Catching Up!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks ’round here, so I haven’t been doing my due diligence w/r/t blogging. Time, lamentably, has gotten away from me. To catch up and get back on schedule, I therefore offer this humble omnibus post full of short notes and assorted stuff about which I would have blogged, had time permitted.

1. There was an owl on my fence the other day. It was beautiful. I am glad it did not seem interested in eating my dogs. It was gone when I went for my camera, which is probably just about right. Beautiful things like that should be ghostly, and should not wait on human whims.

2. An evil, evil (by which I mean awesome) friend has loaned me his Fender Telecaster (made in Mexico to rock Iowa!) to play with for a couple of weeks. It is FUN. I SUCK, but it is FUN. All I need is a distortion pedal, and I’ll be ready to do some seriously obnoxious rocking. Yaaaay!


3. Hmmmm…distortion pedal…that would work with my electric violin, too, wouldn’t it?


4. Last night, as the storm got ready to roll through, a huge flock of turkey buzzards cruised on just ahead of it. It was really cool. I tried to get a good picture, but this was the best I could do.

Storm Buzzards (2)
They were hard to capture — this was just the last bit of the lot of them. I suppose I should’ve found it creepy that the buzzards were circling above me…
5. I went with a couple of friends to see The Lincoln Lawyer. It was an interesting experience — a perfect film for putting my several different movie viewing personalities at odds with each other. At the most basic level, it’s a fairly entertaining example of a paint-by-numbers legal drama in the Grisham vein. It’s the sort of thing that doesn’t demand much of its viewer, and it hits the expected beats right on time (more or less — the setup takes a bit long relative to the payoff). It is competently executed by all concerned, and there aren’t any real surprises to be had. On that very basic level, I enjoyed it well enough. It is no more or less than it seems to be, and has no pretensions. Not too shabby! 
Viewed more critically, however, it has both one brilliant advantage (not used quite as perfectly as it might have been) and one unfortunate disadvantage. Bad news first: the very paint-by-numbers quality of the thing (esp. w/r/t script and casting) stands against it for a viewer who wants more of a challenge, and the sometimes useful bits of character development that could’ve happened are dispensed with instead by the use of convenient devices. It is, in short, lazy but effective. This is a movie that didn’t need a sex scene, for example. Did that scene satisfy viewers who expected to see it and who could dig the visual fetish thing? Sure. Was it narratively useful in any way whatsoever? No. Oh, yeah — spoiler. A dude has sex with his (ex) wife in this film. Don’t freak out now. The ex-wife character is largely irrelevant as a character in this film, as is the daughter — they existed (as did the Cool Street-Tough African-American Stereotype Driver — seriously, Movie? Seriously? This thing’s filmed like a blacksploitation flick starring privileged white dudes, and the major African American character on screen is the driver. *sigh*) as the various limbs of a cephalopodic Deus ex Machina, providing motivation and assistance on a timely basis for the main character. 
Its great advantage, though, is its delicious visual style. The opening credits are terrific, and the vintage 70s vibe of the thing really works. It is just plain sexy to look at (and I am most certainly NOT talking about any of the cast members when I say this — I’m talking about the grit and the quality of the light, the cuts and the sense of movement, the damn gorgeous look and style of it). The music cues were usually really cool, too (although one was a bit too on-the-nose obvious, lyrically speaking). I wish the filmmakers had made even more out of that vibe, because it worked brilliantly well. It made me want to go watch old Pam Grier movies.

About L. M. Bernhardt

For a good long while (15 years or so), I taught philosophy at a little private university in northwest IA, and occasionally branched out into playing music, dabbling in photography, experimenting with food, and writing nonsense on my blog. The philosophy teaching part ended in 2017 (program elimination via prioritization), but never fear! I've just finished my MLIS at San Jose State University, and I'm currently on the market looking for new adventures in either philosophy or LIS. For now, I labor at a fairly interesting administrative job in order to support my dogs in the lavish manner to which they've become accustomed.
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