Monday, October 19, 2009

Frosty Mornings and Suicidal Hats

It's a freezing morning out there, literally. The frost is covering the ground and is glittering in the sun. Ironically, I just looked back at my blog archive and on this exact Monday last year, we had our first major frost...just like today. That's pretty exciting.

What's more exciting is that a year ago, I was scraping my car and feeling guilty because she's a California car. My fingers were freezing and I was pledging to buy a new ice scraper because I'd been reduced to using a piece of cardboard. Now, a year later, I'm a spoiled suburbanite. I have a garage. I get to go out to my car in the morning and back out of my driveway with nary a lick of frost on my windshield.

It's a big change. It's also amazing that it's only been a year and I own my own house. I'm still not sure that fact has sunk in. I had to put the heat on for the first time last night. My heating/cooling system is pretty solid. It's also old. This means that when it's on, it's loud. Really loud. Still, better loud than freezing.

It's cosy in my house in the evenings. Last night, I sat down and drank pumpkin-spice flavoured tea as I sat down in front of the television, my electric fireplace flickering. It's a lovely way to hibernate.

Of course, if I were truly hibernate, I wouldn't have to had to drive to work today. Actually, I wouldn't have had to get up this morning. Mondays are always the worst morning to have to get up, as I've stated in many a previous blog. Having a good weekend makes it harder, I think.

For my weekend, I decided to go visit my parents. That's always a nice idea. I still love the fact that I can do that instead of having to book plane tickets to visit. This time of year is my favourite time in which to drive to Northern Indiana. The trees are absolutely amazing. I can't stop looking at them. There are so many hues in the leaves that it really is like looking at a patchwork quilt. The leaves have yet to begin their torrents of falling so the trees are displaying their decor proudly, each one trying to outdo the rest. It's a pretty drive.

I think my mother probably thinks I'm a little strange. I keep pointing out the leaves to her. She's not as impressed as I am. I think partly it's my time in L.A. in which I missed the fall colours of the trees. I also think part of it is that I actually love Autumn and my mother does not. My mother sees the season as little more than a passage to what she sees as the misery of winter. Me, I see it as a season filled with beautiful colours, pumpkins, spiced tea and the smell of leaf fires in the air. Then again, I love winter too with its vicious snowstorms and unpredictable nature. All I have to do is say the 's' word (snow) and my mother cringes. It's the psychological equivalent of poking her with a stick. She's a spring/summer person obviously. She can't see the beauty in a snow-covered landscape.

Still, aside from the chilly evenings, this was a beautiful weekend to be in Indiana and I made a point to try to get my mother to appreciate the leaves. I'm not sure it worked but I gave it a try. We spent a fun Saturday exploring a new grocery store, one of those Whole Foods types with nothing but the best ingredients. We both adore a good grocery store so we spent far too long admiring the produce. I personally like stores like that because, as a singleton, it's much easier to shop for one person. They have a meat counter where you can buy just enough meat for a meal. The chain grocery stores generally package meat for families or even couples. I usually have to buy a package of meat and separate it so it's frozen in individual portions.

Aside from that, I had a lovely Saturday night watching movies with my parents. We watched "The Proposal," the recent Sandra Bullock/Ryan Reynolds romantic comedy. It was entertaining as most Sandra Bullock movies are. The only thing that really annoyed me is that I'm a fan of another of her movies, "While you were Sleeping." In that movie, she's about to marry a man under false circumstances and she confesses at the wedding, telling how much she adores his family and can't hurt them anymore because they let her be part of their lives and showed her what it was like to have a family. I should warn you, I'm about to spoil "The Proposal" if you haven't seen it. However, just picture the exact same speech/circumstances only in a much prettier backdrop.

Sorry if I ruined it. It's still a cute watch if you haven't seen it and, anyway, if you can't predict what's going to happen in the first place, I have to ask you, what planet are you from? I mean, it's a romantic comedy. It's got Sandra Bullock in it. Not exactly a shocker when it ends.

When he rented "The Proposal," my dad had wisely called to run it by me. This sounds horribly arrogant but generally speaking, I know a lot more about movies than my parents. I'm a pop-culture nerd. Even if I haven't seen the movie, if I've heard of it, I usually know something about it and can say whether I think it's worth seeing. I'm usually right (which is the arrogant part.) Now, my father has this amazing ability to go to the video store and pick a DVD up that I didn't even know existed. Usually, these movies are horrendous. I confess, a few years ago, I was even more aware of the movie scene than I am now. Even the little independents didn't escape my notice, even if I hadn't seen them. Nowadays, I know the major independents but some do slip by, nothing more than a blurb in Entertainment Weekly that slips out of my mind.

Such was the case this weekend when my father returned from Blockbuster with not only "The Proposal" but another little gem called, "The Merry Gentleman."

I think I might have heard of "The Merry Gentleman," but I'm not sure. It's directed by Michael Keaton who is also the star. Let me tell you, my father did not disappoint me in his talent of finding an utterly awful movie. "The Merry Gentlemen," is...bad. I'm not sure. Sometimes, I think it was supposed to be funny in the style of a black comedy but it really wasn't. There are these endless periods of silence especially at the beginning that made me wonder if my father had outdone himself and found us a mime-movie. Sadly, it wasn't a mime movie. That, at least, would have been entertaining in a twisted way. No, "The Merry Gentleman," was just...quiet sometimes. No miming.

The premise is this girl with an inexplicable Scottish accent gets beaten by her husband and runs away from somewhere to....somewhere. We never find out where which I think was probably intentional but ended up being rather irritating. She's a nice girl who immediately finds a good job that helps her get a nice, if sparse, little flat. She sees a man on a roof one night who she thinks is suicidal. Turns out she saw Michael Keaton, a contract killer, after he'd just made a hit. We're never sure if he was suicidal in that scene or he was just admiring the view. He's suicidal in a couple of other scenes, you see. He finds out about her and goes to kill her but finds her trapped under a giant Christmas tree that she's tried to drag to her flat. Naturally, as every single man in the movie seems to, he falls for her. They become friends. There's also a rather chubby policeman who also likes her and who conveniently always seems to be the cop who attends to her woes. I can't help but wonder if there are any other police in the city. He's a bit scary with his persistence and eventually discovers she's hanging around with a hit man. She gets scared and runs away from the policeman. The end of the movie is very climactic: Michael Keaton lets his hat try to commit suicide but then rescues it only to walk off into the distant scenery.

I think the ending is supposed to symbolize that Michael Keaton, in rescuing his poor suicidal hat, can't turn away from who he is. There's a rather riveting scene in which he and the girl discuss his hat and how much it must have seen, you see. Thus, I know the hat is symbolic.

The best thing about the movie is that it's quite short. I kept waiting for something to happen.Nothing really ever did unless you count a Christmas tree falling on top of our heroine. This is one of those movies that tries for depth in little vignettes, scenes cut together to represent a passing of time in which the characters interact. Unfortunately, their interactions involve a lot of staring and a lot of silence. Also, there's not much daylight in the movie.

Unfortunately, my dad didn't turn this movie off prematurely. He has a habit of this, you see. Quite often, we'll all be watching a pre-recorded TV show or a DVD and towards the end, it stops. My dad thought it was over and he's decided to turn it off. Sometimes, he puts it back on. Sometimes he doesn't. With "The Merry Gentleman," I kept hoping he'd turn it off but we had to watch it right up until Michael Keaton walked off into the distance. Actually, I think he really kept it on because he, like my mother and I, were surprised that the movie was over. We were still waiting for something to happen, you see.

Still, overall, bad movie aside, it was a nice weekend. Sometimes the best weekends are those when you have nothing planned and just take it as it comes. That's how mine was. I hope yours was good too.

Happy Monday.

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