significant, but not available

In case you hadn’t heard, the U.S. National Film Preservation Board selected 25 films to add to the National Film Registry. You can read the full press release here, which includes a list of all the films chosen for 2004. This means there are now 400 films in the National Film Registry.
These films are chosen not because they’re the best films ever, but because they are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically” significant to Americans. That would explain why the list includes a variety of films that might not be top quality but include cinematic and cultural icons, such as Jailhouse Rock, Ben-Hur, Swing Time, Enter the Dragon, The Nutty Professor, Eraserhead, and Popeye the Sailor Meets Sinbad the Sailor.
It was interesting to see Garlic is as Good as Ten Mothers on the list since Alamo is showing the Les Blank documentary next week.
I told my boyfriend about the list and he asked me, “What happens to these films?”
The Library of Congress restores prints of these films to archival quality, so that they can be preserved in the best state possible. That’s very nice, isn’t it?
But he persisted. “Does this mean we get to see them?”

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movies this week: ring in the new? what new?

Ring in the new, indeed. There are hardly any new movies opening this week, at least not in Austin. Most everything opened Christmas Day or right beforehand.
So this is a good week to catch up on all the movies you missed while you were out shopping for gifts, or wrapping gifts, or stressing about relatives, or travelling, or eating, or eating more, or doing other typical holiday things. Check out the Movies This Week from last week or the week before if you need to refresh your memory about what’s out there. Alamo Downtown is showing all kinds of crazy and fun stuff, too.

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the family historian

Sometimes I think about giving my parents the URL to this Web site. What the hell. These days I mostly write movie reviews anyway, and when I don’t, I am very careful about what I write. I tend to assume that my coworkers might be reading (some are … hi!), and that various family members might be reading. I don’t assume my grandparents are reading, because that’s going a bit too far, but you never know when my brothers or sister might run a Google search on something and stumble onto this site. For all I know, they did find the site, skimmed a boring movie-related entry, didn’t realize it was me, and left without remembering anything about the experience.
But then I think about it some more, and I imagine my mother calling me up after reading an entry about family conversations and saying, “I thought it was very funny, but would you please take out the part about farting? People will think we’re crude.” I am sure I would hear, “Do you have to use that kind of language?” And I can bet she’d tell me that “It’s a very nice page but I think that story about your grandmother was a little too personal. If she died tomorrow, you’d feel really sorry that you wrote that about her.”

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what I watched on my vacation

I did not get to see one single movie while I was visiting my family. Not one. I wrapped all my presents before I got to town, so I didn’t even get to enjoy a little private movie-watching while wrapping gifts.
Well, that’s not entirely true. I didn’t see any single movie from beginning to end. However, thanks to the joys of family channel-surfing on cable TV, I was subjected to many bits of movies. We never made it through more than 10 minutes of any one movie, but I sampled some films I might not ordinarily watch. I don’t have any desire to see more of them, either.
Here’s what I watched (barely) on my Christmas vacation:

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post-holiday vacation

I decided to take a vacation day today, after spending yesterday driving back to Austin from greater New Orleans. It was one of my smarter ideas. I have done damn near nothing today except lounge around the house and listen to KGSR and reread Betsy and the Great World and snack on this and that and drink lots of hot tea. Oh, and I had a shower. Very productive of me.
Driving back home was more difficult than driving to New Orleans. I felt less well rested, and more bored, and I kept having to deal with glare from the sun in my eyes. I didn’t get home until 8:45 pm because I stopped in Baton Rouge to visit with Toni for a bit. I got to see the tree that killed Christmas, and the red-nosed cat, and I sat in the time machine, and Toni gave me some shrimp-and-corn soup, which we may have for dinner if I can figure out where to get some decent French bread in this town.

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would everyone stop talking so I can think of a title? please?

Well, we were planning to drive to the North Shore today to visit my aunt and uncle and various assorted other relatives, but the Causeway is closed. The roads are too slick and maybe even icy. It’s been sleeting all morning, and you can see bits of ice pellets on the roof (in New Orleans, they call this snow). In short, this is as close to a white Christmas as you ever will see in the greater New Orleans area.
If it keeps up, we also will have to cancel plans for my sister and her boyfriend to drive over here tonight so we can see The Life Aquatic at Canal Place Cinema (note to boyfriend: yes, this is the theater where we saw Lost in Translation, although Sis’s boyfriend assures me that the audiences there are normally well-behaved). My brother and I might go see it at the movie theater in Clearview, assuming I can talk him out of wanting to take my dad to see Meet the Fockers.
I don’t really mind the change in plans too much. I get to sit here at a nice kitchen table and try to catch up on writing, although admittedly it is a little difficult when people are talking and channel-surfing and asking me if I know where the remote went or if that looks like Barry Bostwick or how much I like the choir singing on TV (well, it’s not actively offending me) and whether we should eat in the dining room away from the TV and if we can time it around some damn football game. Also, using the keyboard on the laptop irritates my arms because they have to rest on the edge of the laptop. Who came up with the bright idea of putting laptop keyboards close to the monitor edge instead of the other edge? It’s quite irritating.

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updating from PJ’s, part one

Here I am at PJ’s in Clearview, my internet home away from home, taking a few minutes to write about what I’ve been doing.
The weather outside is not that frightful, people. It is maybe 40 degrees out there, and it was sleeting a bit this morning, but this is New Orleans and you would think we were heading for the blizzard of the century, the way people are carrying on. The older relatives may all be staying home from my parents’ Christmas Eve party tonight because it is too cold for them. And you should have heard the rest of my family fussing last night when we went out to dinner! I am starting to feel like the hearty cold-tolerant one, and if you know me … well, let’s just say that I wear sweaters to work all year and call anything above the Mason-Dixon line the Frozen Yankee Tundra.

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movies this week: merry theatergoing

I’ll be in New Orleans in less than 24 hours, which is why I wrote about movies this week earlier than usual. So it would be particularly cool of me to tell you about the movies opening in New Orleans this week, and the special film events in that town, wouldn’t it?
But I haven’t lived near New Orleans for so long that I have no idea where to look for that information. Besides, most of you don’t care.
My sister wants us all to go to a movie on Christmas Day this year, because the family doesn’t seem to have very much planned, and her film-geek boyfriend would enjoy it. I agreed to see anything they like except Meet the Fockers, which her boyfriend wants to avoid too. My boyfriend, on the other hand, is probably watching the movie right now while he’s enjoying a Jette-free week in Austin. I’m actually hoping we can all see The Life Aquatic, since that’s a movie my boyfriend isn’t thrilled about seeing.
Alamo Downtown is closed on Dec. 24 and 25. The other Alamo theaters are open, though. Arbor at Great Hills appears to be premiering most of the new movies this week. But either you’re the kind of person for whom movies are the last thing on your mind this week, or you’re going to try to figure out how many movies you can see during the time off work. If you’re the latter, I am so envious of you. Enjoy.

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pretty paper, charming movies

One of the tasks my mom usually gives me on Christmas Eve is wrapping any presents she hasn’t had time to finish. I also have had to wrap my own presents, because I usually fly there for Christmas and you can’t pack wrapped presents in your checked luggage.
(The airline personnel will unwrap them if you do. They have made this very clear. This is a practice that has been going on for years and years. I can’t blame anyone, and it does make sense, but it adds yet another level of stress at Christmas. I have to use my mom’s wrapping materials, I have to pack stuff that won’t break and can fit in a suitcase … but not this year, because I am driving! Hooray! This has been an official rant.)
I like to take all the wrapping materials and the gifts into a quiet room with a TV set. I can shut the door and forbid anyone from coming in, because I might well be wrapping their presents. (This doesn’t eliminate all the traffic, but it does cut it down significantly.)

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The Ladykillers (2004)

The Ladykillers: 2004, dir. Joel and Ethan Coen. Seen on DVD (Dec. 16).
Sometimes I worry that I am losing my sense of humor and fun. Everyone loves Napoleon Dynamite but me. I ran a Google search on Buca di Beppo after writing the previous entry and yeah, everyone seems to think that it is a wonderfully fun place with decent food, except for me. I have tried to watch the TV shows “Arrested Development” and “Scrubs” and didn’t laugh. Am I turning into a humorless old grouch?
But I watched The Ladykillers this week and let me tell you, I laughed my ass off. That is some funny and weird movie. I liked it better than the original, which is an Ealing comedy and classic and so I am probably committing some sort of heresy, but I don’t care. (My review of the 1955 original is here.) The 2004 movie was routinely panned by critics, and no one went to see it, and it seems to be generally considered a flop. But I enjoyed it immensely.

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