austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

And an awful lot of running to do

For Monday, to be my last full day with bunny_hugger, we had another completely open schedule and slightly better weather than the day before. I had wanted to leave open the possibility of going to Great Adventure; while I dislike the company (I worked there one summer), I like her much more, and besides Six Flags is bankrupt anyway so there's sure to be some token change in management before they get back out again. She thought two amusement park visits in such short order would be too much, and probably she was right.

We had a couple times thought about maybe going to a movie, but didn't really see anything in the listings that was appealing. The closest we got, apart from Ponyo which we'd both seen a few weekends back, was G-Force, and who was playing that? As it happens, a theater nearby --- by the second-closest Barnes and Noble, and to what had been a pretty good Chiense buffet before they rededicated themselves to fish --- had a just-missed-the-matinee-prices showing at 4:15, and even with our sleeping in and slow rising we'd make that easily. And we could even stop at the supermarket on the way back and get what we needed for macaroni and cheese too.

Somehow despite my having a fairly good idea how far away the plaza is and just how long it takes to drive there we seemed to be coming near running late. Also somehow we were able to get a parking space snugly up front of the parking lot, in a region so close it seemed like it should have been reserved for handicapped parking. We were unmistakably in the clear, though, we checked. We also were able to share, for a bit of another change, the giant-size popcorn and two-soda combination deal. And for a treat we got a couple squirts of the butter-flavored viscous covering to add to the popcorn. They haven't got flavor powdered out this way that I've seen.

The crowd at G-Force was more or less theoretical, although considering how long the movie's been out that's to be expected. The movie was, for us, not in 3-D, although it was hard to not notice how it had been intended to be. Now, I like guinea pigs, and used to keep a steadily growing tribe of such, and I've wondered occasionally at how they aren't used as cartoon characters. Granted in my experience they don't really have that screen-attractive personality. The guinea pigs I knew seemed born to express the concept, ``I don't know why you're looking at me as if you expect me to do something particular, as I shan't''. Still, they've been able to do successful stuff with mice. Maybe it's the tube-sock body construction that makes them harder to put on two feet.

I can't honestly characterize G-Force as good, although part of that is surely that I've seen movies before and so can't help notice things like We're Being Set Up For A Surprise when the big-bad-villain has His Reasons for not being seen on a video conference, and stuff like the Law of Economy of Characters undermines what's meant to be a surprise. But I don't think all of the things which dissatisfy me are the result of not being a trusting enough viewer: at the Low Moment for the Hero's Rally in the film, the kind of dopey genius scientist Ben who uplifted the guinea pigs, fly, and mole (and cockroaches) into their training gives what's meant to be a rallying speech about their humble origins and confessing that he made up the stuff about their being genetically-engineered super-cavies. That's ... fine, I guess, if you want to deploy some expository lump about Believing In Yourselves, but almost none of that is actually relevant to the story. Yeah, Ben and his assistant Assistant Woman have to do something to rally spirits, but filling in their Secret Origins really only makes sense if Ben is trying to help guinea pig Darwin though an identity crisis he doesn't really know he's having.

There's also little nagging zoological problems; for example, early on, as the guinea pigs and mole have a mission go wrong, Darwin assures the mole that he'll be rescued, as they leave no rodent behind. Moles aren't rodents. (Guinea pigs, we'll treat as rodents for now.) Also, there's a lot of team-spirit and camaraderie among the guinea pigs, including one who's picked up from a pet store in the course of action; but there's also a fly who's quite important to the success of their saving-the-world stuff, and he seems to be beneath the notice of the real main characters. At least Zipper would throw a fit about the Rescue Rangers ignoring him twice a season. The cockroaches are, far as I can tell, not thought of in the midst of team-identity-building.

Also, part of the problem of the movie is the G-Force Team, a secret project for the FBI, has its funding cut because the plan is crazy. The success of the de-funded team in saving the world is used to get them restored and the team made real and true agents. The trouble is --- and this is a bit of a spoiler --- the supervillain threatening the world was also a side effect of the research that went into the G-Force team. Had the project never started there wouldn't have been any problem that the project was needed to solve. And, as bunny_hugger noted, the problem --- an uplifted animal having a serious grudge against humanity --- can't really be assumed to be a one-off. You can't really name any species which hasn't got some serious grievances against humanity, many of them rather well-justified. If you're going to give squirrels the knowledge to build tactical nuclear weapons you're going to have side effect.

There's also a bit of a timeline problem nagging at me since I can't quite figure when the villain could have built the secret lair deployed by the end of the movie. Although given the premise involved microchips that endowed ordinary appliances with Transformers technology perhaps that's one of those things answered implicitly if the writers had thought of it.

Still, there's a lot that's fun in the movie, particularly when it just embraces the absurdity and starts building giant world-destroying robots out of coffee makers. (Seriously.) At times it gets ridiculous enough to be sort of grand, and they should have tried for more of that grand-madness spirit.

It still left the question of why they didn't just make a Rescue Rangers movie, though.

Anyway, this left us after the movie with vague questions about it and a feeling that we ought to get some proper dinner, and maybe some more bagels given we'd finished them off. (I'd only bought four ahead of time.) So on the way back --- when by the way we finished at least the second go-round on the carousel music so we were getting pretty good at eight songs that sound a lot like ``Let Me Call You Sweetheart'', the Marines Hymn, and ``Humoresque'' --- we went to the Stop And Shop Unless That Isn't Quite The Name nearest home to look around for ways to upgrade what we were eating.

The minor thing here was getting some more bagels, although the selection was surprisingly paltry. Maybe the bakery took Labor Day off. We ended up with a mix of onion, garlic, blueberry, and egg, I think. And we picked up packages of Annie's Homegrown macaroni and cheese, one featuring ordinary macaroni shells and one featuring little bunny figures, on bunny_hugger's recommendation and of course the Bernie ``Rabbit Of Approval'' logo. The store also gave us the chance to look at miscellaneous British candies, in the 'Irish Foods' sub-aisle, and we picked up Cadbury fingers so that we'd have something else to snack on too.

Our intention was to eat the bunny-figure macaroni and cheese and keep the regular shells for later use and as you might expect we opened the wrong package. While we skipped the butter in the making (it was optional anyway) it made for a nicely tasty dinner anyway. And we got to talking about a particular SCTV episode --- the Zontar invasion --- and I realized that I (a) had several of the SCTV sets conveniently on hand rather than in places that we would have to search through boxes for, and (b) not the one with Zontar. We did end up watching a couple of episodes anyway, including the Towering Inferno parody and the one with a sketch bunny_hugger had heard about but never seen and so was having trouble visualizing, where NASA puts on a performance of T S Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral. I'm fairly sure I've mentioned this sketch before because that one really proved someone on staff was a major space history buff, as there was not just a (misspelled) reference to otherwise obscure Apollo astronaut Rusty Schweickart but also an (accurate) reference to Flight Director Chris Kraft, and that written in 1981 or so when you couldn't just look this stuff up on Wikipedia. That sort of detail required actual knowledge.

It also introduced her to Circus Lupus, The Circus of Wolves. And Al Peck's Used Fruit. So it was a happy night that closed with a long time spent sitting on the couch, talking about us, and holding each other, long, long into our last night together for this visit.

Trivia: Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge flew with Orville Wright for about five minutes on 17 September 1908 in the Flyer Model A before the crash, which was the first fatal crash in powered aviation. Source: Over Land And Sea: The Dramatic Story Of The Great Aviation Pioneer Glenn H Curtiss, Robert Scharff, Walter S Taylor.

Currently Reading: Napoleon On The Art of War, Edited by Jay Luvaas.

Sudden realization: ``Humoresque'' is kind of the same song as ``Sweet Georgia Brown'', at least in its key refrain, only played at a constant tempo.


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