Monday, December 28, 2009

"I will have poetry in my life. And adventure. And love. Love, above all....

...Not the artful, postures of love, but love that over-throws life. Unbiddable, ungovernable, like a riot in the heart and nothing to be done, come ruin or rapture. Love as there has never been in a play."

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!

Mine was good. Santa brought me Julie & Julia, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and The Proposal. I also got a couple Border's gift cards so that I can buy myself some more movies :o)

Over the past couple weeks, I have watched a lot of movies, some were bad and some very good.

Scotland, PA and How To Be were both so boring that I could not get past the first half hour of either of them. So, that is all I will say about that.

In my ongoing quest to see everything Bradley Cooper, I watched All About Steve, even though it got horrible reviews. I would not say it was the worst movie I have ever seen, but it was not good. Parts of it were funny and I did get through the whole thing, but it was just...stupid. There really is no other word for it. It makes me a little sad when good actors, like Cooper and Sandra Bullock, make crappy movies.

I also watched Duplicity, which was not horrible but was not very good either. It jumped around a lot and was one of those movies where you do not know who is deceiving whom until the very end. Julia Roberts was just nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award for this movie and I do not really understand why. Like I said, it was not a bad movie, but I think she has been better in other movies.

Inglourious Basterds is another movie I did not really enjoy. I mean, it was fine, it was not horrible, but I was just really unimpressed by the whole thing. And, I know it was Quentin Tarantino, but I really do not need to see people being scalped.

So those were the bad movies, now onto the good movies...

Last Monday, I finally saw Fantastic Mr. Fox and it was everything I hoped it would be. It was my favorite Roald Dahl book as a kid and I was so excited to see this movie before it even came out. The animation was awesome and the story was just as good as I remembered. George Clooney and Meryl Streep as Mr. and Mrs. Fox and Jason Schwartzman as their son Ash were great and I just thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. I highly recommend that everyone see this movie.

I also went to a screening of It's Complicated at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute on Monday and I thought that it was HILARIOUS. I laughed so hard I cried. Meryl Streep is amazing. To go from being Julia Child to Mrs. Fox to Jane, a woman divorced for 10 years having a secret affair with her ex-husband, all in one year...she is amazing. It did not get great reviews and it was a little long, but at no point was I not being entertained. And I got to stare at Hunter Parrish a lot, so that was a bonus!

And finally, Saturday night, I saw Sherlock Holmes with my brother, his fiancee and our friends. It was definitely entertaining and I enjoyed it, but it was not as amazing as I was hoping it would be. I also found it hard to understand Robert Downey Jr's British accent at times. However, the action sequences were fun and the relationship between Downey's Holmes and Jude Law's Dr. Watson made me laugh a lot, so overall, I will say I liked it.

Golden Globe and SAG Nominations have also come out in the past couple weeks (links are at the bottom). I usually try to see at least all of the Best Picture nominees, so I still need to see Up In The Air, Nine, The Hurt Locker, Avatar and An Education. I loved Precious and you already know how I feel about Inglourious Basterds. I also still really want to see The Messenger, Me and Orson Welles, Brothers, The Young Victoria, A Single Man and Invictus. Think I can do it before the end of the month? :o)

The empty TV schedule lately has clearly given me lots of free time to watch all these movies.

It has also made it a little easier to be single during the holidays. I have tried really hard to stay positive this season, but it is hard when you are surrounded by couples. I have been single for a very long time, but I do know that I can be very picky. What do you expect when you are constantly comparing prospects to Dr. Pomatter, Jack Bourdain or Noah Calhoun? And I realize that none of these characters are perfect men, but it definitely does not help the situation.

I watch too many movies and TV shows, I know this. I want my life to be a fairytale and it is most definitely not. So I will keep getting lost in these other worlds until it becomes one. Maybe I have set my standards and expectations too high. Maybe it is unrealistic. But why shouldn't I get everything I have ever dreamed of? I can wait.


I hope that everyone has enjoyed their 2009 and has an even more FABulous 2010! Happy New Year and Happy Movie Watching!


Golden Globe Nominations:

SAG Nominations:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Repeat the sounding joy...

I will start by saying that I have seen both National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story and, while I will say that they are both good movies, they are not on my list of favorite Christmas movies.

Again, these are in no particular order and it is a complete coincidence that there are four :o)

To start, there is Love Actually:

When I first saw this movie in the theater, I actually did not like it very much. I just felt that there were too many loose ends that were not tied up at the end and some of the plots were just a little too cheesy. The more times that I watched it though, the more I grew to love it for what it actually was...a movie about love and hope and all things Christmas. It is not supposed to be some Oscar winning piece, it is a feel-good movie that succeeds in putting you in an automatic good mood every time you watch it. It also has one of my favorite opening lines:

"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge, they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion love actually is all around."

I think that is a good thing to remember at Christmas-time.

Next on my list is Little Women:

I am, of course, referring to the Winona Ryder version. This is not technically a Christmas movie, but it begins with the March women celebrating Christmas and it always evokes the feelings of the holiday for me. Not only do I love the score for this movie, but it also gave me two of my favorite Christmas songs: "Ding Dong! Merrily On High" and "Here We Come A-wassailing."

It also shows a family that, no matter how much money they had, they were always willing to help others who were less fortunate. A family that loved each other through all of life's ups and downs. And while it has period aspects to it, the girls deal with things that all women experience. From getting married or losing loved ones, to figuring out what it is you are supposed to do with your life. I have watched this movie so many times I cannot even remember when was the first time. Sometimes I watch it when I need a good cry. And sometimes I watch it when I need something comfortable and familiar.

Although, I never like the way the movie ends. I always want Jo to end up with Laurie instead of annoying Amy. I mean, really, who turns down Christian Bale?! :o)

The third movie on my list is Rent:

This is another movie that is not technically a "Christmas movie," but it starts and ends around the holidays and I always love watching it this time of year.

I had never seen the play, but after seeing the movie I bought the soundtrack and, as my former roommates can attest, I loved it so much that I listened to it non-stop for about a month. It was literally the only thing I listened to, over and over again, every day. I have since seen the play and loved it just as much as the movie.

Even for someone who has a loving family, this movie always helps me to remember that my friends are also part of that family. And that everyone has a family, even when it does not include the people that you would expect. The movie has a lot more depth to it than that, but all of the sub-plots really come back to this main theme. Families do not all look the same and you should not judge those that look different than your own, or what you think a family should look like.

How do you measure a year? Measuring it in love seems as good a way as any.

And finally, The Family Stone:

I did not like this movie very much either the first time I saw it. I do not like scenes where the characters are in awkward situations, it makes me feel physically uncomfortable and I just really do not like watching things that make me feel that way. There is one big scene in this movie that is hard for me to watch, which is why I did not like it very much the first time. However, the more I watched it, the easier it was to get passed this one scene and I found I really enjoyed the rest of the movie. Also, once you know the ending, you can better understand why the characters react to certain things the way that they do. My favorite part is definitely towards the end when Meredith gives the family her Christmas gift, which leads to her break-down and subsequent fight between Everett and Ben. I can watch it over and over again and it makes me laugh every single time.

Mostly I think I like this movie so much because I have always wanted a big family. I come from a relatively small family and seeing movies like this makes me want to have a lot of kids. Big families are kind of like their only little community and there is always someone there for you. And no matter how you grow up and act in the real world, when you are with your family you are forced to be yourself because they do not allow you to pretend to be anything else.

Of course, before I have this big family of mine I first need to find a man...but that is beside the point :o)

Of the four movies, this is not my favorite, but there is just something about this movie that I love. The thing that you get from this movie, and really all these movies, is that no matter how much you fight with your family or how sarcastic you are with each other, your family is always there for you. They will call you out when you are doing something they disagree with but if you are in trouble, they will be there no questions asked.

Christmas is not just about family. Although, for me, that is a very important aspect of the holiday. Christmas is about the birth of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is about the love that Jesus gave to us unconditionally and about sharing that love with the people that we love. Regardless of what you believe, or how you celebrate the holiday, that is where it all began.

There are definitely more Christmas movies that I enjoy, but these are the ones that affect me in the greatest way.

I hope you have continued to enjoy the magic of the season and that this magic follows you into the new year!



Thursday, December 3, 2009

Love and joy come to you...

In the spirit of the holiday season, I have decided to talk about some of my favorite holiday movies and TV episodes. When I started to write this I did not realize how much I had to say, so I ended up having to split this into two separate blogs.

So let's start with my favorite Christmas TV episodes. These are in no particular order :o)

First up is "An Echolls Family Christmas" from the first season of Veronica Mars:

The reason this is on my list is because it is a Christmas episode, but it also happens to be one of my favorite episodes of the series. Logan hosts a poker party at his house but when Weevil wins the $5,000 pot it mysteriously disappears. Weevil starts taking things from the other players (ie. laptops, watches, Faberge eggs) until finally Veronica is asked to help track down the money. Meanwhile, Logan's parents are throwing their annual Christmas party and Keith is asked to figure out who is stalking Logan's movie-star father. Fabulously witty dialogue, a good mystery and Harry Hamlin & Lisa Rinna as Logan's parents make for a good time all-around. If I listed all of my favorite lines from this episode I would pretty much have to write the entire script, so you might as well just go watch it yourself :o) Here is a clip to get you started:

My next choice is "Noel" from season two of The West Wing:

The Christmas after Josh is shot, Leo makes him see a psychiatrist about the events of the last three weeks: Toby hired musicians for the foyer, an Air Force pilot disobeyed orders, Yo-Yo Ma performed at the White House, and Josh managed to badly cut his hand. All of these things bring up issues of post traumatic stress that Josh has not dealt with since the shooting. Again, this episode is not so much about Christmas as it is about Josh, but the writing on this show is so good that I had to put it on my list.

At the end of the episode Leo says something to Josh and it is one of my favorite line from the entire series:

"This guy's walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, 'Hey you, can you help me out?' The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, 'Father, I'm down in this hole can you help me out?' The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, 'Hey, Joe, it's me, can you help me out?' And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guys says, 'Are you stupid? Now we're both down here!" The friend says, "Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out.'"

My third episode is "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" from the second season of Grey's Anatomy:

Christmas brings a range of reactions at Seattle Grace, from excess cheer to acting like a Scrooge. Burke and Yang have a heart transplant for a boy who does not believe he deserves it, which brings up their different philosophical perspectives. The interns help Karev study for his medical boards which he failed the first time. Izzie gets mad at first that everyone is helping him (seeing as Alex cheated on her with one of the nurses), but Meredith likens him to "Dirty Uncle Sal" and eventually Izzie comes around in the spirit of the holiday. When Alex asks her why she is helping him she says one of my favorites lines of the series:

Also in this episode, Derek is depressed and admits to Addison that Meredith was not just a fling and that he was in love with her and is still. He tells her that he has been depressed because "Christmas makes you want to be with people you love."

And finally we have "So-Called Angels" from My So-Called Life:

This episode always makes me cry and as a teenager I really did not like it because it depressed me so much and I did not fully understand what it was about. Watching it later in life, I realize how much it truly affected me and was a part of who I was and who I have become. The episode starts with no one really appreciating the true meaning of Christmas. At one point, Angela questions her parents about why they do not go to church to which her younger sister replies: "Do we have to keep talking about religion? It's Christmas!" Rickie is getting beat up at home, has no where to go and ends up at an abandoned warehouse with other homeless teenagers. Angela is concerned about him and tracks him down with them help of a mysterious homeless girl. Rayanne and Sharon volunteer for the teen help-line and Brian's parents leave him home alone while they go on a cruise over the holidays.

I love this episode because it is about helping others who are less fortunate than you. It is about being thankful for your family and friends and all the things in life with which God has blessed us. The episode ends with the family all ending up in a church together, not "finding God" but more, realizing the importance of being together and inviting others into their home who have no where else to go. It is about the true spirit of Christmas, which I think gets lost among the all the shopping and commercialism of the season.

It helps remind us that the holidays are not about presents, but about being with the people in our lives who are most important to us.

This is my absolute favorite time of year and I hope this helps you see why.

Do you disagree with my selections? Or have any of your own to add? Let me know in the comments section below.

I will try to get up the list of my favorite Christmas movies sometime in the next week. Until then I hope you enjoy this magical holiday season!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Viva La Robotolution!"

I hope everyone had a very Happy Thanksgiving! The Christmas music has now started playing in my house. I try my best to wait until after Thanksgiving, although to be honest, I could listen to it year-round. I have just over 6 hours on my computer, but several songs are repeated, including five different versions of O Holy Night. :o)

Anyways, this is what I have been watching lately...

Because of my love for Kristen Bell, I went to see Astro Boy. While it did not get very good reviews, I thought it was cute and worth seeing. I probably would not have seen this if Bell had not been in it because I tend to not have a huge desire to see most animated movies, at least not in theaters, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I also rented Serious Moonlight OnDemand before it came out in theaters. It's about a woman (Meg Ryan) who finds out her husband (Timothy Hutton) is in love with another woman (Kristen Bell), so she duct tapes him to the toilet right before their home is invaded by burglars. It was written by the late Adrienne Shelley who also wrote and directed Waitress. It was not as good as Waitress and it was a kinda weird, but definitely interesting.

From my Netflix queue I got The Ugly Truth, and while I found parts of it to be funny, I mostly did not like it. A romantic comedy should not be that vulgar. I am not a prude person, but seriously, there are other things besides sex and the human anatomy that are funny. I also think that Katherine Heigl is over-rated. I liked her in 27 Dresses, but she is starting to annoy me. I have not missed Izzie during her absence on Grey's Anatomy this season at all.

Next from Netflix, I have How To Be, Scotland PA and Apocalypse Now. Seeing as most of my TV shows have gone on winter hiatus, I should have time to watch these soon.

On my list of movies coming out by the end of the year, I can cross two more off my list: The Blind Side and New Moon.

The Blind Side was very, very good and I definitely recommend that everyone see it. The story is predictable, considering it is based on a true story, but I thought that Sandra Bullock was excellent as Leigh Anne Tuohy. There is some Oscar buzz going on around her performance and I definitely think she deserves a nomination for this movie. Also, the actor who plays Bullocks son, Jae Head, is super adorable as S.J. Tuohy.

Last year, I saw Twilight opening weekend and I swore I would never do that again. Teenage girls need to learn that when you scream at a movie screen, the actors cannot hear you! I do not remember being that obsessed with anything when I was that age. Anyways, because of the screaming-teenager factor, I just saw New Moon yesterday. I thought it was better than the first one, but still not that great. The special effects were much better (probably because of a bigger budget for this movie) but the story was still too choppy. There is so much in the books that are important to the story and they have tried to keep most of it in the movie, so it means you jump from scene to scene way too quickly. I do have to say though, since it was pretty much exactly what I expected, I did enjoy it.

I still want to see The Messenger, Precious, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Me and Orson Welles, Brothers, Invictus, Did You Hear About the Morgans?, Avatar, Sherlock Holmes and Nine.

I have said it before, but the best part of being unemployed is that I can go to the movies in the middle of the day :o) Although, I probably will not get them all in before the end of the year.

During the previews of New Moon, I saw a new movie with Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum that looks pretty good. It is called Dear John and it is based on another Nicholas Sparks book (The Notebook, Message In A Bottle, A Walk to Remember, Nights in Rodanthe). He basically writes his books to be movies, which irritates me a little bit because it means the books themselves are not that well written. Why write books in the first place? Why not just write screenplays? But I digress, Dear John looks like it will be just like the rest of his movies - sappy, and definitely not Oscar-worthy, but entertaining. Even the trailer made me cry:

I really like Amanda Seyfried, and am glad to see her getting more recognized as being a good actress. Most people know her as Karen from Mean Girls (the one who could predict the weather with her breasts), but I fell in love with her as murder victim Lilly Kane on Veronica Mars. She was also in a few episodes of Wildfire on ABC Family and has most recently been on Big Love and in Mamma Mia! and Jennifer's Body.

Random question: Why do we say someone is "on a tv show" but "in a movie"? I will see if I can figure it out and get back to you :o)

I hope that everyone has a very happy holiday season! After all, it is the most wonderful time of the year!