Sunday, December 27, 2009

Space Challenges, Movie Reviews

Traveling during the holidays is always a hassle, whether it is for business or pleasure. If you are traveling for business it is more frustrating since most are traveling for pleasure. The business traveler wants to get from point A to point B as fast as possible and not have to stand in too many lines, while the pleasure traveler is busy fighting the kids and baggage. What I have really noticed in airline travel is the reduced space now available in seats because some passengers are bringing two people on board all stuffed into one body. So as to be politically correct I am not going to say the f... word during this little tirade on reduced seating capacity in airplanes. However, I am going to casually mention that the last two times I have flown it has been a challenge to sit completely in my seat because the person beside me was taking up more than their share of room simply because it was like two people in one body (to be referred to in the future as the 2 for 1 or 2/1 body package) sitting in a one person seat. Please understand I don’t have any prejudice here; however, I just don’t think it is fair to buy a ticket and not be able to sit through a flight without feeling like I am being smothered, rolled, pinched, sweated on, flattened and filleted by my next door seating partner On my first trip I was sitting next to a guy that was the classic 2/1 and since we couldn’t put the arm rest down between us there was flesh against flesh, there was reduced seating capacity because I had to lean against the outer arm rest, which actually caused me to hang out in the aisle. Then on the no arm rest side our bodies did this getting to know you thing of rolling over on me, then I was blessed with the sleeping tilting head on my shoulder. But, one thing I will say is that this dude did wake up in time for the landing and even offered me one of his free drink coupons. Of course he was drinking diet coke and encouraged me to use his coupon to drink a Heineken. Not a bad deal since you always get two bags of peanuts on Southwest and with a 120 calorie beer you almost have a complete meal. My next flight was about a week after this one and I really got stuck in a 2/1 situation with a business type lady in a very tight fitting black dress suit. She was so big that she took up her seat, a portion of the seat to the left of her and a portion of the seat to the right of her (mine). It was also at the back end of the plane, which always seems more crowded than the front of the plane, and when she sat down I know the plane tilted to my right. She then proceeded to put her seat belt on and after some real grunting and groaning she got it snapped. Of course I could have volunteered to help her but I don’t know where I would have started and I am sure I would not have been welcomed to search around her giant size mid section for proper installation of the seat belt. In addition she did give me a cutting eye glance during this procedure that basically said, “Don’t mention it hotshot, and mind your own business!” After we were all buckled in the pilot was able to get the plane off of the ground and fly us to our destination. Then a third airline trip to Alabama was fairly normal and we were able to get the cheap first class tickets on Southwest. Actually they don’t have first class tickets but if you are lucky enough to get the emergency exit rows that is like first class. On one row there are only two seats and there is plenty of room between the rows. So, we always grab those seats if we can get them. They are excellent for the long, 8-10 hours across the big water type trips. The only drawback to these seats is if you do have an emergency and you are in such a bad situation that you have to knock out the door, inflate the vest, and help people out, you are in deep stuff. So, when they ask you if you will perform these duties if need be, you just shake your head yes, look very grim, buckle up and then take a nap. I figure if it gets that bad no one is going to be doing a checklist report card on you, everyone will be trying like the devil to get out of that big dude. This also brings to mind the 2/1 passengers in time of emergency, guess they just call in the heavy duty material handling equipment, chain them up and move them out.

Movie Reviews (5): “Old Dogs”, Bad, no rating simply because it had two good actors in it and they were wasted on poor script, poor directing and just a goofy bad movie. Shame on you Robin Williams and John Travolta, you are so much better than this. Rated PG for some mild rude humor (didn’t catch the humor in any of it).

“Sherlock Holmes”, ****, This is an updated version of Sherlock Holmes as played by Robert Downey Jr. as Holmes and co-starring Jude Law as Dr. John Watson, his roommate and partner in crime solving. The movie begins with the conclusion of their current case, and then illustrates the slide of depression that Holmes falls into after a big case. He is never in the good eyes of the local inspector but it is very obvious no case in Scotland Yard will get solved without Holmes and assistance from Watson. Very well done movie with great dialogue, Downey does a great job, could be nominated for acting in this one. Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violence and action, some startling images and a scene of suggestive material.

“Invictus”, *****, This movie was rated five stars simple because it is a true story, with a great cast, and is directed by Clint Eastwood. It tells the inspiring story of how Nelson Mandela(played by Morgan Freeman) is elected to be president of South Africa, then convinces the white captain of South Africa’s rugby team(played by Matt Damon) to help him unite the country. Newly elected Mandela, recognizing how divided the country has been because of apartheid, believes that it can be brought together through the universal language of sport. He rallies the South Africa’s underdog rugby team to pursue the 1995 World Cup championship (they won it). Rated PG-13 for brief strong language (after all football/rugby players will be boys with tempers, at times).

“Did You Hear About the Morgan’s?”, ***, The is an entertaining movie about a married couple played by Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant, while being close to filing for a divorce, witness a mob murder. They of course become the next hit, so they are put under a witness protection program and secretly sent to a new residence in a tiny Wyoming town. The town officers are played by Sam Elliott and Mary Steenburgen and they teach this New York City couple how to live and appreciate life, no matter your location in life. Rated PG-13 for some sexual references and momentary violence.

“Up In The Air”, *****, George Clooney stars as a corporate hatchet man paid by companies to come in a fire their employees, rather than do it themselves. Clooney loves his life on the road and is on the edge of his lifetime goal of reaching 5 million frequent flier miles and all the perks that go with it. Since he is a devout bachelor never planning on getting married, or even seeing any reason to do so, he meets a woman that could change this attitude. He also has some interesting family situations that change his way of thinking. Very well done movie and gets that extra star because I think Clooney might get nominated for an Oscar over his acting job. Rated R for language and some sexual content.



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