Christmas Report/Movie Reviews

I’m at an Internet cafe in Port Angeles, Washington, home of all manner of Twilight paraphernalia. (The town is much dumpier than it is in the books.) The lovely Mrs. Cornell is using my computer, so I have some time to kill, and what better way to kill time than blogging?

This blog featured prominently in one aspect of our Christmas. It seems that, growing up, Mrs. Cornell’s family always opened one present on Christmas Eve, something that was verboten in the Cornell clan. However, Santa Claus always left us pajamas to wear on Christmas morning. So, as a compromise, we now open a present from our cats every Christmas Eve – and it’s always pajamas.

This year, Mrs. Cornell decided to sew up a pair of pajama bottoms for everyone from scratch. I was put in charge of the pajama tops, and I got everyone a T-shirt printed with the code names I use for this blog. I now have a shirt that says “Stallion,” and Mrs. Cornell has one that says “Mrs. Cornell,” and so forth. Turns out the only kid who thought that was clever was Chloe. Cleta was absolutely disgusted.

“Everyone hates your blog!” she said. “You post gross things on there!”

We got her a cell phone for Christmas in a blatant attempt to buy her love. She turns 13 next week, and it seems teenager love is very, very expensive.

Driving 18 hours from Salt Lake to Port Angeles with five kids in tow is pretty brutal, and we were joined up here by Mrs. Cornell’s sister’s family, which also includes five kids. Ten kids and seven adults – Mrs. Cornell’s brother came by, too – in one 1,500 square-foot home tends to make time spent in an Internet cafe very precious, indeed.

It also means more time at the movies.

Two days ago, I took the kids to see The Princess and the Frog at the Port Angeles downtown theater, but it turned out that Alvin and the Chipmunks sequel – “squeakuel” – was playing at the same time, and they wanted to see that. Yikes. So we did, sort of. That is to say, the dumpy PA movie theatre refused to turn off the lights or focus the projector, so what we saw was a bright, blurry mess. Which is not to say that it would have been better had it been more readily visible. I tried to fall asleep, but that’s hard to do with the lights on. There’s no point in reviewing the movie in any substantive way – it’s exactly what you’d expect. If that floats your boat, then yippee turtles for you. For me, it was like getting a swirlie in an electrified toilet.

Much better was Avatar, which we sort of saw last night. I say “sort of” again because the picture wasn’t blurry, although it wasn’t in 3D. (“The 2D doesn’t detract from the epicness!” the ticket seller told us. Swell.) The projector broke during the last twenty minutes, which was fine by me, because I got my money back, and I was going to see it in 3D again anyway. And it’s not as if I don’t know what’s going to happen.

James Cameron is a great director. He can put together an action sequence like nobody’s business. And the visuals in this movie, even in 2D, were breathtaking. This movie is definitely a game changer. Well done.

So why can’t the guy learn how to write?

The plotline is Dances with Blue Wolves, only less subtle. The juvenile politics were tiresome. And the clunky little anti-Bush shout-outs – “Let’s fight terror with terror! Shock and awe! Let’s win hearts and minds!” – seem as dated as Lewinsky jokes.

Avatar is a prime example of earth worship. If only those pesky humans would get out of the way, things would revert to their Edenic state! I worship earth’s Creator, not His creations. I’m getting used to Hollywood demonizing me for that, but it’s still kind of annoying.

I have to go now. Back to the tiny house with no Internet access. Weep for me.

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