Wednesday, 21 March 2001

Films and Games

Listening to:

Bartok, string quartet no. 3 (Sz 85).

A recent movie:

Best in Show. I saw this on a plane from Hong Kong to Heathrow and thought it very good, even in those rather trying conditions. (Although I have to say, I think I find it a lot easier to get to sleep over the muted roar of jet engines than over the neighbours’ distant pop music when the latter is the only thing disturbing the night’s quiet.) Anyway, what about this film then? Very amusing. It’s what is apparently known as a mockumentary. This means that while taking on the outward form of a documentary, it is actually an extended satire.

This film succeeds because it verges just a little into the unrealistic to make its jokes. The characters seem as if they just might be real people. The film is based around a big dog show, and the principal characters are the various contestants that attend, hoping that their dog will win the grand prize. They are all a little weird and stereotypical, but very funny as they negotiate all sorts of quandaries.

The Computer Game

I’ve been playing quite a bit of a new PC game called Europa Universalis. It’s quite an addictive game in the Civilisation/Imperialism mould, but better than both, in my opinion, because of its very well-researched historical setting. Other people seem to think pretty highly of it too; for example this review at StrategyGaming is very positive. It finishes (in incomplete sentences, he’s clearly that rapt):

I can see if you don’t have much time, or don’t have an interest in history at all. But outside of that, if you don’t buy this game, you’re nuts.