Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

Madre’s List of Favorite Movies in No Particular Order

In Movies on August 22, 2012 at 3:22 pm
After beginning this blog, my mother asked if she could create her own list of favorites and have it published on my blog. And of course, I said why not. Below is her top 7 favorite movies. I went through and made some changes, her grammar was just plain awful, but her list and her descriptions are her’s alone. Enjoy!
Young Frankenstein (1974)  directed by Mel Brooks:
This is hands down my favorite comedy.  The writing is spot on hilarious.  Gene Wilder is perfect as Dr. Frankenstein (that’s Franhhcensteen…).  The actors’ comedic timing is just amazing.  That comes from having a super sense of comedy, and from being so well cast. I watched Marty Feldman on his show, “The Marty Feldman Comedy Machine”, a BBC production in 1971. So British, so funny. I like this movie better than Brook’s other classic, Blazing Saddles.  To me, Young Frankenstein relies more on verbal comedy, as opposed to the sight gags of Blazing Saddles. I always watch this movie when it is on, and I practically know the whole script by heart.
CM: This movie also includes a great cameo by Gene Hackmen, that makes it that much funnier.
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dreamhouse (1948) directed by H.C Potter, starring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy:
This film is about a family who decides to ditch big city life, buy a house in the country(been there, done that…) and the pitfalls of home remodeling.  The situation is classic, a couple saying that all the house needs is “a little love”  and plenty of demolition.  Myrna Loy is superb as the wife getting to finally decorate her new home. Her dissertation to the contractor on paint colors is a must see. (As an interior designer… I understand her logic…) Cary Grant is at first  enamored with being a country squire, until the budget for the house gets totally out of control. This film was the basis for the Money Pit, starring Tom Hanks,  but this version is sooo much better. The script is clean, and lines are quick and clipped.  Anyone who has remodeled a house, or has relocated to the country where you have to deal with “the locals”, will totally get this movie.
CM: Never seen it but I have heard good things about Cary Grant. Will definitely give it a try
Beauty and The Beast- (1946) directed by Jean Cocteau–in French:
Dadaist poet and artist Jean Cocteau adapted the classic story into a film that is  a fantasy in such a beautiful and subtle way.  His images and camera angles are more like individual pieces of art.  He also pioneered some special effects.  My favorite scene is of Belle walking in a hallway lit by the wall sconces held by human arms. Very creepy, but also so beautiful.  This is for you art film folks; it is a must see.
CM: Saw this once when I was very young. Will probably never watch it again because it scared me so much.
Oh Brother Where Art Thou (2000) directed by Joel & Ethan Cohen:
First, it’s a Cohen Brothers films,. so what’s not to like? But this film take you through Homer’s Odyssey far better than reading any book.  George Clooney as our fearless leader is just perfect.  He can tell a tall tale like no other.  John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson round out the hapless trio on the journey.  I love how this story is worked into the time period of 1937 and the Great Depression in Mississippi. The script is written in colloquial language, which is musical and poetic, consisting of such lines as “pater familias” and “sang in yonder can” and “skeedaddled”.  Another great aspect of this film is the soundtrack. Such a great combo of old timey music done by Allison Krause and other great singer songwriters. The score was written by T Bone Burnett, and he totally captured the time period. I’m still singing those songs in the car when no one is listening.
CM: This movie is well written, well acted, and well shot. John Goodman has a great cameo in this movie as the cyclops that has a pretty pvitoal role in Homer’s Odyssey.
Chocolat (2000) directed by Lasse Hellstrom
I love this story.  While it has mystery and magic in the plot, it also deals with the difficult relationship between mothers and daughters, both living and dead. Juliette Binoche plays Vianne, a mysterious woman who shows up in a very conservative town and opens a chocolate shop.  The candies begin to awaken the passions of the townspeople, much to the chagrin of the mayor, play by Alfred Molina.  He is horrified  that such decadence has arrived in his town. But he has secrets of his own that only the chocolate will heal.  Vianne has a daughter, Anouk, who desperately wants to stop being dragged from town to town and to settle down.  And Johnny Depp is, well, the eye candy in this film as the gypsy love interest Roux. Vianne carries her mother’s ashes with her, and appears to still be taking direction from her mother, even after death. Roux opens her eyes to her issues, and how she is passing those onto her daughter.
Judi Dench and Lena Olin are both superb as tragic figures who come into their own after meeting Vianne. The film was shot on location in Flavigny-sur-Ozerain in France, and the town is breathtaking.
CM: I wasn’t the biggest fan of this movie, but if you have lady parts I’m sure you’ll love it. Because well it’s about chocolate and has Johnny Depp in it.
Pulp Fiction (1994) Quentin Tarantino
Another of my favs. Tarantino can do no wrong.  Where to begin with this film? First, the casting. John Travolta’s career was reborn with this movie as Vincent Vega. And Samuel L. Jackson as Jules. As a hit man team, they interact as pragmatist and philosopher.  The plot winds, twists and turns, and goes so many places, it is a wild ride.  Harvey Keitel has to do some clean up for the two boys, and he is so cool, so slick and so funny. and Uma Thurman dancing with Travolta? Classic.  Is this film violent?  Oh hell yes. But Tarantino in his own quirky way, makes it all so funny.  I mean, who wouldn’t laugh at two guys arguing over who has to clean the splattered brains out of the car when they accidentally shoot the passenger?  I did, and you will too.  The soundtrack is awesome as well, especially “Jungle Boogie”…..
CM: This goes without saying, but it should be said. I love this film. The reason why it wasn’t included in my list is because I wanted to introduce other films that people might not have seen such as “True Romance” or “Heat”.  If you haven’t seen this movie, and you are going to see “Django Unchained” then see this movie before hand just so you know what you’re walking into. Best line in the whole movie, btw. I have posted that quote countless times as my Facebook status.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) Francis Ford Coppola
So I’m a sucker for vampire movies (haha, get it?) But this one is my all time favorite.  Gary Oldman is so captivating as Dracula. Normally, Dracula is portrayed as a soulless monster, but Oldman  plays him as a sad and tragic figure as you see him lose the love of his life.  He goes teeters evil master as he captures Johnathan Harker and lets his siren vampires torture him, to a tender and romantic loving man.  Winona Ryder is passable as Mina Harker, I found both her and Keanu Reeve’s portrayals to be a bit stiff and stilted. I know they are supposed to be repressed Victorians, but they both seemed wooden.  Gary Oldman carries the film, as does Tom Waits, who plays poor crazed Renfield. And Anthony Hopkins nailed the role of Van Helsing.  I love that fact that he played him as  an eccentric, with a somewhat mystical power… or was that just science? It was beautifully filmed and included some great costume design.  They represented the period, perfectly. This Dracula is waay more spectacular and lascivious than those True Blood dudes.
CM: Phenomenal movie and I concur with mi madre’s statement. Reeves and Winona seemed uncomfortable and confused with the role that they were playing. I almost didn’t feel bad when Reeve’s gets tortured because, well, it just didn’t seem like he was in actual pain, as crass as that sounds.

Forever-ever, forever-ever, forever-ever?

In Movies on August 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Cue the filtered shots

Cue the great soundtrack

Cue  rack focus

Cue the hand held camera shots

Cue a pivotal plot

And you have, “Celeste and Jesse Forever”

This movie asks and answers the question, Can two individuals whose marriage just ended still be friends? “C &J” stars Rashida Jones as Celeste and Andy Samberg as Jesse whose marriage ends. This conclusion of their nuptials is told quite well through photographs and music that is wonderfully edited to align and is eventually sang by the two main characters. Ari Graynor, Beth, and Eric Christian Olsen, Tucker, are introduced as their friends who should be happy with C & J’s situation because they no longer have to choose between friends.  Beth and Tucker, as well as the audience, know that C & J cannot be friends but despite this warning, C & J still try until eventually they do move on.

Now I’m not ruining anything at all here because if you were expecting a story in which these two come back together, then you don’t know what an indie movie is or why divorces actually occur. Jones and Samberg do a wonderful job on-screen and truly envelop and display the emotions that anyone who has ever been in a break up feels. The show anger, lover, longing, lust, and friendship all throughout this movie. The script, written by Jones and Will McCormack, who stars as a mutual best friend/ drug dealer, was very well written and true to form. There isn’t amazing dialogue within this film, but there is real dialogue. McCormack does a great job in this film as well, he carefully sprinkles humor in the midst of tragedy being supportive to Celeste but also trying, not really all that hard, to get in her pants. I’ve only seen him in “Alphas” and his performance and addition to this movie will surely put him on the map.

Samberg was unexpectadly dramatic in this movie as well. I loved his skits on SNL and “Hot Rod” but he displayed his funny bone prominently in both instances. In this movie, the audience gets a glimpse as to the darker side of Samberg and I liked it. He seemed authentic in his role and not uncomfortable with what he was doing. Samberg’s typical humorous quips would be displayed at points throughout the film but they didn’t seem ill placed or random. He used his humor to try to mend the bridge between himself and Celeste and he did it quite well.  I was pleasantly surprised by his performance in this movie and I hope I get to see more of this side.

“C & J” was a carefully construed film consisting of pain and humor. I was afraid that in the beginning, this film was going to try too hard to be indie, but it didn’t. The filters were spot on as well as the use of close-ups and handheld shots. The shocking revelation that eventually becomes the separation between C & J, post divorce, is random and was something that troubled me after viewing this film. However, on further thought I thought it was quite well done. Life is random and this movie is anything but predictable, like life.

If you liked “Blue Valentine” for its realistic depiction of the ending of a relationship, then you will like “C & J Forever”. If you are in an unstable relationship with your significant other, then don’t see this movie with them because it will only make you ask more questions. If you like Jones and Samberg and want to see them masturbate some lip balm or some baby corn, then watch this movie.

Last Night a Man Took His Own Life

In Movies on August 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm

Tony Scott, brother of Academy Award winning director, took his own life last night by throwing himself off the Vincent St. Thomas Bridge near Los Angeles around 12:30 a.m. Scott left behind a wife and two children and a legacy of great films and an astounding production company that he and his brother helmed. Although never earning an Academy Award for any of his films, Scott brought us “Top Gun”, “Man on Fire”, “Days of Thunder”, and “Domino” along with several other amazing pictures.

I received word of Scott’s death from my father who posted news of his death on this blog around 4 in the morning last night. I believe I was awoken by the ding of my cell phone, in response to receiving an email, but I honestly do not know why I woke up. But I did and I checked my phone to see the time and then checked my email as well. Upon hearing this news I did a quick Google search and found that it was indeed true, much to my dismay. When I woke much later, I found myself affected by Scott’s death. Not because I knew the guy, because obviously I didn’t, and not because I am obsessed with him, because I assure you I am not, Scorsese maybe, but not Scott, it’s because he took is own life that his death really affects me.  According to several sources, Scott had inoperable brain cancer and decided that he would rather end his life on his own terms rather then wait for the inevitable.. I truly feel for his family, friends, and many other fans who, like me, will miss Scott. He left a hole in the movie industry with the movies that could have happened, but will never be. Scott you will be missed.

To illustrate just how great of a director this man is, I offer you my top 5 favorite movies by Tony Scott. These movies should be watched just so you can understand how great of a director he was and how he will never, truly be forgotten.  I will offer no funny commentary or any of my typical shenanigans when describing these movies. If you truly do not know who this man was, then watch these movies and they will give you a glimpse as to who Tony Scott was.

1. True Romance: I have reviewed this movie before on this blog, it is one of my favorites, and should be watched. Tonight. A Quentin Tarantino script starring Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, James Gandolfini, a stoned Brad Pitt, a Elvised Val Kilmer, a drug dealing Gary Oldman and a slew of other great actors star in this love story turned bloody. Slater plays comic book lover and hallucinating Elvis Clarence Worley  who encounters Arquettes’ Alabama Whitman who’s first John is Clarence. She falls in love with him and the rest is history, or is it? They decide to steal a briefcase of cocaine and the mob wants their stolen product so they send Walken and Galdofini after these two.

The script for this movie is quick, funny, and well written. I love Walken’s and Hopper’s conversation and I absolutely love Gary Oldman playing the drug dealing black boy wanna be. Slater is quite good in it too. I’ve seen him in a few films here and there but I would say he is the strongest in this film. Brad Pitt’s performance in this film, albeit short, deserves mentioning because of how funny it is. You will never see Brad Pitt play a role quite like this.

The cast, the script, and most of all the direction of this film make it a must see and is the best Tony Scott film I have ever seen.

2. Man on Fire: This movie might have begun the obsession that Scott had with Denzel and there isn’t a question why. Denzel plays Creasy who is a reluctant slow to warm body-guard for Dakota Fanning’s Pita. Pita’s mother and father, played by Marc Anthony and Radha Mitchell, decide that Pita needs a body-guard because well they live in Mexico City and children get abducted there everyday. Creasy and Pita develop a somewhat unoriginal relationship before she gets abducted but what happens next is quite good.

Denzel gives one hell of a performance in this movie and I feel that it is one of his best movies. Fanning is good but her attachment to Denzel seems a bit rushed. Walken also participates in this movie, and has some great lines to boot, as Rayburn Creasy’s friend and confidant. The performances by Denzel and Walken make this movie worth seeing but it is the editing that truly stands out. The subtitles are done in a graphic novel type, in which they appear around the character rather than below them, and the cuts in the film are so unique and raw that is just makes this film stand out in my mind. Tony Scott did a wonderful job on this film and used his directorial knowledge to create a unique and dark picture.

3.  Spy Game:  Brad Pitt and Robert Redford star in this CIA flick. Redford, playing Nathan D. Muir and mentor to Brad Pitt’s Tom Bishop becomes entrenched in office politics in order to rescue his pupil. Cut between the past and present, the audience begins to understand why Muir risks everything he has to get Bishop back and just what a clever man he is.

A commanding performance from Redford that brings me back to his Gatsby days.  He truly becomes Muir and shows Bishop just how far he will go for someone who could be his son. Brad Pitt does a great job in this movie as well, epitomizing the young rookie who moves too quickly for his own good and looks for help from his mentor and father figure.

The movies benefits from the presence of Redford and Pitt but it is also a great spy thriller. Tony Scott shows us the murky world that exists when policy and reality meet. It is, again, wonderfully edited with a good combination of past and present. You see where Pitt got his education and how solid of a teacher Redford was.

If you like spy movies and haven’t seen this one. Then do so. Tony Scott will not leave you disappointed.

4. Enemy of the State: Will Smith stars in one of his first action movies as Robert Clayton Dean who is the target of an investigation after receiving some evidence about a murder that may have been politically motivated.  Thomas Brian Reynolds, played by Jon Voight, uses his political power and influence to kill and then retrieve the evidence from Robert Dean. Despite his position, Dean is not powerless and enlists the help of Edward Lyle, played by Gene Hackmen, to get out of this precarious situation.

A great cast, a spy thriller, and wonderfully edited, this movie should be seen. Smith does a great job, when doesn’t he do a great job, playing the pushed in a corner lawyer who will right for his life. Hackmen as the miserly, “I’m out of the game” ex- spy operative becomes that character to a T.  Voight is ruthless and steadfast in what he wants.  I liked seeing Will Smith in this role as well. He was powerful and showed a different side to the audience other than the smart funny authoritative type that he usually plays. This movie offers a lot of twists and turns and isn’t one of his better movies, but it still is a damn good movie.

5. Top Gun: A classic, classic, classy, clastastic movie. If you haven’t seen this movie, then you should probably consider yourself a communist. Tom Cruise plays fast and loose as ace pilot Maverick who, like every rookie, is moved up the ranks to be put to the test of reality. Val Kilmer portrays the antagonist Ice Man who doesn’t think the rookie deserves his spot in the clouds. Anthony Edwards, well-known for his role as Dr. Greene on E.R., plays Goose who is the best friend and wingman for Maverick.

In all seriousness, this movie is a classic and should be appreciated as such. It has a ridiculouslessly montage worthy soundtrack and includes such silly lines as, “You can be my wingman” and “I have the need. The need for speed!”. But it is a classic in its own right. If you were to watch it today, you would feel as if you’ve seen this stereotypical action movie, and you have, but Tony Scott either invented this genre of film with “Top Gun” or he made it so damn popular with this movie that everyone wanted to copy it.

R.I.P. Tony Scott

The Great Train Robbery

In Television on August 15, 2012 at 11:15 am

Readers, you should all know how I feel about “Breaking Bad” and if you don’t well, you should know that I love this show. It’s dramatic, dark, involves meth, which is a drug that I just absolutely LOOVVVEEE, and it is on AMC. I will honestly give anything that AMC shows a viewing and I have not been disappointed and neither has AMC. With their case of shows such as “Mad Men”, “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead”, AMC has become a heavy hitter in network television. Be that as it may, not all shows that they have recently been as watchable, “The Killing” being one of them. The story line, although I was told that it will change dramatically for the third season, and the stale acting were all a turn off to me. But, no network televisions station can be absolutely perfect, and AMC is very close to that perfection. BUT, I digress, I recently viewed the episode of Bad Freight “Breaking Bad” and let me tell you, it was GOOD. It had all of the right elements and ended on such a cliffhanger, that I nearly peed my pants.

This episode contained all of the great elements that makes “Breaking Bad” a truly unique show, some great camera shots, the use of science to solve just about everything, a plan gone bad and then salvaged even in the last minute and Johnathan Banks’s ears, Mike Ehrmantraut. Those puppies are legit and he probably draws much of his awesomeness from his ears. In this episode you also get to witness Walter just throw around his power, towards his son, towards his wife, towards Jesse and Mike as per usual, and even towards Hank with some cold blooded trickery. It becomes clear, and it will become more clear as this season continues that their party of three isn’t a democracy rather is is a Walt-tocracy. CLEVER, AMIRIGHT? In this episode, the three amigos’ methylamine supply becomes compromised, and if you know anything about this show you know that Walt’s great mix occurs because of this precursor. With a clever idea from Jesse, the crew decides that they are going to rob a train without the conductor even knowing what is going down. This sounds impossible, but it is planned with realistic accuracy and should interest you in watching this show. If this doesn’t sound interesting to you, then just watch the episode until the very end. It is one hell of a climax and left me reeling for a few minutes.

(Warning SPOILERS)

Here are some of the pieces of the episode that I found particularly AMAZZZZIINNGG

– Walt’s crocodile tears in the beginning. Maybe he was actually crying for the loss of love that he felt from Skyler, but once Hack left the room Heisenberg quickly took over and did what he came to do. I love seeing this side of Mr. White and I love how well Cranston shows this JekyllHeiden transformation. I just love it.

– How Walt deals with his son. Not only is he becoming the authority in meth production but what he says at home goes. He tells Junior, what is what and he listens. This side of him is already butting heads with Skyler’s new tude, which is unprecedented and weird, SHE CHEATED ON HIM AND GAVE A GOOD PORTION OF WALTER’S MONEY TO HER CHEATEE , YOU’RE IN TOO DEEP NOW SKYLER TO TRY AND GET OUT OF THIS, but when the two of them butt heads again, and it will happen, someone is going to get hurt.

– The train robbery. I was literally talking to my computer as I viewed this episode, telling Jesse to get out from underneath that train. In typical Walt fashion he held out until the last very second and though it saved their butts it was very close to getting them caught as well. I also liked how this was Jessie’s idea which makes him more then just a pawn in Walt’s game. He’s becoming smart and more of a powerful character in this show, which might be a problem down the line because we all know how much Walt loves  his power.

– The shot. The last scene depicting Jessie screaming and the newbie just whipping out his gun and shooting the kid was so well done. I loved how he waved at the kid first. I thought this was such a good way to end the episode because I can only imagine how this is going to affect the group, we know how Walt and Jessie feel about kids being involved and killed in their drug business. It was a brilliant way to end this episode, especially after the high note of accomplishing the train robbery without any slip ups.

So let me know what you think and what your favorite part of this episode was. I would love to hear about it!

Talladega Nights but With Politics

In Movies on August 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm

Last night, I was lucky enough to go to a free screening of “The Campaign” with my girlfriend courtesy of a friend. I love movies, as you all know, but I also love free movies. Will Ferrell movies, on the other hand, I am infatuated with, to the point where those movies should probably get a restraining order. Yes I know, you’re wondering why I didn’t include any Ferrell movies in my top 20 but that doesn’t mean I can’t still have an extremely inappropriate relationship with them. “Stepbrothers”? Hilarious. “Anchorman”? So damn funny and “Anchorman 2” is a movie that I am very much looking forward to watching. Even “Everything Must Go” and “Stranger Then Fiction”, two dramas for Ferrell,  were great. I think he is hilarious and random which makes him the perfect comedian for our generation.

“The Campaign” was directed by Jay Roach and stars Will Ferrell, Zack Galifndsfja0psk, his name is difficult to spell, Jason Sudeikis, and Dylan McDermott, you should be dead in Cali bro. Will Ferrell and Zack Galdsndjksf play Cam Brady and Marty Huggins respectively who are competing for the congressional throne of their district. Huggins, a buffoon who is verbally abused by his father, Bryan Cox,  and cannot open doors for some reason, is backed by the Motch brothers, played by John Lithgow, TRINITY!, and Dan Akroyd. They each try to outdo the other to try to win their election.

Like the title says, this movie is very similar to “Talladega Nights” which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it also isn’t the most creative either. They reuse the hilarious kid’s scene from “Nights”, “I’m going to come at you like a spider monkey!” and Ferrell has the trophy wife as well who is literally paid to be a trophy wife at one point. But like I said, this movie isn’t unfunny because of this.

Dylan Mcdermott, is hilarious and creepy throughout the movie often appearing in a shower or at the kitchen table but always with an apple ready to be chomped down on. I haven’t seen him in any comedies but I suspect he can fill the Rob Lowe Wayne’s World role pretty well.

Zack Galifankfuckit is pretty damn funny in this movie as well. He plays his alter ego Seth, those of you who don’t know who this is, watch “Between Two Ferns” quite well and utilizes that feminine voice to make awkward situations just that much more awkward. I love Zack but I hope he does not get pigeonholed because, and I say this with a heavy heart, they are making another Hangover movie.

This movie is also very quotable, as are most Ferrell movies and there are some great lines, which you will definitely remember and find yourself saying to your friends.

Ms. Yao, who is played by Karen Maruyama, is also worth mentioning. She has very little screen time in  this movie, but much like the maid from “Billy Madison” she is pretty damn funny and worth noting.

So, in conclusion, I would say that if you are a huge Will Ferrell or Zack Galifunigusdsn fan, then you should see this in the theater. But if you are not and  you are on the fence about it, then Netflix this when it comes out. It’s good, BUT it could have been better.

Sookie, GO ON GET!

In Television on August 9, 2012 at 10:11 pm

“True Blood” I have a confession to make. I was interested in you right from the get go. You first episode included violence, boobs, sex, and blood. Not only that but you had a pretty decent story line. Vampires coming out of the coffin, HA HA HA, which is topic that we are way too interested in, BUT, you showed the changes that would take place as a result of this. Synthetic blood, airlines transporting coffins, hotels that allowed for no UV penetration, and how the religious right would act to this. All of seemed ingenious and novel. I loved it. I loved the story, I rooted for Bill, Eric, not fucking Tara I really hoped she died quite some time ago, and even Sookie. Although her, ” I don’t need a man. Oh wait, I’m in trouble somebody SAVE ME” attitude got really old really quickly, I did eventually come around to enjoying her presence. And Lafayette. Don’t get me started on Lafayette. A gay drug dealing gangster? I loved it. He was hilarious, powerful, and said what he felt. In this last season, that I will watch, Lafayette was the only redeeming character. So in summation, “True Blood”, you had me from the start. But now, I’m just about sick of you.

Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t seen the most recent season, well don’t, but if you truly love this show, then don’t read on.

I don’t care about Tara’s transformation and her conversations with Pam are stupid and ill scripted. They look clunky together and I feel uncomfortable watching them.

Alcide fighting for pack master? I don’t care about either. Oh Alcide wants Sookie, oh now he doesn’t. OH WAIT, now he’s trying to get in some other girls pants and then he asks pre coitus will you be my girlfriend? Debbie just died, like a few days ago. He moves fast, I get it, he’s handsome, but I still don’t care about his new-found romance.

Sookie. Sookie. Sookie. Sookie. I hate your fairy storyline. Omg I’m a fairy, that’s so cool. WAIT IT’S NO LONGER COOL, BILL ERIC HELP ME! Wait, it’s cool again. Just kidding I don’t want to be a fairy anymore. WAIT! Jason, convince me otherwise. And yes readers, this back and forth storyline is ridiculous and unoriginal.

Hoyt and Jessica. I think Jessica is pretty BA but I am fed up with the sputtering intermittent romance between these two. And then Hoyt all of a sudden hates vampires enough to come close to killing them? And he asks her while she’s chained in silver, “Will you ever love me?”. Are you serious? When did this show become soooo unrealistic, yes I know it includes vampires but vampires in modern society.

Bon Temps. Bon. Fucking. Temps. This town has got to be wicked tiny, only one restaurant that any employee can leave at any time only to return again without question, but it is filled with “gifted” individuals. Vampires, witches, werewolves, fairies. For reals? New York city must be crawling with these people. Los Angeles must have a “gifted” task force. This tiny town not only contains an unusually high amount of these types of people, but it attracts them as well. It’s Louisiana for christ’s sake.

In conclusion, “True Blood” you had me. But alas you have grown repetitious, unoriginal, boring, and made me no longer care about your characters. You have done that, I haven’t. I would like to say I will miss you, but I probably won’t.

“I Saw the Best Minds of my Generation Destroyed by Madness, Starving Hysterical Naked”

In Movies on August 8, 2012 at 11:23 am

So begins the epic three-part poem written by Allen Ginsberg which was made famous not only by its content but by the trial that ensued following the publication of this poem. Within this work, Ginsberg using such choice words as “blown” “balls” and “cock” which, in that day and age was seen as obscene. Because of these choice words and the stream of conscious writing style, which makes it extremely hard to understand, it was brought to trial to determine if its publication benefited society.

The trial, the poem, Ginsberg, and the ideas behind censorship and poetic understanding were covered in the movie Howl which starred James Franco, Jon Hamm, pretty much being Don Draper, this movie takes place in 1957 which is the heyday of Mad Men, Jeff Daniels, Mary-Louise Parker, and David Stathairn, who I feel like I haven’t seen enough of. He played the prosecuting attorney to a T, someone clearly uncomfortable and out of his element when it came to poetry, and truly believed that Howl showed no literary value. Jon Hamm is also quite excellent as the defense attorney for Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the publisher, and is simply Don Draper in a court room. I cannot get enough of Jon Hamm, it feels like, and seeing him in the 1950s defending the rights of publishers and poets just make me love that actor more. However, this role did not reveal a different side of Hamm to me, being that it seems like he is Don Draper attorney at law, BUT he still did quite a nice job.

The best part about this movie, aside from the presence of some great actors and actresses, is James Franco, the illustrations, and the poem itself. Throughout the film, the trial and the interview with Allen Ginsberg, who is played by Franco, are broken up by these phenomenal artistic renderings of Howl. We see the hipsters burning, we see Moloch, we see poor Carl Solomon getting his brain fried by the persistent use of ETC to treat eccentrics. We see all of this and it is a mixture of computer generated images and actual drawings. They are raw, obscene, but true to form. The drawings were actually done by Eric Drooker who drew for Ginsberg previously in Illustrated Poems. That’s another aspect of this movie that I liked; the amount of thought that went into it was necessary and excellent. The Ginsberg scenes were taken directly from interviews and the dialogue in the court was taken from court documents.  Hence why the acting and conversations are perfect and true, because well they are true.

Franco exuded that beat poet vibe like it was his own skin. His script did not need to be reworked to sound more true but he did need to look, sound, and feel like Ginsberg, which he did. He rambled. He droned. He laughed and he revealed himself. He confused the hell out of me and he made me understand just why he wrote Howl. From the stoner in Pineapple Express  to the Green Goblin in Spiderman, to Alan Ginsberg, Franco has been showing just how versatile he can be. I cannot wait to see Franco grow older and more powerful in each performance he decides to take.

The poem itself is also worth mentioning because, well it is what this film is based around but it is the star of this show. When I first began watching this film, I wasn’t sure I had heard of this play before but as soon as Franco’s crooning Ginsbergian voice began reading it, I knew I heard it. It is a great poem, at times it is difficult to understand, but poetry wouldn’t be poetry if it was easy to understand.  Howl allows us to get a glimpse into the mindset of the beat generation in the 60s. Howl shows another side that many people wouldn’t be able to view unless it was written down on paper.

So in conclusion, if you want to see a controversial side of this poem, are interested in the ideas behind censorship, or just want to see Franco flexing some of his actorial muscle, then Netflix this movie because it’s on there.

So a man walks into the Alaskan Wilderness…

In Movies on August 1, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Okay, so that’s a pretty bad joke, because well there is no punchline and it just isn’t plain funny. Much like this poor joke, Into The Wild, is anything but funny. It is a very serious well written story about Chris McCandless who decides to abscond to the Alaskan wilderness because, well he is just plain sick of society. After taking many trips across the country and seeing what this great ol’ America has to offer, McCandless decides that he wants to do something other than what has been destined for him, by his parents.  This not only pushes him over the edge, but his personality, a truth left unsaid by his parents, and his course load at Emerson all work together to influence the decision that Chris made. It is a story of trial by fire, how the relationships we make influence us, and just how far we will go to get what it is we want.

This book was fascinating, thrilling, and held my interest. From the author’s note by Jon Krakaeur  to the epilogue in the end, this book caught me. I felt for Ron Franz and Chris’s parents. I too wanted Chris to stay put, to stay in society. Krakaeur not only researched this book extensively, but he also never offered a biased opinion. He would state ways in which Chris made a stupid novice mistake but point out ways that he was intelligent and resourceful. To say the Krakaeur was completely ambivalent towards McCandless does not do this author justice. Krakaeur weaves stories of other individuals who absconded and tells a frightening story about his adventure climbing Devils Thumb in Alaska. He told this story because he related to McCandless and wanted to shed some insight into why an individual would place themselves in such a precarious situation. It was a brilliantly written book by an author who covered all of his bases and let the reader decide just who was Chris McCandless. If you haven’t read the book, read it. If you’ve seen the movie, but haven’t read the book, read it. The book offers more insight into Chris’s reasons and the other cases of abandonment that the author offers are enlightening and give the reader a glimpse at the human soul.

Now to the nitty-gritty: Spoiler Alert! If you haven’t read this book, or watched this movie, then read no further. I offer my thoughts on this book regarding the end of it and I do not want to let others know what occurs.

Throughout this book, Chris travels the country and meets several individuals who he had a profound effect upon. These people were touched by Chris, one person went so far as to change his way of life because Chris suggested it. I say these things because, at first, I believe that Chris hated people. He felt wounded by his parents, he went against the advice of many people, and proceeded up to the Alaskan wild and died because of this. However, Krakaeur shows the reader time and time again that McCandless loved some people, like his sister and Franz. He also loved talked to people and people were often enraptured by his stories. So he didn’t leave society because he hated people.

Maybe he left society because he no longer felt like he should belong to it. That’s not to say that he was worthless, maybe he left because he did not like what society held. I like this interpretation and it was one I reached after reading the book. At that point in time McCandless did not like what he saw. His all mighty father cheated on his mother and his Emerson classes showed the darker side of human nature. He left society because he was sick of it; it pained him. I think this was the case, but alas McCandless was too strong-headed and too much of a dreamer to return to society.

Krakaeur discusses McCandless’s infatuation with Jack London’s work and the picturesque Alaskan wilderness that London created. Krakaeur, like myself, believed that this longing for this particular wilderness drove McCandless to it and ultimately resulted in his death. Although London’s work was a work of fiction, McCandless believed that it was real and acted in such a manner. When confronted with the reality of Alaska by other natives he simply brushed off what they said, determined to find his Alaska. As a result of this, he was unprepared and died.

I do not think he was stupid, I think McCandless was unprepared. I wish there was another universe where McCandless returned ready to see those individuals who he had met along his journey. I wish he wrote a book detailing all of his adventures. I wish he came back and created ways to help society and not simply leave it. Alas, this did not happen. Moral of the story, if you leave, leave prepared. You may have adventures that many will want you to share.