May. 18th, 2011

heron61: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] teaotter and I saw Fast Five over the weekend. It's the 5th Fast and Furious film, or so I'm told, I've never seen any of them. Most of them looked in previews like movies about racing cars – the previews of Fast Five made it look like a classic caper movie, and so it was.

First off, don't expect too much – there's a truly vast amount of action, no emotional depth, and the laws of physics are clearly not those of our world. For example, humans seem essentially indestructible, except when hit by bullets. However, it was fun and pretty, and interestingly non-offensive. There were two female characters on the caper crew, which is doing better than a number of recent caper movies, like Ocean's Eleven, Twelve… Both were competent, and despite having the typical trope of motivating the heroes by killing people close to them, no female characters were kidnapped or "fridged", instead the female characters were competent and mostly got to do cool things.

However, the most interesting aspect of the film was race – as Becca mentioned when we were talking about it – racially the cast resembled an average of the Western hemisphere. Vin Diesel both considers himself to be and is considered by many fans to be a person of color, leaving three white characters in a cast of 14 (assuming you count Hispanic characters as non-white). This was quite noticeable compared to most of the TV I currently watch. The show watch now have gotten better than those in the late 90s, with one black character on B5 or DS:9 or people of color coming to Sunnydale to swiftly die, but not by all that much.

Beyond that, it was a fun and formulaic caper movie with all the gonzo wackiness that this implies. The one downside was a truly vast amount of violence, but none of it was particularly gory, and if you are seeing an action/caper movie with Vin Diesel in it, lots of violence is rather inevitable. It was also fairly slashy wrt Vin Diesel's character and Paul Walker's character (which is something that this franchise is famous for, and includes the rather classic bit of one of them falling for the other's sister).

I was interested in one minor fact, at the end of the film, all of the male characters in the caper crew had paired off with women either on or off the caper crew, with the exception of two characters – who were the most minor characters on the crew (but who seem to have appeared in the other movies), and who read to me like a gay couple – not in a slash or subtext sense, but like the film deliberately portrayed the two characters as a gay couple but simply didn't come out and have them kiss. I have no idea if this is an accurate reading, but it was nifty and interesting.

In any case, if you want mindless entertainment with chase sequences, explosions, and gonzo capers, you could definitely do worse. I've seen far too many such films that have me leaving the theater in disgust at racism &/or misogyny – this had me smiling.
heron61: (Default)
One useful aftermath of my parent's visit is they asked some questions about the house, including what the warranty on the hot water heater was. According to them, and what I've heard other places, once they go out of warranty, hot water heater tanks not infrequently fail spectacularly, and in a finished basement like ours, that would be rather horrible. From what I'd read, hot water heaters typically have 6-12 year warranties, and I expected ours to have a 6 year warranty.

A bit of googling of model numbers turned up an interesting fact – we have a 3 year hot water heater. We moved in in March 2009, but renovations were finished in August 2008 – ie almost three years ago, so it's definitely time to get a new one. I was also not all that surprised to find out that the lifespan of a hot water heater is typically on the heater, but there's clear evidence of some sort of sticker having been scraped off of our hot water heater. We're considering a tankless heater to avoid any chance of catastrophic flooding in the future, but at minimum will get one with a 9 year warranty. Definite skeeziness on the part of the two people who renovated these houses – they did an excellent job on most things, but clearly not here. Ick. It seems wasteful to replace what seems to be a perfectly good hot water heater, but the alternative is rather dire and also overly moist.
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