As promised, I hung out with Tom tonight. Actually, I was feeling pretty damn awful this morning, and suddenly realized midway through the afternoon that with the exception of my stuffy nose, I was doing pretty good. Anyway, I drove down to Janesville and met up with Tom and Lindsay (who says my livejournal offends her). We went out to dinner and Tom gave me my belated Decemberween gift -- copies of the first four Dark Tower novels by Stephen King. Now I have no excuse to continue avoiding them.
After dinner, the three of us went and saw Big Fish, which is going to get a lot of well-deserved good press, probably even from people who aren't generally impressed with Tim Burton. Truthfully, there's not a lot of substance here, but the substance/style ratio is less skewed than, oh, say, any other Burton film. The casting and acting are really good, the script feels like updated Capra (in a good way), and, in case I didn't say it, this is a Tim Burton film, which means that the visuals are really beautifully composed (and are going to lose a lot in pan and scan, by the way). Danny Elfman's soundtrack is gorgeous, and the sound effects are amazing -- if any of y'all listen for such things, check out the footsteps. I might be wrong about this, but footsteps all sound new. I don't think they're stock sounds, which would be really cool. I'm gonna have to check this movie out on a really fantastic stereo system when it comes out on DVD. Oh, and there's one scene (where Carl signs the contract) where either an expensive special effect is done very poorly, or a really, really cheap special effect is done very well. I'd have to see it again to figure it out, and I don't think anybody else cares.
Anyway, yeah, good movie. The plot isn't new, but for those who somehow haven't managed to see a preview: Dad has (created for himself a) larger-than-life reputation. Kid has falling out with dad. Dad starts ailing. Kid comes back to share dad's last moments, and maybe learn something about the old man in the process. Sappy, but not pandering. Adventures of Baron Munchausen set in "gee whiz, pop" Americana sorta thing. If nothing else, it has the assassin from Another The Bride of The Return of The Son of The Night of The Pink Panther Strikes Back Again Part Deux: With A Vengence, And Then Some (or whatever that movie was called). The difference in his appearance over the span of 27 years? Very slightly gray hair.