Big Summer Weekend #2

So when events like these come and go, I like to try to capture my feelings, or some recording of the time on the blog, so that when I look back, it’ll remind me of what it was like.

As for Randy’s wedding… I don’t think I’ll have to write much. I doubt I’ll ever forget this particular event. Whether it was loosing two groomsmen at the last minute (one to a roundhouse punch), the creative and humorously appropriate groomsman outfits, having a serious thunderstorm roll in just before the bride was to walk through the garden for the outdoor ceremony, or the incredible fun we had, totally out-of-our-element at the reception, but totally belonging there because of the part we played in Randy’s story, all of it was incredibly memorable.

My speech, that I was so nervous about, required a pretty careful balance of reflection, encouragement, honesty, grace, humor, pride, spirituality and neutrality that both the intended recipient, and the gathered audience needed. A tall order, for sure, which is why it made me so nervous. But aside from opening by calling the groom a douchebag (he had it coming), I think I managed to avoid screwing it up too much. And I sure was honored to be asked to give it.

My other bestmanly duties for the weekend were a little different than what I imagine is the norm, but it was a lot of fun helping with the big day, and the celebration was hard-earned, and well-deserved.

Randy’s story is one I’ve long-since learned I can’t really tell here, but suffice it to say, he’s come a long way, and he’s found a good partner to share the rest of the journey with him. I doubt I’ll ever forget how proud I am of him right now.

Pictures in the sidebar, and more on Flickr…

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At the Movies…

So, I saw Dark Knight this afternoon. I’ve been looking forward to this movie for a long time, and its been hugely successful on this, its opening weekend, so I had to get to see it. My opinion?

Its ok, but not great. It left me feeling unsatisfied.

Don’t get me wrong, Christopher Nolan is a brilliant filmmaker, Christian Bale can do no wrong, and Heath Ledger was the Joker… it just offered nothing new.

It could be because Batman Begins was the best re-boot of a franchise ever, and the sequel had too much to live up to. It could be because the hype was too much for anything to satisfy. But it just felt like this movie had no style. There was nothing in it we haven’t seen before…

Batman was the same as the first movie, only his suit was a little sillier looking, and his gadgets a little less impressively derived from the plausible.
Gotham was too normal a city. In Batman Begins it looked like a normal city, but with just a hint of story-tale too it — a little bit of surreal.
And Heath Ledger really only offered a slightly more mature interpretation of Jack Nicholson’s Joker. He was adequate to the task, but brought very little that was new to the table. Certainly he doesn’t deserve an Oscar (posthumous, or otherwise) for the job.

And the story line was just… uninteresting. If you’re going to make people sit through two and a half hours of film, you should at least have a good reason. There seemed to be no reason here, except that Christopher Nolan doesn’t want to do yet another sequel. By the end of the movie it was clear that he’d lost interest in the franchise.

Which is fine. Its a passable follow-up to Batman Begins, but a third movie would likely sink the series right into mediocrity.

Oh, and I couldn’t escape this nagging feeling, that struck me about 1.5 hours in, that Nolan is a Republican, and he’s trying to draw some misguided parallel between Batman and George W. Bush. Watch it, and see if you don’t catch on (Hint: listen for the part about “A real hero is someone who isn’t afraid to be hated so that the terrorist doesn’t win!”)

In contrast, let me tell you about the other movie we saw in theatres recently: Wall-E. I know this may seem like comparing apples to oranges, but I can’t help it — I don’t get to go the movies that often these days, and its inevitable that I’ll have to decide which was a better waste of my time and money.

Wall-E is full of things we’ve never seen before. Its completely creative, beautifully presented, and loaded with characters who drawn you in emotionally (without even speaking a word.) If Batman is a traditional tale of good vs. evil, where most of the characters (save for the “bad guy”) are drawn as essentially good, Wall-E is a non-traditional tale that more accurately depicts reality: most people are essentially stupid and self-absorbed. It doesn’t need a good guy and a bad guy to drive the narrative — in fact it suffers from almost none of the crutches of the simpler stories that Hollywood-produced drivel is usually hobbled by.

I’d like to go on about it longer, but I think you should just go see it yourself. If you have a choice between Batman and Wall-E at the theatres in the next couple weeks, go see Wall-E. Its altogether more satisfying, original and enjoyable than the half-hearted sequel to a good re-make of the decades-old Batman franchise…

The new Bond looks good, though!