September 7th, 2009


Surprisingly Not Much Damage Done To The Novel

A Lovely Meal

Sunday was the last such day of the week that Butch's in downtown Holland MI was open for the summer -- since Ottawa County changed its Sunday liquor laws. It's a wonderful place to eat, and we can't afford to go there enough. (grin) Fried calamari in corn meal, creamy gorgonzola salad, Mrs. Dr. Phil had the halibut with fettucini and feta and Greek olives, I had a lovely butter soft medium rare fillet with a blackberry sauce and garlic gorgonzola mashed potatoes -- and we shared a some sort of lovely chocolate chocolate slice of cake. With a candle. (big-grin) And free. (bigger-grin)

But before that...

The Time Traveler's Wife [PG-13]
Holland 7 Theatre #6, 4:10pm, 2×$5.75.

There was only one other couple in the smallish theatre. We sat in the last row, where there was a loveseat for two roughly nearly the centerline. Comfortable enough for 107 minutes.

We both read the book early in 2005. Best-seller, the question was whether it was SF/F or not -- i.e., the question being raised by non-SF/F fans who didn't want to be caught dead liking something which might be spec fic. This is not your usual time travel tale. Henry doesn't need an H.G. Wells style machine -- he just travels between times. Can't control it, but seems to gravitate to the same places and people over and over.

One of the things we really liked about the book was the necessity of each scene listing how old Henry and Claire are. Things are non-linear and very complicated. Yeah, Dr. Phil aka Mr. Multiple-POV-and-Ping-Pong-Timelines likes that sort of thing. I'd have put the crib notes in the corner of the screen.

Not wild about casting the two main leads. I swear they wanted Eric Bana because he can grow a 5 o'clock shadow like mad. Apparently the film was delayed some time because they needed to do some second unit shoots, but Eric had to outgrow his shaved head from the Star Trek reboot. You'd think they could've done makeup. And I'm not convinced with Rachel McAdams. Claire in the book was a serious redhead, and Claire as a kid had red hair. Ron Livingston (ABC's Defying Gravity) sure is having a good year -- though his character Gomez is having a tough enough time dealing with the reality of the film.

Also not wild about the dematerializing special effect. It felt very fake and unrealistic and slow to me. On the other hand, they did a nice job with the daughter Alba, using two sisters to portray ages 4-5 and 9-10. Compression of the story line and characters, necessary with taking a novel to a movie, eliminated a lot of the edge. In particular Claire's family should've been nastier and Henry's troubles much, much worse. A number of difficult situations were omitted. Also the library special collections in the movie is just anonymous Chicago and not the Newberry, which means something to those who know libraries. (grin) And they've streamlined Alba's story. Perhaps it was time, though the movie was only 107 minutes and they could've made it longer, but I suspect they got too obsessed with making it a PG-13 rating. There's already the slightly creepy aspect of an older Henry and a child Claire meeting in secret all the time. Author Audrey Niffenegger managed to thread that needle pretty well in the book, and The Time Traveler's Wife Lite version of the movie does similarly.

And I'm pissed that they didn't include the final meeting from the book. I, for one, would've made it an after-the-credits Dr. Phil Special. But that's me.

Still, you might think from the above that we hated it, but we didn't. We were suspicious of the movie, based on the trailer, wondering if they could do the story justice. And they did good enough. I mean, read the book and you'll probably enjoy the movie. Read the book second and you'll probably see what I meant by all the edginess being smoothed over.


Dr. Phil

Celebrating Labor Day

An Odd Holiday

For most people in the U.S., Labor Day is the last major holiday before we get to The Holidays of Thanksgiving-Christmas-Hanukah-New-Year's. The last of the Triumvirate of Summer Picnic Holidays of Memorial-Day-Fourth-Of-July-Labor-Day. In Michigan, public schools don't open now until after Labor Day, in order to help out with the state's large tourism & travel industry.

Oh, and some people take the day to recognize the American worker -- with or without organization -- while some just take the day to relax. Some people, though, grumble on that it wastes time and money, especially from business owners, or is a Godless Communist holiday.

There's even some small colleges which hold class on Labor Day because having a three-day weekend so early in the Fall semester is hell on Freshmen retention. Students go home, say that college is too hard and just never come back.


In my opinion, it's a good time to take a break. Summer is waning and our school systems are mostly predicated on academic calendars which start in the fall. Funny that part of my day is being spent working on materials for my class tomorrow -- a part-time worker who has no representation. (grin)

An Exceptional Meal

After such a great restaurant meal yesterday, we also plotted out a proper Labor Day meal. One traditional would have a cookout with grilled hot dogs in buns, corn on the cob, baked beans, potato salad, maybe a fruit pie.

Except we had bratwurst instead of hot dogs.
Except they were Allendale Meat Market, not Johnsonville.
Except we skipped the buns -- and the baked beans.
Except we boiled the fresh brats before browning them on the oven.
Except it was fresh baked blueberry crisp.
Except it was missing the lemon juice.

It was wonderful. The brats were flavorful and had a light, thin casing. We haven't had much (any?) corn on the cob this year -- local corn was late in coming -- and this was lovely and sweet. Some of the best sweet corn we've had in years. Yeah, it was a little container of commercial potato salad. I haven't made my mother's recipe this year at all. We just don't need that much potato salad. (sad-grin) And the blueberry crisp? Oh, perfect, perfect, perfect.

And yeah, it'll hold me until Thanksgiving turkey. (gobble-gobble-grin)

Dr. Phil