Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Opinion!

Watched Joss Whedon's new series Doll House, starring Eliza Dushku, Friday night. It's really, really bad. It's a stupid concept to begin with--Dushku plays Echo, one of a squadron of girls whose memories have been erased so that any number of new personalities, with abilities tailor-fitted to specific missions, can be uploaded into their brains--but it's one that could work as a decent set-up for a genre show, and it has Whedon's favorite theme of women emerging from patriarchal control built in. But what emerges, at least in the pilot, bears none of Whedon's style or personality. There was a scene leaked last year that showed Echo confronting a representative from the Doll House, where he tells her he wants to "be straight" with her, and she replies "You've been pretty friggin' bendy so far." Depending on your take on Whedon, you might think that's genius or idiotic, but either way, you can recognize it as a writer's unique voice. There is nothing in the pilot that aired on Friday to suggest that this was written by anyone but a hack writers' room. It's especially dispiriting after Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog, which feels like the most uniquely personal project the guy has produced yet. I'm not sure whether he just lost control of Doll House to studio hacks, but it does seem like the guy is having a lot of troubles over the years dealing with Fox, when he could probably get full control over his shit if he'd do a show for the SciFi Channel or something. Dude's like an battered woman.

I'm not really sure what to make of this first glimpse of Tarantino's WWII movie. Is it a "real" war movie? Is it a movie about war movies? The basic plot outlined in this trailer sounds like the movie that a 12-year-old kid obsessed with WWII movies would want to see (I have been that kid--I think I watched A Bridge To Far about a dozen times on HBO). One poster on the CHUD message board made a point about the uncomfortable way in which this trailer dehumanizes the enemy (Nazis being the one villain you can get away with dehumanizing). A bit troubling in these times, but I reckon given QT's record we can at least expect a more entertaining film than recent, idealogicaly suspect films like 300, The Dark Knight or Wanted. At any rate, I'm told that the Basterds mission is actually just one of many subplots in the script, so you probably can't get much of an idea of the final movie from this teaser. I do like Brad Pitt's accent, as if Col. Sanders had started a Kentucky Fried Nazi franchise. AH WAHLNT MAH SCALPS!

And here's the teaser for Tales of The Black Freighter, to be released on a seperate DVD as a supplement to Watchmen. I dunno, it looks...OK. Tales of the Black Freighter, on its own, is a pretty cool EC Comics-style zombie pirate story, but it loses most of its signifigance when removed from the larger story of Watchmen. This is the one reason why I still kinda mourn Gilliam's take on Watchmen--it would have been a mess, but I'm sure he would have worked some of The Black Freighter in there. Enh.

Friday night, we met some friends for dinner at Clearman's North Woods Inn in San Gabriel. I've wondered about this place for a long time, every time I drive past it to go to Bahooka (or sometimes Hometown Buffet). It looks like a log cabin lodge, complete with fake snow on the roof, and it's right next to another restaurant that looks like a big tugboat or something, and a little mall full of crafts stores. Since the last time I went by, it seems they tore down The Galley and put up a big Lowes' or something, then gutted the mall and moved the Galley in there. It's sad, but that's the world we live in. Anyway, Clearman's is incredibly huge inside, with sawdust on the floor and woodsy things everywhere. Gets an A for atmosphere. They give you a basket of peanuts on the table, and instruct you to throw the shells on the floor! You know this was a place that kids beg to go to (in fact, the original location is in Anaheim, so probably served as a dinner spot for many Disneyland trips). It's seriously overpriced, but it's pretty fun. The thing they're most famous for is this garlic cheese bread, which they bring around as soon as you sit down, but it's so disgusting. The bread is soggy from the grease. I imagine the people that love this stuff have fond memories of eating there as a kid. The other weird thing about the menu is "the two salads." They bring you two big wooden bowls full of salad. One just has lettuce with a thin coat of some sort of blue cheese or ranch dressing. The other just has red cabbage marinated in red wine vinegar. I eventually figured out that if you combine the two in your salad bowl, it's pretty good. I don't expect I'll be going back there any time soon, but it was a fun meal.


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