Friday, June 29, 2018

Seinfeld




What is this? What am I doing with my life? Watching all nine seasons of Seinfeld in five months and writing about my ten favorite episodes, that's what I'm doing! I thought I would do it, you know, just for the little kicks of it! It was a bit difficult choosing ten episodes! So grab a poppyseed muffin top and caffe latte and enjoy!

10.   The Race (Season 6, Episode 10)

This just makes my top ten because I think it has one of the funniest scenes in the show's history. Jerry is dating a woman named Lois (and as a Superman aficionado, he loves that her name is Lois and utters things to her like, "I'm faster than a speeding bullet, Lois!") It turns out Lois's boss, Duncan, knew Jerry and George in high school and there was a race that all the 9th graders were in and he accused Jerry of cheating. Jerry DID cheat because he went when their gym teacher (Mr. Bevilaqua - now that's a great question for a Seinfeld trivia question!) said "Get Set".  He was ten yard ahead of everybody else by the time Mr. Bevilaqua said "Go". He said he won and nobody had even noticed his head start which I find a little bit ridiculous! George is the only one who knows the truth. Duncan was the only one who was suspicious of Jerry's win, but Jerry refused to race anyone and would announce "I choose not to run!" whenever anyone challenged him to a race. Now that Duncan is back in Jerry's life, he wants to challenge Jerry to a race, but Jerry keeps avoiding him. 

Since Duncan doesn't know that George and Jerry know each other, George gets the idea to "accidentally" run into Jerry and Duncan and set the record "straight" about the race. We get this hilarious scene which I think is one of the funniest during the whole series, and well, you can watch it here:




9. The Stall (Season 5, Episode 12)

Elaine and Jerry's girlfriend of the week, Jane (played by Jami Gertz from The Lost Boys) unknowingly meet when they're both in the bathroom stall of a movie theater and Elaine sees she's out of toilet paper and asks the woman next to her if she can "spare a square", but the woman can not "spare a square". They each came with their date so we see Jane telling Jerry about what happened and we see Elaine telling her new boyfriend, "pretty boy" Tony about what happened. When Elaine tells Jerry the story the next day, he quickly realizes that Elaine was the other woman in the story his girlfriend told him about. Elaine says she will never forget that voice and the two couples are suppose to double date soon. In another scene where Elaine is coming up to Jerry's apartment while Jane is there, Jerry tells her she needs gum to freshen her breath and gives her a bunch of sticks so her voice is muffled when Elaine meets her for the first time. Of course, Elaine does eventually find out who she is and ends up stealing all the toilet paper from the Monk's restroom when Jane is about to go in there.

Meanwhile, Jerry calls Tony a "mimbo" (male bimbo) and accuses Elaine of dating him just because he has a perfect looking face (which is true). Both of them agree that George has a male crush on him because he's always talking about him. We see Tony and George having lunch together at Monk's and George even turns his hat around backwards just like Tony so he can emulate him. George wants them to go bowling, but Tony says you don't get a rush from bowling (though George argues that you do if you drop a bowling ball on your toe!) and wants to go rock climbing. George agrees to it as long as it's just the two of them and offers to make sandwiches. However, Kramer enters the scene and is invited to go with them which angers George. During the rock climbing excursion (terrible green screen, by the way), Tony ends up falling due to miscommunication between George and Kramer. At first, I thought he had died, but he just ended up damaging his face really bad. And Elaine is REALLY upset! "What happened to his face? What happened to his face?" I thought it was peculiar how he all his limbs were in tact, yet his face is the only thing bandaged up.

8. The Implant (Season 4, Episode 19)



Before she was Lois Lane in The New Adventures of Superman or Susan Mayer in Desperate Housewives, Teri Hatcher played one of Jerry's girlfriends. She's probably one of a handful who went on to have a successful career because there have been a lot of actresses to play Jerry's girlfriend of the week who you have no idea who they are now. Hatcher plays Sidra, who Jerry meets at the health club and really likes. Elaine tells him that her breasts are fake which is a deal breaker for Jerry and he breaks up with her. Elaine realizes she may have been wrong about her when they're in the sauna together and she trips and grabs on to her breasts to stop her fall. Sidra give Jerry a second chance and things seem to be going good until Elaine shows up (Jerry really needs to lock his door!) and Sidra realizes that she's his ex and believes that he set her up to feel her breasts. She leaves Jerry's apartment telling him, "By the way, they're real and they're spectacular!" which has become a great Seinfeld quote. When Elaine tells Jerry that Sidra's breasts may be real, he doesn't believe her because she hasn't touched any breasts, which doesn't make any sense because you think a woman would be the number one person to know if breasts were real or not since they already have them...duh!

Meanwhile, Kramer is convinced that Salman Rushdie is hanging out at the health club. "Salman" tells Kramer that his name is "Sal Bass" and he's a writer and he's spent some time in the Middle East.

Also, in this episode we see another well known actress play George's girlfriend. Megan Mullaly aka Karen Walker from Will & Grace plays Betsy. There's a funny scene where they're at her apartment and the phone rings, but George tells her not to pick it up and she asks what if it's an emergency and he tells her there's probably only 3 emergencies going on right now, what are the odds that this would be one? She answers the phone anyway and it turns out it IS an emergency because her aunt has died. George mutters, "All right, maybe four emergencies". It's funny seeing George in the background reacting to Betsy's phone call, who has her back to him. Jerry thinks George should go to the funeral (which is in Detroit) because it will score him big points and he'll be "the consolation guy". Kramer tells him "It's like ten dates in one shot". George is worried about it being an expensive flight (any mention of George being a cheapskate is always gold) and Kramer suggests he use the Death-in-the-Family fare which is where you go to the airline and tell them you have a death in the family and you get 50% off your flight. So apparently these were once a thing, called bereavement flights, but they don't seem to be offered by many airlines anymore...I'm sure many people took advantage of them as George did! There's a catch that he has to pay the full fare now, then when he returns with the death certificate, he will get a refund. The woman tells him they do this or otherwise people would take advantage and George says, "What kind of sick person would do that?" Haha.

At the wake, we get the "double dip" scene where George dips a chip, takes a bite, then dips it again and Betsy's brother sees this and calls him out on it. In my mind, I remembered it as George being the one to call the other person out doing the double dipping, but if George can take an eclair out of the trash that only had one bite taken out of it, then I can believe he would also double dip!

George talks to a family member, telling him he needs the death certificate because he's making a scrapbook for Betsy about her aunt's life. In the end, he never gets the death certificate, but tries to pass off a Polaroid of him next to the coffin as the next best thing, but it doesn't work.

7. The Dinner Party (Season 5, Episode 13)


The gang are headed to a dinner party. Elaine says they should stop to bring a bottle of wine and cake, but George says they should just bring Ring Dings and Pepsi because that's what he would prefer. (How ghetto, George!)

It's cold outside and George is wearing this ridiuclous puffy parka made out of Gore-Tex. I guess this was before they made thin coats that could keep you warm. There's a call back to an older episode where Jerry calls him "Bubble Boy." While Jerry and Elaine go to a bakery, George and Kramer stop to get a bottle of wine. George is infuriated that the bottle Kramer picks out costs $12 (LOL, I love how cheap he is) and he'll have to pay for it because Kramer forget his wallet. He only has a 100 dollar bill and the man tells him he can't give him change for that. Kramer tells him he can break the bill and goes outside, yelling, "Hey does anyone have change for a hundred?" before George tells him to stop. Kramer suggests that they buy some things at a newsstand to get change. Once they have change, they go back to the wine store to buy the bottle and when they go out to their car, someone has double parked in front of them. You can tell that a lot of time has passed because it's gotten dark and George is worried that Elaine is going to be mad. He's a little afraid of her because one time he was wearing a Panama hat when she got mad at him and she pulled the brim down so hard that his head came through the hat. Kramer is cold and they go back inside the store.  George knocks over a display of wine because of his ridiculous coat and he has to pay for all those bottles he broke. He doesn't have enough money, so he gives up his new coat. It is revealed that Saddam Hussein (or is it?) is the double parker. Super random!

At the bakery, Elaine and Jerry decide to get a chocolate babka, but when they forget to pick a number, they try to get it from a couple who they know they were ahead of. This couple is also going to the same party as them and they refuse to give up their number AND they buy the last chocolate babka. They end up getting the cinnamon babka and Jerry also buys a black and white cookie, which he loves because "it's two races living in harmony". However, the cookie isn't so harmonious because Jerry ends up getting sick and throwing up, ending his 14 year streak of not throwing up since June 1980. They find a hair on the babka (SO gross...when it comes to the "Would you rather have food in your hair or hair in your food?" debate, I always choose the former). Jerry says it's probably Elaine's, but she tells him she takes such good care of her hair, that "you could serve dinner on [her] head!" They exchange the babka for another one, but the woman is hacking and coughing and Jerry says, "Yeah, you want to trade your hair for some phlegm." As gross as hair is, someone coughing on your cake is much worse. I guess this explains why Jerry got sick, although this coughing fit for the woman seems to come out of nowhere as she was fine earlier. Surprisingly, Jerry will go back to this same bakery in "The Rye" where he will steal a loaf of marble rye from an old lady. If I went to a bakery where I threw up from eating one of their cookies, got a cake with a hair, AND someone was coughing all over my purchase, I would never go there again!

They go to the party, give their wine and babka to the woman, then leave. After the night they just had, I wouldn't want to stay at that party either!

6. The Betrayal (Season 9, Episode 8)


This episode should have been called "The Backwards Episode". It's the one with the gimmick of being shown backwards. If this were a regular episode, it wouldn't have made my top ten. Apparently, on the DVD you can watch it straight forward, but I've never seen it that way. They did a Memento before Memento was even a thing! It starts with the end credits and ends with the beginning credits and familiar theme song. We get title cards like "One day earlier" or "30 minutes earlier" or "5 minutes earlier". Watching it in "real" time, it honestly wouldn't be that great of an episode, but when you watch each scene from last to first, you get some great gags, like when Kramer goes between apartments talking to his nemesis and Jerry, the lollipop he's been licking keeps getting larger and larger. There's also a hilarious scene where Jerry opens his silverware drawer and finds a bowl of cereal (with milk!) in there for some reason. Well, a few short scenes later (earlier?), we find out that Kramer put the cereal in the drawer. He had been pouring himself some Fruit Loops and spilled them all over the counter and he hid it in the drawer when Jerry came back to his apartment. There's a funny scene where Kramer goes to Newman's apartment where he's having a birthday party and says he wasn't invited and Newman goes, "Your invitation must have gotten lost...in the mail!" and him and all his postal buddies start cackling like it's some stupid inside joke (which I'm sure it is).

Elaine, George, Jerry, and George's girlfriend, Nina, go to India to attend Sue Ellen Mischke's (played by another Desperate Housewife alum) wedding. The betrayal is in referral to Sue Ellen finding out that Elaine once slept with the groom and the wedding is off. (Who cares? It was a long time ago, before she even met him). Also, George is dating Nina, a friend of Jerry's who he asked Jerry to set him up with. He likes that Jerry has never slept with her and the reason for that is because there's never been an awkward pause in the conversation for him to make a move. To me, this doesn't make any sense. You think if two people got along so well, it would be easier for them to ignite that spark. But according to Jerry, he needs an awkward pause. He says that if Elaine ever left their group, then he would bring in Nina to be her replacement. However, he and Nina are chatting a few scenes later and there's an awkward pause and they end up sleeping together. Elaine finds out when she goes to Jerry's apartment and sees Nina leaving. Jerry pleads for her not to tell George and she says "I"ll put it in the vault" and Jerry says, "No good...too many people knows the combination!" and mimes drinking. George also knows that Elaine opens up when she's had too much to drink and when she seems weird when he mentions that Nina should go to India with them, he offers her a drink and she spills that Jerry and Nina slept together. All of this betrayal is revealed at the wedding. The show literally only has about five minutes of them in India. I love the "ending" (or rather the beginning) of the episode is "ten years ago" and has Jerry moving into his apartment and Kramer comes by to introduce himself and Jerry invites him over for pizza and Jerry tells him, "What's mine is yours." I'm sure he regrets saying that now since Kramer is such a moocher!

5. The Maestro (Season 7, Episode 3)



This episode is our first introduction to one of my favorite ancillary Seinfeld characters, lawyer Jackie Chiles who is clearly modeled after Johnnie Cochran. This episode aired in the fall of 1995 so this is primetime OJ Trial. In the previous episode, Kramer was going to the movies with Jerry, but had ordered a "caffe latte" (did people call it that back in 1995?), but he had to hide it in his pants because the staff at the movie theaters don't like patrons sneaking in outside food. Well, he ends up spilling the coffee and burning himself and that's when he finds out about Jackie Chiles who tells him he has a case against Java World. Kramer tells him he snuck in the coffee because he didn't want to buy the theaters' coffee and asks if that will be a problem and Chiles replies, "Yes, it will be a problem for THEM. This is a clear violation of your rights as a consumer. It's an infringement on your constitutional rights. It's outrageous, egregious, preposterous." Jackie also asks if there was a top on the lid and when Kramer tells him there was, he asks if Kramer put the top on or did they and Kramer says the coffee people did. He then asks his secretary to get him a caffe latte at Java World with a top so he can "run some tests on that top." He's actually asking some pretty valid questions about the ordeal. Obviously Kramer has no case because he was the one who put the coffee in his pants and snuck it in! Who does that with a HOT beverage?

Instead of going to court, Java World wants to settle and Kramer is excited because this means he's going to be a rich man. But things go bad when Kramer cures the huge burn on his stomach when he uses an herbal Chinese balm that the titular character gives him and now he's worried he won't get any money. Jackie is furious with him, wanting to know why he used the balm. But, lucky for them, Java World just wants to settle this before it gets in the papers and starts giving them bad publicity. In a scene we see of them before Kramer and Jackie meet with them, they decide to give Kramer $50,000 and free coffee for life at all their store. When they tell this deal to Kramer, they only get out "free coffee at any of our stores" when he blurts out, "I'll take it!" Jackie is furious, wanting to know what else was going to be offered. Now as much as $50,000 would be great to have, I honestly would be THRILLED to have free coffee for the rest of my life at either Starbucks or Scooters; I don't care, take your pick. I would save so much money. I don't want to reveal how much money I spend on coffee a month because, well, it's probably way too much! There's a funny scene where Kramer is talking really fast to Jerry because he's just had a few of his free cafe lattes.

Other story lines include George getting a chair for the security guard at the store Susan's (you remember Susan, she's George's fiance from season 7 who died from licking toxic envelopes because George was cheap when it came to choosing their wedding invitations!) uncle's store. He gets the guard a rocking chair so he doesn't have to stand all day, but the joke is the guard falls asleep while sitting in the chair and the store is robbed.

The titular character, "The Maestro" is the weakest part of the episode. It's some conductor friend of Kramer's that Elaine is dating. His real name is Bob Cobb, but he insists that everyone call him "The Maestro". There's this whole stupid storyline where he tells Jerry he's renting a house in Tuscany, but there are no other houses to rent, which is ridiculous. And just how rich is this maestro that he can rent a house in Tuscany...because that has to cost a fortune.

4. The Bizarro Jerry (Season 8, Episode 3)


The most memorable storyline of this episode is Elaine's, where she meets three new friends, three guys who share very similar physical traits to Jerry, George, and Kramer, but are their complete opposites, personality wise. They are the Bizarro Jerry, George, and Kramer. Elaine was dating Kevin (the Bizarro Jerry), in the previous episode but they decided to just be friends and he proves to be a better friend than Jerry is. Jerry forgets to pick up Elaine from White Plains and she tells him that Kevin is "reliable, considerate, he's like your exact opposite."It's so funny when Elaine walks into Jerry's apartment and she raises her arms and starts shaking her head and Jerry does the same thing, not having any idea why she's so angry. This is when Jerry tells Elaine that Kevin is "Bizarro Jerry". Elaine meets Kevin's friends, the short and balding and bespectacled Gene (Bizarro George) and the tall and doofy looking Feldman (Bizarro Kramer). We see Kevin's apartment, which is just like Jerry's, only everything is on the opposite side. Feldman knocks on the door and brings Kevin groceries he's bought him. There's even a Bizarro Newman named Vargus, also a postal worker, and of course he is great friends with Kevin.

We get this great scene towards the end of the episode where Elaine is on the sidewalk and coming from one side is Jerry, George, and Kramer, and coming from the other side are their Bizarro counterparts. Elaine decides to choose the latter and George asks if he can come with them, but she tells him they already have a George. However, she decide she likes her old friends better because all her new friends only read and Kevin doesn't like it when Elaine eats food out of his fridge. Plus they tell her she needs to leave when she does her famous "GET OUT!" push to Kevin and nearly hurts him.

3. The Puffy Shirt (Season 5, Episode 2)



It was really hard to choose my ten favorite episodes and rank them. To be honest, as much as I do love the episodes I chose as my #4-10, I could have easily chosen seven different episodes at another time, it would just depend on my mood. I also could have reshuffled the order depending on my mood. However, I really love the episodes I chose as my top three and these three episodes would always be in my top three of Seinfeld episodes.

Judging from the title of this episode, I know you already know which one it is. Jerry and Elaine go out to dinner with Kramer and his new girlfriend, Leslie, who is a low talker. (Fun fact: she is played by the same woman who played the teacher in The Wonder Years who Kevin had a crush on. At least you could hear her on that show!) She speaks so softly nobody can hear her, except for Kramer who is sitting right next to her, so I guess that is the trick! When Kramer uses the restroom, Leslie talks to Jerry and Elaine who are just nodding and smiling. Elaine tells her that Jerry is going to appear on The Today Show to promote a benefit for the Goodwill who clothe the homeless and the poor. Leslie, who we learn is an up and coming fashion designer, says something that of course Jerry and Elaine can't hear and they both nod and say "Sure, yeah, uh-huh."

Unbeknowst to Jerry, he has agreed to wear this awful puffy shirt when he appears on The Today Show that Leslie has designed that makes him look like a pirate, but when Jerry finds this out from Kramer, he whines, "But I don't wanna be a pirate!" It's hilarious when he sees the shirt and says, "THIS? I agreed to wear THIS?" Jerry is worried (and with good reason) he's going to look ridiculous wearing this on national TV and that it will look like he's mocking the Goodwill, especially since his aim is to help clothe the homeless. When Elaine sees Jerry in the dressing room wearing the shirt, she just starts cracking up and can't stop. She tells Jerry that he cannot wear this shirt because raising awareness for clothing homeless people, but Jerry tells her he has to because they've already put in more orders for this terrible shirt and they're making more as they speak. Leslie is depending on him wearing the shirt because she thinks if people will see it, they will get a lot of orders. (Is she really that delusional? She possibly can't think anybody would want to buy that shirt!) I'm on Elaine's side here - it's going to look really bad for the Goodwill if Jerry wears this shirt. Also, does it really count as a binding contact if you don't even know what you're agreeing to? Plus, Jerry never signed anything. But he appears on the show wearing the shirt and Bryan Gumbel gives him grief about it. Jerry, who is getting irritated with being made fun of, agrees with him and tells him he feels ridiuclous wearing it and that "it's the stupidest shirt he's ever seen." We hear Leslie SCREAM "You bastard!" from off screen and Bryan asks him if he heard that (how could you NOT hear that?) and Jerry replies, "THAT I heard!"

Meanwhile, George gets discovered by a woman who works as a modeling agent and she tells him that he has the most exquisite hands and now he has found his calling as a hand model. He gets manicures and wears oven mitts to protect them. While at a photo shoot, George learns about a man named Ray McKigney who had "the most exquisite hands you've ever seen" and that "he had it all". George asked what happened to him and finds out that while Ray could have had any woman he wanted, none of them compared to his own hands which became his "one true love". (What? Eww, LOL). We get a great call back to the well known episode "The Contest" when the man telling George the story tells him that Ray was "not master of his domain". Apparently he used his hands for that so much that they became "locked in a deformed position and he was left with nothing but a claw." He couldn't even hold utensils and  he was dependent on other people to feed him. (What the huh? This is just getting ridiuclous, but it's hilarious!)

George is feeling pretty good about his new career. He got a nice paycheck for doing like two minutes of work and an attractive woman working on the photo shoot asks him out. George goes to the dressing room where Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, and Leslie are after Jerry's appearance to tell Jerry how great his life is now. He then proceeds to make fun of Jerry's shirt and asks him who dressed him. Leslie, who is looking furious in the background, gets up and pushes George who trips and falls into a table with a hot iron and burns his hands thus ending his short-lived hand modeling career.

2. The Soup Nazi (Season 7, Episode 6)


This is probably the most famous episode of Seinfeld. Either this or The Contest, but I would say this one. There's a new place that sells the most delicious soup you've ever had, but the owner has very strict rules about how people place their orders and if they don't obey the rules, then it's "NO SOUP FOR YOU!" Hence the reason his nickname is The Soup Nazi. Jerry and George tell this to Elaine when she's about to visit the place for the first time, but she's not really paying attention. There seems to be a lot of rules for how to place an order...I would be too intimidated to go to a place like that because I would be worried I would get yelled at! When George places his order, he discovers he didn't get his bread, but when he speaks up, the Soup Nazi tells him it will cost him $2, even though the bread is supposed to be free. He marks the price up to $3 when George tells him this, then tells him "NO SOUP FOR YOU!" when George is incredulous about this and the woman working behind the cashier snatches back his bag. When George goes back the next day, he does everything right this time, but when he sucks up to the Soup Nazi, he tells George, "You're pushing your luck, little man."

During Elaine' first visit to the soup stand, she bangs her hands on top of the counter, she tells the Soup Nazi she doesn't like lima beans and makes a face, and tells him he looks like Al Pacino from Scent of a Woman and goes "HOO WAH! HOO WAH!" Pretty much everything she does angers the Soup Nazi and he bans her for a year. Elaine gets her revenge when Kramer gives her an armoire that the Soup Nazi (who Kramer has befriended) gave him after Kramer tells him the one he was watching for a friend (who happened to be Elaine) was stolen. While going through it, Elaine finds all the soup recipes and returns to the soup stand to tell the Soup Nazi that she's going to have the recipes printed.

Jerry must choose between the soup and his girlfriend of the week, Sheila, when they are caught kissing in line and the Soup Nazi is angry at this and tells them, "NO SOUP FOR YOU!" Jerry pretends not to know Sheila (even though he was just literally kissing her a few seconds ago!) When Elaine is surprised that Jerry chose soup over a woman, Jerry asks her if she's ever tasted the soup and she agrees that he made the right delicious. I also agree that he made the right decision because Sheila was super annoying. She and Jerry would baby talk to each other and call each other "Schmoopie" which seemed way out of character for Jerry. Jerry also points out that it will be easier to make up with Sheila than the Soup Nazi.

And, in case you were wondering what kind of soup you can order from the Soup Nazi, these are the soups he offers: Mulligatawny (an Indian soup, a favorite of Kramer's), crab bisque, turkey chili, jambalaya (Newman's favorite), black bean, chicken broccoli, clam bisque, split pea, French onion, mushroom barley, and tomato rice. What? No Broccoli cheese? Or chicken tortilla? Very disappointed that the Soup Nazi doesn't serve two of my favorite kinds of soups! We will learn that the Soup Nazi's name is Yev Kassem when he testifies at their trial in the last episode.

1. The Yada Yada (Season 8, Episode 19)



To this day, I still use "yada yada" in my everyday phrase. Seinfeld of course didn't invent it, but it certainly popularized it. I had remembered Elaine as being the one who starts doing it, but it's actually George's girlfriend, Marcy. Elaine does use "yada yada" later on in the episode, so that's probably what I'm thinking of. It's just really funny how Marcy uses "yada yada" to skip over crazy parts of her stories and just get to the point. For instance, she tells him, "So I'm on Third Avenue, minding my own business, and yada, yada, yada, I get a free massage and a facial." See, completely skips over the entire part of the story of HOW she got this free massage and facial. Georges uses her "succinct" method of telling stories to tell her about Susan: "We were engaged to be married, we bought the wedding invitations, and yada, yada, yada, I'm still single!" When Marcy asks him, "So what's she doing now?", George replies, "Yada."  Ahhahaha! He probably should've just changed "yada" to "nada"! However, he gets suspicious when Marcy tells him, "Speaking of exes, my old boyfriend came over last night, and yada, yada, yada, I'm really tired today." He believes Marcy has yada yada'd sex (even though he just yada yada's over his ex-fiance's death - hmm, I wonder which one is worse?) and relays this to Jerry and Elaine. Elaine says she's yada yada's sex and this is probably what I'm remembering. George tells Marcy he doesn't want her using "yada yada" anymore and asks her to tell him about the free facial. She tells him that she went to Bloomingdales where she stole a watch, then went to the salon where she got her massage and facial and skipped out on the bill. So, yeah, she yada yada'd over being a shoplifter. She wants to know the rest of George's story about being engaged, but he just gives her a look.

Elaine's storyline involves being a reference for her friend Beth, and her new husband, Arnie to adopt a child. We met Beth (played by a pre-Will & Grace Debra Messing) in an earlier episode where she was married to someone else. Jerry has a thing for Beth and wanted to grab her when she got divorced from her first husband, but it never happened. Elaine ruins any chance of Beth and Arnie adopting a child because she tells the interviewer that when she went to see Striptease with the couple, she was talking to Beth and Arnie leaned over her and said, "WOULD YOU SHUT UP?" I have no idea what Elaine is thinking telling this story! She tries to backpedal when she sees the look on the interviewer's face and says, "But they're GREAT people!' Elaine finds out that their adoption application was denied because "the adoption agency feels that Arnie has a violent temper." Beth tells her they're asking everyone who had an interview with him to see what they said. Elaine says, "I just told him what kind people you are and what a big movie buff Arnie is, and yada, yada, yada, that is it!" The second time Elaine uses the "yada yada", so no wonder I remember this as being her catchphrase. Beth calls it quits with her second husband and Jerry decides this is the time to make a move on her...which he does, but it doesn't last very long when Beth reveals herself to be a racist and anti-Semitic. Ouch. (Did she not know Jerry was Jewish?)

Jerry's storyline involves his dentist Tim Whatley (played by a pre-Malcolm in the Middle and pre-Breaking Bad Bryan Cranston) converting to Judaism which angers Jerry because he believes Whatley is only converting for the jokes. When Jerry is getting a cavity filled, Whatley starts making some off-color jokes and when Jerry asks him if he should be making jokes like that, he replies, "Why not? I'm Jewish, remember?" He also says, "It's our sense of humor that sustained us as a people for 3,000 years." When Jerry corrects him, "5,000", he replies, "5,000, even better!" When Jerry confesses his feeling about Whatley to a priest, the priest asks him if this offends him as a Jew, Jerry tells him that it offends him as a comedian. It's funny when he goes to the confessional booth because he sits instead of kneels.

Kramer's storyline is the weakest. He and Mickey (his little person friend) pick up two girls at the Gap, but when they meet them for dinner, they're not sure which girl (who are both pretty similar) they're supposed to be dating. He and Mickey can't decide which girl they like and they fight over who gets who. Mickey ends up marrying one, but it turns out she really liked Kramer and the girl at the wedding who didn't marry Mickey was crying because she wanted to marry him. But despite the one weak storyline, lots of good things in here to keep you laughing.

I just know tomorrow that my top ten (except the top 3!) are all going to change...too many good episodes to choose from!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Boston Rats

The Departed
Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, Vera Farmiga, Alec Baldwin
Released: October 6, 2006

Oscar nominations:

Best Picture (won)
Best Director - Martin Scorsese (won)
Best Supporting Actor - Mark Wahlberg (lost to Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine)
Best Editing (won)
Best Adapted Screenplay - William Monahan (won)


If you've never seen it, I would highly suggest watching The Departed before reading this review. I will give warnings when I get to spoilers...I have slight spoilers and I have major spoilers. It probably won't be a big deal if you're spoiled slightly, but, trust me, you don't want to know the major spoilers if you haven't seen this movie yet! 

So this film is actually a remake of a 2002 Hong Kong film called Infernal Affairs. I've never seen it, but from what I do know about it, it's an hour shorter than The Departed (which is two and a half hours long). The inspiration for that movie was a more realistic version of Face/Off and while I was watching this, I did kind of get that vibe (just not as absurd!)

Even though this is a remake of a foreign film, I did get a slight Goodfellas vibe from it. Even though I enjoy The Departed, I like Goodfellas better. Let's be honest: that's the movie Scorsese should have won for! I will say this is my favorite collaboration between Marty and Leo. Well, it's a toss up between this and The Wolf of Wall Street. I'm not too high on Gangs of New York or The Aviator or Shutter Island

Slight spoiler warning alert! I feel like this information is probably known to everyone because it starts pretty early in the movie, but you never can be too careful! 

The movie takes place in Boston where Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon) has become a detective for the Massachusetts State Police. However, he is actually a mole to gather information who has been trained and groomed by Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson), an Irish mob boss who has been like a father figure to Sullivan ever since he was a young boy. In fact, when I saw the young boy they cast as him, I knew instantly it was Matt Damon's character! They did a really job casting him. In fact, he even calls Costello "Dad" whenever he calls him on the phone right in front of the police captain, Queenan (Martin Sheen). "Hi, Dad, I can't make it to dinner, but my friends are still coming!" Seriously, how did they not figure out what that's code for when he was saying that right in front of them?

Meanwhile, while there's a rat in the police unit, Captain Queenan and Sergeant Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) have placed undercover cop William Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) to infiltrate Costello's mob group. He has just graduated from the police academy and nobody knows who he is except for one person (and I'll get to that later). Their plan for Costigan is to have him get arrested for assault, spend some time in jail, then get in with Costello's group. That way at least it will look authentic he's a hood rat. Queenan and Dignam are the only two people who know that Costigan is working undercover.

After a major transaction of microprocessors (whatever the heck this is) goes wrong, Sullivan and Costigan are well aware there are rats on the other side and warn their respective leaders of them. While Sullivan is on police duty watching this transaction go down through surveillance with the other officers, he reaches into his coat pocket and we see him text a message to Costello, with one hand, mind you, and keeping his phone in his pocket, "No phones". Okay, this is 2006, so he's doing this with a flip phone and he's obviously memorized which buttons to push and how many times to push the up/down arrow to get to his contacts, then how many down to click on Costello's name and which buttons to push to write "No phones", but....if I did that, I would probably end up sending it to the wrong person....if I even got to contacts and the message would probably read "77 74843" or whatever numbers correlate with those letters! Obviously, he probably practiced doing that until he got it right, but I was pretty impressed he could do that. So he warns Costello to shut off the phones and everyone is like, "They turned their phones off!" However, there's one person who has kept his phone on and Costigan has texted Queenan a simple "$" to let him know the buyers are there. So that's how the two infiltrators are aware of each other. They just don't know who they are. 

For a movie without any adolescent girls or hardly any female characters for that matter, there's a lot of period talk. It's really gross. Well, it's really gross and skeevy in one scene, and in the other scene, it's still gross, but it's also funny. In the opening scene, when we're introduced to Costello and see him talking to a young Colin, he asks the girl who's working behind the counter, "Have you gotten your period yet?" First of all, ewwwwwww. Second of all, the girls is clearly at least sixteen. Of course she's gotten her period. Don't be an idiot, Frank. During this whole monologue we're getting from Costello, they keep him hidden in the shadows and I thought they were doing this because it takes place in the past and they didn't want us to see Nicholson's face cuz he needs to be young, but at the very end of his speech, we see him step out of the shadows and see his face.  In the other scene where periods come up, Costigan is at a bar where Costello's guys hang out and he orders a cranberry juice. One of the guys tells him that's what his girlfriend drinks when she's on her period and asks Costigan if he's on his period and in response gets a shot glass smashed on his head.

Speaking of women, police psychologist, Madalyn (Vera Farmiga) is the only one of note, and thank God, we don't have to hear about her menstruation cycle. She strikes up a relationship with Sullivan and they start dating. Their meet cute is super annoying. They're both on an elevator with several other people and Sullivan strikes up a conversation with her. When the elevator opens, it's her floor, and she gets off, but Sullivan, who tells her he's up one more floor, stays on the elevator, but keeps his body against the door to keep the elevator from closing and is still talking to her for several minutes, eventually getting her card. And there are other people still on the elevator waiting while these two are shamelessly flirting with each other! I'm surprised nobody got pissed at them! They're all just standing there, nonplussed. I would be so annoyed! It's like, why don't you get off the damn elevator and get her information and then just take the damn stairs up one flight when you're done! UGH! I did laugh when she gives him his card and he says, "I don't need it...I'm a detective, I'll find you" and she starts to take it back, but he snatches it and tells her, "I do need it." That was pretty cute. 

So they start dating, but guess who Madalyn has an affair with? Costigan, of all people! What a small world! Later in the movie, Sullivan will get a whiff of this information and Madalyn will tell Sullivan they're having a baby, but I have to wonder, as I did, if he suspects that it's not his as he has some, ahem, problems in the bedroom. 

When Queenan tells Sullivan to follow Costello because he believes that will lead them to the rat inside the police unit, a lightbulb goes off over Sullivan's head and he tells two officers to put a tail on Queenan, telling them he suspects Queenan might be the mole. It's actually a brilliant idea, it's just too bad the bad guys thought of it first! The two officers track Queenan to an abandoned warehouse where, indeed, Queenan is meeting with the infiltrator. Sullivan calls his guys and gives them the address and tells him they found the rat. When Queenan and Costigan found out they've been exposed, the former tells the latter to use the fire escape and that he'll be okay.

And now is a good time to go into MAJOR SPOILERS! DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS MOVIE AND DO NOT WANT TO BE SPOILED BECAUSE NOW I WILL BE GIVING AWAY HUGE PLOT POINTS!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!!!!!!!

Well, Queenan wasn't exactly telling the truth when he tells Costigan that he'll "be okay" because when Costigan walks outside and around a corner, Queenan's body literally goes splat on the pavement in front of him from being thrown out the window. Oh my God! They killed President Bartlett! This is the first of many, many characters to become departed, hence the title. Costigan starts crying and freaking out and I'm thinking, Run, Leo, get the hell outta there! But when someone comes out of the building and asks him what took him long, I remembered that he was supposed to meet there in the first place. HOWEVER....in the next scene, the guy who texted Costigan tells him he gave him the wrong address and finds it curious that he showed up. Lucky for Costigan, this guy got into a shootout with the other policemen who followed Queenan and literally dies a few second later, so his secret is taken to the grave. I mean, how convenient is that?

There's a great scene where Sullivan dials the last number Queenan dialed on his phone and Costigan is smart enough not to say anything when he answers it. Both of them are just holding their phones to their ears, waiting to see if anyone will talk first, but no one does. When they hang up, Costigan starts packing, but then calls the number back and says, "You called this number on a dead man's phone. Who are you?" Sullivan tells him who he is and that he's taking over Queenan's division. Costigan wants to confer this piece of information with Dignam, but he took a leave of absence (or rather quit because he was furious that Sullivan got Queenan killed by putting a tail on him). I don't know why he just didn't call Dignam to ask him unless he didn't have his home phone number? :::shrug:::

In another turn of events, Sullivan finds out, from going through Queenan's notes, that Frank Costello is an FBI informant. What the huh? I wasn't exactly clear who all knew that information. Queenan for sure and probably Dignam. But did Costello know that Costigan was working for the FBI too? This whole reveal really confused me. Maybe I'm just stupid, who knows! Sullivan is worried that Costello is going to rat him out, so he kills him when the police bust him and his gang for some drug thing. Costello has one of those movie deaths where he's shot in the chest and spits up blood, but psych! He's not dead yet! It takes another shot to kill him and Sullivan is hailed as a hero, so I'm guessing nobody there knew about Frank's secret. 

There's a scene where Costigan gives Madalyn an envelope and instructs her to open it if something happens to him or he tells her to and that she's the only person he trusts. Remember this piece of information. Speaking of envelopes, there's another one that's an integral part of the story. When Costello finds out there's a rat among his crew, he makes everyone fill out a form with their name, address, social security number, etc. so he can check out everyone. All of these papers will be in an envelope with CITIZENS (actually it will be written twice because the first guy who wrote it spelled it wrong) scrawled across it. Everyone is supposed to stay in the bar where they're filling out until they've all been checked, but Costigan says he's not staying, so that's a huge sign that he's the rat! Though I don't blame him that he wants to leave...if he stays, he's dead.



So this envelope with "Citizens" will come up later when Costigan sees it sitting on Sullivan's desk when he goes to get his pay and that's when he knows that Sullivan is a mole within the Force. He also knows that Sullivan knows he was the rat within the mob. He leaves without telling Sullivan, but he doesn't tell Dignam, who is, remember, the only living person who knows the truth about him. Instead he gets Sullivan to meet him at the building where Queenan was killed, baiting him by saying Costello told him he has recorded all his conversations for insurance and if they are released, Sullivan will be revealed. Costigan also called Anthony Anderson, the one person who was also in the same academy as Costigan and knows who he is. Costigan thinks he can get him to trust him, but it doesn't quite work out that way. I still don't understand why he didn't call Dignam! 

Costigan takes the elevator down with his gun pointed at Sullivan's head, but when the door opens, we see someone shoot Costigan in the head, and then when Anthony Anderson comes down the other elevator and sees Costigan dead on the floor and two of his fellow officers, he doesn't quite know what's going on. The guys shoots him too. This is someone we've seen in the background, but not a major character. He tells Sullivan that he wasn't the only one working for Costello and they have to look out for each other. When Sullivan gets the chance, he kills him. 

Not long after, Sullivan will come home to his apartment to see Dignam there with a gun and he kills him. You may have never noticed this if you've only seen the movie once, or maybe you didn't even notice on a second time, but next time you watch this movie, be on the lookout for X's when a character dies or is about to die. When Sullivan is walking down the hall to his door, the carpet in the hallway has large X's (super tacky if you ask me), when Costigan and Sullivan are in the elevator, you see an X created with duct tape about Costigan's head, and when poor Queenan falls out of the building, he pasts several windows with tape making an X. 

Remember that envelope Costigan gave Madalyn to open if anything happened to him? We never see it again. The last we see of Madalyn is her at his funeral, crying. I guess they thought it was unnecessary since we already knew what would be in that envelope, but it just seemed weird to bring up if they're not going back to it.

The movie ends with a shot of a rat on the balcony railing which made me groan for two reasons. One, this is an extremely nice apartment complex in Boston and now there are rats balconies? No, I don't buy it. (And I literally wouldn't buy the apartment if it had rats!) Two, it was a little too on the nose.  

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Bridge to Sadness and Despair

Bridge To Terabithia
Director: Gabor Csupo
Cast: Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Robert Patrick, Zooey Deschanel
Released: February 16, 2007


We're going straight into spoiler territory right away with this one so if you have never seen the movie which has been out for eleven years or read the book which was published in 1977 (!!!), then you have been warned!!!! 
This would have been a good movie to do a double review with My Girl because they are very similar.  (Yeah, spoiler alerts for that movie too!) The obvious thing they have in common is they're both about a friendship between a boy and a girl, about eleven or twelve years old and at the end of the story one of these friends will die in a horrible accident caused by nature. In that one, it was the boy, and in this one, it's the girl. There are other similarities and I'll point them out, but that is the main one. I actually read this book around the same time I saw My Girl, so yeah, my childhood was pretty traumatizing around that time! I saw My Girl when I was in fifth grade and I read this book either in fourth or fifth grade. I've never revisited it, so I'm not sure how faithful the film is and whether or not it changed anything or added any characters. 

I would say another thing they have in common is that they're both set in the '70s, but actually, I think the film version of Terabithia is set in "present day" 2007. The school they attend looks very antiquated...they're using blackboards, for god's sake. By the late nineties, I definitely remember teachers using white boards with dry erase markers. Also, everything is rundown and shabby; nothing is new and modern, something you would find in a school in 2007. But then we see a scene where a teacher is telling a couple students to put away their "electronic devices" and we see the main character's sisters watching MTV, so that defintely nixes this movie being set in the '70s! The story is set in a rural part of the country where the characters don't have too much money, so I guess that's why everything looks the way it does.

Jess Aarons (Josh Hutcherson) strikes up a friendship with the new girl at school, Leslie Burke (AnnaSophia Robb), but it takes a few days to warm up to her because she beat him (and a bunch of other boys) in a footrace and he's known as being the fastest kid in the class. Jess is the middle child of five kids and has two older sisters and two younger sisters. The only one that's really relevant to the story is his sister May Belle (and I thought her name was Mabel for the longest time) who is the second youngest child. This is mainly because she and Jess share a room (a blanket hangs up to divide their halves of the room) and they go to the same school. The two older sisters are in high school and the youngest child is a baby. I was really confused by this school. May Belle is probably second or third grade and according to Wikipedia, in the book, Jess and Leslie are in fifth grade. I would say they're probably in sixth grade in the movie...the actors were around 13 when they made this, so I think them being fifth grades might be pushing it. However, there's a girl named Janice who is the school bully who also goes to this school and she's in eighth grade. What kind of school combines elementary and middle school? I have never heard of this. Maybe it's because they live in a small town and don't have the funds to create a middle school so they combine K-8 all together until they go on to high school? At first I thought they were in a middle school and May Belle rode on the same bus as her brother because her school was nearby, but no, they both go to the same school! I know, I know, it's a stupid thing to get caught up on.

Jess has a huge crush on his teacher, Ms. Edmunds and who can blame him because she's played by Zooey Deschanel so he's entranced by her pretty blue eyes and her lovely singing voice. She's the music teacher so she pretty much treats her classroom like it's School of Rock and all the kids are singing and playing instruments. They sing song such as "Why Can't We Be Friends" and "Ooh Ooh Child". This is another similarity to My Girl as Anna Chlumsky's character, Vada, had a crush on her
teacher. 

Leslie lives next door to the Aarons with her liberal free-spirited parents who are both writers. I have to wonder if her parents actually make any money. Jess has more strict, grounded parents, especially his father (played by Robert Patrick) who tells him he needs to "keep his head out of the clouds" when he releases a wild animal (a opossum maybe?) that got caught in his dad's greenhouse because he didn't want his dad to kill it. One of the reasons the two become such good friends is not just because they share a love of running, but because they're both bullied. Jess is bullied because he has to wear a pair of one of his sister's hand-me-down pink sneakers to his first day of school. He tries to cover up the pink with a black marker, but it doesn't really help. Leslie is made fun of when she tells her teacher she doesn't have a TV after the teacher assigns the class to watch a nature show. All the kids laugh at her like she's the biggest loser to ever exist and when she explains, "My dad says TV kills your brian cells", she gets in a good comeback to one of the bully kids who tell her, "I watch TV everyday" by replying with, "I rest my case." 

The first time Jess and Leslie hang out, they come across a wide creek near their homes with a rope
swing. Let's just call it the Rope Swing of Doom. Leslie is intrigued by it, but Jess tells her it's been there forever and it's probably not safe. (Yes! Listen to your new friend, Leslie! He is the voice of reason!) However, she swings to the other side and back and tells him how much fun it is, so they both take a few turns on it. Leslie decides they need a place just for the two of them and swings to the other side where she jumps off and Jess follows her. They call this new place Terabithia and both kids, especially Leslie, the daughter of two fiction writers, have vivid imaginations (or maybe just really good drugs!) They imagine that the trees are giant trolls, that the dragonflies are small warriors, that the squirrels are these creatures out to get them, and the sound of an old wind chime is the sound of prisoners rattling their chains. I guess you need a wild imagination when you don't have a TV! They come across this pretty amazing run-down tree house which they fix up and make their own. 

So cute!
Jess is very artistic and loves to draw, so for his birthday, Leslie presents him with a (rather nice) set of paints and brushes while they're on the bus on their way to school. Jess tells her it must have cost a fortune, but yet, later, decides to give Leslie a dog. I think giving someone a dog is a much bigger deal than giving someone a paint set! They name him Prince Terrian, P.T. for short, and take him on their adventures to Terabithia where they use him as a troll hunter. Okay, I have a few questions: how was he able to afford the dog? Did he ask Leslie's parents permission first before he got the dog for her? And most importantly, how the hell did they get the dog across the creek? They didn't swing on the rope with the dog in one hand and their other hand holding the rope, did they? Or did the dog swim across? 

After Janice, the 8th grade bully (maybe she would be a little nicer if she didn't have that horrible haircut with the awful bangs...just saying!) is mean to May Belle AND purposely falls down on the bus and blames Jess for tripping her so he is booted off the bus, both Jess and Leslie decide it's time to teach her a lesson. They write her a note, pretending it's from the cutest boy in eight grade, Willard, (seriously? The cutest boy in the eight grade is named Willard?) because surely she has a crush on him. In the note, which Jess writes while Leslie dictates, "Willard" tells Janice that he really likes her and hopes they can ride home on the bus together and see where things go from there. While Janice is waiting outside the bus for Willard and tells him she got his note and she saved them a seat on the bus, he's very confused and of course he's with all his friends and they just laugh at her as well as everybody else on the bus who witness this embarrassing display. However, a few days later, Leslie hears Janice sobbing in the girls' bathroom and wonder if they went too far. She talks to Janice and we later find out that Janice is mean to everyone because her dad hits her. I looked up the plot summary of the novel on Wikipedia to see if that was part of the book, and it is. Even down to the boy named Willard, so that explains the old-fashioned name. 

Another similarity this movie shares with My Girl is the foreshadowing of the impending death. We get it in that movie when Macaulay Culkin asks Anna Chlulmsky what heaven is like. It's done a lot more nicer in that movie; in this one, it's a little dark! Leslie, who is an atheist (although that word is never uttered), goes to church one Sunday with Jess's family. BTW: her white coat is totally amazing. She seems to enjoy the experience and on the way home, she sits in the back of the pickup truck with Jess and May Belle. She tells them she thinks the whole "Jesus thing" is really interesting, but the two Aarons kids disagree and think it's scary. May Belle tells her, "It's because we're all vile sinners, God made Jesus die." Leslie asks them, "You really think that's true?" and Jess confirms, "It's in the Bible." Leslie tells them, "You have to believe [the Bible] and you hate it. I don't have to believe it and I think it's beautiful." May Belle then drops a huge bomb on her and tells her, "God will damn you to Hell when you die if you don't believe in the Bible." Eeshh! I like Leslie's response with, "I seriously do not think God goes around damning people to Hell...he's too busy running all this!" and waves her hands around her to indicate the world around them. 

The final goodbye
Jess gets in big trouble when he loses his dad's set of keys and if they have to be replaced, it will cost $600. Except he didn't misplace them; May Belle took them because she knew Leslie was looking for something that clanged and clinked to sound like bells. She thought Terabithia needed bells after hearing the church bell from the service she attended. Rightly, Mr. Aarons is super angry with Jess because these keys cost a fortune and are a part of his job. I find it ridiculous that neither May Belle nor Leslie thought it would be wrong to take the keys. Did they not think that someone would need this set of keys? Leslie claims May Belle told her she found them on the ground, but still, you would think someone lost their keys and they weren't just junk. When Jess and Leslie go to fetch the keys, it will be their last adventure together in Terabithia, unbeknownst to them. :::sniff::: 

The following day, a Saturday, Ms. Edmunds calls Jess to take him on a date, I mean, a field trip. I'm sorry, I know they say "field trip", but this was totally a date! They go into the city to visit an art museum and have a cappuccino at the cafe! And when she drops Jess of at his home, he says, "Maybe we can do this again sometime" and she replies with, "Absolutely!" Okay, let me back up. Ms. Edmunds knows about Jess's artistic side and calls him up that morning to invite him to an art museum because she was planning on taking her nephews there, but they weren't able to make it, so she decided to invite Jess in lieu of them. I understand the point of this was to get Jess out of the house and have his parents not know where he is (he does ask his mom, but she's still sleeping and barely says "yes" when he asks if he can go). They also can't make this a class field trip because otherwise Leslie would be there and another point of this is for her not to be there, although when they pass her house, Jess almost seems to want to invite her along (which he will regret not doing for the rest of his life, poor kid), but decides against it because he wants Ms. Edmunds' company all to himself. If this ever happened in this day and age, that teacher would be arrested in a hot minute! I think it would have been a little better if she still took her nephews, but also invited Jess. At least it wouldn't look like a date! Yes, I did look this up, and yes, this does happen in the book, although maybe times were much different in the '70s and nobody blinked an eye if they saw a teacher having "one on one" time with her student.

When Jess returns home later that afternoon, his parents are relieved to see him, as they already know about Leslie's death and think maybe something had happened to him too. Jess gets a weird vibe from his family and asks what's going on and his father bluntly says, "Your friend Leslie is dead." They tell him the rope swing broke and she hit her head on a rock. This is around the time I lose it and start crying. Poor Jess is in denial and when he sees Ms. Edmunds at her service, he tells her, "Next time we should invite Leslie to go," as if Leslie is still alive. Oh, God, poor kid, you know that will haunt him for the rest of his life. He even tells his dad it's his fault, that he didn't want to invite her to the museum, when he finally breaks down and realizes that his best friend is dead, but his dad tells him it's not his fault. I then get another fresh set of tears when Jess is afraid that Leslie has been damned to Hell, but his dad reassures him that "God would never send that little girl to Hell". Mr. Burke tells Jess that he was the best friend Leslie ever had. Seriously, stop making me cry, movie!

There's quite a change in the music class. Instead of being happy and dancing around with the instruments, all the students are singing a song, something about "I wanna know what's over that rainbow" while looking sullen. Poor Jess has his arms folded on his desk with his head resting on them and it's the saddest sight. I bet all these kids feel bad for making fun of Leslie now for not owning a TV! That has got to mess you up, though. To be a kid and have another kid in your class die. Though not everybody is sensitive about her death. One of the bully kids tells Jess, "Guess you're the fastest kid in class now." Good Lord! What kind of a-hole says something like that? Jess punches him. The kid totally deserved it.

The rope swing has been replaced with a bridge that Jess has built with lumber. It's actually pretty impressive what he built.  He invites his sister to enter the world of imagination that he and Leslie created and makes May Belle the Princess of Terabithia. I love how she says it like it's two words: "Tera. Bithia."

David Paterson, the son of the book's author, Katherine Paterson, helped co-write the screenplay. I was actually surprised it took them thirty years to make this a feature film, especially since it was based on a popular book, or at least a well-known book. Yes, it shares similarities with My Girl. To me, it's hard to think of one without thinking of the other, but they also have plenty of differences. Also, My Girl came out fourteen years after Bridge to Terabithia was published and they didn't make a movie about it in those years? Although I discovered it was made into a TV movie in 1985. Apparently it's terrible and that's probably why I wasn't aware of it! Okay, I just watched a clip of it on YouTube, and eesh, the kids who play Jess and Leslie are godawful actors - it's not a surprise neither of their careers took off! It's nice that they finally got a good adaptation of the book, although it took awhile, but sometimes you have to be patient!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Wanderlust

Adrift
Director: Balastar Kormakur
Cast: Shailene Woodley and Sam Clafin
Released: June 1, 2018
Viewed in theaters: June 7, 2018


I first saw a preview for this film when I saw Ready Player One and at first I thought it was the latest Nicholas Sparks novel to be adapted to film because it showed a young couple being all lovey-dovey and about to set sail and I was like, hard pass. But that was only the first thirty seconds and the rest of the trailer continued to show that it was NOT based on a Nicholas Sparks novel (or any fictional novel for that matter...it is based on a memoir called Red Sky in Mourning) and that it was based on a true story about a couple, Tami Oldham and Richard Sharp who go on a sailing expedition where there's a nasty storm and their boat capsizes. I love survival stories so I was sold on seeing it. 

I never did look up the story it was based on before watching it. I figured I would remember it once the movie got going because I just assumed it was a recent (like within the last ten years at least) thing that happened. However, when it is revealed that the movie takes place in 1983, I didn't feel so bad for not having any recollection of this event at all! 

The film opens up right after the storm (which we will learn was a Category 4 hurricane) and we see a banged-up Tami (Shailene Woodley) in the flooded cabin with debris all around her. She's screaming for Richard, who, at this point of the film, is her fiance. When she makes her way to the outside of the boat, she will find the sail has been completely torn. The film goes back and fourth from the characters being shipwrecked to five months earlier when they first met each other and how they found themselves going on a sailing expedition. 

Twenty-four-year-old Tami hasn't been home to San Diego since she left after graduating high school. She and a friend headed to Mexico where they made salsa and surfed. She thought she would only be there for six months, but it turned into seven years and now, in 1983, she finds herself in Tahiti after spending time working on a schooner. She meets Richard, who is nine years her senior and a sailor from England. Tami is very impressed that he made his own boat and he takes her out sailing. One thing leads to another and the two quickly fall in love. He asks her to sail around the world with him and both agree they've always wanted to sail to Japan. However, their plans are thwarted when an elderly rich British couple who know Richard ask him if he can sail their 44-foot yacht, the Hazana, to San Diego. They have also offered to pay him $10,000 and a first class ticket back to Tahiti. When Richard asks if they can make it two tickets, they don't even blink. Tami isn't too thrilled about this because she's not ready "to go home yet" and I'm thinking, girl, are you kidding me? You're going to be sailing halfway around the world in this luxury sailboat, the two of you are going to have plenty of money to take a year off and sail around the world, and they're giving you tickets back to Tahiti so you don't have to stay in San Diego. Just see your mom and say hello, then head back. Everything sounds great in theory, but of course, the voyage to sail the Hazana doesn't go as planned. But she does agree to go with Richard when he says he won't do the trip without her because he loves her. He makes her a ring and proposes to her. By this time they've known each other for five months, so they've fallen pretty hard for each other. Tami writes a letter to her mom to tell her she'll be in San Diego in a few weeks and she's bringing her boyfriend and that "he might be the one" (she wrote the letter before he proposed, btw!) 

After Tami accesses the damage to the boat and starts fixing up it up and herself up (she has a nasty gash on one of her temples), she sees Richard limply hanging from a lifeboat and screams to him that she's coming to get him. She falls off the boat as she's attempting to fix the sail and the boat is moving away at a scary pace (not to mention moving even further away from Richard), but she proves herself to be a strong swimmer and catches up to the boat, though she is panting and heaving. We see her fixing the damaged boat as best she can; good thing she's had experience! When it's good as can be under the circumstances, she sails toward him. It should be mentioned that all the radios to contact anyone have stopped working and she is unable to get any help. 

She swims out and rescues Richard whose leg is in pretty bad shape and he is unable to move, so Tami has to do all the work and steering of the ship. Math is not her strong suit so she is worried about getting the coordinates right. She knows they are in a search area way too big for them to be found and they aren't even in any flight zones or shipping zones. She believes her best best is to head toward Hawaii. 

She finds as many rations as she can which includes peanut butter and alcohol hidden under a seat (which she also uses on Richard's leg), but they don't last too long and soon realizes that she's going to have to use the spear to catch fish. Richard is adamant about this, but Tami, who is a vegetarian because she loves all living things and doesn't want to any creature to suffer. Girl, I hear you, but I think in cases like this, you need to think of yourself first and get the food so you don't die. She is unable to do it the first time, claiming it too hard, but eventually she gets the hang of it and forces herself to eat the fish. 

At one point she wakes up to find a huge barge baring down them and it looks like the thing is going to steamroll right over them. Tami is shooting her flare gun, but it just passes them and disappears into the night. Tami wonders if she actually saw the thing or if she was hallucinating and starts crying, wondering if they will ever be rescued. 

The movie keeps us update to date how many days adrift they've been (and it will be a total of 41 days). Richard tells Tami he wishes that she had never met him because then she would never be in this mess and she tells him she doesn't regret a single moment. 

All right, about to get in spoiler territory so continue at your own risk! 

SPOILERS AHOY! 

You guys are going to think I'm a total moron. Okay, so I was totally duped by the movie. I should have seen it coming. It should have been so obvious. Richard was dead the entire time. Well, not the ENTIRE time...he was certainly alive and real pre-storm, but was killed during the storm. Watching this, it suddenly made sense to me why the pre-storm scenes and the post-storm scenes alternated and why we didn't see the actual storm until near the end of the movie. When they realize they are in the path of a category 4 hurricane, they decide to alter their route, but it's not enough to diverge from the path of the storm. They are caught in the storm with 160 mph winds and 50 foot waves (I looked up some info on the incident). That has to be the scariest thing ever, even for the most experienced of sailers like Richard was. He tells Tami to go in the cabin as he's trying to steer the boat out of the storm...or something. I'm not sure what he's trying to do, but it seems like nothing would really help them at that point. A huge wave crashes over them and the boat just turns over and over and Tami is flung around in the cabin. Apparently she was unconscious for 27 hours, though we never get that from the movie; I found that out while doing research. It's amazing she wasn't even more banged up than she was or didn't have any broken bones. Richard is swept out to sea and we see him sinking in the ocean. At this point, I'm thinking, huh. We go back to Tami being adrift and at this part, she's probably nearing forty days of being lost at sea. We see a close up of her and she's crying and she says "It's time to let you go now" and the camera pans back to reveal the area behind her is empty, the area where Richard was. This whole time he was dead and she was imagining him there. Sure, we get that scene earlier where she thought she had hallucinated that barge, but I don't believe she was hallucinating that Richard was there, even though it seems that's what the movie wants us to believe. For one thing, the real person this is based knew right away her fiance was dead. This was just a detail they added to the movie to make it more compelling for those who weren't familiar with the story. Also, she never freaks out about him being "gone" all of a sudden. She seems to be well aware that he wasn't there the whole time and was just imagining that he was there to help her guide her to rescue, which she eventually does when a land bird flies to her boat and when it flies off again, she steers the boat towards that direction where she will eventually see a Japanese cargo ship and is rescued. It appears in the real story, she sailed to Hawaii and was rescued there. 

Despite the obvious clues, I really should have figured this love story was going to end tragically. You have one half of the couple from Me Before You and one half of the couple from The Fault In Our Stars - this is just asking for a calamitous ending. 

By the way, the poster for this movie (Google it) totally rips off Titanic...another love story that ends tragically!