I’m not going to be much help in the social arena.  For me, going out involves an active activity, a movie, or dinner.  I’m happiest with a stay-at-home night.  But on those occasions when you want entertainment and you don’t want to spend a lot of money (or any at all), there are ways to cut down the costs.

Movies

  • First and foremost, check your library!  Many libraries have a movie rental section.  Yes, some of them are older, but some libraries do a good job of keeping up on Oscar winners and such.
  • Look for free movies on television if you’re paying for cable or satellite (although I definitely don’t recommend it).  Yes, you might have to put up with a commercial or some minor editing, but if you just want something to watch, it’s free.
  • Try one of the online services.  Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime all offer streaming movies.  I’m sure there are plenty more, but these three come out to about $8 a month– of less than the price of a matinee ticket at some theatres.  Hulu even has some for free.
  • Look for free movie offers (I do the Disney movie deal once every two years or so).  I also make sure I do the digital version of movies when I can (VuDu or Ultraviolet).
  • Renting from Blockbuster, Netflix, or Redbox will still be cheaper than going to the movies.  Save the theatre experience for movies you either can’t wait for or that are greatly enhanced by having the large screen and surround sound.  (If you have these at home, you really should get the most out of what you paid for.)
  • As an “out there” option, sign up to be a mystery shopper and get to watch movies for free.  Don’t sign up with just anyone; go to Volition’s mystery shop database to find reputable companies to sign up with.

Music

  • Make use of your radio.  There are still plenty of radio stations out there that you can listen to absolutely free.
  • Try Pandora, Spotify, or half-a-dozen other streaming radio stations.  You can listen for free with ads or pay to remove them.
  • Get free music from iTunes (see your local Starbucks or Jamba Juice or just do a search on the site), Google Play, or Free Indie.  Here’s another way your library can be useful; see if they offer Freegal.  Download three free songs each week.  Period.  No strings.  The selection is decent.
  • Get free Amazon MP3 downloads by filling out surveys, playing apps, etc.  May require giving out your email, so keep a burner email.

Books

  • The only books you should be buying are those you will be reading over and over and/or marking up.  Otherwise, USE YOUR LIBRARY!  Get free books on Kindle, Nook, Amazon… the lists of freebies are endless.  “But I don’t like any of those classic-schmassic books.”  Read a book on getting a better paying job.

Activities

  • Look for listings at, yes, your local library.  Do I sound like a broken record?  Make use of your library!
  • Look online for your Parks and Recreation district.  Some events tend to be free in larger communities.
  • Get free classes at Lowes, Home Depot, Michaels, Hobby Lobby… check your local retailers.
  • Sign up for a free online class.  My current favorite place to look is Coursera.com, but there are lots of great lists.
  • Volunteer somewhere.
  • Make use of your local park.
  • Have a stay-in game night.

There’s really no reason to be spending a lot of money on entertainment.  Oh, need wifi?  Try your library (yet again!) or buy something small at a coffee shop (Starbucks, Coffee Bean, smaller coffee shops), Denny’s, McDonalds, etc.  Only pay for at-home wifi if you are going to be using it a lot.

I’ve got to get back to being good at a few of these, but a lot of these save me a ton of money.  I’ll work on a few more over the next few months.

 

 

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** WARNING:  There will be spoilers further down.  I will warn again before the spoilers start. **

Prometheus is a Ridley Scott picture.  As such, it is visually stunning and fairly seamless in production.

Prometheus is a Ridley Scott picture.  As such, the “science” is largely missing from the “science fiction” and the ending leaves you a little at loss to figure out the rest of the movie.  In this case, however, the ending is absolutely crucial.  Do not leave until the credits are rolling.

Prometheus EW Photo #14Let’s start with my favorite movie game: Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.  We start with Michael Fassbender (“David” in Prometheus and “Magneto (Eric)” in X-Men: First Class).  Direct connection to Kevin Bacon, who played Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class.  Well, that was no fun.

Fassbender is the first face you see in Prometheus.  He takes the very angry, emotional Magneto and shuts him down into a supposedly emotional “robot” (who should probably be designated an android, but that’s one of the smaller science gripes I have with this movie).  It’s a good robot face, with clean planes and smooth lines, but there is sometimes too much emotion in it.  I don’t think it’s a flaw of Fassbender’s acting so much as the script, which asks him to feel but not look like he’s feeling too much.

Noomi Rapace is adequate as Elizabeth Shaw, but the character is poorly written and I can never decide who, exactly, the person behind the character is.  I’m not sure Rapace ever does either.

Charlize Theron continues a strong year with her turn as Meredith Vickers.  Strong, independent, and with just a touch of humanity, she is an interesting foil to both Rapace and Fassbender.

In my not-so-humble opinion, Guy Pearce is wasted as the aged and dying Peter Weyland.  His performance, like Rapace, is adequate, but there is only so much he can do.  I’m going to label him the most poorly cast character.

Logan Marshall-Green may have been added more as eye candy than anything, but he does… well, I feel like I’m overusing adequate, but that’s what the entire role was.  He’s in the movie to fill out Rapace’s Shaw and little more.

** SPOILER WARNING: There will be a lot of spoilers in the next section; you’ve been warned **

For those who didn’t know, this is an Alien/ Aliens prequel, so the very ending was only a surprise because I had completely forgotten that’s what it was.  But I’d like to know why one of the aliens had to look so much like male sexual organs in one form and female in another.  There had to be a better way to do it.

Also, why did every crew member wear bandage underwear?  They look like someone took bandages and wrapped them around just enough to cover the “naughty bits”.   Considering how much we have to see this “attire”, couldn’t they have invested a little bit of creativity?

Now for the science issues… these aren’t even all of them, just the ones that really bothered me or that I took the time to write down.

  • The entry into the atmosphere is far too shallow, at least from the good science fiction that I’ve read.  If you enter the atmosphere at a shallow angle, it’s a lot like skipping a rock across a pond… no entry, just a bounce across the atmosphere.  It wouldn’t have hurt the storyline or visuals to correct this.
  • Even an android/ robot may break down in two-plus years.  No good expedition would have left just one crew member awake for that long without a backup.
  • There’s no mention of different gravities, which should be noticable, since this is a moon.  Everyone moves as if in Earth gravity.
  • Two years immersed in stassis (and not moving, based on the structure of the pods) should have resulted in atrophied muscles.  Instead, just days later we have crew members running, lifting heavy items, and showing a good amount of stamina.  If there had been movement in the pods, waking up and immediately moving would have been possible.  Without it, what was shown on screen (and the muscle tone clearly visible) was virtually impossible.
  • The imaging “pups” are actually almost possible now… except for the zero-gravity feature.  If there is the ability to negate gravity, why is it not used by Peter Weyland instead of a cane?
  • At one point, the temperature is given as “-112” (no reference to Farenheit or Celcius).  People are walking around with no helmets and no gloves.  Why is there no frostbite?
  • 2000 years dead and preserved in no atmosphere could work.  There is atmosphere; why did the bodies not decay?
  • In the very intense silica dust storm, vehicles are being tossed and the sand is striking hard enough for sound… but no one is injured.  The suits seem to be near-impermeable for this event.
  • Why is there a very good road after 2000 years of no use?  There is an atmosphere (toxic, but still atmosphere).  There are dust storms.  Why is the road still perfect?
  • Extreme cold and silica dust storms don’t affect the skinsuits, but apparently fire just destroys them immediately?

I got tired of making notes after that.  I understand a certain amount of creative license, but these are all things that could have been corrected with just a little bit of real science.

Beyond the science issues, the movie is watchable and even has a few good quotes (“God doesn’t build in straight lines”), but I wouldn’t go watch it again.  It gets a very firm 2 1/2 stars out of 5.  Go and watch it if you’re a Ridley Scott or Alien fan, but don’t expect to walk away feeling good about the price of your ticket.