28 October 2009

Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

Hey, this movie doesn't suck! I'd been reading mixed reviews online, and all of my friends who've seen it gave it a hearty thumbs down so I went in with the lowest of expectations. However, the movie was neither dull nor boring. It wasn't bad at all actually. And the little boy who plays Max? He was wonderful. I can see him doing the US version of "Let the Right One In." I don't have a lot more to say here except that I enjoyed this. I thought Jonze and Eggers did a good job with a very difficult task and when you consider how much it could have really sucked, they did great. Maybe more could have happened but really, what for?

Let's talk about $600 wolf suits inspired by the movie. I was at Opening Ceremony in New York last week and was able to inspect this one of a kind item on the rack. I don't know what it was made of but it was super soft and if it was one zero less I would have bought it. I mean, this thing was pretty damn comfortable. The top with the ears was separately available for only $400. That's kind of a steal right?

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (2009)

If you're going to movie hop you just waltz into whatever the most convenient start time is. That's how I ended up at Cirque du Freak. And I won't lie, I enjoyed it. The whole vampire thing has been done over and over (and is still going) but this young adult series started in 2000 so maybe it's a bit ahead of the curve. The premise is interesting. A guy is turned into a half-vampire and lives with a circus of freaks in order to well, assist a real vampire in preparation for an inter-species vampire war.

The two teenage leads were both terrible. Like so bad I won't even name drop them. But luckily all the supporting actors and actresses were great. It was like a roll call of B and C-teamers. John C. Reilly, Ken Watanabe, Salma Hayek, Orlando Jones, and Patrick Fugit. Plus some guy named Michael Cerveris -- who was clearly born to play the Kingpin in a Spiderman or Daredevil movie. And I kind of love Jessica Carlson as the love interest. I hope she hits it big. All in all, an entertaining disposable movie.

20 October 2009

Radio Raheem

I come to New York to recharge. Not like relax and clear my mind but the exact opposite. I need the weeks I spend here to fill me up with ideas, stimulation, and energy for the next eleven months -- or whenever I can visit again. I'd love to move here right now but last week's up and down weather reminded me why I instituted my "only live in warm places" policy.

I used to always wear sweatpants (usually an unsightly pair of forest green ones) under my jeans but now that skinnier jeans are in, wearing bulky sweats isn't exactly an option. What's a guy to do? I was checking out Uniqlo's Heat Tech line, which seems great in theory, but they didn't seem particularly warm. I almost bought some new age thermals though, because I hate the feeling of cold jeans on skin. But last time I tried some fancy spandexy thermals to combat the weather, I had to run into a public bathroom and peel them off because they were interfering with my circulation. So yeah, no "Project: Move to Gotham" for me until it warms up. Or until I get less wimpy. Either or.
Gotham (goth'um), name for New York City first used by Washington Irving and others in the Salmagundi Papers, with satirical reference to Gotham, England, where the wise men acted as fools in order to avoid paying for the king's upkeep.
I've only been here for about a week, with another week to go, but I've already covered most of my food must-eats; run around crashing on my friends' couches, keeping them up, and shattering their sleeping schedules; and walked the city at least twice. Oh and today I got taken by a scalper while trying to get into Madison Square Garden to see my beloved Celtics. Who knew that even a pre-season game would bring out all the shady ticket people? I've never had a problem buying tickets off the street and was so excited to get near Kevin Garnett's (hopefully healthy for this season) knee. Instead I was a cautionary tale for other fans as I had to stand next to the ticket guy as he kept pointing out other people's tickets, "See, those are real. Those are real too. See how shiny they are? Yours aren't shiny." Yeah man, I got it. My tickets aren't real. Enough already.

But whatever, being in New York just makes me happy. Nothing can bring me down. It's all just a learning experience anyways right? Especially when late night mac and cheese is around every corner. Few things heal like a good plate of mac and cheese. Unless it's Cafe Habana corn, which are always handy in an emergency.

12 October 2009

Whip It (2009)

Listening to: The Chordettes, "Lollipop (Squeak E. Clean & Desert Eagles Remix)." On the soundtrack and incredibly catchy after five seconds. It's a must listen, and for Amit and I, a must own right after walking out of the movie. Just obsess over it already.

Who doesn't love themselves some Ellen Page? While it may be time for her to tackle some other types of roles, I guess there's nothing wrong with Ms. Ellen playing the snarky little girl yet again. It's a shame that Whip It, while entertaining, didn't quite live up to my high expectations. The script seemed underwritten, with characters that were half-formed and often forgotten. Luckily, the interactions between Ellen and her best friend (played by an adorably freckled Alia Shawkat) carried the movie. I want to say Drew Barrymore's direction was wishy washy but I don't want to blame her because it's her first try and she's fun in the movie. Then again, she was in charge so I guess there's nobody else to blame for my mild disappointment.

The good news is that the cast is fantastic (save the boyfriend character who I didn't find believable or charming at all) and there's enough good lines -- a few hilarious ones -- to make the whole thing worthwhile. What was unacceptable was how limp the action scenes were. I couldn't figure out what was so exciting about the sport of roller derby and the way it was portrayed didn't exactly help. I'm sure it's exciting in real life but the movie version seemed pretty ridiculous. Having said all that, watch this movie because I'd like to reference it often.

"That's why I like a quick fondling, it's so much less complicated."

08 October 2009

Us Two

Listening to: KT Tunstall, "Heal Over." This is an oldie but a way goodie. It just sets that reflective / melancholy mood doesn't it?

I'm leaving in a few days for a late in the year East Coast swing. I generally avoid cold weather but I've been yapping about going out there so it was put up or shut up time. I don't think I can really soak in enough New York / East Coast in two weeks but I'm going to have to do my best. I am excited to eat ramen, to eat corn, to eat hot dogs, to stay out late and not worry about things closing. I'm looking for epic, I'm looking for inspiration, maybe I'm looking for a job. Ahem.

Preceding that trip will be a very important wedding in Michigan. One of my great and close friends is getting married. Of course the date has been set for quite some time but I'm just now facing the impending crush of it now. Like whoa, she's getting married. For most of our friendship we've been in different cities and for some of it we've been turbulent, but for all of it we've been really important to each other. We used to stay in almost daily phone contact but that has petered out some as the years progressed. She asked me to read at her wedding when she got engaged but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I fully committed to doing it and found something that I thought would speak to them as a couple and to us as a friendship. I don't know if that's how wedding readings should go. But that's how I wanted it to be.

A few years back, two friends of mine got married and they asked me to read the "Love is patient, love is kind" passage from Corinthians. I was a bit wary as this would be inside an actual church and I was afraid I'd get smote. But it turned out well and even though I rushed through it, I emerged without any sign from God that I had offended him. So that was nice.

This time around, something religious was not going to work. So I started digging. My first thought was to go with something by Kundera. But my favorite lines of his about love and life were either too short, hard to take out of context, or a bit depressing. Then I thought maybe something by Kahlil Gibran or Hafiz. But they'd been done a millions times before. So no. Maybe something from Letters to a Young Poet? Nope. I cruised poetry, Shakespeare, more literature quotes, tried to step a bit off the beaten path, but nothing seemed right.

Then I found it. A poem by A.A. Milne that I'm excited to read, even if it'll be nigh impossible to pull off. It's a poem with some funny sounding rhyme and not something I'd be super comfortable doing in a room full of strangers. But whatever. I'll go up there, dressed in my best wedding suit (the one that's never been out of California because I refuse to pack it in a bag), and stumble and spurt my way through it. It'll be fun.

04 October 2009

Let the right one in

Listening to: April March, "Chick Habit." I saw Tarantino's "Death Proof" a few weeks ago and we know Quetin always chooses amazing songs. This one will stick in your head for days after just one listen.

A few years ago, Bill Simmons came up with the amazing idea to start a celebrity fantasy league. I immediately pulled a few friends together and tried it out for a summer. That experience (kind of) led to the writing of Exclusively Chloe. During our ten week trial season, we discovered that the babies of celebrities were getting just as much coverage as the celebrities themselves. For example, Sean Preston-Spears almost doubled the next closest male competitor's scores (including Brad Pitt, Vince Vaughn, and his own daddy, Kevin Federline). This made me think, "Hum, what will Maddox Jolie-Pitt and these other kids be like when they grow up?" That curiosity helped fuel my book.

Well, Mr. Simmons has done it again. On a recent podcast, he and his friends did a fantasy draft for MTV's newest Real World / Road Rules challenge, The Ruins. Throughout the Inferno 2, Simmons and his friend Dave Jacoby, "The Czar of Reality Television," would periodically recap the events and comment on how MTV challenges should replace hockey (or baseball) as the fourth major American sport. I agreed, wholeheartedly.

After listening to their fantasy draft, I went ahead and assembled four other MTV challenge fanatics and we're embarking on our inaugural season. We just completed our draft and I couldn't be more excited about Wednesday's new episode. Feel free to follow along because you know you are (secretly) addicted to these challenge shows too, right?

02 October 2009

Miss Info

"Growing up, I always assumed that people who wrote books couldn’t possibly behave like most people I knew. Actually, I applied this assumption to anyone in the public eye: actors, politicians, musicians, even some of my own teachers. They were all doing Important Things, and I couldn’t imagine that they would ever get raspberry seeds stuck between their teeth or lose their keys or fart. They were above such things, and they probably had servants who were paid to fart for them.

During the course of writing TMI, I slowly began to realize that I becoming an author. An author who took out the trash and cracked her knuckles while driving (it’s a nervous tic) and ate too many cookies. A regular person. And suddenly, all of those people I’d lumped in the category of Doers of Important Things were far less intimidating.

So I emailed Catherine Gilbert Murdock to tell her how much I loved her first novel, Dairy Queen. I let John Green know that I thought An Abundance of Katherines was hilarious. And you know what? They both wrote me back! Like regular people. It was so refreshing."
-Fellow Deb, Sarah Quigley-