Posts Tagged ‘movies’

Just bizarre stuff this week.

The other day I headed to Napa to get some parts for the new (to me) BobWagon. First car I have owned in the USA in some 10 years. Maybe longer. The new BobWagon is a cast iron behemoth, the type of finely aged car that is too substantial to rust away, and can last forever if you take care of it. Its previous owner let some things go 🙂 Fortunately my Zombie Apocalypse skills come into play and I can have it running like a Timex with just a few dollars, elbow grease, and bleeding knuckles. It was a cheap purchase, and it’s a lot better than riding in the winter rain. So, yeah, Napa…

Anyways I was on the BobCycle, and this kid rode up to me on his scooter to ask me about my motorcycle. So we chatted a bit, and he headed out.

Same day, I had to go back to Napa for another part, and in the parking lot, as soon as I am backing out of my space, I hear a loud crash behind me and then a car comes careening across the opposing lanes right into a fire hydrant. Bent the thing to a 45 degree angle. No, there was not the stereotype movie scene geyser.

The driver was in shock and I had to pull him out of his car and shut off the engine. His face had been bashed pretty hard from the airbag deploying. He was just sitting there as his car filled with smoke, in a complete daze. After we sat him down and checked him over, got the first aid kit going, I left him to the folks at the car parts store.

Had I been a few seconds earlier I could have been wrapped up in that accident.

Next morning I read about that kid on the scooter, having been killed in a hit and run accident on the same road.

Had I been a few minutes earlier it could have been me. Maybe if we hadn’t crossed paths, he wouldn’t have gotten run over.

So then I go to see Interstellar at the movie theater, and right as the climax begins and they are about to enter the black hole, the theater fire alarm goes off and the movie stops and everyone evacuates. Nobody actually pulled the alarm, the fire team checked all the triggers. It just happened.

*Warning: spoiler alert*

So then fortunately we got to sit back down after a 30 minute delay (which allowed me an intermission to pee!) and then see that the theme of the movie is all about communicating across spacetime through tweaking events, and it leads me to wondering if all this weird Final Destination crap is significant.

Because it reminds me of the clusters of clusterfucks that seem to happen to me, like how my drivers license was suspended (unbeknownst to me) which led to me being taken to jail while I was backing out of the parking lot of the pharmacy, where I was getting medicine for my sick wife at the time, who then had to come bail me out, which then led to me to going through all the BS required to fix the situation, which I finally accomplished, the day before I had to take said wife to the bus station downtown to go see her family over Easter, which led to me getting pulled over on the way to the station, which led me to being re-arrested for the same “crime” which had already been resolved, but their records had simply not been updated, which led me to have to be bailed out again by said wife who spent her travel money on getting me out of jail for no good reason. Which added just a bit to my lack of respect for “authority.”

And the time that I got pulled over for some other bullshit thing, the cop taking insane liberties with a typo on my auto registration (he even removed the sticker from my license plate as “evidence”), writing me up a pile of expensive tickets, which led me to go to court, where I was pulled over AGAIN in the parking lot of the very court building (on my way to said court hearing), at which point I went completely raving Hulk postal on the cops and they actually let me go, which led me to wasting several hours in the court room explaining to the judge that the whole series of unfortunate events stemmed from some incompetent at the DMV. Which added just a bit more to my lack of respect for “authority.”

Oh, and between the sticker “evidence” confiscation and my actual court hearing, I was pulled over other numerous times because I had no valid sticker on the license plate. Scumbag pig cops have some kind of crazy radar for this stuff. It was so bad that I actually got a guest book for them to sign when they pulled me over.

Or, a rare pleasant example, how I ran into the guy who introduced me to Japanese Animation in high school at a one-shot arts theater screening of a Miyazaki film in Portland, Maine.

Anyways, it’s been a hell of a few days of weird shit, and I am wondering who is picking my spacetime banjo strings. Is FutureExpatBob stuck in some black hole tesseract tweaking his past self to take a certain path? Why, oh why, FutureExpatBob, have you put me through such misery?!

I suppose it’s better, though, than going through life blindly trusting people in suits and uniforms.

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Sunday movie review

Posted: October 28, 2012 in Life
Tags: , ,

Since there’s nothing to do today (literally, the whole city is shut down, save for supermarkets, for the municipal election) I’ll write about a few of the movies we’ve seen lately.

“Wasting Away,” also known as “AAAh! Zombies!” is a cheesy but funny low-budget zombie film with a unique twist on the genre which is used for much comic relief. Worth seeing for zombie fans. I rate it 3.5/5 on the Bob-O-Meter.

“Fase 7” is an Argentine suspense/horror movie about a disease outbreak and the perils that ensue in an apartment building during quarantine. Excellent dialogue, good humor, good characters. I rate it 4/5.

“Fahrenheit 451,” the original 1966 film adaptation. I give it a stinker 1/5. Maybe it was shagadelic for its day but sitting through it was like getting a root canal. Read the book instead.

“Being Elmo” is an excellent documentary. It just goes to show that if you stick to your goal of excellence and strive to get off your ass, you can get anywhere you want to go. Also nice to see another artistic person who was tormented by his peers who “just didn’t get it” succeed, and now he sleeps comfortably in his bed made of money. Bob-O-Meter: 5/5.

“Cocaine Cowboys,” “Cocaine Cowboys 2,” and “Square Grouper” all by Raconteur productions, tell stories about the Florida drug trade in the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Simply amazing the stuff that people used to get away with. Bob-O-Meter: 4.5/5 average for all 3.

“Mr Nice”: the story of Howard Marks. While we’re on the drug-smuggler kick, this also proved to be an interesting movie. Based on his biography, which I have not yet read but am told is much better and more colorful. I look forward to reading it. Bob-O-Meter: 4/5

NetFlix is dangerous. Kind of like Tivo…

 

The Pope’s Toilet

Posted: September 4, 2012 in Humor, Life
Tags: , , , ,

El Baño del Papa:

It’s funny that I haven’t seen this movie until today, the day before we leave to officially plant our flag in Chile and uproot the one we put in Uruguay 5 years ago. I knew about it before, but just never got around to it. Regional DVD encoding and the lack of playability of the pirated copies that were the only available ones. Funny that, these folks are too cheap and too denied to be able to get copies of one of their “great cultural masterpieces” but more on that in a bit…

The story opens up with a small crowd of bicycle smugglers making their way through the border with Brazil. They get caught by the scumbags in Aduanas, of course, and this filled me with rage I probably wouldn’t have felt if I had seen the movie when we first arrived here. Seeing it now is almost better, in a way, because I get it. It’s sad.

Here are a bunch of poor, and I mean dirt-poor people, trying to save some money by riding some 60km to the border to get household goods duty-free and resell them in town. Only what they can carry in a bicycle. And no, it’s not dramatized the sort of thing that happens, what with the Aduanas cop trashing their stuff and leaving with their whiskey. It’s real. And the same shite happens in Montevideo, not just at the border crossings. The government is actively engaged in keeping them poor.

Anyhow, the story goes on with the main character Beto, who, seeing the faint glimmer of capitalism in his head, decides to prepare a pay toilet to cater to the crowds of people coming to see the Pope’s visit. Meanwhile the whole town prepares, baking bread, making sausage, trinkets, and fixing the town up for the spectacle.

Beto must make a deal with the devil (the corrupt Aduanas agent) in order to get the things he needs for his new toilet stall. Even the Aduanas agent knows how bullshit the whole system is, because even he needs the smugglers to get his own stuff. But he plays the whole game and eats up the power anyways.

In the end, the Pope shows up for a short speech and takes off, and the whole village has mortgaged itself into poverty on a losing bet that thousands of people will show up. But they don’t. Busloads of Brazilian tourists were denied entry at the border, and nobody else came except a handful of locals, reporters, and the Pope’s entourage, who all left as quickly as they had arrived.

Then scenes are shown of people in empty houses with piles of stale bread and rotting chorizos. Only one old lady stops by to use Beto’s toilet.

The lessons to be gained from this movie:

  • Uruguayans will work a thousand hours for a few pesos (or to save a few pesos) but never a few hours for a thousand pesos.
  • Uruguayans are afraid of capitalism and believe it is the route straight to hell, and that it will ruin your life.
  • Uruguayans all resign themselves to the abuses of the government.
  • The Uruguayan government and its agents feel that the Uruguayan people should thank them for the difficult and oppressive life they have created for their citizens.
  • Uruguayans want to be poor, and the scenes with the most happiness in the movie seem to be when everyone is broke.
  • Uruguayans seem to be complacent with their lives being made overly complex by onerous government meddling and bureaucracy. It took Beto several days to build his toilet, with the help of friends. That sucker could have been up in a few hours with a single gringo working on it. The movie made fun of this at one point, in fact made a prideful boast of the joke of the Uruguayan work ethic, showing 4 guys putting bricks down for the toilet’s foundation, working all day, and getting 2 rows of bricks laid before they called it a day and sat down for mate and asado.
  • Uruguayans are naive and immature in their view of commerce, especially in the way they just assume things will happen with no clear business plan. Hence their extreme failure in this story.
  • Uruguayans take pride in throwing away dreams of excellence to take part in the lackluster and mundane, as is shown by the daughter’s abandonment of her dream to be a journalist in order to be a smuggler with her dad at the end of the movie (because they had spent her college money building the failed toilet).

The Mosquito Coast

Posted: August 25, 2012 in Ancient wisdom, Life
Tags: , ,

There are many reasons why The Mosquito Coast is an excellent movie. It was recently stirred up from the recesses of my brain because WifeBob and I were having a conversation about a friend of ours and I had voiced concerns that they are going “Mosquito Coast.” WifeBob had never seen the movie so she didn’t get it. And for those who haven’t seen it or have forgotten the basic premise, it is a story of man’s need to be appreciated for his genius, a struggle of man vs nature, man vs himself, man vs man, , capitalism vs communism, science vs technology, and a big lesson on how obsession and ego can end up putting you in mortal danger.

So we found a copy and watched it, and WifeBob truly enjoyed it. We had to pause it periodically to applaud its excellence. After living for so many years as both a water vagabond and an international expat, Mosquito Coast has even more little bits and pieces you find that fall into place, where you nod and laugh and say, “Yeah, I get it,” and “Yeah, you poor souls have no idea what you are in for but we know where this is going.”

One of the best lines of the movie:

The scene: Father and son are sneaking up to kill a trio of looter thugs who have been preying on his village, having tricked them into bunking up inside his giant freezer, in order to lock them inside and freeze them to death. The son is fearful and doesn’t want to kill anyone. The father, smashing a mosquito on the back of his neck, turns to his son to put his fears and trepidations to rest and says,

“Don’t pity this insect. That’s not his blood, it’s mine.”

We’ve been in and out of our own Mosquito Coast experiences repeatedly. I think it’s something all expats deal with now and then. If you’ve never seen it, or if it’s been a long time since you have, I highly recommend giving it a go.