Summer vacation: Day 3

It’s been said many times that the only things we do during our trips to The Farm are eat, sleep, read and watch movies. The lack of cable television, let alone the poor reception for any network television, and no Internet connectivity, have a lot to do with that. There’s no cell phone reception and the nearest town -- I said town, not city -- is about a 20-minute drive. The home-cooked food is always filling and the sleep is sublime.

We do our share of hiking and exploring, too. And I suppose doing puzzles and playing games should be added to that list of things we do as well. I finished off a fun 1,000 piece puzzle yesterday afternoon. The photo depicted a spread of colorful yarns and needles and other knitting accessories.

Having Phoebe around adds a whole new element to The Farm escape. Phoebe’s Aunt Jessi and Cousin Isaac -- or, as Phoebe is calling him, “Little Brother Isaac” -- were at the farm to greet us Thursday night, and they spent the better part of their time together chasing one another, filling the house with loud shrieks and giggles.

As for the movies, Phoebe is getting her fill of Disney thrills. She’s watched “Cinderella” multiple times, “The Little Mermaid,” “The Lion King,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin.” “Fantasia” is playing as I write this. And there’s a whole lot more in the media cabinet where those came from.

At night, once we can get Phoebe to bed, we bring out the adult movies. At the farm there’s a treasure trove of blockbusters and unknowns, thanks to a lot of video store clearance sales and second-hand store pickups.

So Thursday night, we laid a handful of nominees on the table. We settled on “Rachel Getting Married,” the 2009 flick starring Anne Hathaway as a sister-of-the-bride who’s navigating rehab and trying to put behind her a history of personal crises.

I admire Anne Hathaway and remembered being interested in seeing the film when it was in theaters. So my anticipation was high going-in.

The film didn’t quite live up, however. I appreciated the artistic value of it and it’s depictions of diversity and one family’s life. But …

I’m not quite sure what the film was about. Nothing was resolved. There was no closure to the story. … The scenes felt terribly disjointed, too. There is a scene about halfway through the film with people performing and toasting at a wedding rehearsal dinner, where Hathaway’s Kym gives a cringe-worthy toast. That scene dragged on for so long, it felt as though it made up half the movie.

And what was up with all of the random people throughout the house without any explanation? And oh, did that violin music grate on me. … No, us. As the credits rolled, no one had made an issue of it until finally Kates moved for the DVD player to turn it off and helped us realize all of us were thinking the same thing.

I give it a D.

Last night, we popped in “Vantage Point.” It was unfamiliar to Kates and I, but the description on the back of the DVD case was intriguing -- not to mention a strong cast that includes Dennis Quaid, Matthew Fox, Forest Whitaker and Sigourney Weaver.

The plot revolved around a counter-terrorism summit in Spain, where the U.S. president is struck down by an assassin. As the movie plays out, the final minutes before the assassination are played out repeatedly, each from a different character’s point of view. It’s a thriller from beginning to end, with each twist more surprising than the last.

The film’s only downfall is the high number of truly unbelievable feats. There’s no way that some of the characters should be walking after an explosion that takes place in a courtyard packed with people there to see the president. Then there’s an intense car chase where Dennis Quaid’s character inexplicably keeps his car in one piece and even avoids a crash when a truck is catapulted and dropped at what appears to be a few feet in front of his car -- which is traveling 90 mph.

Nonetheless, it is a movie and the far-fetchedness isn’t enough to take away from the twists and thrills that carry the rest of the film. I give it a B+.

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