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Watching: ‘Patti Cake$’.

Loved this movie!

I’m pretty sure that every movie I saw this summer featured a preview for the indie-film “Patti Cake$”. Granted, I didn’t go to THAT many movies this summer, and every single one of them was at the Drafthouse, so, you get it.

But, I really wanted to see this movie.

The previews said Patti would be the character you wanted to root for this year. Hmm.

So, I saw a promo in my email inbox about seeing a screening of the movie that would feature Q&A with the cast. I wasn’t exactly sure what this would entail, but I didn’t think about it, and I bought a ticket (remember, 2017 goal: Just Do It).

I arrive at the theatre Sunday night, order some food, and my waiter asks for my ID and if I have a nut allergy. I didn’t order alcohol (I’m really trying to get thin y’all), and I definitely didn’t order anything nutty.

“We’ve got a few surprises coming,” he said.

Oh, DRAFTHOUSE.

So, they bring everyone in the audience a green gin-based shot, which the host says “will make sense once you see the movie.”

He says we’re going to do a toast, when WHO walks into the theatre but Bridget Everett!

My. Jaw. Dropped.

Although not necessarily known for her acting, she was in “Trainwreck” and also the “Sex and the City” movie. She’s mostly known for her comedy, a love of karaoke, and many hilarious appearances on “Watch What Happens Live”.

She’s also in “Patti Cake$” and was there to watch the movie with us and answer questions at the end with the film’s director, Geremy Jasper.

“Patti Cake$” is a movie that focuses on Patti, aka “Killa P”, an aspiring rapper living in a Jersey suburb.

Although it was written five years ago, this movie pulls out some relevant cultural issues, which seems politically relevant (but Jasper confirmed it was not intended to be political).

This movie was realistic, at times hurtfully so, but I couldn’t turn away. These aren’t the characters anyone aspires to be – they are flawed, but as a result, they’re incredibly relatable.

A movie about a small town, hopeless cater-waiter trying to make it big; no shit I’m all over it. Plus, the rap lyrics from Killa P (written by Jasper himself) are impressive as hell – and she takes down the haters, one by one.

Fantastic!

Since this is an indi flick, I’m not sure what cities it will be playing in, so be on the lookout for it in your town!

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Watching: ‘Baby Driver’.

How YOU doin’??

Last Tuesday, I went straight from work to the Drafthouse to see “Baby Driver”. I had a free ticket to use, along with a free popcorn, and everyone I knew said this movie was SO good. Honestly, I wasn’t sure it was my style, but I figured I couldn’t really lose with Ansel Elgort as the lead. Amiright?

I got a rootbeer float, my popcorn, and was ready to roll. Being a Tuesday at 5, there weren’t too many people in the theatre. Here’s how IMDb describes “Baby Driver”: After being coerced into working for a crime boss, a young getaway driver finds himself taking part in a heist doomed to fail.

Here’s a little more in-depth description from Google: Talented getaway driver Baby (Ansel Elgort) relies on the beat of his personal soundtrack to be the best in the game. After meeting the woman (Lily James) of his dreams, he sees a chance to ditch his shady lifestyle and make a clean break. Coerced into working for a crime boss (Kevin Spacey), Baby must face the music as a doomed heist threatens his life, love and freedom.

The young getaway driver is known as “Baby” (Elgort), and he’s ready to get out of the business even though he’s pretty damn good at it (the opening scene will make you want to drive out of the theatre and over curbs and yell “Fuck the po-lice!”… or was that just me?).

But as things go with organized crime, you can’t necessarily put in your two weeks’ notice and be done with it. And thus we have a plot, along with a B plot of Baby falling for a waitress at the local diner – they connect over a love for music and a dream of escapism. I know the feeling. 

While the events of the movie are seriously, deadly at times, the tone is smart, and pretty funny – I laughed a lot, and then felt like a psycho when I was the only one laughing. Kevin Spacey – who plays the organizer of the heists – is just the best.

In general, “Baby Driver” is getting rave reviews – despite recently being sued over one of the songs used in the film. Here’s a snippet from the New York Times’ review:

“Baby Driver” isn’t avant-travestying; it’s a pop pastiche par excellence, crammed with cubistic action; glowering and golly-gee types (played by the seductive likes of Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza González and Lily James); and an encyclopedia of cinematic allusions, all basted in wall-to-wall tuneage. At times, the whole thing spins like a tribute album, a collection of covers of varying quality: diner yaks à la Quentin Tarantino, Godardian splashes of color. When it works, the allusions give you a contact high, like when a friend turns you on to a favorite movie. At other times, Mr. Wright’s pleasure veers into the self-satisfied, and all that love feels smothering, near-bullying, like bro-cinephilia in extremis. 

…Sooo, should you go see it? Yes! Yes all around – I loved this movie. The next flick on my radar? “Ingrid Goes West”. Looking forward to it!

‘The Big Sick’.

Great movie!

Saturday night I hit up my favorite movie spot – the Alamo Drafthouse (swear they do not endorse me) – to see “The Big Sick”! I’ve been waiting for this one ever since I saw the trailer, as it promised to be a real-life romantic comedy, complete with cultural relations and well, a big illness.

I know it doesn’t sound like a funny movie, but it definitely was! Here’s an official-ish description of “The Big Sick” I found on Google: Kumail is a Pakistani comic who meets an American graduate student named Emily at one of his stand-up shows. As their relationship blossoms, he soon becomes worried about what his traditional Muslim parents will think of her. When Emily suddenly comes down with an illness that leaves her in a coma, Kumail finds himself developing a bond with her deeply concerned mother and father.

I know a lot of people love Kumail Nanjiani (who plays himself) from “Silicon Valley” – a show I attempted to watch but it was way too much like my old job that it was depressing and I wasn’t going to force it. Seeing this movie was my first real taste of Kumail and I absolutely loved his sense of humor.

I also didn’t expect to love the parts of the movie where he’s spending time with Emily’s parents (don’t worry, no spoilers here), but I did! It was funny and seemed really real and heartfelt.

Naturally, I loved the details of this movie – Kumail’s side-gig as an Uber driver, the “stress-eating” scene, and perhaps most of all, the abundance of air mattresses and the secrets shared atop them.

If you follow me on Instagram (@OrangeJulius7), you probably saw my post from Saturday night mentioning that seeing this movie gave me ALL the feels! I recently went through a little bit of a heartbreak (I am still gathering all of my thoughts on this, but you can plan on seeing something here next week) and am also experiencing the end of a long friendship.

Talk about ROUGH. So, seeing a movie about friendship, family, love, and big sickness – probably wasn’t my best move ever, but hey, it was still a good movie.

I’m definitely recommending this movie to anyone and everyone. Don’t care who you are – you need to see this movie. You’ll laugh, you might cry, and if you’re lucky enough to see it at a Drafthouse, you’ll eat really well, too, because they made an ENTIRE menu of authentic food to go with it! I had the kebab and an ice cold Blood and Honey and it was delish.

So yeah, now you’ve got weekend plans.

Weekend at the Alamo (Drafthouse).

Emily Blunt in 'The Girl on the Train'.

Emily Blunt in ‘The Girl on the Train’.

I read “The Girl on the Train” a few months ago, and I just loved it (read my full review here) – and I was counting down the days until the movie adaptation made its way to theaters. But, I’ll also admit I was a little bit scared. It’s no secret that this story is jarring, and violent. Luckily, I had someone to see it with me.

We went to the Alamo Drafthouse, which is where I’ve seen every single movie since moving to Austin. Not familiar with the Drafthouse? It’s your typical movie theater, but it has comfy chairs and tables… and waiters, because there is a full menu and adult beverages. It’s pretty fantastic and I don’t know why anyone would see a movie any other way.

I did have a beer and a burger with this movie – and it helped to ease my nerves a little. So, the premise of the movie is this: (don’t worry, I will alert you before mentioning any spoilers) Rachel, the girl on the train, watches a couple from her train seat. She starts to idolize this couple, as they appear to have a beautiful life and be deeply in love.

Her obsession with the couple and their home derives from the fact that she used to live just a few doors down from them; with her now-ex-husband. He still lives there with his new wife and their baby.

It should also be known that Rachel is an alcoholic, and sometimes it seems as though her drinking is what has built a seemingly low life around her: no friends, no real home, no job, and no real purpose. That is, until, she sees something happen with her ideal couple, all the way from her seat on the train.

Then, she starts a small investigation inside herself as to what could have happened to the couple, and why? But before she can get very far, she’s approached by police and investigators, and they need her alibi, because something really wrong has happened. The problem? Rachel’s drinking has gotten in the way of her memory, and now she’s in deep – but she’s about to get herself in even deeper.

So, okay, I’d already read this book, so I pretty much knew what to expect when going to see the movie. And I’ll say, the movie really brought the book to life – although there were some parts that were definitely more sensationalized, for film’s sake.

However, there were a few themes in the movie that seemed obvious, but I didn’t notice them while reading the book. I don’t know if I just didn’t notice them in the book, or if they weren’t there, and were added into the film. These themes are:

  • Alcohol

Yes, obviously Rachel is an alcoholic, so there is lots of drinking throughout the movie. However, there’s also things outside of the drinking: such as, what people around her think of her drinking – from strangers on the bus and people in the park. Her ex husband also tells her that her drinking is what got him fired from his job – which turns out not to be true. Alcohol is also used as a truth serum, as Rachel is offered it many times in order to tell stories or act a certain way.

  • Memories

The memory is an interesting thing; and sometimes our mind does us favors by altering the way we remember things – which is huge in the movie. In Rachel’s case, she often relies on others to tell her what happened, because she was usually to drunk to recall. However, what if they’re not telling the truth? Then her memory has to make itself up – and she’s technically remembering things that didn’t happen. This really hit home for me. I’ve definitely had my ways with alcohol, and have had many nights where I need to stitch things together in order to remember them. I’ve also been “that girl”, drunk in public, and unaware of my surroundings. Seeing these parts of the movie was jarring to me.

  • Guilt, Blame, and Manipulation

Whew! This one is a difficult one for me. But all of the women featured in this story are in manipulative relationships – and I’d say the saddest part is, many of these seem like typical relationships. There is a lot of blame – blame on Rachel that she couldn’t have children; blame on her for her addiction; blame on the wife because she was too tired to have sex; guilt for the story line with the baby… and a lot of this hit very close to home for me. I’ve been in too many relationships like this, and it’s so damaging. It was very difficult to watch.

  • Women as Meaningless Objects

Another difficult topic here, but I noticed sex was a bigger theme in the movie than what I noticed in the book. And a lot of the sex was just physical – in fact, taking a women into the woods to have sex is so demeaning to me. That’s where people burn trash. And by the things said during those scenes, I’d venture to say the man didn’t give any shit about the woman involved. There was a lot of this attitude that women are basically expected to be sex servants, and that was very difficult to see. And frankly, a lot of what I saw were things women have to constantly worry about, but men do not: walking alone, riding public transportation, being out after dark, being drunk in public, having non-consensual sex, being pregnant, having an abortion, raising children… the list goes on.

None of this is meant to bash the movie, as I thought it was a really great adaptation of the book. However, it was difficult to watch; perhaps my mind was able to only focus on certain things when I was reading it. I drove home from the theatre a little unnerved, and was happy once I got home safe. It’s not a movie I would ever watch again; as it hit me to the core. But, would I recommend seeing it? Absolutely.

Hmm...

Hmm…

Sunday night, I went right back to the Drafthouse to watch the second presidential debate! Before the first one, I saw that the Drafthouse, along with many other restaurants and bars were showing the debates and I thought that sounded like a lot of fun. After all, a presidential election only comes around every four years, and this is one for the books.

And what better place to watch this spectacle than in a movie theatre with beer and burgers? However, my nights during the week are pretty busy with dance classes and my blog class. But a Sunday night, I can handle.

I was happy to see that upon arrival, there were booths set up to help people register to vote, since the deadline is TODAY! I thought this was so neat! Once I got into the theatre, there were little American flags at each seat, and they were playing the “pre-debate coverage”. An employee came out to explain the rules – clapping and cheering were allowed, but no negative comments or shouting, and yes, we could use social media!

All-in-all the experience was fun. I got to eat a giant pretzel (with queso) and hard cider with about 100 strangers and watch this crazy spectacle of a race. Needless to say, we all had a good laugh. My blog class falls during the next debate, so I’ll have to DVR it – if it even happens, right?

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.

Helloooooo Zac Efron!

Helloooooo Zac Efron!

I’ve adopted a new rule: from now on, I’m only seeing movies that star Zac Efron. If that means my movie life will be dwindled to frat boy flicks and rom-coms, then so be it!

So, I had “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” on my to-see list for a while; truthfully, it was my budget that was keeping me from the theatre. But, thanks to one of my Twitter followers, I found out I got a free movie ticket for my birthday, courtesy of the Alamo Drafthouse!

What?! This was the BEST news ever! The Alamo was slowing their showtimes for “Mike and Dave”, so I went to see it on Wednesday night – something I haven’t done in a very long time. But, it was a nice change of pace to get out of the house mid-week, take a break from the TV-Couch routine, and do something fun.

So, I got my free ticket (worth $10.25), and treated myself to an overpriced Diet Coke and parmesan fries; I was in my pajamas, sitting between two couples on dates.

….And I laughed so much during this movie!

Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) are brothers, notorious for partying hard, especially at weddings and family functions, which usually ends up in disaster for everyone involved.

When their sister announces she’s getting married in Hawaii, their parents make Mike and Dave promise to bring sensible women as dates to the wedding, as to not ruin their sister’s big day. The guys agree, and set out to find dates, using Craigslist.

While their Craigslist applicants don’t really pan out the way they’d hoped, their odd ad got the attention of Wendy Williams, putting them on national television, and also in the eyes of Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza).

Alice and Tatiana, roommates and friends, are also overcoming hardships of their own: they were both just fired from their jobs, and Alice is still heartbroken after being left at the altar. On account they need a vacation, the women set themselves up to win over Mike and Dave.

And as you’ve probably guessed, hilarity, along with absolute ridiculousness, ensues.

I can’t quite pinpoint exactly what it was about this movie, but I laughed SO much! I think part of it is just the sheer ridiculousness of it – pretty much none of it makes sense, but it’s all good, because Zac Efron is fine as hell, and Adam Devine is pretty cute, too.

This movie also made me feel a little sorry for Efron, because… let’s face it, he’s been typecast. Like big time. Let’s take a look at his list of work: “High School Musical”, “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody”, “Hairspray”, “17 Again”, “Charlie St. Cloud”, “New Year’s Eve”, “The Lucky One”…

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed seeing these movies, but I have to wonder how he feels about always playing the same type of character: hard exterior + incredibly good looking + softie on the inside.

I know on the one hand, actors are excited to make money doing what they love – and probably for Efron, he’s lucky to have gotten out of the whole Disney thing. But still. Will he ever have a serious or adventurous role?

This movie, “Mike and Dave”, also introduced my to Aubrey Plaza, probably because she’s known for “Parks and Rec” and a bunch of other things I’ve never seen. But nonetheless, I thought she was hilarious, and I have a feeling her work in this movie will only help her career.

 So, if you still have a chance to see “Mike and Dave”, I’d definitely recommend it – you’re in for some laughs.

In other brief news, good luck on this Monday. I was so, so lazy this weekend, and really sad to see that come to an end. I can’t remember the last time I laid in my bed as much as I did this weekend, and it was quite nice.

I still watched some good TV, finished reading a book, and took a trip to the library (per usual). This week, I’m looking forward to my dance classes, and counting down the days until the Olympics! I’ll have more news on that front as the week continues. See you all here, tomorrow!

Britney sing-a-longs & ‘The Birdcage’.

So, let’s talk about it: the Britney Spears Sing-a-long at the Alamo Drafthouse. Yes. I went last Saturday night and it was pretty fantastic.

I’d heard about it from a coworker, but pretty much everyone I know in Austin (read: 3 people) was busy with other raging Saturday night plans. I wasn’t sure if this would be super lame going alone, buuuuut I kind of LOVE Britney, and it was one of the last times the Alamo was going to show it.

Obviously, I decided to go, and brave it – another date night with myself! I bought my ticket online and upon arrival, I already saw lots of fans dressed up, and even the male waiters were wearing Britney garb: the Catholic school uniform and the flight attendant uniform from the “Toxic” video.

If you’ve never been to the Drafthouse, it’s a movie theatre that serves REAL food, desserts, cocktails, and beer, all from the comfort of your seat. Upon entering the theatre, everyone was given a glow necklace and a wand with streamers on it.

I promptly ordered a beer and the hatch chile cheese fries (yum!). When 10 pm (kickoff time) finally rolled around, we were instructed to sing-a-long, dance, and cheer on Britney for the next TWO-AND-A-HALF HOURS! That’s right, it was more than two hours of solid Britney songs!

Whoop!

Whoop!

Let’s see if I can remember them all: “Scream & Shout” feat. Will.i.am, “Pretty Girls” feat. Iggy Azalea, “Perfume”, “Criminal”, “Til the World Ends”, “Hold it Against Me”, “3”, “Radar”, “Work Bitch”, “If U Seek Amy”, “Circus”, “Womanizer”, “Break the Ice”, “Piece of Me”, “Gimme More”, “My Perogotive”, “Everytime”, “Toxic”, “Me Against the Music” feat. Madonna, “Boys”, “I Love Rock N Roll”, “Overprotected”, “I’m Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman”, “I’m a Slave 4 U”, “Stronger”, “Lucky”, “Oops…I Did it Again”, “(You Drive Me) Crazy”, “Sometimes”, and “…Baby One More Time”.

For starters, I definitely had forgotten about a few of these songs – I hadn’t even heard of or seen the videos for “Perfume” and “Criminal” – both right on track as far as Britney songs go: catchy, a little corny, but complete with hot guy in video with her looking amazing.

It was also interesting to look at nearly her entire career over 2.5 hours of time. There is such a difference between those “Sometimes” days versus the “Gimme More” days – and those are the ones Britney fans are forgiving her for (I still cringe thinking about that MTV performance).

Between the Vegas residency and her last few songs (hello, “Work, Bitch”), she’s making as big of a comeback as someone can ask for. I think she’ll always be an entertainer in some form, and it’ll be interesting to see where the years take her. I know I have looked up to her as a dancer since “…Baby One More Time”. The choreography in “I’m a Slave 4 U” has always been some of my favorite.

Of course, there’s always that fantastic flashback of the fashion. Personally, I love the gold top she wore in “Work Bitch”, and am a huge fan of all of the denim she’s sported over the years. During the show, pretty much everyone was on their feet, singing and dancing, and it was really fun! I woke up Sunday with barely any voice, so I know I was really belting it out. Truthfully, I’m not sure what my favorite Britney song is, although I love “Stronger” and I also love “Circus”.

Finally saw this one!

Finally saw this one!

As for me, I’ll be visiting the Alamo very soon, as they are hosting a “Justin vs. Justin” sing-a-long, as in Justin Bieber vs. Justin Timberlake, complete with themed cocktails, and they are also hosting a “Bridesmaids” quote-a-long that includes a free champagne flute. YAS!!!

A few weekends ago, I also finally watched “The Birdcage”. You may recall that I’m kind of on a mission to see all of the movies that I should have seen by now, but haven’t (read about me finally seeing “The Breakfast Club”), so this is just another step in my pop culture journey.

The Birdcage” was released in 1996, so this year marks its 20th anniversary! It stars Robin Williams, and as described by IMDB: “A gay cabaret owner and his drag queen companion agree to put up a false straight front so that their son can introduce them to his fiancée’s right-wing moralistic parents.”

So… I had no idea how funny this movie was going to be. I really had no clue what it was about; read the description on my TV, and I took it that it was going to be a sad movie. So, I braced myself, and then right off the bat (when the bar owner won’t front free drinks for guests), I was laughing.

I don’t want to give anything away, in case I’m not the only person that’s just now seeing it, but in the end, it was a little sad. But, I think it was realistic – and I think it was kind of interesting to watch during an election year, given the political father that was at the dinner.

I also watched “Hairspray” – the John Travolta version – but didn’t think it was so great.

I hope you all have a fantastic holiday weekend; I’ve got some fun things planned, and you can watch it alllllll on SnapChat @OrangeJulius7 …or I’ll see you back here on Monday!