Thursday, November 20, 2008

James Bond in a Small Town...

It's almost Friday. I say almost because it's still Thursday which is the danger day. It's the danger day because it's so close to the weekend that it's very easy to rationalize that it is the weekend. This can range from staying up too late to going out and having fun and then realizing that you still have to get up in the morning for work because, after all, it isn't quite the weekend yet.

You see that in a little college town like the one in which I live. Thursday nights are lively. You see a lot of packs of students bar hopping and dawdling in traffic. Because it's a small town, students seem to think they're immune to being hit by a car, that everyone will stop. Unfortunately, since I've already been rear-ended this year, I can't mow them down like sometimes I'd like to do. The worst ones are the text-messagers. They actually cross the street while trying to text. They don't actually look to see if anything's coming. They get to a crosswork, get wrapped up in their texting and bam! A sometimes too near miss. The really annoying thing is they barely notice that the driver actually has smoke coming from beneath his tires because he had to stop so quickly. That driver almost had a heart attack, the student is to busy LOL'ing or TTYL'ing to notice.

Last night, I actually got to explore the town a bit by having dinner and seeing a movie with some coworkers. It was a lot of fun and considering it's a small town, there's some great places to eat and drink here. I tried a key-lime martini, just for the experience and because it came highly recommended by my coworkers. Well, it tasted like key lime pie in a glass which was the point, I suppose. It even had pie crust crumbs dusted on the glass. Personally, I've decided that key lime pie is better as a pie because it sort of freaked me out a little that I was drinking a pie. Which is strange given that I don't like pumpkin pie but am more than happy to scarf down a pumpkin-pie latte. But then, that has no pie crust in it which is definitely for the best. I do not like crumbs in my drink. It's revolting

I did have the experience of going to a small town movie theatre, something I haven't done in a long time. I just moved from L.A. Not to sound pretentious but, well, it's the lands on which Hollywood sits. This is a fancy way of saying I've been spoiled rotten when it comes to seeing a movie.

This is a classic little place. The concessions seller is the same person as the ticket taker. They just move desks quickly and efficiently to scoop out the popcorn and drinks. I didn't order popcorn because I'd just had sweet potato fries and a hamburger for dinner. (Which, by the way, I could write an entire blog about the deliciosness of sweet potato fries because, frankly, they're a little like crack and once I start, I cannot stop eating them. Not that I've tried crack, in case you were wondering...I just like saying "it's like crack".)

But the popcorn smelled nice which is a bonus. Although, since it was freezing outside, I think it had something to do with the fact that it represented something warm and toasty.

The theatre itself was...tiny. It had a screen that looked half the size of a stadium-style theatre's screen. The floor was sticky and it made that schloup-schloup sound when I lifted my feet. The chairs were wobbly and worn. But I loved it because places like that are so hard to find anymore. I loved it because there were only 12 people in the whole theatre. I loved it because you could hear the whirl of the projector. Mostly, it felt so comfortable and intimate that I knew that it's the type of place I can go to when I just need to escape from reality for a bit and get lost in the fakeness of the movie-world. I can bury myself in a movie, good or bad and duck out from life for a bit.

We saw "Quantum of Solace", the new James Bond. I love Daniel Craig as Bond. I love that hardness to his face, his flintlike eyes, the fact that he can convey emotion through those eyes without having to make a single facial expression. "Casino Royale" was an excellent film; it gave us a new Bond and a far less farcical take on the franchise. Ok, so Pierce Brosnan was nice to look at and he was funny but the movies had become ridiculous, almost spoofing the Bond of the former years.

Mr. Craig plays Bond with grit. His body is lean and hard and scarred. When he gets hurt, he has to clean himself up and he bears the injury for the rest of the movie. He doesn't miraculously escape unscathed in his tuxedo, he climbs out from the rubble, dusty, beaten but ready to fight again.

"Quantum of Solace" is interesting. While "Casino Royale" had great moments of dry and subtle humour, this movie doesn't. Bond is angry and he wants to bury his anger and pain in his work. And he does. A lot. He's ruthless, vicious and very deadly in his rage. I know some people have said this is a boring movie but I have a feeling it's one of those films that will improve on each watching. It's like "The Two Towers" in the Lord of the Rings series or "The Empire Strikes Back"- both were rather boring in some ways but they complete the series of movies and when you see the complete picture that the trilogies painted, those movies became the hinge for the entire set. I can't say it entertained me the way "Casino Royale" did but it was effective. My only complaint is that James Bond gets chased a lot in this one and he does a lot of chasing. In fact, in some ways, the movie is a series of a lot of people chasing each other with some dialogue thrown in. It's effective because it shows us that James Bond really is a human, his anger is for the death of a woman he actually loved but he masks it by being a robotlike-agent, efficient and brutal and wiping out all those who get in his way.

But there's a lot of chasing in this movie. There's a car chase, a rooftop chase of foot, a boat chase, a plane chase, another foot chase in a hotel, another footchase in an opera house, another car sort of get the point. I suppose it's symbolic. Mr. Bond is chasing a peace and resolution to his grief and anger. Naturally, because, he's Bond, he wins in the end but he's still a man, chased by shadows and regret and scarred both on his body and in his soul.

To be honest though, I'm still not quite sure what a Quantum of Solace is. I mean, I know how it plays into the movie but I'm a little baffled by why any organization would name themselves that. Wouldn't something like "Circle of Baddies" or "Secret Traitors of the World" be a little easier to say?

Despite that, I enjoyed my evening. I ignored the giant "Twilight" poster in the lobby like a good Monkeypants. I may have irritated one of my coworkers because I snorted with disgust when they showed us a preview of "Angels and Demons" the new Dan Brown adapation. How was I supposed to know she's a huge Dan Brown fan? She loves that book. A lot. It's one of her favourites. Ooops.

But, in truth, it was my first evening out since I moved from the big city to a small town and it was fun. I love having a movie theatre that close, even if it is the size of a postage stamp. I love being able to walk from dinner to the movies, the frost starting to glitter around us, my gloves still in my pockets because somehow I ended up with two right gloves and no left glove (and wearing them upside down just doesn't work right). I love that a town like this changes with the seasons, that the summer will bring long, lazy days with concerts in the park and winter will bring hurried walks from one place to another. It's supposed to snow again today and if it settles as it's supposed to, the town will change again, dusty with snow and telling me that it might be ok to start thinking about Christmas now.

And, at the very least, it gives me an excuse to drink hot chocolate and think about my weekend which is only a day away.

Happy Thursday.

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