Monday, December 31, 2012

Last blog of 2012!

Escape From Alcatraz
Director: Don Siegel
Cast: Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Fred Ward, Larry Hankin
Released: June 22, 1979

If you're like me and love the movie, The Shawshank Redemption; the book, Watership Down; and the TV show, Prison Break (well, at least the first season), chances are, you will like this movie as well. It's based on the true story of Frank Morris, one of three men to have escaped from Alcatraz, probably the most famous prison in America and one of San Francisco's most well-known sites. I had an amusing conversation with my mom about this movie:

Me: Have you ever seen Escape from Alcatraz?
My mom: Is that the one with Nicolas Cage?
Me: No, you're thinking of The Rock.

Well, I thought it was amusing! Come to think of it, The Rock was my first introduction of Alcatraz. And probably my first introduction to Michael Bay, heh! I wasn't familiar with the story of Frank Morris (played by a younger-looking but still older Clint Eastwood), an inmate sent to Alcatraz because he had escaped from several other prisons. He was serving time for breaking and entering and robbery. He was said to have an IQ of 133, which is probably the reason for all his escapes...including this one.
One of the first things he is told by the warden (Patrick McGoohan) is that Alcatraz can not be broken out of and even if he did manage to escape, he would die trying to swim to the mainland from the cold.

Morris sizes up everyone at the prison. He becomes friendly with a few inmates including Old Man Marley from Home Alone (hmm, maybe Buzz was right and he did kill his entire family!) No, actually his name is Doc and he's played by Robert Blossom and his voice sounded so familiar and then I placed that he was the old scary neighbor in Home Alone who was actually a nice guy, just lonely. Let's just say in this movie he doesn't get a happy ending like he does in Home Alone when he's reunited with his family. Remember that scene in Misery that involves feet? There's a scene like that in this movie, only it involves fingers and Kathy Bates isn't in the scene!

Morris also befriends John and and Clarence Anglin who are brothers and Charlie Butts, his cell neighbor. Morris knew the brothers from another prison where they first met and together the four of them come up with an elaborate plan to escape. Over several months, they chip away at the grille in their rooms with spoons which they sneaked from the kitchen. From the arts and craft department, they get material to make paper-mache heads of themselves so the guards will think they are in bed when they are actually working on their escape plan. On the night of June 11, 1962, they are ready to escape. It doesn't quite go according to plan when one of them loses the nerve to escape and sits on his bed, contemplating whether or not he should join the others who wait for him for a few minutes, but leave once it's clear he's not coming. He does finally escape from his room, but by that time it's too late because the others are long gone and he needs help to reach the window on the roof that is too high for one person to reach without help. He goes back to his room and waits for the massive outburst that will erupt in the morning when the guards will find there are three men missing. Now I was curious about the guy who didn't escape, so I went to my ever faithful source: Wikipedia. It says that the reason he didn't escape was because he couldn't remove the grille in time, but in the movie it makes it seems he doesn't escape because he's having second thoughts.

Of course everyone is searching the island and water for any sign of the three men who escaped. They found personal belongings that belonged to one of the men but didn't know if this meant that they had drowned or he left them there so that people would think they drowned. They never found any bodies, but there's no evidence to indicate that they were ever found alive, so it's believed that the men probably drowned. You think if they were still alive, they would have come out by now and bragged that they escaped from Alcatraz! Frank Morris would be 86 today if he were still alive, so if he did make it out alive, it's possible he could still be alive today. And, really, would they throw an 86 year old man back in jail if he came forward and confessed that he was Frank Morris? But he most likely died that June night fifty and a half years ago.

Friday, December 21, 2012

But Above All This, I Wish You Love

The Bodyguard
Director: Mick Jackson
Cast: Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston
Released: November 25, 1992

Oscar nominations:
Best Original Song - "I Have Nothing"
Best Original Song - "Run To You" (lost to "A Whole New World" from Aladdin)

Movie confession time: this was my first (and likely only) time seeing The Bodyguard. However, it was my 300 millionth time hearing Whitney Houston belt out the epic love song, "I Will Always Love You" which is so associated with the chanteuse. So much so that I had no idea that Whitney's version was a cover of a song Dolly Pardon had written and recorded in 1974! 1974! That was 18 years before Whitney's cover was released! I have both versions on my iPod and obviously they're both very different as Whitney, the pop singer, sings it as a power ballad, and Dolly, the country crooner, almost sings it in a melancholy style, as a very sad love song. Whitney's version is much "bigger" (and longer) while Dolly's is more low-key which might explain why the cover version is the more popular of the two.

Let's quickly get one thing straight here: The Bodyguard is not a very good movie. It's pretty bad at times. But it's the kind of movie that's still enjoyable to watch because it's not so bad that it's unwatchable. It's still very watchable and that makes it the good kind of a bad movie.

Kevin Costner plays Frank Farmer, a bodyguard (duh) who used to be a bodyguard for Ronald Reagan and still blames himself for the time Reagan was almost assassinated because he wasn't there that day to protect him...even though Reagan didn't die!  (Wasn't this a similar plot point for Clint Eastwood in In the Line of Fire?) He wants to retire, but he's been asked to be the bodyguard for actress/pop singer Rachel Marron (is it me or is that the most vanilla name ever?) played by Whitney Houston. Whitney playing a pop star? Of course I can buy that. She's playing herself. Whitney playing an actress? Sure, I can see it. Whitney playing a Oscar-nominated actress who (spoiler alert!) wins the Oscar? Laughably absurd. I'm sorry, but in what world would Whitney Houston be considered an Oscar-winning actress? The woman could sing flawlessly (well, at least in her heyday) but she was a mediocre actress at best.

Frank Farmer was hired because he's the best in the (bodyguard) business and because Rachel (unbeknownst to her) has been receiving threatening letters from a creepy stalker that only her manager and sister and now Frank know about. They don't want Rachel to know because they don't want to her to worry. Of course she finds out because the stalker makes his way into her dressing room before she's to perform and she sees a menacing letter addressed to her. She is very concerned, not only for her safety, but for that of her young son. Extreme safety measures are put up around the house and Frank Farmer accompanies Ms. Marron wherever she goes. Since Frank always has to be around, Rachel suggests they go out on a date. After they sleep together, Frank tells her it's too dangerous for them to be together because he can't be distracted from protecting her and she gets really angry at him, but of course true love can't tear them apart.

I thought the love aspect of the film, which is the biggest part and main drawl of the movie, was very lacking. I was expecting to see this amazing chemistry bursting on screen, but there is barely anything. I can tell that they care about each other, but I never got the sense they were passionately in love with each other. I only get that when Whitney/Rachel sings "I Will Always Love You." I would have loved to see more of an epic love story, like Jack and Rose...or Jack and Ennis!

One of the nicest moments between the two of them is when they're at a small bar and dance to the original "I Will Always Love You" which is the reason that is "their" song. Speaking of songs, like I mentioned before, I didn't know at first that "I Will Always Love You" was originally recorded by Dolly Parton, but I also didn't know "I Have Nothing" and "Run To You" were written especially for this movie, so technically they're Rachel Marron songs, not Whitney Houston songs. I found out the truth about "I Will Always Love You" a couple years after it was released. I didn't know about these other songs until I just watched the movie. I'm not very familiar with "Run To You," but I love "I Have Nothing" and have it on my iPod. She gets a hilarious (okay, maybe hilarious isn't the right word, but I found it amusing) note from her stalker that says, "I HAVE Nothing, YOU have everything, bitch!" I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like that.

Another song I like that Whitney/Rachel sings is "Queen of the Night" even though it sounds exactly like En Vogue's "Free Your Mind" which came out the same year this movie was released. I don't think that's a coincidence!

At the Oscars, Rachel's big night where she's nominated for (and wins!) an Oscar, she is nearly killed when her stalker shows up and aims at gun at her, but Frank Farmer, the best bodyguard in the history of the world, jumps in front of her and takes a bullet for her. His only injury is an arm in a sling. The whole scene at the Oscars made me think of The Naked Gun 33 1/3 and that whole scene at the Oscars where Frank Drebin is trying to stop a terrorist attack at the ceremony and I realized that movie came out two years after The Bodyguard, so I just realized they spoofed it! I probably would have appreciated it more if I watched The Bodyguard before Naked Gun 3!

Do Frank and Rachel end up together? No. Lame!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas with the Griswolds

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik
Cast: Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, Randy Quaid, Juliette Lewis, Johnny Galecki, Juliet-Louis Dryfus, Doris Roberts
Released: December 1, 1989

It isn't a real Christmas without the Griswolds! This is just one of my favorite Christmas movies and the one I chose to review for my annual holiday film. I hadn't seen it in awhile, but I remembered everything that happened since I had seen it so many times. (Thank you, NBC). I have seen all the National Lampoon movies and this one is probably my favorite, although I do love the first one, Family Vacation. I remember being disappointed the first time I saw this movie because I was expecting a cartoon. But if you were a kid and you saw opening credits like these, you would expect a cartoon too!:

Love that song. But of course the real movie is much better than any (crappily animated) cartoon could ever be and I soon came to love it. Even though it's a (at times) raunchy comedy with plenty of gross jokes (mostly thanks to Cousin Eddie) and an electrocution of a cat, there is a sweetness to it and almost has an It's a Wonderful Life vibe. Clark Griswold (Chevy Chase) wants to have a nice family Christmas at their home outside of Chicago and wants to make it the best Christmas ever. It's a good thing the Griswolds have a large house because joining him and his wife, Ellen (Beverly D'Angelo) and their two children, Audrey (Juliette Lewis) and Rusty (Johnny Galecki), are his parents and Ellen's parents - her mother is played by a pre-Everybody Loves Raymond Doris Roberts. Of course it wouldn't be a National Lampoon movie without Cousin Eddie (Randy Quaid) who visits without warning in his RV with his wife, Katherine; their two children, Rocky and Ruby Sue; and their aptly-named dog, Snot. Throw in Great Aunt Bethany and Great Uncle Lewis and you have one big, happy (at times) family!

Can you guess which house belongs to the Griswolds? :-p
One of my favorite scenes and probably one of the movie's most memorable is the whole lighting of the house. Clark has covered every square inch of his home with a grand total of 25,000 twinkling white lights and when he invites the entire family outside to see the lighting of the house for the first time, nothing happens when he plugs in the cords. His family, being supportive, tells him it's still lovely even if the lights aren't turned on. The next night, after Clark has checked all the bulbs again, he attempts to try again, but still nothing happens. It's only by accident that the lights are (briefly) turned on when Clark's mother goes into the garage to retrieve something and turns on the light - turns out all they need to do to turn on the Christmas lights is to flip on that switch. All the cords plugged into that electric outlet was humorous - and looked pretty dangerous! I'm pretty sure they were breaking the fire code! Through a series of mishaps, the lights go on and off multiple times, blinding their snooty neighbors, Todd and Margo (Julia Louis-Dryfus before she was Elaine). That scene is so iconic in pop culture that Old Navy has made some cute commercials out of it including this one:

Between these commercials and the recent Old Navy ads with Beverly Hills, 90210 alums, I have to say I am proud to shop at and own clothes from Old Navy!

Another one of my favorite scenes is when Clark and Eddie takes the kids sledding and Clark has that round sled that he greased with something to make it go extra fast -which it did! That was filmed in Breckenridge, Colorado, which I thought was pretty cool since I've been to Breckenridge many times. Of course the film takes place in Chicago and as far as I know there are no mountains in Chicago, but I guess you can just pretend it's a very big hill!

Everything is going wrong for the Griswolds on Christmas Eve: the delicious-looking turkey Katherine made turns out to be completely dry; poor Aunt Bethany's cat (which she accidently put in a box and wrapped) gets electrocuted; Uncle Lewis completely burns the huge Christmas tree Clark was so proud of; the new tree Clark cuts from his yard and brings into his home has a squirrel that springs out and attacks him; Snot chases the squirrel all over the house, wrecking nearly every room in the house; and to make matters worse, the Christmas bonus Clark was expecting turns out to be a jelly-of-the-month club membership ("the gift that keeps on giving" according to Cousin Eddie) and after Clark rants about his boss and tells everybody how much he wants his boss right in front of him so he can call him a string of not-so-nice adjectives, Eddie grants him his wish which results in the police invading the Griswold household. But in the end, everyone has a nice and heartfelt Christmas.

A definite must-see for the holiday season!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Man's Best Friend

Turner and Hooch
Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Cast: Tom Hanks, Mare Winningham, Craig T. Nelson, Reginald Veljohnson
Released: July 28, 1989

This is one of those movies I loved as a kid, but recently re-watched and it just doesn't hold up. Of course, I still adore Hooch (the dog), a French Mastiff so ugly he's cute, but dang, do those dogs drool! All the time. It's really quite disgusting. Tom Hanks is (Scott) Turner, a tidy and organized detective who acquires the unruly beast after his owner is killed in his boathouse because he is a witness to some shady business going on in a seafood manufacture plant not far from where he resides. Since Hooch was the only "witness" (he was restrained inside and wasn't able to break free until his owner was already dead and the bad guy ran away), Turner takes him, in hoping he can gather evidence on who the murderer is.

Hilarity ensues when Hooch comes to live with Turner (who was always afraid of him when he visited the old man). He sleeps on the porch the first night and howls until Turner can't stand it anymore and takes him in to the garage, the only room in the house Hooch is allowed. While Turner is away at work one day, Hooch gets into the main house and completely obliterates everything and Turner has a (who can blame him?) conniption fit.

But of course, Turner learns to love the dog as his own when he spends more time with Hooch. I remember bawling at this movie when I was little, cuz I remember Hooch gets shot when Turner and the bad guy are having a shootout,  but I forgot what the outcome was as to whether he lived or died. I don't want to give any spoilers for a 23 year old movie, but let's just say the opposite of what I remembered happened.

Mare Winningham plays the love interest who also happens to be the town vet. She owns a collie and Hooch and the collie must have gotten together (I guess Turner didn't think to neuter Hooch!) because at the end of the movie there are a bunch of little puppies. Here's the kicker: there are about four purebred collie puppies and one purebred French Mastiff. All the puppies are cute, but I'm a little confused: If a collie and a mastiff mated, I don't think you would get purebred collie puppies and a purebred mastiff would get a puppy collie/mastiff hybrid you would make up a portmanteau for and call a Colliff or a Massie. So that was really stupid. Of course when I was a kid, that never crossed my mind because I was stupid, but now I know that could never happen!

What lesson did I learn from Turner and Hooch, you know, besides always get your dog neutered? I learned that movies I loved as a child may not be as good when you're a little older, a little wiser, and a little more cynical!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Shameless Plug Time!

Hey everyone.

For the holidays, I made a Tumblr dedicated to Christmas, so please, check it out: My Christmas Tumblr

If you scroll down, you will find a list of 25 Christmas movies and you can see the ones I have seen. I will soon be watching and reviewing my annual Christmas movie and I can tell you it's on that list. I'll give you three hints:

1. It's not Elf, Love, Actually, or Home Alone as I have already reviewed those movies.
2. It's a movie I have seen.
3. It's from the 20th century.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What Do You Think This Is, A Game?

The Game
Director: David Fincher
Cast: Michael Douglas, Sean Penn, Deborah Kara Unger, James Rebhorn
Released: September 12, 1997


So I'm at the video store and I'm browsing though the "Favorites" section (only $1 for five nights!) and I pass The Game and I must have heard somebody talk about it on a recent movie podcast (which I listen to many - I should write an entry about that someday) because it had been in the back of my mind as just one of the many movies I should watch someday. I thought, hey why not? It's a psychological thriller; it could be interesting and cool. It's directed by David Fincher; he's given us some good, critically-acclaimed movies. It stars Michael Douglas and Sean Penn as brothers, that's not shabby casting.

I wasn't really sure what to expect from this movie, but the ending literally made me say "WTF!?" There will be spoilers, as I have already warned above, so be warned (again) because I don't know how to talk about this movie without giving away any spoilers.

Michael Douglas is Nicolas Van Orton, a very wealthy investment banker who is about to turn 49, the same age his father was when he committed suicide and which Nicolas witnessed. Sean Penn (who is barely in the movie) plays his brother, Conrad, who has had substance abuse problems in the past and who Nicolas rarely sees.

For his birthday, Conrad gives Nicolas a voucher to a company called CRS - Consumer Recreation Services. He can redeem it for a "game" and makes Nicolas promise that he will call them and redeem the ticket. Nicolas asks him what it means, but Conrad doesn't tell him, but only says that it will change his life and it's something he must do.

After hearing some fellow members from his fancy gentlemens' club he frequents (you know, the kind of place with lots of leather furniture where rich old white men smoke cigars and drink whiskey while discussing politics and finance) talking about this so-called "game", he becomes intrigued (especially when they will not tell him what it is, but again imply that it will change his life) and goes to the CRS offices to apply. There, a somewhat unorganized employee helps him with the application form and the process of signing up for this "game". He has to answer a survey of never-ending questions that range from the bizarre to very personal. He also has to go through a series of mental and physical tests; it's almost like he's being trained to be an astronaut or something. There's a lot of waiting time between each test and you can't blame him when he is becoming very testy and snaps at the employee, "You've already taken up my entire day!" when the employee tells him he has to wait just a few more minutes before the results are ready. After this agonizing and irritating day, Nicolas finds it has just been a waste of time when he gets a reject letter in the mail saying he is not qualified for the game.

But Nicolas knows something is up when he returns home one night and there's a creepy life-size clown doll laying in his driveway with a note in its mouth. Why he decides to bring the clown into his house and sit him on a chair in his living room, I have no idea. I would not want that creepy clown anywhere near me! He has the news on in the background and as he's looking over the clown, the newscaster suddenly starts talking like he's having a one on one conversation with Nicolas and that catches his attention and the newscaster tells him there's a camera in the clown's eye. Right now I am both totally intrigued and confused...

The note he finds in the clown's mouth has a key attached to it and the newscaster tells him that he will need to find what the key is for and he will find two more keys and it is up to him to know what the keys are for and when to use them. As the days go on, Nicolas becomes more paranoid and it seems like everyone he comes in contact with has something to do with what's going on around him.

Things start getting out of hand and Nicolas stars to fear for his life and think that CRS is after his money. Conrad confesses to him that CRS if after him too and that he owes them money and even though he paid them double, they won't leave him alone.

So after almost being drowned in a submerged car underwater, after having his home totally ransacked and destroyed, after being drugged and left in a Mexican cemetery, after having to find his way back to the States with only a little money, after (thinking) he accidently shot and killed his brother, and after leaping off the roof of a skyscraper to his death does he find really was a game all along! SURPRISE! The entire thing, from when Conrad gives him the voucher is already in place and planned. Every person that Nicholas meets along the way is in some way involved with this "game" and everything is meticulously planned to how the events will unfold. I was aware of anybody that Nicholas met along the way, like the waitress who gets caught up in his activities...I thought she might have something to do with the whole thing and she did. I just wasn't aware that EVERYBODY he encountered was in on it too. They even planned his "suicide" - when he jumped, he just happened to break through fake glass and land on a huge air mattress where all the guests for his surprise birthday party are waiting for him. Good thing he didn't jump off the other side of the building!

Why this elaborate hoax? Because Conrad thought it would help him embrace life and stop being such a hardass like their father or something, I really don't know. All I know is that if somebody ever did that to me, I would scream expletives at them and NEVER talk to them again. Does Nicholas do that? Noooo. He's not mad at all! He even flirts with the woman who played the waitress and was in on it. Ugh. Interesting premise, stupid ending.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Peach Pit, After Dark, Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, oh my!

It's time for season six of Beverly Hills, 90210! 

Dylan - Dylan was only in the first ten episodes, then he left. I had no idea Luke Perry ever left this show (I know he'll eventually come back). I don't know if he left to pursue a movie career or what. Let me remind you that his father was killed in a car explosion during the third season. Dylan vowed he would find who was responsible for it and would make him pay. He finds out that Tony Marchette orchestrated Jack McKay's death. Dylan learns that Tony has a kid by the same name who attends CU, so Dylan audits a class the kid is in and soon learns that Tony is actually Toni - a beautiful girl with loooong, curly hair. Her hair was gorgeous, but my God, that would have to be a fucking pain to deal with! Surprise, surprise, Dylan and Toni fall and love and Dylan confides in her about what her father did and she doesn't believe him at first, but when she point blank asks her father if he killed Dylan's dad, he doesn't deny it. Of course Marchettte is against his daughter's relationship with Dylan. Only Brandon and Kelly know who Toni's father is. Dylan and Toni decide to get married. I'm not sure which engagement happened quicker - theirs or Brenda and Stuart's from season four (although they never went through with the wedding). Dylan and Toni go through with the wedding despite Marchette's non-approval. He has a plan to get rid of Dylan forever and calls him the night after the wedding to ask him to stop by his house. However, Toni is upset because it's raining like crazy and the stray cat that she and Dylan took in has gone missing and Toni says she will go see what her father wants if Dylan stays behind and looks for the cat, so she takes Dylan's car and leaves. Meanwhile, Toni's bodyguard, who is very protective of her and likes and approves of Dylan, is suspicious that Marchette is up to something sinister and tries to get a hold of Dylan, but Toni has taken his phone off the hook so they can spend their wedding night without any phone calls. So he calls....where else, but the Peach Pit and gets a hold of Brandon and tells him his concerns. (Sidenote: this is the '95/'96 season. There were cell phones back then, correct? Surely these rich Beverly Hillies have cell phones, but I guess not). Brandon tries to call Dylan but of course can't get through to him, so he drives over to his house and tells Dylan he think Marchette is up to something no good and they drive to Marchette's house hoping to catch up with Toni. They are a few minutes too late when Toni (remember, she is driving Dylan's car) has to slam on the brakes when a car pulls right in front of her and a guy takes out a gun and shoots her repeatedly. Dylan's car must have tinted windows because I don't think anyone would be that stupid to confuse a girl with long, curly hair for Dylan. Dylan and Marchette have one last stand off at Toni's burial when he takes Dylan aside and hands him a gun and tells Dylan to shoot him, but Dylan denies him, saying that they are even. Well, maybe, but not really. After all, Dylan lost his father AND his wife while Marchette lost his daughter. True, he and Jack McKay were once friends, but seeing as he arranged his death, I don't think he was too upset over it. Dylan decide it's time for him to pack up and leave (he even has his cat in the cat carrier on the back of his motorcycle). We later find out towards the end of the season he is in London living with...(dot dot dot) Brenda! You know Kelly is jealous, you just know it!
A short-lived romance:

Kelly - Kelly spent her summer in New York where she met Colin, an artist who moves to Beverly Hills to be with her, although he lives in a different place while Kelly still lives in the beachhouse where she rooms with Donna and Clare. Colin is supposed to be this AMAZING artist (he was asked to paint a mural for the After Dark), but his "art" looks really cheap if you ask me. Kelly is mad at Colin for missing her 21st birthday which is held at the Rose Bowl Stadium (and Kenny G performs, which is an odd choice for a 21 year old....maybe a 71 year old, but 21?) He couldn't come because he was working on his painting for Kelly's gift and he hadn't completed it yet. At the end of the party, he stops by her house and takes her to see the painting which he has set up on the beach. I burst out laughing when I saw it. It was a huge birthday cake with an angel hovering over it. Tell me that this isn't the worst painting you've ever seen:
Oh, man, that makes me giggle everytime I see it! Turns out Collin is addicted to cocaine and when Kelly catches him high, he tells her, it's only for the holidays to give him a boost and that he'll stop, but he doesn't. Kelly starts getting into it after she spends a day with her dad and he leaves without telling her goodbye and leaves her $5000 and tells her to buy something nice. Kelly has the cocaine because Colin had given it to Valerie to hold on for him and she had given it to Kelly, saying that it was her boyfriend's, so it was her problem, so Kelly, feeling dejected, snorted it. The next few episodes she's spirals downward, skipping classes, fighting with her friends and spending all her time with Colin, always high. She finally manages to get help and is sent to a rehab center where she spends a few weeks. She and Colin break up and she tells Colin that he should get help, but he says he doesn't need any. Uh huh. One of the dealers that he and Kelly often went to, comes to Colin's place, asking Colin if he can give him a ride somewhere (not sure how he got to Colin's place in the first place...). He doesn't have any money to pay him, but says he'll give Colin this new stuff that's suppose to be awesome and hands Colin a vial of powder. Colin drives him where there's obviously some drug sellin' and usin' going on. Turns out there's a sting and Colin, alone in the car, realizes he has the drugs and gets the hell out of there which results in the police chasing him OJ-style and it's on TV and it's the funniest thing ever. "Oh my, God, I think that's Colin's van!" Brandon says to Valerie as they watch it at (where else?) the Peach Pit. Kelly is watching it in her rehab room with her roommate. Of course Colin is caught and I'll finish up his story when I talk about Valerie...

Kelly's rehab roommate is a young girl named Tara. (She's played by the same actress who played Veruca, the she-wolf who tried to kill Willow and go after Oz in season 4 of Buffy). Tara ran away from home; she is originally from Colorado, and got into drugs and living on the streets and finally got some help at the rehab place. When it was time for her to leave (and, uh, I don't think she was ready to leave!), Kelly said that she could live with her and Donna and Clare for as long as she needed. Donna and especially Clare are not very happy with this arrangement because Tara stays out her welcome. We soon find out that Tara is Loony Tunes when she gets jealous of Kelly's new boyfriend, the med student she met at the rehab center and after she goes bowling with the two of them and David, she tells the doc that she doesn't think it's in Kelly's best interest for her to see anyone at the moment. Then she calls a flower company and orders two sets of flowers. The first set it sent to Kelly and it says, "I never want to talk to you again." And it's signed from the doc. The second set is for the doc and it says, "Please never talk to me again, Love, Kelly." Then Tara, who has shoulder-length brown hair, goes to the salon and she gets a blonde bob - exactly like Kelly! (Speaking of Kelly's hairstyle, I hated it. She looked way too matronly!) That's the point where Kelly realizes something is wrong. When Kelly discovers that Tara has letters in her suitcase from her parents asking her to come home (she told Kelly that she never heard from them when she tried to contact them), she confronts Tara about them and Tara takes out a gun she had been hiding and demand Kelly take them for a drive. They end up on the edge of a cliff where Tara, who has tied up Kelly's hands, has hooked up a hose from the exhaust pipe to the inside of the car. She tells Kelly that they are both going to fall asleep and never wake up. Kelly, the oh-so-clever psychology student, uses reverse psychology and tells Tara that she wants to die, but she wants to be untied because she doesn't want to die "like this" and Tara says, "You'll just try to get away!" and Kelly assures her she won't, so Tara agrees and as soon as Kelly has her hands free, she grabs fro the gun in Tara's lap and they're both fighting over it and it goes off and shoots the top of the car. Next scene they're at a hospital where Tara has been sent to the psych ward (I think it's the same one where Emily Valentine was sent to). Tara's parents show up in case you were wondering.

Valerie - Valerie hasn't done a good job of making friends in Beverly Hills, so she and her friend, Ginger, from Buffalo who is visiting, come up with a scheme to make them like her better. She will pay Ginger if Ginger steals all her friends' things, then Valerie will expose her to her friends and think her a hero. Valerie does find herself becoming closer to the gang except for Kelly who has never trusted her completely. Even Donna, who knows that Valerie slept with her boyfriend, learns to like and become friends with Valerie. Valerie starts dating David and she wants to take their relationship slow because she doesn't want to mess it up. It's only when she is falling in love with him that everything is messed up for her when Ginger comes back to town, saying she will expose that Valerie was in on the plan for Ginger to steal her friends' stuff (she has evidence) and that she will only leave once and for all if Valerie pays her 50 grand or lets her spend one night with David ala Indecent Proposal. Since Valerie doesn't have that kind of money, she lets her friend spend the night with David. She is relieved when David tells her that nothing happened between her and Ginger because he told Ginger that he was in love with Valerie, but he broke up with her because he was disappointed that she would just let him spend the night with another girl (hmmm, I bet most guys would love that....obviously you can't beat the hotness that is T.A.T., but Ginger wasn't a bad-looking girl) and when Valerie told him she didn't have a choice, he said, "You always have a choice, Val." Heartbroken, Valerie turns to another heartbroken soul in the form of Colin. They had met years ago on a tour of Europe when they were teens. Small world, I know. She is trying to get him to stop with the drug use but we all know how that turned out. She says she will get him the best lawyer but things don't turn out so well and he is sentence to jail and Colin bails and runs away and if he doesn't show up within a certain time period, Valerie will owe a bunch of money and so will Nat because Valerie runs the After Dark which is connected to the Peach Pit so any money that Val can't pay will come out of the Peach Pit. They do find Colin, who is thankfully still in L.A. in the last episode. Speaking of Nat, he gets in contact with a long lost love and finds out he is going to be a father....uh, I don't know how old Nat is suppose to be (40 something at the youngest), but his wife-to-be (of course he proposes) looks like she's about to start menopause, just saying! 

Donna - Donna was dating Ray during the first half of the season but wants to break up with him because he's being abusive to her. He tells her that he will get help and she likes that idea but still wants to break up with him. When Ray sees that Joe, a new guy who likes Donna, has walked her home, he gets jealous (because he had been waiting for her on her porch like a creepy stalker) and hurts her by holding her arms really tight. When Joe hears her whimpering, he comes back and decks Ray several times. Ray takes it to the police and Joe and Donna are ordered to court where Donna must admit to her parents that Ray abused her and it will become public record. After a talk from Brandon, Ray admits that it was his fault and he tells Donna he is sorry and that he won't bug her ever again.

David and Donna start making videos for semi-famous singers (like Ray Pruitt) and are picked up by some major music company. Donna learns that Ray is better and is now engaged to another girl. Wow, that was quick. 

Donna decides to run for Rose Bowl Queen who will be featured as the Queen of the Rose Bowl Parade. She doesn't win, but she gets in the finals which means she can still be in the Parade. She starts dating Joe who got her the most annoying Christmas/birthday present: a squawking bird that Joe has taught to say, "Joe loves Donna!" Ugh, poor Kelly and Clare. Can you imagine your roommate having a bird that said, "JOE LOVES DONNA! JOE LOVES DONNA." No wonder Clare was happy when the bird got lost. They found it but in the end they donated it to the bird sanctuary. Speaking of 
Donna's pets, whatever happened to her dog?????? 

Joe proposes to her at the end and wants her to move back to Pennsylvania where he's from (he's at CU for football) and wants to teach football to kids, but she declines because she's from Beverly Hills, for God' sakes. She doesn't want to be a high school football coach's wife in some small town in PA! This ain't Friday Night Lights! Of course she was much more gracious when she broke up with him and did at least cry. 

David - David and Donna get back together in the last episode! He dated Valerie for awhile, but we all know how that turned out. 

David is dealing with his mother, who he and his dad found homeless on the streets of Portland last season. She tries to commit suicide, but gets help. This brings him closer to Valerie because she knows what he is going through because her own father killed himself. 

Brandon - Brandon starts dating Susan who's the editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. She's played by Emma Caufield of BtVS fame. (She played Anya). They break up at the end of the season when Susan gets an invite to go to Washington D.C. to work on the campaign (the '96 campaign, that is!) and they were supposed to go on a roadtrip across the USA. Brandon is pissed at her because he had the opportunity to intern for a newspaper in Boston that would guarantee him a job when he graduated college, but turned it down because of the road trip. Since Brandon met Susan early in the season, most of his story lines involve her. They go skiing with Steve, Clare, and David and they (Brandon and Susan), being competitive skiiers, ski down an unmarked mountain and Susan hurts her ankle and they have to stay overnight in a cave. In another episode, they win $5000 in a lottery, but they get mad at each other when the ticket is lost and they both thought the other one had it. (It later turns up in a travel book they'd been reading). And they go to visit Susan's parents who still haven't gotten over the death of Susan's older sister who died a year ago when she was hit by a car. Oh, and how could I forget? They get trapped in an elevator during a power outage with a (of course) pregnant woman who (of course) goes into labor and they (of course) have to deliver the baby. 

Brandon thought he was selling his house, but he learns the people who are buying it want to tear it down so he decides not to sell it and lives there with Valerie and Steve...and maybe some other roommates...I'm not sure. I'm glad they didn't tear down the house...I would have missed it. I love that house! 

Steve - Because of Steve's low GPA in math, he needs a tutor, so Clare tells him that she will help him. They bicker, but this leads to them dating and I must say I think that they are one of the best couples of the entire series. Yes, even better than Brenda/Dylan or Kelly/Dylan. Despite Clare being really smart and Steve being a slacker, they mesh very well together. It's funny because I LOATHED Clare when we were first introduced to her back in season 4. I just hated the way that she was always draping herself over Brandon, but now that she's stopped doing that, I actually quite like Clare. And she and Steve make a great team. 

Steve has his big 21st birthday bash at the end of the season. (The funny thing is that Ian Zeiring was probably 31 when he filmed it!) Clare's friend, a prince, hosts a big party for him on a huge yatch and they have the Goo Goo Dolls play. Much better than Kenny G, if you ask me. This is the episode where they find and catch Colin. 

Remember how Steve was adopted? Well he (and the viewing audience!) finds out who his real birth father's his adoptive father! Well, who he thought was his adoptive father is his biological father! See, Steve's dad had an affair with Steve's biological mom and when he found out she was putting the baby up for adopting, he decided to adopt his own son. He never told anyone so Samantha Sanders, Steve's adopted mom and the TV star, has no idea that Steve is her husband's real biological kid. Do you have a headache yet?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Seeing Triple

Director: Harold Ramis
Cast: Michael Keaton, Andie MacDonnell, Eugene Levy, Ann Cusack
Released: July 17, 1996

When it comes to movies about cloning, there are only two roads you can go down (besides the sci-fi road, of course). You can take the horror route or you can take the comedy route, which this movie does. I would advise you NOT to see this movie if you need things to make sense and are a very scientific person because this movie totally blows over the whole cloning process. I know nothing about science and even I know that cloning is not possible the way they do it in this movie!

This movie starts off with some of the worst opening credits I have ever seen in my life. If I ever see opening credits worse than this, I will be sure to report it, but I don't think anything could be worse than  the credits (in a non-exciting font, mind you) placed randomly on the screen (seriously, people, it's not even centered!!) with stock footage of busy Los Angeles traffic. Supposedly Doug, our main character is driving home from work, but we don't even see him (probably because Michael Keaton wasn't actually there - haven't these filmmakers ever heard of editing?) It is just so awful!

Doug has just been promoted at the construction company he works for and now he has even more responsibility. So much that he misses his daughter's dance recitals and son's baseball games and he doesn't have time to work on the house that his wife (Andie MacDonnell) has been asking him to do for awhile now. At a construction job, he runs into a scientists who can see how frustrated he is and asks Doug if he wants to make things easier. Doug agrees when he finds out that he can be cloned. He'll have the clone work at his job so he can spend more time with his family.

The cloning process in this movie is a relatively easy process. Almost too easy. Scarily easy. If cloning were as easy as it is in this movie, we should all be very afraid. The scientists takes a sample of Doug's DNA, then Doug is asked to count backwards from 100 and falls asleep for the operation...couldn't he just pull out a hair or have his blood drawn to give DNA? Oh, well. When he wakes up, the audience is to believe that is the original Doug, but it was actually his clone who has all of Doug's memories. He has a mark on him to distinguish he is a clone. He takes over Doug's job and Doug is able to spend time watching his kids and attending their events. However, Doug starts having a little TOO much free time on his hands and begs his clone to take over the home stuff so he can go back to work, but #2, as he is called, refuses, saying he was hired to oversee his job.

Doug decides to make another clone who can help out with his domestic life. #3 is very proper and a bit effeminate and is the most responsible of the clones. He lives with  #2 in a separate segment of the house. One day Doug comes home to find out that there is a  #4 who is a bit on the special side because he is a clone of a clone and therefore a little malfunctioned.

Now that he has his job and domestic life covered, Doug goes sailing with some friends for a couple days to collect his thoughts after he and his wife had a big fight. There's been a lot of miscommunication (gee, you think?) because of the multiple Dougs. Now I saw this movie when it first came out and I swore there was a scene where she finds out about the clones. She never does, but I must have been thinking of the scene where she encounters all three of them (separately, of course) in one night. While Doug is gone, he puts #3 in charge of domestic duty which means sleeping in the same bed as his wife. His first rule for the clones is that nobody sleeps with his wife and tells #3 to pretend he is sick if she's in the mood, which she is and #3 sleeps with her despite doing his best to act like he is horribly sick. She goes downstairs to get a midnight snack where #2  is trying to sneak away from the kitchen which he has snuck into to grab some food. She sees him and thinks he has come down to join her and they end up going at it on the kitchen counter. Even #4 gets some action. I can understand her not knowing about the first two clones, but she's gotta be a little suspicious about how....stupid #4 is. This scene is played for laughs with all the clones trying not to let her see them if she is with another clone, but if you think about it, it's rather quite creepy. She has sex with three different men who look like her husband, but aren't her husband.

This movie came out seven years after Back to the Future II where Michael J. Fox played multiple characters of his future family and three years after Dave where Kevin Kline plays two different characters, so having one actor play different characters in one scene was something the film studios seemed to be having fun with. (And I believe The Nutty Professor was the same year and The Parent Trap remake came out two years later). This technique has gotten better with time, but you could definitely tell when they were using trick cameras because the screen would look a bit unnatural during the scenes where Michael Keaton was doubled (or tripled or quadrupled).

I could not remember what happened to the clones at the end of the movie when Doug realizes he doesn't need them anymore. I knew in this comedy they wouldn't be set back to the lab and "destroyed". They move down to Florida and start a pizza business. I guess this movie didn't make enough money to garner a sequel.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Argo see this movie now!

Director: Ben Affleck
Cast: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, Victor Garber, John Goodman, Alan Alda
Released: October 12, 2012
Viewed in theaters: November 5, 2012

Ben Affleck, I forgive you. I forgive you for Pearl Harbor, for Gigli, for Daredevil. (I would forgive you for Armageddon, but, uh, I kinda like that movie). I forgive you for your relationships with, ugh, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez. Even during your not so great moments, I have always liked you...perhaps even a little more than your BFF, Matt. How can you not like somebody who was in the music video for After 7's "Can't Stop" and who settled down with Jennifer Garner, an actress I like (and how nice of you to give a role in your new movie to her television father!) Plus with each movie you direct, I like it better than the last one!

I know Ben Affleck isn't reading this, but perhaps I have the attention of you, dear reader, and if you have not seen this movie, then I very much urge you to (Ar)go see it now! It's based on a true story, that, to be honest with you, I had never heard of until recently when I was listening to a few podcasts that were talking about this film and that's how I became aware of the movie and the events that happened on which it's based.

It's a small, but remarkable story within the Iran hostage crisis which started on November 4, 1979 when militants storm the U.S. Embassy in Tehran because the U.S. supported the recently overthrown Shah. There's a brief history lesson as a prologue to the movie which makes things very helpful and easier to understand. It's a scary scene because there's a mob of militants and when you see they have broken the gates and are coming into the building, you feel their fear. Classified documents are being destroyed and shredded as fast as they can, tear gas canisters are being thrown at the militants, the Embassy staff are concerned about the Iranians who are already there to apply for U.S. Visas.

Since there's no place to escape, most of the Embassy are taken as hostages, but six manage to escape before the mob makes it in the building and find refugee in the home of the Canadian ambassador (played by (real life Canadian!) Victor Garber, Affleck's TV father-in-law, haha!) and his wife and Iranian housekeeper, who suspects that his house guests are hiding out since they have been there two months and never go out.

Affleck plays CIA specialist Tony Mendez who is in charge of getting the six of them out of the country safely. A couple of ideas are thrown out on the table but none of them seem plausible. When Tony is watching Planet of the Apes with his son, he gets the idea to pose as a Hollywood associate producer and create fake names and Hollywood professions for the six hostages for them to be a Hollywood production team scouting out different areas for a sci-fi movie they are making, Argo. Tony believes this is the best bad idea they have.

With the help of a big shot Hollywood producer (Alan Arkin) and John Chambers, the makeup artist for Planet of the Apes who has worked with the CIA before (John Goodman), Tony picks out a script and gives each hostage a name and profession - scriptwriter, location scout, director, etc. Even though the movie is fake (well, the script was real!), and will never be made (let's face it - this movie is way more interesting than what the actual Argo would have been!), they still want everything to look as authentic as possible. While the producer is more concerned about choosing a script that would be a hit ("If I'm making a fake movie, I want a fake hit!"), Mendez chooses a script that calls for a location that could be set in the Middle East and Argo, a sci-fi fantasy movie that calls for a desert location is their best bet for that. They also set up a casting party and an ad and article in Variety.

Also with the help from the CIA and Canadian government, Tony gets six fake passports. Their biggest obstacle will be getting past airport security. When a person enters the country they are given a white copy of their documented flight while the airport keeps the yellow copy so they can check when the person flew in. The six Americans are given (fake) white documents, but Tony instructs them to play dumb and tell the airport employees they don't know why they don't have them.

Even though I already knew the outcome of the story, they still did a great job of keeping you in suspense and on the edge of your seat. I haven't felt my heart pound that fast since I watched an episode of Breaking Bad! (Speaking of which, Walter White himself is in this movie!) In an odd way, I was reminded of United 93 in that both movies are based on true events and even though one movie has a successful ending and the other has a tragic ending, both movies made you worried (or hopeful in the case of United 93) that the opposite of what really happened would be the outcome.

I predict a Best Picture nod come Oscar season!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Peas and Carrots

Forrest Gump
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Tom Hanks, Robin Wright, Sally Field, Gary Sinise
Released: July 6, 1994

Oscar nominations:
Best Picture (won)
Best Director - Robert Zemeckis (won)
Best Actor - Tom Hanks (won)
Best Supporting Actor - Gary Sinise (lost to Martin Landau for Ed Wood)
Best Adapted Screenplay - Eric Roth (won)
Best Cinematography (lost to Legends of the Fall)
Best Art Direction (lost to The Madness of King George)
Best Sound (lost to Speed)
Best Editing (won)
Best Sound Editing (lost to Speed)
Best Visual Effects (won)
Best Make-up (lost to Ed Wood)
Best Score - Alan Silvestri (lost to Hans Zimmer for The Lion King)

Ah, remember 1994? If you're a big movie buff then you know there were two big movies, both nominated for Best Picture Oscars that are adored by many a movie fan. They are (as if I even need to tell you!), of course, Pulp Fiction and The Shawkshank Redemption. I've only seen the former once, but I know it's a favorite among hardcore film aficionados, but the latter is in my top five favorite movies of all time and it's the movie I would have preferred to win the Oscar that year. A lot of people say it's overrated, but so are a lot of other movies I love and so is Forrest Gump. Oh, Forrest Gump, you two and a half hour film of historical documentation funfacts, sentimental love story between a lovable dim-witted guy and his beloved childhood friend, Jenny,  every #1 Billboard hit from three decades, and one of the most quotable movies ever....EVER? EVER!....I do not really much care for you, but I do understand the significance you hold in the place of every moviegoer's heart.

Even though I don't care for the movie, you can't help but like Forrest. Hell, the Academy loved him too as it gave Tom Hanks his second consecutive Oscar. Sure, there are actors who have won twice, but never twice in a row.

Jenny and Forrest...just like
peas and carrots! 
The movie is on the long side because it documents the life of Forrest Gump from childhood to adulthood. Who is Forrest Gump? He is a native of Alabama, born in the generation of the Baby Boomers with a less than average IQ, but he has witnessed/been part of some of the world's biggest events from his lifetime. (According to the movie, he's the reason Nixon got caught for Watergate).

The movie starts with Forrest sitting at a bus stop and telling a woman about his childhood and how he had to wear leg braces to straighten out his spine. As the movie progresses, we see different people sitting next to him on the bench as others get on their buses. Some of them are amused by his stories and some seem a little perplexed as some of his stories seem a little far fetched. I can't blame them as the man has met some pretty historical figures in his time: Elvis, John Lennon, Kennedy...

He's raised by his single mother (Sally Field) who tells him to never let other people think less of him. There's a sad scene of his first day of grade school and when he gets on the bus, nobody will sit with him except for a little blonde girl named Jenny who becomes Forrests' first real friend.

Forrest is given a scholarship to play football at the University of Alabama because the coach sees him running from bullies one day and is impressed by how fast he runs. After graduating, he enlists in the army and is a soldier in the Vietnam War. He meets a fellow soldier named Bubba who has a shrimping business back home and there's an amusing scene where Bubba tells Forrest all the different ways you can have shrimps...fried shrimp, coconut shrimp, shrimp scampi...he also meets Lieutenant Dan (Gary Sinise) who is angry at Forrest saving him because he lost both his legs and wanted to die with dignity.

His relationship with Jenny (the "peas" to his "carrots") is ongoing throughout the film. When he sees her kissing other guys, he gets jealous and when he sees her being hit by other guys, he gets angry and proceeds to beat them up. With failed attempts, he asks Jenny if he can be her boyfriend or marry her, but from growing up in an abusive household, Jenny doesn't think she is good enough to be with someone who will treat her well. They eventually get married later (but she eventually runs out on him) and the movie turns up its schmaltzy dial when Jenny is diagnosed with a terminal illness and dies. Don't worry, Forrest gets to say a final good-bye to her. She reveals to him that she has a son named Forrest Jr. and it takes Forrest a moment to get that it's his child. I totally forgot that young Forrest is played by Haley Joel Osment, five years before he would see dead people!

I would not be surprised if there were 100 different songs in this movie. I don't think there's ever a second where there isn't a top charting hit from either the '50s, '60s, or '70s playing. They'll play a minute of a song, then immediately go into another one. Most of the songs they play for a particular scene are pretty obvious ("For What It's Worth" by Buffalo Springfield is played during the time spent in Vietnam. You say you don't know that song? Yes, you do, trust me.) Or they are too literal. During the whole time Forrest is running across the country, they play songs like "Running on Empty" by Jackson Brown and "You Can Go Your Own Way" by Fleetwood Mac. Get it? Because he's running and he's going his own way. But hey, at least most of the songs are pretty good.

People who grew up the same time around Forrest (like my parents) probably like this movie a bit more than their younger generation because they were around for all the political, socioeconomic, and pop culture events that Forrest himself lives through and experiences. Since I wasn't around for any of those decades, I can't relate to knowing what it's like to live during them. Give me a movie set in the '80s, '90s, and '00s and I will probably clap my hands in glee about all the stupid references I get. (Jellies! Slap bracelets! Sparkly butterfly hair clips!) And I think we can all agree that movie would have the best soundtrack ever! (Michael Jackson! Madonna! N'Sync! Eminem!) I really want to watch that movie now....

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Stupid drama kids

Director: Todd Graff
Cast: Anna Kendrick and a bunch of other people you've never heard of
Released: July 25, 2003

I saw this movie many years ago when it had just been released on DVD and when I saw it was on Netflix Instant, decided to watch it again. It's a cute little film with musical numbers that aren't contrived and fit in with the context of the movie.

Camp Ovation is a musical/drama summer camp for kids aging from elementary to high school. (They can also play sports, but nobody cares about that!) They are involved in different productions and at the end there is a huge show for parents and family members to watch their children sing or perform in plays. A lot of the kids are somewhat fairly talented and the camp is for young people who are serious about wanting to perform as a career.

Most of the main characters are high-school age and they have been to the camp before, so they are good friends and know each other. Vlad is the new kid at camp. He's also the only straight guy. (Or maybe not because he does flirt with one of his roommates...) Dude, I know you're straight, but that still doesn't excuse you for going to a musical camp and not knowing who freaking Stephen Sondheim is! That's like going to film camp and not knowing who Steven Speilberg is!

Is Vlad good-looking with killer abs? Yes, yes he is. (And yes he does!) Does Vlad have a good voice? Yes, he does! And he sings Wild Horses! He sings WILD HORSES! That is Buffy and Angel's song! (Season 3, Epsisode 20: The Prom) So by all accounts, I should like him, right? Wrong! Unfortunately, Vlad is a huge douche. He is such a player. Like I said, he "flirts" with Michael, one of his (obviously gay) roommates. He always takes his shirt off when Michael's around him and asks him how he knows he's gay if he's never been with a girl. Vlad, you are lucky you are good-looking, because you are so stupid! Because Michael is blinded by Vlad's killer abs, he sleeps with Dee (one of the best female singers at the camp, but apparently has no gaydar). Vlad makes out with her to prove to her that he's not  gay, but Ellen, the girl who likes him and he has been having a "summer romance" with sees them and runs out crying. Oh, and besides Ellen and Dee, he also had a thing with the mean slutty girl, Jill. Oh, and it turns out that he has had a girlfriend the entire time he's been whoring around the whole camp...she comes up to the camp just to break up with him.

Ellen (the main female lead) is soooo stupid. After Vlad's girlfriend breaks up with him, he asks Ellen if they can start over and is interested in dating her when they return home and she's all smiles and says yes and the movie ends with her, Vlad, and Michael swimming in the lake. Um, okay, he's just going to cheat on you when you get back just like he cheated on his girlfriend and just like he cheated on you when you thought you were a couple at camp. Once a player, always a player!

So it may seem that I hate the entire young cast so far, but I don't. I just hate the male and female leads. Anna Kendrick plays Fritzi and there's probably a reason why she's the only one who went on to a better career (Twilight movies notwithstanding but at least she doesn't play Bella or a glittering vampire) while the other people in this movie are not famous. She is the best thing about this movie. Fritzi is Jill's little slave, always getting and doing what Jill wants. Fritzi gets advice from the new camp counselor who tells her that if she wants a good part in one of the musicals, she should just go for it, so she gives Jill food poisoning and ends up taking her place in The Ladies Who Lunch. 

Bert, the camp counselor, is a has-been playwright who hasn't had a hit in ages and tells the kids that they are all wasting their time, that they will never become anybody. Harsh, but true. I mean, it happened in real life! None of these kids went on to anything else besides Anna Kendrick. That's probably what the statistic of school for the arts / camps like these are like. Of course, Bert has a change of heart and isn't so cynical anymore when the kids find one of his songs that he's never used before and starts singing along with them when he discovers they're playing it. Actually, it was one of my favorite moments of the movie.

As this is technically a musical, the soundtrack is freaking amazing! I even own it. I love, love, love, love all the songs. It's hard to pick a favorite: I love the first song, "How Shall I See You Through My Tears" but I also love the end song, "For the Want of a Nail". And I do love "Century Plant, but then there's "The Ladies Who Lunch" which is really funny the way Anna sings it. And as much as I hate Vlad, he does sing "Wild Horses" which is an amazing the soundtrack is awesome. Better than the actual movie!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Season 5 of Beverly Hills, 90210

I recently finished watching season five of the show named after everyone's favorite ZIP code. Here we go:

Kelly - Kelly's mom lands a deal for Kelly and gets her on the cover of 17. Okay, I'm sorry, but there is no way they would ever put a no name on the cover of 17 (I guess they did that with a few of the winners of ANTM but they were the lowest ever selling issues!), no matter how pretty she was. Kelly is a pretty girl, but she's not like model beautiful or anything. Right before the magazine cover comes out, Kelly is at a party where the fire code is being abused and because of that, a fire breaks out and Kelly and another girl (who happens to be a lesbian who will later tell Kelly she has feelings for her) get trapped in the basement and Kelly's back and neck get scarred and she has to wear bandages for a long time...much longer than the time Andrea was hit by a car and was in a bodycast. Because of what happened to her, Kelly gets involved in a little cult that's run by a creepy professor in a wheelchair and breaks up with Brandon because that's what he told her to do. Brandon and Dylan find a guy who used to be involved in the same cult before he got out and they have him talk some sense into Kelly. 

Remember how season 3 was all about Dylan having to choose between Brenda and Kelly? Well, this season towards the end was all about Kelly having to choose between Dylan and Brandon. Dylan, realizing his feelings for Kelly and believing they are "soul mates" invites Kelly on a trip around the world and Brandon proposes to her. Kelly denies both, instead declaring, "I choose me!" 

Andrea - Andrea and Jesse (who is now a regular because the guy who plays him is featured in the credits which he really shouldn't be...) are having marital problems. They can't agree on anything and are always fighting. While at the laundermat with Hannah (her daughter) she meets a med student named Peter who thinks Andrea is a baby-sitter. They exchange numbers, but Andrea, feeling guilty, throws it away. She meets Peter again at the laundermat and he gives his number to her again. She never calls him, but when Hannah is sick and she and Jesse have to rush her to the hospital, guess who is their doctor? That's right...Peter! Andrea finds out that Peter himself is married and the four of them end up on a double date with Peter flirting with Andrea right in front of Jesse and his wife....awkward! Andrea gets a job at the hospital and she and Peter start making out like it's Grey's Anatomy and they get a hotel and start having an affair. Dylan discovers this and tells Andrea that he knows. In the end, we find out that Jesse had cheated on Andrea and Andrea tells him that she cheated on him...and they end up staying together. They move and Andrea will no longer be part of the show....which I don't really care. Her character really sucked once she went to college...she was never around any of the original members. 

Steve - The one big storyline for Steve is when he has to do community service after the fire started at the frat party he was in charge of. He volunteers at a senior citizen home and meets Milton Berle who plays a guy named Saul who has severe Alzheimer's. At first everything is fine, but when Steve takes him to the Peach Pit to meets his friends, he keeps forgetting things and says the same joke over and over. Oh, and I think that was actually from the fourth season's season finale, but I forgot to mention it then, but Steve sees this hot chick and picks her up, only to find out it's a dude....oh Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve, Steve! Luckily only Brandon knows about that...

Valerie - After Shannen Dorherty left the show, Tiffani Amber Thiesen came aboard the show as Valerie Malone, a childhood friend of Brenda's who grew up in Minnesota, but had been living in Buffalo and was going to stay with the Walshes because her dad had committed suicide (but I know that's not exactly what happened because I accidently came upon some spoilers). Why she's moving all the way across the country with a family she hasn't seen in forever, I have no idea. At first, Valerie comes off as sweet and innocent, but we learn that she likes to smoke pot and sleep with Brenda's ex-boyfriend! She also sleeps with Ray. I can't remember is she slept with Steve, but she went out with him many times. Valerie helps Dylan get his money back when he finds out that the couple who stole his money last season are in Mexico.

Brandon - Brandon is running for Student Body President and of course since he is Mr. All-American, he wins. His running mate is Josh, a student who writes for the college paper and hated Brandon last year, but now they are all buddy-buddy. They were at the Peach Pit the night of the election and mere minutes before the ballots are to be tallied, Josh decides to go somewhere and just as he is pulling out of the parking lot, his little car is smashed by a huge semi and goes up in flames. I won't lie when I say that made me laugh. The whole thing was just so ridiculous and contrived. Oh, and speaking of the Peach Pit, it annoys me because during the first three season they used the FRONT DOOR to get in (like any normal person would do), but starting in the fourth season everyone enters through the back door and goes through the kitchen. What the huh? That just bugs me so much. 

Brandon is getting into all kinds of social controversy being student body president. In one episode, Brandon finds himself in a bit of a pickle when CU's chancellor (Clare Arnold's dad) invites his friend, a dignitary from the made up country Selanesia (I would love to see a list of made up countries from other TV shows and movies! They could teach a brand new geography class just based on that!) Protestors/human right activists are not happy because this man is the reason so many people in his country have been murdered/treated horribly. Clare tells Brandon that none of this is true, but it just so happens the school's janitor is from that country and showed Brandon his scars to prove bad things were done to him. Brandon has to decide between pleasing the chancellor or doing what he think is the right thing to do. And in another episode, an orator who is known to have said anti-semetic sentiments is scheduled to speak to the school, Jewish students, including Andrea, protest. 

And if you thought you saw the last of Emily Valentine, you were wrong. She had been studying in Paris, but sets up time to spend with Brandon when she's in L.A. on a layover, thus making Kelly jealous...why I don't know because Emily Valentine is...not as attractive as Kelly...

The students of CU could audition to be on Jeopardy because they were doing a college tournament, so Brandon and Clare have a rivalry about who is the better contestant, but of course Andrea beats their scores and ends up on the show.

Oh, and how could I forget? This was the last season for Jim and Cindy Walsh as Jim got transfered to Tokyo and sold their where will Brandon and Valerie live next season? Speaking of Brandon and Valerie, the very last scene of the last episode of season 5 is of them making out...even though Brandon always comments how he thinks of her as a sister. Then again, he once told Kelly he thought of her as a sister too....makes you wonder if he's ever had any "brotherly" thoughts towards Brenda! Eww...

Donna - Donna and Kelly get a new roommate, Clare Arnold, after David moves out. Donna's mom sets her up on a date with a rich boy named Griffin. They get along great until Griffin whisks her away to Catalina Island and tries to sleep with her. While Donna was dating Griffin, she met Ray Pruitt (played by Jamie Walters of How Do You Talk to an Angel fame) who is a blue-collar kind of guy who drives a truck and does construction. At first he doesn't like Donna because she and Clare are doing a video project where they're interviewing guys around the campus and asking them questions to make then look dumb and Ray sees through this and gets angry at her. Donna apologizes to him and they start a relationship to Donna's mom's dismay, who even offers Ray money if he'll stop seeing Donna. He takes the check, but only to prove to Donna that her mom gave him it and rips it up because he only cares about Donna and not the money. We learn that Ray has an alcoholic mother who has to be sent home one evening from the Peach Pit when she's about to watch Ray perform (he's a musician), so Clare and David escort him out and she tells him that he's sleeping with Valerie...because she knows about that. Speaking of Ray being a musician and being played by Jamie Walters, there was an episode that revolved around the gang trying to get in to see the Rolling Stones perform at the Rose Bowl and Ray and Donna volunteer as vendors and Ray starts singing Hold On which is a Jamie Walters song from 1994 and I start freaking out because I LOVE that song!
Donna nearly gets raped by some random creep-o dude, but is saved by David. She is pushed down the stairs in the season finale by Ray. 

David - David starts dating Clare when they meet because of their interests in video production. Clare, being Donna's new roommate, doesn't know that David is Donna's ex-boyfriend. At first, Donna is weirded out by it, but when she starts dating again, she is okay with is and David and Donna become friends again. Clare still has a crush on Brandon, but she isn't flinging herself at him like she used to last season so that makes her a lot more tolerable. He and Claire make a sex tape and Donna's dad ends up watching it because Donna thought it was a project for her video class and her parents wanted to see it. Luckily her uptight mom didn't see it! David is roommates with a guy named Lenny who is a bit of a shady character and is listed as a sex offender for something...I can't remember. When a girl is raped on campus, everyone starts suspecting Lenny after he is questioned by the police, but it turned out he was innocent and Brandon helps him transfer to an all-male school. It turns out the rapist is some guy who works at the cafeteria and he goes through Donna's purse and gets her address and goes to her house and almost rapes her, but David manages to save her, to there's some sparks between them again, but nothing happens. Oh yeah, David broke up with Clare for a bit, but they got back together. She was really jealous that David still had feelings for Donna (which he does). 

David goes with Donna to Portland (where Ray has been touring) because his mom lives in Portland and he finds out that she's no longer living in her apartment and hasn't paid rent in three months, so he has his dad come up and they find out that she's been living on the street because she's bi-polar or something. They take her to the hospital, but I don't remember what happened to her after that. I guess they gave her some kind of help. 

Dylan - Last season on BH 90210, Dylan was schemed out of all his money by a woman who had ties with his dad and her husband. He goes into an alcoholic spiral because he has no money left in the bank and hasn't told his friends or anybody that he was scammed. He is not very happy when he finds out about Brandon and Kelly and starts sleeping with Valerie, but they are never a serious couple. Due to his financial troubles, Dylan gets into some heavy drugs and is put into the hospital after he crashes his car and has a trippy dream (awful episode!)