Catching up on some movie reviews…

And boy are there plenty to catch up on.  I’m going to list them first so maybe I don’t forget any, but in the order I watched them: Shutter Island, District 9, Alice in Wonderland,  Avatar, The Crazies, Departure, and The Bounty Hunter.  I think that’s all…  Anyway, a lot to catch up on so I’ll get right to it.

Shutter Island: This one is probably my favorite of the bunch.  I honestly didn’t think I would like it very much going in there because I thought it would be another crappy American horror movie.  As it turns out, it’s not really a horror movie in the sense that it is out to make you have nightmares, but it does have some very creepy moments.  It’s one of those movies that you have to think about, and I really like movies like that.  The acting seemed pretty good (to me) throughout most of the film, and I was really impressed with DiCaprio.  The special effects, mostly used for the storm scenes, was a bit fake looking and I think could have used some work.  Overall I would give this one a low 5, mostly because the storm scene though.

District 9: I liked this movie a good bit as well.  I really liked how it was sympathetic to the aliens as well.  I know there were messages applying to today hidden in it, but I would have to watch it again to really remember what they were (it has been a while since I watched it…)  I thought the graphics were good and the story was pretty good.  There were a couple of unresolved issues (I believe).  So overall I’m going to give this one a low 4, but I really should rewatch it because now that I’m writing my review I realize I don’t remember as much about it as I want to.

Alice In Wonderland: I was really excited about watching this movie, and I was really disappointed when I saw it.  My biggest complaint was that Alice was overshadowed by The Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp) and The Queen of Hearts.  They did a really good job acting in it though.  The 3-D was nicely done, so the special effects were good.  Mostly, I just found myself not really enjoying the story, even though the movie was entertaining.  I would probably give this one a 3.

Avatar: There really isn’t much to say about this movie that already hasn’t been said.  The 3-D and special effects were amazing.  It was a beautiful movie.  The story however (what I like to call a cross between Fern Gully and Pocahontas) is an old one and parallels the Westerners vs. Native Americans here in the States.  That aside, I really did enjoy it for the most part, so a 4.

The Crazies: I think I’ll have to watch this one again since the people behind me were constantly talking loudly, which ruined it a bit for me.  This is a remake (even though I have not seen the original, which I do want to see now), but from what I have heard it is a very nicely done remake, which basically means that things were updated and there were no stupid side stories added in.  I thought the graphics and such were done well, and the acting was pretty good.  So, because I had noisy people behind me the whole time, I’m going to wait on giving it a rating, but I did enjoy it for the most part.

Departures: I know I misspelled the title above, but I’m not fixing it because it is a link.  I watched this one last Wednesday as a part of my Japanese class (for extra credit).  I really enjoyed it.  I liked the story, which had both funny moments and serious moments.  I liked the acting and the music was amazing.  There was only one real problem I had with it, and that is there seemed to be a lot of unfinished side stories.  We meet a character and towards the end of the movie she reveals a massive chunk of her life, but there is no resolve to that.  There is no real resolve between the husband and wife (everything just sort of ends up fine), and that kind of bothers me I guess.  I think I’m going to give it a high 3.

The Bounty Hunter: Despite what my friends said, this is a romantic comedy, which I’m already not a big fan of.  It sort of tries to be different than most by adding in a sort of crime story, and I guess that did make it a little better.  Parts of it were funny, but I felt like it followed the basic guide lines for romantic comedies, so it wasn’t that creative.  The ending bothers me, and if you’ve seen it, I don’t mind discussing it with you, but I don’t want to put spoilers here.  I didn’t like it that much, but I didn’t have to pay to see it, so there was no loss there.  But overall, I’d probably give it a high 2.

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I Felt Like Writing Something Stupid Today…

I think I am turning into an old lady.  There are two reasons for this.  One that happened several months ago (when I still worked at JCPenney) and one today.  Let me elaborate.  While I was still employed to a Mr. JCPenney, I overheard a peculiar conversation between a young girl of about 13 and her mother.   The day was late and my shift was due to be over in a couple of hours.  My task for the day was to mark dresses for clearance in order to make room for the new stock.  Of course it is a common practice for the clerks to browse while this is being done.  Each one of us would make a small mental note of all the clothes we fancied that were going on sale, so we could later debate their purchase.

I had just moved on to another rack of dresses when the aforementioned youth and her guard approached.  They were casually perusing the selection when the mother’s eye happened to catch a certain dress.  It certainly was not a stunning dress by far.  It was quite plain, in fact, but I could not deny that I liked the dress.  The fair lass disagreed making the most atrocious noises and distorting her face into a very unbecoming sneer.  The mother insisted that she should at least try the garment on before judging the poor thing.  But her attempts were in vain as the young lady remarked, “I wouldn’t be caught dead in that!”  Ah, what I day of realization for me!  Of course I have never been a woman of fashion, but never have I sided with a woman over 40 in the area of dress!  This was most troubling to me for I have yet to even be considered an old maid!

As far as today’s incident, it was a much more severe realization .  There was a young boy of about 14 and his young lady of interest at my register today.  He was trying to tell me his order, but alas!  His speech was impaired due to an unknown object half lodged in his mouth which he neither wished to properly spit out nor ingest.  I have no clue to what it was, but I do know it was neither food nor and object made for the purpose of chewing.  The poor lad, debilitated by this orange speech impediment, had to dictate his order three times.  All the while I was thinking thoughts only my grandparents would think, “Boy, you spit that nasty thing out and don’t come talk to me again until you have grown some manners or the ability to speak like a ventriloquist.”  Of course this dialogue only took place in my head, because I do rather value my paycheck.  I do, however, recall this same sort of speech impediment (although the object was usually a pen cap) and it not inflicting such a surge of nagging only warranted by one’s grandparents or elderly neighbors.

I suppose it is only natural for one to progress in age, but I fear at the rate I am going, I am not far from white hair, a walking cane, and a pristine lawn waiting for some child to trespass so that I may terrorize him.

The Whale Hunt in Japan (My Thoughts)

As certain shows on Animal Planet have made known, Japan still hunts whales for food.  There is no real reason as far as needing this type of meat, but some people do eat whale meat and it is a part of their past culture.  I’m not sure of all the little details behind the numbers and politics and such, but I do know there are animal rights groups from Australia battling it out with Japanese whale ships.  Sometimes things can get pretty heated.

Who do I think is right?  I do not think either side is totally in the right actually.  I do understand it is a part of Japanese culture to eat whale meat, but I don’t think they should eat whales anymore because they are endangered.  From what I understand (from Japanprobe and a couple of other sites) the demand for whale meat has gone down and the government is more worried about preserving tradition rather than needing whale meat for its population to survive.  I understand that Japan eats a lot of fish, and that whales were once important to their diet, but I think that sometimes practices need to change in order to help the environment.  And I’m not saying Japan is the only country that should take these kinds of measures, the US also needs to do its part in preserving the environment, but I don’t think we are stepping up to the plate at this moment.

As far as the animal rights activists go, their tactics are horrible.  I don’t feel like they are even trying to understand where the Japanese are coming from.  Instead of listening and trying to work out a solution in which both sides can come to some sort of  an agreement (say at least cutting down on the number of whales hunted) they are attacking the Japanese for this old cultural practice.  That is one of the worst ways to go about it, because it makes the Japanese whalers into the enemies.  If it were me I would feel like my culture was being attacked unjustly, which would make it harder for me to change my mind.  I think people need to accept that it is an old cultural practice first before they go out and try to change it.  I also believe that they should not board whaling ships and try to arrest people because that just makes tensions worse.

I think this conflict over whaling can be resolved as soon as people try to understand each other.  And I also don’t think this will be the last conflict over fishing related things because of the overfishing of tuna.  If the Japanese people feel threatened over whale meat (a product they don’t even eat a lot of) then it’s going to be a lot harder to get them to change their mind about overfishing of tuna (which they eat a lot of).  I think that by just trying to understand where they are coming from though, that would help a lot in resolving these problems.

Halway Through Lent

I’m on the downhill slide as of today with my Lent.  I have had no real issues with it until this past week.  I’m actually having a few cravings, but that is explainable.  But those cravings actually pass in like 10-15 minutes.  I think that was my problem before, I would just grab some chocolate and not wait out the initial I want chocolate.  I’m still having a lot of dreams where I break my Lent without realizing it at first.  It’s kind of odd because I wake up thinking that I have and then realize that it was only a dream.  Anyway, so far, Lent is a big success.

So I have been catching up on some movie watching as of late.  In the past few weeks there have been movies that I’ve actually wanted to see, so that’s part of the reason.  I really don’t care for romances/romantic comedies which was just about all we had for awhile.  heh heh.  I plan on doing some reviews after I finally see The Crazies, which I was going to watch last night but decided not to because of the weather.  I instead stopped by a redbox and watched District 9, which I have wanted to see for awhile.  The other movies I have watched recently are Alice in Wonderland, Avatar, and Shutter Island.  I plan on seeing the Lightening Thief (even though I haven’t heard good things about it) as well.   We’ll see I guess.

There is also a German movie I want to watch.  It’s called Das Versprechen (The Promise). It is about a couple in East Germany trying to flee to the West.  One makes it, while the other one doesn’t and the other one promises to come.  I won’t go into too much detail though.  We read pieces of the script in German class and we also watched the first and last scene.  I’m mostly interested in it because it shows just how much the Berlin wall disrupted Germany.

Anyway, that’s all for now…

NAWF Again

So I had to use NAWF (Never Argue With a Fundamentalist) today.  I know Fundamentalist usually has a religious meaning, but in NAWF it stands for anyone with the same fundamentalist mind set.  My brother in law does a really good job defining the principle in his post I’m linking here.  Anyway, I’m not here to discuss the prinicple of NAWF, I’m just here to sort of vent (because I’m not really angry so much as irritated.)

So last night on facebook a status was made concerning customer service and one event in particular last night.  I was just making a half joking comment on said status something to the extent of rewarding an irrational customer is essentially rewarding stupidity.  However, said comment spurred a discussion on customer service, mainly the customer is always right principle.  I totally see the purpose of the customer is always right.  I know I work in a customer service based job, and I am okay with that.  Most of the customers that I come across are sane, rational people.  Every now and then I do get a customer that has irrational demands, and because it is my job, I too “reward stupidity”.

Do I believe there are other options besides the customer is always right policy?  Yes, I do.  I ended up linking an article about siding with employees when there is an irrational customer.  Now while I have taken some ideas from this, I also don’t fully agree with it either.  I think it’s more of a judgment call.  Sometimes employees make mistakes and can be just as irrational as customers.  I don’t think the customer is always right, but I also don’t think the employee is either.

Another idea that was brought up is the relationship between customer service and the customer is always right.  The customer is always right principle does fall under customer service.  But I think there is more to customer service than the customer always being right.  I know a lot of people (and pretty much everyone involved in the argument) believe they are the same thing.  However, there are companies, like Southwest Airlines in the above link, that still have customer service without the customer is always right policy.  I know for most jobs out there (including my own and my previous job) that customer service is considered to be 100% the customer is always right.  I think that mind set causes problems of its own, mainly the fact that it won’t change because it is so ingrained in people’s minds.  I know it is not my place to say these opinions at work, and I will never act on them at my job (because I do like my job), but I do have opinions.

That being said I know it is not up to me to decide any of this where I work.  I do have an opinion, but I’m going to go with company policy and continue to put the customer first.  I just wanted to say, I am finished with said argument.  Those are my ideas, which are only my ideas, take what you want from them.  I was not meaning any of my comments to be a personal attack on anyone else because I don’t think personally attacking someone in an argument furthers the discussion.  With this post I just wanted to state my ideas and apologize to anyone if they thought I was personally attacking them.  This is also going to be the last input I have into the subject, I will discuss it no further because my head is already bleeding from hitting against that brick wall (figurativly).