For a few weeks I’d been hearing talk that Lost in Translation, the second feature by Sofia Coppola (it follows The Virgin Suicides) is this year’s must-see film. The trailer made it look good enough, so Michelle and I rolled out to Olathe (sadly, Olathe’s Studio 30 is the nearest theatre showing this film) and took in the late showing. I wasn’t disappointed. It’s a great film, subtle as can be, yet laugh-out-loud funny in many places.
The story is deceptively simple: Bob (Bill Murray) is a 50s-ish actor, visiting Tokyo for a week to shoot whisky commercials. He’s getting paid two million dollars to do the ads, but he seems to loathe himself for accepting the job. He’s battling dislocation — he doesn’t know the language, doesn’t have any company, and generally doesn’t know what to do with himself in Japan. To make matters worse, his spouse, back home in the States, seems both clingy and indifferent. Oh, and he’s got one helluva case of sleep deprivation.
Whist killing time in his swanky hotel’s bar, he meets Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), a gorgeous 20-something American who came along with her photographer husband (Giovanni Ribisi), on business in Tokyo. Her husband is never around — he’s too busy with work and too excited that a famous actress he once photographed remembers his name. Charlotte is sarcastic and witty, and also seems to have a quarter-life crisis that rivals Bob’s mid-life one. Seems she has stumbled upon the realization that her life is not what she’d hoped, and her marriage is far from satisfying.
Clearly, the two are attracted to one another. Bob is inspired by Charlotte’s youthful energy and she is comforted by his words of encouragement. The two share a great time in the unfamiliar land, and their time together is marked by flirtation and laughter. As much as they enjoy their time together, though, they seem to realize that their distant spouses make an intimate relationship impossible — or do they?
Featuring an actor at the top of his game, and an actress just starting to show that she’s got game, the performances in Translation are nothing short of remarkable. Even considering his brilliant turns in Groundhog Day and Rushmore, I’m inclined to call this Murray’s finest hour (closer to two hours, actually). After showing promise in Ghost World, Johansson demonstrates a great deal of maturity here. Small roles from Ribisi (Boiler Room) and Anna Faris (Scary Movie) are strong, as well.
Never having been there, I can’t speak to the accuracy of the film’s depiction of Tokyo. However, I can say that I was completely enthralled by Coppola’s vision of the city. I was amazed at how different the land seemed in some scenes, yet it was so familiar in others. While the professional culture Bob is greeted with seems so foreign, a romp through the club scene mid-movie shows a remarkable similarity to its American counterpart. The photography is brilliant and almost hypnotic at times.
But the real gem of this brilliant film is the characters and their unique relationship. You’ll laugh out loud, but that’s just at the surface of it. You’ll wonder if Bob and Charlotte will act on their desires. You’ll argue with yourself on whether they should act on them or not (note to guys: do not argue this matter with your wife or girlfriend).
Lost in Translation is a brilliant film. Don’t miss it.More
Since when it is appropriate to add and extra “OL” to your “LOL” in order to increase the impact of your laughter? I’ve seen this a lot recently. For example:
Joe: This is a funny joke.
Joe: This is a really funny joke!
Personally, I find this to be not only incomprehensible, but also profoundly stupid. As if “LOL,” which stands for “Laughing Out Loud,” wasn’t ridiculous enough, the kids these days find it necessary to proclaim that they are “Laughing Out Loud Out Loud,” when in fact they are probably doing nothing of the sort. We all know they’re probably naked and operating the mouse with their left hand, so what is their point in trying to convince us that they are “Laughing Out Loud Out Loud?”
I don’t get it.More
God I want to see this movie. Too bad it’s playing nowhere near me.More
In one of my fantasy football leagues, two unlikey victors have jumped out to an early lead. Apparently, football knowledge is not actually a prerequisite for success. In any case, the two 3-0 teams face each other in week four. One team, the “trogdor_burninators,” is laying the smaque down on his opponent, “Hey That’s My Bike” by offering up the following bulliten board material in anticipation of this week’s matchup:
I’m just doing the top five (OK, maybe six) this week. Enjoy!
- Kansas City - While rolling up Houston isn’t exactly a power win, the Chiefs are doing what they have to do. They’ve been dominate in all three phases of the game.
- Seattle - They’re the best team in the NFC, at least for the moment. Both offense and defense look to be going strong in Sea-town.
- Denver - Much as I hte to admit it, these Broncos are movin’ on up. Plummer looked great Monday night — we’ll see if he sticks.
- Indianapolis - Everyone knows they can play offense, but Dungy and company have the Hoosier’s defense rolling, too.
- Carolina - Off this week, the Pathers stay in the top five.
- Minnesota - The Vikes are in a great position right now, but Culpepper’s injury looks like it might hurt ‘em.
After watching two weeks of great NFL football, I’ve put together my very own power rankings. I’ll try to do this every couple of weeks or so. For now, I’m happy to report that my Kansas City Chiefs are the team to beat.
- Kansas City - The Chiefs look like they may be real deal, even on defense. If this team plays to it’s potential, it should easily go 4-0 to start.
- Buffalo - Bledsoe and his Bills have a couple of easy wins aganist average teams. If they can take care of Miami this weekend, they’ll make a strong push for the top spot.
- Indianapolis - After they throtteled the Titans, it’s hard to call them anything but a contender. A back-to-his-old-self version of the Edge doesn’t hurt.
- Carolina - With great defense and a good running game, the Panthers are much better than they get credit for.
- Seattle - They need a couple of wins aganist stronger teams, but right now the Seahawks look upstopable. Their offense will continue to impress.
Not to take anything away from the amazing day that Jamal Lewis had yesterday, but I think it’s safe to say that everyone still knows who the NFL’s best running back is. Don’t believe me? Check the polls.
At this point I’m confident in my prediction that my Chiefs start the season at least 4-0.More
I want to learn Spanish. I took a year of Spanish in high school, and I have a surprising level of retention from it, but I really want to learn to speak it fluently. It’s something I’ve always wanted to learn, but I’ve been thinking about it even more latley, having spent a few days in Florida and on a very multi-lingual cruise ship. This weekend, I went to see Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and that got me thinking about it again.
I wonder if I could learn it on my own — like online? Anyone know of a good place to start?More
Boxes and Arrows has a great article on “Natural Color Selections.” They suggest that it is often wiser to choose a color scheme found in nature for UI design, rather than the drab and typical corporate blue look. Great read.More
Ah, I’d love to wear a rainbow every day
And tell the world that everything’s OK
But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back
‘Till things are brighter, I’m the Man In Black
Johnny Cash, dead at 71. Somehow I always figured he was too mean to die. A brilliant songwriter and American icon, may he rest in peace.More
If the RIAA’s well-publicized suits aganist individuals sharing music on peer-to-peer networks do suceed in scaring people away from piracy, what will they do instead?
I know what they won’t do. They won’t resort to buying CDs from an industry that wants to sue them. If I were too scared to use Kaaza (and so far, I’m not), I sure as hell wouldn’t go out and pay good money for a product offered by the group that threatened to sue me. It seems to me that they are just alienating current and potential customers.More
Note to record industry:
You can scare me out of piracy, but you can’t scare me into buying anything from you.
Yes, I said 2002. And that’s what I meant. While everyone is remembering those who died at the hands of terrorism on September 11th, 2001, I wonder who is stopping to consider those who died in Iraq on September 11th, 2002. Or any other day over the past two years, for that matter.
We should absolutly never forget the tragedy that was 9.11.2001. The innocent people that died that day should never be far from our thoughts. However, I am irritated by those who feel that the countless deaths in Iraq are meaningless because the victims were, primarily, non-American.
Let us remember all those who have died in the past two years due to terrorisim and its resulting war, not only those who were American.More
As you may know, my family and I spent the weekend on a Royal Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas. My mother, father, brother (Matt), girlfriend (Michelle), and I flew down to Orlando last Thursday morning, where we met my sister (Jennifer) and her husband (Kris). We bussed over to Cape Canaveral, and met up with my aunt (Pam), uncle (Dennis), and cousins (Brian and Eric) on board the ship.
Select the “more…” link to view a handful of my favorites, cropped and resized. Check the Photo Gallery for the whole collection, raw and unedited.More
Frank Deford’s latest column on CNNSI.com is an interesting read. He’s wondering why people get all up in arms about the amount of attention Anna Kournikova, who’s never won a tournament, gets…mostly because of her looks. But these same folks don’t seem to mind much when a terrible, but good-looking, actress gets a part instead of someone who is more talented, but less beautiful. Or when an attractive, but untalented singer (Hello, Britney) ends up with big hits, rather than better singers who are less sexy. Or when…well, you get the point. And if you don’t, I’ll lay it out for you. Why should we hold sports to a higher standard than any other form of entertainment? Also, let’s not pretend this is only about perverted guys — Andre Agassi has been a sex symbol for women almost as long as he’s been alive. Or Andy Roddick? Tiger Woods? George Brett?
Also, before we say Anna, who’s never won a tournament, made her name soley on looks, let’s not forget that she was a top-ten player before some very serious injuries.
After all, Anna’s never even won a tournament.More
Please, today, just end
For you are long and boring
and I hate my job
Tomorrow shall come
Our cruiseliner will embark
to the Bahamas
The trip should be relaxing
I may not return
Coolest color picker ever? Perhaps.More
I like type. I consider myself to be somewhat knowledgable when it comes to typography. So, I tried my hand at this typograhy quiz. It’s hard. I got nine out of 30 correct. I only was able to wager a guess on 10 out of 30. Here are the quiz and the answers. Have fun.More
So I get to work this morning and hear some kind of alarm going off. As I walk by the back door, I see a sign. It reads:
WU Police has been on-site and looked at this alarm. They stated that it is a low battery alarm. It will not clear.
I’m not sure I understand every word of this, but I have been able to decude that it means I’m likley going to be listening to this obnoxious sound all damn day. Grr…More
First and foremost, it rained. A lot. All weekend. Non stop. Northeastern Kansas has been in a drought for months, and I guess Mother Nature saw fit to correct that situation in one massive and perpetual downpour. Couldn’t the bitch have picked a weekend other than Labor Day?
Friday night Michelle and I went to see S.W.A.T, mostly because there wasn’t really anything we wanted to see. S.W.A.T. is a well-done flick. It is what it is — a cop movie — and it doesn’t try to be anything more. This is a good thing. It’s generally more character-driven and more realistic than others in the genre. As the film itself points out, this is no John Woo movie. No Academy Awards here, but it was certainly entertaining.
Saturday night Michelle and I headed out to beautiful Memorial Staidum to watch two horrible football teams fumble the ball around. Kansas vs. Northwestern gave a great look at the worst of the Big 12 and the worst of the Big 10. That said, we had a good time. It poured rain on us, and we were soaked to the bone. The game got more exciting in the second half, and while our Jayhawks didn’t pull out the victory, they did end up giving us a thing or two to cheer about last in the game. Oh well — basketball will be here soon enough.
On Sunday, we went over to Andrew’s for a little get-together with Ben and Laura. We went bowling, and I won (Booya!). That evening we watched Head of State with Megan and Rusty. It’s not a very good movie, but it did make me laugh out loud more than once.
On Labor Day Monday I did almost nothing. Laundry, dishes, and a bit of packing for our cruise, which sets sail on Thursday.
All in all, a nice long weekend, despite the weather.More