A Good Yarn

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Endless Motion

This week passed as fast as any ever. It was non-stop action for seven straight days. Happily, I can now take a breath and slow down a little bit. It's too much for one blog post, so as usual, I'm breaking it up. I did a few fun social things, I received an awesome Project Colorswap package and I've been working like crazy. I won't blog about the work part, but everything else is coming.

I also had to rip out the merging colors scarf because I discovered I had twisted the cast on. I tried everything I could think of to repair it, but there's no way that I know of to get rid of that twist 13 rows into a project. So now I'm obsessively trying to get back to the spot that I was before ripping. So sad. Thanks to everyone for their input on the socks. The majority of people said to just keep going, so I took that advice and did. I finished the heel and am kniting the foot now. It seems to fit pretty well and the bigger it gets, the less the pooling looks weird.

Anyway, I saw a couple of movies in the last week. First was this selection for my movie club:

Oh my gosh, I loved it! This could have so easily turned into a heap of crap, but the acting was spot on and made everything so perfect. I'm sure a lot of people have already seen this one, but in case you're not familiar, it's about a little girl named Olive who became the runner up in the Little Miss Sunshine contest when she is visiting her aunt in California. The winner is disqualified so Olive gets to go to the big pageant. Her family can't afford to fly there, so they all pile into their VW bus and drive to the California from New Mexico. Dad (Greg Kinnear) is a motivational speaker with big dreams, but little actual success. Mom (Toni Collette) is trying to hold the family together while being the primary breadwinner and caretaker. Olive has a brother who has taken a vow of silence until he reaches his goal of entering the Air Force Academy. Olive's grandfather (Alan Arkin) lives with the family and is Olive's talent coach. The family has recently taken in Olive's uncle (Steve Carell) after he tried to kill himself. Each of these characters could have been a wacky caricature, but the actors keep them from crossing that line and seem so real. There are so many moments of just reality within some pretty outlandish situations. It's the little details that really make this film special. It's really funny, but also sad and touching, too. I would definitely recommend it and hope to see a few Oscar nominations from it.

I also saw this film:

Loved this one too. It's a true story about a guy named Vince Papale who went to an open try out with the Philadelphia Eagles in the late 70s and ended up making the team. Vince was almost 30 years old and had played only one year of high school football, but he had enough talent to actually make the team and play for three years. Mark Wahlberg plays Vince and looks natural as a football player - and pretty damn hot as well. Vince was from a working class neighborhood in Philly, when the economy was pretty crappy. He was a substitute teacher who couldn't get a job because of budget cuts, so he tried out for the team at least in part because he had nothing else. His buddies are also hurting, one unemployed, one on-strike and one with a brother who hasn't been the same since he got back from Vietnam. All of this sounds pretty familiar, doesn't it? And they didn't even talk about the high gas prices. The community really pulls together to root on their Eagles and especially their buddy, Vince. That's one thing about the film that I just loved - it shows how football isn't just about a game or something to do on a Sunday afternoon. It's something that brings people together, gives you something to look forward to and feel good about, even if everything else in your life is crap. It also shows how a father and son may have problems talking to each other, but they can also talk about the Eagles. That rang so true for my family. I barely ever have a conversation with my mom, my dad, my grandpa without talking about the Vikings. It's really a common bond that we share. This film also features Greg Kinnear playing the type of guy that his character in "Little Miss Sunshine" would like to be - Dick Vermeil. Vermeil took over the Eagles as a winning college coach who is expected to turn the team around. The open tryout was one of his ways to bring back interest in the team and try to get the fans excited again. Kinnear did another great job playing Vermeil, who is all about heart and attitude. He's one of my favorite coaches. He's known to cry at the drop of a hat, but I love that about him - he's just passionate about everything and isn't afraid to show it. His wife Carol is also shown in the movie as a real partner to him - giving him straight advice and keeping him real. From what I've heard, that's very true to life. She was present at practices often and the Vermeils always had the players over to their house for dinner - treating them like family, not just employees. He's also a hell of a coach and got to the Super Bowl with both the Eagles and the Rams. I'm sure some day there will be a movie about Kurt Warner and how Vermeil gave him a chance too, just like Vince Papale.

I also went to a play last week:

Love Tapes is about a woman who makes a videotape of herself for a lead singer in a metal band. I don't want to reveal too much of the plot, because part of the pleasure of this play is in seeing how things progress. It's a really fun show, though. It's described as an "unconventional, unexpected romance" and I'd agree with that description. I will warn you that there is nudity of both the main male and female characters. The play was co-written by Penn Gillette, which is why I wanted to see it. I thought it was really well-written and I would definitely recommend it. It is playing at the Hennepin Stages theater through 10/1.