Hello there! It’s late morning in New Hometown, Florida on Monday, August 2, 2021. It’s yet another hot midsummer’s day, and from the looks of it, it is going to be stormy, as well. Currently, the temperature is 88˚F (30˚C) under mostly cloudy skies. With humidity at 61% and the wind blowing from the south-southwest at 7 MPH (10 KM/H), the feels-like temperature is 100˚F (35˚C). The forecast for today calls for thunderstorms to move through our area. The high will be 92˚F (33˚C). Tonight, scattered rain showers are expected. The low will be 76˚F (24˚C). The Air Quality Index is 51 or Moderate.
Last night I had a better movie-watching experience than I had on Saturday. Not only did I finish watching the 4K UHD edition of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, but I watched The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies in its entirety (the 2014 film has a running time of 2 hours and 24 minutes).
Admittedly, I started watching The Desolation of Smaug late yesterday afternoon – a bit before six, I think – at the point at which I last left off on Saturday, so not only did I choose a more reasonable time to watch it, but I also did not “rewind” The Desolation of Smaug to the beginning. The theatrical edition of the second part of the trilogy is long enough at 2 hours and 41 minutes, and I wanted to watch The Battle of Five Armies straightaway, so I started The Desolation of Smaug shortly before Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) meets the dragon Smaug (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch).
I didn’t watch The Hobbit trilogy in theaters; at the time, I was busy taking care of my sick mother and at the same time learning how to manage a household. I remember vaguely that I wanted to see An Unexpected Journey (2012), The Desolation of Smaug (2013), and The Battle of Five Armies (2014) when they were first announced, but since most of my movie-going friends had moved away or passed on, my only option was to go by myself, and that didn’t appeal to me at all.
I’m not, by any stretch of the imagination, a die-hard devotee of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth legendarium; I am, at most, a casual fan who owns The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion in novel form and enjoyed Jackson’s LOTR film trilogy, but that’s as far as it goes. I never played Dungeons & Dragons or bought any Tolkien-inspired collectibles. I like the lore, but I’m not steeped in it, and I prefer lighter fare along the lines of Star Wars and Star Trek.
According to my Amazon shopping history, I purchased the 1080p Blu-ray set in March of 2015. This was the last box set that I ordered while Mom was still alive. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was also one of the last “new” movies I tried to watch with my mother. I say “tried” because even though Mom wasn’t so far gone with dementia that she didn’t know who I was or where she was, by March of 2015 she had a hard time following a movie’s narrative threads. And because we had watched The Lord of the Rings (the extended version) early in her long period of immobility, she insisted that she had seen The Hobbit before.
Maybe it’s because of that bleak experience with Mom that I’ve never warmed up to Peter Jackson’s prequel trilogy to The Lord of the Rings. I watched the entire Hobbit trilogy in Miami just once to justify its purchase, and since I moved out here to New Hometown in the spring of 2016 I think I only watched An Unexpected Journey once. (And, if you’re keeping score, this is the film I skipped when I decided to try out the new 4K UHD editions in the The Hobbit Motion Picture Trilogy box set I received from Amazon on Thursday.)
To my surprise, I enjoyed The Desolation of Smaug and The Battle of Five Armies immensely, even though I know that this set will not be watched as frequently as my Star Wars films. I am curious to see if the extended versions are any better than the theatrical editions. I know that the extended versions of The Lord of the Rings improve on the original cuts considerably, even though they do require more stamina from a viewer since they are, natch, longer. I guess I’ll find out when I watch The Hobbit trilogy in its extended edition, perhaps during the holiday season. Right now, as far as Middle Earth is concerned, I’m good.
As for today, I naively hoped that we would get a break from the summer storm pattern – hot, cloudy mornings, afternoons with a mix of sweltering heat and lightning-spewing storms – that is part of every Floridian’s life. Alas, it looks like we’re going to have a dark and stormy day. It’s already gray and gloomy outside; if my room gets any darker I’ll have to turn on a lamp just to be able to see my keyboard while I type.
If I do any more writing today, I’ll have to do it out in the kitchenette on my laptop. I can do that, at least in dribs and drabs, but it’s harder to concentrate “out there” because whereas my room is private and I can close the door to avoid distractions, the kitchenette is public. The refrigerator is only a few feet away, and with five housemates and a dog waltzing in and out, the kitchenette table is not an ideal place for me to write. I’ll try – that’s why I spent so much money on the laptop in the first place – but I am not optimistic about accomplishing much on this rainy Monday.
Well, that’s all the news that’s fit to print, Dear Reader, so it’s time for me to wrap this blog post up. Until next time, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the less soggy side of things.