Big Love: I recently finished watching the first season of HBO’s Utah polygamy drama, which I quite like. They’ve obviously done some homework (including referring to my Mormonism For Dummies book, my coauthor tells me), and yet it’s fun to spot the Utah/Mormon nuances they get wrong. The show has some sexual elements, but overall it does not make you want to live the polygamous lifestyle. The characters really come to life and grow on you, although sometimes you find yourself asking, “Now, why are they living this lifestyle again? What is their motivation?”
Role Models: I’m a sucker for these Judd Apatow–style raunchy-with-a-heart-of-gold comedies. I thought the best thing about Forty-Year Old Virgin was Seth Rogen, and sure enough I really liked his subsequent movies Knocked Up, Superbad, and Pineapple Express. My conscience is not entirely clear about enjoying these movies, because they are pretty raunchy, but damn, they're funny. I have not yet seen Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and part of me hopes I'm not tempted.
Quantum of Solace: I’m not a big James Bond fan, by any means. I liked a couple of the movies as a kid but don’t have much use for them now. Even the recent new-direction-for-Bond Casino Royale didn’t do much for me—I can't even remember it, tell you the truth. I wouldn’t have made any effort to see Quantum except that my employer arranged a free screening and my 13-year-old Jordan wanted to go. I actually liked it better than expected, although I felt quite confused most of the time about the characters' motivations and interrelationships. But the stunts and cinematography were good, and it held my interest. I really love the rhythm and tone and style of the Bourne movies, and this one imitated those quite a bit, so that’s probably why I liked it.
Kid movies: This month I’ve taken my kiddoes to see Madagascar 2 and Bolt. I was able to enjoy both of them pretty well. The hippos in Madagascar 2 were strangely sexual, and I didn’t particularly enjoy exposing my kids to that. Animation is getting pretty impressive—I particularly loved the 3-D animation in Bolt.
Water: I enjoyed this subtitled film about the plight of widows in India. Widows there are of all ages, including little girls. They live lives of pseudo-religious poverty and isolation in order to make amends for the sins from their previous lives, which supposedly caused their husband's deaths, and if they remarry they will be doomed to seven lifetimes of being reborn as jackals. Check it out if you like foreign films and learning about other cultures, but don’t watch it too late or you’ll get sleepy.