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The idea behind this blog is to share my opinions about Post-Apocalyptic Literature, Films and Ephemera as well as my random nattering on a regular basis.

Monday, November 30, 2009

The Road in Review (+ birthday fun)

I turned 37 November 28th. I think most of my family knows about (and understands) my love of all things apocalyptic. My gift list was as follows (and also would work as a Christmas List):

levi's 34/32

Movie tickets


The Terminator (Special Edition)
Terminator 2 - Judgment Day (Extreme DVD)
Terminator 3 - Rise of the Machines (2-Disc Widescreen Edition)


Another Place to Die by Sam North
Bar None by Tim Lebbon
Chronicles of the Apocalypse: Species (Chronicles of the Apocalypse) (Chronicles of the Apocalypse) Michael McBride
One by Conrad Williams
The Afterblight Chronicles: Operation Motherland Scott Andrews
Hunger by Michael Grant
Malice by Chris Wooding

I think most would agree that most of those things are PA in nature. I got the jeans, the book by Tim Lebbon, the third book in the second Emberverse Series 'The Sword of the Lady' and my bother in law Matt my homebrewin' partner got me a gift certificate to Steinbart's ahhh more 2 Row for me. Also I had been putting the hard sell on my wife Millie. The film adaptation of The Road came out on November 25th. I was so excited. Then came the news that it would only be shown in 31 cities nationwide.

I wasn't too worried. It had been filmed in Oregon so I was pretty sure that chances were fairly high that one of the 31 would be Portland. So good news/bad news. The Road was definitely going to be in Portland is of course the good news. The bad news is that I am extremely bad at navigating cities of any size at all. My upper limit seems to be Salem. More bad news: my birthday always falls at Thanksgiving time (I'm a Valentines Baby ... do the math) so that weekend is always set aside for family gathering so it took more than the normal amount of wheedling to get her to drive me.

She is indeed one of a kind. As soon as I asked her if she would like to go see The Road with me (bunch of 'hint, hint' and eyebrow waggling thrown in for good measure) the first thing she asked me was 'Is this one of those movies where everyone dies?' The most amazing thing is that when I told her 'Why yes, yes it is, but don't worry the director decided not to include the baby cannibalism scene after all' she still agreed to take me. Sweet lady huh?

The movie was of course playing in only one theater but it was at least close by. I, thinking it would be popular because I'm a bit self-centered and think everyone should like the things I like, went onto fandango sure that if I didn't purchase tickets way in advance I'd be assed out. So I ended up going to the 12:15 showing. The plan being that we could go to Todai and have their lunch buffet.

Also wanting to beat the hordes of people who would want to see the show we showed up about a half hour early. We had the glory of being the first people in the theater so had our choice of any seat. We chose the top row right in the middle (done of course so we don't get kicked in the back by mouth breathers). Then we proceeded to watch the place fill up and the show sell out. I bet more people would have been able to see it but the show was in a tiny shoebox theater.

The book was bleak and grey. That is the best description of it. The world was grey. It also seems to be told in a series of anecdotes that are loosely connected. The story has parts that happen in the present, parts in the distant past as well as parts that are in the recent past. It is hard to tell what is what. The movie was the exact same way. If anything the movie is more bleak and more grey than the book. It also had the same sort of disjointed feeling of the book too. As the movie progressed further the whole world contracts until it's just the father, the boy, and the road.

It ran for 112 minutes. The description of 'a father, a son and the road' may seem a bit boring to some. It was fantastic. The best review came from my wife as we were leaving 'huh, that wasn't nearly as boring as I thought it would be. It didn't seem like it was almost 2 hours long.' That is a close second to the large biker type sitting next to me. 'I rather enjoyed the ending. A great upbeat holiday film (hints of sarcasm on that last bit).'

Two parts were better in the movie than they were in the book. The first, the scene with the coke can was great. The man finds the can in a mostly destroyed building and gives it to the boy. He opens it and takes a sip. 'It's fizzy' he says. (Chuckles from the audience). The boy was great in this scene. It completely looked like he had never drank from a can and this was the first time. Great scene and more emotional than the book, for me anyhow. The second was at the end. In the book it didn't seem as ominous as did in the movie. I knew how it ended and everything but it still had me guessing.

The movie reminded me of The Bicycle Thief. This movie as well is about the relationship of a boy and his father and about how he would do nearly anything to keep his son healthy and feed. Ultimately The Bicycle Thief ends on a pretty down note. The man doesn't get his bike back and since it's a 'No Bike, No Work' deal he ends up with no job. It's not too much of a stretch then to say 'No Work, No Food'. Even the movie poster looks similar. Also a big thank you to Gavin, looks like that 'Form and Meaning in Film' class paid off again.

There were some pretty fantastic parts of the movie that were only fantastic because it was filmed in Oregon and because of the mix of people in the theater. The movie is about the journey of a man and his son to the beach. I hope that doesn't spoil anything, it's in the previews and all. Anyhow at the end of the journey they make it to a pretty prominent Oregon Coast landmark the wreck of The Peter Iredale. Pretty sweet to see it and have it fit in so nicely. It's in Ft. Steven's Sate Park.

I also saw pretty good shot of the Broadway Bridge. Great to see a city I'm familiar with all done up PA.

The last nifty thing was only nifty if you happened to be in the 12:15 showing on November 28th. The theater asks over and over to turn your cell phones off and not to text. There is always some jackhole who leaves it on and it rings. That's what happened. But it was awesome! It rang at the part where the father and the boy are sleeping in a car and the father hears a noise and wakes him up. If you were in the theater you were greeted with the ringing phone and the father jerking awake and angrily waving the gun around. So funny. I asked my wife about it and she almost thought it was part of the movie ... but wait it's been many years since the end of the world and no way are there still-working cell phones. Hilarious. I would normally be pissed off but I just couldn't be. So great.

Since the movie started at 12:15 and Todai closed for lunch 3:00, we thought we would have plenty of time to get our glut on. The movie was nearly two hours long and when we got to the restaurant it was 25 minutes until closing. So we still strapped the ol' feedbag on but we had to eat fast.

That as well is a good recommendation. We had no idea how long the movie was until we got to the restaurant and they were closing in 25 minutes. The movie would have been worth missing lunch. Also Todai gives you a free meal on your birthday so what the hell right?

Finally this random musing on a random message board about the looming release of The Road:

'The book is brilliant and I could definitely see Mortensen as the father, as long as they keep it bleak. No action hero nonsense or cutey kid stuff.' Don't worry Random Message Board Poster, the movie is exactly what you want it to be.

** UPDATE: My lovely wife read this posting and gave a bit of crap about spelling, repeated words, and run ons. I think I fixed most of them. Sheesh .... **

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