I have no further finals to take this week. I have never wanted a C so bad in my life. The old saw about there being prayer in school as long as there are tests is as true in college as it is in third grade.
Now I'll probably be checking my transcripts 5 times a day until I see that glorious line of Cs. And then I will do cartwheels around my apartment because fuck yeah.
But until then, I'm trying to keep things low-key. Two weeks of having air raid sirens going off 24 hours a day really wears on you. I'm dehydrated, constantly hungry, and I need a haircut. I even started breaking out in hives. That's never happened before.
Whatever the case, I'm looking forward to some balance returning to my life. As with many bad quarters, at the end I find myself having forgotten how to do things I enjoy, or even enjoy things I do. It takes some time for my instincts to realize that I'm back on dry land, and the sharks have left. Time to assess the wounds, bandage, and take time off to heal. Unfortunately I have to work full-time over the balance of the week and all of break, but at least I'll get money for that stress.
One island of escape I did find during the quarter's end was movies. Bill Gates saw fit to provide captinspiration
with the fiscal wherewithal to purchase us a wonderfully equipped living room. To give you some idea of how nice it is, at the end of a movie I will usually get up, look around and realize I don't have to walk out of the theater - I'm already home. It's disorienting every time.
This evening I watched Good Night, and Good Luck
, which was just like everyone said - excellent. I was expecting more of a story than it delivered, really, but just watching the film is so nice that it's hard to argue. It makes me happy that Clooney and Soderbergh have chosen to use their talent and fame for good.
NERD ALERT: Anime follows.
Last week I watched The Place Promised in our Early Days (Kumo no Mukou, Yakusoku no Basho
), which was a gorgeous little love story with a little science fiction in it to stir the mix. Considering the subject matter - terrorism, alternate universes, the limits of science - it was very low-key and had generally excellent characterization. This is not something which can be said of most anime. It is also beautiful to just watch. The level of visual fidelity in this film is truly a landmark. Often I wanted to pause the film and simply regard the scene. The director knows this, and lets shots take their time on screen. Would definitely watch again, though not recommend except to fans of the genre.
This weekend was Miyazaki's Laputa: Castle in the Sky
(Tenkuu no Shiro Rapyuta
), A fully hand-drawn feature length film from 1986 which actually led to the establishment of the renowned Studio Ghibli. If you've seen a Miyazaki film, you'll have some idea of what you're getting into with this one. Many of his later works had a single female protagonist, but here he must manage both Pazu and Sheeta, and both have excellent stories and characterization. More straightforward than his more mature work, but unmistakably the work of a master.
SPOILER ALERT: Analysis follows.
NERD RED ALERT: Oh my god.
I don't mention these films to review them, but to comment on the connections. I couldn't have planned this, but the two movies share uncannily similar themes. They were made 10 years apart for totally different audiences and by totally different people, but check this out:
Female Protagonist with a Terrible Secret
Sheeta is an heir to the throne of Laputa, and keeper of its secrets and power. Sayuri channels the dimensional portal during her dreams. Both of their secrets must be revealed and completed by...
Male Protagonist Flying Into Hostile Situation
Pazu flies a lookout kite through the storms around Laputa to return Sheeta to her kingdom. Hiroki flies the Bella Ciela
to the tower (through hostile airspace) to rescue Sayuri from her dream. In doing so, both characters are...
Finding Manhood Through Fulfilling Promises
Pazu's father took a picture of Laputa, and died without anyone believing him. Pazu made it his mission to find Laputa and prove his father right. Hiroki promised Sayuri that he would fly her to the tower and they would discover its secret. When they both get where they're going, they discover that the girls trigger the...
Destruction of an Otherworldly Power
Sheeta must destroy Laputa's powerful science to keep it from the villainous Muska. Sayuri's awakening leads to the destruction of the tower and the disconnection from other universes.
All that's really coming out of this are the archetypes that each director chose to incorporate, but that they both chose the same ones when the movies were so different was really surprising. In mood, pacing, art, audience - they couldn't be further apart. But down at the basic elements they're really the same stuff.
Both are good films and this should not be seen as anything but a look at how the best stories are the old ones.