On Saturday, I got my W-2 form in the mail. Did my taxes. What? No, it really was that simple – I don’t own a house, only own one stock (a single share of AAPL I bought a few years ago), and have no dependents, so my taxes are easy-peasy, puddin’ pie.
Turns out I’m getting a substantial refund this year; it’s about the equivalent of one month’s net pay, actually. Nice!
I’m going to use most of it to buy a nice, big, widescreen HDTV. I’m thinking about this one, the Samsung HL4266W, a DLP rear-projection model. Yes, true, the DLP sets need a bulb replacement every couple of years, but I’m OK with that – for the same money I would be hard-pressed to find a quality LCD or plasma set that large.
I don’t watch a lot of TV, but I love movies, which is why I want a home theater setup. I know I’ve talked about this before…
But I don’t have the Big Screen just yet. What I have now is a decent small screen.
Saturday night, I felt a bit anti-social so I wandered down to the corner non-corporate video store in search of “Idiocracy”, a movie starring Luke Wilson and directed and written by Mike Judge, the genius behind “Office Space” and “Beavis and Butthead” and “King of the Hill”. I’d read reviews of the movie last year, but Fox was playing games with its release and to the best of my knowledge, it never played in a theater in Portland, so I was resigned to wait for the DVD release.
I got that, and while I was there, I picked up “Bottle Rocket”, too, which gave me a mini-Luke-Wilson-fest, along with a dose of his brother, he-of-the-weird-nose, Owen Wilson.
Both movies were perfect for the smaller screen. “Idiocracy”, while technically a comedy, was a little too pointed a satire for me. The basic idea is that stupid people are having more babies, and over time, that will lead to people in general getting dumber and dumber. Luke Wilson is suspended in animation and, through a mistake, wakes up 500 years from now, where he discovers he’s the smartest person on the planet. All entertainment is aimed at the lowest common denominator; movies consist of nothing but a picture of an ass, which occasionally farts – for two hours; Starbucks offers hand jobs; and the hit TV show is called “Ow, My Balls” and features a guy who gets kicked, hit, or injured in the groin, over and over and over again. There’s no food because a sports-drink company convinced everyone that their drink is better than water – for everything, including irrigation of plants.
Ow. Watching that movie was painful. Afterward, I spent at least an hour coming up with reasons why that couldn’t happen, and then I read a book on cognitive science and philosophy for a while. That made me feel better. And yet, I’m not passing along whatever genetic traits might lead to a higher intelligence… aahrgh.
“Bottle Rocket” was a much more watchable movie, and made better use of Luke’s low-key-ness and his brother’s easy con-artist personality. In fact, I don’t think that either of their screen presences have evolved much since this movie. Although this is the only film I’ve ever seen Luke Wilson genuinely smile… and for a great reason. Just see the damn movie already.
At any rate, I’d planned on seeing “Pan’s Labyrinth” (El Laberinto del Fauno in the director’s native tongue) at the Cinema 21 on Sunday… The movie had been playing in New York when I was there over the holidays, and seeing it had been on my B list of things to do (“See a movie that isn’t playing in Portland”) but I didn’t get to. So I had been waiting weeks to see this movie, and this was it’s opening weekend in Portland.
But even though I was there for an early showing (2 PM) and was a half-hour early, I discovered a huge line snaking around the corner. It wasn’t moving very fast and so I bailed on it. I’ll try to see it this week, or the next weekend – it’ll be at the C21 for two weeks.
Movies, movies, movies…