Thursday, August 02, 2007

Life, Love, and Green Peaness

I'm trying to work my way into the mindset that I'm actually an adult now. I mean, I've been an adult for almost five years, but it's starting to feel official.

Two of my best friends are engaged and very pregnant. I started a full-time job with benefits and regular hours. I did something outside of work with a guy in his forties and his family. I am old and vaguely depressed. Where did my childhood go? Wasn't I supposed to be seriously dating somebody on the way to marriage now? Is this how it's going to be until I turn sixty-five and retire?

Onward and upward.

I saw The Simpsons Movie yesterday. Not an awful lot to say about it. If you like The Simpsons, you'll like the movie adaptation just as much. It's not as revolutionary as the South Park movie, but it keeps the legacy of the show intact and unspoiled. My biggest complaint would be the lack of screen time devoted to the secondary characters of Springfield (who, let's face it, are the heart and soul of the entire show). On television, characters like Apu and Moe overcome their stereotypical animation to become living, breathing characters that we care about. On the big screen, they are there merely for a few one-liners.

When it comes to music, I've been indulging in some summer movie scores. First: the score to Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer by John Ottman. I've been impressed by Ottman's superhero scores in the past (X2: X-Men United and Superman Returns), and I heard the end credits suite for this movie and fell in love with what turns out to be the Silver Surfer's theme. I'm disappointed to say that there is little else on the album that is remotely inspired or inspiring. The disc is full of dreary, dissonant underscore and--worse yet--repetition of the central themes that becomes first monotonous and then annoying. If I had to guess, I'd say that Ottman gave the best possible film score to a movie as bad as Fantastic 4, and failed just as miserably as the cast and crew.

Another franchise falls further into the toilet with Nicholas Hooper's score to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. After Patrick Doyle's bland effort in Goblet of Fire, I was happy to see a changing of the guard. However, Hooper's music seems entirely out of place in every way. Where the film is the "darkest yet" in the series, the score is jaunty and light-hearted. Where the film is steeped in fantasy and teenage angst, we are given music straight out of a 1960s western. It's a listenable score, and enjoyable, but belongs elsewhere. I really wanted to consider the music for this series classic when it began in 2001, but the only score to come remotely close was John Williams' Prisoner of Azkaban work.

Michael Giacchino continues to earn his place as the "next big thing" in film scoring with Ratatouille. The score fits the film perfectly, and--more importantly for the sake of this review--makes a damn good listening experience on CD. The writing is smooth and jazzy, formulaic at times but never in a hackneyed way. In a world overrun by the synth-enhanced bombast of Hans Zimmer's action scores, it's nice to hear a listenable album performed entirely by live musical combos.

Don't get me wrong--I like Hans Zimmer. In fact, his score to The Simpsons Movie is beyond groovy. Free of the orchestral thwomp-trap made popular by his scores to the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Zimmer writes in a light comedic style that best displays his talent with melody. He writes with a manic energy that suggests some of Danny Elfman's comedic work from the 1990s, and twists Elfman's famous Simpsons theme song into his own themes. It's a shame that the score was mixed so low in the actual movie.

Gaming...I am apparently becoming a gamer, despite the fact that I couldn't actually care less about gaming. My idea of an enjoyable board game experience is Trivial Pursuit or Scattergories--party games that test your knowledge more than your ability to strategize. Still, when all of your friends and coworkers are Eurogamers, you have to play just to stay social.

Ticket to Ride is a game about building train tracks across America. This game is among my favorites of the Eurogames I've played, but I can't tell if that's because it's good or because I actually won it.

Condottiere is a card game that is pretty entertaining too. Uh...no review.

I've been playing Dungeons and Dragons with some friends, which, once again, isn't really my thing. Still, it's a good way to stay friends with your friends I guess. I am a wizard named Thigpen. I have a pet bat named Thaddeus and a horse with no name.

This is where the blog post fizzles out.

3 comments:

T-Bone said...

Being an adult isn't so bad. Although when someone mistook me for 19 the other day, I wanted to hug them in desperate gratitude.

Episode One said...

Oh, Holden...how happy i was to see a smiley face from you at the bottom of my blog. It's awesome that you found me on here. I read through some of your stuff, very enlightening. I like your movie critiques and agree with you on most of them. How's life? oh, and by the way, I totally feel you on the whole scary, "my friends are all married and pregnant" thing. My friends are getting married and popping out progenies too. Odd! I feel so young and unprepared, yet the world is changing around us so quickly. Every now and then i sit down with a box of crayola classic 8's and color for a while to regain some of what has been lost over time. try it! it may just help you cope a little. Hope to talk to you soon.

Episode One said...

thank you, holden....i want to see you...we should reunite and do dinner or something...it's been way too long....