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Uncle Orson Reviews Everything
September 28, 2003

First appeared in print in The Rhinoceros Times, Greensboro, NC.


Prophecy, Calendars, Roly Poly, Matchstick Men

A faithful reader pointed out to me that a prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled before our very eyes -- if, that is, our eyes are watching The Bachelor.

"And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach" (Isa. 4:1, KJV).

*

The calendars are hitting the bookstores again. They do a wonderful job of providing you with colorful art or photographs to grace your wall, giving you variety by letting you change the picture every month.

I buy a ridiculous number of calendars every year. I tear them apart and scan the art, adding it to my collection of desktop "wallpaper." Then I discard the calendars so I'm maintaining only the one copy I paid for.

But what we never do is use these calendars for any practical purpose, like telling what day it is.

Why?

Because you can't write on them.

The slick paper that makes those photos look so sharp and vibrant repels ink and graphite.

But there's hope for those of you who actually need a wall calendar on which you can write things.

Go to More Time Moms, a Canadian company that operates a website called, appropriately, www.moretimemoms.com.

Click on the "2004 Family Organizer." Despite the fancy name, it's a calendar. Not only can you write on it, but it comes with stickers that allow you to make certain dates stand out with icons you can recognize from across the room.

We've recommended this calendar to many friends, and every family that's used it swears by it. It's the calendar you'll actually use.

*

The location at the corner of Battleground and Cornwallis is a dangerous one for restaurants.

Remember Blue Ridge Ice Cream? I think they lost half their customers because the thought of trying to get through that intersection and into a commercial driveway was so daunting that people just gave up and got cheap soft-ice-cream sundaes at McDonalds.

Now another restaurant is braving the difficult location, this time one building back from Battleground so it's even less visible. But I urge you to give it a try.

Roly Poly Sandwiches sells California rolls, or "wraps." It's a franchise with ten locations in North Carolina, but only the one in Greensboro.

The variety of wraps you can create is stunning, and because each one is made only after you order it, you can get exactly what you want.

The ingredients are fresh and good, and the sandwich-makers are careful -- there's nothing sloppy or second-rate.

In fact, they're so careful that you may wait for your food a little longer than you're used to at fast-food places. But it's worth the wait.

Just be aware that for reasons unknown to us, they close fairly early in the evening, so you want to stop by before the movie.

*

Matchstick Men is an absolutely astonishing movie.

In some ways, it feels like an art film. Lighting and camera angles look like Ridley Scott is trying extra hard for atmosphere, and the main character, a con man plagued with obsessive-compulsive disorder, looks like the sort of quirky character Nicholas Cage plays when he's going for an Oscar instead of big box office.

But all that arty-looking stuff is part of the con on the audience. True, it has led some confused reviewers to say bad things about the movie because, far from being an art film, it is actually the kind of deeply human film that regular audience members will enjoy.

In fact, it's such a wild ride that I can hardly say anything about it without giving stuff away that you will want to find out for yourself.

Let's just say that it looks like it's a caper movie in the tradition of The Italian Job and The Sting ... but it's not. Or, well, it is, but it's also much more than that.

Cage's relationships with his partner, played deliciously by Sam Rockwell, and with his long-lost daughter, played by the scene-stealing Alison Lohman, are utterly believable, as we watch him try to do one last job for his partner's sake, while trying to find out what it means to have a daughter in his life.

And he is transformed, so that when everything comes clear at the end you realize that you can't tell winners from losers until you know their hearts.

I loved this movie, precisely because instead of trying to impress you, it's designed to steal your heart and make you see your own life and family with a different perspective.

Not only that, you get to see Nicholas Cage at his brilliant, heartfelt best.


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