Jesse Eisenberg: Crazy Cat Lady?

I love it when the first guest on a talk show, always a FAR bigger name than the second guest, stays for the second guest and the musical act. A classy move. What usually happens, though, is that the star's handlers get them there, shove them onto the set, they respond to a set of pre-approved "questions" ("I understand you recently had an interesting experience on an airplane..."), pimp their latest project, and get out of town.

Jesse Eisenberg (The Squid and the Whale, Zombieland, and most recently, The Social Network) was on Conan on Thursday, and was a class act. He was funny, self-effacing, and most importantly, stayed on the couch through the Venus Williams interview and the Decemberists' song. Great move, Jesse, now I like you even more.

But the thing that I liked even more, the reason I'm blogging about this episode of Conan, was something that Eisenberg said in his interview. When Conan asked him if his life had changed in any way since the release of The Social Network, he said, somewhat cryptically, "I have a lot more cats." So it comes out that Eisenberg is on a list of cat-adopters, so his apartment is basically a cat boarding house. He said that it's full of cat food, litter, and nothing else. Why does he have all the cats? Guilt! He said that he feels guilty for having such success in movies, and so cares for abandoned cats. The more success he had, the more cats he adopted. More popular movie? More cats. The result? Some potentially (and temporarily) expiated guilt and a house full of cats!

Isn't it great that we have a God who accepted expiation once and for all? Who doesn't require that we keep punishing ourselves (by filling our homes with animals who think they're smarter than us)?

Not to Defend Mel Gibson, But...

I watched Apocalypto again the other day. That movie is good. It's not the sweeping epic that it was expected to be, but it's a fun action movie, with a funny language and myriad body piercings. Since Mel Gibson (who directed) has been in the news recently for everything BUT his films (here's the latest, an interesting take on his firing from The Hangover 2), I thought I'd give a quick run-down of some of my favorites. I think Mel the filmmaker is pretty awesome:

I've always said that this is the movie that Shaft should have been. I remember my college friends and I were so excited when it was announced that Samuel L. Jackson would play John Shaft in a movie. The idea of Jackson walking around talking smack and being awesome just sounded like a can't miss. It missed. Shaft is incredibly densely plotted, confusing, and poorly acted. I'm looking at you, Vanessa Williams. Payback stars Gibson as Porter, an armed robber who wakes up after being ambushed and left for dead by a former partner. He's owed $70,000 from the last job they pulled, and he goes about getting it back, killing his way to the top of the local crime syndicate. He's John Shaft with a bigger gun: walking around, talking smack, and being awesome.

The Road Warrior
The second movie in the Mad Max trilogy, The Road Warrior is by far the best. Again, a simple premise: in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, gas is gold. A lone cruiser, Gibson comes across a compound under siege. He trades his expertise and violence for all the gas he can carry. Post-apocalyptic chaos ensues. And is awesome.

One phrase is all that's necessary: "Diplomatic immunity!" "...has just been revoked." Awesome.

Mel Gibson has good comic timing. I think his cameo in The Hangover 2 would have been hilarious and winning (which is probably why certain co-stars couldn't allow it). His interplay with Jodie Foster and James Garner is really well done. Maverick, of course, is an adaptation of the late 50s-early 60s television show of the same name, starring Garner and Jack Kelly. A well-dressed gambler always looking for a good game? Complete with witty banter? Awesome.

Early enough in M. Night Shyamalan's catalog to not be completely terrible, Signs is a good, old-fashioned thriller. An alien invasion story that is narrow in scope, it centers on a single family (Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin, and Rory Culkin...a great cast) on their farm, needing to survive. Gibson plays a faithless former Episcopal priest (a little close to home...) who needs God to help him get through. Oh, and he looks awesome in a clerical collar.

We Were Soldiers
The "other" Vietnam movie, I liked We Were Soldiers more than either Platoon (the most overrated movie of all time) or Apocalypse Now (how many times can I type that word in one blog post?). Dealing with the human stories in the midst of war, both home and abroad, this movie is pretty moving. But Mel is Mel, using his limited range to walk around upright in the face of enemy fire, lead men, and be awesome.

Thoughts on Being "Human"

I'm only human
Of flesh and blood I'm made
Born to make mistakes
- The Human League ("Human")

As it is written, there is no one righteous
Not even one
There is no one who understands
There is no one who seeks God
- St. Paul (Romans 3:10-11)

To watch the actual video in all its 80s glory (they won't let me embed it), go HERE.

The Gospel According to Frasier begins this Sunday evening at 6pm in the church. Our first discussion is called "Frasier Crane and Being Human" and deals with Frasier's struggle to figure out whether people are basically good or basically bad. What do you think?
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