3.11.2009

Pandi's 'Pinions 2009


It's been a while, I know. I've been in hibernation and babysitting Baji's wee ones is no small task. But I have managed to work in a movie here and a book there. So, without further ado, here's the latest installment of Pandi's 'Pinions.



  • Slumdog Millionaire: I'll be honest with you. The soundtrack is rockin', the story is compelling and exciting, and Dev Patel is adorable with his gushing but sincere appreciation for his limelight circumstances. Nonetheless, I can't say that it is an Oscar-worthy movie. It was fun. It was entertaining. But was the fairy tale yarn more important or eye-opening or prestigious than the others? Perhaps I'm not being fair since it wasn't until half-way through the feature that I got confirmation (from KG seated to my left) that my cousin (seated to my right) was wrong and the movie was not based on a true story which meant that every other flashback left me shaking my head and muttering, "no way" or "yeah, right" or "gimme a break." Once I was aware that it was fiction, I enjoyed it much more but it was hard to shake the initial resentful response. One scene I did love was the montage of the kids on the train. I think I just have a thing for Bollywood train dancing scenes. Quick shout-outs to Tropic Thunder (hilarious), Wanted (good mindless bullet-curving action) and Across The Universe (love the Beatles covers) and shout-downs to Into the Wild (excellent book but trudgy movie), The Visitor (as TP described it: "I listen to NPR and I like world music so I like this too"), and Leatherheads (I liked it better the first time I saw it when it was called Bull Durham).
  • The Wire: I don't have HBO and I barely have time to watch shows in real time but thanks to a combination of Netflix and KG's mom, I managed to watch the full series of The Wire. It took a few months, but it was totally worth it. At turns depressing and gritty and nightmare-inducing (what if ZP turns out to be a corner boy?! interro-I'll-kill-him!) and yet beautiful and hopeful and funny (Omar Little rules). Set in nearby Baltimore, the series was more than just a "cop show" as it delved into themes involving criminal/police hierarchy, the inner workings of the public school system, the good intentions paving the way for the politicians. The butterfly effect is in full force and the show makes you consider the show long after the credits as you think back and realize that [spoiler alert - highlight to read] if Herc had sent Randy to Bunk like he was supposed to, then Randy wouldn't have been labled a snitch and have lost his foster mother to a vengeful fire AND the investigation on Marlo would have been wrapped up earlier not forcing McNulty to take such drastic measures which in turn affected the race for Governor etc. Now that's edutainment.
  • Music? Thanks to fellow bloggers, TP, NPR and others, here are a few new (to me) tunes that get the Pandi Thumb's Up: The Heavy's Colleen, Getatchew Mekuria & The Ex & Guests Aha Begana, Black Kids' I'm Not Going to Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You.
  • True to the New Year's Resolution, I have forbidden Baji from purchasing any new books and am going through the ones on the to-read shelf. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris had some classic hilarity and, like the misleading cousin mentioned above, I can't help reading his material without his measured voice in my head which is great because he's a good narrator -- even in there. Unaccustomed Earth: Stories (Vintage Contemporaries) by Jhumpa Lahiri is about half way complete but I feel safe in recommending this to anyone who wants to read about the ABCDs growing pangs. I've finished nearly three whole pages of The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell but her wit and clever ability to make you learn about history through pop culture references will guarantee the completion and enjoyment of this book.

That's it for this installment! Stay tuned for the next time (which, now that the government has cut our bonuses and thus work is decreasing and free time is increasing, may not be too long from now).

12 comments:

sophister said...

I concur regarding both Slumdog Millonaaar and the Wire. As far as the music, I decur.

baji said...

oh man, that 'miiiilon air!' killed it.

what new music would you suggest?

baji said...

is this more to your liking?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=101647860&sc=nl&cc=sod-20090310

upyernoz said...

i think the best explanation for "slumdog" getting the oscar is that 2008 was a spectacularly weak year for film. i haven't seen "doubt" yet, but it was clearly better than the other three nominees.

baji said...

ah, mumkin. what did you think of 'milk'?

sophister said...

Baji: i'll have to give a listen when I get home. But yeah I am the worst person to go to for music. I don't listen to much anymore, but if I do, its mostly Mr. Marley. And before that, in my heyday I would only listen to hard punk rock, ska, and oi (the non-racist stuff) music, and the normal rock stuff - nirvana, etc.

Osman said...

In this otherwise depressing year, an optimistic movie like "Millionaire" seemed to be the natural choice. But I agree; I thought "Doubt" was better, and "Ben Button" was much better.

That's what you get for listening to idiot cousins [even if they do have good taste in imaginative narration!]...

baji said...

soph - you and yaz would get along well re: marley. don't you owe me some movie reviews?

os - good point - they did show some vignettes of life in the slums but not in a way that makes you feel badly about it (or makes you want to donate money or try to help to improve the state). a movie like 'three cups of tea' that would actually make a social impact is more oscar-worthy to me. although, a lot has to be said for the bollywood dance sequence at the end. also, none of my cousins are idiots! well, maybe one or two. you are not among them. :D

upyernoz said...

"milk" was good, the acting was especially good, but it didn't blow me away. it's impact was probably blunted a little bit because i saw the 1985 best documentary winner, "the times of harvey milk", just a few weeks before hand. "milk" follows the documentary fairly closely, so there weren't any surprises. i think "slumdog" was a better film.

and sorry oz, it's waaaaay better than "benjamin button". that film was basically a a remake of forrest gump.

Osman said...

I think you're right: "Cups of Tea" would make a very nice optimistic movie. But you shouldn't listen to me, ESPECIALLY when I'm talking during a movie!

Incidentally, the "inspiration" for the novel - NOT the show, but rather a project in which an internet-ready computer is placed in a village and kids teach themselves to use it [well] - is a pretty cool story.

I loved "Doubt." I saw it with my mom who went to Catholic school at about the time the film was set. She loved the authenticity, thought the Vatican II-inspired "softening" of Catholic education didn't make its way to her school!

I just think "Button" was better, for the same reasons that "Forrest Gump" was great Hollywood escapism. Even the second time around...

fathima said...

omg, The Wire. omg, Omar Little. the end of his story was so, SO genius. even though he was my favourite character (Chris coming second), his storyline's endpoint was the high point of season 5 for me.

baji said...

i heart omar - his sense of code, his sense of humor, and his sense of style. i really liked stringer bell's character too and find it very disconcerting to see him act the straight-and-narrow on 'the office'.