now, where was I?…

As I was saying before Mother Nature reared her disruptive head…

I procured the following from Netflix last Friday…


These should make for an excellent double feature. Rian Johnson’s directorial debut Brick was mentioned by me earlier this year when I lamented, once again, of how I had a dire need to see it in the theater but Savannah sucks through a coffee table when it comes to indie film. And, as always, my viewing of the film is relegated to DVD. In any case, I’m excited to watch it.

I’d always known he wrote the 1996 Troma film Tromeo and Juliet. But I was not a fan of James Gunn in 2002. I saw his 1999 film The Specials and thought it simply a lower-budgeted version of Mystery Men but lacking something. He wrote Scooby-Doo and I was lead down a path of distaste via Ain’t It Cool News. But you know what? It wasn’t all that bad. The sequel is another thing. In 2003 he wrote the remake of Dawn Of The Dead. It was a good horror film (and I’m Mr. Anti-Remake usually), one that I suspect would have gotten more respect had it carried any other title. Earlier this year he gave us his directorial debut Slither. He wrote it as well and supplied a very good horror comedy that came and went like a breeze in theatres. It’s a shame as it was a really good throwback to ’80s horror comedies like Night Of The Creeps.

His wife, Jenna Fischer, can currently be seen on NBC’s hit series The Office. She plays Pam, the receptionist. In 2004 she made her writing and directing debut with the above mockumentary Lollilove, about a satirical version of James and herself who give out lollipops with inspirational slogans to homeless people in order to cheer them up. Advance word is very good on this one as well. I’ll tackle these and post reviews after.

This was an experience to be certain. Jeff, our assistant manager, let me borrow it and I finally got around to watching it. It concerns a hidden subculture in which men run websites around overweight girls. They are the “feeders”, the girls are the “gainers” and bets are taken on when these girls will die. A cop in Australia finds one such guy in America and heads out to stop him. It’s a taut, unnerving film that I only recommend if you know that it’s certainly unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

And now the long-awaited jury duty story…gather round children of the world for here goes…

I checked the Chatham County Juror website every night at 5:45, hoping to not get called. But lo and behold, Tuesday night mine was called: 528. So I arrived at the courthouse at 8:30, fifteen minutes early. I’d been through this before and took a seat in the jury assembly room on the second floor. I read the book I’d brought (Off Season by Jack Ketchum) and waited. The jury services lady told us that both cases that were being tried were criminal trials. We had The Travel Channel on a screen behind her for the most part. She gave us a ten-minute break after supplying us with our juror stickers. One group had their numbers written in pink marker, others in brown. I was one of the brown group. The pink marker crowd went up to the fourth floor; I’m unaware of their fate.

We were told that we’d be going into Judge Karpf’s courtroom. We were led into the courtroom, where I noticed that I knew one of the bailiffs. He waved at me and smiled and I returned the favor. Twelve of us potential jurors were already in the jury box; the rest of us took seats in the gallery. The judge came in at that time. The defendant, a young black male, sat with his attorney. A blond female, presumably the prosecutor, was seated ahead of them. They all kept glancing back at us, sizing us up as we all know.

Judge Karpf told us about how important us showing up was and thanked us immensely. He was talking about the process of jury selection when a loud knock could be heard at a door attached to an alcove near the judge. A bailiff handed Judge Karpf a note written on paper from a legal pad. The judge said that he suspects he’d have to deal with a juror’s issue, as there was another jury deep in their third day of deliberation on another case. If that happened, we’d have to go back to the jury assembly room and wait. He continued telling us about what was going to happen and, in a very cool move, said that even if we’re not selected by no means does that mean we cannot stay. He added that our legal system is transparent and all courtrooms are open for the public….and that he’d really appreciate the company! 😉 Judge Karpf then said that he doesn’t labor under any false illusions that people would want to stay to watch — just that he’d appreciate it, as it gets awfully boring in the courtroom! He was a really cool guy (maybe not if you’re charged with a crime) with a great sense of humor and personality.

He surmised correctly. We were lead back to the jury assembly room, where the jury services lady forgot to turn The Travel Channel back on. The room was cool and it was still 11-something in the morning. Snores were abundant and I almost fell victim to slumber as well. Luckily, I had my book. She came back in and turned the TV back on. We were in there for about 30-35 minutes. The lady returned then, turning off the TV. She said the judge had something to tell us. He then entered, along with a bailiff. Judge Karpf said, “Unfortunately sometimes these things happen when we try to juggle too many things on one plate. We were making an attempt to try two cases at once. I had to pause to deal with one juror’s concern on the other case when the case you were going to try was plea bargained.” He said that the defense attorney had met with him and a deal was struck. The case involved a young man who approached a woman at a Garden City shopping center. He told her that he had several XBox video games he’d be willing to sell her at a severely discounted rate — for about $140. They went to his car, she produced the money, and he took off with it. There was a camera in the parking lot and he was caught. He entered a plea and the judge accepted, so he got five years — two served, three on probation. Judge Karpf thanked us for our service and told us we were free to go.

So no more jury duty for me — until January 2008 at the earliest.

And now onto more musings from me…

A couple of books I’m eager to pick up…

I’ve yet to decide what I want to buy with my $10 juror check. I was planning on picking up the 1990 Bill Murray comedy (which he co-directed) Quick Change on DVD. It’s his best movie and you need to see it immediately if you haven’t. I still might although I would like to pick up a new book.

I spent several evenings in the company of two friends, Zach and Amanda. We just hung out and watched TV. A very cool time was had by all. Neither has seen Quick Change. I have it on VHS but cannot find it anywhere. I tore my room apart looking for it, to no avail, so I think I’ll get that at Best Buy tomorrow. I need it for my DVD collection anyway.

Tomorrow the Fox Searchlight film Little Miss Sunshine will begin playing here in Savannah at Carmike Cinemas Wynnsong 11. I’ve been waiting for this film. It was directed by the husband-and-wife directing team Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. The duo has directed tons of music videos over the decades and along with Kevin Kerslake, Mark Pellington, David Fincher, Mark Romanek, and Spike Jonze, really helped define MTV during the early ’90s. Their debut film has garnered terrific critical acclaim. I look forward to seeing it, especially Steve Carell’s performance.

Well I’ve blathered tons for now. More later. Now, I’m off to view the films from Netflix, watch a little TiVo, and just relax and try to enjoy the last vestiges of my paid vacation. Check back closer to Sunday for my Emmy picks. And don’t forget…THE MAN himself…Conan O’Brien is hosting…click the below banner to be taken to NBC’s Emmys site.


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