Friday, January 21, 2011

Pop Culture Roundup

After months of letting it just sit on my Kindle unread, I've started reading The Hunger Games. In a version of the United States where the country has been recalibrated into twelve districts, Katniss finds herself about to participate in the contest for which the book is named. In order to prevent an uprising, the government has started a program where two kids between the ages of 13 and 18 are chosen from each district to take part in a televised battle to the death. Katniss volunteers after her young sister is chosen. I haven't made it much further than that at this point. I put off reading this due to the combined themes of government oppression and children being forced to kill each other, but felt like I was finally in a place where I could start.

We've watched Shrek Forever After multiple times this past week. In this fourth and final movie in the series, Shrek finds himself missing his old life as an ogre who was feared and left alone; he's growing weary of his domesticated life as a husband and father. Rumpelstiltskin, who we learn was just about to make a deal with Fiona's parents to end her curse just before Shrek rescued her, overhears him moaning about his life and offers to give him a day spent doing the things he used to do, in exchange for a day from his life in return. Shrek agrees, but discovers that the day chosen was the day of his birth. Then begins his slowly learning to appreciate what he had before making the deal. As many times as I've already seen it, I haven't yet decided how much I like it. It was okay as that franchise generally goes, but I can't say that it's better than the others. It does bring the series full circle, though, so that was a decent thing story-wise.

We also watched The Other Guys this week. So many cop movies are made about the brash unorthodox detectives who always seem to be involved in gunfights, car chases, explosions, and saying clever things while they do it (in this movie, those guys are played by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne Johnson). However, this movie wants to tell the story of two of the guys you always see in the background working at desks in the police station. So we get Gamble (Will Ferrell), a timid police accountant, and Holtz (Mark Wahlberg), a hotheaded detective who's been relegated to desk duty after shooting one of the Yankees. Eventually, these two need to step up to investigate a case after the supercops are no longer available. It was a pretty funny movie, featuring a lot of the offbeat humor that Will Ferrell movies are known for.

I thought that I'd have a copy of The Decemberists' newest album, The King Is Dead, in my hands this week. However, Best Buy has again proven to be unreliable. So now I'm waiting for a copy to arrive in the mail.

I also ordered Thunder by SMV, which is Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, and Victor Wooten, three of the greatest bass players ever. Here, have a taste: