Monday, February 23, 2015

Sleet Day

We have a "snow" day today. Technically, It's mostly sleet and ice, but that's actually more treacherous on the roads than snow. Most of the schools in the area are closed, which meant my yoga class was cancelled. The class is done at the church, and the church follows the school district, so if schools are closed, so is the church. Although I do like the yoga class, it was kind of fun to actually have a real snow day, in that there was something I didn't have to do. And I got to sleep in, which is nice on a cold day. Now I'm sitting in my office, watching the cars going up and down the main street. There's ice on the road visible from where I'm sitting, but the way a lot of these people are driving, it must not be visible. Some cars are creeping through the intersection, but just as many are flying by. There hasn't been a wreck at this intersection yet, but I have heard plenty of sirens.

You know when Jim Cantore on the Weather Channel is broadcasting from your town, it's going to be an interesting weather day. Actually, at one point I think he was broadcasting from the edge of my neighborhood.

I haven't done a Monday Movie report in ages because I haven't really watched a movie in ages, but I finally caught a showing of About Time on HBO that fit my schedule. I'd planned to see this at the theater, but then the reviews sort of turned me off enough that I didn't make the effort (as I recall, it was a busy time and wasn't at my neighborhood theater). I have a love/hate relationship with a lot of Richard Curtis's films. I really enjoy both Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill up to just before the endings, and the endings practically ruin things for me, so I've learned to stop watching before the end. For someone known for romantic comedies, I have to say that he does a lousy job of writing romances. What makes his movies work for me are the relationships between friends and family members. I always find myself wanting to be part of that group of friends or a member of the family. Some of the romantic relationships in Love Actually worked because each story was essentially a short story told in small pieces, but I have a feeling most of them would have fallen apart if they'd had to carry a whole movie.

But About Time isn't actually a romantic comedy. It was reviewed as one, and the reviewers thought it failed as that. But I think it's actually a coming of age story told through a fantasy twist. In the story, the men in one particular family have the ability to travel in time within their own lifetimes (there are other restrictions that come up later). They've used this ability for various things, but using it to be wealthy and powerful always ends up making them miserable. When the father in this story tells his 21-year-old son about the power, he says he's mostly used it to read (and re-read) more books, which sounds perfectly rational to me. The son decides to use it to get a girlfriend, with varying results.

Mostly what it comes to is the power to give himself a do-over. If he screws something up, he can go back and fix it. But then there's the problem that fixing it doesn't always work -- he often acts on the basis of what the woman says she wants, going back in time to do what she said she wants, but it turns out that even this isn't what she really wants. And sometimes fixing one thing messes up another thing. There are some amusing montages of him making various attempts not to mess something up.

There is a romantic relationship at the center of the story, as he uses his power to meet and get things right with a woman who fascinates him, but it's not really a "romance" in that it's not about them getting together. It's just part of his life journey to meet and marry someone and have children and generally be a grown-up, and ultimately have to face problems without getting a do-over.

It's funny in places, but it ended up leaving me a sobbing mess (in a good way). It's the kind of story that makes you think about your life and the choices you make. At one point, he takes his father's advice to live each day twice -- once getting through it, and then once he knows how it's going to come out, going through it again without worrying about it, enjoying every moment and making the most of it. Of course, the obvious lesson is to go through life that way without having to do it a second time.

I don't think I'll be buying this one to watch again and again because it's not that kind of movie for me. I'm not sure watching it again would actually be pleasant. But I'm glad I watched it the one time.

Also, if you're playing the Doctor Who/Harry Potter game and spotting cast members, the score goes pretty high. Almost everyone in the cast has been in one or the other (or both).

Now, after a weekend spent organizing my bookshelves and downstairs closets, I need to do a little more straightening and tidying work (it's funny what a mess organizing can create), and then I hope to get a lot of writing done because I tend to feel more creative on cold, gray days.

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