Saturday, March 30, 2013

Southern Belles

Steel Magnolias
Director: Herbert Ross
Cast: Sally Field, Julia Roberts, Dolly Parton, Shirely MacLaine, Olympia Dukakis, Daryl Hannah
Released: November 15, 1989

Oscar nominations:
Best Supporting Actress - Julia Roberts (lost to Brenda Fricker for My Left Foot)


There are two types of "chick flicks". The first is akin to Sex and the City where the main woman loves clothes and fashion and is trying to get the attention of the cute (hot cute, not goofy cute) guy she works with or lives next door to or has been in love with all her life... These movies are often comedies (you might even call them romcoms!) and more often than not star Katherine Heigl and are just awful. Then the second type may have some similarities to the first kind....there are funny moments, there's a woman trying to get a man's attention, there's gossip and all that girly nonsense, but the biggest difference is that they are tearjerkers and they pull at your heartstrings because they want to make you CRY. They want you to weep from the depths of your soul and the only way to achieve this is to kill one of the main characters and have the other characters cry in sorrow. Beaches is a great example of this. And one year after its release came Steel Magnolias, a tearjerker chick flick.

I did not like this movie as much as I liked Beaches, but I did cry. Of course I did.

This movie is based on a 1987 play written by Robert Harling who based it on events that happened to his family. When director Herbert Ross saw it, he wanted to make it into a movie. The cast of characters includes M'Lyn (Sally Field) and her daughter, Shelby (Julia Roberts) who is about to get married to a pre-famous Dylan McDermott. (Hell, even Julia was pre-famous in this movie!) Dolly Parton plays Truvy who owns the beauty salon in her home which is a big part of the movie and where many scenes are set. Shirley MacLaine is Ouiser, the cranky old lady who hates M'Lyn's husband because he's always shooting his gun at the birds and it drives her dog crazy and she can't get control of him. It wasn't until the credits when I saw her how name was spelled. I was thinking all this time they were calling her "Wheezer" and thought that was an awful name! Olympia Dukakis is Clairee who is always messing with Ouiser and taking shots at her. To round off the cast is Daryl Hannah as Annelle who is new to this small Louisiana town where they all live and is given a job at Truvy's beauty shop.

The movie jumps around in increments of time. The one character I was really confused about was Annelle. When we first meet her, she's really timid and has this gray (it looked gray!) long hair and cat-style glasses and wore very modest clothing. The next time jump reveals her with a new hair cut, blonde hair, no glasses, and more revealing clothes and she's smoking and drinking, then the next time jump she's more buttoned up and has taken to the word of God and is always praying. I never understood why she changed so much. I also didn't get her "secret" of being the new mysterious woman in town. Everyone was wondering if she was married or not and she said she wasn't sure because her husband left her. In the last segment of the film she's pregnant and the other women ask her what she plans to name the baby. She replies, "If it's a girl, Shelby". (You'll understand why soon) and one of the women asks her, "And it's a boy?" And she replies, "Shelby." God, I hope that baby was girl.

Cue the tears
Truvy's beauty shop is where the girls often gab and gossip....just like any real beauty shop anywhere, I suppose. Shelby has diabetes and when she's getting her hair done for her wedding, she gets an attack and her mother treats her like she's a little baby! I would have been pissed if somebody treated me like the way M'Lyn treated Shelby. Because of her condition, Shelby has been advised by her doctor that she shouldn't have children, but because she can't adopt because of her health, Shelby wants a child and gets pregnant and has a son. Everything is fine until a year after her son is born, she collapses, is in the hospital with kidney failure, has a coma and dies when her family must make the decision to unplug her life support since they are told she was most likely never wake up. Shelby is based on the playwright's sister who also had diabetes and wanted a child even though she was advised she shouldn't, got pregnant, and died.

The movie ends with the living characters at a park at Easter and Annelle goes into labor and they all get her into a car and rush her to the hospital. The camera pans out and we see the car driving through the town as the credits rolled. Horrible ending. I would recommend Beaches before I recommended this movie.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Always Bet on Black

Passenger 57
Director: Kevin Hooks
Cast: Wesley Snipes, Bruce Payne, Tom Sizemore, Elizabeth Hurley
Released: November 6, 1992


This is one of the most ridiculous movies I've seen in quite awhile. At least it was entertaining, so I can't complain it was boring. Wesley Snipes (remember him?) is John Cutter (not Carter!), an airline security expert who trains flight attendants in flight stimulations on what they should do if they should ever encounter a passenger with a gun. Because apparently in this world, it is very easy (VERY EASY) to get on a plane with a handgun. I mean, sheesh, I know that was pre 9/11, but I didn't know our airport security was that bad back then!

As any complex hero, Cutter has a dark past: his wife, Lisa, was killed when they were at a drugstore and a guy with a gun held the place up and shot the cashier and Lisa. Cutter becomes very attached and protected of the flight attendant, Marti, who reminds him of his wife and he even calls her Lisa at one point.

Cutter is given a job by the annoying stereotypical Italian guy played by Tom Sizemore and he flies from wherever he is to L.A.  to give an interview....or something....I really don't know, but that's not the important part. No, that would be on the very same flight is Charles Rane (Bruce Payne), an international terrorist. Rane has been on the run for quite awhile, but was finally caught by the FBI and now if flying on his way to be put on trial or go to prison or something, I don't know, being escorted by two FBI guys. Apparently after every time Rane does one of his terroristic deeds, he undergoes plastic surgery and gets a new face so he looks different. The FBI gets intel that he's at a local public hospital about to go under the knife, then go into the hospital and start firing at Rane (after he slices the doctor's throat with his scapel), not caring that there are random, innocent people all over the hospital. Ignoring the crap job the FBI is doing, let's just think about this for a second. Let's pretend you're an "international terrorist"  (as opposed to a domestic one, I suppose) and you have the means to change your face and appearance whenever you need to. Why the hell would you go to a PUBLIC HOSPITAL? Uh, correct me if I'm wrong, but in most movies and TV shows when the bad guy is undergoing a transforming operation, doesn't he get some underground doctor to do it for him (then kills the doctor once he's done?) This idiot goes to a public hospital in the middle of the day...and kills the doctor before he even starts. Though to be fair, the doctor wouldn't have had time to complete the surgery as the FBI were already there. But what the hell was up with this doctor and his team of surgeons? Yes, I'm sure Rane was using an alias and yes, it's possible since he got so many extreme makeovers they didn't know what he looked like, but it was soooo obvious there was something sinister about this guy. You'd think they stop and say, "Wait a minute. Something's not right with this guy." It was so ridiculous. And I'm thinking how ridiculous the whole thing is even before Rane crashes out of a window and lands on top of an umbrella on an outside dining table before running away and is quickly captured by the police.

So Cutter and Rane are on the same flight and Rane has some backup to help him take control of the plane disguised as passengers and flight crew. This includes a pre-famous Elizabeth Hurley who is posing as a flight attendant. Now I didn't watch the trailer for the movie until after I saw it (because that's how I roll) and had I watched the trailer, I would have been spoiled she was working for the bad guy.  I really hate it when trailers spoil little plotlines like that in a movie (no matter how bad the film). Maybe I should have seen it coming that Liz was part of the bad guy team, but I was shocked when she took out a gun under a dinner dome and shot one of the FBI agents.

Cutter is in the backroom when they take control of the plane and manages to sneak the plane phone and call his Italian friend to let him know what's up. Cutter, along with Marti, sneak down to the cargo area where he released fuel to force the plane to have to land and get more. Rane demands the pilots land at the closest landing strip which is a small one that is meant for smaller planes. Cutter manages to escape, jumping from the hatch (luckily the plane had stopped when he jumped), but Marti was caught and kept on board.

We saw two stereotypical hillbilly men who own work at the airfield as they negotiate with Rane. He says he will release half the prisoners if get gets a full tank of fuel in a certain amount of time. He also tells the hillbillies that Cutter is with him and not to believe anything he says. Cutter escapes from their custody and he and the bad guys have a shootout at a local fair next door. This whole sequence of them off the plane must have lasted for a good 45 minutes. Now when I rent a movie about a plane takeover, I expect the entire movie to be set on the plane, not this crap where they're running around a carnival! If I wanted that, I would have watched Beverly Hills Cop III.

Once Rane has his fuel, the plane lifts off with the other half of the hostages including Marti. Cutter, who has convinced one of the hillbillies he's a good guy and is trying to take down the bad guy, convinces him to drive him along side the plane so he can get out of the car and hop onto the plane and climb into the hatch and sneak into the plane. Wonderful plan if I ever heard one. Of course he succeeds and manages to kill all the bad guys (though he just knocks out Liz) until Rane is the only one left.

He and Rane starting kicking and punching each other and a very small window, about the size of a postage stamp is blown out and papers start flying around everywhere. I can buy that. What I can't buy is that small of an opening makes the freaking door of the airplane rip off. Um....no. But that's not the most ridiculous absurd thing about this whole situation. Marti, who was by the door, is hanging onto something for dear life, while Rane is near her. She seems to be more afraid of Rane than of the fact that she could easily let go and fall hundreds of feet to her death. But no. Once Cutter kicks Rane and shoves him out the door to HIS death, Marti (and Cutter) clearly relax, relieved that Rane is no longer there to terrorize anyone anymore. Uh, okay, that's great, but you're still hundreds of feet off the ground with a huge door missing from an airplane. You could still fall to your death. But no, we don't have to worry about that cuz we immediately cut to the next scene where they're safely on the ground and Cutter asks Marti out and there's witty and funny banter! They never even explained how they landed and how they dealt with there being no door!

As the movie's credits were rolling, it made me think of something. In the scene before Cutter gets on the flight, his Italian friend tells him he has a surprise for him. Once the terrorist activities start and Cutter calls him, he asks if that was the surprise, but it wasn't. So we never learned what this so called surprise was. Unless it was the old woman who sat next to him and thought he was Aresino Hall....in fact at the end of the movie, everyone thinks Aresino Hall has rescued them and are doing the whoo whoo hollering and fist raising. This movie isn't dated at all. /sarcasm.

This movie is terrible. Awful. Craptastic. It's the kind of movie that would be perfect for a podcasts that review bad movies. And I'm sure there's one that's already discussed it! Oh, and I forgot to mention the worst line in the movie where Cutter tells one of the bad guys "To always bet on black."

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Executive Decision

Air Force One
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
Cast: Harrison Ford, Gary Oldman, Glenn Close, Wendy Crewson, William H. Macy, Dean Stockwell, Paul Guilfoyle, Xander Berkeley
Released: July 25, 1997

Oscar nominations:
Best Editing (lost to Titanic)
Best Sound (lost to Titanic)


Spoilers for a 16 year old movie!

While I was watching this movie (my third time), I kept wondering, What if Bill, Hilary, and Chelsea (who were the First Family when this was released) were in this situation? What if it were old Dubya, Laura, and their twin girls? What it if were Obama up there with Michelle and their daughters? And in every scenario, EVERYBODY DIES.

All-American President
Harrison Ford plays President James Marshall, the most kick-ass POTUS of all time! He's a veteran of the Vietnam War, a recipient of the Medal of Honor, a retired military aviator, a black belt in karate, a member of MENSA, and a Noble Peace Prize winner. (Okay, I may have embellished some of those!) Seriously, if something like this had happened to a POTUS like the one Michael Douglas plays in The American President (or a real life President like I mentioned before), it's safe to say everyone would be screwed and nobody would make it out of this situation alive. President Marshall has just given a speech in Russia and is headed back to Washington on Air Force One along with staff and his wife and 12 year old daughter. Also included on this flight is one mole and a group of Russian reporters who have been given permission to ride in the plane and interview the President. What nobody knows until it's too late is that the real Russian reporters were killed by a terrorist group led by a man named Ivan Korshunov (Gary Oldman) and their name badges and identities were stolen.

The mole is played by Xander Berkeley, one of many character actors in this movie. You think he is part of the Secret Service, but once he kills other members of the Service and tosses guns out to the terrorists, you know he is a mole! And just think, a few short years later, the same actor would go on to play George Mason in 24, a man who would sacrifice his life for the United States. I guess he was making up for this movie! Hey....wasn't Air Force One exploding and killing the POTUS an episode in 24? There have been so many presidential deaths on that show I can't keep them all straight!

Once Secret Service hears bullets flying everywhere in the plane, they take the POTUS and hustle him down to a pod and launch him out of the plane so he will be safe and will easily be found with a tracking device. Apparently such a pod does not exist on Air Force One, but that would be awesome if it really did. Meanwhile, the other hostages on the plane have been ushered into a guarded conference room. In a creepy almost kind of foreshadowing to 9/11, the terrorists break into the cockpit and kill the pilots and divert the plane to head to their destination, which is Kazakhstan.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the VP (Glenn Close) is alerted of the situation as well as the U.S. Defense Secretary played by yet another character actor, Dean Stockwell (Al from Quantum Leap!) Korshunov contacts them and tells them he wants the release of a dictator  he supports who had just been sentenced to prison. He tells them they will execute a passenger every half hour until he is released. And he is true to his word. Nobody in Washington has no idea if the POTUS is still alive or not and don't want to make any deals if they don't know for sure about the President's safety. The pod is found, but it is empty! Marshall stayed on board in the cargo area because there was no way he was going to leave his family and members of his Cabinet and his advisors up in the air with terrorists! This President doesn't run from anybody or anything!

Marshall calls the operator in D.C. and there's a bit of a comic relief moment when he tells her he's the President and wants to be connected to the White House and she tells him that the President never calls this line and scoffs at his acclaim of being the president. Once she hears gunfire, she puts him through right away and he alerts the VP and everyone else of the situation.

Korshunov takes the First Lady and First Daughter to a private section of the plane to keep an eye on them. Marshall shoots the terrorists who are guarding the conference room and sneaks everybody down to the back of the plane where everyone is fitted into parachutes and the hatch is open to let them escape that way. Soon just a few people are left on the plane including the terrorists, the First Family,  a few other passengers, and the (undetected) mole. When Korshunov threatens to kill the First Lady, Marshall gives the VP the go ahead to release the dictator. Now it's been quite a few years since I last saw this movie, but I could have sworn that the Fist Lady was killed in this movie. I remember the other woman, the Deputy Press Secretary, was killed, but for some reason, I also remember the First Lady being murdered. Maybe I am thinking of another movie. After the prisoner is released, Marshall and Korshunov get into a physical altercation and it ends with the President snapping the terrorists' neck and before kicking him out of the plane (the hatch was open at the point) tells him, "Get off of my plane!" Once they don't have to worry about Korshunov anymore, Marshall races back to call off the release of the prisoner and he is shot right before he gets to his freedom.

Even though all the terrorists are incapacitated (or so they think! The mole is still among them!), the airliner is not going to be able to land due to outside damage from other terrorists (I'm telling you, this movie is non-stop action!), so outside help from the Air Force is needed. We next proceed to the most ridiculous scene in the entire movie: a huge military plane is flying in front of them and some guy (sorry, I don't know the correct jargon for any of this!) hooks up a zip line from that plane to Air Force One. The mole is the one who's standing by the door of AFO and he's supposed to let the guy in and you think he might cut the line or something, but he doesn't. A few more guys come from the other plane to help assist the others off the plane. They clip the First Daughter, then the First Lady to the zip line and they make it to the other plane. They next want Marshall, but he insists that his wounded Chief of Staff (played by C.S.I.'s Paul Guilfoyle - another character actor!) go before him. Soon the only people left on the plane are Marshall, the mole, and Marshall's Air Force advisor (played by yet another character actor, William H. Macy). Air Force One is about to crash and they only have time to get one more person to safety. Macy tells the President to go and this is the time where Berekeley reveals himself as the mole when he kills Macy. Marshall finds himself in (yet another) physical altercation and the zip line breaks at the last minute as he manages to clip onto it so he's dangling from the other plane as the men pull him up and tell Washington that the President is safe. Of course at the last minute he escapes from Air Force One, it crashes into the ocean and thus the new plane Marshall is on is dubbed Air Force One.

Now can you see why I think if this scenario happened with a real President's family everybody would die? Yep. A fun and thrilling movie nonetheless.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Sun, Surf, and Sexy good times!

I just finished season 7 of Beverly Hills, 90210!



Brandon - Whenever there's an episode that revolves around racism, it's Brandon that the story is centered around. In the season premier, he and Steve are on a roadtrip in Texas. Their car breaks down and Steve, wanting to get home to Clare, hitches a bus ride to the airport while Brandon stays to fix his car. He meets a pretty black girl his age named Mariah who is into angels and wants to write a book about them. (I know, totally WTF?) He encourages her to follow her dream and move to NYC...which she does. They encounter a lot of racist remarks from both black and white people. Mariah shows up in a later episode after she has written her book on angels.

Brandon becomes part of the CUTV production team and starts dating the anchor he and this other guy, Mark, hire named Tracy. Tracy is the jealous type and doesn't like that Brandon and Kelly are still friends and believes Brandon still has feelings for Kelly (which is true). She tells Brandon she hopes their relationship is going somewhere (like marriage) because she doesn't want to be "something to pass the time." Brandon takes her to Hong Kong to meet his parents (only Jim though, since Cindy was in London because with Brenda - I guess they couldn't get the actress at that time!) Eventually Brandon breaks up with Tracy because he's not in love with her like she is with him and she takes this pretty hard. Brandon and Kelly end up back together towards the end of the season and Kelly moves in with him, Steve, and Valerie.

Brandon and Mark are competing for a prestigious scholarship that is only given to two recipients in the entire country and it's very rare when they choose two people from the same state, let alone two people of the same gender. Mark tells Brandon how important this is to him, that his father is expecting him to win it and he gives Brandon some "tips" (because he knows somebody from the committee), but it turns out his tips were bogus, but golden boy Brandon manages to charm the committee over and wins the scholarship.

Kelly - At the beginning of the season, Kelly volunteers at an AIDS hospice as part of her school program for psychology. She makes friends with a guy named Jimmy and freaks out when he is helping her in the kitchen and cuts his hand with a knife (as soon as he picked up the knife to cut vegetables, I KNEW that was coming!) and she gets blood on her as she helps him clean up. Paranoid, she goes to the doctor to see if she has AIDS, but she doesn't. Jimmy inevitably dies and Kelly becomes depressed until her next story line comes along...

...which is her seeing this guy named Mark who works at the TV station with Brandon. She confides in him about her past cocaine problem and tell him he wants to take things slow because she always rushes too fast with guys. Mark starts off as a nice enough guy, but I knew there was something up after he told her about his stupid phone calling methods. One ring = I'm thinking of you. Two rings = I love you. Three rings = I wanna sleep with you (or something to that effect). Ugh, gag me with a spoon. Stop trying so hard, arsehole. Remember how Mark was up for that scholarship and lost to Brandon? OMG, what a fucking tool! He got really mad at Kelly and blew up at her and accused her of supporting Brandon and not him and just starts screaming at her. He tells her to never call her again and she replies, "Well, if the phone ever rings, you can always know that it WON'T be me." Go Kelly Taylor! That guy was a real creep. I can't help but notice that since Kelly and Brandon have broken up, Kelly has been dating guys who seem nice at first, then end up total assholes. This guy was the King of Assholes.

Remember when Brandon proposed to Kelly at the end of season 5? (I did mention that, right?) Well, this season, to prove his devotion to Tracy (HA!), he sells back his engagement ring, but what he didn't know was that Kelly followed him (what a creeper!) and immediately bought it and wore it around a string as a necklace tucked inside her shirt.

One morning, Kelly finds a young boy named named Joey sleeping on her porch. She finds out that he ran away from home. She lets him crash at her place for a couple days and calls Social Services. When they take him, he runs away from them that night and they inform Kelly and she blames herself and says she never should have contacted them; that she should have taken care of him herself. Um, Kelly, you're a single 21 year old with two roommates. Why the hell would you or your roommates want some random kid around? Eventually Joey finds his way back and Kelly promises him that she won't call Social Services, but makes Joey tell her why he ran away. He's from New Mexico (and he got all the way to L.A.????) and his mom married some guy who hates him (not true...the guy hating him is not true, not the part about his mom marrying him) and they're having a new baby. Kelly tells him about her experience with stepdads and new babies and how great they worked out for her even when she wasn't keen about that idea at first. Joey tells her his last name, so she calls all the people with that last name in New Mexico and eventually finds his mother who is worried sick about him even though Joey told Kelly that he knows his family is not looking for him, but of course they were. That kid was such a little punk.

Kelly learns she has a younger half-sister who was born in Mexico and lives on the East Coast, I think. We only see her in two episodes and it's like, who cares. Surprise, surprise, the other daughter never sees her dad either so at least the two of them can bitch about their dad.

Kelly misses her period and thinks she's pregnant (with Brandon's baby), but she takes a pregnancy test and it tells her she's not pregnant, then she goes to the doctor and finds out she was pregnant but had a misscarriage and finds out that she won't be able to have kids.

Clare - Clare breaks up with Steve towards the beginning of the season because she's sick of Steve acting so immature. She starts dating a smart preppy guy named Dick (hehe) and he's on the school's row team. Eventually she gets back together with Steve towards the middle of the season. She moves with her dad to Paris at the end of the season. I will have to say I will miss Clare. When we were first introduced to her back in season 4, I LOATHED Clare, but after she stopped being an annoying Brandon fangirl, I really liked her. I thought she and Steve were a really cute couple. Clare gets the award for Most Improved Character!

Donna - While at a party at David's new house in the Hollywood Hills, there's a big brush fire and everyone has to evacuate. The only ones who stay are the gang because they want to spray water on the roof. (I guess this helps). Donna, the idiot she is (albeit a nice one) sees a baby deer...the same one she and Clare had seen earlier with his mother, but this time he is without his mother, so she decides to trek out in the bush and help the deer. Don't ask me why. Was she thinking on leading the deer back to the house or something? Donna approaches the baby deer, which doesn't even run away like any other wild animal would do, but since Donna is like Snow White, woodland animals love her. She ends up falling and twisting her ankle and has to be rescued by a hot fireman. They start dating until he has to move somewhere out of state for another job. He does end up coming back and wants to be with her, but Donna is already with David and tells him it won't work out between them. He ends up moving to Orlando to take a security job at a "large theme park." (Seriously, why can't they just say Disney World?)

Brandon hires Donna to be the weather girl for CUTV and after her first day, she gets a creepy call from a little too fanatical fan. After she gets a few more calls like that and is nearly run over at the After Dark, she begins to suspect it's the guy who nearly raped her two years ago. She shares her worry with David and he assures her he's still in jail. Later, Donna gets a notice in the mail that he has just been released out of jail right around the time she started getting the creepy phone calls. How convenient. The show makes you want to think that guy is the one stalking her, but I had a feeling it wasn't him. I thought it was one of the two guys who worked behind the camera at CUTV. Donna's ex attempted rapist stalks her just so he can tell her that he's not stalking her and that she's in trouble. WTF? How the hell does he even know she's in trouble? Yeah, he knows Donna's been getting threatening calls, but he doesn't know who it is and even if he did, why the fuck is he so concerned for her safety. Stupid. They were just showing him creeping on her at CU so the viewer would think he was doing the stalking. The one guy I thought it was turned out to be innocent because they were making a big deal that he was being questioned by the police and he was just too obvious, so then I knew it was the other guy, Evan (who Donna just happened to fix on a date with Kelly! Yikes! Luckily that didn't go anywhere). Evan takes Donna and the other crew members at the TV station hostage and points a gun to Donna's head and makes Tracy air them live as Donna professes her love to him on the air. Brandon, in the control room, calls the SWAT team and they arrive and manage to get Evan to release all the hostages except Donna, Brandon, and Tracy. Finally Donna convinces Evan she loves him and kisses him and he puts his gun down to put his hands on her and she kicks the gun away from him and Brandon lunges himself on Evan so he can't get the gun.

BH, 90210 love to do storylines where they put the actors in flashback stories from another time as other characters. This time it was Donna and David as Donna's grandparents. Donna and David are visiting Donna's paternal grandmother. Her husband died as a fighter pilot in WWII right after their son (Donna's father) was born. As Donna and David read the love letters he sent to Donna's grandmother, we are treated to some flashbacks. I understand why they used Donna and David as Donna's grandparents, but shouldn't Donna be a little concerned that her boyfriend looks like her grandpa when he was a young man? :p

Donna's dad suffers a stroke and David was with him when it happened and Donna blamed David for what happened! What a bitch! She thought David was confronting her dad about why her mom doesn't like him. She did apologize when she learned that David being in the same room did not cause her dad to have a stroke. She and her mom hire a full-time nurse to live at home and take care of her dad.

David surprises Donna with a trip to New Orleans - only it will be for one night (!!!) and the next morning Donna has a huge presentation in her business fashion class. David does persuade her to go, but Donna was so stupid to agree. Seriously, is one evening in New Orleans worth failing a huge presentation that's worth 70% of her grade. And she ends up missing the class because she and David slept in (because they were out late drinking tornadoes in New Orleans) and missed their morning flight. When it's time for her to take her final in that class, she walks out because she's too scared of going to the next step of her life, but eventually the teacher agrees to let her take an oral exam and she passes.

The very end of the season, Donna sleeps with David. Or at least, it eludes to that. She's wearing her sexy lingerie and has candles lit all around her room. Who knows if they actually went through with it, because the show ends as they're just kissing. I'm a little confused because I thought Donna was going to wait until she was married and she and David aren't married, they're not even engaged, so maybe she was just going to wait until she was in love with somebody? I don't know.

David - David has dropped out of school to pursue his music career and his dad takes away his trust fund. When David's grandpa dies he inherits $250,000 which he begins spending wrecklessly. After he spends a weekend in Las Vegas and spending money left and right and getting robbed by two hookers, David is committed to a pysch ward and eventually gets his life back in order, goes back to school, and starts up a relationship with Donna again. (David and Donna are the Rachel and Ross of BH, 90210. They're on again, off again). When David goes to sign up for classes he finds they're all full and says, "Geeze, what do you have to do? Win a gold medal or something". Then of course, Kerri Strug (fresh off her Olympic win in Atlanta - remember this season started in the fall of '96) turns around and says, "It doesn't hurt" in her chipmunk voice and David goes, "OMG! You're Kerri Strug!" She was sooooo bad. She made Brian Austin Green look like an Oscar-winning actor, no joke!

Valerie - Valerie starts off the season by trying to get money for the After Dark (the club adjoined to the Peach Pit). She seeks financial advice from a guy named Kenny who used to work with Jim Walsh and knows the Walsh family pretty well. Even though Kenny is married and has a young daughter, he has the hots for Valerie. (And who can blame him; TAT is hot!) They start sneaking around and he tells her he loves her and is going to leave his wife, but never seems to and Valerie gets jealous when she calls him and he can't talk because he's with his wife. When it becomes clear that Kenny has no intention of leaving his wife, she hatches a scheme where she tells him she's pregnant (and I totally called she wasn't) and blackmails Kenny into giving her 100 grand so she can have an abortion. If he doesn't give her the money, she threatens to tell his wife about them. She did go over to his house to deliver diapers to his wife. Kenny gives her the money, but the gang realizes there's something up and that Valerie never got an abortion and was most likely never pregnant so Brandon makes her give the money back to Kenny or threatens to kick her out of the house and she gives him the money back.

She goes into business with David when he buys half the After Dark with his inheritance.

Valerie's mom from Buffalo comes to visit and we learn that they have a very restrained relationship because Valerie was sexually molested by her father and her mom never knew about it. Upon learning this news, her mom smacks Valerie, not believing her, but they eventually end up hugging and crying.

For Christmas, the gang does Secret Santa, opting to put the money for the gifts they would have bought for the other people towards a charity. Donna devices the whole thing and apparently doesn't know how Secret Santa works because she draws the names out of a hat and announces who has who. Uh, it's called Secret Santa for a reason, Donna. Valerie gets Kelly and vice versa and those two have had a long rival since Valerie first arrived on the scene. Valerie decides to be nice (per Clare's suggestion) and gets Kelly a cashmere sweater that's on sale. She then learns that Kelly hasn't really been putting any effort into her gift, so she takes back the sweater. At the mall she meets an old lady who's collecting money for charity and Valerie gives her the sweater (because it's not refundable) and tells the woman to give it to somebody. Then she later finds out that Kelly has had a change of heart is and going to get something nice for Val, so Val goes back to the mall and asks the woman if she has the sweater and the woman does and gives it back to her, but Valerie tells her, no, that she should keep it because she works so hard. The woman thanks her and asks her what she will be getting Kelly and Valerie tells her she'll think of something and the woman hands her an already wrapped gift and tells Val to take it and give it to Kelly, so Valerie does even though she doesn't know what it is. (Now if that were me, I would have opened it to see what it was, then wrap it back up!) Everybody exchanges gift and Kelly gives Valerie a leather journal and guess what was in the box that was for Kelly? The exact same journal! Oh, shenanigans!

Valerie's ex-boyfriend and good friend from Buffalo, Tom, comes to visit and she gets jealous when her arch rival Kelly starts to get close to Tom, but that quickly dies off once Kelly realizes she has reached her goal of making Valerie miserable. Tom knows Donna Lewis, of all people (remember her? "I Love You, Always Forever" ("Near and far, closer together, everywhere, I will be with you!")) and invites her to play at the After Dark. Valerie also gets Luther Vandross to play at the After Dark on Valentine's Day 1997. Smooooth.

Valerie starts dating an aspiring actor played by the same guy who played Smith Jarrod (Samantha's actor boytoy) onSex and the City. She even becomes his manager for a while. After his movie gets awful reviews, he decides being an actor isn't what he wants and returns home to Indiana. Very pointless plotline.

Remember the journal Valerie gave Kelly for Christmas? (The exact same one Kelly gave to Valerie?) When Kelly is spending the night at Brandon's, Valerie is over at the beach house with Donna and Clare to watch the gymnastics try outs. When she gets a pen from Kelly's room (because they're going to act like judges and give the gymnasts scores), she notices Kelly's journal sitting on her desk. She devises a plan where she says she's had too much to drink (she brought over champagne) and shouldn't drive home so Donna and Clare invite her to sleep over and she reads Kelly's journal. I laughed so hard when she told Donna and Clare the not so nice things Kelly had said to them and they asked how they knew this and she admitted she had read Kelly's journal. Say what you will about Valerie, but at least she's honest! She's hoping to drive a wedge between Kelly and her friends and it does work for a while, but eventually they make up.

Valerie loses all her money when she wants to make Kelly jealous by calling Kelly's dad's investment company to have him invest in her club. A guy she THINKS works for Kelly's dad comes to the club to talk business with her and she gives him $100,000 to invest...her entire savings. When she finally meets with Mr. Taylor, she tells him about that guy and he tells her that this particular guy doesn't work for him anymore...that he fired him because he had been stealing clients' money and that he doesn't have a L.A. officer where Valerie met the guy. So now Valerie is trying to find the guy and I'm guessing this will continue in the next season...

We finally learn why Valerie dislikes Kelly so much....it's because Val has always been in love with Brandon and Kelly took him away from her. Um, when the hell has Valerie ever been in love with Brandon? I can see her being attracted to him, but not in love and I'm pretty sure Brandon only sees Val as a sister, though, of course he did tell Kelly he only saw her as a sister in the first season and looked where that ended! I think the writers just pulled something out of their ass and that was the best they could come up with. Valerie doesn't trust Kelly's feelings for Brandon, so she sends a phony telegram to Kelly saying it's from Dylan and he was coming to visit and wanted to meet Kelly at the airport. I was so excited that we were going to see Dylan until Valerie confessed to Brandon what she did. Val's plan does not work as Kelly and Brandon became a couple (again).


Steve - I mentioned in the first episode that Steve is on a roadtrip with Brandon and he catches a flight home to L.A. because he wants to get home early and surprise Clare. Meanwhile, Clare has the great idea to fly to Texas and surprise Steve. When Steve returns to L.A., he finds out that Clare is in Texas, so he flies back there and they see each other in the airport.

Steve, who never learned from his cheating fiasco back in high school, continues to do dumb and stupid shit that gets him in trouble. He and his frathouse streak when the chancellor is giving a speech outside, but the big one was when he needed a paper for a class and finds out that Brandon took the same class when he was a freshman and prints out a paper that Brandon wrote, just changed his name. Well, the profeessor is a guy from season 4 who knows Brandon very well as Brandon slept with his (separated) wife and he has it out for Brandon. Of course he recognized the paper as Brandon's and Steve and Brandon get into very big trouble. There's a big hearing and the teacher claims this is not the first time that Brandon has let Steve cheat off of him....he claims that back in freshman year, Steve got the exact same grade on all his quizzes as Brandon in one of his classes because he had the grades written down. Steve and Clare proof him wrong because Steve kept all the quizzes (for study purposes) and shows them and he had failed all of them. All the charges were dropped and the teacher was fired.

Steve was still punished since he did plagiarize and he is sentenced to work night security at CU. They tell him there's been a "phantom" who's been living on the campus and if Steve catches him, his sentence will be reduced. Steve does find the "phantom" who is a student who only has enough money to pay for tuition and is living in a storage closet because he's homeless. Steve doesn't turn him in because the guy reminds him of himself.

Like I mentioned, he and Clare break up and he challenges her new boyfriend to a rowing contest. Dick wins, but really it's Steve who won because shortly after that, Clare breaks up with Dick and gets back together with Steve. Once enemies, Steve and Dick become good friends. Dick likes to do pot which he gets Steve to do too and Clare is disgusted with him. One night, Dick scores some heroin at the After Dark and Steve agrees to try some too, only Dick tried it first and OD. Valerie and David were cleared of the charges and didn't know how the drugs ended up in their club.

Steve applies for a job at the college firm and gets hit on by the woman who's giving him the interview. He tells Clare that the woman hit on him, but she doesn't believe him. After Clare and the guy who's the head of the company overheard the woman telling Steve if he sleeps with her that she'll get the job, she gets fired and Clare forgives Steve.

So that's it for all the characters, but I have to add one last thing: during most of the episodes, at the beginning they show stock footage of the college campus while they show the credits. The stupid and hilarious thing was that they would show the same footage more than once! They showed students studying outside on a step, the showed two guys playing Frisbee in a field, they showed students walking down this particular sidewalk...it was the same footage used over and over again!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Video Review


My special guest star, Cameron, and I review Breaking Dawn: Part 2, the FINAL movie in the Twilight saga. 



video
video

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Fishy Tale

Finding Nemo
Director: Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich
Voice Talent: Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Geoffrey Rush, Willem Dafoe, Alison Janney
Released: May 30, 2003
View in theaters: June 2, 2003

Oscar nominations:
Best Animated Movie (won)
Best Score - Thomas Newman (lost to Howard Shore for The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King)
Best Sound Editing (lost to Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World)
Best Original Screenplay - Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson, and David Reynolds (lost to Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation)


Finding Nemo is a road trip movie, a coming-of-age story, a relationship between a father and a son, and an abduction/escape thriller all rolled up into one animated feature starring fish and other creatures that dwell in or near the sea. We start out with one of the most depressing beginnings of a Pixar film (or any film, for that matter!) Clownfish Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) and his wife, Coral, have just bought a new place with an "ocean view" (oh, Pixar, you and your clever jokes!) and will soon be the parents of 400 (!!!) children. Coral and 399 of the eggs are eaten by a barracuda leaving only Marlin and one unborn fish who he names Nemo, a name Coral was keen to. Being what happened to his wife and pre-born children, Marlin is very protective of Nemo (voiced by Alexander Gould who would go on to play the younger son on Weeds). Nemo is a bit embarrassed by the way his father treats him and wishes he could have more freedom.

Fishy, fishy! 
The abduction part of the film comes in when Nemo is scooped up by a scuba diver and finds himself in an aquarium in a dentist's office in Sydney with other fish (voiced by Willem Dafoe, Alison Janney, Stephen Root, and Brad Garrett). He learns in five short days he will be going home with Darla, the dentist's niece who killed her goldfish because she shook the bag it came in too much. I don't understand the thought process of the dentist. Why would he give his niece a clownfish, a saltwater tropical fish, when she can't even take care of a simple goldfish? That's like giving a kid a Ferrari when he can't even drive a golf cart. So stupid! The fish come up with a plan for Nemo and the rest of them to escape.

While Marlin is looking for his son, he runs into Dory (voiced by Ellen DeGeneres) who is a blue tang. Dory has short term memory loss and it's a running gag throughout the film. I'm guessing they made this as a joke as all fish have a memory of like two seconds. I know goldfish do, anyway. Maybe saltwater fish have a ten second memory. Who knows! I remember going to the aquarium at my zoo a couple years after the release of this movie and there were a few blue tangs in the tank and there was this one little boy going, "It's Dory! It's Dory!" It was so cute! He was just so excited that he saw Dory!

Vegetarian sharks
Nightmare fish!
Marlin knows that Nemo has been taken to an address in Sydney because it was on a pair of goggles the scuba diver dropped. He and Dory set off to find Nemo and thus we have the "road trip" part of the movie. Water trip? Being that the ocean is a huge place and there are plenty of creatures that live in it, Marlin and Dory meet some friendly -and not so friendly- characters along the way. The main "bad" characters are three sharks, but they're not really bad, except for the main one who does chase after them. These three sharks belong to a group where their motto is "Fish are friends" and have vowed not to eat fish. However, the creepiest fish, hands down, is the anglerfish. (I had to look up what it was called). It's the scene where Marlin and Dory are going after the pair of goggles that has fallen into the very depths of the ocean where it's pitch black. They see a tiny light in the distance and as they swim closer to it, they get disoriented and it makes them feel happy as though they're on drugs. The light is attached to the head of the anglerfish, which is the stuff what nightmares are made of. It is so creepy looking with its huge teeth and huge soulless eyes and :::shudder::::! And those are actual fish! I looked up photos of the real thing and yikes! They are CREEPY!

I love the scene where Marlin and Dory encounter a blue whale (which Dory calls "little guy" when he's still in the distance and looks small) and Dory says she knows how to speak whale. A year after this movie was released I was in Whidbey Island, Washington, on a boat to go whale watching with my family members. We must have been on that boat for almost six hours and all we saw were whale tails in the very distance. My aunt, cousin, and I would speak in "whale" to see if that would work, but alas, it did not, but we did have fun speaking in whale. "Wheeeeerrrrreeeee aaaarrrrrrrrreeee yoooooouuuuuu?"

I loved whenever Marlin or Nemo had to go to the surface, they would take a deep breath in the water, then poke their head out. That was a cute and funny touch.

Marlin's journey to his son gets out and soon even Nemo hears word about it and has a lot more respect for his dad when he finds out what Marlin has gone through to get to Nemo. Father and son are eventually reunited (after a hilarious scene in the dentist's office and with a little help from Dory) and Marlin lets Nemo be more free and gains more confidence from his journey. And like any other Pixar movie, this one made me tear up just a little. It was the part where Dory tells Marlin, "When I look at you, I see home." Awww.

This is one of my favorite Pixar movies. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

12 '12 Reviews

1. Rock of Ages 
Director - Adam Shankman

This was a fun watch, a musical with all '80s songs. Being someone who was born in the '80s, it is in my nature to love the music from that decade. Most of the songs are great and '80s classics. I say "most" because I really hated the song, "I Wanna Rock", because those are the only words sung, more likely, screamed, during the song. But for the most part they had great songs: "Don't Stop Believing" (of course!), "Sister Christian", "Any Way You Want It" (Loved Mary J. Blige sining that - I would totally buy an album if she ever covered '80s songs...actually, I would just listen to them on Spotify for free!), "We're Not Going to Take It," and "We Built This City on Rock and Roll" to name just a few. "Paradise City" by Guns n Roses is the first song played and I must say the best rendition of that song in a movie is still from Can't Hardly Wait.  Tom Cruise was totally sleazy as Stacie Jaxx, the aging rock star. The reveal of Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand telling each other they had feelings for each other reminded me of that scene in Love, Actually with Bill Nighy and the rotund guy.

2. The Avengers 
Director - Joss Whedon

Oscar nominations:
Best Visual Effects (lost to Life of Pi)

I think I'm the only person in the world who didn't see this movie in the theaters. Of course, I'm also probably the only person who didn't see all the movies that led up to this one. I did see both Iron Man films before and I saw Captain America....after I saw The Avengers! I haven't seen Thor or Hulk. Of course, you have to keep in mind that for the longest time, I thought the character of Thor was invented for Adventure in Baby-Sitting. Wouldn't that be awesome if that were the case? I'm sure I would have seen this movie eventually, regardless, but I was super excited that Joss Whedon directed it because he's just about the coolest person on the earth. I mean, he created Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of my favorite TV shows. The Avengers is a very fun and enjoyable movie, but I don't know if I would call it the best comic book movie ever...but it's probably the most fun.



3. Flight (viewed in theaters November 12, 2012)
Director - Robert Zmeckis

Oscar nominations:
Best Actor - Denzel Washington (lost to Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln)
Best Original Screenplay - John Gatins (lost to Quentin Tarantino for Django Unchained)

 This was one of the movies where I didn't really like it as I was watching it, but after thinking about it for a couple days, realized I did like it. It just got a little long-winded sometimes, but I would watch this movie again before I ever saw Les Miz or The Dark Knight Rises again. Denzel Washington's Best Actor Oscar nomination was very well-deserved. This is one of those movies where the acting is better than the movie. Denzel plays Whit Whitaker, an airline pilot who is also an alcoholic and a drug user. On a flight from Orlando to Atlanta, something terrible happens and the plane will crash if he doesn't do something. He turns the plane - a 747 - upside down and when he lands, only a few people are killed...if he hadn't done what he had done, most likely everyone would have died, so he is hailed a hero. Now I'm pretty sure it's near impossible to turn a giant airplane upside down, but those were some pretty spectacular visual effects! The NTSB is looking into the cause of the crash and Whitaker's attorney, played by Don Cheadle, tells him to get rid of all his alcohol and not do anything stupid, like drink while in public. There's a romance between Whit and a recovering female addict, but that just felt like filler to me. I won't spoil anything for those who haven't seen the movie, but there's a great, intense scene that involves a hotel room and a mini bar stocked with small bottles of whiskey, gin, and vodka and you're wondering if he's going to give in to temptation or not. You think the ending might go one way, but then they throw you a curveball and it goes into another way, unless you were already expecting it! This movie was directed by Robert Zmeckis of Forrest Gump and Back to the Future fame.

4. Pitch Perfect
Director - Jason Moore

 This movie reminded me a lot of Bring It On, just replace Anna Kendrick with Kirsten Dunst and acapella singing with cheerleading. Anna Kedrick plays Becca, a new student at Bardem college. She wants to be a DJ, but her Dad disapproves and wants her to have a college eduction so she'll at least have other choices in her life. He tells her to join one school club and if she hates the experience after her first year at college, he'll pay for her to move to L.A. so she can peruse her DJ dream. She joins the Bardem Bellas, the female acapella singing group who have a rivalry with the male acapella group, The Treblemakers. They perform at the finals where Elizabeth Bank is a judge who used to be an acapella singer in her prime and was in a group called The Minstrel Cycles. Rebel Wilson steals the movie as "Fat Amy" (whose real name is Patricia!) For some reason, I assumed she was American and they had made her character Australian because it would be funny (Australians are funny!), but I learned she is actually an Aussie. So that makes her even cooler because Aussies are cool too! Some of the characters are very cartoonish, like this one girl who talked so softly you could barely hear her and when she did speak, she would say the creepiest/weirdest things like, "You guys wanna see a dead body?" and "I ate my twin in the womb." The latter made me laugh so hard and go "WTF??!?!?" The group leader is this really bitch girl who always insists on the group singing the same song - The Ace of Base classic, "The Sign" and gets angry at Becca when she suggests the group do mash-ups of more modern songs. There's a really cool mash up of Bruno Mar's "Just the Way You Are" and Nelly's "Just a Dream" which was my favorite song in the movie. Oh, and there's this whole thing where Becca's potential love interest is trying to make her watch The Breakfast Club (apparently she doesn't like movies...what kind of crazyness is that?) and it reminded me of how there was a Breakfast Club connection in Easy A, too. The only thing I didn't like about Pitch Perfect was that it got too cartoonish. It's fine to be silly. Bring It On was silly, but never got overly cartoonish like this movie did at times. Let's just say there's a scene involving vomit that in no way could ever be realistic in any world; it was just way too over the top. It did involve a really gross, but hilarious moment as a result of it, though. This movie is probably tied with Stand By Me for most disgusting vomit scene!


5.  The Guilt Trip (viewed in theaters January 6, 2013)
Director - Anne Fletcher

Slight spoilers

I saw this with my friend Cameron. This was the first movie (in the theater) we had seen of the New Year and we both realized we saw the first movie of last year together as well. (New Year's Eve...yes, we saw New Year's Eve on New Year's Day!) Barbara Streisand and Seth Rogan are a mother/son duo who go on a road trip together. Andy, the son, lives in L.A. and has flown to New York where Joyce, his mother, lives because he's trying to sell this cleaning product and has a trip scheduled with stops on the way of where he has meeting with clients. After he learns a revealing fact about his mother - before she met her husband, she was madly in love with with another guy, in fact she named her son after him. Deciding his mother would be happier if she had someone in her life (instead of always calling him and harping on him), he invites her to come on his roadtrip with him, without telling her the reason why. The movie is very formulaic and predictable (for instance, I knew Joyce was not going to end up with her ex-sweetheart, but instead with a Texan gentleman she meets on the roadtrip), but Streisand and Rogan have a nice chemistry as mother and son and are very charming together. There's one scene where they're at a restaurant in Texas and Joyce decides to see if she can eat this huge meal in an hour. If she does, they get their meal free. If not, she will have to pay $100. The meal consists of a four-ounce steak, a potato, a salad, a roll, and a shrimp cocktail. There's no way in hell anyone could have done that, especially a woman (not being sexist, but let's face it, guys can shovel in food better than girls!), but somehow she manages to do it!

6. Looper (viewed in theaters September 29, 2012)
Director - Rian Johnson

I love anything that has to do with time travel, so I was very interested in seeing this movie. Plus it doesn't hurt that the director has directed a couple episodes of my favorite TV show ever, Breaking Bad! This movie takes place about sixty years in the future and time travel has been discovered thirty years ago. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis play the same character, Joe. He works for a  mob-like group of killers who are called loopers. They kill people who are sent from the future. (It makes more sense how it's explained in the movie!) The catch is, there's a contract that the younger self must kill his older self at a certain age. Things get a little tricky when the older Joe,  is sent back to be killed by his younger self, but he tricks his younger self and escapes death and now there are two of the same person running around. The second act of the movie goes in a direction I was not expecting at all that includes Emily Blunt (who I did not recognize at all and was shocked when I found out she was in it!) and a creepy kid that has some kind of weird power. They are both connected to the time travel plotline, but it's best not to spoil anything about the movie. To make Joseph Gordon-Levitt look more like Bruce Willis, they changed his eyes and it was REALLY distracting. He just looks weird with Bruce Willis eyes!

7. Magic Mike
Director - Steven Soderbergh

I bet when Steven Soderbegh was making this movie, he was thinking, "KA-CHING!" You know he was thinking how much money he was going to make from all the ladies and gay men who would see this movie and buy the DVDs! Soderbergh came up with this movie with Channing Tatum, the star, who used to be a male stripper. He plays Mike, a male stripper, whose stage name is "Magic Mike". He is the star because he is by far the best dancer. That guy can dance like nobody's business! He does these sideways aerial somersaults/twists. What he does looks looks like it should defy gravity, but yet, somehow he manages to do it. Between this and 21 Jump Street, I must say I am becoming a fan of Channing Tatum. Matthew McConaughey runs the club and it's like if his character from Dazed and Confused grew up to run a strip club because he says "alright, alright" a lot in his Matthew McConaughey-ish way. Mike meets a young guy who gets involved in the show and Mike becomes like a mentor for him, but "The Kid" as Mike dubs him, keeps getting into trouble and is doing a lot of stupid stuff. There's a romantic plotline with Mike and The Kid's sister and the girl who plays her is just awful. She only has one look on her face throughout the movie and doesn't know how to emote. Supposedly Lindsay Lohan was suppose to have a role as a drug dealer, but never showed up and Soderberg didn't want to deal with her and got someone else for the part. It was always funny when the guys were dancing/stripping and the women in the audience would scream and go wild. Hee! Their first act is all the guys going out in trench coats and umbrellas and doing a dance to possibly the gayest song ever, It's Raining Men. I know a woman sings it but it really is, literally, the gayest song ever. There's a scene where Matthew McConaughey is wearing biker shorts and a tight yellow jersey and it's like, no, McConaughey, no. Just no.

8. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Director - John Madden

Spoilers ahoy!

Have you ever noticed that when there's a movie with a bunch of old British people, Maggie Smith is sure to be in the cast? It's true with this movie and it's true with a new movie I saw a preview for about a bunch of old British people in a home and they play violins. And let's not forget Gosford Park! Besides Maggie Smith, the for this movie also includes Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, and Bill Nighy. Judi Dench's Evelyn is the film's narrator and main character. A group of 7 British senior citizens fly to India to stay at The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (for the elderly and the beautiful) run by Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire himself). Evelyn's husband has died recently and she gets a job at a call center where she gives the staff helpful hints on how to talk to the elderly when they call them. Muriel (Smith) is going to India to get a hip replacement because it will be cheaper and she can get one sooner than if she stayed in England. Muriel is a little bit on the racist side, but soon comes to change her tune. Graham (Wilkinson) used to live in India for quite a long time when he was younger and wants to reconnect with a man he had a relationship with. He finds the man who is now married (to a woman) and they embrace for a long time and that made me shed a tear or two! Graham has a heart condition and dies while in India which was inevitable with so many old people in one movie! Douglas (Nighy) and his wife Jean are having marital problems. Jean hates India and becomes a nagging, bitter woman. She flies back to England alone and Douglas goes back to Evelyn who he's started having feelings for. The hotel is not in the best shape when they arrive, but by the end with a little help from Muriel, it starts to thrive again. This was a cute, charming movie, but not overly saccharine.

9. The Amazing Spider-Man
Director - Marc Webb

Even though the first installment of the previous Spider-Man films was only ten (and a half) years ago,  a reboot came out last summer. Instead of Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spier-Man, it's Andrew Garfield who's best known in The Social Network. Sally Field and Martin Sheen play Aunt May and Uncle Ben and when I first saw Martin Sheen (I did not know he was in the movie), I shouted, "It's Bartlett!" (Luckily, I was watching the movie alone.) Emma Stone plays Gwen Stacy, his crush turned sort-of-girlfriend turned girl-he-can't-be-with-so-she-doesn't-become-in-harm's-way. Want to hear something crazy? In the previous Spider-Man movies, Bryce Dallas Howard plays Gwen Stacy and she and Emma Stone were both in The Help. I'm sure this has been pointed out repeatedly already, but I think it's humorous. I wished they had done something, like in a class, have the teacher ask a question, then we'd see a redheaded girl answer and the teacher say, "That's right, Mary Jane." You know, it would be cool if they gave a nod to the previous installment. Even though Gwen is only 17, somehow she works at some fancy science lab - not as an intern or anything, but she seems to be one of the best scientists as she's wearing a fancy white lab coat and giving a tour. At first I thought she was pulling a Drew Barrymore in Never Been Kissed and was actually a 25 year old posing as a high school student. How the hell does a 17 year old get a job like that?  It's been awhile since I've seen those Spider-Man movies, so I really can't say which one is better. I'd say there about the same. They're not the best movies ever, but they're not terrible. They're both fun, popcorn Friday night kinda movies. Out of the main super heroes (including Superman and Batman), Spiderman is my favorite because I like how he just swings through the city with his web and it's pretty cool how he can scale buildings. Can Superman and Batman do that? I don't think so! The Big Bad in this movie is some guy who turns himself into a lizard. There's a scene where he enters the high school and Peter has to fight him off and Gwen helps him. It reminded me of when the troll charges into Hogwarts in the first Harry Potter movie and Harry, Ron, and Hermione fight him. Then there's another scene where the Lizard Guy is chasing Gwen in the  science building and it's basically a ripoff of that one scene in Jurassic Park because not only does Lizard Guy kinda sound like a velociraptor, but Gwen scurries to hide in a tiny compartment like Lex did. Some things are a little different like Lizard Guy doesn't come charging after her when he sees her, but instead surprises her. It was an entertaining movie. I have no desire to see the next one on the big screen, but I will rent it.

10. Moonrise Kingdom
Director - Wes Anderson

Oscar nominations:
Best Original Screenplay - Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola (lost)

This film is set on a small New England island called New Penzance that is 16 miles wide and has no roads. (A narrator tells us various facts about the picturesque island). The movie revolves around two 12 year olds named Sam and Suzy and takes place in 1965. Sam reminded me of a younger Jason Schartzman from Rushmore and Suzy reminded me of a younger Gwyneth Paltrow from The Royal Tennebaums, both which also happen to be Wes Anderson movies! I don't think that's a coincidence! Sam belongs to the Khacki Scouts (like the Boy Scouts) and is spending the summer camping with them. Suzy is the privileged  oldest child and only girl of four kids and her parents (Bill Murray and Frances MacDormand) are lawyers and her mom is having an affair with the town's sherriff (Bruce Willis). Suzy and Sam met two years ago when his Scout troop saw her performing in a local play about Noah's Ark and he went backstage to talk to her. The two start exchanging letters which results in a cute little montage of them inwardly reading excerpts of the other's letters. Both of them are misunderstood and disliked by their peers and have no need for anybody else in the world except for themselves, so Sam devises a plan for the two of them to run away together after two years of corresponding with letters. It's pretty humorous seeing the contrast between the two of them: Sam in his Khacki Scout uniform and who has packed essential camping gear and then Suzy in her pink sweater and skirt and "Church shoes" (saddle shoes) who has brought her suitcases filled with books, a record player and records, her kitten, and a bunch of cans of cat food. The movie turns their relationship into a romantic one and I thought it would have been better if they were just friends. Watching twelve year olds make out and fondle each other is really creepy. If they had kissed in a My Girl style, that would have been fine and more believable. I could see Sam and Suzy being friends because they both have a lot in common, but I couldn't see where all of a sudden they're "in love" and want to get married. I'm going to sound very shallow for a moment, so please excuse me. I can understand Sam having a crush on Suzy because she is a pretty girl, but there is no way a pretty and rich girl like Suzy would ever like Sam more than a friend. He's not that cute and he's kind of an a-hole (as is she!), so I can see why the rest of his fellow troop members don't like him.  This movie gets pretty dark sometimes, especially with what happens with the dog and Sam piercing Suzy's ears with a fish hook as she screams bloody murder. The whole town is out searching for them and that's basically the premise of the movie.

11. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Director - Stephen Chbowsky

This movie is based on a young adult never that written by Stephen Chbowsky and he wrote the screenplay and directed the movie. I can't think of any other movie adapted from a book that was directed by its author. God, can you imagine if Stephenie Meyer directed the Twilight series? :::shudders:::: This is the only movie I've seen with one of the main Harry Potter kids being in a movie outside of Harry Potter. Emma Watson and her short haircut are in this and her American accent is fairly solid. At first all I could think was that it was Hermione with an American accent (and a short haircut), but her character, Sam, is very different from Hermione, so it was easy to quickly forget about her Harry Potter background. The main character, Charlie, is about to start high school. He's a quiet kid with no friends who likes to read and write. In fact, for awhile his only friend is his English teacher (played by Paul Rudd) who can sees he's a bright kid but is too afraid to raise his hand in class because he doesn't want the other kids to think he's the teacher's pet. Teacher Rudd gives him a bunch of books to read, so he kinda does turn into the teacher's pet, but it's just not as obvious to the other students. He becomes friends with Sam and Patrick, both seniors, who Charlie thinks are dating, but are actually stepsiblings. Charlie develops a crush on Sam but doesn't get the nerve to ask her out because he thinks she only likes him as a friend and she already has a boyfriend. He becomes a part of their circle of friends and starts dating a girl (played by Mae Whitman - she will always be the little girl from Independence Day to me). She asked him to the Sadie Hawkins dance and after that she assumed they were boyfriend/girlfriend just because they went to one dance together (huh?!) and he was too scared to tell her he didn't like her that way, so whenever she called him on the phone (everyday!), he would leave the phone off the receiver because she would talk nonstop and if he did try to cut in, she would say, "Charlie, don't interrupt me!" There is a big awkward moment when their group of friends is playing Truth or Dare and Patrick dares Charlie to kiss the prettiest girl in the room and he kisses Sam. Ouch. Needless to say, that was the end of that relationship! I should mention that this movie takes place in the '80s. They don't ever mention it and I kinda figured it was from the clothes and hairstyles, but by the time Charlie's sister gets a mixed tape (A MIXED TAPE!) from her boyfriend, I knew it was the '80s. Plus they listen to a lot of '80s songs. Charlie is played by Logan Lerman who I didn't know at first so when I checked out his IMDb page, I found out he plays Mel Gibson's youngest son, William in The Patriot. You probably wouldn't remember him because while the other six children have some sort of significance, (even if it's only being in the movie for half an hour to be killed by the protagonist, who let's not forget is played by Jason Isaacs who played Lucius in the Harry Potter films, so this kid has worked with both Mr. Malfoy and Hermione!), he's just there.

12. Ted
Director - Seth Macfarlane

Oscar nominations:
Best Original Song - "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" (lost to "Skyfall" from Skyfall)

There are some laughs in this movie, but for the most part it's your typical stupid Seth Macfarlane humor. (The kind of humor where you spout 100 jokes and out of those 100, only one is funny). I have to say one of the funniest things about the movie to me was the narrator at the very beginning and end of the film. The movie starts in 1985 with an 8-year-old friendless boy named John who gets a teddy bear for Christmas. The bear has a voicebox and can say, "I love you!" John wishes the bear could talk for real and his wish comes true. Since the movie takes place in Boston, Ted has a Bostonian accent. (And I should mention that Seth Macfarlane voices him). There's a pretty funny scene where John's parents see Ted move and talk for the first time and they freak out...which is what I would have done too. Soon, Ted becomes a national celebrity, appearing on Johnny Carson (I would love to know how they did that scene...movie magic, I guess) and how everybody has accepted that a talking, moving teddy bear lives among them. The narrator has a hilarious line about how his fame became obscure. Adult John is played by Mark Walberg (Marky Mark!) and he and Ted are still best buds. Ted is now a pot-smoking, foul-mouthed teddy bear and what's more shocking than that? Foul-mouthed children and foul-mouthed grandmas have already been done, so what's next? A teddy bear of course. Mila Kunis plays John's girlfriend and Giovani Ribisi plays the creepy guy who wants to buy Ted to give to his son. He ends up kidnapping Ted which resulted in one of the funniest moments when John calls the police and tells them, "My teddy bear has been stolen" and then you hear a dial tone. Ha! There's an ongoing gag that John and Ted are big Flash Gordon fans (have no idea who or won that is, but I know the Queen song) and John ditches a fancy party he's at with his girlfriend so he can go to a party at Ted's because the guy who played Flash Gordon is there. This results in a big party scene where Ted sings "I Only Wanna Be With You" in karaoke fashion. John and Ted have a huge fight at a motel room that I'm pretty sure will be nominated for Best Fight at the MTV Movie Awards. This was nominated for Best Song, but I don't remember a song in this movie .

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Post-Oscar Thoughts and Fashion Fun

Well, if you watched my Oscar predictions video, you'll note that I only got half of the big six categories right, which is pretty bad for me as I normally get all six or just miss a couple. 

Okay, so Oscar thoughts:
-I'm not a huge fan of Family Guy, therefore I do not give a crap about Seth MacFarlane but I will admit he did have some funny lines and he was way better than when Anne Hathaway and James Franco hosted. (But to be fair, anybody would be). His skit with William Shatner went on a little too long, but I did like the bit with Sally Field and the sock puppets reenactment of Flight (which, if you've seen the movie is pretty darn accurate!) 

-I loved his line about Argo being so top secretive that the Academy didn't even know who directed it. Ha, nice zinger! 

-As I mentioned  in my video, I did not think Christoph Waltz would win so soon again. I'm glad he won because he was the best part of Django Unchained. He needs to have supporting roles in QT's movies because so far he's two for two! 

- I laughed so hard when Jennifer Lawrence tripped. That poor girl. She was so embarrased! But it was really endearing when she said, "You're all only standing up for me because I tripped and you don't want me to feel bad!" Awww.

-I loved Daniel Day-Lewis's speech and how he was supposed to play Margaret Thatcher and Steven Speilberg had Meryl Streep first in mind to play Abraham Lincoln and how he said he agreed to play Lincoln as long as they didn't make it into a musical. Sounds like a jab at Nine, haha! 

-So Christoph Waltz, Daniel Day-Lewis, and Ang Lee all won Oscars and they all won Oscars 3, 5, and 7 years ago. The other people in their category had never won before or had won Oscars before them.

-I was very thrilled Ang Lee because I loved Life of Pi and he's two for two for me for winning Best Director Oscars for movies I love. (Brokeback Mountain, of course being the other). I do love that he and Anne Hathaway (who was in Brokeback Mountain as you may know) won Oscars on the same night! 

-Also this is the second time when Ang Lee won Best Director, but his movie didn't win Best Picture. While I love Life of Pi, I'm okay with Argo beating it because that was my #1 and Life of Pi was my #2 movie of 2012. However, I was livid when Crash won over Brokeback Mountain in 2006! 

-OMG, does Kristen Stewart not own a hairbrush? Good God, her hair looked awful! 

-The Jaws music was a bit odd. It was funny the first time they did it, but then it got annoying. Yes, I understand people never shut up but maybe we should cut out those filler performances and just let people add a couple minutes to their speeches? 

-No surprise, Jennifer Lawrence is the first person born in the '90s to have an Oscar (at least in the acting/directing categories...I never pay attention to the other categories) At 22 she is one of the youngest to win a Best Actress Oscar, but not the youngest. Marlee Matlin was 20 when she won hers for Children of a Lesser God in 1987. 

-Also, did you know that Anne Hathaway is the second person born in the '80s to receive an Oscar (at least in the acting/directing categories!) Natalie Portman was the first. 

-Did we really need to hear a song from Chicago and Dreamgirls? I thought the Les Mis number was a hot mess. 

-I could care less about the James Bond franchise so I tuned out during that. Actually all I was thinking was that Halle Berry's dress was probably my favorite of the night.

-When Michelle Obama was going to read the Best Picture winner, I was worried, thinking that since the First Lady was reading the Best Picture Winner, it was surely going to be the presidential Lincoln, so I was extremely happy when she announced Argo. I'm guessing this is the first time anybody from the White House has been involved with the Oscars. Maybe? 

-When Meryl Streep announced Daniel Day-Lewis as Best Actor, it looked as though she never even opened the envelop but she probably did while the clips were playing. It just cracked me up when she confidently said, "And the Oscar goes to Daniel Day-Lewis" like, "Bitch, please, I don't need to open this envelop to know who the winner is!"

-Daniel Day-Lewis is the winner of three Best Actor Oscars which has never happened before. Overall he's been nominated five times and has won 3 out of 5 times. That's more than half, so those are pretty good stats! 


THE FASHION!!!



Favorite dressed:
Halle Berry in Versace - My eye was drawn to the geometric shape of the dress and I just thought it was really cool, not to mention gorgeous. 
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Jennifer Lawrence in Dior - Okay, so the dress was so huge that she tripped in it but it gave for a great moment and highlight of the Oscars. And it's the perfect "fairy tale" dress for winning an Oscar. 
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Sandra Bullock in Ellie Saab - cool intricate detail.
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Jennifer Garner in Gucci - the butt bow and ruffle may have been a tad overdone (how the hell did she sit in that dress?), but I love the color and I love that it's violet, as Violet is the name of her oldest daugheter! Aww! Okay, I may be a little biased because I love me some Sydney Bristow so she could be wearing a garbage bag and I would probably still have her on my dressed list. 
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Jennifer Aniston in Valentino - beautiful color and nice to see her in something other than black! 
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Amanda Seyfriend in Alexander McQueen - So Anne Hathaway's original dress was similar to this and that's why she wore that awful pink number with the weird fit. Shame too because her original dress was gorgeous and probably would have been my best dress of the night. One thing's for sure: Amanda was better dressed than Anne! 
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Salma Hayek in Alexander McQueen - Ordinarily this would be a your basic boring black dress, but add the elaborate collar and you got a pretty striking gown! 
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The oooh, so close:
Anne Hathaway in Prada - Apparently she was supposed to wear Valentino, but she went with this one because the dress she originally had was kinda similar to Amanda Seyfriend? It sounded really pretty and I wish she had gone with that one. This one had a weird fit. 
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Reese Witherspoon in Louis Vuitton - I swear I've seen Reese in a dress like this before. I'm not really big on the color. Blue just seems so informal for the Oscars! 
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Amy Adams in Oscar de la Renta - There's nothing particularly wrong with this gown (although I would have gone with a different color), but I feel like we've seen this kind of dress a million times before at an event like the Oscars. In fact I think Penelope Cruz wore a dress like this, only much more dramatic and in pink the year she won....or was nominated....or just attended. LOL who knows! 
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Naomi Watts in Armani - would be a near perfect dress if not for the weird neckline. It looks like she could have a wardrobe malfunction at any time! 
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Jessica Chastian in Armani Prive - Not crazy about the color and the top looks like it could easily provide an embarrassing moment, but I certainly don't hate this dress. Actually it has a Jessica Rabbit vibe to it and I'm wondering if this is on purpose since she has red hair and her name is, well, Jessica. 
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Kerry Washington in Miu Miu - Like the color, don't like the top with the embellishments. It just doesn't seem to match the rest of the dress. 
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Helen Hunt in H&M - Yes, H&M!! WTF? That reminds me of when Sharon Stone wore something from the Gap one year! For an H&M dress, it looks pretty nice. I've never shopped at H&M, so maybe they do have nice stuff, but not Oscar nice! Nice dress, but boring. 
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What were they thinking?:
Renee Zellweger in Carolina Herrera - I usually a love a gold colored dress, but this might be too literal for the Oscars and it kinda reminds me of a trash bag. 
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Helena Bonham Carter in Vivienne Westwood - HBC's hair always looks so disheveled; it drives me crazy! Also, it looks like she's wearing a short black dress over a longer white one. Weird. 
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Jennifer Hudson in Roberto Cavalli - This girl has got to have the worst taste! I NEVER like anything she wears! I still have nightmares about that attrocial pink dress she wore during American Idol rounds!
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Sally Field in Valentino - This dress looks really old-fashioned, like it's something Mary Todd Lincoln would wear to the Oscars if they had Oscars back then and maybe that's what Sally was going for, who knows. I hate the train on this dress and the color is kinda ugly.

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Adele in Jenny Packham - Sorry, Adele, your hair and make up looked great, but this was a snoozefest of a dress. At least it was better than your Grammy dress!