Attention Please! Movie Review! Movie Review

Looking for a movie to watch while staying at home. Here’s a gem of a film. It’s the absolutely brilliant The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. ‘Course you can guess what Uncle Bardie will have to say about it. You know he’s about to give an A+. five-star, thumbs-up to the 2005 film, based on the equally brilliant book of the same name.

There’s few films that should be seen over and over again. Not many but a few. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the leader of that pack. It’s Doctor Who with a good budget, only better. Actually it is three movies in one. First you see it forward. Then you see it backward on a backward movie-playing machine. You can purchase the special player to play it backwards from a little old lady on Fifty-fourth Street. She gets them wholesale from a warehouse in the two-hundred-and-third dimension. Finally you play it sideways. But that’s a whole different fish of another sea.

Speaking of fish, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy begins with dolphins singing their farewell to the planet, “So long and thanks for all the fish.” Then there’s a man waking up and yawning. Can’t you feel the excitement building up? Before you know it, he’s brushing his teeth. His name is Arthur Dent.

Outside some guys are about to break Arthur’s house. They’re tearing it down to make room for a new highway. They have bulldozers to do the job too. Unfortunately that isn’t the bad news. The bad news, the Vogons are coming. What’s the big deal about that? you ask.

That is where Ford Prefect, Arthur’s friend, comes in. He knows things because he’s from somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse. This is a really good part of the movie where the two have a drink in the local pub and the drinking is done to the sound of Perry Como singing “Magic Moments” in the background.

Any movie that can get Perry Como singing in it is bound to get at least one star just for the effort. Ford tells Arthur that the earth is going to be destroyed in about twelve minutes, just enough time for Arthur and Ford to consume three beers. What’s an end of the world without a beer or two?

The Vogons are going to blow up earth to make room for a new thoroughfare through this corner of space. Just as Arthur and Ford are finishing up their last beer, a spaceship arrives and its driven by those Vogons. A very ugly race indeed. So ugly they put the ug in ugly.

Before they can make the earth go kablooey, Ford throws out his towel and grabs Arthur and they are transported inside the Vogon vessel. Arthur has done his first bit of hitchhiking, thanks to Ford’s towel. And don’t panic. The dolphins got the heck off the third-planet-from-the-sun safely.

To understand the outer space creatures, Arthur needs to stick a fish in his ear. The fish do the translating from Vogon to Arthur Dent-ish. Arthur and Ford are escorted to an arena where the Vogons are reciting poetry. The Vogons are possibly, no make that definitely, the worst reciters of poetry in the galaxy, and possibly in the universe. Oh, you think not. I’m here to tell you men have gone insane listening to Vogon poetry. Somehow, and that is a big somehow, Arthur manages a smile and says some nice things about the poem recited.

Suddenly he and Ford are dropped back into space. (And they didn’t even receive an invitation from Space either.) They manage to hold their breaths for thirty seconds before they fall into another spaceship. They find themselves turned into sofas and in a white room. (I mean, if you’re going to land in an alien spacecraft, what better disguise  than a sofa. I’ve had dreams of being a sofa, but all I do in those dreams is sit there and wait for something to happen.)

They shake off their sofa disguises and the door opens. In comes a very depressed robot named Marvin, voiced by Alan Rickman. He was built with GPP. That stands for Genuine People Personality. Marvin, not Alan Rickman.

How do we know that Marvin is depressed? He talks. If Alan Rickman was a depressed robot, this is the depressed robot he’d be. Some of the things Marvin says: “I’d make a suggestion but you wouldn’t listen. No one ever does.” “I’ve been talking to the ship’s computer. It hates me.” And “I have a million ideas. They all point to certain death.”

On the spaceship, Arthur and Ford meet the heroine, Trillian (Zooey Deschanel). It takes a lot of courage to be on the same ship with the worst dressed sentient being in the universe. But Trillian is up to the job.

Zaphod Beeblebrox, better known as a narcissistic moron, has two heads, one inside the other. He’s the president of the galaxy. And he is a narcissistic moron. But you can take some comfort in the fact that he does smarten up when he puts on the Thinking Cap. He is in search of the ultimate question. He already has the ultimate answer. That answer is 42.

In pursuit of this ultimate question, Arthur, Ford, Zooey, Marvin and Zaphod go to the legendary planet Margrathea. Unfortunately, when they arrive, not one but two, yes two, nuclear missiles are fired at them. What happens next? You will have to see the movie to find out. Let’s just say it has to do with a whale. Marvin sums the experience up in his own inimitable way with: “I told you this would all end in tears.”

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of the few movies that can out-Fifth Element The Fifth Element. If any studio is thinking of remaking this movie, don’t. This is a movie that should only be remade once every two hundred years. Go ahead and do 27.5 remakes of Batman Begins. I really don’t care. Just leave Hitchhiker’s Guide alone. If you do make the attempt, don’t be surprised if a Vogon shows up at your door with that darn nasty attitude of theirs.

Oh, one final thing. Make sure you’ve got your towel when you see this one. You might need it. And Marvin will appreciate it.

Near 500 words: The day the wizards lost it.

Wizards were common in my younger days. Now you don’t see them much. Once a year, they showed up in the forest near the house and had a Wizarding poker game. For some reason, they seemed to love poker. Instead of chips, they used bags of Old Toby. While they played their game, a bard came and sat by the fire near them and sang songs of the olden days and the wars between the black arts and the white magicians.

The wizards were not always a gentle folk. One year one wizard, the one with the gray beret, lost every one of his bags. He was not too thrilled about that. Had a real surly attitude when he left. It was said that dragon puff spat from his ears. If you’ve never seen a wizard with dragon puff coming out of his ears, take my my word for it. It is not a pretty sight. You’d just better get out of the way.

The next year Gray Beret showed up and cleaned everybody out. The others thought he might have cheated but he proved them wrong. He showed them he had nothing up his sleeves and they believed. They believed they were not as good at poker as they had thought.

Well, those wizards didn’t take well to losing their bags of Old Toby. No, sirree. Talk about surly. They pointed their wizard wands and zapped just about everything in sight. In case, you’ve wondered about Humpty Dumpty. He was a victim of those wizards. In case, you haven’t seen the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy lately. They too came down with a bad case of wizarding wand flu. Thank the gods that the Queen of the Fairies heard all the ruckus. She showed up and kicked some wizarding butt. Otherwise there wouldn’t have been any forest left.

Unfortunately, that was the last year the wizards came to the forest. Oh, sure we heard rumors. Rumors about rings and something about the One Ring. There was even stories about Hobbits. How they went adventurin’ and journeyin’ with dwarves and with rangers. There were stories about elvin folk helping those Hobbits and rangers and wizards and dwarves and men out.

Me, I’ve never been much for rings but give me a good pipe and a good bag of Old Toby and I’m in Hobbit Heaven.

The eclipse

Today there will be a solar eclipse. All the world plans to watch the moon show off her goods. Or at least in my neck of the woods. The ones that have them will put on their special glasses and go outside and watch as the sun and the moon do their little dance.

Let’s hope that people do what they’ve been told. But who knows? Some might get headaches. Others might develop a fever. Blood pressure might rise. I’m not a pessimist but it could happen. Then the show would be a real downer.

Am I scared? Not really. I’m sure it’s going to be some kind of show.

Now if this were a science fiction movie, that would be a different story. Extra-terrestrials might land and try to take over the planet. It has been known to happen. Remember the pod people in “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. I’m just saying.

If on a summer’s day,

the windows rattle. Perhaps, which is another way of saying maybe, perhaps there might be an enormous spaceship landing in the field behind your house. There is no field behind your house, you say. Actually there is barely enough room for a tree. And the tree that is there is scraggly. So there can’t be a spaceship landing behind your house.

Well, what is causing that rattling? What about an earthquake? You live in Florida. Florida doesn’t get earthquakes. Hurricanes. Yes but you would have seen that sucker coming. Tornadoes? Yes. Sinkholes? Yes, but the house would be sliding.

You checked the Weather Channel thirty times already this morning. No tornado watch and your house is not sliding. Africa has not flung a tropical storm your way off its coast for weeks.Absolutely no earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, sinkholes..

So why are the windows rattling? You could go outside and check. Remember the last time you heard the windows singing like they are tonight? You ended up lost in time. You were gone a month of Sundays, and you kept going every whichaway. It definitely was not fun. Talk about nausea, you had nausea big time.

One moment you were in Kansas with Dorothy and Auntie Em. Toto was barking his butt off, wanting out to pee. The next thing you know you were about to be roasted by the Spanish Inquisition. You had discovered a time warp. Quite accidentally, of course. How did you know it was a time warp? You passed Spock and he gave you that live-long-and-prosper hand signal all the Trekkies know.

That time you walked out your front door, saw your neighbors doing what neighbors do on a Saturday afternoon in front of their houses, and walked right smack dab into that time warp. It was like being shanghaied and shipped off on a slow boat to China. You were flying to God-knows-where because you didn’t have a clue.

Only thing good to come out of the whole experience was that you met someone. It was not just anyone. It was The Someone. Pretty soon sparks were flying between the two of you. The fire was hotter than the one the Inquisition set you on fire with. It was like bazinga. You were smitten. Can I use that word smitten? Darn right I can. It’s my post and I’ll write it if I want to. Yep, you were smitten. It was The Someone. You were Soul Mates.

So you got married. It was a big wedding. All The Someone’s relatives showed up with gifts out the wazoo. Your partner’s Uncle Irving gave you enough cash to buy a modest three bedroom house, this house that doesn’t have much of a back yard. You didn’t do bad with your relatives either. Then you bought the house. The two of you started careers. You liked your jobs, even though you didn’t like the nine-to-fives. Before you knew it, you were raising the 2.5 children the average American family is supposed to be raising. It was a happy time. Until now.

Oh well, guess you’d better get off your duff in this comfortable chair and go see what is causing that rattling. You pull yourself up out of the chair and make the long walk to the front door. Actually it’s not long. It just seems that way. You’re really dreading opening that front door. But you do and…

Use your imagination and imagine what happened. Put it in the comments section or use it for a Prompt for a post on your Blog.

Short Story Wednesday: A Day in the Life Of Martha 270

Short Story Prompt: “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut

Monday, April 7, 2025.
6:00 a.m. The alarm went off inside his head. “Mr. Patterson, it’s time to wake up,” the Voice said. He rolled over on his side and said forcefully to the chip inside his head, “Leave me alone, Martha.”

6:02 a.m. “Sir, it’s time to wake up,” the Voice went off again like an alarm clock with a sharp beep that he could not put on snooze. “Okay, okay,” he climbed out of bed. He went into the bathroom and quickly relieved himself.

6:05 a.m. Patterson stumbled down to the kitchen. He poured water from the tap into the coffeemaker. “Sir, you have to use distilled water. You never know what poisons they put in the water these days.” “Yes, ma’am,” he responded. He went to the pantry and pulled out a gallon bottle of water, then poured the water into the coffeemaker. “Happy now?” he said to the Voice. The Voice came back, “Sir, please do not be smart with me. I am only doing my job.”

6:30 a.m. The Voice reminded Patterson that it was time to shower. He showered and dressed.

7:00 a.m. Patterson headed for the front door. “Sir, are we not eating breakfast this morning?” He answered, “I’m just going to stop at Krispy Kreme for a couple of donuts.” “Sir,” Voice said firmly, “donuts are bad for you. Loaded with sugar. How many times am I going to have to remind you. Now fix yourself a healthy breakfast.” He said begrudginly, “Okay, okay.” While Martha played some morning motivational music, he prepared an omelet. Once his breakfast was on the table, he opened his tablet and read the Wall Street Journal.

7:30 a.m. Bing! a soft reminder went off in his head, letting him know it was time to leave for work. He placed his dishes in the sink, did a quick brushing of his teeth, straightened his tie and went out to his BMW. He said to Voice, “Lock the house please, Martha.” The Voice obeyed.

7:35 a.m. Patterson’s BMW headed up the interstate on-ramp and followed the flow of the traffic. The robotic driver corrected the car’s speed to the flow of the other cars. The traffic eased along at a steady pace, each car driven by its own robotic driver. Thanks to technology, there were no more traffic jams or pile-ups. “Martha, could I have the market report?” he requested. The radio came on with an update of the financial news.

8:30 a.m. The BMW pulled into his parking spot at The Company. He checked his digital for the time. It was good to be early this Monday morning. He had a meet-and-greet with a major investor that afternoon. The extra time would give him a head start on his preparation.

8:35 a.m. Patterson entered the door of the office of the Vice President for Financial Affairs, his office. He said hello to his administrative assistant. “Helen, can you cancel any appointments I might have today.” It was not a question; it was a request. “I have a big meet at 3:00, and I need the time to prepare.”

Helen looked up from her work. “Yes, sir. All but one. You are to report to HR102 at 9:00.”

He said, “Cancel it.”

“No, sir. It’s an order from upstairs.”

He argued, “I’ve got to prepare for this meeting.”

Martha interjected, “Sir, you are to report.”

Shaking his head, he said, “Since it seems I have no choice, I’ll go. But there will be hell to pay if this meet-and-greet don’t go well this afternoon.”

“Sir,” the inside of the head said, “you will still have plenty of time. I can help as well.”

“Okay, I’m going.”

8:50 a.m. Patterson got on the elevator and pushed the button for the 13th floor, the Human Resources Floor.

8:52 a.m. Patterson stepped out of the elevator on the 13th floor. The receptionist showed him Room 102, better known throughout The Company as the Interrogation Room.

8:53 a.m. Patterson entered Room 102. A man and a woman, both wearing dark glasses, sat behind a table, facing the door. “Have a seat, Gregor,” the woman said. “We can call you Gregor, can we not?”

“Yes.” Patterson took his seat. “I have an important meet with a client today. Can’t this wait?”

“Not really,” the woman said, “but this won’t take long. Less than thirty minutes.” Then the man, his hands folded on the table, asked,” Are you happy with your work here at The Company?”

“I am,” Patterson said. “Quite happy.” His palms sweated.

8:55 a.m. The woman asked, “Gregor, you are happy with your office? With Helen, your administrative assistant? With the perks of your title, such as the BMW? With the support you are getting from The Company? You do like it here, don’t you?”

“Yes,” Patterson said, wondering why the third degree.

“Then what seems to be the problem, Gregor?” the man asked. There was a smirk in his voice.

8:56 a.m. Patterson looked confused. “There’s no problem.”

“Gregor, we have been receiving reports from the Martha 760 that you are not happy. She says you have been not giving her your full cooperation. You’ve been arguing with her. Is this true?”

8:57 a.m. Patterson answered, “Ah, c’mon guys. I have been following Martha’s instructions to the letter.”

“Yes, but you are not getting into the spirit of the program,” the man said.

“I am. I can assure you absolutely that I am,” Patterson said.

“We hired you,” the woman said, “right out of college to be our youngest vice president ever. We are paying you a very lucrative salary with very good benefits. I hope you appreciate that.”

8:58 a.m. “I do,” Patterson responded, “I do.”

The woman continued, “There was only one condition on which you were hired. That we implant the Martha 270 chip in your head. And that you follow her instructions to the letter and in the spirit of the program. You did agree to this, did you not?”

8:59 a.m. Patterson was starting to get scared.

“Would you like a glass of water, Gregor?” the man asked.

“No, no, no,” Gregor answered. “Yes, I agreed to that.”

“Then why are you resisting?” the woman asked.

“I didn’t think it would be so hard,” Patterson said.

“But it isn’t,” the man said. “It’s very easy. All you have to do is listen to the Martha 270 and respond positively.”

“You know,” the woman said. “You have been upsetting Martha 270. You don’t want to do that, do you?”

9:00 a.m. “I didn’t know,” Patterson said.

“She doesn’t deal well with conflict, Gregor.” The woman smiled

“You don’t mind apologizing, do you?” The man was not asking a question. He was making a demand.

“Of course not, and I promise I will do better,” Patterson said.

“Then all will be well,” the man said.

“You play your cards right,” the woman added, “you could very well be the youngest CEO of The Company. You would like that, wouldn’t you? You haven’t changed your mind?”

9:01 a.m. “No,” Patterson said, “I haven’t changed my mind.”

“Then it is settled,” the man emphasized. “You will comply with the Martha 270’s instructions. After all, Martha is looking out for your best interest. You think you can do that? Of course you can?”

The man and woman stood up. Both walked around the table. Patterson stood up. They offered him their hands and he shook hands with both. As the man was leading Patterson out to the door, he said, “Or else.”

9:02 a.m. The woman turned Patterson toward her and straightened his tie. “One last thing,” she said. “Don’t forget the party tonight. We’ve got a woman for you to meet. She’s going to make a perfect wife for a future CEO.”

The man added, “And don’t forget to apologize to Martha.”