Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Summer's Almost Gone + 2 movie reviews

All of a sudden, I'm aware the school year is looming just ahead...

My daughter goes back to school on Thursday August 30th. What the hell is the point in sending kids in for two days, and then having Labor Day weekend off? I mean, I just do not understand it. What is going to be accomplished on those two days that it is so necessary to have them in?

School should never begin before the Tuesday after Labor Day weekend. I think my whole life we always started the Tuesday after Labor Day, thus giving families that all important weekend to just have one last gasp of fun. Truth be told, we use summer and fun weekends all the way up through Columbus Day in our little household. Going camping once it cools off and you need socks inside your sleeping bag, actually NEEDING a fire instead of having one when it is 86 degrees just for the sake of having a fire... fall camping is where it is at. So I am sure we'll have at least another couple full days of fun before it's too damn New Englandy Cold to go out and play.

One of my all time favorite TV commercials concerns back to school themes... The Staples commercial where the dad is taking the kids school supply shopping and he's dancing to Perry Como singing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," and the kids look like they could just murder him. That commercial never ceases to either crack me up entirely or just make me smile if I'm too tired to crack all the way up.

My daughter has to be all set and ready in two weeks and two days. Fourth Grade looms ahead. I'm personally not ready for her to be a fourth grader.

Fourth Graders are one step away from that God awful Fifth Grade age... When kids really start to recognize differences between the fat and the skinny, the male and the female, the nerd and the jock. Where the efforts to teach kids that everyone is equal, and individualism is okay just go right out the door and kids draw those clique lines and everything gets completely screwed up.

Fifth Grade is where it all falls apart no matter what groundwork has been laid from Kindergarten onward, and then they are shuffled off to middle school and all hell breaks loose with hormones, problems, depression, more hormones, pressure from school, pressure from parents. Oh, I am just sick thinking about it. I hate Fifth Grade, and day by day over this next academic year my daughter will creep closer to either being the nerd shunned by the jocks, or the fat girl shunned by the skinny rich girls. I am not ready to deal with that kind of pressure.

She doesn't seem to care though. Yet.

I remember being in like Third Grade, and starting to realize these differences. The differences were much clearer to me back then because I was the only white girl in my neighborhood... and all the white kids were rich and lived in the Bay or Southdown, so no one wanted to be friends with me because I lived in the Station... so it became so clear so fast.

I got picked on for being fat, picked on for being white, picked on for being poor, picked on for liking the Boston Red Sox instead of the Yankees.

Luckily they really made attempts now at educating kids that it's wrong to be picking on other kids for stupid reasons. But I think that all changes in Fifth Grade. And the same patterns from my John Cusack Movie Watching days will just appear.

As long as my daughter has one or two real friends who love her no matter what, I am all set. She doesn't need to be miss popularity. Just happy to a good degree.

Yesterday I mentioned that I don't remember anything from my childhood. I'm going to start writing some things down, perhaps here... not to bore you to death or anything, but I just can't remember stuff as clearly as my sister. And I think it has a lot to do with fun. I didn't have as much fun as she did. She had a lot of good friends of different colors, no one beat her up in our neighborhood because her black and hispanic friends still loved her once that level of realization hit. Woozy, Jeannette those guys were still down with my sister while Flo and Crystal Brown beat the crap out of me and dragged me by my hair from the bus stop ... the girls I thought were my friends through elementary school turned on me in middle school like a pack of rabid dogs and terrorized me.

So I honestly think that most of my childhood memories aren't there because I don't have anything worth remembering. Linda's got some good shit. So I totally enjoy spending time with her.

I want my daughter to remember her childhood as clearly and completely as possible. Hopefully she will. In the meantime, I'm in no hurry for her to have the need for looking back on her childhood because that will mean she is grown up, and I am old and I'm not ready for that.

So not ready for so many things on so many levels... and it's all crashing in on me today.

Two movies to report on today. One is "Divorcing Jack," a 1998 British/Irish film with a meaningful title that is revealed in the goings on of the film. Dan is a journalist in Belfast, cynical, nasty, doesn't believe in the self appointed savior of Northern Ireland Michael Brinn, who is running for Prime Minister. Brinn is blowing smoke up the collective skirts of the people he plans to represent, and Dan sees right through him.

A tangled and nasty web begans to weave around Dan as his wife kicks him out, his new girlfriend is assassinated, he accidentally kills her mom, and the IRA and the FTP Ulsterists, the cops and everyone else in Northern Ireland think he's a cold blooded killer, so he needs to prove them wrong. What he ends up in the middle of is an incredible mess extortion, IRA murder for fun, kidnapping and lies which leaves everyone guessing, and in the end leaves the balance of peace in the region absolutely screwed.

It was at times an incredibly funny film, the characters were likeable, and the violence, while rough, was nothing like a Guy Ritchie film. A lot more dialogue and arguing than something Ritchie or Tarrantino would do, so there was a bit more to chew on and you had to actually think at times. Good movie, highly recommend.

Second movie is the aforementioned "Barenaked in America," a rocumentary about BNL (pictured here from the most recent CD... in front and bald is Tyler Stewart, dead center and smug is Steven Page, childlike and glad to not be dead from cancer to Steve's right is Kevin Hearn, behind Steve and looking creepy is Ed Robertson, and way in the back because he's 3 feet taller than everyone else is Jim Creegan).

As I mentioned yesterday the box warned of adult themes (turns out they talk quite a bit about masturbation specifically) and nudity (lots of flashing of boobs and wangs and asses early on in the film). I am glad I watched it without Jessie. Too many boobs for a 9 year old but once you get past that area it gets better and there's only a little swearing and it isn't like she hasn't heard it before...

Overall it was a great documentary following the band during the Stunt tour, and focused on each of the major venues they played (Washington, Buffalo, Seattle, Philly, Boston...) and the chaos that followed them through the country as Stunt just took off big.

It also focused in on the band, the family they have with each other, the cancer that attacked Kevin Hearn right after the album was wrapped and in post production, and the overall fun they have entertaining the world. I enjoyed the film as a fan, and really enjoyed the interviews where the guys all confessed that they suck without the other members of the band. It is so refreshing to hear that when so many bands have some front man with a big ego who needs to go do a big solo project. While the guys each do some different stuff (most notably Jim Creegan doing Creegan Brothers Band), they know they are a full unit and their success comes from being together.

Enjoyed seeing Jim Creegan's 'carrot top' imitation on the Anne Murray Christmas special (what a laugh)... Enjoyed seeing Kevin Hearn in remission from the leukemia. It was also nice to hear explanation of some of the songs like "Alcohol," which I knew is a dark comedic song but some people took as their anthem to being drunk assholes.

Doug thought it was too long, I thought there was no need to include the interview snippets with Jon Stewart trying to be funny about hockey players, or Jeff Goldblum. I mean ... Jeff Goldblum? Who cares? I thought Andy Richter from Conan was hysterical with his little editorial comments on how he was so bummed out the BNL kicked Loverboy's ass out of the throne of reigning kings of Canadian music... that was funny... and they should have gotten Dave Foley to make comments if they were going to include frigging Jeff Goldblum, because Foley used the whole band in one of his movies a few years back. They played cops.

I love, love, love this band, more than anything. I hope they continue to grow and make great music, and I hope they never get boring. After all, no one else can write songs like 'Straw Hat and Old Dirty Hank' about Anne Murray's Stalker. Too smart, too different and too funny.

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