ETC.: Five for Friday
Five things this week that make life interesting:
1. "Grizzly Man." This heartbreaking, amazing documentary is perhaps the best movie I've seen about the strange line between man and nature. It's the tale of Timothy Treadwell, a peculiar combination of Mr. Rogers and Grizzly Adams who devoted years of his life to studying and "protecting" Alaska's grizzly bear population — until he met an awful end. Director Werner Herzog has crafted this documentary using the hours and hours of footage Treadwell shot of himself in the woods, and it's utterly fascinating, voyeuristic and sometimes horrifying stuff. Treadwell is a kind of holy fool, who managed to convince himself he was the savior of the bears. His monologues are strangely hypnotic, and Herzog does a masterful job of reassembling Treadwell's life and looking at how a bear lover ended up bear food. Despite his many flaws, I ended up admiring this poor doomed guy anyway. We are truly in a golden age of the documentary right now, and "Grizzly Man" is one of the best of them.
2. The return of "Scrubs"! Finally, one of TV's best comedies is back on the air after a lengthy fall hiatus. Even better, right now they're airing two original episodes back-to-back on Tuesday nights. While it's not as madly innovative as "Arrested Development," it's still better written than 90% of TV's sitcoms.
3. Wallace and Gromit! Peter has entered that endearing phase when he fixates on one thing over and over and over again. In Oregon's rainy winter weather, he's not able to play outside so much, so TV sometimes steps in as a playmate. His absolute favorite thing in the world right now is watching our Adventures of Wallace & Gromit DVD multiple times. He often gets very sad (well, OK, throws a mini-tantrum) if he's deprived of watching his "dog," as he calls it. Oh well. At least it's the great, quiet humor and British claymation of Wallace and Gromit and not McDonald's ads he's watching. These quirky, veddy British short features hold up to even the amount of repeated views a toddler demands.
4. Getting a huge box o' graphic novels from the fine folks at DCBS today. I will spend the weekend geeking out with:
• Demo Collection by Brian Wood - At last!
• Showcase Presents Justice League of America Vol. 1 - 500 pages of silver age goodness!
• Omega The Unknown Classic - Ultra-quirky 1970s Marvel Comics madness!
• Fantastic Four Visionaries John Byrne Vol. 5 - So glad they're continuing this reprint series. Great stuff.
• Fables Volume 6 - Who is the Adversary? How have I avoided the spoilers?
• Superman "True Brit" softcover - Remember when DC Comics made a big deal about John Cleese "writing" a Superman comic? Then it came out (with apparently pretty minimal contributions from Cleese) and I pretty much never heard another word about it. Nevertheless, for a 50% discount it seemed like it'd be worth checking out, and I always like John Byrne's art on Superman.