Wednesday, January 30, 2013

You've Got Seattle

I don't make very good decisions. I mean, some of them don't cause a huge problem, but others...others do. This post, though, is just about one of those that didn't cause a big problem. Just some confusion and light swearing.
A year or so ago, I was high on the fact that my family had just gotten a DVR and decided to record just about everything that wasn't a Twilight movie. Why? Because I could. So, I was going through the list of things I could watch and stumbled upon Sleepless in Seattle (1993), about a widow (Tom Hanks), Sam, whose son is so intent on his dad finding another wife that he calls into a radio station and makes his dad talk about losing her. All these women listening to the show send Sam letters with their panties enclosed, including Annie (Meg Ryan). Some really boring stuff happens and they end up meeting at the top of the Empire State Building. That's the movie.
Now I guess watching it wouldn't have been so bad except for that, almost immediately afterward, I watched another nineties romantic comedy starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, You've Got Mail. (Apparently these guys starred in three romcoms together in the nineties. THREE. The other being Joe Versus the Volcano (1990).)
You've Got Mail is about these two bookstore owners, Kathleen, who owns a local one, and Joe, who owns one of many in a chain. They pretty much hate each other, especially since Joe's store takes business away from Kathleen's. Unbeknownst to them, though, they actually chat online with each other; she as “Shopgirl” and he as “NY152”. They have no idea who the other one is, but are totally into each other, which just is really creepy. Anyway, their outside hatred continues while their online love blossoms. More stuff happens and then they find out about one another and stop hating each other.
I mean, these movies both have totally different plots and character developments and stuff, but I still get them confused because of how close in time they are and also, ummm, the effing actors.
Imagine watching Nicholas Sparks movie after Nicholas Sparks movies and then being told to deferential perfectly between them all. Well, you can't, because those things are pretty much exactly the same except for the characters' names.
Let's just pretend that these are the same sort of thing.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Instill Us With Your Daddy Issues

I babysit a lot, which means that, to keep the little turds quiet for an hour and a half, I mostly just pop in a movie for them. Of course I could do something like play games with them, but that requires effort and also I'm lazy and movies are sort of educational, right?
So after watching a good amount of children's animated films, I've kind of noticed that too many of them have characters who have, like, daddy issues (or pretty much just problems with their parent(s), but let's call those problems daddy issues because I've already got it in the title). These cause the film's main characters to go to extreme lengths of rebellion.

This one boy I babysit absolutely loves Despicable Me. He watches it about every time I go there and then will make me replay it again and again. I mean, whatever. It's a cute movie. The main character, a super-villain named Gru, has these little flash-backs to when he was younger and how his mom wouldn't pay any attention to him (mommy issues?). Because of his mother's lack of affection, Gru goes takes extreme measures to try and impress her, like attempting to steal “da moooooon”, which isn't very safe at all.
In Shrek, the princess Fiona's parents literally lock her up in some far away palace for years. There's definitely something wrong with that. To get back at them, she marries an ogre. I mean, you can't possibly believe that Fiona married Shrek for love. That thing is hideous. The marriage was obviously some crazy ploy to get back at her parents.
You already know how I feel about Brave. It still fits into this category, though. As Merida's mother's reigns pull tighter around her, she lashes out and goes into a dark forest alone and then just waltzes into a witch's cave. Like, so safe.
Now to some actual daddy issues: Hiccup, a smart, lonely, wimpy guy who only wants his dad's approval. To get it, though, he has to capture an extremely dangerous dragon. Well, he ends up deciding to raise it instead (okay?). (BTW this is about How to Train Your Dragon)
In the 2008 film Kung Fu Panda, Po becomes the chosen kung fu warrior and is told to defeat this crazy ass tiger that just escaped from prison. All of this after his father, who completely doesn't understand Po, tries to get him to take over the family business of selling noodles.
And lastly, Finding Nemo. You know the story. Nemo, a clownfish set on being independent, breaks away from his father's tight hold and touches the butt, then gets kidnapped by some scuba divers.

I don't know if these filmmakers are trying to instill some privy message about how, no matter how much you hate your parents and how they treat you now, as long as you fight back and screw something up really badly, it'll all turn out okay. Maybe this is why our generation is so effed up.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Time to Hate

My sister is a lady of irrational hatred.
Well that's actually not true. Karalee's not a lady in the slightest (her iTunes password is hughjackmanstwoballs and she once asked me if I would rather do Nick Carter or all the One Direction boys at once), but she does hate things for no reason at all. Actors especially. Sure, she doesn't like people like Kristen Stewart or Anna Kendrick, but she has reasons for those, like the fact that they star in movies she absolutely hates (that is a reason I can agree with).
Ever since I can remember her being acquainted with certain actors, though, she's really just had it out for them. Of the long list, some of the most hated are Bradley Cooper, Matthew McConaughey, Jeremy Renner, and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Whenever I bring up her hatred towards one of them and ask why she has it, she usually goes for their looks. I mean, these actors are all considered attractive by the public, if not in conventional ways, but Karalee is just a judgmental bitch. It's not just the looks.
If I have to guess, I think her hatred comes from seeing some of the actors playing douchebags in movies. Mostly this just refers to Cooper (d-bag in He's Just Not That Into You, The Hangover Part I-III) and McConaughey (like every movie 2000-2009) . This sort of happens a lot. You're so used to seeing these men as different people in movies that sometimes you forget that they're not always like their characters in real life.
For Renner and Cumberbatch, however, I would have to go a little shrink on the problem, because the problem seems to be deeper than just douchebaggery. Both of them have starred in movies with another actor my sister likes. The Avengers not only starred Renner, but also Chris Evans. Cumberbatch was in War Horse with Tom Hiddleston. And when her beloved were getting side-stepped by these other actors, I'm sure my sister got defensive and fought back with a mature, “Yeah, well he's ugly!”
When asked to comment on this subject (over Tumblr, nonetheless), Karalee said, “Jeremy Renner’s voice really bugs me, like he always has some food in there or something. And Bradley Cooper always just plays jerks, so maybe I can’t differentiate between his roles and real life, and idk his face annoys me too.” So yeah.
It's possible for her to get over this, though. She used to hate Channing Tatum, then I think she saw Magic Mike and it went away (wonder how that happened...) So I guess the remedy to her hatred is just starring in a movie as a male stripper. It's only that easy.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Swell, the Awful, and the Hideous

Some people make movies for the fame, some for the money, and some for the accolades. Some even make movies just because it's what they love to do. And then there are the people who make movies for reasons no one can explain at all.
In the January 11th issue of Entertainment Weekly, the article, “Attack of the Clones!” caught my eye. Josh Rottenberg tells of the film studio, The Asylum, which pretty much just makes what are called “mockbusters”, movies directly based off of other movies. And I'm not talking sequels, here. I'm talking big-budget films turned into measly rat-shack movies with crappy actors and a completely ridiculous purpose: basically to attract people who liked the real movie each mockbuster is based off of because that totally makes sense. Or, I guess, in the words of one of The Asylum's partners, Paul Bales, “Our audience is people who want something they don't have to think too hard about.”
Yeah, sure. I mean, why watch Samuel L. Jackson in Snakes on a Plane when you could watch some D-list actor in Snakes on a Train? Why watch sexy Chris Hemsworth in Thor when you can watch some dude named Cody Deal in Almighty Thor? Why show your kids High School Musical (or maybe that's your type of thing; I don't know) when you could show them Sunday School Musical, which, believe it or not, actually makes HMS look half-way well made. Then there's Battle of Los Angeles, which the people at The Asylum were so lazy about that they only replaced the colon in Battle: Los Angeles with a preposition.

Of course some law suits have arisen because of the eerie similarities, which really only caused The Asylum to change their films' names slightly, like from American Battleship to American Warships (off of Universal's film, Battleship). (Wow. Well didn't that fix the problem!) Isn't this some sort of plagiarism, though? I mean, seriously, but Bales stands by the movies, saying, “It's an honor to be mockbusted.”
The Asylum is no longer the only studio making mockbusters, though, or being sued for completely ripping off popular movies. This past year, Brightspark Productions, Ltd. was had to pull one of its movies, Braver, after Disney took legal action against it.

But don't say that The Asylum is never creative, because they have released the very imaginative 2-Headed Shark Attack, Mega Python vs. Gatoroid, and Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus which are all from the minds of the studio itself. They've also put out Rise of the Zombies, which I'm pretty sure I've actually seen, unfortunately. (Another way other studios are mockbusting is actually against The Asylum itself, making movies like Sharktopus and Robo Croc. (And just when you thought a movie couldn't get more ridiculous and low-budget than Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus.))

Frankly, this whole thing just proves that the phrase “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” is complete and utter bull crap. Imitation is really just the sincerest form of laziness.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bane of My Existence

You know what? A moment of silence, please.

On January 22 reported that my heart and soul an actor I hardly know anything about, Leonardo DiCaprio, is “taking a break from acting”.
I am so done.
Yes, okay? I get it. He's an actor and it's not like he's dead. He's just “a bit drained...just worn out” from doing three films in the past two years. But it's still sad for me to think about, after this next year or so, not seeing a movie of his in theaters for who-knows-how-long (of course, I did go fourteen years without seeing a movie of his in theaters and there are always the older films of his that I haven't seen yet. Maybe I can get through this) while he lounges around Cabo San Lucas on a yacht with Victoria's Secret models.
Actually, his plans are to “fly around the world doing good for the environment”. (Great. Even when he's breaking my heart, he's perfect.) He proved his environment-friendliness by telling Germany's daily Bild, to which he broke the news of his break, that, “My roof is covered with solar panels. My car is electric.” Leo has also done work to spread awareness about endangered species like tigers and whales.

Who knows when Leo will decide to jump back into acting? I mean, when he made his announcement to Bild, he said it would be a “long, long break”, which means he could be out of the game anywhere from five to ten Kardashian marriages.
Anyway, I will still be able to see him in his three new movies. There's Django Unchained (whose rated-R ass I still haven't seen yet), The Great Gatsby (three and a half months <3), and The Wolf on Wall Street (his fifth collaboration with Martin Scorsese, which just finished filming).

Okay, when I think about this a little more, everything seems fine. I mean, I've really only seen two of DiCaprio's movies in theaters, Inception and J. Edgar, and it's not like I can't watch other movies of his. Besides, our world needs more people looking out for it because we Homo Sapiens have pretty much screwed Mother Earth over.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Aca-Effing Stop

(Blogger's note: Upon rereading this post in a more alert state, I realize that I shouldn't be given access to a computer while super tired. But I'm also too lazy to change anything in it, so here you go.)

There is something about loads of teenage girls quoting movies that just totally repulses me. From the movie, I mean.
When Pitch Perfect came out I thought it looked sort of stupid. Like, oh great. An hour-and-a-half long Glee. But then it got positive reviews, which surprised me, and I started seeing dozens of gif-sets of the movie on Tumblr. Eventually my mom rented it and I thought, why the hell not? I'll watch it.
And it wasn't awful; I sort of liked it. There was a predictable ending and cringe-worthy characters, but it was okay.
But you know what's not okay? When these girls who stand by my locker every morning quote Pitch Perfect to its grave. Mostly it's in reference to one of the jokes, in which you put “aca”, as in “a capella”, in front of another word. One of the locker girls will say “Aca-awkward” to a situation that is in no way awkward and her friends will laugh a dainty but piercing laugh but one of them won't get it so then the others will explain it and then say more words with “aca” in front of them whilst my insides boil.
Now of course I know that this isn't the movie's fault. How were the writers supposed to know that teenage girls would be endlessly quoting simple lines of dialogue while others contemplated homicide? This doesn't take away from the fact, though, that these girls absolutely ruined the movie for me.

(Blogger's note: This would most definitely be considered a rant, which is frowned upon where I come from, especially since I didn't use any number or stats and I complained a lot. We'll just go with it, though, yes? Like that awful Adam Sandler movie Just Go With It. Dibs on being Jennifer Aniston.)

Insert Creative Title About The Aviator Here

(Blogger's note: I'm just too tired for this.)

When I was younger, I would sometimes tell my dad goodnight in my parents’ room. If I caught him at a certain time, he would be setting his alarm clock for the next morning. He would make me wait for him as he repeated the same chant, “The alarm is on. Five forty-five. The light in on. The alarm is on. Five forty-five.” I had no idea what he was doing. My mom told me that it was just something he did, like how some people check several times to make sure they the light in a room is off. These would be categorized under the "compulsions" part of the mental disorder known as obsessive compulsive disorder.

Most of the things I got for Christmas were movies. One of them, The Aviator (2004), tells the story of Howard Hughes (portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, hence the appeal), a famous pilot and filmmaker and sufferer of OCD.
The film followed him from his start, when he first inherited his fortune, to his kind-of lowest. Well, not really. He flies the biggest aircraft ever in Los Angeles Bay and then has a break down. So yeah. At least he made it out of the room he had locked himself in for who-knows-how long with a grody bears and super long nails.

A quick Google search tells me that several studies have shown OCD to be hereditary, which maybe explains why 67% of my father's children also have obsessive compulsive tendencies. I would say that none of these are as incapacitating as Hughes', of course, but they still surely suck. (For some reason every time I walk past the thermostat, I have to tap it. Whenever I go into my kitchen, I have to close every cabinet door; when I shut the refrigerator I have to push on it twice. When I walk down the stairs I hit my hip against the railing two or four times. I check behind me every once in a while when I sit on the couch to check for spiders and I constantly crack my jaw and pop my ears . On top of all of this, I can't do anything in multiples of threes (thank goodness we have ten kitchen cabinets, amirite?). The only ones I really know of my sister's is that, if she ever touches, let's say, my left eyebrow, she flips out and will fight me until I let her touch my right one and also freaks out if you move anything in her room.) I doubt I'll ever lock myself in a room and just watch movies whilst letting my beard grow. Probably just minus the beard.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Midterm Week, Movie Week

Last week was midterms at my school. With this being high school, midterms mean basically nothing except that our current grades are emailed to our parents, sent home with us at homeroom, and mailed to our house. (Trees, you're being well spent.) Because this midterm not only marked the half-way point of the trimester, but also the whole school year, I decided to treat myself to a little movie marathon. I just got my laptop back from the laptop repair place, which was there for the sole purpose of fixing the CD drive so I could play movies, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity to watch all of the freaking movies I got for Christmas.

Wednesday: Revolutionary Road
It's definitely well written, directed, and acted out, so it's a good movie. Revolutionary Road is just really sad, though. I mean, even with Leonardo DiCaprio in it, it was just not a very happy movie.

Thursday: Something's Gotta Give
I've actually been meaning to blog about this movie for a while. I started one up in September, but couldn't really pull anything good from the little amount I had written. The truth is that it's just a good, quirky movie. It's pretty much just a romantic comedy for older people. I'm guessing they'll be able to relate to what happens with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton's characters better than maybe I did, because they have heart attacks and children and taxing jobs and stuff.

Friday: Midnight in Paris
So, yeah, I've blogged about this one already, but I still don't get why my sister and mom don't like it. I think it's a great movie and pretty much everything else I said in the other post, which pretty much sums it all up.

Saturday: Dr. No
I would have to say that old James Bond is so freaking classic that I like it better than current James Bond (sorry, DCraig). Even when someone shoots a gun and it sounds like a knock on a door or when Bond flips someone over in such a believable way, I just love this freaking movie and the whole franchise.

Sunday: (Break for Golden Globes)

Monday: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
I'm not talking about the 1999 film starring Johnny Depp. That's just Sleepy Hollow. Nor was this a movie I got for Christmas. This was just a ridiculous play I was in in eighth grade (way back when) and had been avoiding watching for three years and then tried to but my laptop wouldn't play movies. Now that I could watch it in the privacy of my own room, I bit the bullet (is that an actual saying?). I laughed and cried the whole time just because of how awful it was. It was really bad and Johnny Depp wasn't even in the movie. Needless to say I immediately burned the film after finishing.

Tuesday: Star Trek
This is one of those movies which I watched only for the attractive men but stayed for the crazy ass plot and humor. And I think I watched it about five times in February of last year alone.

So a very productive few days, over all.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I've got 99 problems and emotional scarring is one of them

I don't think I've ever mentioned how good my parents are at what they do. Not their jobs, but raising me and my sisters. Once my mom left my sister in the HyVee parking lot when she was really young. My dad once picked up our overweight cat and sat her onto my bare leg, for which I still have a scar from her claws. A few years ago my other sister was challenged by my father to ride down a steep hill, covered with bumps and trees which led straight to a busy road, on which she wiped out. And one time my parents double-teamed the three of us by taking us to see an emotionally-scarring movie.
My mom was out of the house and my dad told my sisters and me to get into the car; we were going to Menards to get our grandpa a gift. Of course, three young girls didn't want to spend their day at a tool store, so we whined and complained but still ended up in the Mercury Sable. On our way to Menards, our dad suddenly pulled into the parking lot of the movie theater and told us, guess what? We were going to see a movie! My sisters and I squealed with excitement (eh, probably); which movie were we going to see? Chicken Little? Zathura?
"Nope." my father said. "We're going to see King Kong!"
We just sat quietly for a second or two.
"Um, what?" I'm pretty sure each of us asked. Our astonishment came from the PG-13 rating. I mean, while my older sisters were twelve (with the bravery of a six-year-old) and fifteen at this time, but I was only nine and we all still thought the movie was rated-R. We asked if we could see something else.
"Your mom's already in the theater waiting for us. She bought the tickets this morning."
So we were stuck.
To this day I still have no idea why my parents thought it was a good idea to take their young daughters to a movie rated because of "frightening adventure violence and some disturbing images", especially since my mom made me sit on her lap the whole time and kept covering my eyes when someone's head got bitten off by a giant caterpillar or something.
King Kong was okay, though. The three hours (seriously, Peter Jackson? Three hours?) of these filmmaker characters fighting some big-ass bugs and the infamous gorilla and that infamous gorilla fighting some dinosaurs wasn't a complete loss of time and innocence. After all, Adrien Brody was in it.
I still would've rather seen Chicken Little.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I've got 99 problems but Disney ain't one of them

It's true that my childhood was filled with ball sacks of Disney movies. Like, tons, but a few of my favorite animated movies when I was a kid (and now even) weren't Disney at all. Instead, I watched The Road to El Dorado (2000, Dreamworks), The Prince of Egypt (1998, Dreamworks), and Anastasia (1997, 20th Century Fox). These movies have basically two things in common: their awesome soundtracks and blatantly obvious historical inaccuracy.
Take, for instance, the story of Miguel and Tulio, two Spaniards in the sixteenth century looking for the Lost City of Gold, El Dorado. They find it, are mistaken by the natives for gods, and reap the rewards. Then there's the movie interpretation of the Book of Exodus, the second in the Bible, which takes some liberties in changing a few things. And lastly, the story of the last Romanov, Anastasia, which is actually based on an urban legend which says that the last emperor of Russia's daughter survived the whole family's execution.
I mean, I think the stories are really cool and fun and also slightly misleading but who cares? No one wants to watch a boring documentary about an urban legend that's totally fiction; they want to watch an adventurous movie about two people who find a city full of gold or a lost princess who's reunited with her grandmother in Paris or, you know, Moses doing crazy shit.
The thing I love doing with children's movies, besides watching them again and again, is singing all parts of each chorus song in my best impression of each character. Not only is it super fun to do, but I'm pretty sure it's completely painful to listen to.
These three movies are made through their songs. Elton John worked on TRtED and helped write my favorites: "The Trail We Blaze" and "It’s Tough to Be a God". Composer Hans Zimmer worked on The Prince of Egypt and arranged both instrumentals and some songs with lyrics, like "Deliver Us" and "All I Ever Wanted". Anastasia pretty much had no one of recognition arrange or compose anything, but it still had some darn good songs such as "Once Upon a December" and "In the Dark of the Night".
So there's probably a great, decently poetic and moving, message to come out of this post and I'm just too lazy to get it into words. Let's just keep it with:
You should definitely not judge a movie by it's obvious flaws but instead by it's amazing music.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Well it's not like we expected her to find anyone...

It starts when we’re young. We have a blanket we can’t go to sleep without. Our stuffed animals are our best friends. We have an attachment to inanimate objects.
It’s completely normal for kids to have it. There comes a time, though, when each kid grows up. They go all Toy Story 3 on their once-cherished teddy bears and safety blankets. And, sure, maybe there’s the occasional pep-talking a car through a blizzard, but most interaction for adults comes from real people: classmates, comrades, elders. (Although in this day and age it’s pretty likely to also come from a tiny beeping rectangle in your pocket, amiright?)
In 2007, Ryan Gosling starred as the title character in the dramedy, Lars and the Real Girl. Quite far from his dangerously handsome, romcom roles, Gosling plays the socially inept Lars who falls for Bianca, a lifelike blow up doll he ordered off the internet. Lars’ brother (Gus), his wife (Karin), and the whole town are completely shocked and somewhat disturbed by his affixation. The ending is a total downer that pretty much made me reassess everything in my life.
The first time I watched LatRG, I was pretty weirded out…and sad. I felt bad for Gosling’s character, who was so reliant on this plastic bag filled with air. I mean, if he was like, twenty years younger and the object was perhaps a less-creepy, less sex-dolly version of Bianca, there would be no movie; it would’ve been a normal story of a boy and his beloved Barbie. (Get your gender-typed ass out of here.)
I don’t want to get into the psychology of it all, but the story of Lars’ life reminded me of my own. I mean, I don’t still talk to my stuffed animals; actually they’re all in a plastic bag in my basement, but I’m ninety-nine percent sure my nineteen year old sister, Karalee, still does. She has three main stuffed animals: a creepy, giant baby named Dill from Rugrats, a panda bear named China (racist), and a blue bear aptly named Blue Bear. I guess she also has some weird whale, stingray-thing named Kenzo and a carrot named Carrotlee. They must go to college with her because I don’t see them a lot. The rest of her childhood stuffed animals sit on a shelf on the opposite side of her room as her bed; she sits them so that they don’t face her. (God forbid they should watch her sleep.)
Of course, this doesn’t mean my sister will become the female version of Lars. But, actually, she loves this Japanese TV series called Absolute Boyfriend, in which this girl signs up for a trial and gets a robot boyfriend in the mail and he’s like, the perfect mate. Holy crap, does this mean I’m Gus?