Lost Among Europeans

Sickness and DVD

Howdy, I’m back!

These last four months have been just hard and stressful. I made all my deadlines last week, and then got sick. This is typical for me: apparently, adrenaline protects me from sickness while I have work due. A shame. This Monday, after a whole week of headaches and mild fever, I went to the doctor, and now I’m on antibiotics, for a sinus infection (sinusitis).

The past week I was not up to leaving the house, so I’ve been watching lots of DVD - especially since I disconnected the TV signal in March. I was in the mood for a series, so I rented My So Called Life. I had never seen it nor heard of it (apart from being recommended by mom). Watching Claire Danes suffer through adolescence is very entertaining, and although sometimes the show got repetitive and clichée, and although I developed a dislike of Bess Armstrong, who played Claire Danes’s mother, overall I enjoyed myself. It’s funny about teenage: we never completely leave its struggles.

Another DVD I saw was Batman: The Dark Knight. I hadn’t thought that much of Batman Begins, but this one came very highly recommended. Some people I know with PhD’s had told me that the Joker (played by Heath Ledger) “got in your head and messed with it”. Well, it’s an entertaining film, with a great cinematography, clearly inspired by Michael Mann, but … completely unmemorable. It has as little sense of humor as Lord Of The Rings, and is as pretentious. Ah, yes, that supposed moral ambiguity: the Joker has a sentence that goes something like: “The beauty of Chaos is, it’s fair”. Was that it? Really? Hello? It is so easy to poke holes in that argument. I will leave it as an exercise to the reader.

Speaking of moral ambiguity: a second-hand DVD store near home was carrying Lust, Caution, so I decided to buy it. I had already seen it. I started playing different sections, to make sure the DVD was OK, but I got drawn in, and watched the whole thing from the beginning. There you have an example of moral ambiguity with characters that are real, and a story line that is clear and understandable. And thankfully, no discussions on heroes, role models, or “what the city needs”. It’s a good and rare thing to see a film for adults that delivers.

Finally, I decided to rent Slumdog Millionaire, which I did not see in the theater (I never go any more). I’m not a fan of the director, Danny Boyle, nor of word-of-mouth juggernauts, which have led me to see such horrors as Il Postino, Life is Beautiful, Torrente or Borat. Unexpectedly, I enjoyed Slumdog, which I found very entertaining, fast moving and optimistic. I also liked the soundtrack, an important parameter for me. It is nice to see a film that doesn’t take itself too seriously, doesn’t attempt depth, and is intended as just good old fashioned entertainment.

By now, I’m getting better, the headache is moving away, and I’ve had enough DVD for quite a while. Can’t wait to get out for some exercise. Tomorrow, probably.

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