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     February 9, 2004

I think all the really thought-provoking, interesting sites out there must be maintained by single guys. I am certainly not finding the time required to make this a really well-done site, but since my livelihood is in no way dependent on this site....it's all good. I'm lucky if I can even get the time to proofread my ramblings before I post it for all (and I'm talking about both of you) to read.

Enough with the whining. . .on to the balefully trite and true:

Movies

There haven't really been any new releases that I have felt compelled to see, recently. I am looking forward to a couple of summer movies, though. But more about that in a minute. . .

Murder at 1600
I saw this movie on TV a few days ago. I was surprised to see Dennis Miller and Diane Lane (Wesley Snipes wasn't a surprise. I knew he was in it). Dennis Miller should be in more movies. I like his dry, wry humor. Diane Lane was noteworthy due my recent discovery that she had been married to Cristopher Lambert (of Highlander fame).
About the movie: it was suspenseful and not too predictable. Well acted (DIane Lane as a tough, sharp-shooting secret service agent was interesting) and well written. My one complaint: casting a liberal guy, ALan Alda, as an ultra-conservative (Machiavellian, even) politician. And being a conservative type myself, I found the type-casting somewhat "offensive." But hey, it's all in fun.

Radio
This movie was not at all what I expected. I was sure Cuba Gooding Jr. was going to be a "Rudy"-type guy who becomes a player/football star. Imagine my surprise when the movie is in no way like Rudy. I liked Ed Harris in this one. He's great as a tough, yet thoughtful and caring guy. And how about the small town propoganda? It was almost enough to make me uproot and settle down in a small town. Okay, maybe not "almost," but the thought was there for a brief moment. An actress named "Sarah Drew" played Ed Harris' football-orphaned daughter (very well for her first movie role).

Cheaper By The Dozen
Last week was my Eighth wedding anniversary, so the little woman and I went to a movie to celebrate. This, since it was a Steve Martin vehicle, seemed the lesser of the many evils at the theatre. It was fairly entertaining. At times, it made me cringe (which is what it was supposed to do, I assume, so it's all good) when the "situations" in the movie were unbearably uncomfortable. It was good to see Superman, Tom Welling, in his first movie role. He did a good job. I really like WB's Smallville. It's a fresh and original look at the Superman "legend". Steve Martin played the same role he has played in the last several movies he has been in: the comicly bumbling, but often endearing, father. Piper Parabo, of Coyote Ugly fame, was the oldest child in the family and seemed to only exist to allow Ashton Kutcher's character to gain access to the family. Dude, where's you acting skills? I'm not sure if it's a bad-acting thing or if it's just him, but I've never really liked anything he's done outside of That 70's show. One last character worth mentioning: the 12 year old sister in the family, played by Alyson Stoner. She's going to be really cute when she get's older. Mark my words. Oh yeah, Hillary Duff is in this one, too. She plays a teenager. What else is new?

And Coming Soon...

King Arthur
Opens July 7, 2004.
I just found out about this movie last week (from an MSN page). It looks like a grittier, more reality based telling of the Arthurian legend. Closer to Braveheart than Excalibur. And Keira Knightly is Guinevere. How can you go wrong?
Summary: As the Roman Empire crumbles (circa 450 A.D.), the British Isles are thrown into a loose anarchy as errant knights are entrenched in years of territorial battle. Then, one king emerges to unite them, Arthur, with his concept of a Round Table of united knights. This film aims to tie the legend of Arthur into the realities of the time in which he would have ruled. The details of the plot aren't known, but this film will likely depict the battles that led to Arthur's reign, and the issues that he would have dealt with (the traditional "pulling Excalibur out of the stone" origin story will probably not be used).

Spiderman 2
Opens July 2, 2004.
Spiderman is arguably the best superhero movie made to date. Better than the Batman series (which tanked when the sequels started coming out and Batman changed with each new movie), X-Men (Wolverine is great, but none of the other characters really inspires much interest), or Superman (great movies, probably number 2 on the list). Can't think of any other noteworthy superhero movies that have been out there (League of Extraordinary Gentleman wasn't really a superhero movie and the original Punisher isn't even worth mentioning). Kirsten Dunst is back (good), but the Green Goblin is dead, so Willem Dafoe is gone (bad).
Summary: It's been two years since the mild-mannered Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) first began struggling with "the gift and the curse," and he's still coming to terms with his dual identity as the web-slinging crime superhero, Spider-Man. Now Peter's in college and his relationships with the people he cares most about are crumbling. He wants to reveal his secret identity to Mary Jane, his friendship with Harry Osborn is stressed by Harry's growing hatred of SpiderMan, and Peter's Aunt May has fallen on hard times. When a new foe, Dr. Otto Octavius, appears, Peter/Spidey face a new challenge...

Van Helsing
Opens May 7, 2004.
Vampires, werewolves, Hugh Jackman in a long black trenchcoat and medieval weapons. What more could a geek boy possily want? If you want more, visit the Van Helsing site. Thre are a lot of interesting things to see and download from the site.
Summary: Set in the late 19th century, monster hunter Dr. Abraham Van Helsing (Jackman) is summoned to a mysterious land in Eastern Europe to vanquish evil forces. . .evil forces such as Count Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein's Monster. Assisting him, once he gets there, is Anna, the heir of a well-established family committed to hunting down and destroying Dracula. The movie gets its start as Dr. Van Helsing is hunting down the mysterious monster, Mr. Hyde.

Books

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
I have finished Harry Potter #1 and am quite pleased. It was a good read--not the "written for 8 year old readers" book that I had feared. I plan on buying all four (I borrowed the copy I just finished) and reading the entire series. It may be a while before I get to #2 due to the recent onslaught of reading material. I plan to watch the movie again, now that I understand about Harry and his scar, the muggles he lives with, Snape's instant dislike, etc.

A Tolkien Miscellany
If you are considering becoming a Science Fiction Book Club members, have no fear. The SFBC didn't screw up (as I had surmised in the last issue of the news). They were out of stock and had to ship this book separately. All is well.
I have just started reading this book, and I am struck by the similarity to the writing style of the first two stories (Smith of Wooton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham) and Neil Gaiman's Stardust (I know. . .enough about Stardust, already). This writing style isn't my favorite (a "children's fable" approach), but it is still interesting to see some of the origins of Middle Earth being revealed.

The Last Juror
This is another John Grisham legal thriller (judging form the title). I probably won't get to this one for a couple of weeks. So more to come later. . .

Other Stuff

I came across a mark Oakley interview today that was interesting to read. Now there's a frood who really knows where his towel is.

Here is an amusing animated gif I stumbled across recently. Don't panic, (this link will probably not work for non-IE users) it's all in good fun.

My sister, the pottery queen, gave me a cool mug for Christmas that looks like Treebeard/Fangorn (from LOTR). Unfortuately, I managed to chip the rim within a few hours of receiving it (in the process breaking off one of Keli's new Tinkerbell's fingers). With great skill, I managed to glue the pices I could find back on and now both are as close to new as they will ever be.

More old news from Christmas. . . As I have mentioned, I spent Christmas in Idaho with my parent and siblings. My dad, the polar bear that he is, is coming to be known among the locals as the goofy California guy who wears shorts in the freezing cold.
One cool thing about living in a small town (this town has a population of about 350, I think), as was mentioned above in the Radio rantings, is the closeness the residents feel for one another. While I was in Idaho, a huge storm dumped a lot of snow, effectively blocking the driveway. The neighbors from both side's of my parents house ( Tim Passey and...I can't recall the other's name) quickly jumped on their ATVs and started plowing the driveway. They were not asked to do this, they did not exepct financial remuneration. . .they were just being neighborly. How cool is that?

Badbartopia News

And now, the news you have all been waiting for. . .

The Douglas Adams page has been updated significantly in the past couple of weeks. I have added the Hitchhiker's Guide (Infocom) game download, a link to the BBC's h2g2 site (a functional guide along the lines of the beast I am contemplating), a few other downloads (flash file, screen saver, some images) and a few other minor tweaks here and there. Still no progress on the guide, though.

I have made one improvement to the Highlander page. I have added an Adrian Paul biography (it seemed only fair, since I had Gregory Widen and Christoper Lambert's). I may have added images to the downloads section--I can't remember now.

Something I just realized recently: the site map is drastically out of date. Don't go there for guidance. I will update as soon as possible.

And my last tidbit of new for the evening: there are 4 new drawings/sketches in the Downloads area (under Cartoons 4).



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© Brett Wilkes. All Rights Reserved.
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