Used to be, Memorial Day weekend was devoted to Baycon. Then a few things happened:
- I started getting cast in shows which ran at the same time (but I would still be able to attend Saturday daytime and Monday)
- Baycon changed venues to a place I didn't enjoy going to
- Baycon administration/organization kind of fell apart
- Fanime moved to that weekend, in San Jose. Far superior photo ops. But I dropped that because of their photo privacy nazis.
- I joined a very fun concert band which gives a free concert the final Sunday of each month, May-September.
This year I could have gone Friday night, all day Saturday, Sunday night and Monday. But it wasn't on my radar. Actually there were three cons this weekend not on my radar. In addition to Baycon and Fanime there was also Clockwork Alchemy (a steampunk con, a genre I have negative interest in). Maybe next year I'll see if it's feasible to buy a photographer badge for Fanime.
The original plan today was to see two or three movies with Janice. She decided there was someplace she needed to be at 5, so we went to the matinee of Chef, then moved to a Starbucks and tried to get her new phone synced with her current phone. I got it mostly done, but it failed at 40%, or so she said. To me it looked like it completed, but there was an AT&T store down the block so she went there while I drove home.
Had just enough time to have a snack and drive to San Jose for a screening of an indie film an old friend was in, with his daughter, whom I had not seen since she was an infant, playing the lead. Called The Riven for no reason I could see, it is about a college freshman coed who is brutally beaten and raped at a frat party her first night of classes, and no one, including her, reports it. "I fell down the stairs". The beating is far more brutal than it needed to be, much more than I can imagine happening IRL under those circumstances. And it wasn't necessary to the plot. As with all this director's films, the violence will keep it from earning a rating. There was some good acting, but mostly not. It didn't really have a moral, except maybe it's better to report a rape as soon as you come out of the coma.
Chef was entertaining, has a happy ending, and was worth matinée senior price, maybe more. It's the story of a cutting edge chef who gets ripped by a food blogger after the restaurant owner (phoned in by Dustin Hoffman) tells him he has to cook the same menu they have been serving for the past 5 years. Chef wants to go all out with new stuff to impress the blogger. Disaster happens. Anything more of the plot would be spoilers, so here's the non-spoiler stuff.
Written, starring and directed by Iron Man director Jon Favreau, the writer could have used an editor, the director could have used a second opinion on his own scenes (which was the whole movie, actually), and the actor could have used a more objective director. He did okay, it just could have been better. Scarlett Johansson as his Cuban power executive ex-wife did Oscar-quality work. She won't get nominated because the film as a whole is not Oscar quality. For example, there is no chemistry between the Chef and his young son. None. The kid playing the son has no sense of rhythm, and seems to have no connection to his dad, start to finish. Not good for a father-son bonding movie.
The script has lots of humor, some poignant moments, but hits us over the head too much on a couple of items. The scene Robert Downey, Jr. is in should have been torn from the script, shredded and composted. There was the whisper of a great scene there, but it was bogged down by lousy timing. Favreau proved he is no Groucho Marx.
Sofía Vergara at 41 is a convincingly sexy mid-20-ish hostess and the closest thing Chef has to a girlfriend. She shows several looks, and her acting is perfect for the part. Also perfect was the cinematography, which was so good I didn't even notice it. Oh wait, I take that back. There were a few "news interview style" scenes which were out of sync. News interviews are done with one camera, the whole interview shot from the reporter's point of view, but then some bits are shot from behind the interviewee, who is asked to repeat bits of what he said. Only the audio from the first POV is used, edits are done to make it look like it was done with two cameras. Sound mixing was another story. The live band recordings are excellent, but the mix music, especially during the open road scenes is too loud. WAY too loud.
All in all, an enjoyable movie, there is some fine acting and some not so fine. It's about as good as a low budget indie film can get.
Plans for tomorrow:
Remodel crew is due again at 7 am, they expect to be done by EOD. Since they haven't grouted the tile floor, I probably won't be able to use the bathroom for a couple of days. I expect the contractor to charge more than his estimate, because of the tile work.
Work, as usual
Home after work. No plans.