Five Things I Am Into Right Now, February 2012

When I originally decided to write more on the blog as my New Year’s Resolution, one of my initial ideas was to capture each month what I was into… and then I skipped doing it in January.

So I guess in January I was into NOT writing about five things I am into.

It’s a snapshot into my life at a given time. A diary, if you will, of consumerism, as compared to creation and original observations…. Boy, that sounded much better in my head than it reads.

Looking over this list, I think you can tell it is February and cold out and I am looking for some extra sunlight someplace. February is never a good time for moody or dark stories or music. We have enough of that in the crisp air and short days.

The Artist

What I love about The Artist the most is how much it loves films. It is riddled with references to classic black-and-white stories, including a few great homages to Citizen Kane. Would I like this film as much if I didn’t love the movies that inspired it? I can’t say. It is light on plot, but most films like this were and are.

For me, I couldn’t stop smiling during my watching of it. And while I wrote before about how I think the idea of giving awards for films is kind of silly…  I really want it to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

Does this make me a hypocrite? Yeah, probably. A terrible, terrible hypocrite…

New Girl

Usually, I find American sitcoms to be time fillers, very often incredibly pale in comparison to the creative writing we see from our BBC competitors. That’s not to say I don’t watch American sitcoms, I do, but I don’t run out and buy them on Blu Ray, revisit them, or really look forward to next week’s episode. If they are on, I watch them, if I miss a week, well,  I am rarely upset.

The last time I was really surprised by a sitcom it was Arrested Development. Comparing that reaction to New Girl says a lot. This show makes me laugh, I have been a few times surprised by the creative writing twists in it, and it is obvious that everyone on the series enjoys working on it, giving it an overall great energy. I don’t know how long they can keep this creativity and energy level up, but I am enjoying the hell out of the show right now.

Some Nights by Fun.

When I first hear the band’s name was Fun. I thought for sure it was ironic and I will hear it once I put on the player. There has to be some doom and gloom in their somewhere. But there wasn’t. There first album Aim and Ignite is a great CD from beginning to end and was on my ipod  most of last year. Now their new album Some Nights is out and it seems the trio on the path to stardom.

I can’t remember the last time I liked a band that was also popular. It almost feels wrong.

The new CD has some great tracks on it (“Some Nights” and “We Are Young” come quickly to mind), but there are a few that might get skipped on my ipod from time to time (“It Gets Better” is a little too peppy for me). So while, it isn’t as easy to love for me as their first album, it is still a great CD.

Halfway to Hollywood: Diaries 1980-1988 by Michael Palin

I’ve read a lot of books on Monty Python (a lot) and I’ve seen (and currently own) a handful of documentaries on the comedy troupe, but none has ever made me feel as really immersed in their world as Michael Palin’s diaries.

I feel like I know each of the members because of these books; frankly, because for Michael they are real people, not comedy icons.  Halfway to Hollywood is the second in his series, this one covering the late seventies through a good chunk of the 80’s. Through it, you see the group break apart (John Cleese almost seems gleeful at the idea of the group disintegrating), while Palin writes movies like Time Bandits and starts to think about traveling the world.

Thanks to these books Michael has really emerged for me as my favorite member of Python. He is very down to earth and incredibly likeable. You’ll want to have him over for dinner after reading this book.

LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7

Video games, for me, are an outlet for turning off my brains after a stressful day. Unless it is a game with a strong story (for example, a Final Fantasy game or Batman: Arkham City), usually I don’t feel too bothered during the playing. I’m sitting there with the controller, my brain is over there sleeping… and there may be snacks. Yum!

I’ve found over the years LEGO games to be great for achieving this mind-numbing goal. The story, what there is of it, is just a parody of something you already know; and the puzzles many times, cannot be easier… and, if you have played one LEGO game, you have played them all.

Sometimes these LEGO games are clearly just phoned in by the creators. For example, I thought the second Indiana Jones games and the one around The Pirates of the Caribbean to be almost boring for them; however, they seem to really enjoy making the Harry Potter games and you can tell. The only complaint I have with the new Harry Potter game is that if you have played the first one there are few surprises really left here. The castle is the exact same, for example, with no new twists or turns in its halls. It’s almost as if you could hear the creators saying, “Wait, did we save on a disk what we did last time? Great! That should save us some time. Who wants cookies?” (Hmmm… I’m thinking about snacks a lot).

Still, I really hope they get a chance to make a Lord of the Rings game. I think that would be a riot.

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