Hulk Smash!

Here’s a shocker. I actually liked “The Incredible Hulk”.

In general, with these sorts of movies, it helps to have low expectations. In this case, they were as such because of all the whining I’d read from star Edward Norton about how all the best scenes were cut. I recognize that Eddy wasn’t in and therefore probably hadn’t seen any of the action sequences, and, as a result, had a very different image in his mind as to what the final picture would look like. But surely he must have READ THE SCRIPT which no doubt contained stage direction such as “HULK notices abandoned police cruiser, smashes it in half with his fist and then uses each half to beat the pulp out of TIM ROTH MONSTER”. Furthermore, I find it difficult to believe that the cut scenes were SO TRANSCENDENT that this VERY comic book-esque film would, with their inclusion, somehow be transformed into high art. There is just no way.

incredible hulkSo at the start of the film, after a fun little montage which catches us up to speed, we join Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) living a quiet life in Brazil, watching Portuguese Sesame Street and taking lessons on how to make your stomach concave. He has also taken a job in a GREEN soda bottling plant which primarily employs brutes and supermodels. All the while he is messengering with a scientist back home as they work on attempting to cure his affliction. His location is compromised when some of his blood gets into one of the sodas, thus poisoning Brazilian Soda enthusiast, Stan Lee. Bruce Banner is on the run again! Teaming up with his estranged girlfriend, Betty (Liv Tyler), Bruce must find his scientist friend and cure himself before Betty’s daddy gets a hold of him.

Ironically for Norton, the biggest problem with the film is its attempt to follow in the footsteps of other comic book films of late, and make this fantastical story somehow relevant to the real world. “X-Men” works on an allegorical level. “Iron Man” and “Batman” are almost plausible. But a scrawny dude exposed to lethal levels of gamma radiation, who survives but gains the pesky side-effect of, whenever he gets angry, scared or excited, turning into a 9-foot-tall ball of testosterone? Who is also GREEN? Because of the radiation? I’m sorry to burst your bubble but THAT COULD NEVER REALLY HAPPEN. So stop trying to act like an IFC Films-approved version of the Hulk story is possible. Stick with the “Hulk Smash” which, in this case, works really well.

Unlike the first attempt at a Hulk movie, which pretty much everyone agrees sucked, “The Incredible Hulk” really captures the spirit of what the Hulk is like when he’s all Hulked out. While he’s a completely different entity than the mild-mannered Bruce Banner and certainly not what you would call an intellectual, he’s not a monster either. He knows who the bad guys are and he smashes accordingly. At no time do we think he is going to hurt Betty or any other creature of light (like, say, kittens). But if you have evil in your heart, Hulk knows it and you are screwed. I think this is an important point that was completely missed in the first movie. It explains why Hulk eventually becomes part of the Avengers. Bruce Banner yammers on about finding a cure and living a normal life yet he is compelled to help people. Deep down he knows he has a calling which will make his life complex but ultimately more meaningful than would just boning Liv Tyler and playing with beakers.

incredible hulk movie

Without a doubt there are many snicker-inducing moments in The Incredible Hulk. For instance, the prevalence of the color green. I’m no scientist, but I have a hard time believing than gamma radiation poisoning (even this special variety) turns your blood cells green and you know you are cured when your blood cells once again turn red. Also, did Bruce Banner turn down jobs at other bottling plants who were making orange or grape soda? Is General Ross really a Midori Sour man?

What’s more, let’s talk about pants. I appreciate their attempt to explain how Hulk, whatwith his 80 inch waist, manages to keep his hulkhood covered by the pants of a much smaller man. Bruce Banner buys elastic waist pants! But it seems like after he buys some Brazilian hemp trousers, he reverts to the Double Denim look pretty quickly, even scoffing at Betty when she bring him the classic purple sweat pant of comic book Hulk. At the climax of the film, Banner is definitely wearing well-fitting JEANS that remain mostly in tact when he hulks out. They do MAKE stretch jeans, but the size difference is still too vast. Bruce Banner would have to rock the hip-hop-boxer-flash to accommodate the metamorphosis.

These are small criticisms, however, of an overall enjoyable film. Liv Tyler as Betty is sweet and likable (albeit unconvincing as a molecular biologist); a welcome replacement to the cold, wooden Academy Award Winner Jennifer Connelly. She brings much genuine affection to her character’s complicated relationship with Bruce. You really feel for her when she begs her father to stop trying to kill Hulk and when Bruce insists on jumping out of a plane with uncertain results instead of staying behind and being her boyfriend.

Likewise, Norton adequately channels the tortured altruist that Bill Bixby brought to the character on the TV show. Tim Blake Nelson is super character-actory as the over-exuberant scientist who may or may not have found a cure for hulkism. Tim Roth is always at his most compelling when playing a villain. In this case he uses the desperation of an aging solider as the motivation for undergoing experiments which would give him Hulk-like abilities and later cause him to ravage the city in a fairly awesome smash battle.

In short, “The Incredible Hulk” is a smashing good time. Especially if you hate helicopters as much as Hulk does.

Jensen Ackles: Food Actor

The brilliant food acting of Jensen Ackles is pretty much the best reason to watch Supernatural.

Also sometimes people die bloody deaths. But mostly it’s the food acting.

Wedding Day Wrap-Up

You KNOW you want it.

We had a short but sweet ceremony in Discovery Park. Alex played “The Air That I Breathe” on acoustic guitar. Elyse read “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” by William Butler Yeats and then delivered a beautiful (and religion-free) ceremony, thus fulfilling her officiating duties perfectly. B.’s vows promised, among other things, that he would always want to read my blog. I managed to squeeze a quote from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” into mine.

And then we partied. Oh my how we partied. The Sunset Tavern was the perfect venue. The bartenders were spot-on. The karaoke was wildly popular and our friends all gave astoundingly good performances. Even people who usually steer clear from the mic rocked hard that night. B. and I kicked things off with our first song (as opposed to first dance…that shit ain’t pretty) with “Suddenly Seymour” from the Little Shop of Horrors.

We were a little disappointed in Starry Nights Catering, but everyone else seemed to really enjoy the food. I think we just had really high expectations for the food because of all the trouble they gave us. (They wouldn’t let us taste the food for free even after we paid the deposit, which was HALF of what we owed. Their initial proposal was astronomical. They wanted to charge a $200 handling fee for renting 2 banquet tables and linens. Luckily, the wedding coordinator took care of that by renting the equipment herself.) The little tarts with playing card suit crust (playing cards were our theme) were really good though. And very cute.

I also want to give a shout out to the wedding coordinator (who also does full planning, but we didn’t need it), Melissa Bryan of Lush Parties and Events. She was amazing. She thought of everything including many things that never even occurred to us. Not every lady has been planning their wedding since childhood. She also fully understood the low-key affair we were after. Thanks also to Booze for recommending her.

And now for the pictures!!

The ceremony.

wedding ceremony

The reception.

karaoke wedding

Marriage So Far

So far, being married is awesome. Not much has changed between us but it feels good to be able to call B. my “husband”. It just makes me feel warm and fuzzy every time I think about it. And I definitely don’t have that post-marital depression that I read about it the wedding books. I don’t know why anyone would be sad that planning for their wedding is over. We had an awesome party but we will have other awesome parties. And we did what we set out to do. Being married was the whole point so it is now that the adventure begins.

The only disappointment is that there aren’t really any cool nicknames for “husband” like there are for “wife”. I told B. to feel free to refer to me as “the missus” and “my old lady”. I think they’re cute. But there’s no good male equivalent. “Hubby” is horrible. I can’t even say out loud. It’s cringe-worthy akin to the likes of “panties” and “lover”. chubby hubby

I can’t use “My Old Man” because that’s obviously my father. I guess I could call B. “Daddy” but people might think I’m serious (and therefore gross). I don’t really understand why “My Old Lady” is interchangeable between mother and wife but it is. And I suppose I could say “My Mister” but that might be a little TOO archaic. Would people have any idea what I was talking about?

I feel like I must be missing the perfect cute antiquated husband nickname. Anyone know what it could be?

NFT Radar: Boom Noodle

The creators of Blue C Sushi bring you the Euro-style Boom Noodle. The shared tables create a sort of upscale cafeteria feel. Perhaps that is why the place is often teeming with families; an unusual scene for a Capitol Hill restaurant. For a more private meal that is minor free, sit in the bar and take in the game with your sake or Shiso Mojito. As the name suggests, Boom Noodle excels at ramen. But this ain’t your 99 cent Top variety. These noodle soups made from fresh ingredients almost convince you you’re eating health food. Almost. Don’t fret if you aren’t into noodles. They offer large salad and rice dishes as well as a small plate menu full of beef and fish in a unique platform. I heeded the advice of the waitress and tried the Miso Broiled Rice Cakes. She flashed a smug smile when I confirmed their crispy deliciousness. Vegetarians can order with ease using their coded menu and most dishes can be altered to meet dietary restrictions. For dessert, the Mochi Trio doesn’t disappoint, but the Boom Waffle, with its strange bean compote topping, could use an overhaul.

boom noodle

1121 E Pike St 98122

X-Posted from Not For Tourists.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Senility

I know I am late to the Indiana Jones/Crystal Skull party and a review almost a MONTH later is pretty irrelevant but it’s my party and I’ll blog if I want to.

So why did I put off seeing this movie? For starters, I knew…I just KNEW that it was going to be a profound disappointment. So I waited. And waited. And when I could wait no longer, I saw it.

And it was…“National Treasure”. Think about it. Replace Harrison Ford with Nicolas Cage, Shia LaBeouf with that snarky side-kick who also played the mentally challenged boy in “Gigli”. Swap Karen Allen with that kind of dull blonde lady whose name escapes me and then pretend El Dorado is hidden somewhere in the midwest. It’s “National effing Treasure”. IT IS!

indiana jones IV

Of course, I LOVED the “National Treasure” movies. But let’s be honest. They aren’t…shall we say…GOOD. They are profoundly silly. Interestingly, critics were calling them the “Indiana Jones” revival. In this case, the student has become the master and the master has regressed. They took their 25 year old franchise and turned it into a “National Treasure” fan film. The biggest problem with this is that Harrison Ford is no Nicolas Cage.

indyDon’t get me wrong. Harrison Ford…or at least Indiana Jones (and Space Indy, Han Solo) were my first childhood crush(es). I’m fairly certain that his characters affected, at least physically, the type of man I am attracted to as an adult: Scruffy looking (who’s scruffy lookin’?!) fellows with a perpetual 5:00 shadow, glistening with sweat and a bit of chest hair poking out the top of an unkempt dress shirt. A dry wit and a bit of an ego don’t hurt either. Especially if they can save your ass from Nazis or voodoo and sweep you off your feet. Ah…Venice.

In contrast, while I adore the acting of Nicolas Cage, I don’t find him or any of his characters the least bit attractive. Sure, “Wild at Heart’s”, Sailor Ripley is romantic as hell, but he’s already losing quite a bit of hair at such a young tender age. And his snake skin jacket may be a symbol of his individuality and belief in person freedom but…it’s a jacket made of SNAKE SKIN. Tell me…was it a CORN snake?

So the problem with Indy 4 is that Indy/Ford (at this point they are interchangeable) is just TOO DAMN SERIOUS to pull off the cartoonish feat of surviving a nuclear blast at ground zero by hiding inside a fridge while the gophers from Caddy Shack snicker in the distance. The monkey and giant ant shenanigans and even reluctantly gripping a CG snake to get pulled out of quicksand by the Fonz…those things are for a different sort of actor and a different sort of movie. NOT for Henry Jones Jr. He is supposed to be the STRAIGHT MAN. The only jokes he make should either occur during or result in a fist fight.

I suppose I’m not surprised though. My heart was already broken by the Films That Shall Not Be Named. I knew that George Lucas had lost all his marbles. I hoped that Spielberg would reign him in. But he’s not so great anymore either. It makes sense. As you age, your perspective shifts. You become detached and you can no longer relate to the young. You can’t understand what they want and you don’t really CARE what they want either. You have earned the right to do what you feel because you have been around the block, damnit! What this scene needs is a few more hilarious animals. CAN WE GET SOME MORE MONKEYS IN HERE PLEASE?!

Their treasure wasn’t gold. It was gophers. Gophers were their treasure.

Today on Ellen…

Congrats to all the same-sex couples in California who are able to get married today! Here’s hoping this “family protection” madness will soon be behind us…

NFT Radar: Bento World

Belltown is seriously lacking in good cheap lunch spots. What are the working stiffs supposed to do? We can’t afford to lunch at a Tom Douglas restaurant every day and lord knows we are sick to death of the Westlake Center food court. Thank god for Bento World! It may be small but their comprehensive menu equally accommodates vegetarians and carnivores. $6.95 will buy you an entree, vegetables, and rice enough for at least 2 meals. Sushi, bento boxes, bee bim babs, and teriyaki provide Japanese delights for any mood. The tempura meal is truly transcendent. What a beautiful Bento World!

bento world
306 Lenora St 98121

X-Posted from Not For Tourists.

I Have Been Made an Honest Woman

Thanks to everyone. I have never felt so loved.

More to come but for now, we rest!

Effed by the Weather

This is the current forecast for tomorrow:

weather forecast

In case you didn’t notice the date, it is JUNE SEVENTH. I am getting married tomorrow.


Sans sleeves.

At least the ceremony is only 20 minutes long…