Saturday, November 29, 2008

you are what you eat



Today is a new day. Lately I’ve been eating out too much. Staying up too late. Drinking too much, and then eating some more. It’s so gluttonous and basically disgusting. I don’t exercise. I don’t write. I don’t read. My focus is just… wooosh!

But today is a new day. Admittedly, I was getting fast food, but one step at a time: I didn’t get any fries. I KNOW. Oh how I was craving that salty, golden, fried, waffle-shaped piece of heaven. I could feel its soft warmness in my mouth, and I salivated at the thought. If only I could devour it and start to feel the slow clogging of my arteries… if only. Sigh. I’d do the Snoopy dance of joy. Amazingly, I went for the fruit cup. The overpriced three bites and you’re done snack of unsatisfactory. I still want my fries, dammit. Well, at least as I sit here eating my third chocolate chip cookie, I can say to myself “You’ve done good, kid. You’ll thank yourself later.”

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

its been a long time coming


Wow. You'd think I'd like a room like this, one with as many books as possible within arms length. But really, yikes. I don't know if I would be tempted to spend all my days in bed, or if it would just make me feel really really guilty that I'm not reading more. Probably the latter.

Speaking of things I should be doing, hopefully more posts (of substance next time) will be... posted. On this blog. Soon.

Monday, October 20, 2008

is he a pig? he sure eats like one.


I watched about half of E.T. the other day. Man, what a movie. It really is exceptional. I’ve seen it a few times before, but most of those times were when I was a little a kid and still freaked out by that little guy. I’m still slightly traumatized by that scene when Michael (the older brother) finds E.T. all sick and dying in the forest. He just looked so freakishly gross. I remember that and the candy scene from when I was younger. We had an E.T. pencil at home, too, and I could never use it. Too scary.

But now that I’m older, I must admit I’m quite charmed by E.T. Each successive time I watched (I have no idea why I subjected myself to it multiple times. I’m pretty sure we owned the VHS), the cuteness to scary ratio would go up (or down?), and now I really like that extraterrestrial. (If he were actually in my house, however, I’m not saying I wouldn’t run screaming.)

Anyway, I first off must admit I am a huge Steven Spielberg fan. His movies are total gold. Just because he makes popcorn flicks for the masses doesn’t mean he’s not talented, you film snobs. I think it’s part of his genius—he makes movies with the audience in mind. His movies are so damn entertaining, you don’t even realize his technical skill.

So watching E.T., I was drawn into all the emotional notes of the story. But at the same time part of me sat there in wonderment of the faultless execution of the film. The tone and atmosphere is really well established by the cinematography such as the faceless men marching when E.T. is taken away. The spacesuit scene is so surreal, and reinforces the childlike perspective. The entire movie is a memory of childhood, perhaps not as a child actually sees the world, but how an adult remembers seeing the world as a child. If that makes any sense. And dude, when the music swells up and the boys start flying on their bikes, it is truly a magical moment. Yea, I know, I’m a total cornball.

I could go on, but I guess I’ll just wrap it up with the script. The script! A total Spielberg script with “ordinary” characters and movie-witty jokes. Visuals are the most important parts of film, but as a writer, I can’t help but pay close attention to dialogue, pacing, and story arc. Lines like Elliot whispering to E.T. “I’ll believe in you all my life,” make me so happy. Not “remember” but “believe”. Perfect. They call movies like Gone with the Wind and Lawrence of Arabia epics, but I think E.T. is pretty epic in its own right.

Friday, October 17, 2008

play that funky music


So I’m guessing that eventually it’ll stop being summer. I mean, sure it’s the middle of October, and it’s still 90 degrees outside. But you know, I think around Christmas time, it’ll maybe start to cool down. A little? But while you may want to kick the sun in its blazing balls of fire now, once you start trudging around in a bulky overcoat and Ugg boots, you’ll be missing that big mass of yellow in the sky.

October 2008 Playlist: Last Days of Summer Edition

1. Sugar, Sugar- The Archies
2. Under the Boardwalk- The Drifters
3. Island in the Sun- Weezer
4. Brown Eyed Girl- Van Morrison
5. I’m Yours- Jason Mraz
6. One Fine Day- The Chiffons
7. Summer Breeze- Seals & Crofts
8. Swing Swing- The All-American Rejects
9. Roam- The B-52s
10. Hungry Like the Wolf- Duran Duran
11. Boys of Summer- The Ataris
12. Follow You Down- Gin Blossoms

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

finally!



A day off! As in, nothing planned after 6 straight hours of classes today. Sure, the rest of my week is loaded up to the max, but after today, I'll be so ready, yo. I'm using tonight to re-energize fo shizzle.

On another note: Soy brillante. Recibí un grado perfecto en mi examen español hoy. ¡Hurra!

And finally, I came across a really cute movie poster for "The Ugly Truth." (or is it really "theuglytruth"?) So I totally IMDBed it, and the plot summary is amazingly enticing:

A romantically challenged morning show producer (Heigl) is reluctantly embroiled in a series of outrageous tests by her chauvinistic correspondent (Butler) to prove his theories on relationships and help her find love. His clever ploys, however, lead to an unexpected result.

How fresh and original! Heigl really went out there for this role; it doesn't sound at all like the romantically challenged E! host she played in Knocked Up. And a chauvinistic correspondent? Assholes are really hot, you know. They only act jerky so when the right woman comes along, they can change. I guess that's why they keep popping up in romantic comedies. I mean, really? Really?! (to steal a line from Amy Poeler) How many men are outwardly chauvinistic in the workplace these days anyway? It worked in 9 to 5, but that was made in 1980.

I must say that the best part of the summary is the "unexpected result" we can look forward to at the end of the movie. Wow. I just have no idea what it could be. So does that mean Katherine Heigl will hate Gerald Butler for being an obnoxious smart ass? She won't fall for his rugged good looks, charming smile and clever, incorrigibly rascal ways? That must mean she will most definitely not fall for him when she shockingly discovers he really has a heart of gold and/or some past trauma that understandably made him this way. He in turn won't be able to see her as anything more than a smoking hot body and blonde hair because they will not be thrown together in a contrived instance where they will be forced to talk and get to know one another!

The ugly truth is, this movie was already made before. Although I'm pretty sure the first time, it was called Someone Like You and starred Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

i admit it



I'm a geek.

Also, what a pointless debate last night. :(

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

there goes my hero



So I think I’m starting to go from no longer liking Heroes to actively disliking it. Talk about most overrated piece of crap ever. Alright, so I know a lot of people still watch it (why??) but I just gave up after 1 ½ seasons. I devoted HOURS to that show, but all it did was take and take! So maybe I’m a little bitter. But I am a "Lost" fan, so you can’t say I’m not patient.

"Heroes" wants you to think it’s smart, but it’s so not. Superheroes by default are not dumb (obligatory example of “The Dark Knight” belongs here), and they are most certainly not boring (again, see “The Dark Knight”), but somehow this show is both dumb and boring. “We’re cool and epic like 'Lost'!” Is what seems to want to say. The last episode has Future and Present Peter arguing about whether people are good or bad [tangent: Just because the “Five Years Into The Future” episode in season 1 was awesome, doesn’t mean you should just throw them into the future any time!]. Philosophical, perhaps, but their conversation went more like this: “People are good!” “No, people are bad!”

Mohinder said in one episode, “You do not choose your destiny, it chooses you. And those that knew you before Fate took you by the hand cannot understand the depth of the changes inside. They cannot fathom how much you stand to lose in failure...that you are the instrument of flawless Design. And all of life may hang in the balance. The hero learns quickly who can comprehend and who merely stands in your way.” To which I say, just because you say it emphatically in a voice over like that, doesn’t make that speech make sense.

Despite all of Heroes’ shortcomings, I might still watch it if it were just more entertaining. The concept is so interesting, and yet, the execution just falls way short. The creators lack the imagination and foresight to take the mediocre characters anywhere remotely interesting. They borrowed heavily from comics like X-men and Watchmen, and can’t even live up to the original source material. Also, there’s build up, but no pay-off, which is the most frustrating thing. The heroes just seem to be bumbling around aimlessly, making stupid decisions and not interacting with each other. For a show about superheroes, "Heroes" needs more action.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

winter blues


Anything can be cured with a good film. Here are my top 7 for when you’re feeling cranky, low, or just down right depressed. Yay! Chin up, Sunshine. It’s a bright day.

1. Singin’ in the Rain: Just all-around magical with a cute plot, period costumes, corny jokes (“Cosmo, call me a cab!” “OK, you’re a cab.”), amazing dancing, and joyful singing. The American Film Institute ranked this as the #5 Greatest Movie of All Time. Seriously, it’s that good.

2. The Sound of Music: Nuns, Nazis, and bratty kids interact in beautiful Austria to the beat of a catchy soundtrack. Good times had by all.

3. A Little Romance: If I were to make a movie, I’d want it to be like this. It’s not an ambitious film by any means, but it’s insanely endearing. It stars an adolescent Diane Lane who meets a boy in Paris, and to cement their love (aw, first love), they travel to Venice to kiss at sunset. It also stars Laurence Olivier as their mentor/chaperone. The story is sweet (if a bit unrealistic) and intimate, and the scenery is beautiful. It inspired me to try learning a little French, too.

4. North by Northwest: The movie that made me love movies is one that I can always come back to. Feeling down? Why not watch Carey Grant for a couple of hours!

5. Finding Nemo: Someone else pointed this one out, and I must agree, it’s an excellent comfort movie. The soothing waves of the ocean, the heartwarming story of father and son, Dory and an exciting adventure… so much fun! Visually, the movie is absolutely stunning (oh wow, I sound like Tim Gunn). I could stare at it for hours. Which, I guess is kind of what you do when watching a movie anyway.

6. Speed: One cure for depression is to get that adrenaline pumping! Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves must save themselves and a bus full of passengers from exploding—they can’t drive slower than 50 mph! But the freeway! It’s not finished!! Ahhh!! Made about fifteen years ago, the excitement still holds up. A fun ride to make you forget all your troubles.

7. You’ve Got Mail: I’m all over any movie with Christmastime in New York, honestly. Even better when it involves Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks falling in love. It’s based on an old movie called The Shop Around the Corner starring one of my favorite actor sever, James Stewart. Of course, back then, they communicated via newspaper. It’s the 21st century, though, so YGM is all about the email! Anyway, this movie gives me the warm fuzzies every time, and it’s pretty cute and clever.

Honorable Mentions: The Princess Bride, The Goonies, Big, Hot Shots!, and Back to the Future… basically any movie made in the 1980s.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

i don't watch the simpsons


But sometimes, it's just made of win.

http://www.hulu.com/the-simpsons


So... that's what I'll be doing with my afternoon.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

what's in a name

Today's Web Wednesday:

Random Name Generator


Really handy if you're writing a story and have a bunch of still-nameless background characters. Just press refresh, and a new set of names will pop up. Yay!

Names that popped up for me:
Men: Antwan Darley, Michael Lee
Women: Hillary Mauro, Patricia Klein

Sorry if you're not into writing stories. I don't know why else you would need this link. Unless you have a thing for random names. Kinky.


i never had a pet dog



I had to make due with pet fish.
Maybe I would have enjoyed them more if I had this bowl.
Then I could be cool and walk them in the park like all those lucky dog owners.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

pogs!


Hee. What a name! Pog. Pog. Pog. Pog. Pog. I had a flashback to the 90’s of my childhood the other day when a Pog appeared on my door (attached to a flyer). I had forgotten about those little buggers—I had quite the collection when I was younger. I remember I had a set from In-and-Out, all the (Mighty Morphin!) Power Rangers, and two slammers (one was red and one was gold). I had more, but those were my faves. I held them all in my day-glo orange and pink Flinstones Pog cases. Oh, the fun times. I didn’t usually have any formidable opponents to hone my skills (little brothers don’t know how to play!), so I spent a lot of my time lining them up, just admiring my collection.

Here’s how you play the game:

1. Both players put their Pogs face down in a pile.
2. One player throws his slammer (a heavier Pog) on top of the stack.
3. Any Pog which lands face up is given to the person who threw the slammer. All of the other Pogs are then collected and put back into the pile, and it is the next player's turn.
4. This continues until there are no more Pogs in the pile. If the players were ‘playing for keeps’ then the players keep what they won, but if not the Pogs are redistributed to the original owners.

Remember now? Remember?! ^_^ Pogs were the shit, man. Almost as entertaining as Hot Wheels. Pog. Pog. Pog. Pog. POG!

Monday, September 22, 2008

playlist: college edition

September 2008:

1. Living on a Prayer- Bon Jovi
2. The Call- Regina Spektor
3. Vienna- Billy Joel
4. Disarray- Lifehouse
5. Dammit- Blink-182
6. Such Great Heights- The Postal Service
7. Details in the Fabric- Jason Mraz (ft. James Morrison)
8. California- Phantom Planet
9. Like a Rolling Stone- Bob Dylan
10. No Rain- Blind Melon
11. Best Days- Graham Colton
12. American Girl- Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
13. Don't Stop Believing- Journey
14. How Far We’ve Come- Matchbox 20

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

shoot 'em up



I think I like the idea of Westerns more than the actual films. Granted, I haven’t seen many, but the ones I have seen… I can enjoy them mildly (I’m talking about the classic John Wayne types). Nostalgia, simpler times, American…ness, questionable morality, good vs. bad… I dig all those things. But the movies themselves are just too slow and sometimes sad for my taste. But you know, I’ll watch a good old American Western once in a while. Those Spaghetti Westerns, though, ugg. Fun, but too novelty.

Anyway, so today I watched the original 3:10 to Yuma. I had seen the remake, and I pretty much didn’t like it much at all. Surprisingly (or maybe not), I enjoyed the original one more. So here’s the breakdown.

3:10 to Yuma (2007) vs. (1957)

The Plot: (via imdb.com)

2007:
The rancher Daniel Evans, who lost part of his leg in the Civil War, is broken and owing a large amount to a powerful man in Bisbee. When the outlaw Ben Wade is captured after the heist of a stagecoach, Dan offers to escort the cold blood killer to the city of Contention to take the 3:10 PM train to Yuma to be sent to trial. In return, he would receive US$ 200,00, enough to save his land and give a better life to his family. During their journey, Ben gets closer to Dan while his gang of criminals follows the group to rescue their boss.

1957:
After outlaw leader Ben Wade is captured in a small town, small-time rancher Dan Evans is persuaded to take Wade in secret to a railway station in Contention to await the train to the court at Yuma. Once the two are holed up in the hotel to wait it becomes apparent the secret is out, and a battle of wills starts.

Bottom Line:
Basically, get Ben Wade on that 3:10 train to Yuma (so he can be HANGED!! That dirty murderer!). Except he’s so damn charismatic and smart, he kind of almost gets Dan Evans on his side. Dan is the most decent, talented, and intelligent of the motley crew trying to bring Ben in. Ben and Dan form mutual respect for each other, but is it enough so that Dan will give into Ben?? Tension! Suspense! Psychological warfare!

But the 2007 extends the trip between Ben’s ranch and Contention City, adding a lot more characters and filler action sequences to make it an ACTION! MOVIE!! It also gives the movie more plot holes than… a stupid action movie.

The original movie was simple (a third of the movie takes place in one room) and succinct. Even though the pace is somewhat slow, it’s deliberate, and it’s well done.

Dan:

In the 2007 movie, Dan is… kind of whiny. He is, like, a super brooding loser who doesn’t even have the respect of his family. “Don't do it, Dan. No one will think less of you.,” his wife says. “Uh, I think you will. Your bratty son definitely will,” I say to her. “No one can think less of me,” Dan agrees, in the movie. Aw, dammit! That’s sad! I don’t know why they made him a self-loathing cripple. We kind of end up pitying him, which I think kind of misses the point of his character. In the 1957 version, Dan is a sidelines guy who doesn’t try to change things he can’t. So to prove he has some conviction (and earn some money), he helps bring Ben in. In the 2007 version, he is a man who thinks he has nothing to lose, and in a last ditch effort to show is family that he’s not completely useless, he risks his life to help bring Ben in.

In both, Dan is a guy who is Doing The Right Thing, but because the 2007 adds all this depressing back story, it weakens his character instead of making him stronger. It makes him seems stubborn, and foolish, and up to this point, he’s a wasted man that is unappreciated by his family. Dan in the 1957 movie is also under appreciated, but his redemption comes at the beginning of the movie, after he decides to bring in Ben, making his journey to and at Contention a story of a hero, instead of a depressed man struggling to become one. The latter might sound better to some (in the execution of the movie, however, it’s not), but I think that a Western shouldn’t have its protagonist so emo. I spent so much time feeling sorry for 2007 Dan, it got kind of annoying after a while.

Cinematography:

The 1957 one was filmed in black and white, and the feel was very much an old-fashioned western. Since it came a little later, though, some of the camera angles were actually pretty compelling, and it almost felt kind of noir-ish at times.

The 2007 movie had virtually no wide angle shots, which is blasphemous, I think, in a Western. So yea, it was more ACTION! MOVIE! than Western. Boo. When I watch a Western, I want to see, I want to feel the still, dusty, dry, emptiness.

The Ending:

I won’t go into too much detail, but both endings are pretty ridiculous. They ended differently, but each ending matched it’s movie, and worked in context. The 2007 one left me feeling so depressed, and I hate depressing endings so maybe I’m a little biased, but of the two, I liked the 1957 ending better. I think I was just fed up with the stupidity with everyone in the 2007 movie that I wished everyone was shot up dead.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

if hamlet were on facebook

In honor of last Wednesday
When I posted without linking.
What was I thinking?

web wednesday, three days late.

thinking at the mcdonald's drive-thru


Fall. Autumn. The season so nice they named it twice. New Years day isn’t until January 1st, but to me, the new year always starts in September. Yesterday I woke up and went out to get some breakfast, and outside my door was Fall. The sky was completely milked over with pure white clouds, and the day looked as if it was a painting, and the artist had not yet finished coloring. The world had never looked so infinite as it did as a blank piece of paper.

There’s something refreshing about this time of the year, when all the kids are starting to go back to school and the leaves turn crispy brown, like paper bags falling to the ground. I feel like my (imaginary) lover should send me a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils and a box of scotch tape. Spring is the season of rebirth, but there’s nothing like a gust of cold wind slapping you across the face to make you feel alive.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

you're pretty, but dull


Oh Nate. You are an enigma, but not the good kind. After a whole season of Gossip Girl, I still have no idea what your personality is. You’re kind of just there so that Chuck doesn’t have to talk in monologues, to create vapid tension between Blair and Serena (and you don’t even do that anymore), or to be a (literal?) manwhore. Stop taking screen time away from the interesting characters (ie. all the other teens)! Maybe you should just stand next to whoever is talking so I can still get the pretty, without the dumb plotlines. See, in any given situation, I still have no idea how you’d react or feel about it. That’s… not good. I demand more quality character development from my TV shows, Gossip Girl!

(If this were an email, I’d probably CC this note to Rufus and Lily, too.)

Scene: Blair’s mom has remarried, and Blair is introducing her new dreadlocked, hippie stepbrother, Aaron, to her friends.

Blair: [to Aaron] …So this is civics class.

Aaron: Cool.

Blair: Hey everyone. This is my stepbrother Aaron. [rolls eyes]

Serena: Hey Aaron! Nice to meet you! Welcome to Constance!

Dan: Hi Aaron, nice to meet you. I’m Dan. Good luck living with Blair. You’ll definitely need it. [ha, I’m hilarious]

Blair: [rolls eyes]

Chuck: Yea, if you’re not careful, Blair might go Cruel Intentions on you. [Sneers]

Dan: Wow, I’m so glad you can add something to this conversation, Chuck. Your intellect is really staggering.

Chuck: Listen, Daniel... I--

Serena: [cuts Chuck off] So Aaron! How do you like New York?

[Chuck continues to sneer]

Aaron: I dig it.

Serena: That’s great!

Blair: Please. He hasn’t even seen it yet. All he does is smoke his hippie ganja-whatever in his room all day. Which is, like, so lame, BTW. [rolls eyes]

Serena: [whispers] Give him a chance, Blair. He seems like a really nice guy!

Vanessa: Hi Aaron, I'm Vanessa. If you'd like, I could show you around the city. I know this great art museum with a lot of interpretive art.

Aaron: Thanks. That'd be cool.

Jenny: Oh my God, that’s such an awesome shirt Aaron. Where’d you get it? [I wonder if he’s into the bohemian scene. It would be so cool if I could get in with them. Ok, after school, I’ll happen to run into him at the park and…]

Eric: Uh, Jenny, we’re not even in this class. Shouldn’t we get going? The bell rang like, five minutes ago.

Jenny: Hold on, let’s just stay for a few more minutes!

Aaron: Uh, I made this shirt, actually.

Jenny: Wow! That's so cool! You know, I make my own clothes too!

Serena: There’s a black and white party tonight, Aaron. Do you want to come?

Dan: What! You didn’t tell me about that!

Serena: Yes I did! Yesterday!

Dan: Oh, sorry, I’m just used to you not telling me stuff.

[Dan and Serena start to make out]

Blair: [rolls eyes]

Gossip Girl: Looks like B has a new playmate. Things might start to get a little tense in the sandbox this year….

End Scene.

See? What would Nate have to say?? Who knows!
Who cares.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

ode to ferrero rocher



So remarkable as to elicit disbelief—
You luscious, creamy, chocolaty confection,
Surrounding wafer and hazel nut.
I think your gilded wrapper more precious
Than the purest gold.
Looking ahead, I relish Christmastime
When I will receive you as a generic gift
From lazy office co-workers
And distant relatives from out-of-town.
I take small nibbles to enjoy your textures.
I pop you whole because I just can’t help myself.
Yea, you are pretty delicious.

Monday, September 8, 2008

the hills


Oh my God, you guys, I am like totally addicted to The Hills. The first season, it could be counted on as a guilty pleasure, but now, in the 4th (!) season, it’s just… sick. I’m just one step away from putting on my fluffy pink bathrobe and watching a marathon of Living Lohan all day. The horror, the horror!

I want it to stop so badly, but I need MTV to stop making new episodes because I won’t stop otherwise. It makes me wonder, why am I still so addicted to this show? I don’t even enjoy watching it (it’s totally beyond that so bad it’s good factor—it’s definitely just bad), and nothing ever happens so it’s not a great talking point either. It also annoyingly perpetuates the stereotype that all people do in LA is party (and anyway, I heard that NY is like 1000x more social). Do I watch the show because I identify with their ordinary, mundane lives? Does it make me feel better knowing that even with all that money and fame Lauren’s life is essentially vapid, tedious, and pointless?

Paris Hilton is so last year, and Lauren is totally this year’s pseudo-celebrity I enjoy hating on. Someone brilliantly renamed "The Hills" to "LC and the Seven Bland Dwarfs": Vacant (Audrina), Dopey (Whitney), Dirty (Justin Bobby), Plastic (Heidi), Slimey (Spencer), Douchey (Brody) and Bitter (Lo). And that right there is so spot on I can’t believe it.

Whenever The Hills finally does end, though, I think I’ll feel a bit like I lost touch with a friend. Not that I like Lauren or any of her friends, but the voyeuristic part of me, I guess, kind of enjoys being able to watch a lose reality show based on someone else’s life. Morbid curiosity. Vicarious thrill. I never really think of her as a celebrity since I know her from a “reality show” where we’re to assume that we are watching someone live their ordinary life. In an embarrassing way, it is like I know her. But honestly, she’s one of my dullest friends.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

i just called... to say...



I never really went through a rebellious teenager stage. I guess partly because of my inherent personality, and partly because my parents never really gave me a reason to. Like, I never had a curfew, but I never really stayed out all night either.

Have you ever noticed often in life you don’t say what you think? A lot of the times it’s because you simply can’t say them. I’m a pretty sentimental creature, but even I have trouble being all sincere and touchy-feely with my emotions in conversation. So I guess when I talk to my parents, I disguise all my complements in vague insults. Instead of saying, “Thanks for giving me such a well-rounded, stable life,” I say, “I used to get annoyed that nothing tragic really happened to me. Like, my life is so dull. In 7th grade, when we had to do a timeline for our life in social studies, it was really hard to think up things to put on it! I guess you guys just gave me such a stable environment. Haha. Which I’m thankful for, of course. But… you know….”

So I feel like I’m strongly suggesting that they are in fact good parents, but like anyone, what they really need is straight-forward validation. My mom asked me point-blank at dinner the other night whether I felt like I had a good childhood. “I guess you have a lot of complaints, but was there anything your father and I did right?” At that point I started to feel a little guilty that I had never expressed my gratitude enough. “Yes,” I say, blushing into my drink. “I mean, you guys are really good parents. Like I told you before about how I would get frustrated because I could never win an argument since you guys were so reasonable,” yeah, I threw in another insult/complement. “I never wanted any other parents, though. I always thought you guys were the best.”

“Aw…” they say. “We always thought you were the best daughter… blah blah blah,” and at that point I’m pretty embarrassed. So mushy. Ick.

But I’m thankful for that moment. So many times people express regret about how they didn’t tell someone they love them, or how much a person means to them.

I meant what I said, and I’m really glad I got a chance to say it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

while you're ahead

I really hate Hollywood sometimes. Did anyone see Wanted? It was an OK movie. Entertaining but not mind-blowing, and thoughtful but not poignant. It works well as a stand alone movie, and has (I think) a very conclusive ending, but OF COURSE there's going to be TWO MORE sequels now. STOP MAKING UNNECESSARY SEQUELS.

And I really have no more to say. I just had to rant a little.

Monday, September 1, 2008

happy labor day



"You watch Avatar?!"

"I love Avatar! I love Prince Zuko!!"

"Yeah?"

"Oh yea, he's every girl's dream! You know, the hot, tortured-soul type. And he's a decent fighter to boot."

"Um, I guess. But he's a cartoon."

"You should see how I get about real-life fictional characters."

"Haha. But don't you ever fall for a guy you actually know?"

"Mmm... Yeah. But real boys are harder to love."

"Why?"

"Because they can break your heart."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

it's back



I'm finally posting on a Wednesday again. Enjoy!

The Oracle of Starbucks: What's your personality?

Behold the Oracle's wisdom:

Personality type: Pseudo-intellectual

You're liberal and consider yourself to be laid back and open minded. Everyone else just thinks you're clueless. Your friends hate you because you always email them virus warnings and chain letters "just in case it's true." All people who drink tall chai tea lattes are potheads.

Also drinks: Sparkling water
Can also be found at: Designer grocery stores

Monday, August 25, 2008

a million times a day


I know that when I write I tend to fall back on bad metaphors or cliched idioms. It's really annoying. Yet today I was reading Pastoralia by George Saunders, which is a satire of the modern work place, and there he goes turning a bad metaphor into something really good. I can't tell you how often I've read something that I wish I came up with.

Think of you and Janet as branches on a tree. While it's true that a branch sometimes needs to be hacked off and come floating down, so what, that is only one branch, it does not kill the tree, and sometimes one branch must die so that the others may live. And anyway, it only looks like death, because you are falsely looking at this through the lens of an individual limb or branch, when in fact you should be thinking in terms of the lens of what is the maximum good for the overall organism, or tree. When we chop one branch, we all become stronger! And that branch on the ground, looking up, has the pleasure of knowing that he or she made the tree better, which I hope Janet will do. Although knowing her? With her crappy attitude? Probably she will lie on the ground wailing and gnashing her leaves while saying swear words up at us. But who cares! She is gone. She is a goner. And we have you to thank. So thanks!

Very good. And funny. A well-used bad metaphor. I'll have to keep this trick in mind.

google, you fiend

[photo taken by "me"]

So I Googled myself today. I haven’t done that in a while (contrary to what you might think). Anyway, the results were interesting. I was once Miss Midlander, or I am an “eternally single” 27 year old living in Dallas with quite the photography skills, or a Research Data Associate at NYU Cancer Institute. I’m kind of impressive, no?

Actually, what this little exercise mostly did was make me feel worse about the few meager things I’ve accomplished in my life. It’s like I looked at myself on a comparison chart and saw that I wasn’t up to par with the rest of those with my namesake. I’m not living up to my potential.

But in other ways, it’s interesting how I almost kind of feel a connection to these random girls that happen to have the same name as me. I read their bios (or whatever’s posted online), and I think, “Hey, that’s just like me!” and it’s oddly reassuring that somewhere there’s someone out there kind of like me. Like an evil twin thing. It’s kind of funny.

Suddenly I have the urge to take some artsy photographs.

Friday, August 22, 2008

oh no


I’m really really really tired of superhero movies. Before The Dark Knight came out, I thought anyone who said that was just full of himself, but now… I just don’t care about them anymore too. “Just don’t watch them!” you say? Well, yes, that would be a good solution, but despite the fact that I’m beginning to develop a gag reflex to their posters and trailers and internet rumors, I still can’t stay away. And somehow it still hurts my heart when I hear news like this:

Group President Jeff Robinov confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that they plan on rebooting the franchise, a'la The Incredible Hulk. "Superman [Returns] didn't quite work as a film in the way that we wanted it to," says Robinov. "It didn't position the character the way he needed to be positioned. Had Superman worked in 2006, we would have had a movie for Christmas of this year or 2009. But now the plan is just to reintroduce Superman without regard to a Batman and Superman movie at all."

The plan is to release four comic book movies in the next three years -- including a third Batman (no word on whether Nolan is returning), a new Superman, and two other unnamed DC characters. Robinov also confirmed that Warner Bros plans to adopt the Marvel route of a single film for each character, and then building on those origin films to create crossover stories, rather than just jumping into the deep end of the Justice League pool. The only worrying part about Warner Bros new plan is that they are still drunk on The Dark Knight, and want their superhero films to follow that mold. Robinov feels that "exploring the evil side to characters" is the way to approach all the DC characters. "We're going to try to go dark to the extent that the characters allow it." Including Superman.

Guess what, guys! After they suck the well dry of individual superhero stories, we’re going to get crossover movies! See, Batman’s awesome. Superman’s awesome. Make a few movies “developing” those characters… put them together… shake well… and BAM. A summer blockbuster to blow your mind hole.

But seriously, how many times can we retread the origins of Superman?! And why must it always be DARKER! I’m so over this “Yes, I may be super strong, fast, intelligent, and heroic, but man, I got issues. I’m hurtin’.” Is Superman really a dark character? The difference between Batman and Supes is that “Superman” is just a persona. The guy deep down is really just Clark Kent. But for Batman, Bruce Wayne is the cover story. Batman is… Batman.

I’m not too crazy about a Superman reboot. I think Returns sucks, but I also can’t really imagine Superman working in any other context because he’s so iconic. His all-American red and blue costume reflects an earlier time that doesn’t really lend itself to the dark and mature audience the movie will go for. If you’re going to do Superman, embrace the fact he’s the all-around hero of our childhood. We don’t love him for his flaws. We love him because he’s a fucking superhero.


ETA: You know, looking at the picture I posted, they both just look so ridiculous. It kind of puts things into perspective, I think. Get over yourselves, movies.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

depressingly disillusioned


I must be an old grandma because I’m really tired of watching movies these days. Comedies are brash and vulgar. Romances are trite and annoying. Action films are loud, full of CGI, and lack substance. Dramas are depressing without presenting anything new or insightful.

I feel like this summer I forgot to watch more of the movies that made me love the medium in the first place: the films from the ‘50s and ‘60s that are innocent in their storylines and sincere in their executions. Watching these movies makes me feel nostalgic for simpler times, and casts a magic over me more potent than any Hollywood blockbuster made today could ever do. Perhaps they make me wish for a world that only exists in film, but I don’t mind—I’ll take what I can get, even if I can only experience it for a couple of hours at a time.

My favorite movies are the ones that everyone else seems to forget. Like Come September or Arabesque. They’re good movies with a good cast, but they’re not the overrated classics. You’d only watch them because they happen to be on TCM on a boring Saturday afternoon. (Or I guess that’s just what I do.) They’re hidden gems of outdated cinematography and stagier styles of acting. Girls wear evening dresses or go-go boots. The action and love isn’t showy or purposefully ironic. They are silly and serious at the same time.

Perhaps in 50 years that’s how today’s movies will seem.

And in that case, I think I’ll just wait to watch them then.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

responsibly irresponsible


I finally saw Adventures in Babysitting the other day, and I do believe it has become my newest guilty pleasure. Sometimes I wish they still made movies like this. Sweet and completely over-the-top. Complete with 80’s fashion. Naturally, I also thought of Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, which came a little later, but has the same charm, and coincidentally even has the same actor (Keith Coogan). I highly recommend either of these for a cozy rainy afternoon in, but since it’s sunny Southern California, you might only have time for one of them. Solution? Sudden death!

Adventures in Babysitting vs. Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead

Plot:

AiB: (1987) staring Elisabeth Shue (of Karate Kid fame) as reluctant babysitter 17 year old Chris. Her d-baggy boyfriend stands her up so she takes a babysitting gig taking care of annoying 8ish year old Sara and Sara’s 15 year old brother, Brad (Coogan), who has a crush on her. Brad’s best friend also decides to hang out with the gang. Chris’s best friend runs away from home, then freaks out, so Chris has to go to the city to get her friend back home to the suburbs. She’s forced to take the kids along with her, hilarious hijinks ensue, and it turns into one crazy night!

DTMtBD: (1991) staring Christina Applegate as reluctant 18 year old babysitter/mother, Sue Ellen, to her 3 younger siblings. Coogan plays the oldest sib, Kenny, who’s a pothead loser. Mom is off for a few weeks, and the babysitter she hired for her four kids dies. The kids then decide they’ll keep the dead babysitter thing under wraps because they don’t want Mom to come home, and lazy, irresponsible Sue Ellen is forced to get a job to support the brats for a few weeks (since all the food money is buried with dead babysitter). She fakes a resume and eventually gets hired at a big company that makes uniforms, and she surprises everyone, including herself, by growing up.

Round 1: DTMtBD: it has a mouthful for a name, but you must admit it's catchy. And you know, I'm a sucker for coming of age stories, like this one essentially is.

The Badies:

AiB: A tire blows out on their way into the city, and eventually they stumble across mobsters running a car ring. They escape, but the mobsters keep chasing them relentlessly. Yikes! The city is also full of men with hooked hands, gangsters from Michael Jackson’s music video, and frat boys.

DTMtBD: A receptionist where Sue Ellen works hates Sue Ellen because she wanted the position SE got. She tries to uncover SE as a fraud with the help of a co-worker, who's also her boyfriend (?). Also, Sue Ellen’s bratty sibs don’t make it easier for her.

Round 2: AiB: Even though the other one has David Ducovony as the villain (he looks hilarious), I seriously LOVED the gangsters they meet on the train, and even the mobsters who write their notes in their Playboy magazines.

The Boy:

AiB: Chris is hot, so naturally when they all run into a house with a frat party going on at the U of Chicago, she attracts some male attention. A guy takes a liking to her in a very sincere way and even gets Chris the $50 bucks she needs to fix their flat-tired car by snapping his fingers. It’s ridiculous and it’s awesome. And he doesn’t even ruin it by asking for her number or making a move. But of course (spoiler alert!), at the end of the movie, he arrives at her house all charming and perfect-like.

DTMtBD: Sue Ellen likes a guy that works at a fast food hot dog place. They go on a cute date. Turns out, though, that his sister is the mean receptionist, so SE has to keep her job a secret, making hot dog guy suspicious. Oh no! But after a totally AWESOME fashion show Sue Ellen puts on, the air is cleared, and SE gets to make out with Mr. Hot Dog.

Round 3: DTMtBD: Mr. Hot Dog, a.k.a. Bryan seemed more like a type of guy you could actually date, even with his dorky costume. I mean, what kind of college guy gives a girl $50, leaves a party to help her out, and then shows up at her doorstep later that night to return a roller skate? Maybe I'm just cynical, but his chivalry was... odd.

Best Quotes:

AiB: Daryl is Brad’s best friend—the tag-along. He's also a bit infatuated with Chris.

Chris: Now boys, if either of you give me any grief, I swear to God I’ll kill you. Dead... murdered... stabbed.

Daryl: Raped?

Chris: …I’m too old for this crap.

And another favorite:

Gang Leader: Don’t fuck with the Lords of Hell!

Chris: Don’t FUCK with the BABYSITTER!!

DTMtBD: I haven’t seen this one in a while, so none really come up off the top of my head, although SE arguing with Kenny was a definite highlight. Um… this was a good line:

[Sue Ellen’s boss] Rose Lindsey: Sue Ellen, have you ever had a 48 hour orgasm?

Sue Ellen: [awkwardly] No… I’ve never been to Santa Barbara!!

Round 4: AiB: I don't know, that rape joke totally took me off guard and I kind of loved it. I'm odd.

The Winner:

I don’t really think you can top a movie that has mobsters, gangs, stab wounds, blues clubs, blind friends who think rats are cats, and an opening scene featuring the song “And Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals. But then again, Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead had the story arc of all the kids becoming better people, a kick-ass fashion show, and the cuter guy.

Oh who can decide, honestly! Watch 'em both!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

sexually frustrated


Angelina Jolie wants to save the world country by country, child by child. And now, she’s decided to become the first Hollywood female action star. Per Variety: Angelina Jolie replaces Tom Cruise (seriously) in “Edwin A. Salt,” thriller about a spy falsely accused of defecting. The main character will undergo sex change to accommodate (obviously). “After Universal beefed up Jolie's role in Wanted and then marketed the action film squarely on Jolie's shoulders and watched it gross $132 million domestically, Jolie reestablished, in the wake of "Mr. & Mrs. Smith," that she is the rare female who is viable in the action genre.”

I must say Jolie grows on me each passing year. Despite her… oddities… I can’t help but admire she’s somehow able to have it all. Beauty and sophistication, a charitable heart, a minivan (ha—could you imagine her in one?) full of kids, Brad freakin’ Pitt as a partner, (relative) talent…. If she weren’t such a superstar already, I’d probably admit to being a fan.

I always liked the type of girl who could rough it with the guys. Betty over Veronica. Mary Ann over Ginger. Katherine Hepburn over Audrey. Those type of girls just seemed to have their priorities straight. They won guys over with their athleticism, charm, or wit. They didn’t wait around for anyone to take care of them.

Admittedly, I do have a soft spot for Marilyn Monroe, but people who look up to her as an idol honestly make me a little sick. I’m thinking of you, Miss Lohan. I mean, seriously? She was a deeply troubled woman. Hollywood shaped her into this beautiful, confused empty vessel. A sex symbol who got so lost in her own image, I think she quite forgot who she was. Such a waste for a talented, intelligent woman. I mean, not that I knew her or anything, but whenever I think of Marilyn Monroe, I think of something Lauren Bacall [pictured above] once said. Talking to MM on set one day, MM tells her that she would like nothing more in the world than to be eating pizza in New York with Joe DiMaggio. And Lauren Bacall’s internal reaction is, you silly girl, how sad. There’s just not much going on with her, you know?

And this pretty much summarizes what’s wrong with how Hollywood treats its women:

There’s a comic strip from the series Dykes to Watch Out For by Alison Bechdel. The strip was called "The Rule" and it was about a character who explained that she only went to movies that met three criteria:

1. Two of the characters had to be women --
2. Who talked with each other --
3. About something other than a man.

How many movies can you think of that fit The Rule?


Saturday, August 2, 2008

woefully uninspired


Hello August! The above is a picture of Forks, WA in celebration of a certain book that comes out today. So... I'll be working on finishing that today.

Anyway, I'm feeling completely uninspired to write lately. I was looking over my, uh, past writings, for possible topics to write about and here's something I wrote on July 12th:

God, tonight-- this whole day, actually-- I just feel like shit. I feel useless and directionless, and panicky about the future. I made that oath that I would start to "live for the moment," but that kind of thinking doesn't work when you actually want to be successful. Success takes planning. More importantly, it takes good execution; so while I'm stressing myself out constantly thinking about the future, making contingency plans, building myself up to succeed… what if in the end I'm just not meant to? The worst possible thing has happened to me: I’ve become ambitious. This is a problem as I am still devastatingly directionless.

I'm worried that my personality will hold me back. And your personality is the hardest thing to change about yourself. I’m too lazy, too introverted, lack conviction. I feel like I don’t instill a sense of trust in people. I tend to lose my “fire” over time, where, after fighting for something for so long, I begin to doubt if what I’m fighting for is worth it. I'm worried that I can just become complacent and stop wanting things out of life, and therefore never get... anything. I’ll never get anywhere. When none of your dreams have ever come true, maybe it's best just to stop dreaming.

And looking back on it, I'm glad to say I now feel completely disconnected from all those feelings I put into that past entry. Or maybe it just means I'm not a very good writer since I can't manage to convey the amount of anxiety i was feeling at the time. But anyway, my point is, that I actually woke up yesterday and thought, "I really love life." That was literally the first thought in my head. Strange, because nothing that great is even happening to me, and there are still some quite suck-tastic aspects of it, but overall, I'm staying pretty... cheerful.

Yay.

Of course, I haven't lost my cynicism completely since I now see why so many writers chose to be of the tortured-soul variety. Being cheerful all the time makes writing seem like somewhat of a chore.

Monday, July 28, 2008

a date

10 Fictional Characters I’d Date

After being inspired by EW’s “TV Characters You’d Date”, I spent way too much time thinking over my own list. I decided to expand the qualifications a bit (to movies, basically). Sigh… some boys are just too dreamy….

10. The Narrator from Fight Club (played by Edward Norton): OK. This one would be more of a tryst. A really hot, sexy one, no? This guy is seriously batshit insane—but to use an very trite phrase, he just looked so good being so bad. I’d say more about what he does in the movie, but you know the first rule of Fight Club, so I’ll just go on.

9. Han Solo (from Star Wars, duh): Thinking about it, I could pick a number of Harrison Ford movies (Indiana Jones, The Fugitive, etc.) in which I’d like to date him. So I kind of just wanted to pick Ford himself, but that kind of defeats the concept of this list, doesn’t it? In the end, I decided Han wins out, as a roguish smuggler who gets mixed up with this kid named Luke. Through this unlikely happenstance, Han discovers being part of a group ain’t so bad, and we (the audience… of his life) get to see that he’s a smart, sarcastic reckless, amazing pilot with a heart of gold. Also, his best bud is a big, cuddly Wookiee. Aww.

8. Logan Echolls (from Veronica Mars): Oh Logan, you were Veronica’s obligatory psychotic jackass, and yet your love for her was epic. The duplicity of Logan made him one of the best characters on the show. Even though he started out as an organizer of bum fights, went on to boink his friend’s stepmom (granted she was a MILF to the max), and eventually became super emo kid, Logan still maintained his wit, charm, loyalty, and all-around awesomeness. And honestly, it’s amazing he even managed to function with all the f—ed up stuff that happened to him (his dad sleeping with, and then murdering his girlfriend, and his mom committing suicide is just the beginning), so I guess I can give him a little slack. Plus, he sure is cute.

7. Leopold (from Kate and Leopold): Hugh Jackman was the only redeeming quality of a pretty bad chick flick. Leopold accidentally gets transported through time from 1870s New York to modern day 2001 NYC. He’s like Mr. Darcy minus all the haughtiness, and man, does his charisma just ooze off the screen. It’s like, one look from Leo, and you would eat some of that disgusting fake-butter stuff he’s trying to sell you. And you’d enjoy it, dammit. Meg Ryan has had a lot of enticing male leads to fall in love with, but none come close to the perfection of prim and proper Leopold.

6. Zach Morris (from Saved by the Bell): Way totally cool and awesome, who could resist his pretty brown eyes and surfer-boy blonde hair? I mean, come on-- he had a cell phone in 1991! He was like a class clown/troublemaker in 2nd grade that just never grew up, because even though he did some pretty underhanded things to his friends, he always repented with the utmost sincerity, that little rascal. Kelly never deserved such a guy, and I want my turn.

5. Marshall Eriksen (from How I Met Your Mother): He sings! He studies law! He always wins games! He slaps!! Marshall is the fun-loving, somewhat naïve, and always loyal best friend I’d want to someday marry. Or at least date.

4. William Thatcher (from A Knights Tale): I didn’t always like this movie, but the more times I watched (I have no idea why I kept watching it), the more I grew to love it (along with Heath Ledger’s character, William, of course). Underneath the silly, purposefully anachronistic popcorn fare of a film lies a moving character study of a boy who grows up and does achieve his seemingly elusive dream. His wish to be a knight is so pure and noble, and his love runs so deep for his friends and family, that William is truly a hero for the ages.

3. Coach Eric Taylor (from Friday Night Lights): If there were such of a thing as a FILF, Eric Taylor would be it. He’s not perfect, but he tries so hard, and whenever he does succeed in being Awesome Dad or Husband or Coach, I swear my uterus gives a little jump. Like, marry me, Mr. Taylor. I’ve never seen any squinty-eyed guy look so good in a blue polo and southern accent. Oh, and his hair! It’s so emotive, I think it deserves its own show.

2. Edward Cullen (from Twilight): Otherworldly good looks (literally), a genuinely good disposition, intelligent, athletic (as in, insanely fast and strong), and a loving heart (if only it beat), Edward is perfect. Except for the fact that he’s a vampire.

1. Jim Halpert (from The Office): You know, since Jim is actually human, I thought he should get the number one spot. He’s nearly perfect, and, in fact, his lack of ambition is part of what makes him so charming. We would have so much fun pulling pranks on Dwight and making faces at the camera over the crazy stuff Michael says. We’d fall into a comfortable relationship, but his humor and thoughtfulness would keep it from being boring. I’d work in any office if he were my desk buddy.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

a tribulation


You know, there are some experiences that you go through that are just horrific. Usually you try to block them out as best as you can. But there are a few that you actually try to hold on to. The ones that didn’t kill you and actually made you stronger. Here’s one of my recent experiences:

I was looking for a job and found a posting for one online for a paid internship at a book publishing house. Back then, I was considering going into publishing, because it looked cool in Bridget Jones, and it’s a tough field, but journalism’s honestly probably tougher right now with all the newspapers downsizing fo'realz. It was an ideal internship. And it was paid.

Of course since it was such an awesome opportunity, I knew my chances of getting it, as a freshman in college with very minimum experience, was slim to none. I’ve had my writing published before, I worked in an office for about a year—I wasn’t totally unqualified, but I knew I was under qualified.

I arrive at the interview on time, in my best “hire me!” clothes. The problem is that I completely lack confidence. I am surprised they even want to interview me, and I just know from the moment I walk into the office that I am in way over my head. Luckily, I’d been on enough interviews before where I can stay pretty calm, and I already have most of my standard interview answers down pat, so I don’t fall apart completely.

I meet the woman who I would be working under. I am actually getting a little panicky. At the time, I was still working at Forever 21, and by crazy random happenstance, my interviewer had been shopping there last night. And she remembered me. Yikes. The thoughts running through my head? “Fuck! I was kind of lazy last night. Definitely not my A game. Was a friendly enough? I should have been friendlier. Did I smile enough? Fuck! Ok, maybe it’s a good thing. She’ll remember me better now. Is that a good thing? I don’t think I was friendly enough.”

The interview continues and she asks me why I want to get into publishing. I don’t know anything about publishing. I am forced to BS a totally rambling answer. I meet the boss. I forget his name instantly. We talk about books. I’ve actually read one of his favorite books! I do not mention that it was for school. (The book was Killer Angels, and I did not lie when I said I enjoyed it, at least.) He tells me about the office, what he does, what I’d do. I try to ask intelligent questions. He’s impressed by my resume, but I can tell that I’m too green to be an ideal candidate. I do not exude the confidence I want to because I’m still pretty scared shitless.

The boss finishes talking and asks if I have anything else to give him. “Huh?” I want to say. Instead I shrug and smile and say no. Not sure if that’s a better response. What else would I give him?! It’s now a little awkward. I thank him and he walks me to the elevator. We small talk, I thank him again, get into the elevator, and leave. Exhausted. On the car ride back, I wonder if I should have given him an article I wrote. I had a copy in my bag.

Writing my thank you letter back in my room, I still think maybe I should have given him a copy of my article. Something to make me more memorable. My cover letter was honestly not that great—I mostly copied a template. I did not emphasize my good qualities enough in it. I decide to include a copy of my article with my thank you letter. Is that a faux pas? I don’t know. Oh well. I kiss the seal and send it. My Peter Pan stamp sure was cute, but maybe it’s not businessy enough? After sending it off, I want to curl up and die in embarrassment.

A few days later I get an email telling me that I did not get the job. I am a little relieved.

It was a pretty weird, frightening experience. In the end, though, I was glad that I did it. Eventually, I would have had to do something like that. But probably not until, like, junior year right? I guess I can reassure myself with the fact that I was, despite my experience, too young for the job. A year ago, I wouldn’t have even bothered sending in my resume. But now… well, I hold onto this memory as a “Yes you can!” encouraging moment, and the worse thing I can do is never try. Failure doesn’t feel half as bad as regret.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

a finale


Firefly (2002)

Status: Cancelled after 11 episodes; 14 episodes made (all on DVD)

Genre: sci-fi/western/drama/comedy/action

DVD extras: pretty good. Interesting commentary on a few episodes.

Basics: The series is set in the year 2517, when we’re no longer separated by continents or countries, but by planets, and follows the adventures of the renegade crew of Serenity, a Firefly-class spaceship. Joss Whedon (creator of Buffy the Vampire) pitched the show as "nine people looking into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things".

The show explores the lives of people who fought on the losing side of a civil war and now make a living on the outskirts of the society, as well as the pioneer/ wild west-like culture that exists on the fringes of their star system. In addition, it is a future where the only two surviving superpowers, the United States and China (they speak Chinese on the show sometimes—makes it fun and colorful, actually, if a little weird), fused to form the central federal government, called the Alliance, resulting in the fusion of the two cultures as well. According to Whedon's vision, "nothing will change in the future: technology will advance, but we will still have the same political, moral, and ethical problems as today."

The good: the cast. They are fun. Here we go:

Malcolm Reynolds (a.k.a. Mal)- the captain of Serenity. Fought in the war, which left him somewhat broken. Now his only goal is to keep his ship going. An enigmatic anti-hero figure, you might say.

Zoe: second in command; insanely loyal to Mal because they fought together in the war. She’s tough.

Walsh: the funny guy. The pilot. Zoe’s husband. (importance of role, not in any particular order, natch)

Inara: her job title is “Companion,” which essentially makes her a high class prostitute. Of course, she’s the only one making an honest living because everyone else on the ship gets paid by illegally trafficking stuff (and people) between planets. Mal kind of has a crush on her, and if he made a move, I don’t think she’d say no.

Jayne: hired muscle. His loyalty is the most questionable. Large and crude, he’s a lot of fun.

Kaylee: the sweet mechanic; the heart of the ship. She’s the best mechanic there is, and loves Serenity almost as much as Mal does.

Simon: a doctor (top 3%!) breed in the inner planets, the ones under Alliance control. He’s not really into the whole “outlaw” thing, but has become a fugitive because he broke his sister out of a government research facility where they fucked her up for sure. Now Simon and sis are on the run, and the crew of Serenity is nice enough to let them stay (it’s also handy to have a doctor on board). He likes Kaylee. She totally loves him. Simon’s problems with his sister, though, always seem to get in the way. Also, looks very good shirtless. Alas, we don't discover this until the very last episode. Damn.

River: the little sis of whom we speak. She’s kind of annoying at first, but the more you learn about her, the more fascinating she becomes.

Shepherd Book: he’s a priest/pastor/minister guy (they’re called “shepherds” in the future, apparently). Most of the time, he’s kind of just there. Had the series continued, I’m sure he’d have developed into something interesting. That leads me to my next point:

The bad: the fact that the series ended so soon. We have the seedlings of interesting characters, but we never get to fully go into their backstories. Inara and Book certainly had something very suspicious pasts. Such a shame.

The ugly: OK, I’m not really into sci-fi. Some of the episode weren’t that great, honestly. It kind of reminded me of those old Hercules and Xena shows; that’s the most similar thing I can think of.

Why it’s awesome: I think the idea of mixing the genres of sci-fi and westerns is brilliant. It works so well. The parallels between space and the wild west… you never think about it, you know? What really put this series over the top for me was the fact that Joss got to make a movie to finish off the show. And that movie is probably one of my favorite movies ever. I watched it more times than I like to admit. Brilliant direction and dialogue throughout the series.

Best episodes: “Shindig” is very Jane Austen (how cool is that?!), “Jaynestown” has that awesome song, “Out of Gas” is my favorite—it give some backstory in a highly interesting way, “Ariel” is heart-stoppingly thrilling, “War Stories” is fun (as fun as torture can be), and “Objects in Space” is just weird (but kind of in an awesome way).

In conclusion, maybe it’s a good thing it only lasted a few episodes, because that’s the only reason I gave this show a chance. I liked that it had a Big Damn Movie as a finale so I wouldn’t be stuck watching season after season. This show is lots of fun; a great summer distraction.

And so ends my DVD reviews. Yay! I really have too much time on my hands these days.

Monday, July 21, 2008

a playlist

My Playlist for July 2008:

1. Jack and Diane- John Cougar Melloncamp
2. The First Single (You Know Me)- The Format
3. Let's Dance to Joy Division- The Wombats
4. Viva La Vida- Coldplay
5. The Call- Regina Spektor
6. Surrender- Cheap Trick
7. Pork and Beans- Weezer
8. Rise Above This- Seether
9. Romeo and Juliet- Dire Straits
10. Sweet and Low- Augustana
11. Fake Plastic Trees- Radiohead
12. Forever- Chris Brown
13. I Kissed A Girl- Katy Perry
14. Time To Pretend- MGMT
15. You Can't Always Get What You Want- The Rolling Stones
16. The Beginning is the End is the Beginning- Smashing Pumpkins

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

a reminder

Watch Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day in Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. Like, today, please.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

a little school spirit


Friday Night Lights (2006) SEASON 1

Status: It’s kind of a weird one. Season 3 is coming this fall, but with less episodes than a regular season, and it’ll air on cable/direct tv/something first, and then repeat on NBC some weeks later. So, it’s not totally cancelled—just kind of on a slow death march.

Genre: drama (family/teen/sports)

DVD extras: not great. A making-of documentary that is OK (and for some reason, not placed on the last disc—but watch it last if you don’t want to be spoiled). A few deleted scenes. The best thing about the DVD is that it’s cheap (probably why it’s lacking a lot of extras).

Basics: The first season of Friday Night Lights accomplishes something that few television dramas are able to do: It betters the 2004 film on which the series is based. Set in Dillon, Texas, where football--even on the high school level--is everything, Friday Night Lights is a compelling drama with a football subplot. Poignantly and effectively touching on racism, rape, steroids, jealousy, infidelity, and life-changing injuries, the series presents the inhabitants of Dillon as real people who are flawed, but remarkable in their ordinariness.

The story arc of the season is: Coach Taylor is the new head-coach of the Dillon High Panthers. He has to have a winning team because his job and the spirit of the entire town depends on him. Meanwhile, his wife has to deal with becoming the “head coach’s wife” and his daughter falls in love with the new, young, quarterback. The players on the team are more than just high school kids because of the responsibility to the town their uniforms come with, but they still have to deal with heartaches, alcoholism, absent parents, steroids, etc. It follows a small town on its quest for state championship.

The good: Incredibly real, heartfelt, fascinating, and well-acted. The actors are all really good looking. And I am pretty much in love with Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler). Total love. But since he has the awesome Connie Britton as a wife (uh, in the show), I’ll settle for Matt Saracen. More age appropriate anyway.

The bad: Stupid shaky camera shit. It suppose to give the show a gritty, realistic look, but it just distracts me. Either I got used to it though, or they calmed down a little after the first few episodes. I can see when the shaky feel works in certain instances, but in general I love me a well-done tracking shot.

The ugly: It’s only problem is that it started to fall apart the second season. For some reason they skipped half a school year, FORGOT about FOOTBALL, broke up the best couples, and added a MURDER plotline. Don’t worry, the first season finale ends satisfyingly enough. Like VM, make up what you think will happen after the last episode because it’s better than the reality.

Why it’s awesome: It’s just a really well done show. It actually made me like football. Even if you don’t like football, you can enjoy this show. Actually, if you do like football you’ll probably be a little disappointed because it’s more drama than sports.

Best episodes: The pilot was like a mini-movie. “I Think We Should Have Sex” was a definite highlight. The “Mud Bowl” and the last episode, “State”, were exhilarating.

In conclusion, it fails really because there’s no audience for this show. Either you’re living this show and don’t need to watch it on your TV every week, or you’re not, and subsequently have no interest in the world it portrays. But honestly, it’s a quality show, so if you have 22 hours to spare, give it a chance. It's even better than the movie, and it’s only $20 at Target! Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.


Friday, July 11, 2008

a parisian night suit


Freaks and Geeks
(1999)

[First I’d like to say that they’re re-releasing the yearbook edition of the series this fall, and I WANT IT. Hint, hint.]

Status: Cancelled after 18 episodes

Genre: comedy/drama/teen

DVD extras: HOURS of extras! It’s a Freaks and Geeks lovefest. Every episode has at least one commentary track. They’re very good in general, too. Lots of deleted scenes, bloopers, screen tests, and even some homemade video type stuff. Also comes with a booklet and playlist from each episode. Yay!

Basics: Created by writer-comedian Paul Feig and executive produced by Judd Apatow, Freaks and Geeks followed the Weir siblings--former math whiz Lindsay and her younger brother Sam--as they navigated the perils and pleasures of a Michigan high school circa 1980. What separated Freaks and Geeks from most other scholastic series was its brutal honesty--Lindsay and Sam, as well as their friends and parents, were given very human personas that showed failure, malice, indecision, and moments of great clarity. Likewise, the plotlines rarely offered pat solutions to the characters' conflicts--the show unfolded in a naturalistic manner, which was a welcome respite for viewers tired of flashy high school dramas.

Basically it’s an anti-Dawson’s Creek. Lindsey starts hanging out with the burnouts/freaks. Sam has a couple of geeky friends and a crush on a popular cheerleader. Hilarious and heartbreaking—it was doomed from the start.

The good: You’re watching the show, cringing at what topic they decided to cover this episode— vandalism, family violence, crushed dreams, parents dating teachers, divorce, hermaphrodites—and then by the end they just totally make it work. It’s so rare for a show to make you feel anything at all, and Freaks and Geeks manages to make you feel everything.

The bad: There’s a reason why F&G didn’t last one season, and Dawson’s Creek lasted six. Every episode of F&G ended bittersweetly—sometimes even somewhat depressingly. It was a little too much like life, where you don’t win the heart of the girl and go on to do great things. That’s what made it so good, but it’s also why no one watched. Somehow, though, anyone who’s seen the series thinks it’s the most awesome thing ever (and rightly so).

The ugly: Well, nothing really.

Why it’s awesome: Most notably, the music, which is a pretty good mix of classic rock. The casting is tops: Linda Cardellini is the perfect everywoman, I would totally play D&D with the geeks every week (and they are seriously geeky—not Hollywood geeky) or toke up in Nick’s basement with the freaks (you know, if I was into that type of thing), and even the minor characters have depth and personality. Every single character experiences a good amount growth. Amazingly, even though it was canceled before the end of the season, they filmed a last episode in advanced so there’s a pretty good conclusion at the end of the series.

Best Episodes: The pilot was like a mini-movie (every episode was, actually), “I’m With the Band” (episode #6) was when I fell in love with the show, “Carded and Discarded” is one of the funniest, “The Little Things” had amazingly impressive writing/acting, and the last episode “Discos and Dragons” was the perfect finale. Looking over the episodes list, I can’t pick one that isn’t an A+.

In conclusion, the best thing that could happen to the series is that it was canceled after 18 episodes. 18 perfect episodes. No disappointing future seasons to diminish the magic of the first. Julia Roberts said it best in Steel Magnolias (yea, you knew I’d manage to reference a movie sooner or later): “I would rather have 30 minutes of something wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.”

The Aura of:

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I tend to get obsessive about things for a while, then get over it, and start to wonder what was wrong with me in the first place. Also, having no section for "Favorite TV Shows" makes absolutely no sense to me. That should tell you a lot right there.