Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Wolverine (2013): Yes. I went to see another big budget action movie. But, Hugh Jackman, okay.



Guys. I promise you; I never go to see so many "blockbuster action movies" as I have this summer. I just have for some reason. And, I definitely need to tell you my opinion -- so you know what your options are.

Much is made of the fact that these types of movies sell on the spectacle and action versus the characters or people involved. But, every movie I have gone to see is because of a specific actor: Amy Adams in Man of Steel, Idris Elba in Pacific Rim, and now Hugh Jackman in The Wolverine.

Actually, scientific studies have shown that 100% of everyone and their mothers (especially their mothers) love Hugh Jackman. To NOT love Hugh Jackman is actually a rare mutation that negatively affects your ability to recognize coolness.

^Someone else pointed out that he's dressed as Johnny Cash; and I really have to agree. 

Anyway. I actually went to see this on Thursday night, but I have been far too busy having impromptu Remington Steele marathons with friends with life to write a review until now. 

My short review: go see it. 

It was so much fun. And that was actually rather surprising, because Wolverine is one of the more tragic superheroes (going only movie knowledge here; I've never read any comics). Everyone Wolverine loves dies -- and, probably, he had to kill them himself. So, really. He can be a little surly and depressed. That's why, for a movie that starts with the bombing of Nagasaki, I was pleasantly surprised by the pleasantness of it.

Yes, there was death and betrayal and sadness and guilt and anger, but at least whole cities weren't destroyed capriciously in some climatic battle.

I loved watching a mostly self-contained movie that dealt with "doable problems," instead of an entire apocalypse (but I still totally heart the brilliance and perfection of Pacific Rim).

And, of course, Hugh Jackman was perfect. Honestly. How is he who he is? (My youngest brother once suggested a reality TV show where Hugh Jackman, Bear Grylls, and Liam Neeson teach people how to be likable -- APPOINTMENT TELEVISION, RIGHT THERE!)

I do have to add a slight disclaimer that I didn't hate the Wolverine: Origins movie. I mean, I didn't love it either; it's not something I want to own on DVD (my standard measurement for a film's greatness). But, I did find it entertaining (even though it was trying to tell 18 distinct stories at once). Well, I mean, until the twisty-twisty at the end that made me want to claw my own heart out -- and then it was okay -- AND THEN IT WASN'T OKAY. But, that is a story for another time. 

I still don't quite understand the universal hatred for the movie. I mean, I understand. But, also, look at his hair:

^How could you hate a movie with hair like that? (Also, I just spent a ridiculous amount of time looking for a photo of his hair and had to settle for this. WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU, INTERNET?!)

But, as I said, that is a story for another time.

The Wolverine: Road to Japan was thoroughly entertaining. The fight scenes were actually engaging (aka more than just knocking a bunch of skyscrapers over [I still love you, Man of Steel]). Well, the climatic battle was perhaps a little unnecessary, misplaced, and stupid -- but at least whole cities weren't destroyed.

AND THERE WERE FOUR FEMALE CHARACTERS WHO HAD NAMES AND PURPOSE AND PERSONALITIES AND DISTINCT IDENTITIES. 

That is both rare and beautiful in an average superhero movie.

And best of all: NOT EVERYONE DIED. 

That's right. You heard it here first, not everyone in the movie dies. This is a blessed relief.

Slight downside: I figured the twisty-twists very early in the movie. But, that is mostly likely because I have watched too many movies in my life (I'm not easily surprised by plot twists that don't involve Scottish frog people). Other people did not guess and might have been annoyed when I finally couldn't contain myself and whispered the twisty-twist reveal moments before it occurred. However, the knowledge did not affect my ability to completely enjoy watching it happen. So, yeah.

Also, slight spoiler, but it was in the trailer:

Jean + Logan is such a tragic romance that doesn't make any sense (going by the movies), but they always look so sad that I believe in the tragedy. THE PAIN. It's real and it hurts. 

In conclusion, I am rather tired and have little left to say that will resemble anything near reality or lucidness. So, go watch The Wolverine: Road to Japan and perhaps be a little surly, but please don't kill anyone you love. 







P.S. If you guys knew that I actually didn't COMPLETELY hate X3, you would really not trust my review. It was definitely ridiculous and I began to laugh hysterically as literally everyone died, but still, Hugh Jackman.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Quotables: Joel McCrea


“People say I’m a one-note actor, but the way I figure it, those other guys are just looking for that one right note."

 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

10 Things You Might Not Know About Me

My, my, my. How the turn tables.

Anyway, the lovely Kate has tagged me to tell you all ten random facts about me. You should go read her post because it is the exactly perfect amount of fascinating, whimsical, brilliant, and hilarious. And there is an adorable photo of her. So, really. WHY ARE YOU STILL READING MY POST?

Without further ado:


1. I have a bad habit of falling madly in love with random actors (usually dead), and then watching them every night non-stop for three weeks. I'm talking about watching random movies and/or television until the sun rises, because I have a horribly addictive personality. You can usually tell who my Love of the Moment is because I will post posts about them at 3 in the morning.

2. The height of my hair typically determines my mood.

^This was me a couple of days ago in a very good mood (despite my dramatic face; which I can't help, because I always get dramatic on webcams)!

3. I name/personify inanimate objects. All of my electronics have names. My first laptop was named Arnold (from The Magic School Bus); he committed suicide (jumped off a desk and dumped mango tea in his motherboard). My next one was named Jamie-boy (Tyrone Power in The Black Swan); he was only around for a few days, because he was defective. My third one was named Oscar (after Oscar Levant); he was faithful and dedicated for three years. He was so wonderful. He continued to work, despite the fact that the screen was only connected to the rest of the computer by a thin cord. I even ordered my new laptop on him, and he continued to persevere. I feel so guilty -- I can't get rid of him. I now have my new laptop, Bradford (after Bradford Dillman). Every time I use Bradford (like right now), all I can hear is Oscar singing this.



Okay, I need to move on before I break down crying.

4. The other day, I was pulling into a gas station at probably 6:30am. There was a car pulling out at the same time, and I noticed that there was a bright red ball attached to the front grill. Because of my aforementioned extreme ability to personify, I immediately thought the car was a clown car and laughed to myself. I glanced up at its driver -- AND IT WAS AN ACTUAL CLOWN IN FULL TERRIFYING MAKEUP (we're talking like James Bond dressed as a clown terrifying) AND IT WAS GLARING AT ME.

I haven't felt safe since. 

5. Historical one-liners (even the-not-historically-verified-ones), and the context behind historical one-liners, actually make me sit quietly while weeping on the inside.

Quotes like, "Lafayette, we are here," spoken by an American officer upon arriving in France during WWI (I really love the Marquis de Lafayette, okay.)

Or, "You can have his body, but his heart belongs in Africa," said by Dr. Livingstone's attendants after he died and the British government wanted to make a big deal of burying him in Britain. The two men, Chuma and Susi, cut out his heart and buried it in the village where he lived, before carrying his body halfway across Africa.

Or William Tecumseh Sherman's immortal words, "General Grant is a great general. I know him well. He stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk; and now, sir, we stand by each other always."

It's too much.

6.  I often get emails from people comparing my stream-of-consciousness writing to James Joyce's Ulysses.

7. I prefer to say that I am sardonic, instead of sarcastic. Mainly, because sardonic is a cooler word and makes me sound more intelligent.

8. In an actually difficult decision (because I am rather selfish and love cheap things), I recently decided to no longer buy new clothes -- unless, I know that they were created in a completely ethical manner. From now on, I'm going to buy ethically-made clothes or used clothes. I can (and did) speak out against the injustice and inhumanity facing workers around the world. But, before making the decision, I always felt like the abolitionists who spoke out against slavery, but easily and comfortably benefited from the work of slaves.

9. My "dream guy" is tall with dark hair, green eyes, and a Scottish accent. He also is independently, but ethically wealthy and he wants to live in West Africa and work with children. It's going to be beautiful.

10. In awkward situations, I usually say random movie quotes. 99% of the time, in a softly-lilting voice, I say, "Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderly again. " This is very successful, as you can imagine.

There you have it. Literally, this is all you need to know to know me. (Also: I love David Janssen.)

I tag Sarah, Nicola, Hamlette, and DKoren. But, anyone else who would like to participate is more than welcome. If you do, leave a comment with the link. I'd love to read it. 


Friday, July 12, 2013

Pacific Rim (2013): Idris Elba walks around calmly yelling at everything. IT IS BEAUTIFUL.




Okay, guys. Have I ever steered you wrong about any movie ever?

No.

(No one who has watched Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine has ever regretted it.)

So, PLEASE, listen to me and go see Pacific Rim. Preferably, this weekend, because if Grown-Ups 2 (I refuse to bold it) beats it at the box office -- I will go somewhere where I can be alone and I will cry like I'm burning up a sun just to say goodbye.

Pacific Rim is not the most ground-breaking or original or "classic cinema" film. But, it is awesome and perfect and lovely. Del Toro has repeatedly said that he was paying homage to the brilliant classic movie monsters (Godzilla, Gamera, etc, etc). AND THIS SO WORKS.

It's not just a copy of anything either -- it's new and interesting.

And, it's also SUPER-FUN.

And, guys, the emotional core of the film is not some stupid relationship (although, there are a couple of meaningful connections with varying degrees of well-done) and it's not some stupid "yay humanity!" (whatever) and it's not some stupid finding meaning in life (ha!). No, the emotional core of Pacific Rim is Idris Elba (alias Stacker Pentecost. Yeah.) walking around yelling at everything -- calmly.

It is truly wonderful.

 
 {source}

This is the main reason why you need to see it. I could tell you about the intricate visualizations and peachy-keen details, and you would get it -- and you would feel fulfilled in life.

BUT, I CANNOT DESCRIBE THE WONDERFULNESS OF IDRIS ELBA YELLING AT PEOPLE.

AND CANCELLING THE APOCALYPSE. 

AND EVERYTHING HURTS. KILL ME. IT'S TOO BEAUTIFUL.

Oh, I went a little of the rails there -- but really.


And all jesting aside (I wasn't actually jesting, but I'm going to pretend I was), Idris Elba is the emotional core of the film. His relationships with the other characters (one in particular) is great. And his deep stares are actually transfixing.

He said this in an interview: "With Stacker, you know, I wasn't allowed to move anything but my eyes and my eyebrows and my mustache."

It's true. THROW SOME OSCARS AT HIM, PLEASE.



Also, does Idris only take on characters with cool names? Like is that a stipulation in his contract?

I mean, I guess when your real name is Idrissa Akuna Elba, you just don't want to play characters with unworthy names. 

I also should probably mention the other actors. They were all pretty good. Some were great, but the rest played their characters well. 

Charlie Day and Burns Gorman (who I always assume is a spy, but he actually wasn't a kaiju in human disguise. ooops. SPOILER ALERT!) were quite fun.

Also, I'm pretty sure that the director is messing with us by giving different end credits to all the blonde guys in the movie. Because, they are clearly all played by the same guy. I mean, sometimes, he has an Australian accent; sometimes, he's pretending to be his own brother. But, they're all played by the same guy! I could see no difference. It must be an in-joke about cloning. Or it's a set-up for a sequel. Or this entire movie was just a dream. 

In conclusion, please go watch Idris Elba yell at people and please do not force me to burn up a sun just to say goodbye.

Goodbye!

^In an unexpected twist, that no one saw coming, Idris Elba is 3 feet taller than anyone else in the movie.








P.S. It was impossible to find ANYONE to go see this movie with me. HONESTLY. I couldn't even get my 13-year-old brother to go with me.

That's right. We now live in a world where 13-year-old boys don't want to go see monster movies.

Anyway. I finally managed to get him to go with me by paying for his ticket -- BECAUSE HE WAS BORED. Seriously.

And, he loved it. So consider that a ringing endorsement.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Some interesting developments

So, guys. I fulfilled one of my life-long dreams today.

It was a beautiful moment.

Something to write home about.

One to tell the grandchildren (that I am never under any circumstances going to have).

Yes, that's right.

I GOT TO DO MY VERY OWN ROCKFORD TURN.

I'm so happy. :')

And, if you don't know what  a Rockford turn is (I FEEL SO SORRY FOR YOU), watch this:



You see what I'm saying? It was glorious. I may have been driving my beat up 1993 Subaru Impreza named Simon Templar and not Jim Rockford's '70s Firebird, but that does not make it any less glorious!

Another interesting development today is that my ginormous 550 DVD carrying case arrived in the mail. I'm taking all of my DVDs to college with me, I don't care. They are my children. Also, this thing is so large -- it's basically on rollers.

ANYWAY. Today, I am also thinking about Pacific Rim. And how I am definitely going to see it this weekend. Now, honestly, I hate robot movies and this does not look particularly inspired. BUT, HONESTLY, IT HAS IDRIS ELBA PLAYING A CHARACTER NAMED STACKER PENTECOST.

What. STACKER PENTECOST.

Seriously.

And, he's cancelling the apocalypse. So.



Finally, the most interesting development. Today, I was driving along (in the wrong direction, hence the glorious Rockford turn), and I suddenly realized -- I write on my blog in the exact same way that Laraine Newman played teenagers on SNL. I find this disconcerting, embarrassing, and secretly amazing.

Such a stereotype, and I don't care!

Bye!


Longstreet: WHAT. THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER.


So, you how I was all excited about Mr. Novak, the idealist English teacher? Well, if there is one thing I love more than idealist English teachers -- it's cool TV detectives (also: 1960s loners and friendly criminals of the old west, but these don't fit into what I'm saying).

LONGSTREET IS SO COOL.

Oh my gosh.

He's blind, and has an awesome guide dog named Pax (as in peace). And, he does martial arts with Bruce stinkin' Lee. And, he's really cool. And, his sunglasses are brilliant. And, he's all quippy and awesome, but has great depth.

I LOVE HIM.

Although, unfortunately, I had to watch the pilot. And, honestly, most of the time I hate pilot movies (exception: Wild, Wild West = best pilot ever). I may be a terrible person, but I really don't care for back-stories (or good writing or emotional depth). ESPECIALLY, WHEN THE BACK-STORY IS TRAGIC. Ingrid, I hardly knew ye!

But, the best and most unexpected part of the pilot? Bradford Dillman. With a hilarious mustache and a brilliant Southern accent.

I didn't know he was gonna be in it, until I saw the credit. AND IT SAID BRADFORD DILLMAN and I literally squeaked out a strange-sounding "YAY."

I don't have any screenshots, because I was watching on my Kindle -- and I was too lazy to go take screenshots later.

He plays James Franciscus' boss, Duke (still laughing on the inside, I am). But, sadly, he only plays it in the pilot and not the whole short-lived series -- which is total nonsense, because Bradford Dillman is literally the greatest at everything ever. SHEESH. (I really hope Bradford Dillman does not ever Google himself, because you just know this blog that mentions him every other post and has flooded the internet with Dillman acting screenshots is coming up somewhere.)

ANYWAY. Enough of the obviously perfect Mr. Dillman. The show is not about him.

It's about James Franciscus being lovely and cool at everything.


Aww, yess.

Also, most of the series (possibly all, I haven't checked) is on YouTube, so yay!

And, go watch it.

It's cool.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Photo of the Day!


Everyone's favorite gorgeous, genius film-making couple.



Mr. Novak.


Oh my gosh. I am obsessed with this show. I don't know how I've never seen it before. I've definitely heard the name before, but I randomly decided to watch an episode tonight. I literally cannot remember why -- and that was only a couple of hours ago. Honestly, I would have to go through my browser history to find out what led me to it. BUT, I HAVE NO TIME. Because I am too busy doing this:



I am not an actual crazy person; I was just getting into the spirit of the show.

Basically, it's the typical inspiring teacher drama. There's an intelligent new English teacher and he magically changes everyone's lives by just listening to them and also all the students (all played by thirty year-olds) and teachers fall deeply in love with him. (I'm just empathizing with the characters on screen. GOSH.)

And, I cannot stop watching it. Of course, this will only last for a short while longer because there are only like three episodes on YouTube. SHEESH. Get on this Warner Archive!

Anyway, said inspiring teacher is James Franciscus -- the man we all remember for his dramatic role as Gene Hackman's babysitter in Marooned (I still don't think that was a terrible movie).

And, honestly, I'm not sure why my initial fawning over him did not lead me to overdose on everything he's ever been in (that's usually the case with my Love of the Moment [trademark]). Probably, it was just the sheer presence of David Janssen, Gregory Peck, AND Richard Crenna in the aforementioned film.

But, enough of poorly thought-out, but majestically realized space dramas. I'm here to talk about inspiring teacher dramas! GOSH!



James Franciscus is an idealistic English teacher and Dean stinkin' awesome Jagger is his principal (the principal is your pal). Apparently, in the second season, Burgess Meredith played the principal, but I haven't seen that yet -- because THERE ARE ONLY THREE EPISODES ON YOUTUBE. But, I'm sure that's great too! Burgess Meredith is always a cool penguin; never an obsolete man. And man, there is time enough at last to enjoy his work.

(GOOD HEAVENS! Turn off my internet!)

And, basically, this show is great and you should go watch. And, I've been told that it tackled many social issues. I cannot confirm that (I've only watched one and a half episodes), but I believe it. 

Now, go watch this episode, because it's all Children's Houresque about a teenager who needs a good listening-to. And, also, it co-stars Geraldine Brooks -- the queen of my heart!



I hope you are no longer reading this post, but being inspired by that hour of teacher drama. And, if you're not, you're probably a socially-awkward high schooler who needs a good listening-to!

The truth hurts, sorry!


Good night and have a pleasant tomorrow!





Photos credit: JamesFranciscus.blogspot.com

Friday, July 5, 2013

Censorship and the Mother.

^Dramatic Representation of My Mother's Fight Against Swearing


Tonight, as I was doing the dishes and cleaning up from all the raucous independence partying, I decided to put on an episode of Columbo from Netflix. I just pressed a random episode, and soon found myself watching something completely unfamiliar -- "Dawn's Early Light." I was utterly perplexed on how there could be an unwatched episode of Columbo in my life, because that is literally how I spent every Friday night when I was 12 -- having Columbo DVD marathons (I was actually a social and happy child; sometimes [once], I had friends join me for these glorious marathons).

And then, I remembered.

It had a black dot next to its title.

My mother loved Columbo. (She still does; she's not dead. It's just that I'm speaking about the past right now.) She owned all the seasons on DVD and encouraged all of her children to appreciate Peter Falk's perfection. However, as with the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, we were not allowed to watch episodes with black dots next to them. This meant there was something terribly, terribly inappropriate in them (probably someone saying "darn it," but not exactly that -- if you now what I'm saying heh heh [I am the most non-swearing person to ever exist (besides my mum, of course)]).

Apparently, after all these years, I had still never seen it.

These musings, of course, got me to thinking about other ingenious ways my mother chose to protect her children from the dangers of the outside world.

Well, reading was a bit of problem. But, not too big a problem for my mother, of course!

When I was young, my mum read books out loud to my siblings and I for usually around an hour a day. This is how I first was introduced to Dickens, Austen, Indian in the Cupboard, and all the other greats.

Unfortunately, great literature occasionally has horrible language. How could my mum get around this?

Simple. She just substituted the obscene language for appropriate words.

However, she was never quite quick about it. I mean, she would be rolling along quite nicely -- and suddenly, there would be a long pause and, "darn," "what the heck," or "I'm a jack-- er, donkey."

And, if she assigned us reading on our own with less-than-savory wording included, it was not uncommon to find carefully sharpied spots with alternate words written in. (All this did was lead to all of us holding pages to the light, trying to figure out what was really written.)

And, speaking of sharpies, I recall having a picture book about Columbus -- and many of the Native Americans had lovely pairs of shorts. Apparently, the ancient Egyptians wore similar uniform outfits, because that's what one found in the E pages of the World Book Encyclopedia.

Then, there was television. My younger siblings and I loved Amazing Race, but weren't allowed to watch it as it aired, because of possible bad language. Instead, my mother would watch it on Sunday night and tape it on VHS. And then, on Monday morning, she would watch it again while she exercised. As she watched, she carefully recorded over any swearing. And by carefully, I mean that everyone swear word was heard very clearly and then followed by thirty seconds of blue screen.

My mother had a similar remote difficulty when it came to commercials. We would be watching something as a family, the commercials would start and we all got to busily ignoring them -- paying zero attention to the screen. But then, a Victoria's Secret ad would show up. We were all still deeply paying attention to anything but the TV screen, but that didn't phase my mum. Instead of maybe changing the channel using the remote, she would jump up --screaming, "AHHH! DON'T LOOK!"-- and throw herself --arms out-stretched-- in front of the TV.

Then we all looked up.

And, I definitely have dozens of other examples of mother's valiant battle against culture, but I think these are enough to give a flavor of my mumzie. However, she has gotten way chiller in later years. My youngest brother is 13, and he actually gets to go see PG-13 movies. When I was 13, it meant that it was time to watch PG movies. PG-13 was the rating given to bad movies. And R was a mythical rating that only heathens watched.

Anyway, I appreciate all of my mother's efforts; because, while they weren't always necessarily successful, they did teach me to be discerning and intentional about my life and my choices.

And I still don't swear.

And, occasionally, I have the desire to draw neat, little sharpie outfits onto people in my textbooks.

Thanks, Mom!
(Even though you --rather hypocritically-- definitely taught me to say "bloody," and it causes much shock and horror to my friends/co-workers of British and/or Canadian origins.)


Thursday, July 4, 2013

I have discovered who I am.

In an unexpected twist of fate -- that nobody saw coming -- I discovered who I truly am today. And it didn't take an obsessive French Inspector. Nor did I have to accompany Tyrone Power to the fake mountains of sunshine.

No. Truth came to me while sitting on the couch, eating food, indulging in childhood nostalgia, and watching That Darn Cat!

I didn't expect this to happen. No one ever expects this to happen.

One moment, I was sitting there. The next moment, I understood.

Basically, it's your standard realization.

I realized that I AM CANOE.



I don't why I never got it before, but I understand now.

Hayley Mills questioned how he could watch SO many surfer movies, and also mused aloud, "Do you ever get the spooky feeling that we keep seeing the same movie over and over, and all they do is change the titles a little bit?"

Canoe's enthusiastic response, "Yeah! It's terrific stuff, isn't!"



Well, man, that spoke to me.

And his inability to understand that it's TIME TO LEAVE.



Well, I got that.

And his unkillable vehicle.



It reminds me of my own 1993 Subaru, Simon Templar.

And his overriding insecurity and/or paranoia.


I so understood.

And his decision to deal with his own insecurity and/or paranoia by donning a trench coat and fake mustache.



I'VE TOTALLY DONE THAT. I chuckled at the absurdity. 

Basically, I am him and he is me.


Even his angry late-film confession that he actually doesn't like watching surfer movies all the time -- even that felt true-to-life.

And, by the way, did I mention that Canoe (alias Tom Lowell) once played a STINKIN' GNOME.

I weep because what a wonderful world.

So, in recap, when I'm not Richard Schuyler (and honestly, I'm writing a post about him soon) -- I'm Canoe.



And, it feels so right.

It was important to talk to you all, face to face (in a short, two-minute presentation) about this tremendous life discovery:



Hayley and I hanging out at the drive-in:

^Actually, I just want to be Hayley Mills. Ugh. Look at her.

Anyway.



    

P.S. My life's philosophy summed up in one minute:







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