Houses, ghosts, and irony

It’s a done deal, folks. Amy and I closed on our house Friday, and we’ve spent the last few days moving stuff to the new domicile. About half of the apartment has been relocated at this point, but we’ll have to wait until we have some help before we tackle the larger pieces of furniture. (If anyone in the Scranton area is feeling generous with their time and muscles next Saturday, December 8th, then please drop me a line.)

The best part is being down in the basement, looking at the blank wall that will soon house my long-desired home theater. (It will be mine… oh yes.) As a new HD-DVD owner, I can’t wait to upgrade the rest of my components, so that I can dazzle guests with the improved audio and video clarity. Give me a TrueHD receiver with surround sound and a good-sized 16×9 HDTV display, and you’ll never hear me complain about anything in my life ever again. Soon, my precioussssss, soon…

In other news, Canada’s Buck Productions has officially passed on Extra Extra, stating their desire to focus exclusively on Reality TV for the immediate future. Oh well. The pilot is still circulating among a few other companies, but as Buck was by far the most interested, I don’t hold out much hope for an acquisition. Still, it was a good try. We gave it a shot, which is something most people never do. (In an ironic bit of timing, a great article about one of our actors, Lexie Langan, appeared in a local paper this week. The pilot is discussed at some length.)

The move has severely curtailed my film watching, but here are the last few movies towards which I aimed my eyes:


The classic Tobe Hooper/Steven Spielberg frightfest, and the first horror movie I ever remember seeing. I don’t have time to adequately describe the effect this film had upon my brother and me when we were kids; let’s just say it made an impact, and leave it at that. (Case in point: for years my brother insisted that someone stay in the room with him while he played our Atari 2600, lest he somehow get sucked inside the television.)

Watching it again this week, I found that I still liked the movie, but I think it would be slightly more effective if the second half focused more on suspense rather than visual effects. And the “man ripping his face off in the bathroom” sequence feels gratuitous to me now; it’s not in keeping with the rest of the movie’s tone.

Still, Poltergeist remains one of the definitive haunted house films. I’m still hoping for a *real* special edition DVD at some point. Even the new “25th Anniversary” disc is pretty barren in the supplements department.


I’m a huge fan of the 1972 Solaris, but I didn’t see the remake until yesterday. I’m impressed! Soderburgh trims nearly an hour from the storyline, making the narrative tighter and more precise, while sacrificing little in terms of plot or atmosphere. It’s still not what you’d call “sprightly paced”, but the flow is amazing. And there’s a great ending, worthy of Brazil.

These themes interest me a great deal, as I’ve long wondered whether a happy but illusionary life is better than a “real” but miserable existence. (See also The Matrix, The Truman Show, Star Trek: Generations and dozens of other sci-fi films, novels, and television shows.)

Back to the Future

Yep… it’s still perfect.



One response to “Houses, ghosts, and irony

  1. Joe,

    Congratulations on the house! I have no doubts that the media room will be incredible. Should MJ and I ever be in the Scranton area, we’d love to be dazzled!


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