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8:54 am - Sun 10/08/02
A slow news day

A Slow News Day

I don't know why, but every since the Friday after Thanksgiving, I've been thinking about Jennifer Lopez...

Watching tv at Cary's house that morning, we saw "J-Lo's" video for her song "Jenny From The Block" (Not having cable, it's been awhile since I've seen any music videos).

Visually, the video had plenty to recommend it, but out of respect for the female portion of my audience, I won't spend a lot of time in here waxing lyrical about Ms Lopez in a bikini, or in various states of undress (Let's just say I approved).

But beyond that, there wasn't much going on of any interest; The song itself is quite forgettable, and I continue to see Ms Lopez as having more to offer as an actress than a singer (I say that based on one movie that I liked quite a lot--Out Of Sight--since I can't think of any other movies I've seen her in).

But what stuck with me more than J-Lo in a bikini or the fact that another modestly talented singer is making a big splash based completely on sex appeal and marketing, was the message of the song itself--"In spite of these rocks that I got, I'm still Jenny from the block..." (In other words, she might be rich and famous now, but she's still out there "keeping it real", whatever that means).

Maybe she really is "keeping it real"--I don't know her, after all, so how do I know?--but I tend to think that type of sentiment from celebrities is bullshit.

I don't think stars get to where they are, with the ambition and drive that entails, in order to just be "Jenny From The Block".

If Jennifer Lopez really saw herself as "Jenny From The Block", she'd be "Jenny From Right Down The Block" as we speak. And I wouldn't be watching a video of her and her movie star boyfriend relaxing on their yacht (I thought that was a pretty interesting "mixed message" right there--Telling me you remember "where you came from" while showing me scenes of your jet-set lifestyle).

My take on it is that she's playing to her audience, telling them what she thinks they want to hear--"I'm 'just folks', just like you"--rather that expressing anything that's coming from her heart (Because it wouldn't be cool to say "I'm rich and famous, and better looking than you" while sticking her tongue out at the world).

Well, I've probably already devoted too much space to this, so I'll move on...

I saw Adaptation on Friday, the new movie from the writer and director of Being John Malkovich (I was kind of surprised, when telling people at work about it, to realize that they had little or no awareness of the film. I assumed this was the type of thing a number of people at the bookstore would be very interested in).

Anyway, I thought it was huge fun (The screenplay is about a screenwriter, named Charlie Kaufman, who's hired to write an adaptation of The Orchid Thief. When he becomes totally blocked as to just how to do it, he starts writing a screenplay about a screenwriter, named Charlie Kaufman, who's trying, and failing, to adapt The Orchid Thief for the screen. There's more going on that that--a lot more--but you get the idea).

I was particularly happy to see Nicholas Cage back doing the type of thing he should be doing (I haven't felt like I had to run out and see a Nicholas Cage film since Leaving Las Vegas). And Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper are great as well (I'm becoming a big Chris Cooper fan). If you like your movies kind of straight forward and linear, this isn't going to be your thing, but if you want to see something a little different--Okay, something a lot different--you'll have a good time.

After the movie, which I saw at The Grove (Which is on 3rd street, maybe a half mile down from the bookstore), I thought I was going to go see Far From Heaven, the Todd Haynes movie with Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid, which was playing in Los Feliz, but things didn't end up going that way.

I've been craving pizza for awhile now, so I ended up at the Little Caesars across the street, which is located inside a Kmart. I had a slice, and when that failed to satisfy, had a couple more (An odd moment; As I was leaving, an old lady at a nearby table, who was also leaving, started saying "Don't leave on my account". Maybe she thought I was offended, since she had said something about watching my elbows as I got up. Or maybe it was something about "washing" my elbows. Who knows? But anyway...).

As I was leaving, I suddenly had an urge to check out the toy department (I've probably said it in here before, so this shouldn't be an embarrassing admission, but I really like action figures. I was recently looking at a toy collector magazine at work, and saw the latest round of super-articulated Marvel comic characters, and found myself wondering if they carried any of them at this Kmart).

They had a "Spider Man" and a "Green Goblin", but that was it.

They also had a lot of GI Joes--both the big ones (About a foot tall) and the little ones (3-and-three-quarter inches)--but ultimately, I didn't buy anything; You can't just buy one--Who would he fight?--so you're talking about spending anywhere from $8-20. And I was already spending money I didn't really have to take myself to the movies (The "adult" in me only wins out because I'm poor. If I had the money to indulge my "inner child", I would in a second

Okay, since I've already embarrassed myself by admitting I'd still enjoy playing with dolls if I only had the disposable income, I might as well "geek out" totally here...

I'm very big on articulation (Meaning, I like it when figures can bend and move). The new Marvel figures I mentioned have something like 30 different points of articulation.

For years, I thought of articulation as the be-all and end-all of action figures, but fairly recently, I became aware that there's another point-of-view on the subject--To some people, a bigger issue than "articulation" (Or "poseability") is "sculpting". They want the figure to look as realistic as possible, and all the joints and bolts and what-have-you that are required to make a figure bend and move can take away from that. It's functional, but it's not "aesthetically pleasing" (I always thought that the only reason action figures were not "fully poseable" was because the company involved was too cheap to spend the extra money).

I know this isn't very interesting to anyone (And you're probably finding this interest of mine more than a little sad), but what struck me was how it was some big "insight" that people might have another opinion on the matter. You'd think, at 41, that I might have figured out by now that my feelings about anything are not the "be-all-and-end-all", but I guess I'm still learning.

Last night, after I got home from work, I turned on the tv, and Mr. Saturday Night was just coming on (If you don't know, Mr Saturday Night is Billy Crystal's flop vanity project/labor-of-love from some years back).

I'm telling myself that I didn't watch it just because I was bored or too lazy to do something else. And honestly, I actually was curious to see this movie I've been aware of for years, but never seen.

So I watched it. And it really wasn't very good.

(The story is about "Buddy Young Jr", a jewish comic who peaks in the 50s with his own tv show. The story is told in flashbacks, and in present time, with Crystal in a not-too-convincing age makeup. I could tell you more, but why bother? It's not a very good movie, so please don't go out and rent it on my account.)

The trouble with the movie, as I saw it, is that "Buddy" is a thoroughly unlikeable character--selfish, unpleasant, abrasive, and at least in my opinion, not funny at all--but for whatever reason, Crystal likes him. So as a result, you have scenes demonstrating what a prick the guy is, juxtaposed with mawkishly sentimental scenes that are supposed to then make you feel sorry for the guy.

In short, it doesn't work.

But the movie spoke to something I was thinking about just recently, with regard to Salma Hayek and the movie Frida; It must be tremendously painful to have this "project" you fight for, shepard along for years, feel like you were born to do, then when you finally finish it, after years of sweat and turmoil, the critical reaction is basically a big shrug of the shoulders (The reviews for Frida that I've read have been pretty tepid. Mr Saturday Night, on the other hand, was pretty much raked over the coals, as I recall).

That's gotta be tough.

Well, I think it's pretty apparent that I really don't have much of anything to say, so I think I'm going to lay myself down to sleep, since I went to bed around 3:00 am and woke up at 7:00

(There's some stuff to write about Suzy, "the new girl" at work, but it'll keep)


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