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!