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retro weekend

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retro weekend

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It wasn't planned, but all the entertainment I viewed this weekend was both old (even though half of it was set in the future) and hearkened back to earlier times in my life.

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nekouken does this thing where he watches something on TV while he cooks, and he encouraged me to do this while I made the chili (so I'd quit bugging him to keep me company). Because of focus issues, I generally object to multitasking any video I haven't already seen unless I also don't care about it, preferring instead to put on things I've already seen at least once. I chose Stand By Me, which I hadn't seen in ages. I have been meaning to watch it again, ever since I read through the complete archive of Wil Wheaton's blog a few months ago.

I first saw Stand By Me in college, but I'd had a crush on Wil Wheaton from ST:TNG (or my peculiar version of crushing, anyway). He falls into the category that I refer to as my "natural type" and that was no less so when he was twelve (I think). It was kind of weird: on film he was obviously younger than I was while watching, but I also knew that we're contemporaries - he's actually older than I am. I remember that when I saw the movie in 1993, I felt the ghost of how I would have felt if I'd first seen the film in 1986. Not exactly wrong, but mildly disturbing.

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Last night, nekouken and I watched Logan's Run. He had never seen it before, and it had been years for me. I know I read the book back in college - while I was getting my silly communications degree, I also gave myself an informal grounding in both classic and New Wave sci-fi - but frankly I do not remember it at all. I would like to read it again.

Some parts of the movie are painfully dated: the "futuristic" city and its art; the robot (!); the computer sequences (!!!); and based on the costuming, I'm devising a theory that the textiles market in the 70s was flooded with mint green fabric. Still, other elements hold up ok, if you can deal with that grim dystopian vision of the future that is fairly typical of 70s sci-fi films. The concept of Carousel merits its presence in the annals of geek references, in spite of the presence of horrifying unitards. However, I do think the end of the movie suffered from excessive plot compression, probably because they had to make up for the long, slow portion of the film dedicated to Peter Ustinov's adorable dotty old man character - he was cute in the role but damn, film needs editor, badly.

There were three casting elements I found interesting: Francis was played by Richard Jordan, who was also in Secret of My Success and Dune; Farrah Fawcett is in this movie, completely pointlessly; and I recognized a child actress, but couldn't identify her - turns out she was the little girl in Airplane, who is dressed as and acts as an adult and delivers the line about how she likes her coffee (which was removed from the for-TV edit, so it was years before I heard it).

Also of note: based on the incredibly shitty aim of the Sandmen, they are villains. Michael York is a Sandman, and shares their 1-hit-for-every-10-shots marksmanship. At the end of the movie, having renounced his Sandman-hood, Michael York is a crack shot, taking out five guys without receiving a scratch. That's awfully naked, I think.

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Today we watched Clue. Set in the 50s, and very important to me as a child in the 80s. We used to play Clue when my cousins were in town - not the board game, we would divvy up the characters and act out the movie. We never got more than fifteen minutes in, though, usually due to excessive giggling. I still adore this movie. It's chock full of comedy genius.

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I mentioned in an earlier post going to bed with Lije Baley. Last night I finished with him. He is the principal character in two novels (so far as I know), The Caves of Steel and The Naked Sun, which are a subset of Isaac Asimov's overarching Robots universe.

Asimov was a part of the independent study of the classics I mentioned earlier. I found it a little sad to read them now, though. His work is undeniably seminal, and no writer's work is immune to the effects of time passing. The way that some of the technology he describes is eclipsed by actual fact is not disappointing in itself. The part that is a bummer is that it highlights the way that, by dint of assumptions made in these stories - about human psychology and women, for a couple of examples - Asimov skated the surface of some topics that probably would have been served better by digging deep. In that way, and a few others, I kind of think Asimov was a spiritual predecessor of Piers Anthony - a great idea man but not always there with the followthrough. Thankfully, Asimov's writing lacked the preoccupation with children's undergarments that peppers Anthony's.

Part of me wants to write more, but the rest of me says, no, dumbass, time for bed. Hope everyone had a good weekend!
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