November 27, 2006

The Wheelers Take a Short Holiday

My grandparents generously flew me and Rachel out to Lubbock for Thanksgiving this year for what definitely felt like much needed vacation time, hence my brief absence of the last week and change. The first part of last week was crazy, getting everything ready to go and generally sprinting towards four and a half days of blessed relief. I worked Sunday afternoon so that I could leave early Wednesday and get to Dallas in time to make our flight out of Love Field.

We left Longview at 3:00 (a hair later than I had hoped, but not too bad) to make a 6:50 flight, and listened to my current audiobook endeavor (The Last Juror by John Grisham) along the way. We got to Love Field at 5:30 with what I felt was a reasonably comfortable margin (I had already checked us in online). Venturing inside we discovered our flight was delayed until 7:30, which was far more than we needed. Neither of us was hungry, and I took a nap until it was almost time for our plane to depart. We were met at the airport by my granddad, who took us to get some food at Taco Bell. Brett and his girlfriend (Holly) arrived at my grandparents' house soon after we did to visit for a few minutes before bedtime.

Thanksgiving Day was very nice . . . sleeping in, lots of yummy food, lots of family, some games, a movie or two, etc. Brett had to work that evening (he is a manager at Hollywood Video) so we went by to visit him during his break, stopping to buy some candy and soda along the way (I needed caffeine . . . always conspicuously absent from my grandmother's house). Brett apprised us of a sale on previously-viewed movies, and sweetened the deal by throwing in his employee discount, so we browsed the collection and came away with 7 titles:

A Mighty Wind (VHS, $1)
Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Everything Is Illuminated
Good Night, and Good Luck

I was particularly pleased to add that last to my collection, having resolved several months ago that I would buy it. To this shiny pile I later added Alfred Hitchcock's To Catch a Thief from the bargain shelf at Hasting's (thus bringing my Hitch collection up to an even two dozen, with a mere 6 titles left to acquire).

My grandma picked us up on Friday morning and we spent a very enjoyable day with her, with delicious Mexican food for dinner (lest turkey grow tiresome). Brett and Holly were present once again, and I watched a movie with Brett while Holly and Rachel gabbed in another room. We returned to Lubbock on Saturday after lunch just in time for me to meet Brett, Holly and one of Brett's apartment-mates for the matinee showing of Borat.

On the subject of that movie I have a great deal to say, but I shall confine my remarks to this: In setting out to ostensibly lampoon, parody, satirize, and otherwise ridicule American bigotry and intolerance for the amusement (presumably) of a more enlightened public, Sacha Baron Cohen has succeeded in three things.

First, he has created a character and dragged him through situations that only an audience which is either bigoted or is callously unaffected by racism and discrimination will find consistently funny.

Second, in his search for wanton bigots (of which I'm sure there are still more than a few left in our country) he has somehow managed to find almost exclusively tolerant, hospitable, genuinely nice people who go far farther out of their way than I would to tolerate "Borat's" belligerent, cruel attempts to offend them.

Third, of the few outrageous reactions that Cohen manages to wrench forcefully from his victims (because, racists or not, everyone who has scenes with Cohen are victims themselves), almost all are the result of repeated actions by "Borat" which are far past the lines sanity and good taste. In short, he has proved that, if pushed hard enough and long enough, most people do have a breaking point. Fascinating.

This is not to say that every moment of this film is a failure. I can think of one scene (really only one) that succeeded rather well. It got me to laugh from time to time. But then, some of the situations are staged and some are not (with no differentiating between them), so it's hardly playing fair at any point. By and large, a cataclysmic effort. I don't understand what is wrong with the critics on this one, except that perhaps they are afraid to criticize what is ostensibly satire for fear of appearing to "not get it."

Anyway, enough about that. I had a fun evening back at my grandparents' house and we ate lunch at IHOP (much to Rachel's delight) before dashing to the airport to make our 2:00 flight back to Dallas. The drive back to Longview was (of course) even more peaceful than the drive to Dallas, and I felt rested and ready for the short haul to Christmas. Rachel, well . . . She still has lots of major projects and whatnot. But I'm sure she'll manage.

Posted by Jared at November 27, 2006 12:49 PM | TrackBack