Movies: Diary, 6/26 to 6/30/21

Hemlock Club report, Color Out of Space, Phantasm III-V, and Finding Forrester reviews, working on Kick Me, climate catastrophe, not much else, edited to remove dross.

Copyright 2021 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

Color Out of Space

{6/26/21}  Weight 216.8 at 6:30 am.

The HC [Hemlock Club] went well enough, Nog, Pablo, and I attending.  Nog talked about a book that he liked somewhat, Hard Core Zen, and about Stanley Meyers driving coast-to-coast on a quart of water, which I wasn’t believing.  I told him I had looked into the “CellFood” brochure he had given me a couple of months or more ago, and that I found the science unbelievable.  We moved on.  Nog said, “I don’t have a train, I have a thought cloud.”  He talked about the pineal gland “giving off and receiving light,” having rods and cones like the retina.  Pablo made a pun.  I had written up a few questions and brought along a printout; the first question, “Are we intellectuals?” prompted a little interesting discussion, while the printout, on philosophy’s “hostility to mysticism” mostly flopped.  It was from Julian Baggini and Peter S. Fosl:  The Philosopher’s Toolkit.  Nog and I had talked on the phone last night about Julian Baggini’s How the World Thinks, which he read some time ago; since he had been enthusiastic, I brought Bertrand Russell’s Problems of Philosophy along, hoping he might want to read it.  He does, but not right now.  Much of the time was spent with Pablo and Nog wrestling for “the floor.”  Nog kept trying to get Pablo back on the printout, but Pablo just wasn’t into it.

Then we came back to my place and watched Color Out of Space.  Stars Nicolas Cage and some lesser lights, among whom Madeleine Arthur and Tommy Chong were standouts.  Cage did his rage thing, and it was painful and irritating.  Rotten Tomatoes gives it 86%, but on the whole I really disliked it—what was Lovecraft was good, what was new was not Lovecraft and not good.  The music and cinematography were good, but the SFX looked cheap to me; I was thinking, “You can really see the lack of money on the screen,” which perhaps is unfair.  A brief look at an alien world and a fairly convincing alien insect were the highlights of the SFX, though the insect seemed excessively mantis-like, and really this is just a crumb compared to something like the Starship Troopers “bugs.”  Arthur’s character, a teen wiccan (the actress is 21), was about the only interesting one in the movie, as well as being the most level-headed—the rest were pure “stock.”  A lot of whining in this movie, between Cage and Joely Berndson’s character (the mother of the family).  If the behavior of characters doesn’t make sense, is it enough to say “the aliens did it”?  Not for me.  The twenty-minute “making of” featurette was more interesting.

{6/27/21}  Weight 217.6 at 6:15 am.

Watched Phantasm III last night.  I thought the first hour was the best so far of the series, but the last half hour was loaded with typical action-adventure cheap tricks, such as:  our hero is sneaking down a quiet, echoey hallway when he is surprised by someone popping up behind him, our hero fends off the attack.  In the previous movies, the heroes are overwhelmed by mass quantities of “dwarves,” yet they have little or no hesitation about pursuing “the tall man” and no thought that, this time, they might really die.  Continuity with P2 was full of holes.  Still, it’s all in good fun, and the flying balls remain interesting and/or amusing.  In this movie, “Reg” picks up two new allies who add considerable interest and firepower.  There’s a legendary crash of a hearse (stunt man Bob Ivy is featured in the bonus material) but otherwise not very much to recommend this horror-comedy.

Ads for movies Train to Busan and The Wailing looked promising; a check of Rotten Tomatoes showed astonishingly good numbers (well over 90%).  Reviews and 86% for Color Out of Space had me shaking my head in disbelief.

So now I need to move on to a provisionally-final rewrite of Kick Me.  It’s going to be a month of drudgery, I’m afraid.

{6/28/21}  Weight 216.0 at 6:40 am.  81° in my apartment.

Watched Phantasm IV: Oblivion last night, a useless, tedious addition to the series.

Had to buy a toner cartridge to print Kick Me in preparation for my “final edit” before giving it to B as an important step toward publication.  So I went to Office Max this morning and was shocked to see that the lesser cartridge cost $55 and the greater cartridge was $120.  I “remembered” the price being more like $35 to maybe $45?  (It was $43.)  And the bigger one being under $100.  Eek.  So I got the cheap one.  Sales tax was $4.25, which kinda hurts.  I can buy a used book for that much almost, from Thriftbooks.

{6/29/21}  Weight 215.8 at 6:10 am.  215.4 at 6:50.

Finished the Phantasm series with Phantasm V: Ravager.  Take four or five stories and a dozen tropes from the previous four films, run them through a Cuisinart, tack on a couple of contrary endings, film the result with lots of exploding heads but no effort at continuity or sense, that’s Ravager.  The first of the series was more or less okay; the rest were somewhere between mediocre and terrible.  All together there was enough imagination to make one entertaining film, but of course this amount was stretched over five irritating wastes of time.

Read through the eighteen pages of notes for KM last night; fortunately, most of it is worthless.  Today I’ll start reading and editing the full text, 128 pages, with as much attention and diligence as I can muster.  Then I’ll need to do the edits in the text file and add one final chapter.  This should amount to less than two weeks of work.  We’ll see.

{6/30/21}  Weight 215.2 at 6:55 am.

90° inside at 9:30 last night; 83° this morning.  The swamp cooler has been on continuously for a week or more.  The climate catastrophe has shown its claws to all—118° above the Arctic Circle is a bit ridiculous.  Canada set a record, 121°.  Hasn’t been that hot locally yet.

Watched Finding Forrester yesterday with Pablo.  Sean Connery is effective as a reclusive famous writer whose world is invaded by a studious sixteen-year-old basketball player played by Rob Brown.  It’s pretty good but rather predictable and unchallenging; I thought the writing advice unpersuasive at times.  Pablo blubbered literally throughout, though his emotion seemed unrelated to events on screen.

I have done the minimal amount of work on Kick Me since talking to B; today I’ll get into the document itself (I’ve been working on the eighteen pages of KM Notes).

Copyright 2021 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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