Compliance (2012)

I do a little writing for another site, www.dvdfile.com.  Mostly, I end up writing reviews for bad B horror movies, or direct-to-DVD films.  On this blog, I’ve written a lot of reviews of older movies that hadn’t just been released.  Older is a relative term I guess.  I just did Argo.  It’s less than a year old.  My friend Travis recently told me about this movie, and after doing a little reading about it, I had to check it out.  If you read my Argo review, you know that I love “Based on a True Story” movies.  This is one of those movies, although a very different type.  I knew going into it, watching this film would be an experience all it’s own.  This was an indie film, so if you’ve never heard of Compliance, don’t feel bad.  I’m sure most people haven’t.  It was shown at Sundance in 2012, and was met with much controversy during the Q&A portion, which I can imagine after seeing it.

A prank phone call is made to a local fast food restaurant.  The man on the phone impersonates a police officer and tells the manager on duty, Sandra (Ann Dowd), that one of the female employees, Becky,  played by Dreama Walker, is stealing from customers and needs to be detained.  The man on the phone gets the store manager to perform a strip search on Walker instead of the police coming and taking her to jail.  Throughout the day, Becky remains nude, is forced to do jumping jacks and even performs sex acts on Sandra’s fiancée.

It’s a tough watch.  If, like me, you’re thinking the whole time that this really happened to some poor teenage girl.  On the one hand, its horrific and how could anyone do this to another person?  I guess there will always be evil in the world.  On the other hand, why would anyone listen to a police officer who tells them to strip over the phone?  That makes no sense whatsoever.  But I can’t speak on it without being in that situation.  Who knows what I would have done when I was 18.  But then again, no one wants to see me naked now, why would they when I was 18?  Thank goodness someone was smart enough to finally say no.  It only took all day.  Who knows how far this lunatic would have gone.

The movie is a little slow, even though its only an hour and a half.  The plot doesn’t leave much room for action.  I thought it was well done with a very sensitive subject.  If you want to bring light to a horrible subject, there are worse ways to do it.  The man who was charged with this crime was acquitted.  Which means he may do it again.  Or there may be copycats.  Maybe corporations will do a better job in the future of teaching their management of how to act in these situations.  But according to the movie there were 70 situations like this over 30 states.  Who’s to say this won’t happen again.

Argo (2012)

I normally hate movies that are nominated for Best Picture.  I hardly ever watch the Oscars.  My buddy Mike has Oscar pools where you can pick the winners with big cash prizes.  I never play because I never pay attention enough.  It’s so boring.  Every now and then I will check one out, but normally, the best picture nominees are saved for piece of garbage movies that dumb dumbs like me refuse to spend their money on.

I really wanted to see Argo when it came out in theaters.  Two things I love in a movie are “based on a true story,” and all the Affleck I can get.  What has two thumbs and loves him some Affleck?  This guy.  Don’t even get me started on how excited I am that he is going to be Batman.  I don’t even hate Daredevil.  Unfortunately, the movie came out 2 weeks before my second daughter was born.  Leaving the family to go see a movie at that point really wasn’t an option.  And it took this long to rent it.  I’m not really sure why.

Argo, as I said, is based on the real Iran hostage crisis in the late 1970’s, in which six Americans were rescued from Tehran after being held for over a year.  Affleck plays Tony Mendez, a CIA specialist who comes up with the idea to make a fake movie based out of Canada and pretend the hostages are part of the crew.  He starts a production company, buys a script for a science fiction movie called Argo, and plans to fly to Iran and simply walk the hostages out of the country.

For someone like me, this movie is amazing.  I love historical shows or movies.  Unfortunately, this is filled with inaccuracies.  Luckily, if you’re like me, and are vaguely educated on the crisis, you won’t notice where the true story ends, and the Hollywood starts.  I had to know, and looked up how much they changed the truth though.  I won’t spoil anything here, but many of the changes are obvious when watching the film.  So it doesn’t take away from the enjoyment.  Unless you’re Canadian.  Then I’d suspect you have a reason to be a little pissed off.

I’m guessing everyone who wanted to see this movie has seen this movie by now.  So there’s really no spoiling anything.  But for a movie that was nominated for a best picture, usually a clear indication that I want nothing to do with the film, this was brilliant.  I would have liked it more had it been more historically accurate, but I guess that’s what documentaries are for.  I don’t think the drama would have been as high had the story been told accurately.  It’s kind of like The Perfect Storm.  This movie was based on a true story as well.  But all we know for sure is the boat went out to sea and never came back.  Not really all that thrilling.  But that movie has George Clooney, so of course it made a gazillion dollars.

The Way (2010)

When Phil told me about the trip he was taking to Spain for the summer, I had no idea what he was doing.  I had never heard of the Camino de Santiago.  But, I am the least cultured person ever.  I don’t know much about anything outside my very secluded world.  Phil is much smarter than I am.  So I had to do some research to find out what the hell he was getting into.  Then he told me there was a movie I could watch that would save me the trouble, and I could get it done in two hours.  SOLD!

I finally got around to watching The Way recently.  I had never heard of this movie.  It stars Martin Sheen as Tom Avery.  He goes to France to collect the body of his son, Daniel, played by Emilio Estevez, who had died while walking the Camino de Santiago.  To honor his son, Tom decides to complete the journey and spread Daniel’s ashes along the way.  While travelling the Camino, Tom meets pilgrims (other travelers) from around the world who walk with him.

There are a number of routes you can take from France into Spain, and I often found myself wondering where Phil was, and which route he was on.  I really loved this movie.  In the movie, Tom walks approximately (if my math is right.  It rarely is) 500 miles.  That’s a ton of walking.  It would take me forever.  But the part that I would love is the solitude.  I love being alone and by myself.  And there would be a ton of alone time on a trip like this.  In each of the villages Tom stopped at, he would stay in hostels, or homes of people who take in pilgrims along the way.  Making small talk and spending the night with random strangers sounds really awful.  So there are pros and cons.

If you know anyone who has walked the Camino, or any interest in the trip, I highly suggest watching the film.  It was really good.  There were parts that were slow, but it’s a movie about a long walk.  It ain’t Star Wars.

I can see why Phil was drawn to the trip.  I can’t wait to go downtown and grab a few beers and hear the stories he has to tell.  At least now I have some points of reference and an idea of what he did and where he was.

Disneyland Days 2 & 3

I forgot to add the rest of the trip to the blog. Partly because I was so exhausted after each day. Partly because Disneyland can be pretty monotonous. I mean, we went on rides, we did some shopping, then we did it all again. But there was some pretty cool stuff that happened.

On day two of the trip, we left our daughters with my parents during their naps so my wife and I could do some rides the girls are not big enough to go on. Space Mountain, Star Tours and we did the Buzz Lightyear ride because I have to beat her in competition. Even though I didn’t. But the most interesting thing happened in California Adventure.

IMG_1075I come out of the restroom and see a young woman in a scooter go right past me. She is shouting at an elderly guy who I assume is her grandfather, so I figure that’s why she is in the scooter. Then I take a look at the old guy. Remember, this group of 5 people or so are all on scooters, and this all happens in about 5 seconds as they roll right past me. I recognize the guy and yell at my wife that I am going to run ahead and try to take a picture, as they are on their way to Disneyland. The guy in the captains hat is Hugh Hefner. The woman in the white shirt and white hat is (I think) his wife. It was pretty cool.

A couple of buddies wanted me to follow them around the park for better pictures. I didn’t really care that much. This one was good enough.

So on day three, we did the princess breakfast. Amazing if you have little girls. Highly recommended, but very expensive, so plan that as part of your package. But my daughter loved it. She got to meet Ariel, Cinderella, Jasmine, Aurora and Snow White. She wanted to meet Belle, but no such luck.

On this day, my parents rented scooters. It was too hot for them to walk again. So during naps we took their scooters out. Its a great way to see the parks. But you get stuck behind someone, and its hard to get around. But at least you aren’t walking. It saves your feet and your back. Although, as a very able bodied person, I felt like an asshole on a scooter instead of walking. But, we parked and waited in lines for rides, so I didn’t abuse the scooter. Just rested for a bit! It’s great.

I didn’t realize there is a stand in California Adventure that sells beer! AAAAHHHHHHH, how great is that? Riding on a scooter, enjoying a Pacifico off the tap? That was a very nice touch.

IMG_1100 (2) P1020758

Disneyland day 1

So we left at 9:15 am pst. Not the 8:30 we were hoping for. We hit Los Angeles at 4pm!! Awesome. And on I-5 there was an accident. Took 50 minutes to go the last 20 miles. But we are here and my daughter is very excited to be in the hotel. She doesn’t know what’s going on, as we haven’t explained what she’s going to see tomorrow. Hopefully she is excited.

August cleanup

Well, August kinda got away from me.  So I’m going to put a couple things in this post from August.

First of all, I picked Phil a pretty good fantasy football team.  It was mostly based off of his list, but I veered off a bit.  Here is what it looks like:

QB: Tom Brady, Josh Freeman

RB: LeSean McCoy, Stevan Ridley, Ronnie Hillman, Zac Stacy, Danny Woodhead

WR: Marques Colston, Eric Decker, Lance Moore, Cecil Shorts, Golden Tate, Ryan Broyles

TE: Jimmy Graham

Def: New England

K: Randy Bullock

Here’s how my team ended up.  It’s certainly not as good.  I hope it ends up alright.

QB: Matt Stafford

RB: Ray Rice, Darren McFadden, Daryl Richardson, Fred Jackson, Marcel Reece, Lamichael James

WR: Larry Fitzgerald, Percy Harvin, TY Hilton, Sidney Rice, Rod Streater

TE: Brandon Pettigrew, Dwayne Allen

Def: Seattle

K: Sebastian Janikowski

Phil’s birthday was August 31st.  He is 35!!!  Just kidding.  He’s 34.  I’ll be 35 this year.  I’m the old wise one of the blog.  Anyway, he is still on his trip in Spain.  I hope he doesn’t mind, but I wanted to share how he spent his birthday.  He said…

“I spent my birthday walking about 18 miles, getting a blister on my pinky toe, and drinking lots of wine and beer with my pilgrim friends in a tiny ass village that was founded by Templar knights.  So pretty much a perfect birthday.”

So basically yes, a perfect birthday.  I’ve had some good birthdays.  Spent my 30th on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.  Lit my face on fire on my 21st.  Okay maybe that one wouldn’t be on the list of top 3 birthdays.  Anyway Phil, happy birthday.  Enjoy the rest of your trip.

Tomorrow morning, I leave for Disneyland!  We haven’t told my daughter where we are going except that our vacation is in Anaheim.  Not that she knows what Disneyland is, but we want it to be a big surprise anyway.  A long ass drive starts at 8:30 AM PST.  I downloaded an app on my phone that tells me wait times at all the rides.  I’ve been looking every so often, and it should be an amazing time.  This past week, all the rides, other than water rides, and Cars Land, are under 20 minutes.  Very sad that a 20 minute wait for a 3 minute ride is considered amazing, but it’s true.  Anyway, wish me luck on the drive!  It’s gonna suck.