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Day Ten: Amsterdam to Seattle

Posted on Monday, March 29th, 2010

Dave!And so my vacation is over.

The DutchBitch dropped me off at the train station for an uneventful ride to the airport. I then had a blissfully uneventful 10-hour flight home. I'd like to say I had a blissfully uneventful drive back over the mountains, but that would be a lie. In addition to "wintery mix" blasting the mountain passes (it's a mix of snow and rain)... I nearly got into an accident twice because people apparently don't know what a Yield Sign means...

DaveToon Yield Sign

Even though it's pretty much a universal symbol meaning "STOP YOUR STUPID ASS IF TRAFFIC IS APPROACHING, BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY"... but while I was out of the country, apparently here in Washington State they've become merely roadside decorations you can ignore.

The first incident wasn't too spectacular. I just had to slam on my brakes to let the dumbass into my lane, even though he should have been the one stopping since he was the one with the YIELD MUTHA FUCKA! sign. The second incident was far worse, and took place as I was making the Cle-Elum turn-off from I-90...

Yield Sign in Cle Elum

That red line is me. After making my stop at the end of the off-ramp, I continue onward after turning left. That blue line is an oblivious douchebag who didn't even LOOK to see me already in the lane he was merging into. He blew on by the YIELD MUTHA FUCKA! sign and came gunning right at me. Not only did I have to slam on the brakes, but I had to swerve outside of my lane and then swerve back before being hit by oncoming traffic! But you know what the BEST part was? The dumbass lays on his horn when he finally notices me swerving all over the place! And it gets better! Since I was turning right and he was turning left, I pulled up alongside him WHERE HE PROCEEDED TO GIVE ME BITCHY LOOKS AND POINT HIS FINGER AT ME! Like he was calling me out or something.

It took all the self control I could muster not to ram my car into him and bust his shit, but instead I pointed at him and screamed "YOU'RE THE ONE WITH THE YIELD SIGN, ASSHOLE!" He probably couldn't hear me, but I'm pretty sure he sure got the message that HE was the one who made the mistake.

Oh well.

It wouldn't be me traveling if there wasn't some drama involved.

While on the plane I watched a bunch of in-flight movies to pass the time. Usually I only watch movies that I don't care about and don't want to spend the money and time to rent...

Plane Movies!

First up was "Precious, Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire". I never wanted to watch this film based on the stupid-ass title alone, but the subject matter didn't appeal to me much either. I ultimately found this movie about an abused and neglected teen a crashing bore, and ended up fast-forwarding through chunks of it. So people are horrible and life is depressing... wah! Big news. There was no break-through plot element here that made the story worth my time. I thought Gabourey Sidibe's performance was good, but not really Oscar-worthy. Mo'Nique was very good at being thoroughly reprehensible though, and probably deserved her nomination. But the break-out performances to me were actually by Paula Patton as Ms. Rain and (heaven help us) Mariah Carey as Mrs. Weiss. I may have hated the movie, but there were no denying the great acting. RATING: D+

I also watched The Blind Side... a movie I avoided because all these "football inspirational" stories usually bore the crap out of me. Boy was I wrong. The story of a Southern white family who takes in a black homeless student who then goes on to become a football star was definitely entertaining. Sure the "based on a true story" plot was predictable and manipulative, but the performances were all-around amazing. Sandra Bullock earned that Oscar. And who the hell knew Tim McGraw could act? I also thought that Quinton Aaron added dimension to what could have been a pretty pedestrian and straight-forward character. These kind of bland stereotypical pablum films may not be my cup of tea, but I thought it was pretty good for bring in that genre. RATING: B-

Next up was Pandorum, a sci-fi thriller that I knew nothing about starring Ben Foster and Dennis Quaid. The film was basically a combination of a dozen sci-fi films I've already seen before (mostly Alien and Sunshine with a little Serenity thrown in) but somehow managed to pull off the "zombies in space" idea in an entertaining way. I was happy to have seen it, but didn't think there was anything new or groundbreaking here. Had they found something unique and surprising to catapult the story out of the copycat rut they found themselves in, this could have been a home-run. I was pleasantly surprised by Ben Foster though. He always seemed so one-note in other things I've seen him in, but does a great job here. RATING: B-

After that was Whiteout, based on the comic book mini-series of the same name that I had never read. It's a story about the first ever murder-mystery in Antarctica, and the special circumstances such an environment creates in trying to solve it. While I enjoyed the movie well enough (I can't help myself because I love Kate Beckinsale), the limited number of characters made guessing the mystery villain and the plot-twist villain absolute child's play. I literally had everything pegged in my head fifteen minutes into the film. Still, the arctic location made for some interesting plot elements and I liked the scenery. RATING: C+

And then was The Invention of Lying, with one of my favorite comedians Ricky Gervais, plus Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, and a lot of cameos from people like Tina Fey, John Hodgman, Edward Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Jason Bateman (PLUS Jonah Hill, in the ONLY role I haven't positively hated him in!). This thinly-veiled pro-atheism film was pretty much a let-down. Sure the premise of a world where people can't lie is funny at first... but the jokes grow stale far too quickly and the internal logic just didn't hold together for me. It was a half-hour of material that was drawn-out far too long (sometimes painfully so). RATING: C

And lastly there was The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Wes Anderson's epic retelling of the classic Roald Dahl children's book about a fox who craves adventure and danger... sometimes at the expense of his family and friends. I had already seen the film once, and liked it enough to watch it again. The voice cast is stellar (George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Michael Gambon, and more), the stop-motion animation sublime, and the story just bizarre and quirky enough to keep things interesting. Oddly enough, I can't imagine kids enjoying the film that much, as most of the dialogue and story elements seemed very adult to me. RATING: A-

   
And now... it's time to try and get a few hours rest. It's hard to get jet-lag when you only sleep 4-5 hours each night, but hopefully this long, long day will make me tired enough to manage some sleep.

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Categories: Movies 2010, Travel 2010Click To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. Hilly says:

    I love the fact that you did not bow down to the insane peer pressure to love “Precious”. I have no desire to see that movie whatsoever. I don’t want to see something that is just going to make me cry at how horrific people can be to one another. No thanks.

    I thought “Pandorum” was boring and cannot wait to see “Fantastic Mr. Fox”!

  2. sizzle says:

    I had trouble with Precious (the title kept me from watching it for months). I thought Mo’Nique earned her Oscar in it though. The Invention of Lying became irritating to me and I never actually finished it. I’ve still got to see The Fantastic Mr. Fox. I keep hearing great things.

  3. Ren says:

    I thought that Jae Head stole each of his scenes in The Blind Side, but then I’m a sucker for precociousness.

    BTW, I guess Firefox on Linux doesn’t support TIFFs, so I had to download your CleElumYield image to see it.

    • Dave2 says:

      Oops! Thanks for the heads-up… since Adobe Illustrator doesn’t all you to export direct to JPEG using artboards, I have to export to a TIFF and then use Photoshop to convert it. Apparently I forgot that last step! :-)

      S.J. added some funny moments to “The Blind Side” and helped curb the story from going overly-dramatic at points, so I agree!

  4. RW says:

    I’m never going to Washington.

  5. DutchBitch says:

    Glad you got home safe and sound but sorry your vacation is over :(

  6. ZOMFG KATE BECKINSALE! Ahem. And count me amongst those who refuse to watch Precious purely based on the annoying title.

  7. Avitable says:

    I love your use of “pablum”. Reminds me of the MAD parody of Morton Downey, calling everyone “pablum puking liberals”.

    Fantastic Mr. Fox is a great movie and I liked it much better than Up. I was disappointed that it didn’t get the attention it deserved.

  8. David says:

    I am hoping to still catch The Fantastic Mr. Fox in the theaters, since it’s still playing in a few places here in NYC.

    Also, I hope Josh never reads this post, because he LOVEZ Precious and HATEZ The Blind Side. Be warned. ;-)

  9. Sybil Law says:

    Mutha Fuckas and their ignorin’ of yield signs.
    Yep – had that today, too.
    HATE people.

  10. Of all those movies, I only watched The Blind Side. I though Sandra deserved that Oscar too. It was awesome. Having lived in Memphis during Michael Oher’s college years, I had heard a great deal about the whole thing, just not the Hollywood version. Still, it was mostly true so that was nice.

    PS- Yield signs have been decoration in Florida for years and years!

  11. josh says:

    I am so mad at you. Precious’ reviews ECLIPSED those of The Blind Side. I can’t believe you gave it a higher grade. Precious really touched me and broke my heart, and you disliking it so strongly just shattered it even more!

    ::tearz for yearz::

    • Dave2 says:

      Oog. I don’t suppose that this is a good time to tell you that I don’t like “American Idol” either?

      Clearly I have no taste in movies OR television, so you should just ignore my reviews and be happy again!

  12. kilax says:

    We have been avoiding Precious for the same reason. I thought the Invention of Lying was funny and loved the religious message (ha) but agree that it could have been better.

    Driving scares me so much anymore. In my town, people have problems with 4-way stops. As in, they stop, but then just go when they want. There is a particularly bad intersection that I just try to avoid because I almost always get hit if I go when it is my turn. Wah.

  13. Poppy says:

    Point his finger? Oh, c’mon West Coast dude who doesn’t yield, get it right! Middle finger!!! Pointing… so amateur.

    I’m glad you liked Pandorum. We own it but haven’t watched it yet so now I have a reason to encourage that we crack it open.

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