Precognition (and two mini-reviews)

Lately I’ve noticed several instances where a quote from a TV show will pop in my head all of a sudden, and lo and behold, a day or two later the episode with that quote airs.

So then I made the mistake of recently seeing the flashlights in the bottom of my bookcase and thinking to myself, “heh, I haven’t had to use those yet while living here.”

Yep, the power went out. We had a pretty good thunderstorm today, and since the onset of the outage coincided quite nicely with a good-sized lightning strike, I’m guessing the two were somehow related. (On the other hand, it also coincided well with the climax of Rashomon, but I’m guessing that’s just coincidence.) The rule of thumb I’ve learned over the years is that if the power just goes out cleanly, it’ll be restored pretty quickly. But if it goes out, blinks on again after a minute, and goes out again, it’ll probably be out for a while. This was one of the latter ones.

So, I figured I ought to call the power company and report it, if only to find out how long they’d think it’d take to fix it. The first problem was, my phone is cordless, so it naturally wasn’t working; I had to dig out the POS corded phone the previous tenants had left behind. Second problem was, since the landlady takes care of the power bill, I didn’t even know what power company services the area. But not surprisingly, there’s only one company under “Power” in the yellow pages (it’s a monopoly, after all), so no real problem there.

So I call the number listed under “Report an outage,” which eventually puts me through to a customer service rep. (Sort of strange — back in St. Louis, the power company’s “Report an outage” line is 100% automated.) She tells me the area of the outage is pretty big and she didn’t know when it’d be back on, which didn’t bode well. But then it ended up coming back on in a few minutes, so I suppose it was more of a “they haven’t told me” than a “we don’t know yet.”

Good thing, too, because there is absolutely nothing to do around here with the power out. Even reading a book would require a flashlight because of the storm outside, and it was too early to start on dinner (luckily, the stove is gas). And here I had even gone and rented a couple of movies to watch.

Speaking of which:

Rashomon — One of the TAs, a sociologist, on my old EPICS team really liked this movie, so I gave it a try. It’s a Kurosawa film about a murder that’s taken place, and you see and hear the testimonies of four people about what happened: a thief, the victim’s wife, the victim (as channelled by a medium), and a woodcutter who happened upon the scene. The thing is, even though they’re all eyewitness accounts of what happened, none of the stories coincide at all, and it’s not clear to the people discussing the issue who is telling the truth.

Overall, aside from some overacting in the character of the thief, I liked it. I especially liked how the different accounts of the murder — which make up the backbone of the film — weren’t at all what I had expected them to be going into the movie. What I mean is, you’d expect them to be of the “I didn’t kill him, that guy did” variety, but they really aren’t, and each portray the characters in different lights, until you have no idea what to believe anymore. It’s also stylistically different from other movies I’ve seen, but since this is the only Japanese movie I can remember ever watching (anime doesn’t count), I have no idea how much of that is Kurosawa’s style and how much is just Japanese filmmaking compared to American filmmaking.

One Hour Photo — Starring Robin Williams in a serious role as Sy, it’s the story of a somewhat creepy man working at a megastore’s photo lab who wishes he could be part of one of the families he develops the film of. (That’s probably enough to give you the gist of the plot.)

The movie’s certainly not nearly as scary of terrifying as the cover jacket claimed, but it’s still a decent suspense drama. Robin Williams plays his role well, keeping the viewer unsure if his growing obsession with the family makes him dangerous or merely creepy but harmless. There’s a few plot-twisty moments to be found, mostly of the surprising-revelation variety, although only a few of them are actually surprising. (I’m thinking particularly of the scene revealing the photos in Sy’s apartment, which I can’t see anyone actually being surprised by.) There’s also some unrealistic interactions between characters (the argument between the husband and wife early on seemed awfully stilted), and the ending had somewhat of an “I’m not sure where he’s coming from with that” to it. But on the whole, it’s a decent movie that probably worth checking out.

(As an aside, my inner fanboy insists on pointing out that [begin Comic Book Guy voice] the brief but explicit reference to Neon Genesis Evangelion in the movie is completely wrong. The action figure of one of the mass-produced Eva units that appears in three of the scenes is most certainly not a “good guy” as the child claims, nor would such a toy be sold at such a megastore, and besides, “Evangelion” is pronounced with a hard, not a soft, “g” sound. Worst. Reference. Ever. [end Comic Book Guy voice])

Gosh, will you look at the time. I’m acting like I don’t have to go into work in the morning or something.

One Response

  1. Hey Paul. Yes, thunderstorms. We’ve been having rain and storms and all that for 4 or 5 days straight now. Fun huh? Mom and I have been meaning to cut the grass but then the day before, there’s a huge downpour and low and behold, can’t cut the grass. Well, my life without school has been interesting. I have too much time on my hands really. It’s sad. I’ll tell you more when I comment on a more recent update of yours. ^.^

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