Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Minority Report

It’s day seven of over-90-degree weather in New York City, and my tolerance for this is beyond low. I feel like I’m trying to survive the desert or something. I do have a tiny AC in my room, but it only runs for a few hours before its humidity take fills, so I usually wake up in the middle of the night to an oven-like atmosphere. Also, its a bit disconcerting to sit in my room all weekend, without the TV or my desktop computer or anything else. I’d like to get out of the house, but even the trip from my house to the subway is murderous. So survival has been grueling, to say the least.

I got up early and ran a bunch of errands (bank, post office, laundry) and then went to Times Square, mostly because I wanted the air-conditioned subway ride. Turns out there was a huge street fair on 7th Ave, the main drag through Times Square, and thousands of people were there. I’m not sure I’ve seen this many people in Times Square at once; it wasn’t a crowd as big as New Year’s, but considering the heat, it was still phenomenal. Right off the train, I grabbed a corn dog from a cart, and briefly scanned the vendors. They didn’t have much I couldn’t buy at K-Mart for cheaper, but I have some strange fascination with those potted bamboo and bonzai trees they sell at street fairs, and someday I’ll get the nerve to buy one. (I say this as more than half of my window garden has died from neglect.)

Another alterior motive was to see if my friend Rob was at work (he is the manager at the Yankees store on 42nd street), but since he wasn’t, and since I was drenched in sweat from the 5 blocks of walking, I ducked into the AMC 25 and decided to pony up $10 for whatever was starting within a few minutes and wasn’t Austin Powers or Men in Black or some other movie with an integral fast-food marketing tie-in. So I got a ticket to see Minority Report, which was a coup because it was something I wanted to check out, and also I got two hours and twenty minutes of AC for my money. (As opposed to MIB2, which was about 23 minutes long, from what I hear.)

I don’t think Minority Report got a big pop; the commercials weren’t incredible, and it wasn’t that compelling for most people. Plus it seemed like most reviewers on the “dumb” review shows HATED it. Well, there’s a reason for that – it was an excellent movie! And it made people think, which is a big no-no in Hollywood. If you make people think they are thinking, they will love you. But making them actually think is bad. (I was happy to see that Roger Ebert’s Review was good, though.) Anyway, I don’t want to even give away any of the plot, but I will say a few things about the movie. First, the combination of CGI and excellent design makes the 50-years-from-now world of Washington DC incredibly realistic. It’s orders of magnitude better than movies like Fifth Element or even Blade Runner, but the movie isn’t about the technology. It’s more of a human element, and the action in this movie is very tight, and keeps you going through the entire two and a half hours. (It honestly felt like 90 minutes to me.) The ending is complicated, but it’s very much worth it. The other thing is that this is the first movie that I’ve seen based on a Philip K. Dick book that really SEEMS like his writing. Blade Runner took it in another direction, and Total Recall seemed a lot more like an Arnold vehicle, like Running Man 2. I don’t think people will flock to the home video of this, but I do think it will be a cult classic like Blade Runner.

I stayed up all night last night (well, almost all night) reading the new Cynthia True book about Bill Hicks. It’s incredible, and I want to write more about it, but I also want to take a shower, so I’ll save that for another day.