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!)