Tag Archives: Resistance

Dude Review: The Lego Movie

Go see this movie!

I don’t know how I can be any plainer, dudes. This movie, The Lego Movie, is just plain fantastic. In a paraphrase of one of the movie’s lines of dialogue (and an iteration of one of many themes) “everything (about this movie) is AWESOME!”The Lego Movie, starring Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnet and many others, is a fantastic movie, that is fun, funny, full of love and heart, and just plain AWESOME!

Seriously, this is a revelation akin to the original Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Remember that, dudes. I know I was poo-pooing the entire concept of a movie based on a Walt Disney World ride. It had to be terrible. And, yet, against all odds, the movie was one of the best of the year and still merits rewatching whenever I stumble across it. I just have to forget much of what came after and that’s relatively easy.

This movie has the same vibe. I mean, come on. It’s a movie based on a toy comprising building blocks that you click together. That’s it. That’s the basis.

Well, I should have had some insight that this would be a relatively entertaining movie, considering the various Lego versions of movie video games have been pretty amusing. But this. . . This movie is a quantum leap over the video games. It is, flat-out amazing. And hilarious. Don’t forget hilarious. And moving. Yes, really. It’s moving with a wonderful metamessage.

To start with, after all the gushing, let’s talk technical achievements. Since this takes place in the Lego world, where all the people look like Lord Business Plan, played in The Lego Movie by Will Farrell, is a vicious man er block who plans to destroy the world on Taco Tuesday. The fiend.the little Lego people with their curved hands and all, every single thing is on the screen (with an exception we’ll get to later) is a Lego piece.

Which means that when there’s an explosion (and there are plenty) it’s not a CGI of fire. No, it’s a rapid stop-motion explosion made of Lego flame places. That is, little Lego pieces that are (roughly) shaped like a flame. When Emmet, the generic construction worker and hero, takes a shower, it’s not water or badly CGI’ed water, it’s small blue Lego pieces that come out of the shower head.

Just the detail is an astounding achievement. No matter how small you look in the movie, it’s Legos all the way down. There were scenes where I literally could not close my mouth, forced to hang open in awe.

The story concerns the fascistic Lord Business Plan, who is going to destroy the Lego world on Taco Tuesday. A loose coalition of Master Builders (Lego pieces who don’t need to follow the directions to build something, but can whip whatever they need out of the parts around

Vitruvius, played by Morgan Freeman in The Lego Movie, is the venerable old dude who knows stuff and is there to mentor our hapless hero, Emmet. All, however, is not as it seems.
Vitruvius is most funny near the end of the movie.

them), who are, themselves, Lego versions of real people (Abraham Lincoln, who flies around on a giant stone seat) or fictional people (the best Batman in years, Superman, Wonder Woman, a horribly needy Green Lantern) gather together to stop Lord Business Plan’s um plan. They are led by Vitruvius, a blind, bearded prophet who is voiced by Morgan Freeman, who sounds like he’s having the most fun he’s had in years.

The focus of the resistance is Emmet, the so-called Special, who is destined to find the Piece of Resistance, which will stop the Cra-gl, a weapon so diabolical, it will freeze Lego worlds for ever. Emmet is the least “Special” Lego person ever, the very definition of generic. But he supposedly is the one who will win the day. (Spoilers: He does, but in a way you’ll never guess.)

Near the end of the movie, it changes format completely for a very meta reason. I’m not going to spoil this for you right here, but, trust me when I say, it’s amazing. It adds a tremendous depth and warmth to the movie. Yes, to a movie about Lego bricks. As hard as that is to believe.

This is a movie you really must go see, even if you dudes have to go see it on your own, without benefit of kids. It’s that good.

I’m giving this six (6) dudes out of five. Go see it now. Before it’s out of theaters. And then buy the DVD. You will want to rewatch it.

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Hands In The Air: This Is A Sleep Up!

Dudes and dudettes need sleep.

I know this isn’t a big revelation or anything here, but it’s important that we establish this baseline. We do need sleep. And probably a lot more of it than we’re willing to give ourselves.

Research shows that most people require seven or eight hours of sleep to function optimally. Failing to get enough sleep night after night can compromise your health and may even shorten your life. From infancy to old age, the effects of inadequate sleep can profoundly affect memory, learning, creativity, productivity and emotional stability, as well as your physical health.

According to sleep specialists at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, among others, a number of bodily systems are negatively affected by inadequate sleep: the heart, lungs and kidneys; appetite, metabolism and weight control; immune function and disease resistance; sensitivity to pain; reaction time; mood; and brain function.

See? I told you so. Not that I want to get all high and mighty here, dudes. Because, after all, I’m probably one of the worst offenders, let me tell you. I get up around 0645 every morning, or at least every weekday morning when I was working at Awesome Elementary School. Unfortunately, I rarely got to bed before midnight the night before. Add in time spent falling asleep and, there you go, I’m down in the 6.5-hour range.

And I know I need more than that.

When I started reading that list of organ systems that could be adversely affected by a lack of sleep in a Personal Health column by Jane E. Brody in The New York Times, I started feeling it all. Each and every single symptom. All at once. Dizzying, I tell you. Or was that one of the symptoms?

Poor sleep is also a risk factor for depression and substance abuse, especially among people with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Anne Germain, associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh. People with PTSD tend to relive their trauma when they try to sleep, which keeps their brains in a heightened state of alertness.

Dr. Germain is studying what happens in the brains of sleeping veterans with PTSD in hopes of developing more effective treatments for them and for people with lesser degrees of stress that interfere with a good night’s sleep.

I’m pretty sure you don’t have to have PTSD to make horrible sleep a risk factor for substance abuse and depression. I can tell you, and I’m sure you know if you’ve ever slept as badly as I tend to do, I feel horrible the next day. And, when you consistently feel horrible, that’s a pretty good recipe for being depressed about your situation.

So what’s the solution?

Seriously? You had to ask?

It’s get more sleep. Even though that might be hard, it’s the best recommendation you can have for increasing your health and making you feel better.

Timothy H. Monk, who directs the Human Chronobiology Research Program at Western Psychiatric . . .  is finding that many are helped by standard behavioral treatments for insomnia, like maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding late-in-day naps and caffeine, and reducing distractions from light, noise and pets.

See that? Don’t nap late in the day. Stay away from caffeine during the afternoon and sleep in a (metaphorical) cave, far from noise and pets.

Easy enough to say. Now we’ve just got to get it done.

See you dudes on the other side.

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Mythical At The Gym

by Richard

Losing weight isn’t all that hard. Really. At its most basic, losing weight amounts to nothing more than eating less and exercising more. Seriously.

Unfortunately, that sort of advice tends to not go in one ear and out the other, but near one ear, round the back of the head and then off into the aether. Basically ignored is what I’m saying.

So, when sensible advice goes flying out the window, a lot of strange thoughts can filter in and take its place. No, I won’t be taking the time here to bash trendy diet and exercise plans. That’s too easy. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Sardines, maybe. In a very small barrel. With an anti-tank gun. Far too easy.

Instead, I’d like to talk about some basic gym myths. You know, stuff that everybody knows to be true. And, of course, if everybody knows something is true, it’s more likely to be false. If that isn’t confusing enough, dudes, then please, read on.

Myth No. 1: If you’re not hurting, you’re not working hard enough. This myth should be self-evidently wrong, but, for some reason, it’s got a rather enduring shelf life in the mental maps of most people’s workout plans. I think it mostly comes from people who have started back exercising after a bit of a layoff.

When you start back exercising, your muscles are — naturally — going to be out of shape. Unless, of course, that shape is round, but that’s beside the point. Once we start exercising again, you’re going to get sore. That’s just a fact. The problem comes when people begin to associate being sore with having worked out. Once you’ve started getting your muscles used to being, well, used again, you should be able to move beyond soreness.

Pushing yourself to work until you’re sore does not ensure a good workout. The best way to check to make sure your workout actually helps is to wear a heart monitor. Using a heart monitor can help you to keep your heart rate somewhere between 60 and 85 percent of your maximum recommended heart rate. Keeping your heart rate in this range will allow your body to gradually improve and that’s your goal, after all.

As my physician father always says, “Pain is your body’s way of telling you to stop doing what you’re doing.”

Myth No. 2: Working with weights will turn you into a bodybuilder. This really isn’t true. If it were, I’d look a lot more intimidating than I do now, rather than looking like the only intimidation I do is when I stroll past a buffet and people start clutching their plates in fear I’ll steal them.

Weight training is necessary if you want to get back into shape. Using your muscles well, as you do in resistance or weight training, will make them stronger and that allows you to metabolize your food more efficiently. Try using weights in a more-reps, lower-weight cycle and you’ll find you’re getting toned, rather than bulking up.

Speaking of bulking up, don’t want to do that with this post, so I’ll have more tomorrow.

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