In which I discuss the ways I've over-extended myself, as well as an almost good film
The list of emotions which make me want to write is a long one, but "stressed out" is absent from it. Is "stressed out" really an emotion? It is for my purposes, so just go with it. Anyway, I am currently working the equivalent of three jobs. Two of them are part time and don't pay, but the third makes up for it by being more than full time but paying well.
Something has to give. I am not a workaholic by any means (ask any boss I've ever had), but I'm insecure and have difficulty saying "no." I can juggle it all for a limited amount of time, but when it starts to poison my time away from work with worry and fear, I have to back away. That's not strictly true; I usually just disappear from one context or another, but that's not really a good option at this time.
The good news is that one of the side gigs is now proceeding nicely and has the potential to turn into a paying side gig, which is among the best sort of side gig. I'll share more about it as it gets a little more solid, but it lives at the intersection of two things I love and it feels like a really good fit.
We saw Valerian the other night and I loved it on some levels and couldn't have been more annoyed on others. It is flat-out gorgeous, with the kind of outrageous visuals you're only going to get from Luc Besson. Everything on the screen was carefully designed and photographed. It's right up there with The Fifth Element in terms of eye candy.
I didn't even mind the story as much as some of the reviewers did. It's a little obvious, but for space opera? Plot-wise, it's miles ahead of the similar but inferior Jupiter Ascending. Sure, you know 90% of the resolution within 15 minutes, but that's hardly a fatal flaw.
Where the movie tripped over its own feet was....well, let me ask you a couple of questions. Did you like The Fifth Element? Ok, would you still have liked it if, instead of Bruce Willis, the lead actor was a guy who looked more like a teenager in a Manchester club listening to The Smiths? Dane DeHaan may have a brilliant career ahead of him, but he never caught fire in this role. And fire would have been required, because some of the dialogue was clunky and cringe-worthy. A breezier performance might have gotten away with we never got any sense of who Major Valerian was until it was literally explained to us near the end. "You always follow the rules." Wait, what? We never saw any of that.
It seemed interminably long as it creaked towards its telegraphed conclusion. I don't recall that being an issue with The Fifth Element, but the earlier film was only ten minutes shorter at two hours and seven minutes.
Maybe Valerian will wind up being revered after the fact the way other Besson films have. It's visually stunning, maybe even his best looking film. It just would have been a lot better if it were an hour shorter and with a different cast.