A Good Yarn

Saturday, December 09, 2006


When Red was a little guy, one of his favorite words was "technology". He used it more as the name for an object than as a concept, though. For instance, he'd say something like "The Rescue Heroes used their technology to get the dog off the mountain." I think he thought of "technology" as any piece of machinery.

Well, the technology is failing me now. Our web server has a bad card and so our tech guy is moving all of the domains to a new server. But in the meantime, my online knitting diary - where I record all my FOs and the yarn stash, is still down. And that's where I host my photos for this blog. So, still no knitting pictures. If he doesn't get it back up soon, I'll probably just sign up for Flickr or something, at least temporarily.

I have been knitting a little bit. I have one Christmas gift that I'm partially done with, to show you. And another mitered square. A hat that was going to be for my sister, but I think I'm going to send it to Pine Ridge and that pink and green hat felted. Plus all of the knitwear I've collected for Pine Ridge. So, knitting to come.

In the mean time, I did something very exciting last night - I went to a movie theater on its opening day. I've never done that before. The AMC Theater closest to my office was in a little mall called Har Mar. I have one friend who refused to go to Har Mar any more because it was so run down and old. It consisted of three big theaters and then 8 little tiny theaters. I will admit that sometimes you could hear the films from the next theater in your theater. And the seats were not the most comfortable. But I had great affection for the Har Mar 11. I probably saw more movies there than any theater in the Twin Cities in the 20 years I've lived here. In the last couple of years, they've tried to compete with the stadium types by also playing some of the indie/art house type of films with buzz. That theater is much closer to me than the Landmark Theaters in town, so I appreciated that effort. I also loved that in the ladies room of the section with the three big theaters, each stall was a little self-contained bathroom, which included its own sink and mirror. That's the ultimate in privacy in a public bathroom. Plus they were each a different color and sparkly. However, they just couldn't compete and so AMC put a fancy new theater down the road at Rosedale Mall. Thursday was the last day for Har Mar and Friday was the first day for Rosedale.

It is indeed a fancy, modern theater. All stadium seating. Fancy flat screen monitors in the concession area, with those "butter" stations so you can butter your own popcorn. The theater I was in was tiny - less than 150 person capacity, but I suppose that will allow them to keep running movies with smaller followings. The seats were lovely plush red and so very new. Since it was opening weekend, I got a free hot cocoa when I walked in the door and then a free bag of popcorn at the concession stand. This is the film I saw:

It's from the group that made "Waiting for Guffman", "Best in Show" and "A Mighty Wind." This time they dispensed with the mockumentary format, but are still skewering the entertainment industry. The film is about a small indie movie called "Home for Purim" about a Southern gothic family that is Jewish - so they mix yiddish and a deep southern drawl. The actress playing the matriarch of the family is described as giving an "Oscar-worthy performance" by a visitor to the set on his/her blog and the Oscar madness begins. The film within the film is hilariously awful. As a movie buff and admitted Oscar-phile, I loved the sharp commentary on the film industry's obsession with winning the little gold man. However, I thought this film wasn't quite as strong as this ensemble's previous works.

The cast is fantastic. The usual suspects are joined by a few newcomers, including Ricky Gervais as a studio executive with a sudden interest in the film after it starts getting a little attention. In fact, part of the reason I didn't love the film is that there are so many great actors that I wanted to see more of. Other than the leading actors in the film within a film and Eugene Levy as the leading male's agent, you don't get to see anyone in more than a couple of scenes. I just wanted more. The part that worked best for me, though, was the send up of the entertainment media. Jane Lynch gives her usual strong performance as a Mary Hart-like host of an entertainment news program. About 2/3 through the movie the actors are on a press tour to feed the Oscar media push and it's hilarious. One bit has the screenwriters on a "Charlie Rose"-like show and it was spot on. Last night when I was watching the actual Charlie Rose, I couldn't help remembering it and laughing.