I am not sure about the word pastimes because its rather Victorian and also it implies one needs something to pass the time with. Generally I don’t. My bleat is usually that I dont have enough time. But a month off does have its rewards, namely plenty of time for pursuing a couple of my favourite hobbies, watching films and reading.
Its not the first holiday we’ve been on where the landlords have left a random selection of DVDs in their property for our delectation and delight. As soon as we arrived, I mooched through over 25 or 30 and selected five I thought we might make our way through during our month off. An early winner was Off The Black starring Nick Notel and Trevor Morgan. I must confess I had never heard of it (or Trevor) despite fancying myself as a bit of a film buff. Surprising and delightful but maybe one’s critical defences are down while relaxing?
We followed this up with Fracture with Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling before getting down to the bottom of the barrel, to be quite honest with you, in Flicka (I cant stand horses!), Harrison Ford in an unnecessarily frightening Firewall which I had hoped would be a tech thriller but turned out to be very violent with that excellently nasty Paul Bettany in it as the bad guy and what a bad guy he makes! We finished up with Jarhead during which I had to have adrenaline breaks, to allow my threshold to recover somewhat to go on with the film.
Last night I found a beauty which I had accidentally passed over in my first sweep of the pile, the third and final in the Bourne trilogy. Blissfully I had seen 1 and 2 but not caught up with 3 so this was something to relish. I do love an action adventure and the whole Bourne thing of one man against the system really appeals to me, especially when he is always one step ahead of the CIA despite being only one man and without their tech advantages, served only by his somewhat wobbly moral advantage. Fab. And he always wins, leaving the door open for yet another sequel…?
At the movies here, one of the reasons I love SXM, we first saw some drivel called Couples Retreat (don’t bother) and followed it up with the infinitely superior Up In The Air with George Clooney, highly recommended.
But I think its the unexpected gems hiding in someone else’s DVD collection which I really like. Its like a book club obliging you to read books you wouldn’t otherwise; sometimes that’s a waste of time but often its improving and its always surprising and I really like that element of surprise. Whe knew that was a good book? Who knew that was a good film?
It reminds me not to pay too much attention to the critics but to read or view with an open mind and enjoy the diamonds in the rough.
Surprise best read of the holiday? An American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld. But who has time for over 600 pages, or even these strange unheard of films, when not on holiday?
I am reminded how much I love reading and films and to make more time for them in 2010 but then I am fairly sure thats on my list every new year. Still, they say that its important to keep on keeping on with resolutions, once you give up you are stuffed. Unless, of course, you are pursuing a “should”, in which case you have my permission to drop that off your list this year.
I know I am coming back to a veritable feast of new movies in the run up to the Oscars but I am a bit sad that I see so many trailers for films starring fabulous actors which I won’t be able to see because they are simply too ghastly a worldview for my somewhat delicate disposition. Denzel Washington in The Book of Eli, the aforementioned Paul Bettany in Legion and Leonardo di Caprio in Shutter Island to name but three. Is this stuff really the best work these fabulous actors are being offered? And I havent even mentioned Daybreakers and The Wolfman, far, far too scary.
After just one of these, if I have to, it will be a long line of restorative Rom-Coms for me with a 12A certificate!