Friday, August 29, 2008

The Family Name

School started on Tuesday. Princess began Middle School and Sonny Boy began High School. It turns out that one of Princess' teachers, Ms. M, was Sonny Boy's student teacher last year. Ms. M knew Sonny Boy for the wild boy he is and didn't let him by with much. He just knew Princess would not like her.

The Middle School has the mascot of the Tigers. When a student behaves well, they get "pawed," which is a gift certificate for a free drink at a local gas station. This is the conversation that centered around that fact after the second day of school.

Princess: Mom, I got pawed today! It was my second one.
Mom: Honey, that's great! I am so proud of you.
Sonny: (tearing into the living room from another part of the house) What? You got pawed twice and it's only the second day of school? Who pawed you?!
Princess: (grinning a knowing grin) Ms. M.
Sonny: What!!! She NEVER pawed me last year. In fact, I only got pawed once the entire year. You better cut this out. You're ruining the family name!!

Ahhh, siblings....

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Providing Public Entertainment

One of my memories from childhood is Mom reminding members of the family not to provide free public entertainment. This was normally directed at Dad. He just couldn't help himself at times! It's a good thing he never cared what other people thought. And my own family these days certainly provides our share of entertainment for the masses.

I contributed to this early Wednesday morning. I was driving to meet KB, my carpooling buddy. I am so sick of the minutiae of the political campaigns that I have been listening to morning radio with crazy DJs. I turned on the local 98.7 Simon, just in time to hear that they were accepting callers to play Password for free Jack Johnson tickets. Jack Johnson! One of my absolute faves! I can't even remember the last time I saw a concert - they are pretty pricey these days.

So I picked up the cell, thankful that there was not much traffic (Dad - I am very sorry I used my phone while driving). I can't believe I got through, and then I actually got to play! I was just a teeny bit excited, and had to come from behind to tie with my competitor Emmett. But thanks to the generosity of 98.7 Simon DJs, they gave us both tickets so I am actually seeing Jack Johnson Tuesday night!!!!!! Wooooooohooooooooo!! (And just for the record - if someone is playing password and your teammate says "puppy," don't respond "animal shelter!")

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

A few years ago one of the great movies of modern times came out - The Mummy. It had lots of action, humor, interesting characters and was a really fun ride. Not one scene or line was a throw away. They were all perfect. It was then I began my great love for Rachel Weisz. Brendan Frazier and John Hannah were great (as they normally are), but Rachel captured my heart as the kinda goofy, but adventure craving librarian who stole the hero's heart.

The Mummy II was pretty enjoyable. Not as good as the first, but I still enjoy watching it. All the main players were back (plus a 10 year old son). I was happy with a completion of the story.

So I was not thrilled last summer when I first read that a 3rd Mummy was being filmed. And then I found out that my beloved Rachel Weisz would not be in it. I vowed not to see it. And then what do I discover last spring? Maria Bello was taking the role over. Well, she is by no means anyone to sneeze at. Then I read that Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh were also starring. That settled it - Yeoh is one of my all time favorites. I love kick-butt women, and it's hard to beat Asian martial arts.

So I dragged my family to the theater this past Friday afternoon. The first 10 minutes were compelling as it told the story of the evil Chinese emperor and the beautiful witch who defied him. "This might be just fine," I thought. Then the next 20 minutes were bogged down with slow backstory about the O'Connell family (with the son now in his early 20s) in 1946. The movie sparkled with the action scenes, and Yeoh of course always lit the screen. She was definitely the best part of the movie. But the movie dragged. It was heavy, bogged down by relationships and conversation that never felt real or compelling. Bello's Evie was no longer the goofy adventurer - she was an overly serious, overly protective mom who was supposed to be superspy now. The O'Connell family didn't feel like a family. The relationships just didn't work and family dialogue was tedious. The strength of the original Mummy movies was snappy, quick, and fun action and dialogue. I think I only cracked a smile or laugh a couple times in the entire movie. If I want to be depressed this summer, I'll go see The Dark Knight. To be fair, I believe the actors did the best with what they were given. Perhaps a different screenwriter would have brought the lightness and fun back to this movie.

My grade would be lower except for one scene. When Brendan Frazier's Rick O'Connell is recovering from a stab wound, his shirt is off for a few minutes - a sight we did not witness in the first two movies. Not bad at all. Had to move the grade up slightly. My grade - C