Hump Day

The middle of the week; a meeting with Hans on Friday.

Today I decided to watch the new Die Hard movie — Live Free of Die Hard.

I have a troubled relationship to/with these movies. John McClane has a great low-key, leave-me-alone, distrust-The-Man attitude. He’s not really a team player, and the Higher Ups are always revealed to be incompetent at best. And in a sense he has a lot in common with typical no-nonsense, vigilante types. He’s no jack-booted thug, though. And his opponents always start with ideology of sorts, often a bit anarchistic or at least anti-state, but they’re always revealed to be just petty criminals, thieves and terrorists. There’s a lot of room for potential critique here, one way or the other, but the movies always fall back on formula. That’s not a bad thing; they are meant as entertainment, after all. But when you compare this with better entries in the spy/espionage genre, along with other political thrillers, you get characterization, politics and point-of-view. Example: the Bourne movies to date. Ronin. Hell, even the first Brosnin James Bond — you were asked to wonder a bit about how the world works.

In Twelve Monkeys and a few other places Bruce Willis demonstrated that he’s more than an aging muscle man, more than just a not-so-pretty-face with a great smirk. And that first Die Hard is an iconic film. But far too often he gets to resort to not acting, to falling into a role that people mistake with Bruce Willis himself. The guy from the “I’m a Mac; I’m a PC” ads (the Mac guy, that is) is Bruce’s sidekick; a woman (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who last appeared in Tarantino’s Death Proof (part two of Grindhouse) as Lee plays Bruce’s daughter — she needed more screen time, because she appears early on but then disappears until necessary later in the movie, and so her ‘importance’ is a tad contrived. The bad guy, or the actor, I would describe as “the poor man’s Jude Law.” But all in all it was a satisfactory theater experience — I would have liked something Bourne-worthy, or Ronin-worthy, but you can’t expect that from a PG-13 flick designed to appeal to the masses and directed by the guy who brought us Underworld and Underworld: Evolution.

Before that I stopped by Espresso Royale to enjoy Wednesday’s $2 lattes — any size up to a triple. So triple iced latte it was … $2. And tasty enough. Afterward I went to Fair Trade for an iced coffee; while there I recharged the battery on my laptop, wrote a bit, and read a few pages in Prague, which has gone from a great walk down memory lane to a laugh-fest of sorts.

Tonight it’s time for more of The Tea Party. Last night they sounded like Led Zeppelin for the 90s; now, alas, while still good they (the album Splendor Solis) sound like the poor man’s Pearl Jam with a bit more in the realm of melodic, soft guitars.

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