …..

    Really, I was let down when the nominations came out…it was as if the NCAA tournament seeding process was conducted with a dart board

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  8. Nance said on March 6, 2006 at 10:37 am

    OK, Basset, I’ll bite:

    The ad is 60 percent b.s. The shopping in FW is only fabulous if you’re from Berne — and the parking lots of local malls on weekends demonstrate this fact, which you can tell because Indiana puts county of residence on license plates. I’ll defend the restaurants. And world-class entertainment? Oh, please. PLEASE.

    I’ll defend the restaurants, though. There are many that are quite good, if you know where to look for them, admittedly not something most tourists will be able to do. As for the museums? The Lincoln is quite good, but small. The art museum does a good job with what they have, but so far has failed to erect a plaque proclaiming it the site of Nancy Nall and Alan Derringer’s nuptials in 1993, so SCREW THEM, I SAY.

    On the whole, though, I’d say it’s exactly the sort of place Red Hat ladies would love, since they’re mostly interested in gadding about with their friends for cheap eats and entertainment.

    Bottom line: Don’t change your vacation plans.

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  9. basset said on March 6, 2006 at 10:57 am

    don’t know that I meant for anyone to “bite,” just wanted to see if the ad was as much BS as it looked. the Fort might be a wonderful place, I dunno.

    I’m not a joiner myself, in five years at IU I only set foot in a frat house three times and two of those I was working… if there were a male equivalent of Red Hat I wouldn’t be interested. but if you’re over fifty, female, don’t care how unhip you might look and enjoy going to the outlet mall with the girls, well, I can see how it might be fun.

    and if there’s somewhere good to eat in FW, tell me about it… I will probably do a Nashville to Detroit drive this summer, it’d be a good pit stop on the way back. on the way up I have to get a Gnaw Bone tenderloin .

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  10. brian stouder said on March 6, 2006 at 11:06 am

    “and if there’s somewhere good to eat in FW, tell me about it… ”

    Cork & Cleaver – best salad bar in town (caviar, heart of palm, fresh beets, leafy fresh spinach, fresh fruits; plus the best prime rib anywhere – for no more cost than the chain places like Outback, but with the great salad bar

    If you want southwestern/Mexican – Cebolla’s

    If you don’t know what you want, any of the Hall’s restaurants are a good pick

    If you’re downtown and don’t mind stinking like onions and grease, a Powers hamburger or a Coney dog fills the bill

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  11. Connie said on March 6, 2006 at 11:19 am

    Add me to the list of those who don’t get the red hat thing. I saw only two of the many nominated films, both on DVD. Crash, and March of the Penguins. And unfortunately my Penguins DVD was not the wide screen version. I loved the Penguin visuals, but thought the narration and music where way overdone. I no longer need a babysitter, but my husband has no interest in going to the movies, so when I do occasionally go, it’s usually alone on a week night. Which is OK with me.

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  12. Danny said on March 6, 2006 at 11:21 am

    I don’t have many strong opinions about the Oscars. It is virtually axiomatic that they are doomed to failure with all of that pomp and circumstance. I’m convinced that most folks watch them to lampoon the ‘Hollywood elite’ and wait for the train wrecks.

    Last night had a few eye rolling moments. There were the rappers thanking Jesus for there Oscar victory for the pimp song. There was also the woman who co-wrote the adapted screenplay for Brokeback who took herself so seriously she decided to appropriate Biblical passages about light dispelling darkness. All that with a quivering voice. Puh-leeez.

    All in all, an extremely weak year for the movie industry. Constant Gardener was simplistic and the acting only competent. I missed Lauren Bacall coming to the stage, but I know she takes a dim view of most current actors and actresses who are feted as superstars. I have to agree with her.

    I plan to see Walk the Line, but having see a few clips, I am curious. Was Phoenix lip-syncing or affecting a Cash voice?

    Oh, one other thing. I saw a headline where George Lucas predicts doom for big budget movies. He is probably right on if he is talking about the number of stuffed shirts that are screwing with the creative process. But he is wrong if he thinks that is why the last three SW movies sucked. That was all his own fault. His best movie to date is “American Grafitti.”

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  13. Dorothy said on March 6, 2006 at 11:40 am

    Both lead actors did their own singing in Walk the Line.

    Was it me, or did Lauren Bacall look like she was having a breakdown or something when she could not read her lines properly? She looked like she was starting to quake all over, and then the camera pulled away a little and never returned to her.

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  14. brian stouder said on March 6, 2006 at 11:57 am

    “did Lauren Bacall look like she was having a breakdown or something”

    yes – I was struck by the strength she displayed. It looked like she was clearly having some rough sledding – mistaking and re-reading words, and losing her spot;

    but then she moved her hands forward on the lecturn and seemed to focus on moving progressing to the end, which she did. No stopping cold and freezing for her, by God!

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  15. Colleen said on March 6, 2006 at 12:09 pm

    Bacall seemed off to me as well. I love her, so that made me sad.

    RE: Red Hat ladies…we were on a cruise this December with a whooooole passel full of ’em. Lemme just say this–don’t get between a Red Hat Lady and the buffet line. Normally I’m all in favor of women being empowered at any age, but en masse, they were just…obnoxious.

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  16. Jim said on March 6, 2006 at 12:57 pm

    I remember back in the ’70s when the city opened the Old Fort, proclaiming this would be a tourist attraction. And even though I was only a kid, I thought, “Who in the world would vacation to Fort Wayne to see an old fort?” The answer: Nobody. After a number of years of losing money, it finally closed down. It’s still there, but I don’t know what they do with it. I think they open it up on special occasions.

    As for sumptuous dining, I don’t think Fort Wayne has had anything like that since Cafe Johnell closed. Of course, there are nice places to eat, but nothing you can’t find anywhere else.

    When I go to Fort Wayne (an increasingly rare event), I go to the unique places: Coney Island, Power’s, Hall’s. For those of us who grew up in the Summit City, it’s as much for the memories as for the food. Although, as a dedicated Coney Island devotee, I have to say I’ve never found anything like those hot dogs anywhere. The closest I found was a little hole in the wall in Providence, Rhode Island …

    As for shopping, there’s Glenbrook and, well … um, there’s Glenbrook. Is there anything in Glenbrook you can’t find anywhere else? Same old stores you’ll find in every other mall in the country. Red Robin, however, has great hamburgers.

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  17. nancy said on March 6, 2006 at 1:08 pm

    When I think of fine dining in the Fort, I think of Joseph Decuis, which is a short piece outside of town, but still counts as a FW restaurant, in my opinion. It is truly outstanding, one of the best restaurants in the state.

    For run-of-the-mill Fort eating, I like a good coney, too. But for good cheap food in my later years there, I increasingly relied on the authentic taquerias opening up around the south side. It isn’t “local” except that it is, and boy, was it good. To get it here, I have to drive down to Mexicantown in SW Detroit. In Indiana, I lived in Mexicantown, pretty much.

    As for so-called authentic Hoosier food, the kind that shows why we’re the fattest damn state in the union and PROUD OF IT, I always think of the zillion country restaurants and cafes around the place, where you could get biscuits and gravy, potatoes and noodles (yes, potatoes AND noodles — in the same dish), fried chicken and the like. Hilger’s was good for that. I once sat next to a family of four who easily weighed half a ton collectively. I’m sure they liked Hilger’s because it was all-you-can-eat. A bargain for them, no doubt.

    I can eat a pork tenderloin, but I have no special attachment to them. I never understood the appeal — a fried tenderloin the size of a hubcap (and the thickness of a piece of shirt cardboard) on a regular-size bun. It’s like a joke. And yet the locals go nuts over ’em. Go figure.

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  18. basset said on March 6, 2006 at 2:02 pm

    — can eat a pork tenderloin, but I have no special attachment to them.

    just move outside the tenderloin zone and see if you don’t miss ’em. I’m in Tennessee and they don’t know what a tenderloin is down here, you can find something by that name on some restaurant menus but it’s usually a piece of fried pork steak.

    I’m going to Bloomington later this month for a conference, seminar, group class, workshop, whatever you want to call it and have been on the phone with Eddie’s Food and Fuel in Gnaw Bone making sure we pass through Brown County during their serving hours.

    no persimmon puddin’ in these parts, either. or pawpaws. but there are morels in the woods and WOWO comes in pretty well at night.

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  19. Jim said on March 6, 2006 at 2:06 pm

    And don’t forget the Amish places … the Essen Haus in Middlebury, and there’s another one in Nappanee whose name I can’t remember at the moment (it’s been so long). All the fried chicken, potatoes and gravy, noodles, etc. you can eat — served “family style.” Pass the gravy, mom …

    I never ate at Joseph Decuis, but I have heard wonderful things about it. And you’re right about the Mexican restaurants being good, but again — an authentic Mexican restaurant isn’t too hard to find.

    My favorite was Miguel’s in Gateway Plaza — back in the day before the original owner sold out. My last few visits were very disappointing. And don’t get me started on Bandido’s …

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  20. mary said on March 6, 2006 at 3:37 pm

    Hmm. Every dog I’ve ever owned has loved getting bathed. Maybe it’s because Los Angeles is the flea capitol of the universe, and a bath gives some relief.

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  21. alex said on March 6, 2006 at 5:01 pm

    I notice a glaring omission — Club Soda. Now that’s some worthwhile dining in the Fort. Great atmosphere too. Whenever I have Chicagoans here to visit I can always count on Club Soda to impress.

    And I miss the old El Charro. It was kind of mundane Velveeta Mexican but I liked it better than the food in quite a few Mexican places that have opened since. Also I miss El Rey’s fluffy chips and chunky salsa; of course, toward the end they got stingy with servings of chips and salsa and even charged a ridiculous amount for refills on it. And, yeah, their food really started to suck.

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  22. colleen said on March 6, 2006 at 7:49 pm

    Oh yah, Alex, I agree about both Mexican places. We live near Quimby, so we used to hit El Ray frequently. After a couple of not so great trips, we found Los Lomas on Fairfield. Oh yeah. Great food, and great service.

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  23. Carmella said on March 7, 2006 at 6:48 am

    El Azteca!!! It was the place to be in the mid 70’s on Thursday nights…anyone…anyone? And I still love it! I think its the best Mexican food in the Fort!

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  24. basset said on March 7, 2006 at 8:21 am

    we have quite a large Spanish-speaking population in Nashville, & not only are there good Mexican restaurants, there are Salvadoran, Honduran, Cuban, Peruvian, so on, so forth.

    kinda hard to mess up Mexican food, really. even the bad places aren’t THAT bad.

    I was telling my 16-year-old son about our discussion of the many attractions of Fort Wayne, and he had a good line… “dad, it sounds like Fort Wayne is the Dayton of Indiana.”

    hmmm. he could be right.

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  25. Jim said on March 7, 2006 at 10:49 am

    Gosh, is it THAT bad?

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  26. basset said on March 7, 2006 at 7:51 pm

    last time I went to Dayton, about a year ago, every time I got directions they included “now, if you get off on (whatever exit), turn around and get back on the interstate RIGHT AWAY! Don’t stop for ANYTHING!”

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  27. alex said on March 7, 2006 at 8:32 pm

    The Dayton of Indiana. Now that’s some mighty high praise.

    Our ribbon of interstate doesn’t happen to touch ghetto like theirs does; on the other hand, where you see trailers (or these days, high walls which are there to camouflage the trailers) don’t even think about exiting ‘cuz the white inhabitants are twice as scary as anyone on the dark side of town and eager to carjack you to go rob a bank so as to buy some meth.

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  28. Jay said on March 2, 2007 at 3:58 am

    I have actually read about Cafe Johnell in Fort Wayne in a book about the rock group KISS by C. K. Lendt. It sounded like quite a jewel of a restaurant. The author of the book was quite impressed by the menu and decor and he mentions a 500 dollar bottle of cognac and this is the 1970s! Too bad it closed…

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