Friday, September 09, 2011

rules of distraction

Taking a quick break from typing about Sweden, just to mix it up a bit. (And because I lack focus/discipline.)

By now everyone has probably read this Times magazine article about willpower and decision fatigue. I read it yesterday and then spent the entire evening behaving exactly as the article predicted.

The good news is, I am blameless! If you've read it you know: I do silly things late in the day because of all the energy I've wasted making smart choices all morning. The root of the problem seems to be sugar sags:

"Your brain does not stop working when glucose is low. It stops doing some things and starts doing others. It responds more strongly to immediate rewards and pays less attention to long-term prospects."

Yep. (I'm looking at you, Sandy Hut.)

I'm thinking the judicious application of cookies and ice cream throughout the day might be able to correct for this weird biological quirk. Sadly, all we can do is hope to rescue our future selves from the results of our overtaxed and rumbly brains; the past is past and already recorded and posted onto the entire internet.

Of the many things that probably shouldn't have come out of my mouth today (and please note I'd already made several decisions all by myself just to get downtown, surely depleting the reserves), the one I feel least uncomfortable bringing up again concerns Battlestar Galactica. Mainly, I think I sounded like I was harshing on the series, and I didn't mean to - I've been watching it obsessively on Netflix and really love some of the characters (although now every time Tigh sticks his nose in a glass I'm going to picture Mike Russell howling). But I do find some of the choices exasperating and inconsistent, and I have a feeling the ending is going to piss me off. Also, Baltar is gross. Still, it's bitchin' TV.

The other thing that happened today (this happens often) is that I tried to talk about movies and ended up talking about male body parts. Not a tragedy but perhaps not as informative as some might like. So here are expanded thoughts on two of the movies we talked about today.

The Last Circus
(directed by Alex de la Iglesia)

Still no idea why this thing got to me as much as it did. I mean I like movies that make me feel terrible, I enjoy being wrecked by a work of art. But I didn't simply dislike this movie, I wanted to beat it with trumpets and cannonball it into a brick wall. It felt germy and sordid and wrong; I'm sure I will not feel dirtier after watching Contagion.

This seems like a lot of abuse to pile onto a weird little Spanish Civil War circus movie. And it does start out strong. For the first few minutes you're like, hell yeah! There's a burly clown in a pink dress and Nellie Oleson wig machine-gunning an army of bad guys. Awesome! But before you even have a chance to get into it, the movie stamps that little flame of hope right out. Suddenly it's 30-some years later and the rampaging clown's nerdy little son has turned into a pudgy sad-sack. He auditions for the job of Sad Clown in a crappy circus led by a drunken but handsome Asshole Clown. And of course there's the tightrope walker acrobat chick they both love, who turns out to be a trampy abuse junkie, of course. I think the thing I couldn't get past is that there is absolutely no one to pull for in the movie. Even the underdog, the guy you'd traditionally sympathize with, turns out to be a vile person. So you end up just watching a bunch of miserable assholes being self-destructively awful to each other for no good reason, for two hours, and then at the end you're like, yep, life is hideous.

Same thing's true of A Perfect Crime, probably de la Iglesia's best-known movie: It starts out fast and sharp and funny and stylish, and then you begin to realize that everyone in it is selfish and grasping and horrible. You assume the ugly-duckling savior girl is sweet and kind and the perfect match, because that's what always happens. Instead it turns out she's horrible. Which I suppose is new and interesting. But all it means is that, in this world, no one is sweet; everyone's an asshole, it's just that some people are also ugly.

Or maybe I was just PMSing or something.


The Warrior
I should probably talk about something besides my boyfriend Tom Hardy's amazing shoulders (god, can they act!) but it's late and I'm tired and I won't be able to do the rest of the movie justice. Also, it's not just me: this movie is very interested in bodies. I mean, it's a melodrama about MMA fighting. You can't ignore the muscles; it would be like not talking about the aliens in Aliens. Anyway, the trailer tells you the structure (I mean the entire structure, so don't get all upset - you can see all of this coming from the first few minutes anyway, and it really doesn't lessen the impact of the ending, I promise). It's a classic Rocky-style plot: underdog endures hardship, trains, is victorious. Except in this case there are two underdogs, my boyfriend and his older brother, played by Joel Edgerton (backup boyfriend), and you really want both of them to win.

Nick Nolte never takes his shirt off but is completely heartbreaking as the recovering-alcoholic dad; Jennifer Morrison from House doesn't get a lot of screen time as backup-boyfriend's wife, but her character is tough and cool and totally convincing. Recommended especially if you like training montages, slow-motion fist-to-face shots, honor and love among gruff and broken men, or shoulders.

Now for some deep knee bends.

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