Sunday, April 13, 2008

Jurassic Central Park

Yesterday my peeps dragged me to the Museum of Natural History. I haven't been there in years and it was a perfect thing to do before people-watching for hours in Central Park on a coat-droppingly beautiful day. They do this on occasion, my friends... [concerned voices]: "Nathaniel, step away from the computer!"


You probably won't agree with me that the Stegosaurus is the best dinosaur but it is. Their tails are so rocking. My friends did not agree: one vote for the Brontosaurus, one for T-Rex, and one "abstain" --some people are so difficult. Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park totally shafted the Stegosaurus (and the second best, the Triceratops) in favor of those made up Velociraptors and that jaw-dropping first shot of the brachiosaurus. Unfortunately Laura Dern took the "jaw dropping" part literally.

I know she was looking at a green screen or whatever they looked at at the time (blue screen?) but work with what you got Laura. That first reaction shot always made me uncomfortable in the 'can we do another take?' way. Spielberg didn't do another take, damn him. She's way better when she stares at personal demons and makes faces for David Lynch.

Right before we left for an early evening in Central Park we watched this short film on the history of the mammal which was narrated by none other than Meryl Streep. Afterwards we all agreed that she totally phoned that voice over in. When she was talking about what happened 65 million years ago, for example, there was no past tense in her voice. It wasn't lived-in. Definitely one of her least-committed performances.

Dinosaurs are awesome and so are actresses but for whatever reason, they don't mix. Naomi Watts' terror in King Kong excepted.


Jason Adams said...

I feel like I heard somewhere that they updated all the animal dioramas, Nat; how'd they look?

I need to go back, it's been a couple years; that museum hits all my happy places just right.

Yay dinosaurs!

You do get some Mighty Stego Action in JP2, though. Plus Julianne Moore. Now there's a Moore performance I'd love to hear your opinion on... ;-)

Catherine said...

This post made me ridiculously happy for some reason. Maybe it's because I love museums. And that I consider Laura Dern's "puzzled face" to be a wonder of nature. And the Meryl Streep bit. Plus, it reminded me of my finally-prefected T-Rex dance moves.

Robert said...

Tell your friend who voted for "brontosaurus" that they don't exist. Someone sometime mismatched some fossils and called it a brontosaurus. But it was eventually corrected and thus, a childhood favorite was no more.

I'm trying to think if anyone has yet to nail the "holy crap it's a dinosaur" reaction.

The Jaded Armchair Reviewer said...

Wow, even when she's working in a museum, you're still wishing Meryl Streep to "go for the 'A', go for the 'A'."


ja i only took in like generically one and a half exhibits and then i bee-lined for the dinosaurs since i am a little kid at heart. (maybe everyone is when it comes to dinosaurs?)

catherine i live for the day when you post these dance moves on YouTube

robert i bet you tell little children than Santa Claus doesn't exist. GRINCH!

js and to all actors everywhere always "go for the A"!

Anonymous said...

talk a bout a post that causes a trip down memory lane!!! yay dinosaurs!!!

Jurassic Park was amazing!!! I remember it totally freaked me out in the movies... and then got a second dose of enjoying it when my biology prof in high school dissected the thing to poke holes in all the "science" and point out the mistakes in the genetics part! :p (DNA from blood in mosquitos? good luck finding the rare white blood cell with a nucleus and DNA, there isn't any DNA in red blood cells!!!)

I'm jealous of your Natural History Museum... it's gotta be on my top 5 list of reasons I want to go to N.Y.!!! I don't know how many times I went to the Smithsonian one when I lived in D.C. as a kid! :p

Anonymous said...

The Laura Dern pic you've posted reminds me of a scene in the movie. She was running away from some dinosaur and the scene involved some acrobatics, so at some point you could clearly see it was a stunt with a wig. It made me LOL at the theatre at the time. I love those B series-movies flashes in big blockbusters.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

What ? Dinosaurs and Actresses don't mix ?

Did you forget that T-Rex movie with Whoopi Goldberg ?



oh and that ymtnd link ---hilarious

Hayden said...

NATHANIEL! I wanted to be the first to alert you of this:


Glenn Dunks said...

My favourite was the brontisaurus, but did they really not ever exist? Awww...

Anonymous said...

Hayden, that link doesn't seem to be working for me. can you elaborate?



the link is announcing that Julie Christie has joined the cast of NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU (that's the second in the planned series of omnibus films celebrating various cities)

apparently SHANGHAI will follow NYC (great choice)

the first was of course Paris Je T'Aime.

Glenn Dunks said...

Really? Shanghai?

Will they be able to get 12 (or whatever number it is) directors and actors too who want to make a movie there? Will China officials even let them film there?

Michael B. said...

So I really thought Watts deserved a nomination for King Kong. She's my win for that year, but I'm still mad at the Academy for not nominating her (over Theron and Dench!). Or Peter Jackson for that matter. The movie was 3 hrs of brilliance.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this one, 17year old blogger.

Naomi is brilliant in King Kong. She doesn't top her MD work but she's very close.

She was also my winner this year. Acting convincingly in front of a green screen is much harder than what people think. You need a vivid imagination and you can look easily ridiculous. She was completely believable, and frankly who else could have sold that romance but her ? Brilliant

Funny because she was awarded Best Actress at London film critics the same year as Bruno Ganz for Der Untergang, both were amongst the very best of the year and they got snubbed

Glenn said...

Ganz probably would have at least been a big contender if his film was eligible, but (correct me if I'm wrong) Downfall was nominated for best foreign language film, yet released the following year, which made it ineligible for that year's awards.

I hope that made sense.

Anonymous said...

I'm Chinese and so excited for both NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU and what I guess will be SHANGHAI, WO AI NI? There's so much culture and history to be had from China.

And dinosaurs were the perfect 10 a.m. pick-me-up. :)

Marshall said...

Laura Dern's reaction is quite correct I feel. Also, has anyone been watching these ads for RECOUNT on HBO where she's playing Katherine Harris? It's going to be priceless.