I’m writing this at 10:15 pm on Wednesday night, after getting home from seeing the first showing of “Ready Player One”, Steven Spielberg’s creation based off Earnest Cline’s best-selling novel.
This was just the movie I needed to see.
I read the book last June, and I loved it. The funny thing is, it fell into my lap at a time when I was searching for an escape… sort of like right now. Since closing the book last summer, I’ve been counting down the months and the days for this movie to hit the big screen.
All book lovers know that when a great book hits the theatres, it’s a gamble. The story might be completely changed, the characters may not be how you imagined, and in general, the movie just won’t do the book justice.
But when the trailer for “Ready Player One” hit the internet a few months ago, two things caught my attention: the main character, Wade, was exactly how I’d imagined him, and his raggedy life within the stacks was built just how I saw it in my mind. Success.
Before I go any further, let me give you the run-down. “Ready Player One” is the story of Wade, a teenager living in Ohio during the year 2045. It’s a time when most of the population is so fed up with life, they seek refuge in a video game called The Oasis.
Everything happens inside The Oasis – work, school, nightclubs, and well, fighting demons. In 2040, the creator of The Oasis, James Halliday, died. And he left his legacy to the first player to find all three hidden keys that unlock a golden egg.
The best parts of The Oasis? You can be whoever you want, do whatever you want, and no one has advantages over anyone else. There are no rules, and anyone can win.
I won’t go into too many details, but the movie is a little bit different from the book. However, it’s only in the ways that needed to be embellished for film’s sake – the kind of things people want to see, even if they didn’t read the book. There’s a little more love and a little more real life scenes than in the book, but it was seamless. Naturally, the movie capitalized on all of Cline’s 80’s references (and added several), but it was very fun.
There were so many great lines in the book that I noted in my book review, but none of my favorites made it into the movie. However, there were several lines worth noting:
- People come to the Oasis for all the things they can do, but they stay for all the things they can be.
- Like many of you, I only came here to escape, but I found something much bigger than just myself.
Truthfully, this movie has it all – the drive to fit in, family trials, loss, love, heartbreak, and friendship. It’s half-VR, half-IRL… and it’s eerily meta. Bravo, Mr. Cline.
I’ve already seen reviews giving Spielberg too much credit for the world Cline created – I’ll keep saying it, you’ve got to read this book. I have also seen a few comparisons to “Willy Wonka”, and sure, that’s loosely an argument to be made. But Charlie Bucket does not make for a Wade or Parzival.
As soon as the credits rolled, I noticed I’d been grinning for the entire 2+ hours, and immediately had to send a text telling someone just how good it was. This is one for the books.
Thursday night I joined a friend to see “Lady Bird” – we were especially excited after all the hype it got at the Golden Globes last weekend and wanted to catch it before it left theatres. I’d heard a little bit about it, and saw the film’s writer and director – Greta Gerwig – on an episode of “Watch What Happens Live” a few weeks back.
Here’s the official scoop on “Lady Bird” from IMDb: “Christine ‘Lady Bird’ MacPherson is a high school senior from the ‘wrong side of the tracks.’ She longs for adventure, sophistication, and opportunity, but finds none of that in her Sacramento Catholic high school. LADY BIRD follows the title character’s senior year in high school, including her first romance, her participation in the school play, and most importantly, her applying for college.”
Overall, I enjoyed the writing in this movie – it was much more comedic than I expected (I laughed a lot), and the wit was very on-point. There were definitely relatable aspects to this film: small-town girl wanting to get out and explore, family pulling together to make things happen, teenage angst, wanting to fit in, and young love. I can see why lots of people loved this movie.
But there were two things that really bothered me about it. For starters, the movie was said to have taken place in 2002 (said by Gerwig herself and in the movie’s description), but there was very little in the movie to give us a timestamp. In fact, many of the cues we were given were incorrect. The first thing I saw was Alanis Morissette’s “Hand in My Pocket” was playing on the radio. This song came out in 1995. As a very huge Alanis fan, I know radio stations were not putting “Hand in My Pocket” in regular rotation in 1995.
The next clue was Dave Matthews Band’s “Crash” being a favorite song among Lady Bird and her friends, was also on the radio, and was also played at prom. “Crash” was released in 1996 – again, I used to fucking LOVE Dave Matthews Band, so don’t mess with 90’s pop music here, okay? A coworker said she disagreed with me because she didn’t discover Dave Matthews until college in the early 2000s. Okay, but fact is fact. The song was popular in 1996, and yes, you COULD argue that Lady Bird lived in a small town, so things were behind the times, but the audience still needs to be given context for that, because it looks incorrect and that makes me think Gerwig doesn’t know her shit. It was bothering me the entire movie.
You know what else? I got into my car after work on Friday and was flipping through radio stations and stumbled across Sirus XM’s channel, 90’s on 9… and who was on? Gerwig! She was playing all the songs that inspired her… FROM THE 90’S. Hmm!
The other issue I had with the film was that it didn’t follow a story arc. There was no real emotional pull for Lady Bird – I didn’t really care whether she got into the school of her choice or not. There were no real stakes. We were never told what her dreams were, aside from her saying she wanted to be “a writer in the woods”. You have to care about the characters or else there’s no real point; no emotional investment.
After hearing Gerwig on the radio, where she said she grew up in 2002 in Sacramento (the same as Lady Bird), I’d venture to say this was based on her life, which is partly good and partly bad. We can be inspired by what we’ve known and what we’ve lived, but sometimes we’re really bad at telling our own stories.
At the very least, it was funny, and I enjoyed a veggie pizza and a chocolate peanut butter shake while watching, so you can’t go wrong there.
Today, I’m settling in for a cozy, yet productive weekend. And, if you’re in the mood to shop, I’m having a SALE in my Etsy Shop this weekend (15% off everything + free domestic shipping), as I’m trying to clear out my 2017 inventory and make room for 2018 goodies!
Yesterday afternoon, I saw a movie I’ve been eyeing for awhile, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” starring Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson.
“Three Billboards” is the story of Mildred (McDormand), a passionate mother who is trying to push the local police to continue working on her daughter’s murder case. To spark their interest, Mildred pays rent on three billboards along a seldom-used country road to advertise her case.
The words she plots on the billboards puts Ebbing, Missouri into a tailspin – to say the least. But although what she’s doing is not illegal, the police are willing to do anything (and everything) they can to get her to shut up and remove the billboards.
Although it’s not directly related, Mildred and her billboards highlight the systematic racism within the town of Ebbing, solidified by the police force and their brutal actions (not to mention the words they say).
This movie was very dark, and although their were parts that made me laugh – I felt like the audience was constantly nervous-laughing, because it was so dark, and it was difficult to tell exactly what was going to happen next.
It’s obvious Mildred has never quite fit in, in Ebbing, and the brutal murder of her daughter seemed to harden her even more, creating an even greater distance between her and the town. The conclusion of the film (no spoilers) wraps this up nicely.
Although it was difficult to pinpoint exactly when this film took place, it has a timeless sensibility to it. After all, it’s not a recent problem for missing girls to be found murdered, have their killers on the loose, and for a police department to pick and choose who they go after based on race and/or relationships.
I cannot close this blog post without saying that parts of this movie were very difficult to watch. I had my hands over my face for probably 1/4 of it, and was on the verge of tears for at least half. It’s gut-wrenching.
But, it was well-done, and very unique. A recommendation for crime and mystery lovers.
Naturally, I saw this movie at the Drafthouse, so I treated myself to some fries and a salted caramel shake. YUM.
I was happy to go home afterward and make Christmas ornaments though, and get my mind out of such a dark place.
That’s right – I’m coming off a weekend of volunteering at the Austin Film Festival for the second year in a row! After having such a fun and inspiring time last year, I jumped at the chance to volunteer again this year.
I am still nurturing my interest in screenwriting, but have made about ZERO progress on doing much with this interest. I don’t like using the excuse that I’m too busy – but things have been a little crazy lately.
However, I still made time to volunteer. I actually starting volunteering in the spring, going door-to-door passing out advertisements for the Austin Film summer camp for kids. My first official shift during the festival was for the Pitch Competition – where I volunteered 9 hours last year and had so, so much fun!
This year… it was a little more stressful. I hadn’t been at my shift very long when one of the judges needed a cup of coffee (specifically, a medium coffee with 2/3 coffee and 1/3 almond milk). I was sent on the errand.
Of course, the coffee shop in the building was closed. I went back to my station and was told to “go somewhere nearby”…little did my shift manager know that I don’t really KNOW what’s nearby. So, I ventured to the 3rd floor where I heard there was free coffee.
Indeed, there was free coffee, but no almond milk. Only little containers of half and half. So, I moved with a quickness outside. Two blocks away was a giant “Day of the Dead” parade, on top of the Film Fest crowd – everywhere was packed. The first two coffee shops I found were closed. Awesome.
Coffee shop number three was open… but with a huge line. I jumped in line anyway. When it was my turn to order, I was informed they were actually OUT OF COFFEE. How does that happen?
I said I would wait… and about 20 minutes later, I got my order and moved as quickly as possible back to my volunteer station. I apologized for how long it took, but my manager assured me it was ok.
Well, until I looked at my phone to see she’d sent me several frantic messages basically thinking I’d run off downtown with her credit card. Umm what? I confronted her about the messages and she was all, “Ohhh just ignore those!”
Regardless, she stuck me on door duty for six hours leaving me uninspired, with tired legs. I don’t think I’d survive in Hollywood.
On Sunday, I arrived at my first-ever shift to volunteer at a theatre! During this shift, I took tallies of how many people were lined up to see the movies, and helped count them into the theatre. I also got to sneak into (with permission) the theatre to see one of the films and enjoyed a free Coke and some free popcorn! Fantastic!
The movie I saw was called “Meerkat Moonship”, created by Hanneke Schutte – who was present for the viewing. Here’s the official description from IMDb:
“Gideonette, a timid and visionary girl, lives with her parents in a small town. Her dad Gideon, battles daily to allay her fears about the curse of the Gideon de La Reys. Throughout their family history every Gideon de La Rey died in a freak accident at a young age. In order to prove everyone wrong, Gideon named his daughter – Gideonette. Although Gideonette has had to endure endless teasing about the curse, her dad has tried to convince her that they’ll both grow old. When he suddenly dies, her worst fears are realized and she retreats into a dark world where her imagination runs wild. Realising that Gideonette needs to get away from the curse her mom sends her to her grandparents. Here Gideonette meets Bhubesi, a deaf boy who’s ‘training’ to become an astronaut. While her grandfather builds Bhubesi a Moonship, the brave boy wins her trust and they embark on a curious journey of wordless friendship that helps her to realise she can’t hide from death. When fate hands her a final blow and her newfound strength is tested, she has to decide whether she’s going to let the curse consume her or defy it.
Gideonette, a timid and visionary girl, lives with her parents in a small town. Her dad Gideon, battles daily to allay her fears about the curse of the Gideon de La Reys. Throughout their family history, every Gideon de La Rey died in a freak accident at a young age. In order to prove everyone wrong, Gideon named his daughter – Gideonette. Although Gideonette has had to endure endless teasing about the curse, her dad has tried to convince her that they’ll both grow old. When he suddenly dies, her worst fears are realised and she retreats into a dark world where her imagination runs wild. Realising that Gideonette needs to get away from the curse her mom sends her to her grandparents. Here Gideonette meets Bhubesi, a deaf boy who’s ‘training’ to become an astronaut. While her grandfather builds Bhubesi a Moonship, the brave boy wins her trust and they embark on a curious journey of wordless friendship that helps her to realise she can’t hide from death. When fate hands her a final blow and her newfound strength is tested, she has to decide whether she’s going to let the curse consume her or defy it.”
This was a BEAUTIFUL movie! I even teared up a few times – ugh! I think people are really going to love the aesthetic of this film, not to mention the message. Wonderful!
All in all, it was another great year with the Film Festival, and yep, I know I’ll be back next year!
After seeing the previews several times, I saw “Battle of the Sexes” on opening night. While I’m not a sports’ buff, I AM an Emma Stone fan, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this movie isn’t reaallllly about sports.
The movie revolves around a real-life tennis match (that turns out to be an all-out war) between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).
Bobby Riggs, a tennis player, but also a well-known gambler, is determined to show a newly-formed women’s tennis league what’s up when he challenges the #1 female player to a match. The winner takes $100,000.
But for the women, it’s about more than the money. It’s about getting equal pay, especially after they stopped competing against men (who were offered more than six times what women were offered). King wanted to win to show women they could earn equal pay, and to show men that women could draw a crowd and be equal-competitors.
But in 1973, more than just equal pay was at stake for King. She was falling in love with a woman behind the scenes of her big dual.
This movie was touching, and at times sad. We’ve come so far in some ways, but in some ways we haven’t. King didn’t want to come out: she was married to a man she obviously loved, and after all, what would people think of her if she admitted her true feelings?
Emma Stone does a superb job emulating King, and I’d venture to say Sarah Silverman has a breakout role as the women’s team manager, comically getting them a cigarette sponsorship.
Definitely a movie worth seeing, even if you already know who wins the big game 🙂
In other news, I’ve added two new items to the Etsy shop and will be adding more items throughout the week! I have also been making SO many of the Holly Golightly Sleep Masks – if you’re looking for a relevant, easy costume, this might just be the accessory you need for Halloween!
I’m pretty sure that every movie I saw this summer featured a preview for the indie-film “Patti Cake$”. 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.
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.
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!
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!
I have been reading SO much lately, and the book we’re talking about today is seriously so good! I have to say that the week before I picked up this book, I spent an afternoon scouring the library shelves for a book that would give me an escape.
Sure, I’ve been reading books this year that are good, but nothing that really pulls me so much that I can’t put it down, or can’t WAIT to pick it back up. And then I got the text that “Ready Player One” was waiting for me to pick up.
When I checked it out at the library, the librarian kindly informed me that the author, Ernest Cline, actually lives in Austin, and that they were turning the book into a movie. Uh, cool! Here’s the book’s official description from Amazon.com:
In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines–puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.
But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win–and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this book. I’m not really into futuristic-type things, and although I do love a good session of video games, I don’t know much about them, especially newer ones.
But color me wrong, because this book was freaking AWESOME! It was so visual, which I love, and had enough action to keep things rolling. Don’t know video games? Totally doesn’t matter. There are even loads of 80’s references in there (including “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”), which I thoroughly enjoyed.
Some of my favorite lines from the book are:
- “It was the dawn of new era, one where most of the human race now spent all of their free time inside a video game.”
- “But I fell forward instead of down, and the stars seemed to fall with me.”
- “We’re going to have the world’s top five gunters together in one chat room. Who’s gonna sit that out?”
- “I would abandon the real world altogether until I found the egg.”
- “Like any classic video game, the Hunt had simply reached a new, more difficult level.”
If you’re following me on Twitter (@OrangeJulius7), you may have seen some of these lines, as I love to live Tweet my reading. As I was doing so, a podcast reached out to me because yes, it’s a podcast about “Ready Player One”! It’s called Get to the Good Part, and although I haven’t listened to it yet, I’m pretty sure they’re reading and discussing the book, chapter by chapter.
As for the movie, all I know so far (according to IMDb) is that it’s coming out next year, is being directed by Steven Spielberg, and TJ Miller is in it. Can’t wait!
The next book Blanche’s Book Club will be reading is “Hungry Heart” by Jennifer Weiner.
It’s supposed to rain all weekend in Austin, so I’m looking forward to hunkering down inside and getting some quality cooking and reading done. I hope y’all have a good one!
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.
My original plans for Memorial Day Weekend included going to the pool and getting my tan on… and that’s about it. But, leave it to Austin, Texas to RAIN the entire weekend, so I made a list of alternative, indoor plans, which included seeing “Baywatch”.
I skipped over to the Drafthouse Friday night, ordered a Whiskey Banana Split shake and fries (okay and a bacon cheeseburger, too) and was ready to see just how terrible this movie was. But, I actually liked it!
Here’s the scoop from IMDB: Devoted lifeguard Mitch Buchanan (Dwayne Johnson) butts heads with a brash new recruit (Zac Efron). Together, they uncover a local criminal plot that threatens the future of the Bay.
Honestly, I’ve never seen the original “Baywatch” television show, which probably would have made the movie even funnier. But it was still really obvious that this movie was a clear spoof on “Baywatch”, and in some ways, an homage.
So yes, there’s the classic slow-motion running, the hot bodies, and the fact that LIFEGUARDS are going way out of their way to save lives, along with crimes, mysteries, and petty theft along the bay. They take themselves REAL serious.
The part I didn’t expect was Zac Efron’s character, Matt Brody, was obviously making fun of olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte. It wasn’t a subtle blow either – he had the grill, the gold medals, the drunk reputation, and ruined his career after going overseas to compete and selfishly blowing it for his team. Wow.
As part of his probation, he has to work as a lifeguard (which is also part of a bigger coverup that the Baywatch lifeguards are about to discover, but don’t worry, no spoilers!). That was the other bit of a shocker – that there was an actual plot, and a few of the cast members from the original “Baywatch” series made some cameos.
Sure, it was a cheesy movie – but I think that’s to be expected, and I ended up laughing a lot. Not bad for a Friday night leading right into summer! And hey, if you’re going to the Drafthouse anytime soon – try the Whiskey Banana Split shake; totally delish!
Although I was ready to see the remake of “Beauty and the Beast” during its premier weekend, I somehow stuck things out and saw it last night at the Drafthouse.
I’ll just get this out of the way now: it’s not worth rushing to see. That’s right, it’s mediocre, at best. Honestly, where do I even start?
I’ll start with the fact that Disney needed to decide whether or not this was a movie for children. Originally, this fairy tale (created long before Disney) is probably not safe for children. After all, we’re talking about a woman falling in love with a BEAST.
But the cartoon version Disney created made it much easier for us to suspend reality and possible even look at the Beast with gentle eyes. Not in the remake. He’s a hairy, matted beast, with a nasty attitude. But don’t worry, because Disney tossed in a fuck ton of slapstick humor (think: the Beast in makeup), for the kids.
And I get it, many real-life movies ask us to suspend reality before the movie even begins. Heck, that’s why we love going to the movies so much! But in order for a true escape to happen, all of the details must be in order. I’ll come back to this in a second.
The cartoon version of this flick is a musical, so I guess the formula was to keep the same song and dance numbers in this version – I mean you have to have “Be Our Guest” – but none of it was good. The singing was weak (sorry, Emma Watson), and there was no dancing. Even “Be Our Guest” had a more serious tone to it.
In general, this film lacked magic. Despite all of the special effects Disney has their grubby paws on, they didn’t use much of it for this film – minus one scene where gold is sprinkled onto Belle’s dress (probably an ode to Donald Trump, for the Republicans in the audience). It’s weak – especially in the age of “Fantastic Beasts”, which had my jaw on the floor the entire time.
Finally, I’ll mention wardrobe. All of Belle’s outfits were disappointing (that yellow prom dress from 1999 deserves a Joan Rivers’ rip on “Fashion Police”), while the Beast showed out in his winter coat and his ballroom blue – but that doesn’t make up for the fact that he was wearing a shredded afghan for half the film.
Riddle me this… so Disney wanted to update the cartoon version, but they actually didn’t update it. They just made it with actual people, who lack stage presence. Yes, they added a few different scenes, but they added nothing to the point or entertainment of the movie.
Disney made the ultimate mistakes of amateur writers: they give us no reason to like the Beast (he was a dick before turning into a beast and he’s still a dick AS the beast), and they didn’t keep up with consistency in details (such as, why is Belle complaining about her provincial life when she isn’t living one?).
The two things I liked about this movie? Lumiere’s shoes, and the storyline among the “objects” – they were much more aware of their lifespan as the rose petals fell, than what we saw in the cartoon. It made for an interesting twist.
I am also really happy I saw this at the Drafthouse because they had a themed milkshake called “Pudding en Flambe”, which was vanilla ice cream, chocolate pudding, and flambeed strawberries, and it was DELICIOUS. So good. It was worth the $12 I paid for the ticket and the $10 for the shake and tip. Hey, be our guest!
I know so many people who loved this movie, and I know that I’m critical when it comes to films and writing, and even song and dance. I was sad to be disappointed by this one, but I can’t ignore mediocrity, especially when it’s a film that’s going to make a ton of cash.
Even Roger Ebert’s site agrees with me and says the additions did little for the story, and that it lacks performance. But, they still awarded it 3 stars because no one wants to be on Disney’s bad side.
Meh, I’ll be the first. And I’ll bring my “Pudding en Flambe” shake with me when they banish me to the Beast’s dungeon.
“Home Alone” is my favorite movie. Ever. To me, it’s not just a classic Christmas movie – it’s a mark in time, a piece of pop culture, a portion of a legacy, and a story everyone can relate to (I swear).
About a month ago, I muttered a one-liner from the movie at work (“Mom… Dad… Uncle Frank… Where are you guys?”), and one of my coworkers admitted she’d NEVER seen the movie. Umm, what? I tried to explain just how much she was missing out, but she couldn’t understand, she’d missed out on one of John Hughes best pieces of work.
Last week, I went to the Alamo Drafthouse to see it in the theatre. They were hosting a pizza party, meaning each movie ticket came with all-you-can-eat cheese pizza, because… Little Nero’s.
Seeing my favorite movie on the big screen made me notice a few things I hadn’t before, and I got to thinking about why SO many people love this movie. I think there’s a lot more to the film than just a cute kid and some sloppy robbers. So, let’s explore – because… well… “It’s Christmas time and there’s always a lot of robberies around the holidays, so we’re just checking the area to make sure everyone is taking the proper precautions.”
Christmas, as a theme.
Obviously, “Home Alone” is typically seen as a Christmas movie. There’s lights, snow, an underpaid Santa Claus who smokes cigarettes, and let’s face it: the McCallister residence is COVERED in red and green (seriously, the wallpaper, comforters, pots and pans… look next time you watch).
But the fact that this story takes place around the holidays is more than just a coincidence. For one, Christmastime completely lends itself to robberies, making way for the Wet Bandits to lurk in the shadows (after all, kids are afraid of the dark!). The holiday season also creates the perfect reason for an entire family to take a vacation, not to mention a vacation overseas, for an extended amount of time. The winter season also makes two additional things possible: the storm that knocks out the power and the phone lines, which causes the family to oversleep, and later complicates things when they’re trying to contact Kevin.
And finally, the Christmas holiday brings out the child in all of us. Let’s talk more about that…
Typical Roles of an Adult vs. Child
In most movies, children play the roles of children, and adults play the roles of adults. But, in “Home Alone”, things are a little different. There are two scenes that really drive this point home. First, let’s look at the church scene between Kevin and his neighbor – also known as The Southbend Shovel Slayer.
That line from Kevin, “No offense, but aren’t you a little old to be afraid?”
While both characters are offering each other advice, Kevin playing the role of the adult in this scene, offering life advice to his older neighbor in the form of a metaphor with the scary basement. But did you catch why he was in the basement? To do laundry. Not something a typical 8-year-old would do. See?
The other scene that proves my point is, of course, the grocery scene.
Not only is he grocery shopping alone as an adult, he offers up coupons (which he clipped from the morning paper), and is reading an issue of “Good Housekeeping”.
I also can’t complete this analysis without mentioning the scene in the beginning when Kevin is fretting over packing his suitcase. He’s throwing a fit, jumping up and down, shouting, “When I grow up, I’m living alone!” There’s lots of one-liners that mention growing up, being grown up, or kids – all which swirl around our typical ideals for these roles.
Overcoming Challenges to be the Person You Want to Be
And finally, nearly all of the characters in this film must overcome personal challenges in order to be the person they want to be.
For the neighbor, he wants to be a good grandfather. In order to do that, he must overcome his fear of his son not answering his calls, and he must make things right in order to bring his family together.
For Kevin’s mom, she really does want to be a good mom (despite the obvious). In order to make that happen, she has to find a way home to Kevin (by air, or polka moving van), and prove that she loves him unconditionally.
For the Wet Bandits, they want to be amongst the silver tuna! To do it, they must lie, cheat, and steal their way to the top, but not without overcoming Kevin’s house of tricks.
And finally, for Kevin, he ultimately wants to show his family he loves them – yes, even Uncle Frank – and to do that, he must protect his house, and drown the Wet Bandits!
And there you have it, my analysis of “Home Alone”! I’d love to hear other things you’ve noticed about this fantastic flick!
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!
Over the weekend, my friend Jenny treated me to see the new “Ghostbusters” movie. I haven’t seen a movie in awhile, so I was excited, and glad she picked this one, because it’s not one I would have initially picked for myself, but it ended up being pretty funny!
The movie begins with a historically haunted mansion, complete with the green goop the Ghostbusters’ franchise is known for. The ghost sighting reunites a professor, played by Kristen Wiig, and her long-lost scientist friend, played by Melissa McCarthy.
McCarthy has a new researcher in tow, played by Kate McKinnon. The three of them check out the mansion in hopes of capturing the ghost, taking it back to their lab, and studying it.
But of course, their problem quickly becomes much larger than that, and the group recruits a fourth member, a subway operator (Leslie Jones) who sees a ghost among the tracks. They move into a makeshift office/lab above a Chinese restaurant, and hire a secretary. Enter: Mancandy Chris Hemsworth.
His character is dumb as rocks, but for once it’s great to see a guy placed in a flick for the pure drool factor.
Together, the women must catch the ghosts – which are multiplying by the day – while keeping New York City safe, and getting people (including the government) to believe their challenge is real. Decent plot + comedic timing is what makes this movie a win.
You know what else is cool? The fact that most of this cast is from Saturday Night Live (Cecily Strong makes a few appearances, too)! The film received tons of backlash when it announced its mainly-female cast – critics wanted to stick to the original formula of an all-male spirit squad.
Please! It’s about time we had more films that feature female leads; men get them all the time. And besides, the movie does PLENTY to pay homage to the original cast and films. Honestly, I am not a huge fan of the original – so, I can’t say how it compares to that, although I did like this one much better.
I’d say if you’re at all interested in seeing it, you definitely should. I am a huge Kristen Wiig fan, and it was great to see Kate McKinnon in a longer role than just on SNL.
…So, I’ve been drinking out of this coffee mug that I got from a mug swap I participated in many years ago. It was done through a blog – anyone that wanted to participate just sent their address to the main blogger, along with a few fun facts about us, and we got mugs from another blogger, and of course I sent a mug to my assigned blogger.
I’d really like to do something similar – would anyone be interested in participating? We could do a book swap, recipe swap, or perhaps just a $5 care package swap – if you’ve got ideas for another kind of swap, I am open to it – I’d like to keep it something for both women and men, so keep that in mind.
If there’s enough people that would participate – I can get this going next week! Let me know in the comments, or send me an email: Holly@thebitterlemon.com. I hope to hear from you!