Friday’s Movie – No Reservations

I know I’ve promised to write about our trip to Philadelphia… and I will. Not yet. I sense, truly or falsely, it will be a long entry, which I don’t feel like facing at the moment.

My folks have been visiting since Tuesday. It is our sworn duty to keep them entertained. OK – maybe not, but that’s what we want to do.

Today, Stef had plans to head to Long Island, Helaine needed to catch up around the house and I… well, I’m a lazy, shiftless bum with nothing to do. I asked my folks if they wanted to go to the movies.

My first choice was “The Simpsons Movie.” Helaine and Stef would like to see that. My parents, not so much. I can wait, I suppose.

I took my parents to see “No Reservations,” the new Catherine Zeta-Jones movie. It was an afternoon well spent.

The movie is a remake of a German film, “Mostly Martha.” As it turns out, my parents had already seen that. They liked “No Reservations” better.

Kate (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is a successful, driven, chronically single chef in New York’s Greenwich Village. As artfully revealed by her therapist (Bob Balaban), she was scared to commit. I’ve always thought about that (from personal experience) as a guy thing. Kate’s real love interest was cooking.

I loved the ‘inside baseball’ scenes as Kate commanded her team in the kitchen. It’s a view I don’t often get and seemed realistic.

When Kate’s sister is killed in a car accident, she becomes guardian for Zoe (Abigail Breslin). It’s another commitment she is ill prepared for.

Things are going very poorly between Kate and Zoe until Nick (Aaron Eckhart) enters the picture. He’s a sous chef, though obviously underachieving in his career, hired to work in Kate’s kitchen.

There is instant conflict. Then, there is instant sexual tension.

From this point forward, there is no part of this movie that isn’t predictable. I’m not saying that as a knock, because I had no problem accepting the picture as entertainment and not an intellectual challenge.

The triumph of romance over all obstacles is the mother’s milk of chick flicks – a genre I’m particularly enamored with. This is the poster child for chick flicks.

Catherine Zeta-Jones continues to be remarkably beautiful. Aaron Eckhart is more attractive than beautiful (attractive being a much more valuable trait). The real standout is Abigail Breslin, an accomplished actor at age 11.

I first saw Abigail in “Little Miss Sunshine.” Sometimes kids get lucky with their first film. “No Reservations” proves there’s more than luck at work here. She played an emotional role with great range. She acted! I believed.

What were you doing at age 11?

The last 11 or 12 year I saw, who could act, was Lindsay Lohan (1998 – “The Parent Trap”). Uh oh.

Abigail… keep your head on straight. Don’t grow up too fast. Don’t listen to the sycophants who will surely be drawn to you as flies are drawn to shit. If your parents are loopy, trade them in now!

One final note. As my parents walked into the theater to find a seat, I returned to the cashier and got a set of headphones for my dad. There is little publicity for these, but just about every theater has them available for free. For anyone with a hearing problem, these can make all the difference in the world in enjoying a movie.

Post Atlanta Random Thoughts

I can’t believe how exhausted I was coming home from Atlanta. I’m a firm believer that travel is just as exhausting as work – and this is more living proof. From the time I left the hotel until I got home was nearly 8 hours. That includes driving, flying, waiting and even taking the Atlanta Airport subway.

I’m starting to get bugged by the TSA screening at some airports. I’ll use Atlanta as an example. Usually I would take photos to illustrate my points, but the TSA has never shown a warm and fuzzy side to me. To their mind: photo equals full body cavity search.

In order to get to the screening apparatus it is necessary to move through a long circuitous line. I was thinking ‘cattle’ as I walked it, only to hear the woman behind me blurt out just that word!

I never take off my shoes for screening, but was told if I didn’t, I would be searched. My shoes have now been x-rayed and I’ve walked through an airport barefoot. The world’s a safer place.

Exactly what is accomplished by screening everyone? Isn’t it possible to build a system that provides trustworthy people with a modicum of trust? I’ll vouch for my mom.

Why do US Senators need to be hand screened at an airport, as recently occurred? Are we really worried about them? Are we really worried about me or the elderly white haired woman with breathing apparatus and a wheelchair I recently saw being screened at Bradley International?

Maybe it’s just the attitude. There is never a doubt when you deal with some of these screeners that they know they have limitless power over you. Tick them off, pay the price.

I brought a digital camera, laptop computer, cell phone and other wired devices. Do they really know the electronic makeup of these items? Aren’t they better off knowing me – or whomever is being screened?

After arriving in Philadelphia and before boarding my New Haven bound plane, there was a problem. The plane had been ‘overbooked’ and volunteers would be needed.

Each volunteer would receive one round trip ticket for anywhere in USAir’s system plus a ticket on the next available flight – 8:15 tomorrow night, or approximately 27 hours wait.

As we got ready to leave, I noticed the seat next to me and a few others in the plane were empty. What was going on? The flight attendant told me there were weight restrictions.

That seemed very odd. Sometimes in the summer when the air isn’t quite as dense, planes don’t have enough power for takeoff. It was cool today. The wind, which had been gusty earlier, had slacked off. I just don’t get it.

I know a few pilots read my blog. Maybe one of you will explain this to me… better still, explain it to the ‘bumpees.’

On Friday I wrote about being forced to park in a more expensive lot when the long term lot was full. I mentioned this to the cashier tonight and he immediately adjusted the price down to the long term rate. My guess is this had nothing to do with me being on TV (making it an even better find, since it represents a real policy – a smart policy at an airport trying to build a customer base).

Flying from Tweed is a pleasure, and I’m glad that’s how I booked this trip.

Finally, as I left the airport I noted the Sun setting over New Haven Harbor. I drove into a nearby park, but soggy ground prevented me from getting a shot which was totally in the clear. As it turns out, I think the trees in the foreground add nice contrast.