Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rugby for Dummies

Mozzy Terminators Are Back

Friday, September 23, 2011

Movie Review: Bad Teacher is so bad, it’s good

Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher is almost as good as it gets.  Well, it’s not the same beast as Something About Mary, but the humour and plot is full of laugh-out-loud inanity. IMDB summarises the plot as follows: “A comedy centred around a foul-mouthed, junior high teacher who, after being dumped by her sugar daddy, begins to woo a colleague -- a move that pits her against a well-loved teacher.” The well loved teacher is Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch). Cameron on the other hand plays Elizabeth, a mean, lazy, shallow high school teacher who sees her job and colleagues as way below her.  

I was very iffy about going to watch this, especially since Justin Timberlake is in it, and IMDB gives it just 5.8/10.  My girlfriend twisted my arm, so I went, but with low expectations.  So it seems, did everyone else.  Made with a budget of $20 million, this flick earned all of that back plus $11 million in change, all in its first weekend.  To date it’s taken in more than ten times what it cost to make, and it’s not surprising.  Cameron Diaz is a perfect blend of ditzy, bitchy, the everywoman, the vamp and the tramp.  The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis describes Cameron Diaz here as tapping into her “inner thug.” “It’s a beautiful thing,” Darghis adds. “A performer with a gift for light comedy and a comically ductile face that can work in fascinating counterpart to her rocking hot body (as her character would say), Ms. Diaz has found her down-and-dirty element in the kind of broad comedy that threatens to get ugly and more or less succeeds on that threat.”

From gum spewing in the hallway, smoking dope in her car, and trawling discount liquor stores (all closed) on Christmas day, Diaz presents a pathetically frustrated figure that many of us can identify with.  Although she aspires to busty greatness as the trophy wife of someone who is rich (and therefore tolerable), her living at home reality is poverty-stricken, and grim.  But there is a redeeming quality in Cameron’s Elizabeth.  If she is a lazy loser, it’s not due to lack of motivation, but lack of incentive.  Elizabeth proves a sassy and skilful player of the system when the price is right, and it is this turn of fortune which is riveting to watch.
Dargis calls Elizabeth’s antics harmless, and with the odd exception, they are: “Nothing she does really crosses the line except getting stoned at school and maybe bouncing a ball off the heads of students who don’t answer her questions correctly.”

Punch plays the perfect nemesis to Cameron’s “Bad Teacher”, but the male characters playing opposite Punch and Diaz provide similar contradictions.  Timberlake is a nerdy Mr Perfect, while Jason Segel plays Russell, a podgy but affable gym teacher whom Dargis describes as “someone you could have fun with”. The flick hits the mark because its chock filled with fun without completely losing the plot.  The principal’s dolphin fetish, and Elizabeth eating Christmas dinner at a student’s home (whilst remaining hungrily immune to yuletide merriment) provide glimpses of the depth and backstory at work in Bad Teacher, giving it more than just a veneer of crass comedy.  

But “Bad Teacher” isn’t for everyone, the IMDB score ought to provide fair warning in that regard.  Whilst chilled elements of the cinema audience guffawed throughout, some members of the audience were either appalled or suffering from induced anxiety (“Is this what’s going on at your school?”).  The Princess Fiona magic that Cameron Diaz voiced in Shrek surfaces here, and it’s her talent, wit and charm that infuses the whole flick.  Because of this “Bad Teacher” is her movie and her moment.  

Score: 8/10

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Oscar Winners Bite It in 'Contagion'

$114.5 Trillion - in pictures...

Ever wondered what 114.5 Trillion look like this puts it into perspective

One Hundred Dollars
$100 - Most counterfeited money denomination in the world. Keeps the world moving.

Ten Thousand Dollars
$10,000 - Enough for a great vacation or to buy a used car. Approximately one year of work for the average human on earth.

One Million Dollars
$1,000,000 - Not as big of a pile as you thought, huh? Still this is 92 years of work for the average human on earth.
One Hundred Million Dollars
$100,000,000 - Plenty to go around for everyone. Fits nicely on an ISO / Military standard sized pallet.
One Billion Dollars
$1,000,000,000 - You will need some help when robbing the bank. Now we are getting serious!
One Trillion Dollars
When the U.S government speaks about a 1.7 trillion deficit - this is the volumes of cash the U.S. Government borrowed in 2010 to run itself.
Keep in mind it is double stacked pallets of $100 million dollars each, full of $100 dollar bills. You are going to need a lot of trucks to freight this around.

If you spent $1 million a day since Jesus was born, you would have not spent $1 trillion by now...but ~$700 billion - same amount the banks got during bailout.

One Trillion Dollars
Comparison of $1,000,000,000,000 dollars to a standard-sized American Football field and European Football field.
Say hello to the Boeing 747-400 transcontinental airliner that's hiding on the right. This was until recently the biggest passenger plane in the world.
15 Trillion Dollars
$15,000,000,000,000 - Unless the U.S. government fixes the budget, US national debt (credit bill) will top 15 trillion by Christmas 2011.

Statue of Liberty seems rather worried as United States national debt passes 20% of the entire world's combined GDP (Gross Domestic Product). In 2011 the National Debt will exceed 100% of GDP, and venture into the 100%+ debt-to-GDP ratio that the European PIIGS have (bankrupting nations).
 114.5 Trillion Dollars

Monday, September 05, 2011

Sandes wins Leadville 100

SHOOT: Incredible.

The View from my Bicycle [COLUMN]

End of Chapter 12: Heartbreak [Extract from the book, Being Wrong, by Kathryn Schulz]

...we should be able to be wrong from time to time, and be at peace with other people's occasional wrongness, and still love and be loved. That's so basic as to be banal, and yet it runs counter to our prevailing model of romantic love. There is no room for divergence, disagreement or error in the starry-eyed, soul-mate version of love articulated by Aristophanes et al. To accommodate these eventualities - and we had better accommodate them - we need a more capacious model of love. In this model, love is not predicated on sharing each other's world as we might share a soul. It is predicated, instead, on sharing it as might share a story...

SHOOT: This next part is REALLY good!
This analogy is not accidental. What is true of a story is true of love: for either one to work, you better be good at talking and good at listening. Likewise, if stories only succeed when we consent to suspend disbelief, relationships require of us something similar: the ability to let go of our own worldview long enough to be intrigued and moved by someone else's. This is storybook love in a whole different sense of the phrase. It is not about living idyllically in our similarities, but about living peacefully and pleasurably in our differences. It is not bestowed from beyond the normal human realm, but struggled for and gained, slowly and with effort. And it is not about unchanging love. It is about letting love change us.

The Psychology of the Financial Crisis