Sunday, July 31, 2005


Good "Surprising" Films

More often than not, you end up watching a movie either because it has a fine cast, or its director is one of those credited to always deliver good films, or purely on the basis of the hype that it has created. However, I also remember watching films just because I had nothing else to do and finally the film turned out to be good enough to watch it a second and a third time. I am talking of those films that just catch you off guard purely because you had never expected it to turn out so well. I can think of a few such English films.

The Shawshank Redemption: I remember watching TSR just for its intriguing title and nothing else. Today, it’s an all time favorite of mine. Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman suit their individual roles perfectly. Excellent narration by Freeman, I remember TSR for its wonderful climax. I haven’t seen a film end in the perfect fashion as it did in this one.

Being John Malkovich : Unfortunately, I cannot describe BJM, simply because its too weird to describe. This is one of the most innovative films I have watched in terms of its script. Hats off to Charlie Kaufmann for writing such an ingenious story. John Malkovich playing himself is an absolute delight to watch. Another one of those films that really stunned me when I watched it first.

My Cousin Vinny: I did not know that this movie had worked wonders at the box office when I saw this. To me it was just another comedy. I would call this among the most entertaining flicks. Joe Pesci and Marisa Tomei are perfectly cast and its 2 hours of absolute fun. This is on this list simply because I never expected it make me laugh so much.

Fargo: Coen brothers who made this one were well sought after but I wasn’t aware of them. Again an absolutely wonderful movie noteworthy for its layered story line and some wonderful performances. Highly recommended.

Serial Mom: Dark humor at its best, I became a huge fan of Kathleen Turner after watching this one. Not for all tastes but I enjoyed it.

Nick of Time: Another one of those flicks that I thought of as just another action movie turned out to be a well-written, well-acted and engrossing thriller. The pace never lets up and it’s a must watch if you like action and suspense.

Jacob’s Ladder: Not rated very highly, but I remember finding this a very well made flick. The story and the setting of the film haunts me even now and I think this is definitely worth a watch. I would definitely classify this as a well-made psychological thriller. Not for the light hearted.

Birdcage: Agreed that this had some great actors in it but I never thought it would end up being such a delightful comedy simply because there was no hype surrounding the film. Terrific performances by Nathan Lane and Robin Williams. Entertaining.

Falling Down: First film that I watched of Michael Douglas and it made for a gripping thriller. A believable character study, this was one of those films that I can watch many more times for it’s a spot-on portrayal of an American who loses his cool. Extremely violent but worth watching.

Parenthood: Directed by Ron Howard, I have watched this film only once but I wait expectantly for the re-runs to appear on TV. Steve Martin and Rick Moranis are terrific in a film that depicts the trials of parenthood. Warm and insightful comedy.

Reality Bites: Actor Ben Stiller impresses making his debut as a director in a very intelligent film. It’s about young people who cannot cope up with the present day world.Great performances from the trio of Ben Stiller, Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


On call

If my fingers today are adept at handling many mobile phones, I should thank my previous company for this. During my stint in one of the projects there, I was given a mobile phone to carry with me over most weekends coz I was supposed to be "On call" and believe me it wasn't always a happy occasion.

If you have been part of a support or maintenance project (I mean in the software industry) then you probably would know what being on call means. If you haven't then its your good fortune. What this term means is that during weekends and holidays, you would be called on the phone to fix an issue and you are pretty safe if by some burst of clairvoyance, you have an inkling as to what the issue is and also have a ready solution in hand, else be prepared to traverse the entire distance to your office and in the course of this travel come up with a solution which you can readily apply on reaching the workplace. No, this is not as complicated as my previous sentence sounds.

I know that my weekend is wrecked the minute I am entrusted with a company provided mobile phone which would be my confidant for the next two days. The biggest misery for me is not the impending phone call but the actual wait for it. During these days, I would never part with the phone as if my whole life depended on it. Every two minutes, i would steal a furtive glimpse of this insipid object so much so that its contours would be sketched in my mind till eternity. And when the phone does ring, its a big relief for I would have something (other than waiting for that dreaded phone call) to look forward to for the remainder of the weekend.

Friday, July 08, 2005



The term "Goldwynism" is named after one Samuel Goldwyn(1882-1974) a US movie producer. He was known to be a lone wolf and survived for over thirty years in the movie industry. Goldwyn was known for his witty nature and some of his cracks have been publicized so much that they began to be coined by the term "Goldwynism". I enjoyed reading some of it but I am not aware if Goldwyn really made these himself or it just came to be known by this name. One must probably re-read the quotes a few times to get the humor.Some of his "supposedly made" gems are:

In two words: im-possible.

Gentlemen, include me out.

A hospital is no place to be sick.

Television has raised writing to a new low.

Don’t pay any attention to the critics. Don’t even ignore them.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong.

I don't think anyone should write their autobiography until after they're dead.

I don't want any "yes-men" around me. I want everybody to tell me the truth even if it costs them their jobs.

I think luck is the sense to recognize an opportunity and the ability to take advantage of it. Everyone has bad breaks, but everyone also has opportunities. The man who can smile at his breaks and grab his chances gets on.

Never make forecasts, especially about the future.

I had a great idea this morning, but I didn't like it .

A verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on.

Spare no expense to make everything as economical as possible.

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