Book Club meets tonight and going into the weekend I was on page 31 of a 454 page book so, needless to say, most of the weekend was spent reading. I'm very nearly done with The DaVinci Code now - I've got just enough left to read that I'll be able to finish it up at lunch - and I liked it very much. I had seen the movie already so I knew the gist of the story and who was to blame for what things but the book really does have more story (as they always do) and Dan Brown's writing is pretty riveting. I will say that I preferred the single cryptex in the movie to the double one in the book because the book seemed to be hinting so much harder at Sophie's identity all along anyway and that one aspect seemed particularly heavy-handed. But all in all, I enjoyed the book very much and can't wait to talk about it with the group tonight.
I did make a bit of time to watch some movies and TV though.
The Bank Job - In case you don't know already, here are two important facts about me: 1) I love heist stories; 2) I love Jason Statham. My love of bald men is no great revelation and I doubt very much that it shocks anyone that I'm a fan of the Brits as well, so the fact that I love Jason Statham (a very attractive, bald, British man) should be about as surprising as finding out that water is wet. As far as heist stories go, I find anything involving the planning and execution of a heist endlessly entertaining. Thus my adoration of Ocean's Eleven, The Italian Job, the short-lived CBS show Smith, Foolproof, Inside Man and any number of other movies wherein someone is stealing something from somewhere. Anyway, The Bank Job seemed tailor made for me. Unfortunately, the pacing was a little slow, the story was a bit dull (a true story that, honestly, just wasn't as exciting as fictional stories tend to be), and there was a little too much attention paid to the least interesting aspects of the story. Obviously Michael X was important to the story, but perhaps a little more scoop on Princess Margaret's indiscretions and a little less time spent showing Michael X and his racially charged bloviating? Not a bad movie certainly, but I probably won't ever watch it again.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor - I really liked The Mummy and I still watch it whenever it happens to be on TNT (which is pretty often). It's no great feat of movie making but it's a fun movie to watch and the performances are solid. The second Mummy movie felt very much like everyone on the first movie had gotten together to make another specifically because they'd had so much fun on the first, they just wanted another excuse to hang out and play in the sand. It wasn't as good a movie but it was serviceable enough. The third installment is just sad. The special effects border on pathetic - during an early sequence wherein the Dragon Emperor is supposed to be turning...to stone, I think...a strange, brownish liquid begins to bubble from his eyes and then his hair and eventually it's bubbling out all over him and he's simply covered in this brown liquid that makes him look like a person-shaped chocolate fountain filled with milk chocolate. It was not at all menacing and it was vaguely confusing. The movie is loaded down with back story about how bored Rick and Evie are now that they're retired from the adventurous lives they lived during the war (and, as a side note, did I know they were spies? Because I always thought she was an archaeologist and he was a tomb raider but this movie insists they were the best spies the British government had, or something) as well as evidence that their son is profoundly stupid about tomb raiding for someone who was raised by people who'd fought mummies on more than one occasion. Jet Li must have worked a grand total of 5 days on this movie, collected a fat paycheck and then ran for the hills because the Emperor is mostly computer generated and has a voice that is similarly not human. I found the entire first half of the movie very boring and the second half was mostly stuff we'd already seen in the previous iterations. John Hannah is looking old and rough; Brendan Fraser...still has a nice bod for his age; Maria Bello is a fine actress but she's no Rachel Weiss and, frankly, it makes me sad that she tried; Michelle Yeoh was gorgeous; Luke Ford is quite a fetching lad. Overall, the movie is not worth the money to see it in the theater, and I probably wouldn't recommend renting it either, though certainly it wouldn't hurt to watch it when it comes on cable.
Throwdown with Bobby Flay - I used to kind of hate Bobby Flay. I thought he was sort of cocky and self important and just generally obnoxious. So for a long time, I avoided his shows on The Food Network because while he did make stuff that sounded and looked yummy, I just didn't want to listen to him. But my mom got me hooked on The Next Food Network Star and I started to warm up to him a bit. I realized that he's got a lot of irons in the fire with at least 4 restaurants, four shows on the Food Network, several cookbooks and a wife and daughter. So when I sat down to eat dinner on Saturday, I flipped on Throwdown. First of all, I love how often Bobby loses the throwdowns and what a good sport he is about it - inevitably, when he tastes the competitions food he says "oh no, that's really good. We're in trouble." But my favorite part of the show is when he and his two assistants are in the test kitchen inventing their recipe. His assistants are both as sassy as can be, they give him a hard time, and they really tell it like it is. During the first tasting of his attempt at Jerk Ribeye, the first assistant said "it doesn't have a lot of flavor...it needs...something...more spice" then the second assistant said "yeah...it's not good." His reaction shot was priceless. Anyway, I watched 6 different challenges over the weekend - Buffalo wings, jerk ribeye, arepas, pulled pork, BBQ spare ribs, and hot dogs - and he only won one of them (hot dogs). Between Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri, I've grown addicted to the Food Network again.
That about sums up what I did to entertain myself this weekend. How was your weekend?