Brad Pitt Day

8/20/09

Today was Brad Pitt day. I was standing in the public library, waiting to check out my books, since I was there to drop off my used batteries, something new the City of LA is doing, (and good for them!) when I got distracted by the books in the library. Books, good times. Must check out the books…. (Said in a Homer Simpson voice, drooling for donuts or beer.) As I was waiting in line with my books in hand, I glanced over at the display of videos to be checked out, and realized I had not looked at them for a while. As the person ahead of me was taking a leisurely time, I stepped out of line to look. As you can clearly tell, I did not get far. The two I stopped with, since I only have two days to watch and return them, are Burn After Reading and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Just so happened that these were two movies I had not seen at the movie theatre. Then again, I haven’t stepped foot in a movie theatre since I stopped working for a movie company, come to think of it. And despite it being a Coen brothers film and me their fan, I didn’t hear an overwhelming positive buzz for Burn After Reading, despite the all-star cast. Benjamin Button, I had started getting interested in, after it had left the theatres, because of a TED conference podcast of the new technology used to digitally age Brad Pitt and superimpose his facial expressions on other bodies. I was fascinated to find out the script was based on an F. Scott Fitzgerald story, and the script (or permutations of it) has been floating around Hollywood for decades. Just, the technology has not matched what was needed to film it. Now it finally has.

I was delighted to get to the end of the movie and discover a favorite actor of mine had had a supporting role, by reading the credits. So of course, I had to go back and fully savor his part. It was Jared Harris, in the part of Captain Mike Clark, the tugboat owner. He had a full beard throughout the film, the better to hide his distinctive pock marked face that I suspect keeps him from leading man roles, and he was doing an Irish brogue, so the face and voice I normally recognize was a bit disguised.  But I don’t think I had ever seen him with his shirt off before, assuming that too was not digitally altered. I think he is plenty attractive enough, certainly charismatic, riveting and memorable in all the roles I have seen him in, including a recent stint as a teleporting German criminal in Fringe last season.

And then, I get to the end of the DVD, and discover… nothing. The reason I so enjoy watching movies on DVDs is the sheer convenience. I can turn on the closed captioning and turn down the sound, so I can watch in the middle of the night and not bother neighbors. I love watching the DVD extras, and listening to whatever commentaries there might be. So besides the option for closed captioning on the Benjamin Button DVD, there was nothing else. The interesting TED podcast would have been a welcome addition. More elaboration on the technology, the other CG effects, the history of the story and script through Hollywood, all of these items would be welcome extras. So why nothing? Do I have to wait for a director’s cut for all the extras?

Just the other day I watched a movie from 1973, Lemora, A Child’s Tale of the Supernatural, and even it had a commentary, marking the 30th Anniversary of its release.

Yesterday was Firefly day. I finally finished watching the 14 episodes that marked the series entirety. I own the movie Serenity, and had tried to watch Firefly before, but when I found it on Hulu.com, rather than the disc sets from Netflix I had tried two years ago, somehow I could watch it. I noticed on Hulu that the broadcast dates of the episodes were not in the same order I watched them on Hulu, so I wonder if they might be in a different synch on the discs than Hulu, perhaps the reason I didn’t take to it. Who knows. Anyway, I am re-watching Serenity, and catching nuances to it that I had no ability to catch before, not having seen Firefly.

And here’s the cool part: I was watching like the second to last Firefly episode on Hulu down in the lobby in my building with the free wi-fi (since my router had gone out, AGAIN!), and one of my neighbors, within 30 seconds of talking to me, glancing at the screen, asked, “Firefly?” How impressive is that? He’s the same guy who from the mere T-shirt I was wearing one day, that had no identifying logo or name, told me he had no idea I was a Radiohead fan. Too bad he’s married. His wife just gave birth yesterday to their first child, a son. He was on his way back to the hospital to see them, when he ran into me in the lobby.

But it’s things like that that definitely make me happy to be living in the building I do, with the neighbors I do. Purely coincidental, but still a happy coincidence.

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