That Didn't Go From A Blessing To A Curse

Things that suck, an on-going series:

  • Waking up in the middle of the night on a holiday weekend and feeling sick.
  • Getting up in the middle of the same night and taking two Advil to make you feel better.
  • Waking up the following morning still feeling like shit.
  • Going to work having taken two extra-strength aspirin and feeling like you've been hit by a truck (and yes, I have been hit by a truck, so I know what it feels like (well, actually, it was more like I hit the truck, not the other way around, but same difference))
  • Health insurance web-sites that have badly outdated doctor contact information.

But in other news, the weekend was lots of fun.

On Thursday, my sister and I drove up to Rhode Island to visit my brother for the holiday. We had a little picnic (in a somewhat crowded park), and then we went to this giant mall (really, coming at it from off the freeway, it looks like a baseball stadium, it's that big) in the middle of town with the stated intent of seeing Minority Report. However, they weren't showing that for a couple of hours, and since we had to get back to the big bad city, we went to go see Lilo and Stitch instead. Lilo and Stitch is a very different movie than your traditional Disney flick (which is probably why the marketing campaign totally fails to capture the spirit of the movie); I think that in tone, it owes more to the anarchic spirit of the great Warners Brothers cartoons than the great, majestic Disney tradition. The main character is a gleefully anarchic force of nature; there are numerous references to previous Disney films (a Chinese restaurant spotted in the film is called "Mulan Wok"); and the story, departing somewhat from the standard Disney template about a teenager trying to find him/herself, is really an updated version of the Frankenstein story. It's also very, very funny (even though it slows down somewhat in the third act). It was also nice to see a film about Asian-Americans in the mainstream. I give it a very solid four stars (out of five).

Anyway, once the movie was over, we dropped my brother off at his dorm and commenced on the long drive back to the city.

On Friday, we drove down to Philadelphia. Though we had other business there, it was rather appropriate to visit the birthplace of our nation on the 4th of July weekend (even though it wasn't actually the 4th itself). We wandered around the historic downtown area (very pleasant) and then had lunch at Morimoto. It's really, really good. I'd say that it's on a par with Nobu. It's really that good. The only thing I have to regret is that we were not able (limited by budget, time, and the size of our stomachs) to try everything on the menu. If you're ever in the city of Brotherly Love, you really owe it to yourself to drop by. Try going for lunch -- it's a little less expensive than dinner and they have some really scrumptious lunch specials.

Then we drove back to the city.

As you might imagine, Saturday was spent mostly asleep. Saturday evening we did get to go see Minority Report. Very good movie. There are some third-act problems (mostly it's too long), but it's really well done. It actually paints a really bleak vision of the future, but it doesn't hammer you over the head with it. A lot of the issues it touches on, it does just touches on: privacy rights, the growing commercialization of our public spaces, the rights of the one versus the rights of the many, and so on. Spielberg just presents these as integrated parts of the future. And Tom Cruise actually does do some acting. I give it four stars -- nay, four-and-a-half stars.

Sunday we saw Men In Black II. It's a good sequel -- you need to have seen the first one before you see this one -- but it's not a good movie. It really feels much more like a episode of a long-running TV show than a movie. There are a lot of jokes that are recycled/referenced from the first film. And they don't have Linda Fiorentino, who was one of the best parts of the original. I give it two-and-a-half stars. Rent it on video, I say.

And then I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like shit. C'est la vie, eh?