Saturday, December 31, 2011


I'm back! Every year, I decide that I should blog more, if not because people are wildly interested in what's going on in my head, but because I should exercise my brain and challenge myself to put thoughts on box. However, I am making no such goal for 2012, and do you know why? Because we are all going to die*! That's right, everyone! According to the Mayan calendar, come December 21, we are all going down. So how to spend the last year of my life? Certainly not in front of a computer!


1) Curb addiction to Peter Piper Pizza. Do this by eating it until it can no longer be stood.

2) Cuddle with my cat. With the way he runs into walls, it's unlikely he'll make it.

3) Platonically cuddle with Zack Thompson, Erica "Steele", and Jen Soon-to-no-longer-be-Lake. Who knows if we'll recognize each other in Heaven. It's been so long already.

4) Even though Ashton Seip will undoubtedly kick Armageddon in its face, I'll watch a sunset with her, just in case. Preferably from an insane height.

5) Make an insane batch of Macaroni and Cheese. I don't see dairy products holding up in a state of nuclear winter.

6) Homewreck one of the Hansons. If I have a choice, Zac. Listen to their music exclusively. It's really the only thing I like besides showtunes. Judge if you will. It's the Apocalypse. I do what I want.

7) Spend a ridiculous amount of money on something frivolous. I mean, more than I already do. Everyone knows bread will be the currency of choice at the end of the world. Also, open a bakery.

8) Sing Christmas carols to Amy "Grinchy Claus" Gallagher. Perhaps wear orange while doing so. We won't make it until next Christmas for her to complain about them.

9) Watch How I Met Your Mother in chronological order with Brigitte. Have an argument over who gets to hypothetically get with Marshall. Entertainment is bound to be thin on the ground at the End.

10) Get accepted to Hogwarts. This speaks for itself.

So that's it, Ladies and Gentlemen. And may the odds be ever in my favor. Happy New Year!

*In no way do I believe the world is ending.

Friday, August 5, 2011

That's What She Read: 13 Reasons Why

So, I just spent my Friday night finishing up Jay Asher’s wildly popular young adult book, Thirteen Reasons Why. In hindsight, as this book is about suicide, and staying at home by yourself on a Friday night is already a shaky topic, this may not have been a great idea, but alas, I press on.

For the last two years, I’ve seen this book everywhere. When I was teaching sixth grade, at least two or three of the kids read it, and I know at least one or two read it last year when I moved to teaching seventh grade. At any rate, I knew it was popular, and now I know why.

Thirteen Reasons Why tells the story of Clay, who receives a mysterious box of cassette tapes in the mail. When he begins to listen to them, he hears the voice of Hannah, a girl at his high school who, two weeks before, committed suicide. It is revealed that Hannah has made the tapes to give the reason for her suicide, so each person who played a role in her decision is able hear exactly why they affected her.

I finished the book ten minutes ago, so I’m not sure if I can adequately say why I'm uncomfortable, but I think that I can’t decide if it sends the correct message about suicide. At the end of the book, the reader can see exactly why Hannah chooses to end her life, but I am not sure if she is celebrated for doing so, if she is pitied, or what. The problem with this sort of vague storytelling, is that the actions that Hannah chooses for expressing herself post-suicide, could possibly seem romantic to the emotionally fragile people it is geared towards.

Who hasn’t wanted to tell everyone who has hurt them in some way exactly how they feel about it, with no consequences? I’m not sure there is anyone alive who hasn’t thought about it. In her death, Hannah gets to live out something that I know I have fantasized about (not the suicide, but the tape making). And here is where we get into trouble. I know that I was not the only high schooler that struggled with depression. In fact, I can see my high school self doing something totally similar in reaction to a few incidents that happened toward the end – something that reading this book would have only strengthened. So, in the end, would the book, intended to help, have hurt me, had I read it in that frame of mind? I don’t know.

On the flip side, this book does do something positive, and that is that it shows people exactly how their actions, even the smallest or seemingly innocent, can have a profound effect on others, and I know that I thought of a few things that I have done out of not wanting to be inconvenienced that could have been hurtful to someone else. But, does this concept outweigh the potential romanticizing of suicide?

Actually, I’m not sure the suicide is romanticized. Clay and the other characters mentioned appear to be deeply affected by what goes on. Their grief is profound and palpable. But, are young people able to recognize the difference?

In any case, I am not sure how I feel recommending this book to my students. I know they would like it, and race through it, but would it help?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Top Five Movies I Wish I Had Walked Out Of

I am reasonably picky about what movies I go see. You will not see me darkening the door of Transformers 3. I’d rather eat puffed rice cereal exclusively for the rest of the year than pay to sit through Pirates of the Caribbean 4. How did I become this jaded? Easy. I have paid to have my brain assaulted by too many questionable films. Before I came to my senses, I would describe my willingness to sit through bad movies as reasonably high. Ok. Very high. Suffice it to say, I have plunked myself down in front of a few movies that I wish I could unwatch (I will NEVER forgive Todd Phillips for The Hangover II. Never.), but what does it take in order to give a movie the ultimate “screw you”, the walk out?

I wouldn't know. But, here are the top five movies I wish I had walked out of.

5) Across the Universe. This Beatles-themed musical tells the story of (Hey!) Jude, who, in a trip to the USA to find his father, rooms with another guy in an apartment rented from (sexy!) Sadie. He ends up falling in love with his roommate’s sister Lucy (in the sky with diamonds!). They join forces with another roommate, (Dear!) Prudence, living a rad, trippy lifestyle. When her brother gets sent to Vietnam (Uncle Sam wants him so bad), Lucy becomes a radical, driving a wedge between her and Jude. They break up and Jude gets deported. Misery ensues, until Jude is allowed to come back (because all you need is love?) and Lucy serenades him from a rooftop. Because, you know, The Beatles.

The real problem with this movie is that it’s basically playing Mad Libs with the Beatles catalogue, to the point that when “Strawberry Fields Forever” is wedged in, Jude is literally just painting strawberries on a wall. That’s it. You cannot invest in characters that are doing nothing but speaking in Beatles song title puns. Far from wanting them to “Please, Please Me”, you want them to “Get Back”.

4) Garden State. Ok, so I didn’t see this in the theater, but I wish I had just so I could have walked out (technically, I did, since I didn’t actually finish watching it, but this is neither here nor there). Despite this, I feel ok critiquing it simply because at the time it was released, I was about to be a freshman in college, which (I think) is the movie’s intended audience. Unless you know of another group of people who are impressed with themselves for no reason, believe that Dashboard Confessional understands their soul, and despite the fact that people around them perceive their crazy, they insist that they are “just me!” You know, the sorrow is sexy crowd (note: it’s not). Anyway, Zach Braff (scribe and director) travels back to New Jersey for his mother’s funeral, bonds/falls in love(?) with an insufferably annoying quirky Natalie Portman, stops taking his Prozac, and is freed from the “numbness” of his mundane life. They meet “eccentric” characters, have “adventures”, discuss “feelings”. You know, things you can’t do in your regular life. Basically, it’s stock and thin, with nothing but two-dimensional characters (you know, “sad”, “weird”, “lazy”) and a soundtrack that is just as underwhelming as the character development. And a guy shoots flaming arrows for no reason. And Zach Braff can’t swim. It’s symbolic. Gag me.

3) Four Christmases. I blame seeing this movie on a combination of a Thanksgiving Day, tryptophan-induced stupor and a poor recommendation from my brother, who, while spending Thanksgiving with his girlfriend’s family, saw this movie and told us that it “wasn’t that bad.” Allow me to disagree, John Cunningham.

Families are weird, right!? I mean, seriously. Weird. How does anyone put up with them? Well, Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn don’t! Instead, they have kinky sex, party extravagantly, and banter! It’s the American dream, right? And, best of all, they aren’t shackled by those people that created them. Instead of spending Christmas with them, the two jaunt on a Caribbean vacation, but when fog grounds their flight, their families see them on TV, know they aren’t inseminating cows in India or whatever story they made up, and thus, Reese and Vince have to visit all four families on the same day. The horror! We have the stereotypical poor family, religious family (complete with the now-ubiquitous foul-mouthed grandparent), the hippie family. All they needed was for one of the parents to have become a homosexual. In any case, after learning simple things about each other, meeting each other’s families for the first time (What, no one had a brunch or something?? Ever?), Vince and Reese break up and get back together in time to learn that they are having a baby, the one thing they never wanted! But, of course they are suddenly ok with it now. Oh, and Vince Vaughn wrestles Jon Favreau. They fall off a roof. It’s hilarious. Or not. Honestly, I think everyone would be better off if they re-released Home Alone every year at Thanksgiving than putting up with that kind of garbage.

2) August Rush. In this film, we meet a pair of twenty-somethings (played by Keri Russell and Jonathan Rhys-Meyers), who after a one night stand on a moldy couch, can’t seem to get their lives together, remaining star-crossed for many years. Of course, after their night of uncomfortable all-consuming passion, Keri Russell’s character is pregnant, but through a series of unfortunate events, her father determines that his daughter’s “dream” of becoming a world-class cello player must come first, and manages to have her baby put up for adoption without her knowledge, because you know, dads can do that. The baby grows up to be some sort of musical prodigy, escaping from his orphanage because he needs to “feel the music” and sure that his parents will “find him” and love him or something equally asinine. In any case, through a series of unfortunate events (the least of which being Robin Williams’s presence in this film), he ends up at Julliard, and conducting the New York Philharmonic after instantly learning to read and write music. And what do you know? Keri Russell, world famous (?) cellist is also playing at this event. Even though August doesn’t get to the concert until after Keri plays, all hope is not lost. Miraculously, Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (having left his indeterminable million dollar business) is there too, having seen the his true love’s name (that he met and had sex with that one time) they see each other from across the park, smitten in love, and just know that it’s their son up there. And, as if by magic, August turns around, sees them, and he just knows that it’s his parents.

Seriously. That’s what happens. Not only is the story impossible, but the lynchpin is that you are suppose to care about two people who had sex one time and now they’re supposed to be together. I mean, really! Not only that, have either of these two people forgotten how to use a phone book? The internet? EMAIL!? Why, after their missed encounter, do they simply give up looking if they are supposed to be soul mates? I mean, Keri Russell is supposed to be world famous! You are telling me she’s nowhere to be found on the WWW? If you google image my name it finds a picture of me. I imagine that world class cellists are even easier to creep on.

This might be the worst movie of all time, behind my number 1 . . .

1) A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. It was a cloudy July day in 2001, when my friend Sara Gandy and I flipped a coin between seeing this movie and seeing Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Guess what won?

Anyway, I wonder if Dakota Fanning saw this movie and got scared for her own career? I mean, Haley Joel Osment is apparently some sort of drug dealer now, and he didn’t even bother getting naked or gay in a movie to legitimize his career. But anyway, that’s beside the point . . .

A.I. takes place in the near future, and, if I remember correctly, Haley Joel is a robot child that is programmed to love (a precursor to Data’s Star Trekkian emotion chip??) He is bought by a man and woman whose real son is sick, apparently to fill the void? It’s never clear. There is an adjustment period, but eventually, the mom “imprints” on Haley Joel, and swears to be his mommy for all eternity. All is well until her real son is miraculously healed and decides that the evil robot child must die. They attempt to send him back, but when the mother finds out the robot will be destroyed, she leaves him, baby Moses style, in the woods. It’s compassion at its finest. Then Robot-boy meets “Joe the Gigolo” (Jude Law in a typecasted role), a sex robot, and naturally, go looking for the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio because, you know. She’s real? Or it’s terrible symbolism. Either way. Eventually, the two stumble upon Manhattan, underwater and half destroyed, but miraculously, the robot creator is there just hanging out! Score! After finding out that he’s not really special, Robot Boy decides to commit robot suicide by jumping into the ocean (he’s saved by a school of fish. No joke). In sheer frustration, he drives a police mobile into the ocean and gets trapped underwater at Coney Island, saying “Please Blue Fairy, make me a real boy” to the depths. And you think the movie is over. Alas! No! Two thousand years later (still not kidding), future space alien robots save him from the ice and use some hair trapped forever in his Teddy Ruxpin-like toy to bring his mommy back for one day. She reads him a story. Then she dies. And yes, this is effing ridiculous.

There are so many things wrong with this movie that I’m not sure I can list them all here. The robots have to obey, but sometimes not, when it’s convenient for plot. The concepts of love are infantile, with it being no more than just saying “mommy, you’re pretty!” or something of that nature. And let’s not forget the ending, which does absolutely nothing to wrap up whatever theme is going on (but I suppose it is sort of Oedipal?). And Jude Law is a sex robot. Sex. Robot. Awful.

I've sat through a lot of crap. A lot of crap. But these five films live forever as, by far, the worst movies I have ever had the displeasure of seeing in a theater.

Honorable Mentions:

Sweet November
Hangover Part II
Date Movie

Friday, June 24, 2011

Weird = Sexy?

Recently, my friend Amy Gallagher and I saw the movie Submarine, a British film about a kid navigating his parents' marital difficulties and his first relationship. On the whole, really enjoyed the movie. Highly recommend it if you like quirky, awkward, Michael Cera-like acting with an indie soundtrack. However, this film was another installment in a series of movies I've seen in which the main girl is supposed to be quirky, but, in fact, if anyone were to act that way in real life, would be a psycho (and certainly not dating!). And yet, in the movie, the guy is attracted to the girl's weirdness, and they live happily and weirdly ever after. Where is this actually happening in real life? Nowhere.

Exhibit A - Ally Sheedy's character, The Breakfast Club

She is affectionately referred to as "the basket case" when the Breakfast Club is discussed, and, make no mistake, she lives up to the name. I'm sorry, but every time I see her "snow" her picture with her own dandruff, it releases disgust previously tethered. There is a reason she gets a makeover in the movie - she's a freak! But her freakishness doesn't stop Emilio Estevez (the Jock) from wanting to jump her by the end. Let me just say that in real life, if anyone was shaking their own dandruff all over the place, the last thing they would be doing is having sex. They'd be institutionalized.

Exhibit B - Charlene Yi. Movie: Paper Heart

I can't tell if Charlene Yi is a SPED or not. And that's in real life and in this movie. Seriously. Not a good sign. I mean, I know she gets with Michael Cera in the movie, who is also a weirdo (do not get me started on not understanding the appeal of his schtick anymore), but it is widely known that people like Michael Cera (who, incidentally, is playing himself in the movie) can easily date UP. Otherwise, how would his characters in movies be dating people way more attractive than he is? She stumbles and stutters and gives weirdo looks at the camera during the whole movie. There is just no way anyone could find this attractive in real life. Well. Maybe at Comic-Con?

Exhibit C - Yasmin Paige's character, Jordana, in Submarine

Ok. I DO. NOT. GET. THIS. Jordana, in the movie, is a self-proclaimed pyromaniac, who spends most of the movie bullying, verbally abusing and staring sardonically at the other characters. She's smug. And she - get this - burns the leg hair off of her boyfriend. As in sets it on fire. And everyone is ok with this and thinks it's super attractive. She has two or three boyfriends throughout the movie. Now say I was at a gathering, armed with a lighter, and approached various males and attempted to burn shapes in their leg hair. I'm pretty sure this wouldn't be well received. Do you know why? Because it's weird.

What do we learn from this? I'm not sure. But the word needs to be out there that these are not socially acceptable behaviors and are not going to help you land a quirky, awkward man. I don't care how quirky or awkward he is. He could be Data from Star Trek (he's an android, for all of you non-Trekkies out there) and it wouldn't matter. No one thinks these things are attractive. Don't do them in real life.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Breast Cancer Awareness?

This week, I got into it about the "breast cancer awareness" bracelets with a student (culminating in my saying a few things that were probably better left unsaid). When I see someone wearing them in class, I take them. I HATE these bracelets. When I went to go find the picture of them for this post, I found out that the ACLU is in the middle of a case about them, deciding whether or not they should be allowed in schools. What a great use of their time.

Here are the facts. Breast cancer is, undoubtedly, a prevalent and extremely emotional issue. People should, and do, have every right to support family members or other people close to them who have been affected by this disease, the repercussions of which are obviously very real and personal. And this is where it gets dicey. Should you be allowed to say and wear whatever you want about it? Should every single piece of terminology describing it be considered appropriate?

As a teacher, I am held to a certain standard. I cannot discuss my religion, my political views, or really anything personal that could be considered offensive to my students. Is that appropriate? Sure. My job isn't to proselytize, but to teach a certain subject. So, shouldn't students also be held to a standard? When you have a job, there are certain things that the company says are and are not appropriate for work. As a student, school is your job. Shouldn't the school be allowed to make that call? I think so. We say they cannot wear clothing that is overly sexual, contains gang or drug references, nor are they allowed to wear shirts with weapons. Does the word "boobies" fall into the same category? I think it does.

Here is the problem with the bracelets. They are marketed towards young people, who are not emotionally mature enough to handle the terminology. The makers of the bracelets know this, and also know that there are probably a handful of middle school students who have been affected by breast cancer and will want to support it. What happens next is a perfect storm. You have thirteen-year-old boys who genuinely do "heart boobies" and are wearing the bracelets just to say so, and you have other students, particularly girls, for whom the message isn't a sexual thing and might genuinely want to raise awareness about breast cancer. Where does this leave the manufacturers? Rich! Their bracelets are scooped up by every kid who knows you can't make a judgment about their motivation, and are able to potentially sexually harass or simply be disrespectful about wearing them all under the guise of "awareness".

My points are two things. There is no reason that you can't support breast cancer, and it doesn't have to be with the word "boobies". There are plenty of other avenues out there that aren't meant to be controversial and do the job just as well. The second is that if we allow boobies, what's next? Personally, I think that every students who wants to wear a boobies bracelet should also be required to wear bracelets for every other type of cancer. Something tells me that the same boys are not going to be down for bracelets that say "I Heart Buttholes" for anal cancer and "I Heart Dicks" for prostate cancer, which by the way, has as many annual cases as breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. There is a company that is marketing "I heart Balls" for testicular cancer - I haven't seen one of those pop up at school yet.

Students need to be taught the difference between appropriate and inappropriate controversy. Awareness to foster discussion is not the same as marketing towards emotionally immature people, and the manufacturers ought to be ashamed.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

That's What She Read - The Help

I know I am the last person to read Katheryn Stockett’s debut novel The Help, a story about three women in Jackson, Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement, but late to the table or not, I am so glad I decided to sit down.

The story is about three women: Aibileen, a black maid working for a white family; Minny, her saucy best friend, also a maid for a white family; and Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, a fresh college graduate, returning home to find that her maid, Constantine, who raised her, has mysteriously disappeared. Aibileen has just lost her only son, Minny is facing trying to find a job when her reputation for talking back precedes her, and Skeeter is trying to find her place while attempting to begin a career in writing. Through getting a job at the local newspaper writing a housekeeping advice column, Skeeter strikes up a tentative friendship with Aibileen (her friend Elizabeth’s maid), who helps her write the column. Later, the two of them begin a project writing a book about the relationship between white women and their maids, all while trying to protect themselves from the racial tension of Jackson.

I wish I could demand everyone read this book. Stockett is wonderful at drawing rich, three-dimensional characters, who each have flaws and learn something about themselves as the story proceeds. She also accurately portrays relationships between women, some close, some toxic, and the importance of remembering that the characters are a part of a bigger picture. Abuse, cancer, abandonment, broken engagements, miscarriage, death, infertility, and rejection are tackled with both sensitivity and frankness – something sincerely lacking in today’s literary market. Younger readers will also learn something about the climate of the south during the Civil Rights Movement, and hopefully be able to appreciate how far our country has come. What I enjoyed most about the book though, is that ultimately, each character is able to look forward with unbounding hope, having formed close bonds in the most unlikely places along the way – something we can all relate to.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar Night 2011 live blog!

So, I am trying my hand at live blogging the Oscars tonight. More than anything to stave off boredom during the telecast. Newest at the top.

9:45: And so we come to an end! Thanks for reading along (mom!).

9:40: Break out the Kleenex for PS22.

9:37: And the Best Picture winners are being cut off? Poor form!


9:31: Steven Spielberg is here to present the award for Best Picture. Finally. We are at the end. If The King's Speech doesn't win, I'll throw my wine glass at the TV.

9:24: Ah, Colin Firth. You handsome devil. "I have a feeling my career has just peaked," quips the classy winner. Maybe he and Sandra Bullock could team up next year?

9:22: Let's go Colin Firth!

9:19: Sandra Bullock is added to the list of people who should have hosted.

9:18: And Natalie Portman went on forever. She should have thanked America for tolerating her all these years. And apologized for Star Wars.

9:11: Time for Best Actress. I hope you have something good to say, Natalie Portman!

9:07: Eli Wallach looks better at 95 than half the people in the theater.

9:02: Tom Hooper wins!!! A minor upset. I thought for sure Fincher would win.

9:01: Hilary Swank came out to introduce Katheryn Bigelow . . and now they are presenting together. Weird. And it's time for best director already? Sheesh.

8:55: And Lena Horne gets a special tribute because she's black.

8:51: Celine Dion. Looks like it's time for my favorite part - In Memorium.

8:45: Randy Newman wins! "I don't want to thank these people. I want to be good television so badly. They can't find a fifth song somewhere?"

8:43: Gwyneth is country music's newest star? A bit presumptuous, don't you think?

8:40: James Franco is about as exciting as a high school graduation.

8:31: The Social Network wins for editing. Meh. Category is a joke since Inception wasn't nominated.

8:26: Billy Crystal, ladies and gentlemen! I miss this guy.

8:25: I should be grading papers.

8:20: Inside Job wins. Looks like something I'd disagree with.

8:18: Oprah presents documentary nominees. I think the only one I saw was Exit Through the Giftshop. Where's my iPad, Oprah?

8:17: Autotune wins! Best montage of the night. "He doesn't own a shirt!"

8:15: How old is this guy who just won? Honestly. "I should have gotten a haircut," he declares. Agreed. The fro is not a good look, bro.

8:11: And the Oscar goes to blah blah blah short film.

8:03: I love this song from Tangled.

8:02: Could use those sound mixers to mix the sound now. Poor job in the booth, folks. Can't hear Randy Newman at all.

8:00: Who did they pay to say 8 Mile was a good song? My favorite movie song? "A Whole New World."

7:58: Alice in Wonderland rightfully wins costume design. I would give this woman a poor grade in my class on her lack of eye contact. Ben Stein is more interesting.

7:55: Makeup awards. Cate Blanchett's dress looks like the side of a Faberge egg. Only with nipples. Wear a bra, girlfriend.

7:54: I'm convinced James Franco is high as the Goodyear blimp.

7:53: I'm obsessed with Marisa Tomei's dress. But honestly, I can't see her without thinking about Seinfeld.

7:50: Time for more wine.

7:47: Andy Serkis!? Is that you?

7:46: Inception wins for sound. How exactly do you judge sound mixing? Anyone? Someone explain this to me.

7:44: Salt got nominated for something? That was the worst movie I saw all year.

7:43: How do I know these things? Trent Reznor, good thing your name is Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.

7:40: Was True Grit nominated in this category? I LOVED that score. I bet Trent Reznor wins for name recognition.

7:39: Some Aussie love for Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman, here to present the award for Original Score?

7:38: ABC and Academy commercial. These two are about as exciting as watching someone else play video games.

7:33: Drink up for the first tearful breakdown of the evening!

7:29: Christian Bale wins! Is it bad that I didn't know he's British?

7:28: Reese Witherspoon looks stunning and is delivering the best supporting actor award. Money's on Christian Bale. Geoffrey Rush, you win in my heart!

7:27: #Inabetterworld, I would have seen these films. Do you see what I did there?

7:25: Cheers for Russell Brand and Dame Helen Mirren (the classiest woman alive). They are presenting best foreign language film. Didn't see any of them except Biutiful.

7:23: "On my oooooown, cause someone's a Hugh Jackass . . ." belts Anne Hathaway in the first true LOL of the night. She should totally be hosting by herself.

7:18: "My father always said to me I would be a late bloomer" says David Seidler. Oh, how I wish writers hosted everything.

7:17: And The King's Speech picks up its first win of the night!

7:16: Original screenplay. I'm rooting for Inception, but who knows who'll win.

7:13: Yeah. Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network. Let's all add him on Facebook!

7:12: Adapted screenplay. Aaron Sorkin is clearly going to win.

7:12: Josh Brolin and Javier Bardem. It's a No Country For Old Men reunion! I didn't know Javier Bardem spoke English. Is that racist? They appear to be dressed for their twinsies waiter act.

7:06: And the best animated short film is . . . Toy Story 3! No surprise there. Honestly, I cried so much watching that movie that I'm never watching it again.

7:02: Sounds like a lot of liberal crap in these short films. Only one I've seen is "Day and Night"

7:01: Ah. Animated short film.

7:00: Here's Mila Kunis and JT to present something.

7:00: "It's the young and hip Oscars!" quips Anne Hathaway. Congratuf******lations, Melissa Leo!

6:57: Even though she took out those unclassy ads, Melissa Leo manages to be almost classy. Nevermind. Drink one for the first bleeped swear word of the night.

6:56: And Douglas is dragging it out. Adorable. Honestly. I love this guy. And the winner is . . . Melissa Leo! Toldja.

6:53: Supporting actress time. I say it goes to Melissa Leo, but no doubt Hailee Steinfeld and Helena Bonham Carter deserve it more.

6:51: Kirk Douglas proves that even a stroke victim can have major personality. No wonder he was such an incredible actor.

6:50: How did they prop Kirk Douglas up!?

6:48: No such luck. Thanks for the brevity.

6:46: Cinematography winner - Inception. I sincerely hope the acceptance speech includes something about dreams coming true.

6:44: Winner - Alice in Wonderland. No surprise really. "Why didn't I lose that 20 lbs" says the winner. LOL.

6:43: Here's Tom Hanks to present the award for art direction. I actually saw all of these films.

6:40 PM: Only took ten minutes to make a Marky-Mark reference. Definitely not the funniest opening monologue ever. But it'll do.

6:39 PM: Hathaway has personality for days. Franco . . . not so much.

6:36 PM: Love Anne Hathaway's dress.

6:33 PM: James Franco under that bear suit! Excellent. "The naked girl from Love and Other Drugs and the guy from General Hospital" narrates Morgan Freeman. Ouch.

6:31 PM: Nice intro with all of the best picture nominees. GO King's Speech!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

And we are back to where we started.

Well. Booth has been dumped. In terms of story, this seems rather abrupt, but in terms of my disdain for Hannah, not soon enough. This whole season has been dragging on and on and on until we can get back to "the heart of the matter", Booth and Brennan, and where do they go from here?

I read a lot of blogs about Bones, and all the recaps and interviews with the producers, so I feel like I have a pretty decent perspective on things, but here's something that no one has said about why the Hannah storyline didn't work out - CASTING. CASTING. CASTING. Make no mistake - Katheryn Winnick was severely miscast. How do we know? Past experience.

Take The Office, for example. After Pam left Jim's heart scattered on the sidewalk way back in season 2, Jim had to leave to get over her. It totally made sense. Booth did the same thing after Brennan rejected him, which also totally made sense. While Jim was gone, he met someone. So did Booth. Believable? I'd say so. But, here's where things differ. The Office brought in Rashida Jones, who, besides being completely underrated as an actress (she's wonderful), had clear, natural chemistry with John Krasinski (they dated in real life). As a viewer of The Office at that time, I totally understood Jim and Karen as a couple. In fact, I could see that if Pam hadn't been in the picture at all for Jim, that he could have ended up with her and we would have been just as happy as an audience. On paper, Hannah was supposed to be the same for Booth. And, on paper, she was. She's beautiful, adventurous, committed, a strong person, intelligent - in short, everything Booth needed in a new girlfriend. And it made sense, too, that Brennan could be friends with someone like that. After all, Pam and Karen were friends for awhile before Pam threw down her feelings about Jim, because they were similar - why Jim was attracted to both of them in the first place! Unfortunately, Katheryn Winnick had ZERO chemistry with David Boreanaz or Emily Deschanel, which made an already less than desireable situation for the audience even worse. Her stilted line readings were like some of my seventh graders when trying to read dramatically out of their Basil reader - more plainly put, painful. She did nothing except look pretty and had no discernable talent except turning oxygen into carbon dioxide. I firmly believe that no one would be as underwhelmed by this season if they had cast someone better. I keep picturing Sela Ward (who is too old for Booth, but someone like her, who has screen presence).

With that said, where DO Booth and Brennan go from here? I think a few important things were brought out tonight. I have rewatched the end scene a few times, and it seems obvious to me that when Brennan asks him, "What happens next?" she leaves off the "for us". She wants to know what's next for them. But, it also makes sense that Booth is "mad at all of them". He wanted Brennan, and because she rejected him, he got with Hannah, and then she rejected him too. Without Brennan's rejection, he wouldn't be there. So, it makes sense that he wouldn't want to explore the option of the two of them right away. He'll be keeping her at arms length, and I think that's expected and realistic. The only way that the rest of this season will make sense is if the way these two grow back together is completely authentic. They'll get back into their old/new groove, but since they have both been much more emotionally transparent, it will be easier for them to be open with one another when things start getting serious again.

Le sigh. I don't care if this season has been lackluster. I love these two, and I'm sticking it out until the end.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Destination: Detonate

Remember that episode of The Office where Michael and Dwight are testing the capacity of a trampoline by throwing watermelons off the roof of the Dunder-Mifflin offices only to have one of the melons explode with intensity all over Stanley’s Cadillac? Well, Bones fans, I couldn’t get that image out of my head as we watched Gravedigger Heather Taffet’s head burst like a tick in flames all over the front of the supreme court building. Like, whoa! It was amazing. Great job, Bones CGI crew. Great effing job. Wow. I loved it.

And this brings us the first discussion point of last night’s fabulous episode “The Bullet in the Brain.” What did you think of Heather Taffet’s sendoff? Were you uneasy, like Angela, or overjoyed like Hodgins? I, for one, thought it was pitch perfect. I mean, nobody wanted to see the woman get lethal injection, did they?

So let’s talk about the case. Basically, a lot of talking to figure out that Jacob Broadsky (excellent serial killer name, played by The Mummy’s Arnold Voosloo, a veteran TV baddie), an off-the-grid sniper, is going after our man, Booth. Easily the most exciting thing about the episode was the great chase scene between the two men, which involved a ruggedly handsome Booth sprinting through beautiful woods after Broadsky and culminating in a killer explosion of Broadsky’s trailer along with all of the evidence to tie him to Taffet’s murder. I, for one, am so excited to see how this story plays out, considering Booth’s sniper past. I mean, this guy has been described as the anti-Booth, and I can see why. Booth always tries to do the right thing, and this guy thinks he’s doing the right thing, but is demented. And, how is this going to bring Booth and Brennan together? I can’t wait to find out!

And, while we’re on the subject, what about Booth and Bones in this episode? In a season that has been, to put it nicely, wildly uneven, I thought this was back to the old routine. I’m sure it had nothing to do with a lack of my least favorite character, “GIRLFRIEND GIRL!” Nothing at all. Brennan’s storyline in this episode revolved around convincing Booth that her father, Max, was not a suspect in the Gravedigger’s offing. This concluded with a really “Awww” inducing scene between Brennan and Max that involved him giving her a shell and telling her to listen to the ocean, like, presumably, he did when she was young, and Booth looking in the window at Brennan with repressed longing. It was frickin beautiful. Has anyone else noticed that Brennan is really saying what she feels a lot more this season? The first thing she told Booth when she arrived at the crime scene was “I’m so glad you’re ok.” Atta girl, Brennan! Such great character development.

As far as the rest of the team in the episode, the standout storyline was that of Sweets, who was having troubles dealing with what Heather Taffet had taunted him with minutes before she died. John Francis Daley did a great job this week. He really showed Sweets’s vulnerability, and it was nice to see how all of the other characters have taken to him, all of them checking on him to see if he’s ok. I also love that it was resident hard-A, Caroline who snapped Sweets out of his funk. Good, good stuff.

So, what did you think of “The Bullet in the Brain?” Are you on board with the sniper storyline? Can you just not wait for the great dumping of Hannah to take place so we can all get on with our lives? Hit me up, let me know.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


It was announced yesterday that overrated famed director James Cameron will be producing two sequels to Avatar, scheduled for release in 2012 and 2013. As this news scrolled across my screen, I thought to myself,


I have said for a long time that film is dead, and this is further proof. WHY DOES EVERYTHING NEED A SEQUEL? I know, I know. Money. It's what the people want! Better to make a guaranteed cash cow even if it is of lesser quality than churn out anything new that maybe someone won't want to watch. This is supposed to be conducive to great work?

What the film industry needs is a little something I like to call "showmanship." Go out on top, leave them wanting more.

Here are a few examples of things that needed to die long before they actually did:

1) Pirates of the Caribbean. Does anyone even remember what happened in the second and third movies except that they sat in the theatre for an exorbitant amount of time with no plot payoff? Yeah. Me either.

2) Sex and the City. I can't even begin to describe how offensively awful Sex and the City 2 was. Samantha rubbing testosterone on herself? Too far, ladies. Too far.

3) Saw. This needs no explanation.

4) The Land Before Time. I'm pretty sure the dinosaurs were extinct in a shorter amount of time than it took this straight-to-video sequel train to crash. This goes from simply wanting to make money to being downright shameless about getting it.

5) Shrek. Admittedly, I'm a little biased on this one, because I hated the first movie, but Shrek and Fiona's vomiting ogre babies just seems to be a little too much.

Unfortunately, no one listens to me, and this is what we have to look forward to from Hollywood.

Men in Black III. Seriously? Will Smith is arguably the biggest movie star on the planet. Why revisit something that wore out its welcome last time around?

Austin Powers 4. This makes a clear statement about Mike Myers's current career crisis.

Pirates of the Caribbean 4. Let's hope this installment is more comprehensible than the second and third, but I'm not holding my breath.

My advice? Read a book.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Slow Burning

Ok, Bones enthusiasts, our favorite duo is back in action tomorrow night after the winter hiatus. It goes without saying that I am beside myself with anticipation, mostly because we left B&B in such a dark place. I would be woefully dishonest if I didn't admit that I sunk into my couch and wept at Brennan's pleading with Booth to give her another shot, and Booth's subsequent rejection. It's ok, Brennan! You will find love again!

And that is where we find our topic for today. If Booth and Brennan are not in a committed relationship by the end of this season, I will be finding something else to obsess over faster than you can say "poor storytelling!" Let's look at the facts. This story has been told so poorly, this may be the only way to salvage the season.

It's not that I think B&B should have been together sooner, it's the way they have forced Booth into this relationship with Hannah, and then completely underdeveloped her character that I find unacceptable. For example, when Jim and Karen were together on The Office before Jim and Pam got together, we got to see how their relationship began and at least understood where their chemistry was (much like Brennan's relationship with Agent Sully in season 2). I mean, the fact that we missed the beginning of Booth's relationship with Hannah makes it almost impossible to even remotely consider that he could be good with her. All we saw was them having raucous sex after they were already serious, to which I say, who cares? Why is he so drawn to her? We have no idea.

So, this is what I predict will happen to get us out of this debacle:

1) Hannah finds out about B&B. She is unsettled.
2) Booth tries to hold on to Hannah for dear life, attempting to show how much he has moved on from Brennan.
3) Booth will propose to Hannah.
4) Hannah will say no.
5) Booth will blame Brennan.
6) Booth and Brennan resume their slow burn and are together in time for May sweeps.

This is my word. Let it be written.

Do you agree?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jump the Shark

I love Glee. Or should I say loved Glee. When it premiered a year and a half ago, I thoroughly enjoyed the seamless blending of humor, music and drama. The jokes were dialogue driven and funny, the music enhanced the plot and the characters seemed believable. It continued to be an enjoyable hour of television through its first 12 episodes, and I proclaimed GleeK love for life. And then it happened.

The show got popular. Now it's a mess, demonstrating that inflated creative freedom has done nothing but allow it to indulge its worst instincts.

First of all, WAY too much emphasis is being placed on Kurt. Yes. Kurt is gay. The problem is, nobody cares that Kurt is gay. Kurt's dad loves his gay son. And yet! Nobody cares that Kurt's dad loves his gay son. Or at least, people might care more if it wasn't jammed down our throats like bad cold medicine week after week after week. Ryan Murphy, I suggest you go to counseling and deal with your own "being gay" issues, rather than make them the forefront of what is supposed to be an ensemble show, not the Kurt Hummel Struggles with his Homosexuality Hour.

Second of all, since the show's production budget has increased exponentially, the amount of musical numbers has increased along with it. Too much of a good thing? Absolutely. In the first 12 episodes, there were, on average, three or four songs a show. Now it's five or six, with one being a massive, over-produced stage number. That's not to say that they aren't well done. The singing is still good, the arrangements are still good, the coreography is still good. The problem is that the plot isn't. There has been NO PLOT that I can discern during the last 8 episodes (Kurt is gay!). And with the lack of plot, the characters have simply been reduced to puffed up caricatures, being brought out and put back simply to say one or two lines an episode that are immediately drowned out by some unnecessary musical number. Hint to producers: use the songs to ENHANCE the plot, not drive it.

Don't even get me started on the tribute episodes, which are becoming more and more difficult to take. Along with Madonna, Britney Spears (easily one of the worst episodes of the show) and Rocky Horror, the cast will be taking on Michael Jackson and, JUSTIN BIEBER!?!? WHAT!? If we are going to have to sit through these ridiculous self-indulgent episodes, at least pay tribute to real artists who have some longevity. But, alas, this is becoming the trend with the song selection on the show. They began with 70s-80s hits and showtunes, with the occasional top 40 song thrown in, which was awesome. It exposed the new generations to great music and artistry. I'm sorry but my radio is already polluted enough with the likes of Bruno Mars and Rihanna. We don't need any more of that on TV!

In short, Glee has gone from being fresh and humorous to being strident, mawkish, preachy, and self-congratulatory. In other words, it kind of makes my skin crawl. With the lack of truly creative entertainment out there, this is a sore disappointment.