Sunday, May 17, 2015

Drummer Boy

Whiplash
Director: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Miles Teller, J.K. Simmons, Paul Reiser, Melissa Benoist
Released: October 10, 2014

Oscar nominations:
Best Picture (lost to Birdman)
Best Supporting Actor - J.K. Simmons (won)
Best Adapted Screenplay - Damien Chazelle (lost to Graham Moore for The Imitation Game)
Best Film Editing (won)
Best Sound Mixing (won)




Think of the music teacher in Mr. Holland's Opus (whose name was Mr. Holland, coincidently!) and just take the complete antithesis of him and you have Terrance Fletcher, the music teacher in Whiplash. Played by J.K. Simmons (who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar this year), Fletcher is the intense conductor of a jazz band at the competitive music school, Shaffer Conservatory, where nineteen-year-old Andrew (Miles Teller) is a first-year student. Fletcher sees Andrew drumming one night for practice and invites him to his class the next morning. Andrew knows who Terrance Fletcher is and is very excited and honored at the prospect of getting to work with him, although when he first sits in during his class, I'm sure he has a change of tune...pun intended! While observing the class, Andrew quickly realizes Fletcher is a huge jerk. Someone's instrument was out of tune and he told them that this person better speak up so they can stop wasting everyone's time, but nobody says anything. He starts attacking this overweight, timid student and makes snarky comments about his weight and asks him if his instrument is out of tune to which the student says yes and Fletcher makes him leave the class. Just as I suspected, that student did not have the out of tune instrument but Fletcher said it makes it worse that he didn't even know.

He is brutal to Andrew when it's his turn to show Fletcher what he's got. He is either too slow or too fast for Fletcher's liking and never seems to get the exact beat he is looking for. I gained a lot of respect for drummers after watching this movie - apparently, it's a lot more difficult than I thought! I thought Andrew was doing a good job, but since Fletcher picks up a chair and throws it at him, I guess not! I did laugh when he asks Andrew, "Do you know why I just threw a chair at you?" Sheesh, somebody needs to watch Mr. Holland's Opus to learn how to be a music teacher! But let's be honest, this movie was way more entertaining than that one!

Andrew eventually gets the rhythm right and he is invited to join in at a local jazz competition, but only as an alternate in case the other drummer can't do it which is what happens when Andrew loses the sheet music (Fletcher gets mad at the other boy who gave it to Andrew as it was his responsibility to make sure nothing happened to it) and has to play since the other boy doesn't know the music by heart and Andrew informs Fletcher that he has Whiplash, the name of the piece, memorized and can fill in. Even though Andrew saved the day and even though their jazz band won first prize, Andrew does not become the core drummer like he thought he would and instead Fletcher invites the redheaded kid from Andrew's entry-level class (who I thought was one of the Scavo twins from Desperate Housewives, but he's not) to try out and he is given the spot of core drummer. Andrew is outraged by this and Fletcher agrees to let him be the core drummer at the next competition after both boys have auditioned for hours well into the early hours of the morning. However, on the day of the competition, his bus braking down and Andrew having to rent a car. He forgets his drum sticks at the rent a car place and is rushing to get back to the auditorium because he only has a few minutes left and his car is hit by a truck and flips over! Who didn't see that coming? Even though he should have been dead, or at the very least, critically injured, he runs across the lawn with blood pouring down his head and makes it with seconds to spare. Needless to say, the performance does not go well and he is suspended from the class.

To be able to concentrate more on becoming the best drummer of his generation, he breaks up with his girlfriend, Nicole (played by Melissa Benoist who played Marley on Glee) who he had recently met and asked out. Needless to say Nicole is pretty angry about this and even though when Andrew realizes he may have made a huge mistake and later invites her to attend one of his shows, she says she might be busy with her boyfriend. Ooh, burn. But good for her for moving on. Andrew was a total jerk to her.

The movie ends with Fletcher trying to get back at Andrew and humiliate him in a crowd of people when he is fired from his job after a student has made a report on what an abusive and horrible teacher Fletcher was, but it turns out Andrew gains his respect with a drum solo that goes on forever. I mean, it was really REALY impressive, but if I had been in that audience, I would have been like, damn, is this kid ever going to stop drumming? Great movie; I highly recommend it.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Cougar Town

How Stella Got Her Groove Back
Director: Kevin Rodney Sullivan
Cast: Angela Bassett, Taye Diggs, Whoopi Goldberg, Regina King
Released: August 14, 1998



I had not read the novel by Terry McMillan or seen the movie until now, but I was pretty sure I knew how the plot went: Stella is a forty year old woman who's had a bit of a bump in her life. Perhaps she's just lost her job, perhaps she's just gotten divorced....I don't know, just something where she needs to get her groove back! So she goes to Jamaica for a little pick-me-up where she meets a younger guy (not any younger than 26 though!), has a fling with him and comes back home as a more confident woman and meets a businessman her age and they fall in love and get married. We-ell, that's not exactly what happened! 

Stella (Angela Bassett) is a 40-year-old successful stockbroker in San Francisco raising a ten-year-old son. Her ex-husband is Chief Weber from Grey's Anatomy (James Pickens Jr.) and her sister has set her up on a date with a perfectly fine and respectable judge (played by Carl Lumbly who you probably know as Dixon from Alias). Speaking of Alias, Victor Garber (Spy Daddy!) plays her boss. You know, Angela Bassett had a recurring guest role on the last season of Alias. Do you think Victor Garber told J.J. Abrams, "Hey, you know who you should get for this role? Angela Bassett. We've been really good friends since our days on the Stella set." Probably not, they probably got her because she's a big name. And I'm pretty sure Abrams had all his attention on Lost by this point. Anyway, I'm getting completely off topic as you can see I didn't care for this movie!

Stella has two sisters: Vanessa (Regina King) and Angela (Suzanne Douglas, who I wasn't familiar with). That had to be confusing on the set with an actress named Angela and a character named Angela!

Angela's best friend, Delilah (Whoopi Goldberg) lives in New York and after Angela calls her spur of the moment after seeing a tourism commercial for Jamaica and suggests they go there, she agrees to the idea. The two friends meet up on the island for two weeks of fun and relaxing. Before Stella has even checked in, Dee has already met two obnoxious ex-football players who have really let themselves go. If I went on vacation with a friend and she met two unappealing guys and wanted us to hook up with them....ewww! I would be so mad! And, of course, Stella is not thrilled with this. Her "man" is especially unappealing when he whips off his shirt...and pants and all he is wearing is a speedo. Dear God, nobody needed to see that!

Even though Stella is (the ancient age of!) 40, girlfriend looks hot. She works out and she is buff and toned. She catches the eye of a younger man when they're eating breakfast outside the hotel one morning. He sits next to her and they start chatting. He is Winston Shakespeare (stupidest fake name ever!) and he is 20 years old. He was literally only a teenager one year prior. I  knew this was about an "older" woman having an affair with a younger man, but I had no idea he was only 20! I thought he was no younger than 25 or 26. Taye Diggs was 26 or 27 when he made the movie, so he's not as young as his character. Obviously, being a model, he's a very good looking guy. Did you know he's 44? I think he looks better now than he did back then. Of course, I can't take him seriously in this movie because he wears all these bright red and yellow boardshorts and t-shirts and has a ridiculous Jamaican accent and this was his first major role and he's acting opposite Angela Bassett. He serves his role well as the man candy, but he's definitely gotten better with the acting as he's aged.

Stella tells him several times she's old enough to be his mother after he invites her to a dance party (which was the weirdest party ever as everybody took off their tops so all the ladies were dancing with their breasts hanging out...it was like some freaky orgy!) Once she gets over the weirdness of the age difference, they start having a fling...which is what I thought it was just going to be, but no. Not exactly. They start having a relationship. She flies back to Jamaica with her son and niece (I'm not sure why her niece came with them...I'm not even sure which sister her niece belonged to!) so Winston can meet her son. There's a really awkward scene where Winston "surprises" (more like pisses her off!) Stella when he takes her to his parents' house for lunch. His mother is only a year older than her. Awkward!

When Dee dies from cancer (and that just seemed like a total after thought that they randomly threw in there because they thought the movie needed something sad...I'm guessing this plot line is a lot more flushed out in the novel!), Winston flies to  the U.S. to be with Stella and attend the funeral. He ends up moving there and moves in with Stella.

Okay, I'm sorry, but there is no way in hell any self-respecting, successful and attractive woman like Stella would have a relationship with a freaking TWENTY year old. He may not be a baby like Stella informs Winston's mom, but it's still pretty damn young. I don't care how good-looking the guy is. There's a scene where Stella loses her job because of....something....and I know they just did put that in the script because they didn't want anyone thinking Winston was after Stella for a Sugar Mama...because that's what I was thinking! But Stella begins to find out pretty soon they barely have anything in common. Duh, you think? They go to the movies and see a juvenile comedy and run into her sister and brother-in-law and another couple which includes the good-looking (and age appropriate!) judge Stella could have been set up with who had just come from seeing a more serious movie. Stella and Winston get into a fight after he wants to pay for dinner and says that she always does and he wants to contribute to and she goes, "Well, why don't you help with the mortgage?" Ooh, snap! Then she bitches that he never does anything when she asks him to do it and I'm thinking, OMG, it's like you're talking to your child! So they bitch and fight for a few days, then have hot shower sex and then Winston tells her he's moving back to Jamaica because he wants to go to school to be a doctor, but she beats him to the airport and tells him he should go to Berkeley and then he proposes and....omg, it is so bad! There's no way in hell that relationship is going to last!

And can we just address one last thing? Stella never needed to get her groove back in the first place! She was already pretty badass. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

This movie is bulls***!

How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days
Director: Donald Petrie
Cast: Kate Hudson, Matthew McConaughey, Bebe Neuwirth, Kathryn Hahn, Michael Michele
Released: February 7, 2003
Viewed in theaters: April 20, 2003


Remember back in the early 2000s when Matthew McConaughey was in all these awful romcoms like The Wedding Planner, Failure to Launch, and Sahara? (Well, Sahara was more of an adventure romance). This movie is no exception to that list. It is just terrible! 

Kate Hudson plays Andie Anderson and McConaughey places Benjamin Barry (the screenwriter sure likes alliteration...but so do I!) Andie lives in New York and is a writer for a fictitious Cosmo-like magazine called Composure. Andie's column is a "How to" column: "How To Talk Your Way Out of a Traffic Ticket", "How To Make Your Butt Look Good", etc. She would much rather write about things that are more important like politics, economics, and religion! She has no time writing about make up tips and clothes and dating advice even though she goes out with her friends to gossip about her dating life and has an array of great designer clothes, bags, and shoes. Gimme a break, this girl couldn't give a crap about religion, economics, and politics! Her boss (Bebe Neuwirth) tells her perhaps she can choose what topic she wants to write about when she delivers a stellar piece.

She gets the idea for the "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" column when her friend and fellow co-worker, Michelle (Kathryn Hahn), gets dumped by her boyfriend of one week. She doesn't understand because everything was going so well and even cried with emotion the first time they had sex. Andie is going to find some poor schmuck to date and drive him away with all the cliche mistakes women make to drive men away (being too clingy and needy, calling all the time, talking in a baby voice, making him do things he doesn't want to do) as she writes her article. Now I'm thinking, What women is going to see the headline "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" and think, Oh, I need to read that because I want to get rid of the guy I'm dating! If you really want to get rid of a guy you were dating, you don't need to read a damn article on how to do it! It's not that hard! And Andie Anderson is at amateur hour here...please, ten days? Give me one day! Hell, give me two hours! Ten days is the given number because her boss wanted to give her a week to establish a relationship and the next issue was going to press in eleven days. Maybe if the article was called "How to Keep a Guy for More Than 10 Days", then I could see it being beneficial. 

Ben is an advertising executive who wants to pitch an ad for a diamond company. His co-worker, Judy (Michael Michele) is also trying to get a deal with the same company and thinks she will be a better fit for the gem that symbolizes love because Ben's relationships never tend to go on beyond a couple months. Ben says he can make any woman fall in love with him (because he has a charming Southern accents and looks like Matthew McConaughey) and Judy tells him if he can do that, then she'll back out of pitching her idea and let him have it. She tells him she'll pick out the woman for him to charm. Well, wouldn't you know, Judy had been at the Composure offices earlier that day and knows about the article Andie is writing and Andie is with her friends at the same bar trying to find a guy she can date and drive away. 

After they introduce themselves, Ben takes Andie out for dinner on his motorcycle and then back to his place. Um, there is no way in hell I would go on a motorcycle with some guy I just met, I don't care if he looks like Matthew McConaughey! I would probably end up dead as I don't know what kind of driver he is! Maybe Andie should write an article called "How To Not Go On a First Date"....which is the most awkward sounding title ever! They just seemed to move really fast, but I guess they both only have ten days to push the other person away/make the other person fall in love with them.

Now if Ben didn't have his own bet going, he might have stuck with Andie for a few days because she's an attractive blonde and he might have overlooked her being annoying at a basketball game when she asked him to get her a drink at the last minute of the game (and I was amazed that he didn't spill a drop of it when he sprinted back to her because that thing was FULL!) and then makes him go back because he didn't get Diet, but by the time she starts in with the baby talk and interrupting his nights where he plays poker with the guys he would have gotten rid of her. Even if those didn't deter him, he definitely would have sent her packing after she shows him a scrapbook she created with photos of their children - she had pasted photos of their faces onto the bodies of children. It was sooo creepy! Anyone in their right mind would have gotten the hell out of that relationship! Not to mention the fact that she was calling his mother and chatting with her without his knowledge!

Naturally, Ben is getting fed up with Andie's behavior and does end it, but just when Andie thinks she's done her job, he suggests they try couples counseling. Andie gets Michelle to pretend to be their therapist and she suggests they visit Ben's family in Staten Island for the weekend. Why this will bring them closer together, I have no idea, but it does and do you know what happens that nobody could have possibly predicted in a thousand years? (Yes, that was sarcasm!) They fall in love! Imagine that! We know this because Chantal Kreviazuk was crooning "Feels Like Home" as Andie and Ben made love for the first time in the shower of his parents' home bathroom. Yes, you read that right. 

Andie tells her boss that she can't write the article but her boss tells her she has to because the cover has already been printed and has the article title on it. There's no going back now! She and Ben both attend  an event that is being held by the diamond company Ben is trying to get a deal with. They have all their diamonds on display and women are allowed to go up and try anything on and wear it for the rest of the night. They do have security guards everywhere, but I find it hard to believe any random person could just go up and wear these diamonds that cost thousands of dollars. Andie finds out that Ben was only dating her to use her for a deal and Ben finds out that she was only dating him for an article. In the most amusing scene of the movie, they both sing "You're So Vain" - neither of them can sing it correctly and are both horribly off-key.

Andie writes a very heartwarming article about how she fell for the guy she was planning to lose in ten days and quits her job to head to Washington to look for something with more substance, but Ben, after reading the article, stops her and confesses his love for her and she stays in New York to be with him. Such a terrible, piece of crap movie!

Oh, and they play the cardgame, bulls*** in the movie so that's where I got my title for this review! 

Sunday, May 3, 2015

'Wild' at Heart

Wild
Director: Jean-Marc Valle
Cast: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Gaby Hoffman, Kevin Rankin
Released: December 19, 2014

Oscar nominations:
Best Actress - Reese Witherspoon (lost to Julianne Moore for Still Alice)
Best Supporting Actress - Laura Dern (lost to Patricia Arquette for Boyhood)


I really liked this movie, but I am a sucker for survival stories, although this is more about self-discovery, but there are definitely some survival aspects as it's about a woman (Reese Witherspoon) hiking the PCT on her own. I just assumed PCT stood for Pacific Coast Trail and I was right about the "Pacific" and Trail" part, but I did some research and found out it stand for the Pacific Crest Trail. Here are some interesting facts about the PCT which I gathered from the oh-so-factual site, Wikipedia: It's 2,663 miles long (she hiked over 1,000 miles) and obviously runs through California, Oregon, and Washington. It was classified as a  National Scenic Trail in 1968, but wasn't complete until 1993.

The movie is based on a memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed who is portrayed by Witherspoon, who bought the rights to the movie even before the book was published in 2012 (she also bought the rights to Gone Girl so she's a savvy and smart businesswoman - Elle Woods would be proud!) She walked the trail back in 1995, so only two years after it was officially completed. She wanted to walk the trail because she needed to sort things out for herself. Her mother (Laura Dern) had died only a couple years back from lung cancer and Cheryl, who had married at a very young age, started spiraling out of control as she started using heroin and sleeping with other men to make herself "feel better" and forget her pain. Cheryl was 26 when she hiked the PCT in 1995 and Reese just turned 39 in March so the movie took a little bit of liberty with that, but Reese looks youthful enough she can pull off playing a mid 20 year old. Of course they never mention what her age is in the movie! (Sidebar: did you know that Reese's first name is actually Laura? Reese is a middle name. I learned that from a trivia podcast I listen to called Good Job, Brain). 

The film begins in the middle of her hike as a little teaser and has what has to be the most cringe worthy scene of the entire movie: Cheryl has been walking for awhile and when she peels off her hiking boots and socks, one of her big toenails is all bloody and has partially come off. Lord, it's giving me the heebie jeebies just thinking about it! She's sitting up high and just rips off the sucker. I tried to remind myself this was just a movie and it was a fake toenail, but eesh! It reminded me of the scene in Castaway when Tom Hanks has to hit a rock at his mouth to knock out a bad tooth. The pain is so unbearable that she looses her balance and as she does so, one of her boots goes down the mountain (or maybe it was a hill? I'm not good with geological terms!) The point is, that boot is long gone as there's no way she can go down and get it and she throws her other boot down the mountain too! She still had something to wear on her feet as she had sandals, but still! Well, we later find out, when watching the movie in chronological order, that her boots were a size too small for her and she would be getting a new pair at the next pit stop she stopped at. (I don't know if they're actually called "pit stops", I have Amazing Race terminology in my head!) At these places, she receives care packages  and letters with money from her ex-husband (Thomas Sadoski) and can stock up on water and food and get a good meal and meet up and converse with other hikers.

She meets many people who along her journey, some who are also hiking the PCT and some who are not. On her first week of hiking, she doesn't have the right equipment to use her cooking equipment and thus has to eat cold mush. She asks a farmer if he can drop her off at a motel so she can get a shower and some food and he tells her he can't because he has to finish plowing the fields, but she can wait in his truck and he'll take her. As she's waiting, she finds a gun in his car, but that wasn't what made him scary. Not even inviting (well, more demanding the way he said it) to his house so she can eat and take a shower was scary (but would make any young woman uneasy), but when he asked what kind of woman she was, I was thinking, this guy is going to rape her! Which is what the movie probably wanted us to think and even Cheryl is clearly uncomfortable and lies about her husband being up ahead and that they just got separated. But we find out the man is harmless and brings her back to his house where his wife has cooked a homemade meal and drives her to the store the next day so she can buy the right equipment.

However, she does meet two shady guys who are hunting later on in her journey. They don't hide the fact at all that they would rape her if given the opportunity and make really gross comments about her body...one of them even spies on her when she's changing, eww! So she hightails it out of there.

Most of the people she meets are hikers, including another woman who she's relieved to meet because there are mostly men who are hiking. She meets one hiker (Kevin Rankin) and I get the feeling that she wanted to hook up with him. She did pack condoms! She finds out later that he quit hiking because he didn't want to deal with the snow that is part of the Sierras crossing. She also has to deal with extreme heat and dehydration, hopping across huge boulders, crossing rapids (which she falls into, so that couldn't be fun being wet for the rest of that day) and rainstorms. Luckily, she doesn't ever come across any bears, but she does come across a rattlesnake and as she was looking at it and walking backwards, I was so afraid she was going to accidently step on another one! Her first night of camping, she is really scared because she keeps hearing a noise and we the viewers see it's just a rabbit eating. One night she feels something in her sleeping bag (OMG Ewwww!) and rightfully freaks out and jumps out of her tent and turns her sleeping bag inside out. It was some kind of harmless (but big and hairy!) caterpillar. This was the same day she saw the rattlesnake, so she was still a bit shaken up (no pun intended!)

Towards the end of her trip when she was either just about to leave Oregon or had just entered into Washington, she comes across a old woman and her young grandson who had lost their llama and Cheryl had found it for them. The little boy was so cute and asked Cheryl about her mommy who told him she died because she was sick and the boy tells her his mommy is a music teacher and asks her if she wants to hear him sing a song and she says yes and he sings her a song which had both Cheryl and me weeping our little eyes out! The song was called "Red River Valley". Adorable little kids who sing inspirational songs in their sweet angelic little voices just make my tear ducts go into overdrive, but honestly, it doesn't take much to make me cry!

I would love to know how much her gear weighed because that looked very heavy. The first day of her hike when she's in her motel room getting ready, she has a hell of a time trying to get it on her back. Most of the weight looked like it came from her huge jug of water!  At one of the pit stops, a man gives her advice and tells her she should only pack what she needs and get rid of the extra weight. She does get rid of a few things she never uses (like a saw) or doesn't really matter that much (deodorant), but it didn't look like she lost any weight off her pack!

Throughout the movie we see flashbacks of happier times of her with her mom and her then husband and we also see what her and her brother go through when their mom gets diagnosed with lung cancer and the moment she starts to fall apart. By this time, the only person she has as a support system is her best friend (Gaby Hoffman) but she thinks Cheryl is going too far and is angry at her. Cheryl took this journey as a way to prove she's strong and find herself again. I have to admire what she did; not everyone can do what she did. I know I couldn't; I would be way too scared to go on an adventure like that on my own. Even if I were with a group of people, I still would be hesitant what with all the wildlife, crazy weather, and strenuous obstacles you would have to climb around. Now if I didn't have to worry about any of that and had a good meal and a hot shower and a good night's sleep at the end of every day, I would totally do it! Easy peasy! 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I didn't love this Lucy!

Lucy
Director: Luc Besson
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Amr Waked
Released: July 25, 2014


Congratulations, The Other Woman, you have some competition for being the worse movie of 2014!  What the f*** did I just watch? Scarlett Johansson plays Lucy, a naive girl who's living abroad in Taipei who gets herself into a bad situation after she's gone out with some dude a couple times and he tricks her into being a drug mule by locking a briefcase to her wrist and wants her to take it inside a hotel. Of course she is terrified and becomes even more freaked out (but probably not all that sorry!) when the guy who tricked her is shot. She is taken to the basement of the hotel by a mob boss and his gang. Fearful that there might be a bomb in the briefcase, they hide behind walls and protective shields as the mob boss orders her to open the case. I forgot how she got the code, but she opens it and reveals four plastic bags of some blue substance.

Lucy becomes their new drug mule and a bag of the drug is put into her abdomen so they can export her and the drug out of the country. She is kicked there by one of her captors and the drug released into her bloodstream and goes to her brain. Meanwhile, Morgan Freeman plays a professor who specializes in the brain and teaches a class about how humans only use ten percent of their brain, which, I'm sorry, is a load of crock. He claims that if we used more of our brain, who knows what we could do! Someone asks what would happen if somebody used 100% of the brain and he replies, "I have no idea!"

Whenever Lucy starts to use more of her brain, we see a black screen with the percentage written in a bold font: 15%, 30%, 50%, 75%, 90%, etc. Apparently, the more you use your brain, the more superhuman abilities you obtain. Lucy had the power to build invisible walls (just like Jean Grey!) and move things with her mind (just like Jean Grey!) and other absolutely ridiculous things that nobody could ever do in any lifetime; I don't care how much of their brain they are using! At the very end when she is using 100% of her brain and is trying to defeat the bad guys, she turns into a freaking computer...or she makes one with the atoms in the room...I have no idea...it just got insanely ridiculous and I just didn't care anymore. And see the picture I posed above? That was when Lucy was in a car and uses the windshield as a computer because she can beam these lights onto it with her hands...I know, I don't get it either. Maybe it I could use ALL of my brain I would understand!

I should mention that I missed a good half hour right in the middle of the movie because I got a crappy disc that was all scratched. Don't you love it when that happens. When that happens, I just go back and get another disc, but with this movie, I really didn't care. It started to get messed up when she's in the hospital and calls her mother, telling her she can feel every vibration of the earth's rotation. Unfortunately I didn't get to hear her mom's reply of, "Sweetie, what are you on?" (That had to be her mom's reply right? And technically, she WAS on something!)

I think Luc Besson wanted to make his version of The Tree of Life because there are a lot of quick cuts to nature shots which reminded me a lot of Tree of Life (there was even a dinosaur this movie!) At the beginning, when the mob boss and his crew are heading towards her, there are quick cuts to a lion killing his prey and when we see Lucy looked terrified, there's a quick cut to an antelope running from its captor! The dude who went out a couple times with Lucy tells her that the first woman was named Lucy. If you've ever taken any anthropology or archeology 101 class in college, you would know he was referring to a skeleton that scientists named Lucy after the song "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" (so it wasn't like she was named that when she was alive...what an idiot!) and hers are the most complete homosapien bones archeologists have found. But I'm not an archeology expert, so don't quote me on that. When he tells her that, they (of course) cut to a shot of a replica of what Lucy looked like when she lived nearly three million years (I can't believe that moron thought the name "Lucy" existed that many years ago!) I saw the bones of Lucy when I was at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (coolest museum ever!) Or at least, I thought that's what they were when I was looking at them, but it turned out the real bones were in Ethiopia (that's where the bones were found) and what I was looking at were just replicas for exhibits. I felt so deceived! Look at that, you got a little history/archaeology  lesson there!

Monday, April 27, 2015

I have Kitty Pryde!

X-Men
Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, Rebecca Romijn, James Marsden, Shawn Ashmore
Released: July 14, 2000


X2: X-Men United
Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: Same people plus Brian Cox and Alan Cumming
Released: May 2, 2003
Viewed in theaters: May 26, 2003


X-Men 3: The Last Stand
Director: Brett Ratner
Cast: Same people plus Ellen Page and Kelsey Grammar
Released: May 26, 2006



My knowledge of comic book lore hovers  around "none" and "barely any" so please forgive me if it seems like I may not know what I'm talking about, because, chances are, I don't! After all, I thought Thor was created for Adventure in Baby-Sitting and didn't realize he was actually from a real comic until a few months before the movie was released in 2011. I'm not kidding; that's a true story.

When I saw first saw these movies, I enjoyed them for the most part, but after re-watching them recently, they didn't hold up that well, but honestly I think that's because they suck in comparison to First Class and Days of Future Past, the films' prequels. Wait, are those prequels or reboots? See, I really have no idea!

The X-Men are called mutants and they all have some kind of power. There are differing levels of powers as some are pretty impressive and others, not so much. There was one young boy in the second movie who could change the channel on the TV by blinking his eyes. Ooh, big deal! Sure, I suppose it would be convenient if you've lost your remote and perhaps there's more to his power, but they didn't show it. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) runs a school for young mutants (and there are other grown up mutants who teach classes...it's just like Hogwarts!) and he must be a bit of an ego maniac because the X-Men are obviously named after him and he has X's on his wheelchair's, uh, wheels and there's a big X on the vault that leads to Cerebro which is this huge room with a bottomless pit where he can track any mutant at any time...IDK....just go with me! But he seems like a pretty humble and down to earth guy for having a bunch of his initials everywhere. Besides being able to find any mutant, he can also read and control minds.

The first movie focuses mostly on Logan aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Rogue (Anna Paquin). Rogue is from Mississippi and has run away to Alaska because whenever she touches people she ends up hurting them. She hitchhikes a ride from Logan. They are ambushed by bad mutants, but are saved by Xavier's crew of Storm (Halle Berry) and Scott aka Cyclops (James Marsden). They bring them back to the school where Jean Grey (Famke Jannssen) does a medical exam on Logan. Apparently he doesn't age so he may be even older than Xavier! She even says this to Xavier's face and I'm thinking, Wow, that's really rude to imply your boss is really old! Besides having retractable claws, Wolverine's power is that he can heal. Rogue's other power besides being unable to have sex is that she absorbs other mutants' powers. For instance, she sees Logan is having a nightmare and goes over to wake him. Um, if someone has five inch long sharp nails, DON'T startle them! Because this is exactly what happens and Wolverine drives his claws into her stomach, but after she touches him, she absorbs his powers and heals herself.

Storm's power is that she can manipulate the weather, which, I won't lie, I wouldn't mind having that power! If I did, everyday would be a nice and balmy 72 degrees and it would only snow at Christmas and maybe a nice thunderstorm every now and then. In the first movie, a pre-Oscar winner Halle Berry barely has any lines or scenes. But perhaps this is a good thing because she has the weirdest accent...I heard it was suppose to be South African? And she has possibly what is being touted as the worst line in cinematic history: "You know what happens to a toad when it gets struck by lighting?" (Strikes a bad  mutant with toad-like qualities with lightning and he get electrocuted). "The same thing as everything else." So. Stupid! By the second movie she has miraculously (and thankfully!) lost her accent (and Berry is by then an Oscar winner) and gets to fly the cool jet and by the third movie she is rocking a cute shag cut and is doing twirls in the air to simulate tornados and has a lot more scenes thanks to other people getting killed off!

Scott and Jean are a couple and they are so boring together. Scott's power is that he has laser eyes. He has to wear these tacky sunglasses that make him stand out in public (but I suppose there are mutants who are worse off in the ways they stand out!) otherwise his laser eyes will destroy anything in front of him. Like Professor X, Jean can read minds, but her true powers and what she is really capable of is not revealed until the third movie. She can also move objects with her mind. Logan has the hots for her but she tells him, "I love Scott and his dorky eyewear!" Did nobody tell her that Wolverine is the star of these movies and Cyclops barely has anything to do in any of the movies?

Professor X's archenemies is Magneto aka Gandalf (just kidding! He's played by Ian McKellen). Magneto can control stuff made out of metal which comes in quite handy for him. He has other mutants working for him, including the "toad" that Storm fries, but his second in command is Mystique (played by a very brave Rebecca Romijn who wears body paint...but she has the physique to pull it off! (Heh, Mystique has the physique!)) While most mutants are lucky enough to blend in with other normal human beings, Mystique sticks out quite a bit because she has bright red hair and blue skin and doesn't wear clothes. However, she has what I consider has to be the most impressive ability: she is a shapeshifter so she can transfer into anybody and mimic their voice and attributes. This come in very handy for a villain who is trying to fool the good guys...and they do get fooled. There is a scene in the first movie where she is fighting Wolverine....as Wolverine. I don't know about you, but if I were an X-(wo)man, I would want to be Mystique. I wouldn't be crazy about the blue skin, but who cares if you can look like anybody. I would disguise myself as Julia Roberts and go shopping on Rodeo Drive and get free champagne and clothes! Mystique only disguises herself as other people (mostly men) when she's trying to fool her adversaries. There's a scene in the second movie where Romijn looks like herself when Mystique is seducing a man to get something.

In the first movie, Rogue runs away when Bobby, the boy she has a crush on (Shawn Ashmore) tells her that nobody likes her because she just makes things worse and it would be best if she just left. Of course, it wasn't really Bobby who told her this, but Mystique disguised as Bobby. So she runs away and Magneto kidnaps her and Wolverine and the others have to save her. They also have to deal with a senator who wants to enable an act where a mutant would have to reveal their abilities and the fact that they are mutants. I would not want to live in a world with mutants! You could have somebody breaking into your place just by walking through your walls or somebody could mind control you or Mystique could try to pretend to be someone you know to mess with you.

The cold never bothered him
anyway! 
The second movie is two and a half hours and believe me, it feels that long. It just seemed to drag on forever...and I found that there was more action in the first and third movies. A subplot of this movie focuses on Rogue's and Bobby's relationship...except they can't kiss or anything of the physical nature because she'll hurt him. Bobby is like a male Elsa: everything he touches turns to ice. But he can't create massive ice castles and snowmen that come to life, so fail, Bobby! His alias is Iceman, how fitting. He has a friend, Pyro who can create fire, but seeing as fire and ice are not compatible, they have a falling out and Pyro goes to join Magneto's team. The second movie is called X-Men United because Professor X and the "good" mutants must unite with Magneto and the not-so-ethical mutants to join forces so they can stop a scientists  (Brian Cox) who hates all mutants (and has a son who is one) and wants to destroy all of them.

There's a scene where a cat startles Wolverine and when the cat meowed, my cat was looking at the screen in confusion. There's a lot of dicing and slicing in this movie with Wolverine taking out the claws (literally!) Alan Cumming  (Eli Gold!) plays Nightcrawler, a mutant who is manipulated into killing the POTUS, but doesn't. He can teleport anywhere which is very helpful when he and the other X-Men are in a jet but when it is shot down and crashing to the ground (before Magneto stops it by holding it up), Rogue, who doesn't have her seatbelt on, flies out of the plane when the back half rips open and Nightcrawler is able to teleport to her and bring her back.

The movie ends with Jean Grey sacrificing herself so the others can escape a massive flood (they were near a dam) and builds a wall to shield the water from them. Everyone is really sad she's dead especially Scott and Logan because they both loved her.

But wait! She isn't dead! As we will find out in the third movie! Scott asks her how this happens to which she replies, "I don't know." Yeah, that's the movie's way of being lazy and they just needed to find a way to bring Jean back but they can't think of a way to explain it! Scott is killed off immediately by Jean's now superstrong powers, mostly because James Marsden had a scheduling conflict. Patrick Stewart must also have had scheduling conflicts because Professor X is killed off by Jean who is now known as the Phoenix and has joined forces with Magneto. Oh, and Rebecca Romijn also must have had other plans because she is only in a few scenes at the beginning. While trying to protect Magneto from being shot with a vaccine that makes mutants into regular humans, she gets it instead and becomes a normal (but pretty hot - so good for her!) woman. Magneto has no more need for her as she is just a civilian. I thought he was going to kill her, but he doesn't.

Magneto wants to stop this vaccine from getting out. Meanwhile, Rogue, who is still a couple with Bobby, but is getting jealous of his friendship with Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), the mutant who can run through walls, decides to get the vaccine so she can have sex with her boyfriend. I understand that this is what she wants and it must be difficult to not be able to touch people at all, but the fact that she's doing this for a boy is so stupid. The vaccine is actually taken from a young mutant who takes away other mutants' powers....he ends up coming back to the mutant school founded by Professor X, so how Storm and the other grown up mutant teachers can teach, I have no idea. I guess they will have to keep Leech (the young boy) locked up in a padded room. But if Rogue and Bobby wanted to get it on, they could just have him sit with his back turned! She didn't need to get rid of her powers. And now that she did, does that mean she can't attend the school anymore?

I was so confused because, from what I could tell, the third movie takes place perhaps only a few months after the second one ended. Kitty Pryde is in the second movie, but she is played by a different actress....one that looks like she is no more than seven or eight years old. In the third movie, she is a teenager. Uh....? I thought it was weird that if she touched people, objects could go through her and through that person. For instance, she and the other students were doing a simulation where they had to fight giant robots and meteors and things like that and she sees a flaming rock hurtling towards Bobby so she grabs him and it goes through her and him. I have no idea how this is possible...why would his body be able to enable the rock to go through it? But maybe since it was a simulation, the rock was just a hallucination? I am so confused! But there's a scene where she and Bobby jump off a roof and they go through the ground because she's holding on to him. So by this logic does that mean if Mystique touches somebody, they also have the ability to transfer into anybody? Kitty Pryde has to use her ability to get to Leech before the big dude that can also walk through walls, but he has to knock them down first before he can walk through them!

Of course we have a duel between Pyro and Iceman, fire v. ice. I'm pretty sure fire always trumps ice, but in this scenario, Iceman defeats Pyro.

There's this scene where Magneto needs to get to Alcatraz because that's where Leech is kept, so instead of summoning a boat, he moves the Golden Gate Bridge. Sure, it's a cool scene, but it just seems like so much work when going over on a boat would be a lot easier!

Oh, and one more thing....does this mean that these movies never happened since they went (back!) to the future in Days of Future Past, but I don't know exactly when in the future the young Charles Xavier went to see his other self (I guess it was before the third movie since he died in that one)....Oh, God, I'm confusing myself now! I need a timeline....someone get me a timeline for these movies, stat! I am so confused!!

I want to know how many fanboys out there have cats named Kitty Pryde!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Don't You Forget About Me

The Breakfast Club
Director: John Hughes
Cast: Emilio Estevez, Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Paul Gleason
Released: February 15, 1985


Think back to March 24, 1984. Do you remember what you were doing that day? (Why do I feel like Sarah Koenig?) It's very possible that you were way too young (such as myself) or weren't even born yet! Even if you were around back then, you probably don't remember since it was over thirty years ago! Hell, I can't even remember what I was doing 30 days ago! But for five students at Shermer High School, that was the day they had detention all day on a Saturday.  (I did double check on my iCalendar (it took awhile to go back that far!) and yes, indeed March 24 was on a Saturday in 1984!) And it was, quite possibly, the day that changed their lives (not trying to be overdramatic or anything!)

The five students in question all represent a different high school stereotype. There's Andrew, the jock (played by Emilio Estevez); Claire, the popular rich girl or the "princess" (played by Molly Ringwald); Bender (first name, John), the rebel or the "criminal" (played by Judd Nelson); Brian, the smart kid or the "brain" (played by Anthony Michael Hall); and Alison, the weird girl or the "basket case" (played by Ally Sheedy).

Confession time: I had never seen The Breakfast Club before. At least not in its entirety. I have only seen it in bits and pieces on TV and it always seems to be the same scenes I see: the montage of them in the hallways trying to avoid being caught by the principal (played by Paul Gleason) and the famous dance scene where they're all dancing like dorks to a song I didn't even know. (Who dances like that?!) I had always known they played "Don't You Forget About Me" (Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!) at the end, but I didn't know they played it at the beginning too. I also had no idea that song was specifically written and sung for this movie! I've always associated the song with the movie, but I just thought it was a popular song that was already released when they made the movie and they just used the song since it was so popular and thus it became synonymous with the film.

I was very young when this movie was released. I cannot relate to the '80s teenager. Even in the next decade when I was a teen, I still could not relate to any of these characters because I don't have anything in common with any of them and I wasn't any of the stereotypes that are represented by them. None of the actors were ever on my radar. Of course I knew that Molly Ringwald was the quintessential '80s teen movie star (and I haven't seen any of her other movies!) The only thing I knew Anthony Michael Hall from was when he played Rusty in National Lampoon's Family Vacation a couple years before Breakfast Club. For something more recent, he had a small part in The Dark Knight, but I don't remember who he played because it's been a few years since I've seen that. I'm sure he looked a lot different since he was significantly older! Emilio Estevez, of course, will always be the coach from the Mighty Ducks to me. That was the generation I grew up with. When I saw that movie as a 12 year old, was I thinking, "Oh, the coach is the jock from The Breakfast Club!" Hell, no! I didn't know he was in The Breakfast Club; I probably didn't even know what it was...well, I probably had heard of it by then but I certainly didn't know who was in it. Speaking of the Mighty Ducks, there was an episode of Dawson's Creek where the four main characters have detention (and how convenient that happened! At least in Breakfast Club, they don't all know each other) and Dawson remarks how it's just like the Breakfast Club (remember, he was the film nerd) and Jen wants to know what happened to the actors and Pacey (who was played by Joshua Jackson, who of course got his start by playing the main kid in The Mighty Ducks) says something about Emilio Estevez being in those "Duck" movies and how much he loved them. That was some shameless meta lamp shading there! Judd Nelson and Ally Sheedy, I couldn't tell you anything else they were in.

The casting was very interesting because originally John Hughes wanted Molly for the part of Alison, but she wanted to play Claire and Emilio was going to play Bender, but Hughes couldn't find anyone to play Andrew, so he switched him to that part. Also, they were thinking of Nicholas Cage for Bender but he wanted too much money. (What, even back then?) And I think John Cusack was also up for the part of Bender or he may have already had it but had to bow out.

10 year age difference, almost! 
In 1985, only Molly Ringwald and Anthony Michael Hall were the closest to their characters' ages: 17. Emilio Estevez and Ally Sheedy were a few years older as they had turned 23 that year but they could still pass for high school students if you didn't scrutinize too much. However, Judd Nelson looked like a thirty year old in the movie (he had turned 26 that year) and I kept expecting the movie to explain that he had been held back a few, three, four times, but no! They never do! So I guess we're suppose to believe this guy is eighteen? Uh-huh, right. I had TEACHERS in high school who looked younger than this guy!

So our five students, who have never met each other (except for Claire and Andrew who are in the same social circle) are stuck in the library for eight hours on a Saturday. Okay, am I the only one who remembers detention as having to stay after school for an hour, maybe two at the most? But even though they're all very different, they find out they have a lot more in common than they think: that they all have issues with their parents. Oh, the teen angst! Alison's parents ignore her! Andrew's father expect him to be the best and win all the games! Claire's parents are too busy for her and are never around and they fight! Bender's father is an abusive drunk! Brian's parents expect him to keep up his grades!

I realize that Bender is suppose to be the star since without him there really would be no movie. Without him, the other four would just be sitting in the library and there would be no scuffles. This is because Bender instigates everything. Are we suppose to think he's cool or hot, because he's neither of those things. He's the biggest ass! He picks on the nerdy kid; he has to put on the tough guy act and pull a knife on Andrew and then put it away and tell him that he's not worth killing because Andrew's parents would sue him, and he sexually harasses Claire by insinuating he thinks they should lock the doors so the guys can rape her and later he finds himself under the table she's sitting at hiding from the principal and is looking up her skirt. He's so gross. Oh, and then he insults her by saying she has a "fat girl's name" and that even though she's not fat now, she will be later in her life. And they end up making out at the end of the movie! What the effing hell? Ugh! But I'll get to that later. I hate that character so much! I guess we're supposed to feel sorry for him because his father hits him?

While you could find some kind of student like those represented in The Breakfast Club at any high school (although I don't know many 30 year olds who attend high school!), the one archetype that I never knew or saw at my high school (or any high school student I've ever known) is the "basket case." There's quirky weird and then there's just WTF weird and Alison is of the latter camp. I've met plenty of quirky weird people and they are delightful in their own amusing way, but they still maintain some sort of social awareness. Alison? She is just freaking weird. For starters, we find out that she didn't do anything to get herself in detention; she just decides she has nothing better to do on a Saturday so she'll spend eight hours of it locked in the school library! (And shouldn't the principal had known she wasn't supposed to be there? Duh!) When she's drawing a picture, she uses her dandruff for snow. When they're eating their lunch, she takes the bologna out of her bread and flings it onto the ceiling where it sticks. Okay, any other NORMAL person would have discarded the bologna in the trash can instead of trashing school property ! Just saying! She then puts corn chips (I think that's what it was) between the slices of bread and proceeds to smoosh it with her fist as the others watch in horror/amazement. Speaking of lunch, Claire brought SUSHI to eat. And those lunches weren't refrigerated because when the principal tells them they can eat, they all take out their lunch bags from their back packs. I'm guessing it was noon when they had their lunch and they had arrived for their sentence at 7, so that's FIVE HOURS that sushi was without any refrigeration! That is disgusting! I'm guessing she got food poisoning later that night!

Layering must have been really popular in the '80s, because, my God, these kids (and 30 year old man!) sure do love their layers! Andrew is wearing a varsity jacket over a white turtleneck over a blue jersey. It's no surprise he takes off the layers since he's doing a dance scene similar to that in Footloose. He also should have been an opera singer because he goes into an office and shatters the glass door because he's singing so high (and he is high!) Alison starts out by wearing the biggest parka I have ever seen....is she from Canada or something? It must have been really cold in that part of Illinois on March 24, 1984 because damn, not only is she wearing that huge parka, but she's always wearing a huge bulky black sweater and under that she's wearing a turtleneck and apparently under that she's wearing a white girly blouse...but I'll get to that layer. My God, she must have been BOILING in that damn outfit, especially when they were running in the halls and dancing like idiots! And then Bender was wearing a duster, a plaid shirt with the sleeves cut off, and a white long-sleeved t-shirt. I think a vest may have been involved there too, but I couldn't tell you for sure. Oh, and he also wears these leather fingerless gloves which I guess is suppose to mean he's a badass (no, he's just an ass!)

There's a lot of talking, crying, yelling, hurting of feelings, understanding between the five students (or should I say between the four students and one thirty year old man?) They all share their stories of how their parents treat them and why they are in detention. They bond over trying to one-up the principal.

Like I mentioned earlier, Claire and Bender make out at the end of the movie...ugh...Claire totally lost my respect there. I guess she felt sorry for him? And they were making out in front of her parents' car either her mom or dad (you couldn't see who was in the driver's seat). Who the hell makes out with their 30 year old high school boyfriend in front of their parents? Nobody I know, that's for sure! And then, for some stupid reason, Claire gives him one of her diamond earrings (and I'm assuming those are real diamond earrings since she never denied it when Bender makes a comment about them earlier) to him to wear because I guess it's some sort of romantic gesture? Eww. You know he's just going to pawn it off to make some quick cash!

Even though I don't like that pairing, at least it makes more sense than the other, totally random pairing of Andrew and Alison. Claire and Bender share more scenes than Andrew and Alison do (although most of them consist of Bender insulting her and her looking at him in disdain or her crying and yelling at him). It's only when Claire gives Alison a makeover when Andrew sees how pretty Alison is when she has her hair away from her face and is wearing soft makeup instead of the heavy black eyeliner and is now wearing the aforementioned white blouse. :::rolls eyes::: She does look better with her hair pulled back. They also share a kiss at the end of the movie. That pairing just seemed to come out of nowhere.

The question remains, will they be friends come Monday? Probably not, but they will always have that one special Saturday they shared together. Thirty years ago now!



They never eat breakfast in this movie!

Monday, April 13, 2015

My ten favorite Glee performances

video


10. Gloria (Laura Branigan) - sung by Rachel, Santana, and Adam Lambert  in season 5 at that musical diner where they worked in NYC. Great song from the '80s. The song doesn't start until about a minute in so you can ff through the chitchat if you want.



9. We Found Love (Rihanna) - sung by the Glee club in season 3 (?) when Will proposes to Emma. Because Will has to include the Glee club in every aspect of his life! Since when did McKinley High get a pool? I do like the synchronized swimming/dancing; it's something the show had never done before. I laughed so hard when Artie went in the pool with his wheelchair...uh...



8. Girls Just Want to Have Fun (Cyndi Lauper) - sung by Finn to Santana in season 3 when Santana is feeling down. I think this must have been after her grandmother kicks her out of the house for being a lesbian. Oh, look, it's Adele Dazeem!  It was nice of Finn to cheer Santana up even though she was always so mean to him! I really liked that they took a very poppy pop song and made it into a slower ballad. It almost makes me tear up a little.

7. Gives You Hell (All-American Rejects) - sung by Rachel in season 1. Obviously she is mad at Finn but I don't remember why. I think the back ups sound really good! It's a really fun number and I love the song. LOL at Mr. Schuster rolling his eyes. He's probably thinking, I need friends my own age! I think Quinn's cardigan is really cute! Oh, and Rachel totally cheated on this assignment because they were supposed to do songs that had "Hello" in the title, but she left out the "o". Not that I'm complaining or anything!

6. You Get What You Give (New Radicals) - sung by the senior Glee club members to the younger members in season 3 in their graduation episode....I think it was the graduation episode. I was very happy when they sang this because I love this song! It's a one hit wonder from 1998 and it reminds me of my own senior year. If you remember, back in 2011 when I was reviewing the ten teen movies that came out when I was a teen, I cited this song as something that reminded me of that time...yeah, you don't remember that, do you? You know Mr. Schu is probably thinking, Yeah, this is my jam! as he's nodding his head. This song is so '90s I love it!!! They sing about Beck and Hanson and Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson, LOL!!!



5. Jump (Van Halen) - sung by the Glee club in season 1 when they do a commercial for a mattress store. I don't remember how or why. And I don't know how they can sing that well when they're jumping on beds but I think they sound really good on this song! And it's just a fun number. LOL at Artie just sitting there randomly while the others get to have fun and jump on beds. I died when Kurt gives the "come hither" finger to the guys watching them. Did you notice that huge picture in the background with the couple cuddling in bed? For some reason, that makes me laugh. And did you hear Mercedes hit those notes? You get it, girl! And Brittany is killing it with those flips. I would totally buy a mattress if I saw this as a commerical...they look really comfortable...and fun to jump on, haha!


4. What a Feeling (Irene Cara) - sung by Rachel and Tina in season 3. This is the episode where Tina quantum leaps into Rachel's body. Actually, it was just a daydream, but wouldn't that be awesome if they gave that amazing show a shout out? I believe this is the only time Rachel and Tina have a duet together, but I could be wrong. I remember my friend Cameron and I sang this at karaoke after this episode aired because we were so inspired by it! This performance is just pure perfection.

3. Like a Prayer (Madonna) - sung by the Glee club in season 1 during the Madonna episode (duh!) They sang this song as their big grand finale because what other Madonna song are you going to sing, "Into the Groove"? (although I did love it when Kurt sang that song much later in the series!) This is the best group number they've ever done. Kurt looks like a cute little choirboy and I get chills when Mercedes sings her part! And then they open the curtain and all those gospel singers (where did they come from? Oh, who cares!) start singing and clapping and it's like, "Yeah, we're going to church!" And it also makes me want to grab a Pepsi! Unfortunately, I  couldn't find any good quality videos of this performance.



2. Don't Stop Believin' (Journey) - sung by the original Glee members in the very first episode. This was the first group performance of the show and it's very iconic. They did it again in season five as a tribute to Mr. Schu after he quits/is fired (I don't remember what happened to him!) and it's kind of funny because they start out with the five original members, then the ones that joined later that season come in, then the ones who joined in season 2 came in, then the new kids come in so there's 5000 people onstage...then Mr. Schu has to come up on stage and sing cuz he always has to make it about himself. I actually really do like the season 5 performance, but like I said, there is something iconic about the one from the very first episode and I do love that they showed it again in the penultimate episode.


1. Safety Dance (Men Without Hats) - sung by Artie in season 1. Flash mob! This is by far the best performance Glee has ever done.  It was only the 19th episode and they had at least 100 episodes after it and I knew that nothing was ever going to top it and I was right! This was from the episode that Joss Whedon directed. Artie has a fantasy if he could walk and he's actually quite a good dancer! Haha, the first time I saw it, I was thinking, This better be a dream or something he's imagining or else this show has just jumped about ten sharks in a row....but it would do that later! I love the song, I love the dance, I loved the way it was shot. I also loved that they filmed it in a mall that was open to the public so you see people in the crowd (blended in with the extras) snapping photos on their phones who are either smiling or have a WTF? look on their faces. It's fun to spot the other Glee members. There are Mike, Matt, and Brittany as his back up dancers! There's Mercedes and Kurt and Tina!  The song doesn't start until a minute in, so feel free to pass through the talking part.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Don't call him Shirley!

Airplane!
Directors: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, and Jerry Zucker
Cast: Leslie Nielsen, Lloyd Bridges, Julie Hagerty, Robert Hays, Robert Stack, Peter Graves
Released: July 2, 1980



This is a movie I've seen in bits and pieces when it was on TV, but had never watched it in its entirety until just now. The only scene I can even recall from when I did watch a little bit of it was the Saturday Night Fever dance spoof scene and I only remember it because my brother tried to emulate the main guy when he was doing that move where he's squatting on the floor with his arms crossed and kicking his legs out.  Of course this dance move is pretty much impossible without the use of your arms and so my brother could never do it. 

This is one of the most famous spoof movies out there, but because this movie came out before my time, I didn't know any of the movies that were being spoofed aside from the aforementioned Saturday Night Fever scene. I'm sure there are other movies spoofed that I would probably know, but just didn't realize. The jokes/gags are funny though some of them seem really antiquated (there's a scene right before the plane takes off and a guy right outside the pilot's window puts this contraption on the window pane (and I should note that the window was open...which obviously you can't do on a real plane because that would be very bad!) At first I thought he was measuring the window, but then the pilot gives him what looks to be a credit card and the guy swipes it though the device. I had no idea what it was and figured it must be something of the time) or they were a bit racist (like the "translation" given for the two black guys speaking "jive" - although it was funny when that little old white lady said she could translate jive) or they were just a little bit dark (three passengers committed suicide because they couldn't stand listening to the main character's story of how he met the love of his life...I don't really get how that was suppose to be funny! It's not like the stories were that tedious!)

Ex-fighter-pilot Ted Striker (Robert Hays) is on Trans American Flight 209 from L.A. to Chicago. His ex-girlfriend, Elaine (Julie Hagerty), who he still has feelings for, is a flight attendant (or a stewardess as they were called in those days) on that flight. As we hear from the (apparently awful and tedious) stories that Striker told some of the passengers, they met during the war and fell in love. I was really confused what era this movie was set because they made it seem like he was in World War II, but then he meets Elaine while dancing to "Stayin' Alive" by the BeeGees and obviously they didn't have '70s disco music back then! Then I realized that it must be part of the joke.

The pilot was called Captain Oveur so he would say, "Captain Oveur, over" and the first officer was named Roger so everytime the Captain would say something to the air traffic control tower and end it with "Roger!", his co-pilot would say, "Huh?" When a young boy visits the cockpit, he outs the First Officer as being basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar which he repeatedly denies even though the boy finds a basketball on the floor and we later see "Roger" wearing basketball shorts and knee pads and sneakers. 

I noticed that the overhead compartments where the luggage is stored were just shelves - there were no actual compartments that you could open and close to store your belongings. I thought that was really weird because if there's even a little bit of turbulence, all that luggage is going to come spilling out and hurt somebody...so I don't know if this was a real thing back in then and people who designed planes were really stupid or if this was going to be a joke that was going to pay off later. We do see the plane go in a nosedive, but there was only two pieces of luggage that fell! So maybe that was the joke? I don't know; I didn't get that. But passengers did get hit in the head with an object when a flight attendant asks the nun if she can borrow her guitar to sing to the sick girl on the gurney and when she takes it, she whacks everyone in the head when she brings it down the aisle. 

Leslie Nielsen plays an on-flight doctor ("Surely you can do something doctor"; "Don't call me Shirley!") and after everybody who ate the fish for dinner gets food poisoning, he tells another flight attendant that they need to get everybody to a hospital and when she replies with, "Hospital? What is it?" (meaning what was wrong) and he replies with, "It's that big building where all the sick people go." They had a lot of jokes like that one and by the third one, it wasn't that funny anymore! The ongoing joke that worked better was when the the supervisor at the air traffic control tower  (played by Lloyd Bridges) keeps exclaiming things like, "I picked a hell of a week to quit smoking!" or "I picked a hell of a week to quit drinking!" There was about four or five of those ongoing jokes. 

I don't know what the in-flight movie was, but it showed a plane crashing and bursting into flames! 

As I mentioned earlier, everyone on the plane who had fish for dinner gets food poising and passes out (although by the time they crash land, most every one is awake!) and this includes the captain, first officer, and the flight engineer and their passed out bodies are dragged through the aisle to the back of the plane in front of all the passengers. And even though the only choices were fish or chicken, the doctor states that he had the lasagna for dinner! 

Because they have no pilot, Elaine switches on the "auto-pilot" which is an inflatable pilot named Otto. But Otto isn't equipped to land the plane (you think!) and everyone is extremely sick and must be taken to a hospital as soon as possible. Over the intercom, Elaine asks a question that NO passenger on a plane ever wants to hear: "Is there anyone on board who knows how to fly a plane?" This results in a huge panic scene where the passengers are fighting with each other and there's even a sword fight between two of them. Not only were there swords aboard this flight, but also a gun and gasoline and matches...yeah....

Striker is the only one who is equipped to land the plane (even though he has a fear of flying from being traumatized by an event in the war where he lost six (actually seven according to Elaine!) men.)  He is also one of the very few who didn't eat the fish. It's a little touch and go, but he manages to land, er, crash land the plane! 

Something I like to do before watching a movie is look through its IMDb page and see if there are any character actors that I might recognize. Honestly, the only person I knew from this movie was Leslie Nielsen and I knew Lloyd Bridges is the father of Beau and Jeff, but I wouldn't have known that it was him if I didn't know if he was in it. I did see a name I recognized: Jonathan Banks. I kept my eye out on him, but I never did see him in the movie. This is probably because this movie came out over 30 years ago and I'm familiar with him looking like Mike Ehrmantraut. He's also in only one scene as an air traffic controller. Now, if we remember our Breaking Bad lore, Jane's dad was also an air traffic controller and stupidly goes to work after his daughter is found dead and causes a mid-air collision because his mind is elsewhere. As for Airplane!, the movie never gets that dire! It's a comedy, after all!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Movie Montage #4

I've made my fourth movie montage! I hope you watch and enjoy it!


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