Archive for October 21st, 2004

2004.10.21

Van Helsing

Van HelsingVan Helsing was a movie with amazing visuals, a good story, and poor execution. As it is the execution of a story that most people are going to remember, it must be said that the movie is rather pathetic. It’s as if some witches were at a cauldron chanting, “A bit of Dracula and the brides he kissed, a pinch of Hyde and Frankenstein’s fist.” Mix in a load of film references to Blade, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Hong Kong Action Films, and stir until nice and thick with bad dialogue. A potpourri of things that really don’t smell well together.

The lesson to the film studios should be that just because a director, Stephen Sommers in this case, put out a few good films don’t let him go and do anything he wants with an unlimited budget. Make him fight for every opportunity and penny until he’s so successful that you can’t control him anymore. If you don’t, the movie is going to suck, I promise.

As dismal as that sounds, I still found the movie entertaining. Dracula was one of the queeniest vampires I’ve seen in a long time, everyone had cringingly bad accents (to the point where I actually enjoyed them!), and the action scenes and effects were spectacular. The two characters I really liked were Hyde, done almost completely digitally, and the Friar (Van Helsing’s sidekick). Kate Beckinsale is always a pleasure, and Hugh Jackman plays the role of Van Helsing in the only way possible: over the top. I also loved seeing parts of Prague floating about in the background. *sigh*

It’s not a movie I’d recommend you buying, but it is worth renting on a night when you don’t know what else to watch but are determined not to go home empty handed. The bloopers on the DVD alone are worth the cost of a rental.

Comments Off on Van Helsing | Catergorized: movies

2004.10.21

I Am a Sciolist

I was delighted and consternated to learn a new word recently, sciolous, because it describes me all too well. A Sciolist is someone who knows a little about a lot, but not a lot about anything. This description fits me perfectly. I know a little about science, literature, geography, politics, economics, computers, civil rights, law, web development, writing, linguistics, music, history, culture, etc… but I don’t know enough to claim any sort of proficiency at any of them.

I could never be an authority on any of those subjects (and more) because I was never bothered to learn them to any great detail. It’s not that I’m not interested, but by the time I reach the point where I’m required to put some serious effort into researching, studying, and memorizing to really get my facts down and develop deep understandings. I learned the general theories and some essential facts, maybe a bit more, and then my interest moved on to other things.

This is a big problem in our modern world, which prides itself on what you know, how well you know it, and practically requires you to be a specialist to get ahead. Who would take you seriously as a professional if you admit you don’t know almost everything in your field? The likely answer is: Not many. Even our “modern” liberal arts schools are becoming more and more specialized; your major is really all anyone seems to care about.

Despite this, I like knowing a little about everything. It allows me to make connections others would completely miss. It allows me to draw on a range of possibilities that many others can’t have because it’s not a part of their specialized knowledge base. It allows me to follow any conversation even if I can’t make specific contributions, and ask intelligent questions without seeming like an idiot.

Who knows, there might even be a career out there where being a sciolist is a good thing. I haven’t found it yet, but I’m hopeful. In the meantime, I’ve learned a new word I’d never heard and I can say with some authority that I’m not about to change what I am, even if I could.

5 Comments | Catergorized: geek
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