'tis the season to play the avoidance game

Thing about me that I'm not super excited about, #201293: 

When I'm stressed out by something, I pretty much shut down on all fronts.  I have some really marvelous ways to distract myself from facing whatever I'm dreading, at least, if you consider "playing lots of games on my computer" worthy of marvel. My reading hasn't suffered, but everything else has been set aside until "I beat the backgammon game three times in a row," or something like that. 

This is not a particularly effective way of dealing with this.

Fortunately, the holidays are a great time for a reset. That's doubly true when the holidays are what I'm trying to avoid. It's not that I have any specific reason for dreading them this year, but I am a past master at needlessly dreading things. It's been a lovely, if unseasonably warm, Christmas break. A certain unnamed beautiful someone has made more delicious food than anyone one man can possibly eat (not that it's stopped me from trying). I just get nervous this time of year.

This is all a long way of trying to explain why this space hasn't been updated much lately.

Anyway, one thing we've done with the free time is do some serious move-watching.  We finally saw the new Mad Max film and Ex Machina, both of which were every bit as good as the reviews. I was a little surprised by how beautiful, strange, and even dream-like Mad Max Fury Road was. I always forget about director George Miller's involvement with the Babe movies. Ex Machina was a little more obviously "artsy" and I'm not wholly satisfied with the conclusion, but it's taut, it's smart, and it's a good deal more ambitious than most sci-fi films. They're both worthy of a second watching, but not just yet.

As is our tradition on Christmas, we watched Bad Santa again. Even having seen it a dozen times, it still makes me laugh almost non-stop throughout the entire thing. Now that the shock of it has worn off a little, I can appreciate what a really good film it is. The performances are exceptional. Billy Bob Thorton deserves a stack of awards, obviously, and John Ritter managed to take "uncomfortable" to a whole new level, while Bernie Mac stole every scene he was in. I understand that it's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's executed so much better than it has any right to be.

It's  been a while since I've seen Fight Club, but it's even better than I remembered. David Fincher is having a blast the whole time. He uses a whole closetful of clever tricks, but they support the tone of the film and never feel like showing off. If you haven't seen it in a while, you might want to give it another look. 

So, it's been a really good Christmas break even if I'm not really into the spirit of it. I'm looking forward to a reset on the first of January. Or, in my particular case, the second.