Friday Flotsam: Minnesota and Mario

1. Spent most of the week in Minneapolis getting training for my new job. It went fine for the most part, but travel is always tiring, especially travel for work. Looking forward to the weekend.

2. I always hate air travel; crammed alongside strangers for an hour or more while the pressurized air grinds against your eardrums. I’d gladly pay an extra day or more of travel for a little more space and no pressurized air.

3. Apart from the discomfort there is also the loss of experience. Over at Song of Joy today the topic of Around the World in 80 Days came up and someone mentioned how it’s actually more difficult today to travel around the world in that time frame by land and water transport, because there’s hardly any water transport anymore. The consequence of this, it occurred to me, is to turn most of the world into flyover country. Even people who travel a lot generally just hop from one city to another via jet plane, which, even allowing for the view on clear days, may as well be a closet for how much of the trip you actually experience. At least in a train you can see the countryside as you go through it, and in a ship you can see the coastline.

I’ve always said: I think air travel should be made more exclusive and more expensive and passenger trains more common. That way those who really have to travel by plane will have a better experience since there will be fewer people traveling by air, while rail travel could take care of the majority of casual or every-day traffic at the cost of a little time. Not that anyone’s really in a position to make that happen, but that’s what I’d like to see.

4. One of the things I learned while I was there (my new boss is a fairly interesting guy) was that Lake Minnetonka is where all the executives and other super-rich of Minnesota have their giant mansions. We passed by it and I got a taste for it: average-sized houses that cost well into the millions because they’re within walking distance of the lake, and homes larger than the average hotel along the lake shore. Though as my host pointed out, the lake is so crowded in the summer that’s its fairly useless for water sports or boating or anything of the kind for anyone who wants to actually enjoy them. This in a state whose nickname is “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” so it isn’t as if alternatives are wanting.

The funniest part to me was the fact that probably the majority of the people on the lake only pay all that much money for the sake of saying they had a home on Lake Minnetonka…something that is utterly meaningless to 99% of the country.

What did Chesterton say? “To be clever enough to get all that money, one must be stupid enough to want it.”

5. In other news, the teaser trailer for the new Super Mario Brothers movie is out. Amazingly enough, this does not look awful. Actually…dare I say it, it looks pretty good.

I was particularly worried that they would make Bowser into a joke, the way a lot of animated bad guys from second-rate companies are. You know, with ‘self-aware’ quips about his evil speech or pratfaling in the middle of his introduction or something. But no; the trailer plays him completely straight as a powerful and intimidating monster. It’s his penguin opponents (straight out of the games) who are played for laughs. The Koopa Troop gets a few gags, but that’s perfectly kosher as far as I’m concerned. Jack Black actually sounds like he’s doing a really good job in the role: I wouldn’t have recognized him.

Not sold on Chris Pratt’s voice as Mario: it sounds too generic and flat at the moment. Mario should at least have a distinctive voice even if we don’t go full cartoon-Italian accent. But it’s not terrible. And at least Charles Martinet is going to be involved, so that’s a good thing.

(Speaking of voices, that’s Khary ‘Cyborg’ Payton as the Penguin King!)

And I love the way the music is deployed. And the colorful cartoon aesthetic straight out of the game worlds.

It’s way too soon to call yet, of course, but this looks a lot better right now than I would have expected!

The crucial factor is definitely going to be Peach, since her character is the sort that modern Hollywood has no conception of how to write. If they keep her in character, this will be a miracle film for that reason alone.

6. The other crucial factor, of course, is “Will John Leguizamo and / or Samantha Mathis have cameos?” Because I will forgive a lot if they do (Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper sadly no longer being with us).

I’d also like Lance Henrikson to get a cameo, but that’s not quite the same thing because 1). his role in the original was already a cameo, and 2). he’s in so many movies that it almost wouldn’t count. That I’d like to see Lance Henrikson have a role is something that could be said of pretty much any movie.

7. Thing is, the original is a bad movie, but I like when bad movies get acknowledgement for at least existing, rather than being shoved under the rug. The worst thing you can do for a film or any other work is to ignore it, and there are very few films that deserve that fate (a lot of them are fairly recent).

2 thoughts on “Friday Flotsam: Minnesota and Mario

  1. Concerning your point in paragraph 3 about air travel: in the days of my youth, i.e., the early 1980’s when I was fresh out of law school, air travel was still heavily regulated. It required a certification from the FAA for a carrier to fly a given route, and fares were also regulated. Those regulated fares were high enough that carriers were pretty much guaranteed to make a nice profit, and because competition was limited by the route allocation process. Planes were seldom full, or anywhere close. I spent a lot of time my first few years of practice flying around to depositions and trials, (my law firm handled primarily business litigation and insurance defense, with clients scattered all over the US), and I don’t recall ever having anyone sitting in the middle seat next to me unless I was traveling with my bride. Nearly all the adult men wore coats and ties, and women generally wore what then was considered appropriate business attire. It was, to put it mildly, a different world from what has emerged post-deregulation. Like you, I much prefer that scenario to the mass chaos that now dominates air travel. Now that I’m retired, I have no desire to fly anywhere in any event. Passenger rail service in the US today is, of course, abominable, and isn’t really an option if you want to arrive on time, but as long as the EV fanatics don’t succeed in their absurd mission to destroy the American automobile culture, I will be perfectly happy to drive anywhere I really want to go. Actually seeing the areas through which one is traveling is much preferable to flying over them, in my view anyway, so long as you have the time to spare.

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