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Will Herman reminded me that Speed Racer the movie is arriving on the scene on May 9th. Speed Racer is the cartoon of my childhood. A few years ago I bought all the episodes on DVD and watched them one after the other one weekend until my head exploded. I used to be so hot for Trixie and Racer X was like the big brother I never had. I can’t wait for the movie. I am so pleased that the Wachowski Brothers created it.
Amy and I went to see 21: The Movie today. It’s based on the phenomenal book Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions by Ben Mezrich. I met Ben and had sushi with him a few months ago – he was really psyched about the upcoming movie and the relaunch of the book as 21. Ben – congrats!
Amy and I had a blast. One of Amy’s ex-boyfriends had been part of the MIT Blackjack Team (1989-1990) so I’ve heard plenty of stories about it over the years (and vaguely remember it when it was going down.) MIT is a remarkable place and a fantastic backdrop for a "smart people" morality tale (similar to another one of my favorite movies – Good Will Hunting.)
There were a lot of "MIT inaccuracies" during the movie that resulted in nudges and whispers between me and Amy. Following are the ones I can remember.
- Ben’s "4.0" average. MIT is on a 5 point scale – so his 4.0 average is a solid B rather than "perfect."
- The 2.09 competition. This is really the 2.70 competition.
- Building 4 Hallway. The door frames are black, not blue (i.e. this isn’t building 4.)
- Pre-Med. There is no "pre-med" at MIT.
- "A’s". In the movie, people talked about getting A’s. MIT-ers don’t talk about letter grades – they focus on getting "above class average" which would translate into an A or B.
- MIT Scenes. With the exception of a few scenes outside the great dome, all of the MIT scenes were somewhere other than MIT (apparently MIT didn’t allow filming on campus.)
One of the treats was seeing Colin Angle (a frat brother and co-founder / CEO of iRobot) in a cameo role give the award at the 2.09 contest near the end of the movie (presumably modeled after Professor Woodie Flowers.)
I’d love to hear any other MIT inaccuracies that anyone notices in the movie. MIT grads – comment freely.
We both sort of knew the story of Ed Murrow taking on U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy during McCarthy’s anti-Communist crusade while chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. The movie has motivated me to Kindle a Murrow biography and read it.
The movie was fantastic – Amy and I kept shouting at the TV during it which is always the mark of a successful movie in our house. David Strathairn was incredible as Murrow and George Clooney did a great job as his counterpart / coproducer Fred Friendly.
One of the awesome things about the United States is that due process matters. Another is that freedom of speech is a valid construct – and even more so in today’s web saturated universe. So far in my 42 years on this planet I’ve never been afraid of speaking my mind. I’ve often been wrong – and will admit it publicly whenever I am – but I love the fact that I can state my thoughts without fear.
As the midgame of our presidential election reaches a climax, this is powerful stuff to consider. Marc Andreessen wrote a superb post last week titled An hour and a half with Barack Obama. I’ve been supporting Obama in the primaries (even though I’m Independent – my party affiliation is "unaffiliated".) Marc’s post totally nails why I’m supporting Obama. Regardless of who you support, it feels great that it’s acceptable in this country to write (and watch) what we think.
To Mark Cuban, Todd Wagner, and Jeff Skoll and their respective colleagues who produced the movie – nicely done!
After seeing Borat last weekend, Warren and I were debating which scenes were real and which scenes were faked. Warren apparently stayed up late researching it, but if he’d waited a week he could have read the Slate story titled What’s real in “Borat”? The reactions of the people involved to the Slate reporter are fascinating.
Amy and I went to The Departed last night. I’ve got some general movie fatigue these days because everything seems to suck, be a remake of Top Gun, or just be dull. However, The Departed was incredible and it just blew us away.
Jack Nicholson may be my favorite male actor of all time. Leonardo DiCaprio is finally coming into his own now that he’s an adult. Matt Damon finally had a role where he needed to act – and he did a great job. While it’s weird watching Martin Sheen be anything other than Jeb Bartlett, he also shined even when he was splattering. Vera Farmiga had the best line of the movie when she said to DiCaprio “your vulnerability is really freaking me out.” And Marky Mark Wahlberg continued to bend my mind with his range.
Scorsese made sure there was plenty of gratutious violence, but for a Boston-based corrupt cop movie, it was believable. Having lived in Boston for 12 years, it’s such a delight to watch it in a movie rather than live there.