30 July 2008

Yippee! I'm done with the bar exam, but not after it took two months of my life. Plenty has been said about bar exams already, but one positive that I took away was that I really did get to learn a lot of stuff that I wanted to learn in law school. Sure, I learned it in a superficial way (and I'm already on my way to forgetting much of it), but for a few fleeting moments I actually felt like I knew something about the law.

Anyhow, New Mexico has a high pass rate (you could invert that statement and say we have lower standards than some states) so I'm not too worried about failing, but there was enough wacky stuff on there that one can never be too sure. Thankfully I have one month of freedom before I return to the folds of the gainfully employed, and I aim to enjoy it. First, I'm going to watch the Dark Knight and play minature golf. Then, I'm going to disappear into the mountains of Colorado for a week. After that, I'm not sure, but I'll think of something.

25 July 2008

In a recent review in the New Yorker, David Denby describes The Dark Knight, unfairly I think, as having a mood of "constant climax." Reading his review made me wonder what it might be like to see a movie with a mood of "constant anticlimax." Now I know. And unfortunately, it's called The X-Files: I Want to Believe.

This isn't a terrible movie, but it's unbearably—and, it seems, intentionally—disappointing. Over the nine seasons of the original series, The X-Files managed to come up with at least fifty amazing stories (out of a total, it must be noted, of two hundred episodes). Now they've had six years to write one more story, and this is the best they can do? Clyde Bruckman must be spinning in his grave.

19 July 2008

Apparently The Dark Knight is on track to break the all-time record for an opening weekend. If it maintains its current trajectory, this may turn out to be the first year since 1981 when the highest-grossing movie was also the best.

18 July 2008

To call The Dark Knight the best comic book movie ever made is to do it a disservice: as a crime epic, as a thriller, as a portrait of a city, it deserves comparison with The Departed and L.A. Confidential. Watching scene after scene unfold with incredible invention, complexity, and ingenuity, I was reminded that Christopher and Jonathan Nolan once wrote and directed a little movie called Memento, which is still the cleverest movie of the decade. That film was a twisty, intricate indie thriller shot on a shoestring; The Dark Knight must have cost something like $180 million, but it lavishes the same amount of care and attention on every image, every story point, and every line of dialogue—it has enough ideas and inspiration for half a dozen lesser movies. What's more, in the three years since Batman Begins, where the big set pieces were often a little muddled, Chris Nolan has learned how to shoot an action scene, and he gives us two or three that are as good as anything since Children of Men.

In this movie, the pleasures come as large as a semi truck turning a somersault—and as small as a graceful somersault of the camera itself. And the cast is, by and large, phenomenal. Heath Ledger has, deservedly, received most of the attention, but I'd like to spotlight the work of another actor: Gary Oldman. Back when Batman Begins was released, Oldman seemed like an odd choice for Commissioner Gordon—Kurt Russell was originally tapped for the part—and at the time, it felt as if the producers had simply tried to cast a big name, regardless of his suitability for the role. Not anymore. It may seem strange, but Gordon is the heart of The Dark Knight, and Oldman follows through with his best performance in years. He's the closest thing to a recognizable human being that I've ever seen in a film like this. Could Commissioner Gordon: The Movie be far behind?

Anyway, I could go on and on about The Dark Knight, which belongs to a very short list of recent films—including Children of Men, Pan's Labyrinth, Zodiac, and There Will Be Blood—that have raised the bar for the entire industry. But you probably don't need my encouragement to see this movie. Right?

17 July 2008

For some reason, this website featuring Norman Schwarzkopf as the national spokesperson for the "Be Bear Aware" campaign was one of the funniest things I'd seen in a while. Schwarzkopf instructs us that "North America is home to three different species of bears, some say actually four." Huh? Why did this campaign (which seems designed to prevent people from approaching bears) need a celebrity spokesperson? And why Stormin' Norman?

Well, I poked around on Google and found out that Schwarzkopf's other nickname is "The Bear," so that makes some sense. And according to Wikipedia, he's spent his retirement as spokesman for lots of charities, so I guess that helps answer the puzzle. (He also sits on the board of directors of Remington Arms, if you care about that sort of thing.) I guess you learn something new every day.

04 July 2008

Despite such postings as this, this, and this, it seems that this blog's language is pretty tame:

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou

(For what it's worth, I was unable to find any instances of Nat swearing online.)

02 July 2008

What's the deal with prosciutto and fruit? I went to an engagement party on Friday night where they had canteloupe wrapped in prosciutto, and now I read in the New York Times that that's how one is supposed to eat prunes, er, dried plums. Is this some trend that everyone else knew about and is only now trickling into the the flyover states?