Friday, May 12, 2006

I kicked off my summer movie season this afternoon with a viewing of Poseidon at a local mall. As some of you may know, I am a huge fan of the disaster-movie genre--good, bad, and truly awful. In fact one of the factors (ok, relatively minor, but on the list) influencing my choice of travel dates is making sure that I am somewhere where I can watch 10.5 Apocalypse a week from Sunday and the Tuesday hence. More on that below. I don't believe it's possible to make a better disaster movie than the original Poseidon Adventure, so I was bound to be disappointed. And of course I was.

Disaster movies have a tried and true formula like most specific genres do. You can tweak the conventions, shatter them, parody them, or stick to them with a cheesy wink and nod. Any of those can produce a fun movie. Instead, Poseidon does none of those things, but merely reproduces the formula with updated special effects. The result is a workmanlike effort that doesn't suck, but doesn't make you laugh and doesn't do much of anything else either. It's just kind of there. If you're not particular about your disaster movies or your summer movies, then by all means go and enjoy it. Just don't expect anything particularly new, interesting, or memorable. If you really want to see a disaster movie done well, rent the original--it's cheesier, slower, and sillier, and that's arguably why it's the much better movie.

As for my travel plans, I'm settling into the notion of leaving next Saturday, which will put me in L.A. a week from Tuesday, the 23rd. I'm going to take the I-70 route to Utah, which I haven't done since my first cross-country trip in 1998. The one thing I hated about that trip was driving in Denver rush hour traffic; when it was slow it was bad, and when it was fast it was worse, as people careened down steep grades I'd never seen before while honking at me for only going 75 because I was terrified. I'm remedying that somewhat by planning to go through Denver on Sunday. I should get to around Kansas City on Saturday night and either Glenwood Springs or Grand Junction in Western Colorado on Sunday. On Monday I'm leaving the interstates just over the Utah border to drive down through Moab, stop at Four Corners, and drive through Monument Valley. I'll pick up I-40 in northern Arizona, and will stay Monday night in Flagstaff or possibly Laughlin, Nevada. Tuesday the home stretch should be an easy half-day drive.

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