Get Away From Her You Bitch!.

Paul Riser's not gonna sleaze his way out of this one.

First, can I just say that James Cameron is a fucking genius? Not only is the sequel to 'Alien' - aptly titled 'Aliens' - leaps and bounds superior to the original, but it may in fact mostly be the greatest sci-fi movie of all time. Mostly.

Mostly since in all actuality, 'Terminator 2: Judgment Day' - a James Cameron sequel to the James Cameron original 'The Terminator' - is the greatest sci-fi movie of all time. Nevertheless, 'Aliens' is great because I've never seen the movie before, but there are minimum five scenes where I'm watching and thinking, "I've SEEN that parodied somewhere!" Be it Newsradio's 'Daydream' episode, The Simpsons episode where Santa's Little Helper gets stuck in the heating ducts and Groundskeeper Willie greases himself up to track down the beast, or any number of South Park episodes, specifically in season 2 where the hospital's power goes out and they split up into two teams to turn it back on (Team A, consisting of pretty much everybody, sits in a room by a fire sipping hot chocolate while Team B - Kenny - braves the sewer pipes and the freezing cold to single-handedly save the dying Mefesto so he can tell Cartman who his father is).

Aww shucks, look at me, I'm ramblin' again!

I feel fucking great, you know that? I'm tinkering with my workout scheme again. Instead of running for a longer amount of time, I'm gonna keep it at 40 minutes and increase my speed a tenth of a MPH until I get up to 10-minute miles and beyond (which would be 6 MPH; I'm currently up to 5.6). I'm not quite up to 4 miles a day, but I'm at 3.8, which is damned good.

Also, I'm feeling fucking great because I didn't have Top Ramen for dinner yesterday. Julie's in town with her mother and aunt, so I met up with them for dinner down in the Village. Have you ever had Tapas? It's Spanish cuisine, but instead of each person getting a single entree, you order like a couple appetizer plates each and everybody shares. They stack them up on the table, so we had two towers of three appetizers each. I'm talking steak and sausages and stuffed mushrooms and salad and shrimp and this potato-omlette thing. Amazing. AND we had Sangria, which is a Spanish style of wine with fruit in it (mostly pineapple). AND, Julie's mom paid for the whole thing, so that was kick-ASS.

Julie and I then went and saw The Darjeeling Limited. I must say I enjoyed it much better than I did the first time I saw A Life Aquatic, but it's still nowhere near The Royal Tenenbaums. And it did have that one shocking moment that I talked about before, but it didn't really hit me since I knew it would be coming, and because I really had nothing invested in the character who died.

One thing: Owen Wilson's character tells the story of how he's so fucking mangled in this movie (throughout he's wearing a series of bandages on his face and walking with a limp and a cast on his wrist), because he wiped out on his motorcycle. Then, later he reveals that he wiped out on his motorcycle on purpose, and I just wish I knew the reasons behind it. My theory would be that since the death of their father - a year prior - is all over this movie even though we never meet the man, it might've just been a moment of Wilson's character missing him so much he couldn't bear it any longer. Death hits people differently. Adrian Brody's character has been clinging to a number of their father's possessions; Jason Schwartzman's character's been writing a short story on the subject of their father's funeral; and both of them despise their mother for not showing up for the funeral. It would stand to reason, therefore, that Wilson's character hit a bottom somewhere that nobody's in on, and that's why he wants this India trip to be a spiritual journey to change all their lives. After all, their father died, his brothers took off for other parts of the globe, he was left all alone, and now he's on this mission to try and bring the family back together again. The only thing that gets in the way is the fact that it's in all of their nature to wander off and live independently. There's a semblance of hope there in the end, but it's hard for my cynical nature to see that hope manifesting into anything long-lasting.

Anyway, I'm finding the story of Wilson's character's unseen downfalls to be endlessly more interesting than what transpires in the film. Unfortunately, he couldn't be the focal point this film needs.

The thing about The Royal Tenenbaums that makes it a better film is the fact that all of the characters are equally interesting in different ways. Ben Stiller is stuck in this world where he's overprotecting his sons because his wife died in a freak accident. Gwenyth Paltrow is the adopted black sheep of the family who's led this double-life for so long she can't bring herself to stop. Luke Wilson's in love with his adopted sister and everything else in his life suffers as a result. I mean, go on down the line. Gene Hackman is destitute so he concocts this scheme to get back in with his wife and children; Anjelica Huston is the strong mother who raised their children to the neglect of her own love life; Owen Wilson is a drug-addict writer; Bill Murray is the cuckhold.

Here though, I'm sorry, but Jason Schwartzman's character means nothing to me. He's there, he's a writer who lives in hotels, he has an ex-girlfriend whose answering machine he checks habitually, and he fucks the train stewardess. Adrian Brody's character is slightly more interesting, but not by much. At least he's a good actor so there's some range of emotions there; even though we're only shown few in far between scenes (he kills when he starts tearing up at reading the short story about their father's funeral). Owen Wilson's character is far and away the most interesting, but he's reined in so much by the screenwriters that all we get out of him is that he's controlling - as, we find out, is their mother as well.

I'm not going to go so far as to pan the movie, but it's only getting an average rating from me. On first sight, it's slightly better than A Life Aquatic (which means it's better than Rushmore), but I'm not so sure it beats out Bottle Rocket, or my gradual increasing admiration for Life Aquatic upon subsequent viewings. I dunno, it's right in the middle.

What I will say is that I can't stand Jason Schwartzman in pretty much everything he does and I'm pretty sure if I ever met him in real life he'd probably be an asshole. That's just the vibe I get, some kind of Napoleon Complex crossed with an even bigger ego since all these New York Hipsters kiss his feet because they think Rushmore is the greatest film of the last 50 years.