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T R I V I A L MATTERS B E N F E R N A N D E Z A L I V E E A S T B 38 A Y j a n u a r y 2 0 1 6 A M O V I E R E V I E W The Martian CAROLYN HASTINGS I don’t often agree with the “Critics.” If they all say it’s great, I tend to stay clear. If the “audience” ratings are high, I grab my umbrella and head to the theater. The Martian is an anomaly; it received a 93% rating by both. Yup, exactly the same and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that. I’m not really a huge fan of science fiction or fantasy but this movie just felt more like a true story or maybe a documentary to me. I thought it was credible in a weird kind of way. While I was doing my research for thiis review I found an article on Space.com titled ‘The Martian’ Might Be the Most Realistic Space Movie Ever Made. Aha! That must be why a moviegoer that isn’t really a fan of science fiction or fantasy thought it played like a true story. Matt Daman (Mark Watney) is part of a mission team on Mars. It’s not too long before they head back to Earth and there is a storm; an outer-space-size storm. Mark is presumed dead by his team and they have a finite amount of time to escape. The mission commander makes the call and they board their craft and leave the planet for good. Mark awakens injured with the realization that he is alone, truly alone. He pulls the a piece of the antenna out of his side, doctors his wound and sits down to figure out what comes next. Damon brings optimism, nerdiness and more than a touch of crazy to this character. Not totally unlike Tom Hanks in Castaway, Damon talks to himself and answers himself (I’ve been known to do that). There are many more characters in The Martian but he is truly alone, not just on a deserted island but “140 million miles away from home” kind of alone. While NASA tries to figure out how to help him and his crew doesn’t even know he’s still alive, Mark Watney decides it’s pretty much up to him to save himself. He first checks his food supplies; 31 days. He knows a rescue is four years away so he comes to the realization that he will have to “science the shit out of this.” He’s a botanist, the self-proclaimed “Greatest Botanist on this planet!” He sets out to grow his own food from the potato left in his meager food supply. There is only one moment in time, when everything has gone wrong that Watney sits in his chair, raises his eyes upwards and screams, “God!” He then sits up straight and starts to work, once again, on his myriad problems. I found The Martian absolutely fascinating. Each team member had a specialty but underlying that there was this crossover brilliance. I suppose when you are preparing to become an astronaut you have to learn much more than your own little piece of the team (just in case you get left behind on Mars). To quote the article in Space.com: “A science-fiction film’s ‘accuracy’ or ‘realism’ shouldn’t hinge only on the science and technology, but also on the presentation of scientists and their culture. With that in mind, ‘The Martian’ might be the most realistic (but fictional) space movie of all time.” I truly enjoyed this film. I am so glad that I saw it on the big screen when I could but all is not lost. It comes out on DVD this month, so if you don’t have a huge screen at home, check out all your friends, see who has the biggest screen and invite yourself for a movie night. The least you can do is bring the popcorn and the Junior Mints! I look forward to your comments at chastings@rockcliff.com. My apologies for letting 2015 slip by without paying respect to the many notable people who would have turned 100, if they had only had the foresight to live that long. Let’s review some of those names. 1. There was more than one TV tribute to the 100th birthday of Frank Sinatra. His career was almost toast until he won an Oscar for playing a doomed soldier in what 1953 film? 2. He almost lived to 100. His great career as a character actor involved playing a Mexican bandito in two memorable movies. Who was he? 3. He won two Oscars, but was best known for playing Zorba the Greek. Who was he? 4. She won three Oscars for acting, but may be best known for saying “Play ‘As Time Goes By’, Sam.” Who was she? 5. He directed what American Film Institute claims is the best American film of all time. He only directed a handful of films and was once married to Rita Hayworth. Who was he? 6. He was the original Tevye on Broadway in “Fiddler on the Roof” and the original Max Bialystock in the movie “The Producers.” Who was this outsized talent? December Answers 1. Boris Karloff 2. Clarence Oddbody 3. Lionel Barrymore 4. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer 5. Darren McGavin 6. Fezziwigg December Winner: Maria Barandica of San Ramon WIN $25 ON BEN! The first person to email or mail (no calls please), the correct answers to all of the above questions will win a $25 gift certificate, compliments of Ben! Entries must be received by January 20, 2015. In the event of a tie, the winner will be drawn at random. Please email your answers to info@aliveeastbay.com, or mail to ALIVE, 3200 A Danville Blvd., Ste. 204, Alamo, CA 94507. Prizes are limited to only one winner per household per quarter (every three months). Employees and family members of employees of ALIVE are not eligible.


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