Yes, this is a photo of a young Dakota Fanning. I didn't know much about her, being a cretin when it comes to topical, current culture and movies. But my wonderful teenage duaghter asked for a different present for her 17th birthday - she asked me to watch the entire 10-episode "Taken" series with her that aired on the SciFi channel back in 2002. Each episode lasted about 90 minutes, so we are talking 15 hours of viewing time. In one day. By a guy who generally doesn't watch TV or go to the movies. But it was what my wonderful daughter wanted, and it was not a costly present.
It was a challenge.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this mini-series, "Taken" tells a tale about alien abductions and related hoo-hah dating from 1947 through 2002. The stories have a certain amount of cleverness, and there is some pretty good acting (young Dakota was quite good, actually). The decent acting masked the extreme improbablility of the premise and the questionable motivation of the key characters. This is not great cinema, and it is not even good TV. Steven Spielberg produced it. This is not Spielberg's best work, that's for sure. I did like watching the little grey men, though.
I also learned that you can get a hangover from too much television viewing. We did 12 hours on Saturday and quit at 1:00 a.m.when my headache and deep fatigue forced a halt. I woke up this morning feeling like I had drank a fifth of whiskey even though I hadn't touched a drop. We finished the series today at 1:30 PM. So in one weekend, I spent as much time in front of a TV as I normally would in nine months or so.
So happy birthday to my marvelous teenager, and thanks for a very different 17th birthday party.