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).