Tag Archives: rental

Two entertaining flicks from the my hometown

In the midst of our busy social life (note: sarcasm), Mrs. Poolman and I recently watched two decent movies at home. A bit of a surprise in both cases was that they were both shot in my hometown of Pittsburgh.

Jack_Reacher_poster“Reacher,” starring Tom Cruise, was much better than I expected it to be. The biggest surprise was that Cruise absolutely nailed the character of Jack Reacher. This was a surprise, because he doesn’t come anywhere close to fitting the physical description of Jack Reacher in the series of novels by Lee Child. In the books, Reacher is 6’4”, and we all know Tom C is about a foot shorter.

Reacher is a former Army CID officer who turned his back on conventional society when he left the Army. He drifts around the country without a home or job, but always seems to find himself in some situation that needs fixing. Reacher is extremely smart, tough and resourceful. He is very cool, in the same way that Mark Harmon plays a cool Jethro Gibbs in NCIS.

In the movie, based on the Child novel, “One Shot,” Reacher arrives in Pittsburgh to help solve the mystery surrounding a former Army sniper who shot and killed several people, apparently without rhyme or reason. Of course it turns out there was a rhyme and reason; otherwise there wouldn’t be a story.

In any case, this isn’t a flick you are going to see around Academy Awards time, but for a Saturday night rental with a bowl of popcorn, this one was pretty good.

Abduction_PosterA real surprise was “Abduction” with Taylor Lautner (Twilight series) and Lily Collins (The Blind Side.) We picked it up on Netflix last night. The main character, Nathan, discovers his childhood picture on a missing children Web site. So, of course, he and his cute neighbor, Karen (Lily Collins,) pursue it. Rather than turning into a maudlin Lifetime-network chick-flick, which we expected, a hit team shows up at his house, and the chase is on. “Hey Mrs. Poolman, look at what just happened here!”

The plot and overall story is pretty good, but it misses on some of the small points. The acting is nothing to rave about (I understand Taylor was runner-up for a worst-actor award for this movie. I’m not surprised.) , despite a decent supporting cast including Maria Bello, Jason Issac (the evil British colonel in The Patriot), Signorney Weaver and Michael Nyqvist (the Swedish version of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy.) We were just amazed that after swimming across a river and sleeping in the woods overnight, Taylor and Lily looked like they just walked out of make-up. Abduction 3 w But if you overlook some of the little things, you’ll find that “Abduction” is a pretty entertaining movie.

Adventures in car rentals

I had an over-night trip to Atlanta earlier this week. All of our institution cars were tied up, so I rented a car. It’s cheaper and better for all concerned than driving my own car and getting paid mileage.

Renting a car can be an adventure. The instrumentation and other gadgets on most cars work pretty much the same way, but there are exceptions.

The first time I got into a rental with a key-less ignition, I had no idea what to do. I had to get the rental attendant to show me how to start the darn thing.

Sometimes figuring out how the CD player works can be a challenge.

Hybrids can be different if you are not familiar with them.

This time, I ended up with a Chevrolet HHR. When I stopped to get gas on the way out of town, I encountered a familiar problem.

“How do I get to the gas cap?”

I looked at the gas cap cover and saw no “finger flap” to open it, so I started searching around the driver’s seat for a release switch. No such luck. It was still very pre-dawn, so I had trouble seeing anything in the dark. After popping the hood and the tailgate in my effort to find a switch, I was starting to get frustrated.

How about the owner’s manual?

No such luck. The rental companies remove them.

Just before pulling out my cell phone and calling the 24-hour emergency number, I took a chance and just pressed on the gas cap cover. Viola! It popped open.

I felt kind-of stupid for not thinking of that first. However, this is the first car I have driven that didn’t either have the little finger flap or a release switch.

Don’t you think it would be a good idea for the rental company to leave the owner’s manual in the car? Who would want to steal an owner’s manual for a car they don’t own?

Stupid question – I’m sure someone would.