Passengers

I turned on the television and watched Serena Altschul’s segment on CBS Sunday Morning.  They didn’t mention the news of William Christopher’s death.  I discovered that Trader Joe’s was closed for the holiday, but I was able to go to Safeway and buy some items.  I headed over to Jack London Square to see a movie.  There was no Sunday discount due to the holiday, so it was annoying to spend nine dollars to see “Passengers.”  It was a science fiction movie with some flaws, the biggest one being Chris Pratt’s character.  The isolation, the emptiness and vastness of space, and the breakdown of technology brought to mind other movies, like “2001: A Space Odyssey,” “Silent Running,” and even “The Shining.”  A huge spaceship is on a 120-year journey to colonize a planet, but an accident causes Chris Pratt’s character Jim to come out of suspended animation 30 years into the trip.  The size of the ship was incredible, and it was hard to believe that such a ship could ever be constructed.  I had all sorts of questions about the dilemma, like why there weren’t emergency procedures in case of a malfunction.  Wasn’t there a possibility of going back to Earth?  Is there any real purpose in planning such a trip for only 5000 people?  After one year, Jim’s loneliness gets the best of him, and he brings Jennifer Lawrence out of her hibernation.  She is named Aurora, after Sleeping Beauty, apparently.  This is really a fatal flaw in the script, because it shows Jim to be too selfish and dumb, controlled by his libido.  He could have chosen someone to help him out with his problem.  It turns out at the end that there was a solution, but not for two people.  What happens conveniently in the story is that the ship’s malfunctions need two people for a fix, at least on the surface.  Again, what happened to the maintenance robots that were supposed to take care of everything?  I guess that in order to provide the story with a bit of racial diversity, Laurence Fishburne wakes up.  As I watched him, I thought of his previous movies, like “Apocalypse Now” and “The Matrix.”  Andy Garcia is also in the cast.  Screen time vs. screen credit is a noticeable question of this movie, as Jennifer Lawrence gets top billing even though she is asleep for a year.  Michael Sheen is the bartender who talked too much.  I don’t know why Jim was stupid enough to tell him his plan concerning Aurora, or why Aurora was too stupid to suspect something.  Aurora’s plan was pretty smart, to go to the colony and simply return to Earth in the future, although the question is what kind of planet you will see in 240 years.  There could be some kind of catastrophe that ruined the entire planet.  The spaceship looked ugly, and its design was highly questionable.  If the trip was efficient, there would be no need for luxuries because everyone would have been asleep for the entire trip.  There was still a possible solution at the end, if Jim was any good with his mechanical ability.  I thought the movie was most interesting in its first section, when Jim was facing his situation.  I kept thinking that Jim do the selfish thing and foolishly hope that it was going to work out in some way.  He came from a culture of self-absorption and getting what you want.  I think the movie deteriorated after Aurora woke up.  The script needed work because things didn’t feel right.  The movie felt like a Twilight Zone episode that went on for too long.  The movie has some of the qualities of the 120-year trip in its story, namely that it should have been thought out more carefully with a complete plan.  We see both of the main characters brushing with death, which made me think of “The Abyss.”  Some of these movie scenes that show resuscitation make it seem that any idiot can be a paramedic.  Well, with the Rogue One movie out there, I don’t see a lot of people rushing to see this one.  I can see audiences in some foreign countries really feeling disgusted with Chris Pratt’s character.  I wanted to like the movie more than I did, since it had elements of the old science fiction movies.  I left the theatre and listened to the Raiders game on the radio as I made my way home.  They didn’t have much of a chance of winning without Derek Carr playing quarterback.  What added to their problems was that the Chiefs were winning against the Chargers.  They went from having a playoff game at the Coliseum in two weeks to having to go to Houston next weekend.  A week ago, I didn’t think that the last home game of the season would be on Christmas Eve.  I sighed and went over to Mad Monk, where I bought a 45 of “The Long and Winding Road.”  On New Year’s Day of 1962, The Beatles failed their audition for Decca Records, which was just as well, because then they would not have worked with George Martin.  I listened to Rock ‘n’ Roll Times on KCSN and heard songs by Patti Smith and Elliott Smith.  “Horses” and “Easter” were good albums.  If Elliott Smith were still around, he would still be less than fifty years old.  I saw that Me TV was showing a new Columbo episode, although Anthony Zerbe was in it.  I fell asleep, so I didn’t get to see the ending.  I would have thought the Columbo would have made mincemeat out of someone who made himself out to be a psychic.  The opening scene actually made me think of Bill Murray in “Ghostbusters.”  I heard rain outside during the night and felt discouraged by the weather forecast for this week.  I don’t want it to rain.  I discovered the copy of Truffaut’s “The Green Room” in my mailbox.  Some of the people who died on January 3 include Emil Jannings (1950), Joy Adamson (1980), Will Eisner (2005), Pat Hingle (2009), and Phil Everly (2014).  Today is a birthday for Danica McKellar (42), Mel Gibson (62), and John Paul Jones (71).

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