Too Much Bluetooth

I wear a Bluetooth earpiece and I love it. There’s really a difference when I’m driving in my car, yapping on the phone, and both hands are on the wheel.

On the other hand, I think there are some places where Bluetooth might not be appropriate. Last night in church, a man walked to the front of the congregation and addressed us all. He was wearing an earpiece and I felt uncomfortable.

Tonight, on TV, another bad Bluetooth moment. Attorney Robert Shapiro was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann wearing a very large Bluetooth earpiece. He has a microphone pinned to his suit, so I haven’t confused a necessary TV accessory with cellphone technology.

Will he ask the TV audience to wait while he takes a call? Maybe there’s a hidden confederate feeding him answers, ala William Hurt and Holly Hunter in Broadcast News?

Am I behind the times? Is this where we’re really headed? Say it isn’t so.

Here’s the fullscreen capture, if you’re so inclined.

The Incredibles Aren’t Quite

It’s been a long time since Helaine and I took in an afternoon movie. Why not? Work doesn’t begin until 3:00 PM. Today we went to see The Incredibles.

Cheap lines first: The Incredibles is not incredible. It’s good – not great.

Some of the animation, especially the backgrounds, is so good as to look real. The character animation was very good too.

About halfway through the movie I turned to Helaine to say it seemed awfully intense for a kid movie. It was only then that I was told it was rated PG. That was a surprise – and if I would have brought a small child, I would have been concerned by some of the intensity and violence.

The acting was excellent. These characters were played as real people using their own unadulterated voices. I was able to place Craig T. Nelson’s voice, but I was stumped on that ID for the first half of the movie. Holly Hunter, a real favorite of mine, was much easier to recognize.

What was missing in this film? My Cousin Michael put his finger on it. The villain just wasn’t well enough fleshed out. I think he’s right.

When the movie ended, I stayed and watched every name in the credits. It was surprising to see just how many there were, and in how many different compartmentalized units. People for hair and cloth, lighting animators, backgrounds. I would guess as many people worked on this animated movie as would work on a live film.

What’s the bottom line? I’m glad I saw it, but it wasn’t as special as I wanted. With as few movies as I see, and as much as they cost, I deserve special. Don’t I?

Broadcast News

I just finished watching the second half of one of my all time favorite movies. There’s no doubt I love Broadcast News because of Holly Hunter and Albert Brooks and the characters they portray.

There’s little I don’t like about Hunter. She’s very attractive, though not quite as attractive as the character she plays here.

In one of the early scenes (maybe the first – it was on before I tuned in tonight) she walks up to a bank of curbside newspaper vending boxes and buys a paper from each one. So, she’s attractive, intelligent, aggressive and principled… the total package.

Albert Brooks plays an intellectual, nerdy reporter. His inability to deal with any transgression from idealism is his undoing.

When I first saw the movie, I saw myself in much of what Brooks played. Maybe, I flatter myself too much.

There was a time when I would stand on principle no matter what the consequences. Now, I’m more willing to balance my reaction. That’s good and bad. Bad, because it means I let stuff slide. Good in that I’m not confrontational to the same extent I was earlier in my life.

It is a more adult way to deal with the imperfections of life. It is not a better way – just an adult way.

Toward the end of the picture, as Brooks is losing Holly Hunter (and my heart is breaking for him), he talks about the devil. His purpose in the film is to lessen (the character played by) William Hurt. Still, it’s a great speech.

Paraphrasing – the devil looks like us. The devil doesn’t act in broad strokes but eats away at the moral high ground a little bit at a time. It’s an impassioned speech based on the fears of the idealistic. It’s sad because it’s so true.

Broadcast News made broadcast news look quite romantic. It actually is.

Though I work much farther down the food chain than the second rate national network portrayed, it’s still a cool profession. There are few jobs where you are watched, while you work by your ‘customers’. So much of individual success depends on the public’s trust in you. The most successful are those who value that trust.

In broadcast news, idealism is not misplaced. It’s just in short supply.