Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sit Rep

It's 7:09am on a Saturday. The fans are all desperately trying to make the house less than oven-like, and the cicadas outside sound like a hundred-thousand toy phasers all wearing their batteries out. Mrs. Marius, her mother, and the COA* are all asleep, and the KOA** have been fed and have ceased to pester me for more. I take this brief respite in the insanity to sit back as assess. We like this house, despite the lack of central a/c, and I, at least, seem to be acclimating to being hotter. At first we ran the window units a lot, but I quickly learned that cooling one room to a comfortable temperature meant moving to another room was like stepping into Hell's foyer. Now we mostly use them in the bedrooms at night. Otherwise the rooms are big, and the tile floors silent. This is a big deal since my wife and I have such different hours. I can creep across the bedroom in the dark and not worry about creaks and moans...other than from my knees...waking her up. The cats love the huge screened-in porch, and the front yard is big enough for the COA to play in, but only takes about thirty minutes to mow. We're mostly unpacked, though my office is still the repository of many unpacked, or at least uncategorized items that we haven't quite figured out where to put. The baby's room is nearly done. I have some curtains to install today, and the a/c unit for her room will come out of layaway soon. Of course she won't really be using her room for a while, so we still have some time on that front.

And speaking of the bun in the oven, there really isn't anything to say yet. There have been no more false labor alarms, and life has returned to something resembling normalcy...whateverthehell that means. Hopefully the dress rehearsal we had on Monday will create more of a sense of calm competency when the real moment arrives.

Work is still in the pre-production phase, but the students will be returning all next week, and classes start up again on the 5th. I'm looking forward to seeing my kids again, although I already miss those that graduated back in May. Ah well, that's the blessing and curse of teaching in college. You forge real friendships with your students, then release them into the world, in all likelihood never seeing them in person again. But I wouldn't trade this gig for the world.

And I hear someone puttering about in the kitchen, thus the magic quiet time ends. Have a groovy weekend, dear readers. See you soon.


*Child-O-The Apocalypse
**Kitties-O-The Apocalypse

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Starbaby Update

So on Monday I got home from work around 5ish, which is usual, and wanted nothing more than to get my shoes off and have a beer. I had picked up some groceries, and was heading into the kitchen to put them away when my mother-in-law, who has come to stay with us for the duration of the pregnancy, said, "Em's bag is packed and by the door." Being as yet in the dark I spake, "Why?" "She's been having contractions for about an hour now" quoth she. Now we have had classes about this very situation, and have discussed how and what to do and when, but as soon as I heard the above words I ceased being the calm voice of reason in a crisis, and turned into Rob Petrie.
(Google him, kids) All the knowledge and training went right out the window and I started bouncing off walls, throwing things into my bag, and generally doing everything but boil towels. We tried to time the contractions, but when the next one came in less than five minutes we called the doctor, the hospital, and then departed. Whilst on the way to the hospital, about a 30 minute drive, I called my family to let them know that 'this is it'. Upon our arrival at the hospital I dropped my wife off at the front door, and went to park. I eventually rejoined her, laden like the pack mule I was, and we were ushered back to triage. Forms were filled out, and biometrics read, and thence on to the examination room. Ere long a nurse arrived, put sensors around my wife's belly, and the baby's rapid heartbeat and whooshy squirmings filled the room. But, something wasn't quite right. My wife was on 1/10th as dilated as she should be were this really labor. The doctor advised we wait for a couple of hours and then check again. We did, and they did, and nothing. They call it Braxton Hicks contractions, or false labor. Everyone assured us that this happens all the time, and we shouldn't be embarrassed, but the baby was not ready to join us outside just yet. So, four hours later, we arrived back home. My wife was in decent spirits, but I was a little bit broken. I'd been unconsciously gearing myself up for the moment when I could spring into action, and then be the pillar of support for my wife, and then all that tension just sputtered. I've been something of an emotional Pachinko game all week as a result, with anxiety and anger vying for dominance, but I'm finally settling down. Pregnancy, it turns out, is not just a trial for the mom, although I would in no way compare my travails to hers, but there is a very real emotional drain on me as the father that I did not expect. It is safe to say that we are all very, very ready for little Sharon to breathe the air, and see the sun, and let us begin being her mommy and daddy.

Oh, and that's also why I haven't been posting or podcasting. But I'll be back soon, and hopefully with pics of a squirmy, noisy, hungry little she-creature.

Be groovy, folks.

Friday, August 19, 2011

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 13: Favourite Female Character In A Book

Sorry, folks. This challenge is getting annoying. Not because of the subject matter, but it just seems to go in circles. This may be my last entry on this subject, who knows? Anyway, I was trying to decide who my favorite literary female is, and a couple of characters leapt to mind. Nicole DesJardins from the Rendezvous with Rama sequels by Arthur C. Clark and Friday from the book of the same name by Robert Heinlein immediately began vying for my attention, but they are pretty much the same as most of the ladies I've mentioned already. Beautiful, heroic, strong, etc. So I tried thinking beyond this pattern and one character rose to the surface. Many of you know how fond I am of the Dune series, by Frank Herbert, and also by his son Brian. There is one character in those books who, to me, stands out above all the rest. No, it's not Chani, or Countess Fenring, or even Lady's The Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam. She is the first to suspect that Paul Atreides is the Kwisatz Haderach, as well as being truthsayer to the Padisha Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV, and she represents the Bene Gesserit sisterhood in the first two books Dune and Dune:Messiah. But in the prequels, penned by Brian Herbert and based on Frank Herbert's copious notes, it is seen that she is one of the main driving forces behind the events that shake a galactic empire to its foundations, and bring the status quo to its knees. I won't spoil, since I highly recommend the Brian Herbert/Kevin J. Anderson books, but she is far more than the silver-toothed crone depicted in that abominable David Lynch movie, or those laughable SyFy mini-series. She has a strength that borders on monomania, yet even she feels. Especially when she must commit atrocities in the name of furthering the Bene Gesserit breeding program. She is not a sympathetic character, nor a particularly likeable person, but her character is amazing in the depths of emotion and drive, and is the unnoticed linchpin of the entire Dune story. She is also one of the best written female characters I've ever read, since she is not there to be comic relief or a convenient sex toy...although there is a very interesting coupling that occurs between her and a prominent figure...but I say too much already. So if you're a Dune fan read the prequels and then tell me if I chose poorly. And if you haven't read Dune yet, let me know and I'll send you my copy. It's a book everyone with even a passing interest in Science Fiction should read.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 12: Favourite Female Character In A Movie

Sorry I'm late on this one, folks. Been a bit busy, and I've been grappling with the repetition monster again. My favorite female character in a movie is Ellen Ripley, but since I've already spoken of her I'll move one notch down the ladder to a relative newcomer...Penny in Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog. Penny is the ingenue of the Whedon brothers' internet experiment that features Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day as Penny. The story follows the exploits of Dr. Horrible, a super villain wannabe, played by Harris, and his struggle with Captain Hammer, played by Fillion. And between these two opposites is Penny, an innocent helper of the poor who gets caught in the crossfire. This was the first time I'd seen Felicia Day in anything, and I was immediately smitten. She's attractive, but not classically beautiful. She nerdy, and flighty, and totally adorable, but plays the character with real depth and truth. Plus she's good at the comedy. I've since seen her in her web series, The Guild, and Eureka, as well as a SyFy movie called Red:Werewolf Hunter. To be honest I'd have never made it to the end of Red if she weren't in it, but crap movie that it is she did a great job. So, anyway, if you haven't seen Dr. Horrible, check it out. It's only 42 minutes long or so, has some great songs, and also has my second favorite female character in a movie.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 11: Favourite Female Character In A Children’s Show

Sorry I missed yesterday, folks. My favorite female character in a children's show has got to be Velma from Scooby Doo. I've always liked the nerdy, smart girls, and if certain areas of recent pop culture are to be believed, I'm not alone. (and no, I'm not talking about the Scooby Doo porn parody)(and yes, there is a Scooby Doo porn parody...and no I'm not going to link to it) Velma has, over the past few years, gotten a makeover and become not just a myopic, latex mask yoinking bookworm, but a sexy myopic, latex mask yoinking bookworm, and I could not be happier. Yes, this is piggy me shining through, but Daphne and Ginger have held the hotness spotlight long enough! It's time for Velma, and Mary Anne, and Sabrina to get the hot-blooded, libidinous oogling they deserve!

Um...ahem...sorry, I seem to have lost control a bit here. So, yeah, I've, um, always been a fan of Velma...and I think I should just say good night here.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 10: Favourite Female Character In A Scifi / Supernatural Show

This may come as something of a shock, but this entry won't be from Star Trek. Sadly one of Trek's largest failings is the paucity of well-written female characters. I think I may also have played my Kaylee hand too soon, but rather than repeat I'll go with my first runner up: Zoe Washburn from Firefly. She is the second-in-command aboard Serenity, and has been Mal's right hand person since long before the events of the series. She is beautifully played by Gina Torres who can do no wrong in my 'verse, and while she may not be the biggest person on Serenity, she is the one I'd least like to piss off. You may have noticed a bit of repetition in my descriptions of the characters in this list, and that is because I am drawn to depth and dichotomy in the characters I like the most. Torres played Zoe with a near-perfect balance of femininity and grit, all wrapped up in a big ball of honesty that left you wondering why such an amazing person was caught up with a scruffy looking nerf herder like Reynolds. Yet her loyalty to Mal is only slightly superseded by her loyalty to her husband, and when those two loyalties came into conflict was when she shone brightest. Again, if you haven't seen Firefly yet, get thee to Netflix.

That is all.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 9: Favourite Female Character In A Drama Show

Emily Deschanel's character Temperance 'Bones' Brennan on the show Bones. She's like a gorgeous, female Spock. It seems the only type of show more prevalent on the networks than reality shows are the procedurals; the CSINCISSVULGBTQ's and such. Bones is one such show, although I'd argue that it is more Science Fiction given the level of technology they use. But that's beside the point. Deschanel's performance as the forensic genius could have been a carbon copy of Nimoy's iconic Vulcan...hell, even some of her lines sound like they were ripped right out of a Star Trek script, but she expertly plays the subtextural warmth under the cold clinical shell of Brennan so well that it's almost as much fun to watch for moments when the person shines out from under the mask as it is to watch the crew solve crimes. If you like your crime scene investigation shows, and haven't seen Bones, I highly recommend it...but be warned. Unless you have a strong stomach, don't watch the show while eating. It could be...unpleasant.

See ya tomorrow,

Friday, August 12, 2011

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 8: Favourite Female Character In A Comedy Show

This is another toughie as there are so many to chose from, but when I think about the character that always grabs my attention on screen I have to go with Donna Pinciotti, played by Laura Prepon, on That 70's Show. Physical attractiveness aside, Prepon brought a depth and strength to Donna that belied the stoner sensibilities of the show. She knew just how far to let the boys go before snapping them back into reality, but when the time came for vulnerability and true emotion she handled that with subtlety and true talent. It took a little while for The 70's Show to grow on me, but Prepon was one of the main reasons I didn't turn away. I'd always thought that she would be the break-out star of the show, and looking at her IMDB page I see that she has been working steadily since it went off the air, but I earnestly hope that there are bigger things ahead for her.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Could You Choose?

This is an explanation of why there was no entry yesterday.

Imagine this scenario: You are in your 70's, you have been a heavy smoker all your life, and have had an aortic aneurism repaired a decade ago. You have tried to stop smoking, but every attempt has failed and you now have severe emphysema. While being checked for a lung infection it is discovered that you have a new aortic aneurism that could kill you at any time, plus there appear to be shadows on your lungs that are quite probably cancer. Your choices are:
1. Have the aneurism fixed, and die slowly over the next three years from the emphysema and/or cancer.

2. Do nothing, and know that most people with aneurisms like this last a year at the outside, but it could also go in the next thirty seconds, but when it does there will be no pain, just some dizziness and then unconsciousness.

Could you make that choice?

I just got home yesterday from visiting one of my oldest and dearest friends. She has been Mom to me since I was 16 years old. She has been my Dungeon Master, my counselor, my mentor, and my friend. She was one of the only people who could recognize when I was in trouble with the heat whilst fighting in tournaments, and was always there with a hug, a smile, and a gentle word of admonishment when necessary. I love her dearly, and fortunately she knows it. And the choice above is one she has had to make. She has chosen to let nature take its course, and will not have surgery. She has let everyone who is important to her know about the decision, and is making her peace with the world. The good part is she lives just far enough away that it needs to be an overnight visit, so I kept putting off going up, and this lit a fire under my ass. It was a very nice visit. My wife and I went, so she got to spend some time with Mom, and they talked pregnancy and children and such. We took her to breakfast, and though we did discuss her situation frankly and dispassionately, we didn't dwell on it. She is taking it as easy as she can, and we have promised to bring the baby up there for her to meet as soon as is possible, and then we came home. The odd thing was I didn't start to feel strange until about half way home. Last night I was glum, and irritable, but not in any 'God Damn You, Universe!' kind of way. I think it's more a 'helpless and useless' kind of way. I spoke with my brother last night and told him. He hasn't seen her in years and years, but he's actually the one who introduced me to her, and then we recorded a podcast, which always cheers me up.

Our time with anyone is always limited, but it's a very different feeling when you know just how limited the time with a specific person will be. And I can only imagine what she's going through, but this has also brought people back to her who might have waited too long and not had a chance to say 'I love you' one more time, and that has to be a good thing.

I'll be back with 30 days thing tomorrow. Now go give someone you've been taking for granted a big hug and tell them you love them.


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 7: A Female Character That Needs More Screen Time

Captain Rachel Garrett, commanding officer of the USS Enterprise, NCC-1701-C. She only appeared briefly in the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation on the episode Yesterday's Enterprise. This was one of my favorite Star Trek episodes largely due to Tricia O'Neil's portrayal as Capt. Garrett. She was intense, poised, and not afraid of a fight, but she did not come off as a 'man with breasts' as is often the case with strong female characters in Star Trek. She didn't get much time to flesh out her character, but what time she had was used to perfection. I have always wished that there could have been more episodes, or even a series featuring Capt. Garrett and the Enterprise-C, but, of course even if that happened now they'd have to find someone else to play her. But if the performance were good, and the writing solid, I'd watch. Oh, who am I kidding? If any new Trek happened I'd watch. ;-) Anyway, Captain Rachel Garrett, you are the character I wish got more screen time.


I also agree with Suzie Plakson that we should have gotten to see the fight between Duras and K'Ehleyr.

Monday, August 08, 2011

30 Days Of Female Awesomeness: Day 6: Favourite Female Driven Show

Buffy The Vampire Slayer. It's the story of a normal, everyday cheerleader named Buffy who discovers that she has special abilities and strengths that enable her to find, and destroy vampires and other demons. If you've not heard of this show then let me welcome you to Earth. For the rest of you homo sapiens I'm sure you have at least an understanding about the show. The titular character, played by Sarah Michelle Gellar, my look like your average teen, but she played Buffy with a seriousness and solemnity, and sometimes whimsy, that made the show the raging success it was. Added to that the stellar portrayal of Willow, played by Allison Hannigan, whose journey from ordinary bookworm to powerful witch helped make the show so much more than a weekly stake-fest. I'd say this is a female driven show, because the many of the main characters are female, but it's less about gender and more about just people. Joss Whedon, the show's creator, did a magnificent job showing teenagers dealing with all the normal angst and hassles of high school life, while also having to fight off hordes of the undead, demons, demigods, and various other manifestations of evil, as well as romance, loss, homosexuality, death, rebirth, etc. In Buffy's seven seasons they skillfully portrayed just about every twist and turn a teen's life can face and kept the characters real and believable in the face of the unreal, and unbelievable. If you've never seen it, I urge you to give it a watch. And if, like me, you haven't seen it since it first aired, give it another go. It's well worth the time.

Hasta manana!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

30 Days Of Female Awesomeness:Favourite Female Character On A Male Driven Show

I'm going to go with Kaley Cuaco's character on The Big Bang Theory, Penny. One of the reasons I was so reluctant to watch TBBT was because Penny seemed to be a two-dimensional sitcom cliche character. Attractive, stupid, blonde-next-door whose sole purpose was to bring in the 18-24 horny male demographic. But once I finally started watching the show I found Penny to be much more than a pair of tits and a nice ass. She's a well rounded, for a sitcom anyway, character with nuance, and occasional subtlety. And her relationship with Leonard, rather than being a distraction, is one of the main engines for driving the plot of the series. I certainly won't deny that Ms. Cuaco is also a knock-out, but that is even used to drive the story as opposed to just having her around to be ogled, and as an actor Cuaco does a beautiful job, especially when the time comes for some good, old-fashioned raw emotion. So if, like me, you have stayed away from The Big Bang Theory partly due to the appearance of trite bimboism from Penny, let me assure you that she is much, much more.

See ya tomorrow,

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Fatass In Repose

I think Starbuck has gotten used to the new place, don't you?

30 Days of Female Awesomeness:Day 4: A Female Character You Relate To

I'm going to have to go with Ellen Ripley for this one. If you don't know who she is, Ripley was the Warrant Officer on board the space tug Nostromo, the unlucky ship that discovered the Alien, and spawned a series of films, books, and comics. At least in Alien and Aliens I completely got Ripley. With the possible exception of going back for the cat in Alien all of her actions, from not letting Kane back aboard to the ultimate destruction of the Nostromo made perfect sense to me. I felt like I would have reacted in exactly the same way she did...although she did have an unfortunate tendency to warn the bad guys that she was going to expose them, with near fatal consequences. Of course Alien 3 threw all of that out of the airlock, and Alien 4 I'd just as soon not think about, but for the first two films I really liked, respected, and related to Ripley.

Friday, August 05, 2011

30 Days Of Female Awesomeness: Day 3: Favourite Female Character In A Canon You Gave Up On

This one turned my brain into a bit of a pretzel, then the clouds parted and clarity was restored, in spite of horrifically mixed metaphors. Gwen Cooper, played by Eve Myles, one of the only surviving regulars of the Doctor Who spin off, Torchwood. Gwen is an ex-cop who is drawn into the reality-bending universe of the show by the immortal, and impossibly good looking, Captain Jack Harkness. Gwen is a strong, gorgeous, and capable character who is trying to juggle fighting aliens and interdimensional forces and having a family. Myles does a fantastic job as an actor, but I just don't care about the show. One of the hallmarks of Torchwood is that you can't really get attached to any of the main characters because...and this is a wee spoiler...all but the aforementioned Jack and Gwen have been killed during the shows three and a half seasons. Added to that this latest season is only playing on the STARZ network here in the states, which would require me to add $16/month to my cable package. Sadly as much as I admire Eve Myles, and like the character of Gwen Cooper, the show just isn't worth nearly $200. But there have been some good things in Torchwood in its previous seasons, and if you like Doctor Who but wish it was darker, give it a watch. Plus, if you like accents as much as I do, Eve's lovely Welsh accent will leave you a puddle on the sofa.

See y'all tomorrow.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

30 Days Of Female Awesomeness: Day 2: Favourite Supporting Female Character

Kaylee Frye, engineer/mechanic on board the privateer starship Serenity. If you haven't seen Firefly, and you call yourself a Science Fiction fan, WHAT THE HELL'S WRONG WITH YOU?!!! ...ahem...sorry. Anyway, Firefly was a fantastic series created by Joss Whedon in 2002 that ran on Fox for one season, and then got the axe. Like Star Trek before it Firefly was a show that was unappreciated during its run, but found great support after being cancelled. Enough support that Whedon was able to make a feature film, called Serenity, which tied up the loose ends. The crew are diverse and interesting, but Kaylee, the female mechanic, played by the ever wonderful Jewel Stait, was one of the most interesting. In addition to being a woman in a traditionally male role, she was both dainty and lusty, which are, again, not a usual combination in a TV show. She was never vulgar, but was no shrinking flower either, and kept the ship held together better than anyone. Imagine Jim Kirk, Montgomery Scott, and Scarlett O'Hara mixed together and you get Kaylee. She was my favorite Firefly character, and my favorite female supporting character.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

A New '30 Days' Challenge...Female Awesomeness

Let it be said that I like women. Not in the usual piggy male way, although I cannot claim to be completely without the testosterone fueled, lizard-brain lustthink, but I've just always preferred the company of women. I prefer to have a mostly female crew in my shop because they tend to be less flighty, more detail oriented, and less likely to come in with a concussion because the previous night's drunken parkour session landed them face-down in the parking lot. Most of my closest friends are women, and I have always related better to women than to men. Maybe it's because my mom was a single mom for a lot of my formative years, maybe it's because I am not into most traditional guy things like cars and sports, or maybe it's just because I have an acute sense of smell, and boys are stinky. Whatever, I like women. So without further preamble, the next month's worth of posts shall be thus:

30 Days Of Female Awesomeness

Day 1: Favourite Lead Female Character.
Day 2: Favourite Supporting Female Character.
Day 3: Favourite Female Character In A Canon You Gave Up On
Day 4: A Female Character You Relate To
Day 5: Favourite Female Character On A Male Driven Show
Day 6: Favourite Female Driven Show
Day 7: A Female Character That Needs More Screen Time
Day 8: Favourite Female Character In A Comedy Show
Day 9: Favourite Female Character In A Drama Show
Day 10: Favourite Female Character In A Scifi / Supernatural Show
Day 11: Favourite Female Character In A Children’s Show
Day 12: Favourite Female Character In A Movie
Day 13: Favourite Female Character In A Book
Day 14: Favourite Older Female Character
Day 15: Favorite Female Character Growth Arc
Day 16: Favourite Mother Character
Day 17: Favourite Warrior Female Character
Day 18: Favourite Non Warrior Female Character
Day 19: Favourite Non Human Female Character
Day 20: Favourite Female Antagonist
Day 21: Favourite Female Character Screwed Over By Canon
Day 22: Favourite Female Character You Love But Everyone Else Hates
Day 23: Favourite Female Platonic Relationship
Day 24: Favourite Female Romantic Relationship
Day 25: Favorite Mother / Daughter And / Or Sister Relationship
Day 26: Favourite Classical Female Character ( From Pre 20th Century Literature Or Mythology Or The Like )
Day 27: A Female Character You Have Extensive Personal Canon For
Day 28: Favourite Female Writer ( Television, Books, Movies, etc. )
Day 29: A Female Centric Fic Rec
Day 30: Whatever You’d like!

Day 1: Favourite* Lead Female Character.

This is a toughie because there are so many from which to choose, but I think I'll keep it simple here at the beginning and go with Princess Leia from Star Wars. Not only was she smart, strong, and beautiful, but her no-nonsense attitude set her apart from the usual 'convenient hostage' type of female protagonist of the time. She was my first cinematic crush, and was one of the main reasons that I saw Star Wars at least twenty times before it finally left the cinema. Now here's something I've never told anyone before. I never really cared for her in the slave girl outfit in Return of the Jedi. Yes, Carrie Fischer was smoking hot in the costume, but I felt every ounce of Princess Leia's embarrassment and shame at being put in such a position, so that rather than being a titillating scene, it was just uncomfortable for me.

So that's my favorite lead female. Who is yours?


*I cut and pasted this from a friend's blog in the UK, and I can't be bothered to change the spelling.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Cowboys and Aliens

Here's a snippet of the script of Cowboys and Aliens*.

Harrison Ford: MumblegrumblemumblegrumbleYELLgrumblemumble. (translation: I'm rich and angry)

Daniel Craig: GrumblemumblegrowlmumblegrumbleSCREAMmumblegrumble. (translation: I don't know who I am, but I'm angry too)

Olivia Wilde: Sizzle!

Ok, so aside from the dueling growlers, Cowboys and Aliens was a fun way to kill a couple of hours on a Tuesday morning. I'd say that this review won't have any spoilers, but to be honest there really aren't much in the way of plot twists to spoil. Jon Favreau is obviously a fan of the Clint Eastwood school of Westerns, and hits just about every cliche:

Small town in the middle of nowhere...check.
One rich guys runs the town with an iron fist...check.
Rich guy's son is a spoiled prick...check.
Craggy faced men who never get their teeth more than two millimeters apart when speaking...check.
Magical Indian tribe...check.
Clancy Brown as the town's preacher and Sam Rockwell as the barkeep...che-Wait, what?!

You read right, folks. This movie has an amazing cast including two of my favorite, yet underrated actors. I'd have never recognized Clancy Brown if I didn't see his name in the credits, but Sam Rockwell is unmistakable in his role as the town nerd forced to pick up a gun. Actually everyone does a passable job in their roles, though to be honest I doubt anyone's acting muscles were overly strained. There isn't too much to tell about Cowboys and Aliens. It's a pretty standard Western about a failing town struggling under the boot heel of the one man with any money, until the amnesiac Craig shows up and suddenly flying machines start blowing the town up and capturing the inhabitants. Of course, you've seen the trailers, Craig has an alien superweapon stuck on his arm, and when he gets angry, he turns green and begins tearing out of his, wait, wrong story...the thing activates and lets him blow up stuff with equal abandon. This movie is equal parts The Bourne Identity, Predator, and The Magnificent Seven, with a lot of Harrison Ford angrily chewing the shit out of the scenery. If anything in this movie surprises you then you are either twelve, or don't get out much, but what it does it does well. The effects are mostly well done, and the dialogue, while trite, suits the film. There are lots of 'splosions, very little gore, and only one very tame bit of nudity (sorry, boys) so this would be a good flick for the tweens, but it's probably a bit too much for young children. To be honest you could wait for the DVD or your preferred streaming video provider of choice, but as a cheap matinee you could do far worse. I'd give it 2.5 out of 5.