On Robocops and Resistance

This one’s a bit scattered today.  Much like my brain these past few years, ha ha.

On Thursday I had my second and final follow-up appointment with the ENT for my nose surgery.  It is pretty much fully healed and my septum is remarkably undeviated now, which pleased both the doctor and me.  I can generally breathe through both nostrils now, or at least as well as I can expect to during beautiful Ohio’s allergy season.

To anyone who may be on the fence about having surgery to correct a deviated septum, I would say it was totally worth it.  As previously noted, the first week is rough, but things improve a lot once the splints are removed.  I only wish I would have done the surgery years ago.

I’ve been rewatching the ROBOCOP movies over the last couple of weeks. Paul Verhoeven’s original remains a dark and brilliant film. The dystopian corporate culture that ROBOCOP satirized in 1987 doesn’t seem too far removed from our present reality, here in the year of our lord, 2022. I can only imagine how it hit when it came out during the Reagan “Morning in America” era. ROBOCOP doesn’t quite rise to the level of some of Verhoeven’s other sci-fi efforts like TOTAL RECALL or my beloved STARSHIP TROOPERS. But nonetheless — it’s quite good.

ROBOCOP 2 is a hot, uber-serious, boring mess, made even worse by the fact that when the cops go on strike, Robocop crosses the picket line, ultimately putting to rest the question of, “can a robot be a scab?”

I have a fondness for ROBOCOP 3 that I really can’t explain.  It’s much goofier than the first two — a 9-year-old hacker girl reprogramming an ED-209 on the fly to be “loyal as a puppy”? — and Peter Weller is replaced by some other poor bastard who has to wear the Robocop suit, plus there is the addition of a ridiculous gang of dorks who go by the name of the Splatterpunks.  But the story is treated with a humanity that absolutely works for me, and probably only me.  OCP, the villainous corporation throughout the trilogy, has been bought by a Japanese corporation, but they’re still trying to raze Detroit to build their for-rich-people-only Delta City.  In this one, though, they’re now actively forcing people out of their homes, putting them on buses to relocation centers, and some other really fascist shit.  This has resulted in the creation of a resistance movement, which Robocop, his scabbing days now behind him, eventually joins, as do all the cops.  A bit cheesy?  Yes.  But who doesn’t love a good resistance story?  Gods know we can use them these days.

Also, this piece of anti-OCP graffiti is really great:

I mean, they’re not wrong.

In case you missed it earlier in the week, I linked to this wonderful story about a journalist who accidentally discovered his wife was the world’s best Tetris player. As someone who is both a cynic and an idealist, it’s good for my soul to read a sweet story like this from time-to-time.

And now I am signing off so we can go to a baby welcoming for some dear friends.

Keep your head down and your chin up, and have a good week.

Take This Job and Shovel It: A Sandra Bullock Appreciation Post

The other weekend, Jess and I spent a lovely few days with Sandra Bullock.  It started on a Friday night, when we were in the mood to watch something light and funny, so we settled on TWO WEEKS NOTICE.  Then, the next day, while on an excursion in Cincinnati, we decided we wanted to see the new Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum movie, THE LOST CITY, and would do so on Sunday.  Jess then had the fabulous idea to watch THE PROPOSAL that night, and have our own little Sandra Bullock film festival. And in true film festival tradition, I have thoughts, shared below, which will be aided by a rating classification scale of one through four Sandra Bullocks.

TWO WEEKS NOTICE ‒ I had not seen TWO WEEKS NOTICE before, and I thought it was good but not great.  Sandra Bullock is fine in it, but Hugh Grant is almost too charmingly befuddled even by Hugh Grant standards.  The set-up of Bullock coming to work briefly for Grant and then giving two weeks notice was awkwardly handled, but it had some cute moments. I know it’s not the main point of these films — or a minor one, really — but between TWO WEEKS NOTICE and THE PROPOSAL, it really hammers home the importance of establishing and ruthlessly maintaining clear boundaries between one’s work and personal lives. My rating for TWO WEEKS NOTICE:

THE PROPOSAL ‒ I didn’t catch THE PROPOSAL when it came out, which was a mistake on Past Josh’s part, because it was sooo good.  Bullock nails the grumpy and reluctant rom-com lead, which really seems like her bread and butter when it comes to film roles, and the rest of cast, which includes Ryan Reynolds and fucking Betty White, just shine.  The power imbalance of “boss forcing employee to pretend to be married to her” comes off as a bit cringey now, and is the only thing keeping this movie from getting a full four Sandra Bullocks.

THE LOST CITY ‒ I am a really big fan of ROMANCING THE STONE, from which THE LOST CITY — with its clueless romance novelist caught up in a jungle adventure and looking for a mysterious lost MacGuffin plot — pulls more than a little inspiration.  Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum, as her Fabio-inspired dustjacket cover model, have good chemistry and play well off each other.  The film’s story moves along pretty quickly, there are a couple of really funny gags, and is an overall pleasing-level of dumb fun.  Brad Pitt plays a small role and effortlessly steals the scenes he’s in.  If ever there were a movie made to be watched on an airplane, THE LOST CITY is it.  A solid three Sandra Bullocks!

I have a feeling there will be future Sandra Bullock movies in our future, which probably means more reviews, so stay tuned.

Okay By Me in America

First Monday of the new year. For me, the end of a four-day weekend. As my sister texted to me earlier, I always want to have the first Monday of the year off. I’ve only worked a few days the past several weeks, which has been pretty fantastic. Always nice to have the opportunity to pause, take stock, and rest and recharge. I have a good job with a good company, and my colleagues are all good people, so I try to never take these good things for granted.

Last night I saw the new WEST SIDE STORY. I can’t say if the 2021 version is better or worse than the original film or any of the Broadway productions, since I’ve never seen them. It means I also didn’t come in with any sort of preformed emotional attachment to those earlier incarnations. What I can say, however, is I enjoyed it immensely, and will probably be singing the seven or eight words that I know of “America” to myself over and over the next several days.

In other news, I think it’s time to toss out my pumpkins.

Beginnings of a pumpkin wasteland.

(002/365)

NIGHTMARE ALLEY

Yesterday we ventured out into the world to see the new Guillermo Del Toro film, NIGHTMARE ALLEY, at the Neon. I was really excited going in. GDT is one of the most interesting directors working today, and I am a sucker for a good film noir. It boasted an all-star cast and was gorgeous to look at, but it went on for too long (2 hours 30 minutes) and felt tonally… evil? It’s the best way I can think to describe it. I didn’t find myself sympathizing with any of the characters or caring about their fates.

I’m glad I saw NIGHTMARE ALLEY, but I wouldn’t say I enjoyed it.

We rang in the new year last night as we do every year — like motherfucking sorcerers.

(001/365)