Head Full of Hooters and The Hurt Locker
I started on the “Owl’s Hat” project over the weekend. I’m knitting it up with 16″ size 7 circular bamboo needles and using Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solids and Heathers worsted weight yarn in “Blue Mist.” So far I’ve only been working with one skein, which I procured from Michael’s on sale for $2.50 a skein the day after Christmas.
The modifications to the pattern include k2p2 ribbing instead of the suggested k2p1 ribbing. The other modification I decided upon, after surveying the completed project pics on Ravelry was shortening the rows of Stockinette stitch before starting the owl cables. Wasn’t really feeling how high up on the head the Owls would sit if I followed the exact pattern. So I knit what ended up being eight rows instead of the suggested 10 rows of stockinette on the pattern.
My first attempt on Friday night was unsuccessful because I ended up with one extra thick rib (two sets of knits next to one another) due to my pattern modifications. I ripped the whole thing out and started again on Saturday evening. Thusly – you will get two movie reviews for the price of one. Currently it’s about 40% completed – I’m about a quarter of the way through the owl cable rows.
I feel a little oogy about how the Stockinette stitch rows have turned out so far – Stockinette is k1 row, p1 row. Pretty easy, right? It looks funky and unpleasant to me.
Also – new skill gained = kfb (knit front back). New method of increasing which is much more professional and sexy than the only other increasing technique I know – yo (yarn over). Yo leaves big gappy holes in the work, which would definitely not fly (owl pun) for this project.
And now – onto the reviews…
The Hurt Locker: This is the first in the series of Oscar contender movies I need to catch up on before my hubby and I host our Oscar party next month in March. Was especially attracted to this film knowing that it was directed by a woman, Kathryn Bigelow, who also directed Point Break.
Was also stoked to see that Jeremy Renner was playing the lead – as he was a stand-out actor for me in 28 Weeks Later (not the greatest Zombie movie ever, but worthy of a repeat watch). In this film, he did not dissapoint. Honestly – I have no real complaints about the directing or acting in this film. It seems like a solid Oscar contender, and one of the better Iraq war dramas to have come out in years (that wasn’t a documentary). I was particularly compelled by the subject matter – a team that works to defuse bombs – as that seems to be all we read about in the news lately (indeed – a front page story today about 54 dying in an explosion).
What I would have loved to see more, however – is arch with the main character. As this movie is of more independent ilk, I was able to easily compare it with my unfavorable perception of Up in the Air, which to me showed the main character having very little arch, while the side-characters often wallowed in the more dramatic conflict. This seemed to be the same experience here. A male lead who is somewhat deadened to the environment around him attempts to reach out, is rebuffed and retreats back to old habits – while all the growth happens in the characters around him.
What made the difference here, was that Renner’s character had a far more compelling day job, and the suspense and subject matter of the film carried far more weight. Clooney’s breezy jet-setting lifestyle pales in comparison to the struggle of someone faced with defusing a bomb and risking death. And for this, I’m automatically pulling for The Hurt Locker to win over Up in the Air. Though they both could be beat out by Inglourious Basterds (which I’m also pulling for, as it managed to sneak in an amazing plot-line of a woman seeking revenge to what I assumed would be a bloody male-centric action fest). If nothing else – Renner and Bigelow both deserve an Oscar nod.
Choke: As a fan of both Sam Rockwell and Chuck Palahniuk – this movie should have been a sure thing for me. Especially since Choke is my favorite Palahniuk novel. So – why didn’t I see this in theatres? Why wasn’t I completely drawn to this film?
Because for me – the book itself was never really a comedy. And the attempt to play it off as a quirky comedy felt so absolutely forced – I had to force myself to continue watching. And maybe that’s just symptomatic of my relationship with Palahniuk’s books in general. They are all somehow familiar – the oddities and absurdities of the characters are so delicaltely sliced between brilliant and comical – it’s easy to lose all the meaningingfulness of their struggle.
And perhaps, the darkly cynical is a thing of the past. Like Palahniuk and the Cacophony society and the anarchy they represent…I don’t think this kind of dark comedic cynicism is relevant anymore. I think we live in a society that now understands Anarchy or something very much like it is looming on the horizon. We are predicting our own demise on a regular basis.
Palahniuk belongs to a world that had more hope. Not in a world that has seen ten years of war, spiraling national debt, and personal financial tragedies…I think the voice of this decade has become something quite different.
Choke was always my favorite book because it felt so similar to Fight Club but was engorged with a hopeful spiritual undertone that belayed it’s darker and seedier impulses. While it shared a similar plot-line with Fight Club, it had a geniune heart and soul.
Personally, I’m not sure I can take much more cynicism from my entertainment. There is quite enough to be depressed about already. And while I appreciate the attempt at whimsy, the attempt to clean Choke up and make it more relevant for the mood of the country – it was not needed. Choke should always have stayed as a novel and the spiritual twin to Fight Club. This film will barely be remembered in a year’s time, and I can go back to loving the story again.
My goal is to get the hat finished up by the end of the week. I’ll post another entry/review when it’s completed!