Monday, June 28, 2010


I could have gone with It's the End of the World as We Know It for a music-themed end-of-the world title, but I thought that was too easy.

I have two friends named Jeremy (Frederick and the Lord), each of whom who have worn eye-patches in LARPs. One of them is cool and the other is not. I always leave this ambiguous so each can think that he is the cool one.

Frederick was home alone (Ahhhh!!!) for the weekend, so he invited some friends over. I was the only one who could make it, so I headed over after work on Friday. We got some food to eat at the local pizza joint, and settled down to watch "Bender's Game", the Futurama movie where Bender is institutionalized after going insane when playing Dungeons & Dragons. It never rose to the transcendent awesomeness of Futurama at its peak, but it was pretty fun, with lots of gaming in-jokes. Favorite lines: When Fry sees Bender has lost it because of role-playing, he falls to his knees and wails "When will young people learn that playing "Dungeons and Dragons" doesn't make you cool!", "I know not of this "Bender"! I am Titanius Anglesmith, Fancy Man of Cornwood!" Honorable mention to Rosie the Robot Maid, receiving therapy in the HAL Institute for Insane Robots: "Everything must be clean. Very clean. That's why the dog had to die. He was a dirty dog. Dirty. Dirty. Also that boy Elroy. Dirty. Dirty."

I watched while Frederick played some Red Dead Revolution and then we both killed a bunch of zombies in Left 4 Dead 2. The plan was for Dave to come over after he was done with his patchouli-fest, but Frederick left his phone upstairs when we went back down to watch another movie and Ancker texted him, but not me at quarter past two, so we missed that entirely. The text was only to say that he couldn't make it, so I don't feel too badly.

We wound up watching the Book of Eli.

SPOILERS FOLLOW, so Frederick, don't read until you've seen it all the way through.

The gist of the movie is that a lone wanderer (Denzel Washington) is transporting a mysterious book westward across a post apocalyptic wasteland. I have an enormous amount of respect for Mila Kunis, as she's a non-native English speaker who now speaks the language better than I do, but she just seems miscast for this movie. Gary Oldman plays a crime lord with his characteristic restraint and understatement and Jennifer Beals has it going on as Mila Kunis's mom.


Plot Twist One: Eli is blind.

Post Twist Two: The book he is transporting is the bible.

There are hints to both early on and I do think they are both handled pretty well. I knew about the bible, but I was almost a third of the way through the movie before I figured out that he was blind. Denzel does a good job of selling it, but not over-selling it.

It reminds me of Rutger Hauer in Blind Fury, where the lead character was also a blind badass. I think Blind Fury did a better job of remembering that its main character couldn't see. Hauer's Nick was amazingly competent, but still blind and had difficulties with things that you and I would take for granted. My favorite scene is at the end, where Hauer is dueling with a hired gun. He's lost his sword cane, and his sidekick throws it to him. "Catch, Uncle Nick!" The cane flies through the air in slow motion, and Hauer reaches for it, but misses it by yards. Contrast this with BoE, where Denzel Washington has such an acute sense of smell that he's picking guys off a rooftop with a handgun.

That said, I think it's still more realistic than the revelation that he's carrying the very last bible in the world. I'm an atheist and I've been calling myself one for years, but I still own three or four bibles, and Jen has several of her own. Before I started looking into this, I had assumed that there were millions in circulation, but after looking into it, it looks like the number is closer to Billions. I really find it less of a stretch that a blind man could fight his way across the continental United States than the possibility that we would ever get down to just one bible. (There's a line that Gary Oldman gives about the fact that books were burned in the past, in an effort to justify this, but the first scene we see with Eli, he's scavenging from an undespoiled private home. Since almost every household in America has at least one bible, I just can't buy into this.)

I find it a little bit...I don't want to say offensive, so let's say naive, that the lessons in the bible are ones around which society can be rebuilt. There are some good messages in the bible, but there are also a lot of horrifying wickedness passed off as good advice too. And the culture was different then, and the books of the bible are by no means all bad, but I wholly reject the assumption that it is needed in order to lead a moral life or to have a functioning society.

And while we're on the subject of post-apocalypticia, I came across my new favorite song: "We Will Become Silhouettes" It's a cheery little upbeat ditty about life after a nuclear holocaust. When I first saw it the video, I thought it was from the 80s, the era of incomprehensible music videos and nuclear paranoia, but apparently the album is from in 2005. If Tim's brother ever gets a cell phone, this is totally going to be his ringtone. It's neat, and will be joining Seasons in the Sun and I Will Never Forget on my playlist of songs that sound happy, but really aren't.

We fell asleep at about four in the morning, then we got up and went to Tic Toc for breakfast. I was a little sad to see that they are no longer actually twenty-four hours, despite pasting that claim on their placemats and on the large sign outside. Ah, well. Sic transit gloria mundi.

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