Stuntmen of Scotland Declare Independence

Just some quick bites of info on some things that have been entertaining me this week.

Stuntman: Ignition
This sequel to one of the most disappointing games in my memory is very hard to put down. It pits you as a stunt driver, trying to make a name for yourself by doing all of the vehicle stunt driving in a half-dozen movies and another half-dozen or so commercials and exhibitions. Each movie is a hillariously-cliched take on a major action movie sub-genre and contains six scenes. Your job is to perform all of the stunts in each scene (roughly 2:00 of driving per scene) while trying to avoid any retakes. A grading system adds plenty of replay value and a combo system cribbed from Project Gotham Racing only helps add to the replay value and enjoyment of the game. I haven't played any of the multiplayer yet and haven't played around in the Constructor arena where you can create your own "sets", but I do really enjoy the game. I'm on my second to last film and everything from the driving to the near-instantaneous load times (the first game's fatal flaw) to the hysterical director personas and fake movie trailers make this a must have game for anybody who just wants some lighthearted fun mixed with a dose of precision stunt driving. Forget what you may remember about the original Stuntman game. This game is better in every possible way.

The Last King of Scotland
We finally got around to watching this the other night via NetFlix and I must say that there is no surprise why Forest Whitaker won an Oscar for his role as Uganda President Amin. The movie is set in the 1970's immediately following a British-assisted coupe that overthrew the former Ugandan leadership and inserted Amin in its place. At roughly the same time this was going on, a wide-eyed doctor, Nicholas Garrigan, fresh out of medical school in Scotland makes his way to Uganda to offer medical care to the country's impoverished. A chance encounter between Amin and Dr. Garrigan leads to an odd friendship and Amin eventually convinces Garrigan to move to the capital and become his personal physician and adviser. Whitaker's character is so immense, yet so charming and personable that even though we eventually come to learn otherwise, he seems like the kind of giant teddy bear we all wouldn't mind having as a friend. At the risk of spoiling anything, I'm going to end here. If you haven't seen the movie, rent it now. Everything from the acting to the scenery to the music and costumes was done wonderfully. Definitely one of the better movies I've seen in a long while. Heck, I might even get the DVD.

The Declaration
Kristin's boss's son was starring in this improvisational comedy at the University Theatre in Seattle and a group of us went to see it on Friday night. I'll be honest, I didn't know what to expect. The theatre was tiny, the stage was bare, the lighting was minimal, and if not for the brand new seating I may have been apt to wonder if the whole building shouldn't just be condemned. Fortunately it hasn't been. The Declaration begins with the actor's representing John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, and Charles Thompson (who nobody has ever heard of) coming on stage one by one to ask their constituents (the audience) what problems we want the Congress to address. One was parking tickets, another was the British stealing our coffee and replacing it with decaf, another was squirrels not having socks to wear, and the fourth was men with underdeveloped calf muscles. So then the play begins. The four Congressmen and the Speaker begin to "re-enact" a legislative meeting in Philadelphia in 1776 in which these topics are addressed, debated, and voted on. It was very, very funny to hear the improvised discussion (granted, around a framework they work from nightly) about each of these topics and the first act culminates when Thomas Jefferson's wig is ripped from his head to reveal that he is actually a she. The refer to as Thomasina from then on. Did I mention they routinely drank bottles of Sam Adams during the play and even handed some out to the audience? "Be sure and thank your cousin for the beer again, John" was one of the lines I thought rather obvious, but still pretty funny.

The second act is also quite funny and continues to show the actors' ability to improvise. One member of the audience is chosen to be the King of England and given the ability to enact new laws, albeit with some guidance from the actor serving as Messenger. The first rule was to ban three-legged racing. The second was that they could no longer wear wigs. And the third was that they couldn't use the word "Motion". This inevitably leads to the idea to create the Declaration of Independence. But somehow also led to the invention of the Limbo as well. Go figure. I'll be watching the Wing-It Productions calendar in the future and will no doubt attend another play in the future. Their shows are too funny and too cheap not to.

No comments: