Monday, January 28, 2008

84; Untelling Title

First off a blog plug: My sister's new blog, entertainment and current pop culture related links, news, and opinions. My blog is also still to be found at, where you can find a full archive of my work and can leave comments. And no blog plug would be complete without mentioning John Wiswell's mighty blog, The Bathroom Monologues: I must confess his is my favorite of the three.

Now, to take a chapter from my sister's book, a bit of current events.

First off my opinions of Sea Monsters 3D. I'd never seen a 3D movies before this. There is definitely something to Don Hertzfeldt's parody of 3D movies (if this doesn't make sense: check out 'Intermission in the Third Dimension'.) I was expecting lots of big scary sea reptiles to pop out at me and eat things with some scientific facts. Rottentomatoes gave it a 100%, so I figured I was in for some jolly good mindless entertainment.

Instead I get served a feel-good family-oriented story of a bug-eyed snaggle-toothed sea lizard who is affectionately coined 'Dolly'. 'Dolly, a Dolichorhychops, has a family and dies peacefully in her old age. They then provide a montage of earlier scenes from her life. (I would have put that in caps, since, for the love of God, THEY DO A MONTAGE OF HER LIFE, but I'm trying to remain calm. Godzilla must be so ashamed. I would say Nessie should be as well, but she already sold out to a family film earlier this year.) So, surprisingly, Sea Monsters 3D did not actually provide what I expected it to: scary sea monsters eating each other. Yes, there was a little of that, but I would've been happier to see a solid 45 minutes of monster munching, fights and chase scenes.

Secondly I just recently finished Shakespeare's Sonnets. I must admit I am not a fan of Shakespeare's plays. As works they definitely fall into the 'better on stage than page' category. The exception to this rule is Hamlet. But regarding the other plays I've read, (Mainly tragedies. Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and two comedies, The Tempest and As You Like It.) I think a good performance of the work is preferable to reading the text. Unlike, say, Racine or Goethe who are enjoyable to read.

Yet I was pleasantly surprised by the Sonnets. I did not know that, taken together, they tell a story with distinct characters and plot developments, heartbreaks and triumphs. Of course some I'd heard before, "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day..." and "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun...". Reading those poems in the context of a larger story, though, let me see them in a new light. The story is a love triangle, and you can play along and guess if Shakespeare was talking about real people, who they were, and of course if he was gay. If you're into that sort of thing. Otherwise you can just read them and appreciate that he seemed to have a knack at writing Shakespearean Sonnets.

Thirdly I got a new album. Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart. Recorded in 1969 and produced by Frank Zappa. I was expecting this album to be all sorts of things, none of which it ended up being. If you've heard Frank Zappa, and combine that with free jazz and delta blues poetry sensibilities you might be able to picture it. The band practiced over twelve hours a day for eight months to perfect the seemingly cacophonous sound. As such they were so dialed that it took only five hours to record the double album. It's good. I don't think I would have liked it much had I not exposed myself to some other things before, but Trout Mask Replica is enjoyable, funny, and musically interesting and well done. Frankly, the seeming nonsensical lyrics are no odder than one of Dylan's ballads about Desolation Row or the Gates of Eden.

Let's recap. Sea monsters, sonnets, and experimental art rock. I'm sure you cold combine those three somehow. I'm not sure if it would be better to be hear, read or watched. Watching it in 3D would probably be fun, though.

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