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Rounding up the Usual Suspects
Steve's Livejournal
Today is my birthday.
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Today was another busy day, with three films, taking "T" to his swimming class, and a birthday dinner with family.

The first film was Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins, a biographical documentary about Molly Ivins, one of the few print journalists to become a celebrity. It's excellent, and the general buzz seemed to be close to universal enthusiasm. It's funny and informative.

The second film was Greener Grass, which started out entertaining, with vibrantly oversaturated colors and a deadpan delivery that suggested that something clever was on the way. But it quickly stalled, and started to feel like those Saturday Night Live sketches that are funny for three minutes but tedious when they drag on for ten minutes – except this dragged on for 101 minutes. This may be the worst film I've seen this year.

The third film was Midnight Family, a documentary about a family that provides private a ambulance to Mexico City, which has only 45 public ambulances. The family is at the mercy of patients' ability and willingness to pay, as well their own ability to pay the bribes demanded by the police, so their financial situation is tenuous. I was puzzled by the credits, which seemed to include actors, while other articles about the film say that it was all recorded by the director on two cameras. A lot of the source material is excellent, but it's not assembled into much of a story, which gives it a rather aimless feel.

If not for evening plans, I would have liked to see both the archival film The Bigamist, directed by Ida Lupino, and Miles Davis: The Birth of Cool, but not only did they conflict with evening plans, they conflicted with each other.

After the films, "J" and I picked up a few things from home, then went to get T for his swim lesson.

Next on the agenda was a family dinner in downtown Bellevue, celebrating my birthday at a fancy fish restaurant. My parents, brother, and sister-in-law were there. The salmon and dessert were delicious, and the celebration pleasant.

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