Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Best Laid Plans

I was feeling super ambitious last week. I was all "Yeah! Gonna write a ton and contribute to the world and clean my room and GET A JOB..." And then I got a sinus thing. First off, I hate being of the age where I get unidentifiable sinus things. Did this happen when I was younger? I don't recall it. Sometimes I think it was rolled into hangovers. Maybe? But mostly it just feels like getting old. You people weren't lying about old and for that I hate you. To be clueless and 22 again...

Secondly, the searing, blinding head pain renders me utterly useless. Utterly. I fantasize about ways to give myself a frontal lobotomy (knitting needle, frontal lobe) to end the pain and all the things I wanted to do never happen and I make bargains with the universe about what a productive human being I WILL be if my head will just. stop. hurting. I hate feeling like a useless blob because the inside of my head hurts. I find it incredibly inconvenient.

But we're over that now and so back to writing down my random musings.

For this first post back I'm keeping it light. But we'll get to some deeper stuff in the near future. Promise!

Your year-after-they-came-out movie reviews (and then a little TV):

1. I watched movies while I was sick. I watched Green Lantern because we have HBO and it was available on the HBO OnDemand and hey, a little shirtless Ryan Reynolds never hurt anyone. (Remember when he had that silly TV show about a pizza place that Nathan Fillion was in? Me neither.) Good god was that movie awful. Even with shirtless Ryan Reynolds. I'd rather have watched The Proposal. Again. The mere thought of Blake Lively as a fighter pilot still sends me into fits of giggles almost a week later. She starts talking about hard decks like Viper in Top Gun and I just lost it. "Oh shut up, Serena Van Der Woodsen! What do you know?" I don't like Blake Lively, on principal, because leggy ridiculous wooden-acting blondes are the scourge of the world, but she was particularly ineffective in this movie. And for an action movie there was a shit ton of exposition and story setting up and not a lot of, ya know, ACTION. So don't watch that. Even if you're sick and bored. Also, even by comic book standards the premise is absurd. There's a dying alien and a LANTERN? That's what you got? A lantern? I did like the theory of power through energy and power through fear as the good/evil debate but other than that? No.

2. I also discovered on HBO OnDemand that X-Men, First Class was available. Now THAT was everything that Green Lantern wishes it was. I never understood the Michael Fassbender crush everyone seems to have but after watching him speak in German and French and Spanish I get it a bit more. James McAvoy is...well, Scottish and blue eyed so, ya know, nothing wrong there. I'm becoming more and more of a Jennifer Lawrence fan because she looks, for being super gorgeous, more like an actual human being than her counter part in the movie, January Jones, who as the woman who can turn into ice cold diamonds is about right. God is that woman frigid and destined to be typecast in the Betty Draper role for the rest of her career. Her and Blake Lively could play sisters in something and have an unable to act off. On the other hand, Lawrence can actually act. If you've seen Winter's Bone, you know. (I have not seen The Hunger Games. Give me a year and an illness and I might.) I really enjoyed the film and was like, "AH! I gotta go re-watch all the other ones!" (Apparently for not being what one might call a comic book, or even movies based on comic books, nerd, I like the X-Men. I'll blame all the cartoons I watched in high school for this (no, I don't know why I was watching cartoons in high school but it definitely seems like I remember this in high school, not grade school...and a quick search confirms it was mostly HS). I used to dig the X-Men cartoon. I always liked Rogue, even if she couldn't ever touch anything.) It was fast paced and had a cohesive story and both a good v. evil large theme and then the internal struggle of good v. evil. I don't know how clear I've made it in the past, I recall mentioning it, but the moral ambiguity of an internal struggle of our nature to be "good" versus "evil" always appeals to me. It seems more clever and realistic than white hats v. black hats. The movie also has head nods to past X-Men which are always a nice wink to the nerds. I'd likely watch this again. And probably will.

3. I also stumbled on The Eagle. Thanks again, HBO! Now, when this movie came out I remember chortling and thinking, "Channing Tatum as a Roman Centurion? Who is gonna believe that?" And it was marketed as sweeping action film. I don't have a marketing degree, hell, for all my undergrad units I never even took a marketing class, but the way Hollywood markets things continues to mystify me. It seems as though they have neatly defined categories (action, drama, comedy, horror, period piece) and they are going to shove a movie into one of those neatly defined boxes, reality of the film be damned. I think of Bridesmaids, a movie I love, being tagged as pure comedy and that's not what it is. Or dozens of other more nuanced films that the marketing completely mislabels. Because of this, I went into sick watching The Eagle expecting to make fun of a sweeping epic with Channing Tatum, Roman centurion as I watched. Um. It was a totally watchable film. Far more singular hero's journey than large scale sword and sandals epic.

Here's the other thing: it's easy to take a quick look at Channing Tatum and be completely dismissive. He's just that guy. Like he's constantly hitting things and being a piece of meat and real life you expect him to be the dude-bro-iest of dude-bros. He's either the guy in the movie where shit blows up but there's not a lot of plot or the guy us female types are supposed to lust over because he's molded from the same piece of marble as the David but we don't really want to take him home because what in the hell would we have to talk about? He reminds me of my pit bull, super fierce when there's a threat but otherwise he wants to crawl into your lap and look at you hoping you'll reassure him what a good boy he is. A simple creature, ya know? But he can actually act. And carry a film. I know! I'm as shocked as you! Apparently people figured this out with 21 Jump Street, but as should be apparent at this point, my film watching is about a year behind the rest of you. I am very very rarely inspired to go to the theater. (Exception: Just come out already Brave! You're killing me. I have the single minded focus of a child in my excitement for this to come out. Kick ass girls make my heart sing and I am already envious of her crazy red hair and Shire horse.)

Now, don't get me wrong, The Eagle is far from perfect. I don't know why you would bother to put Mark Strong in a film (who is also, unfortunately, in Green Lantern) and then strip him of his English accent in a movie set in England. And Tatum trying to sound regal and Roman is just an exercise in futility and...well I have plot quibbles. (I usually do. I'm a stickler for plot.) But still! Eminently watchable, especially the later journey half of the movie where they're wandering all over England on horseback. And Jamie Bell is pretty excellent, too.

4. It's a mini-series but you've all watched Sherlock on PBS's Masterpiece Mysteries, yes? That show is brilliant! BRILLIANT! I actually wasn't a huge fan of the second episode in the second series but still! And I find Sherlock totally relatable which probably says something about me (in fact, I know it does and I know what it says but we'll avoid delving into my psyche for now). It's so well written and clever. Even I, who talks pretty fast if you know me in real life, has to rewind it and try and catch all the British banter. I'm still trying to figure out the 3rd episode from this "season". I definitely stayed up too late thinking about it one night because it's so tricky. But watch it. That's a command. Or else we can't be friends. (Lamest threat ever, I know.)

5. This week, and based on the well done commercial that featured a glaring shot of Jena Malone who I like, I got sucked into Hatfields & McCoys on History Channel. Tonight was part 2. It'll wrap up tomorrow. It is. so. bad. Someone on Twitter pointed out that it's not the acting that's bad, it's the writing. That's fair. It's not poorly acted, for the most part. Kevin Costner can carry a Western. Bill Paxton is not a favorite of mine but eh, he'll do. I'm fairly certain Tom Berenger as the crazy loose cannon uncle is playing himself and doing a decent job of it. However, I can't be as kind to all the younger actors. Good lord. I know they're doing this without the budget that Costner is likely accustomed to but this thing is so over-wrought. "I loooove you, Rosanna McCoy!" says the horrible blonde kid. No one talks like that. No one. And there are like 800 Hatfields and McCoys running around the Kentucky/West Virginia border so keeping them straight or even caring about them killing each other is proving difficult. My stepdad was also interested in watching it so it's on the DVR. I told him how bad it was, that it's just kind of silly. "Well, why they were killing each other was kinda silly too." Hahaha! Point! They finally got to the "Real McCoy!" line and I just laughed.

So yeah. That's what I did while my head hurt too much to do anything else. Is Brave out yet? And will someone bankroll my sightseeing trip through the Scottish countryside after I see it? Sigh.

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