This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Movie Week

While reading and watching TV shows, I managed to squeeze in some movies...especially during my week of depression. And for some reason, during my hell week, I had the craving for romantic movies. Anything and everything I could find that was of the romance genre, I watched. But I watched a few others too. Here's a recap of some of my recent movie endeavors:

Safety Not Guaranteed: This was on my list of movies to watch from 2012, a compilation of movies from Leonard Maltin's Off Hollywood reviews. This made me a Mark Duplass (also on The Mindy Project) fan. He is also a director for quite a few movies.

Aubrey Plaza (Parks & Rec) and Jake Johnson (New Girl) also star in this oddity. Aubrey an intern,  joins Jake, a magazine writer, and another intern to a town in Washington state to do a story on a guy who writes an ad in a paper seeking someone to go back in time with him. 'Bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed.' 

Mark Duplass plays the man who is going back in time and Aubrey pretends to be interested in going back with him, to investigate the man for the article. The relationship that forms is interesting and we also find Jake had ulterior motives for his trip to this town.

Quirky and funny, this movie is definitely the epitome of an indie flick. And Duplass is wonderful.

Jeff Who Lives At Home: Another movie from my list of movies to watch, this one was directed by Mark Duplass and his brother Jay. It was OK but it had some humorous moments with Ed Helms. A bit on the dark side of humor, as it deals with a 30 year old (Jason Segel) who still lives at home with mom (Susan Sarandon) and his not-so-successful married brother (Ed Helms) who splurges a bit despite protests from his wife. It's funny-but-not-so-funny as we see how life plays our for everyone.

Take this Waltz: Another from the 2012 list, this stars Michelle Williams, who I absolutely adore, and Seth Rogen. Seth and Michelle play a married couple but Michelle meets a hunk of a neighbor who falls madly in love with her. She stays loyal to her husband but gives in and separates and hooks up with the neighbor. The deep part of this movie that I found so fascinating is that the grass isn't always greener on the other side, or you don't get everything you ask for. She was deeply in love with Seth - they had a playful, loving relationship. But being with the hunky neighbor was a deep, passionate, sensual love. But no more playfulness. I don't know what the moral of the story was, or if there was meant to be one, but this one was a sad one too.

This Means War: Not at all on my list but on my on-demand channel, I watched this and was entertained by this predictable Hollywood mess. :)  Reese Witherspoon being fought over by two hunky CIA agents. 

The Vow: Another romantic film on-demand. Channing Tatum played a great romantic lead.

Mansfield Park: An oldie I had never seen. It was good. Jane Austen. It was nice to see Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary) in his younger, British days. Also, good to see James Purefoy (serial killer Joe Carroll in The Following).

Celeste and Jesse Forever: On my list. This was really good. I wanted to see this knowing it was written by Rashida Jones (and Will McCormick). Celeste (Jones) and Jesse (Adam Sandberg) are married but separated. They are like best friends but Jesse is not 'grown-up' and looking at a career. Celeste is pretty successful. Jesse finds himself in a situation where he needs to be a grown-up and falls in love with another woman. Celeste finds their relationship growing apart. It's a comedy that also has a dark side, when you find the man you know so well, suddenly becomes someone else...because, well, he's found someone else to spend the rest of his life with.

Like Crazy: On my list. OK. These indie romances are depressing. Two college kids meet, fall in love. She gets deported to England and they have a long-distance relationship. They work on her visa forever. Years. In those years, there are other relationships. Eventually, they get married. Still, no go on getting back to the US. But eventually, they get what they wanted and are together in the US. But they are no longer the same young college kids that fell in love.

21st Century Digital Girl

I am in the perfect century. I love what this digital age has to offer, and continues to offer. What I love most is what 'television' offers.

I grew up on TV. The TV was almost always on in my house. My parents like to tell the story that I used to wake up and catch me, as a toddler, watching static or the rainbow stripes of the channel sign off.

I do remember watching Speed Racer or the Three Stooges through static when we lived in Myrtle Beach. I often wonder if they confuse that with me watching static. I could see images and make out some of the antics.

When I lived in the Philippines, we had just a handful of channels. One was an American-based channel and the others were local but one would play American movies and shows throughout the day. Sesame Street and Electric Company (with Morgan Freeman) played constantly. I hated those shows but I watched them anyway. B-movies played constantly. For a week, the same movie played every day and the same movie would come back in a few months. Clint Eastwood and John Wayne were favorites to play. But other weird ones came on: Asylum and Where Have All the People Gone.

When we moved to Florida in 1982 and was introduced to cable television, I thought I had died and gone to heaven. HBO? Real movies on TV? And MTV? OMG. That was just crazy. Life was great.

And it has gotten better: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, and all kinds of other places to watch TV stuff.

I watch a lot. And I am not embarrassed or ashamed. I meet people who want to be embarrassed or ashamed for me but I ignore them. I really could care less if anyone thinks differently than I do about the whole thing: I love this form of entertainment and I soak in every form I can get. I love meeting and talking to people who are like me (you know who you are :)) and I love finding out what's coming out next, what others are watching that I'm not, or what we are watching that we all love.

What am I watching? Sometimes I think it's easier to ask: what am I not watching? But there are a lot of things I'm not watching. Here are some of my favorites but I watch a lot more...

Scandal: This is recent. I actually *just* started watching this about two weeks ago. I was disinterested in this show despite seeing its ads on ABC. But I kept reading about it, how folks liked it so I decided to give it a try when I saw that season one was on Netflix. I was immediately hooked. I managed to find a site on-line that had season two's earlier episodes for free. I am one episode away from having the last four episodes on-demand with U-verse.

This is sizzling: a republican president having an affair with his black communications director for his campaign. She quits his cabinet and begins her own crisis management firm, which deals with scandalous events. Her staff includes an ex-CIA black ops guy who is addicted to killing people (dark humor), a lawyer busted for inside-trading, a woman acquitted of murdering seven people, and another woman who fled an abusive relationship. And the black, gorgeous ex-communications director for which the president is in love with? That would be Olivia Pope. Oh. Such a yummy show!!

The Mindy Project: I liked Mindy Kaling's character in The 40-Year Old Virgin and The Office. When I read about her starting her own show, being the writer of it, I had to give it a try to support female projects. And by golly, it was great. It's like a Girls-light. Mindy plays a gynecologist who thinks very highly of herself but is also very insecure. The self-deprecating humor is, quite honestly, hilarious and she has Chris Messina, who is a cutie-pie, who also plays an ego-maniac gynecologist but also, with a bit of social disfunction. The episode where they hire a new nurse, "Hiring and Firing" is a great one...not only because it's hilarious but because that's when Morgan (Ike Barinholtz) joins the cast. Also, there's the war between the gynecologists and the mid-wives, who are genious-ly played by Mark and Jay Duplass.

Justified: I haven't finished the fourth season ender but my god, this is one fun show to watch. Timothy Olyphant plays Kentucky US Marshal Raylan Givens. From the very first episode, in which he shoots a crime boss at a hotel deck in Miami, bad-ass style, the viewer knows you got a cool dude who marches to the beat of his own drum. Olyphant plays Givens to a cool-bad-ass tee. Yes, it's probably too good for real life but for TV, it's delicious to watch.

He is sardonic as hell and he shoots people left and right. It's a western in modern day. He has a good cast with him too, especially in his childhood frenemy, Boyd Crowder. Boyd in on the other side of the law, where we see him in the first season bombing up black churches with his white supremacist tattoos. Amazingly enough, in four seasons, we tend to like Boyd Crowder, who reforms himself despite still being on the wrong side of the law.

Southland: I started watching this amazing show when it debuted on NBC. It was canceled. Wonderfully, TNT grabbed it and has been airing it ever since. This show is fucking wonderful. It just takes forever between seasons to watch this great show.

The show centers around LAPD. If you saw the movie End of Watch, it's very similar to that. The cast is freaking amazing, especially Regina King, who plays detective Lydia Adams. She is chasing perps left and right and is a tough as nails cop who also shows emotion when she's alone. That's what's amazing: we see these cops on duty and the shit they have to put up with, then we see them off-duty and the shit they have to put up with. One of my all-time favorite shows.

New Girl: This is just one funny show. The quips that come out of this show is just hilarious. The entire cast is spot-on. Schmidt comes up with some of the funnier lines but really, after nearly two seasons, we know the characters well enough now that each line from them is funny.

Some others I love Veep, Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Dexter, Homeland, House of Lies, The Ultimate Fighter (I know, right?), Elementary, and of course, Girls. I'm waiting to see how Top of the Lake and Hannibal fare (so far, so good...and then there's Hemlock Grove, Arrested Development (oh yeah) and The Bridge coming soon. I have yet to ever watch and episode of House of Cards, Mad Men or Downton Abbey and they are on a list to watch one day.

What's Up?

Ahhh. It's nice to write something. It's been awhile.

I usually get asked: How do you keep up with it? Reading books, writing your blog, work, kids, running, blah, blah, blah. Well, I haven't. The last thing I want to do at the end of my day is get on the computer.

Today, being the last day of my vacation, maybe this is it for awhile, but I hope not. Blogging is one of my many forms of therapy. My 'how I keep up with it' stuff. Those things are what makes me sane in my crazy world.

These past few months have been crazy. MiMi was swimming year-round. YAY. But she would freak out at the mere mention of a swim meet. She did one - last year - and it was super stressful, for her and for us. Why this meet was any different for her than summer meets, I don't know, but it was...and it was full of tears and lots of talk of "you can do this." "you are a warrior." "you rock." That soon ended with "you better get out there and just swim" "stop with the tears, no one else is crying" "you're upsetting the coaches!" There's only so much encouragement you can do when you get "I can't" and "I'm not" as an answer. CONSTANTLY. But she swam it and we stopped signing up for meets.

We stopped year-round to give her a break because she did rock despite not doing the meets and she'll start back in May, in time for summer swim team. But then we pushed on CJ to go for the track team. This, of course, met with fear and begging to NOT try out.

Last year, at the beginning of CJ's freshman year of high school, we strongly encouraged her to try out for cross-country. This was met with resistance and tears. She bargained with us: let me get used to high school and then I'll try out for track in the Spring. OK.

Well, Spring is here and now she doesn't want to try out. We ignored her pleas. Literally. She asked if she could NOT tryout. We ignored it. This seemed to work. She tried out. When she and I went to the Tame Impala concert, I asked "Did you get on the track team?" She replied 'well, tryouts ended yesterday and I went to practice today.' YAY! I was so happy. Then she said "Actually, everyone made the team. There really was no tryouts." Oh. I didn't know that. CJ, in the driest voice ever: Yeah. Me neither.

She hates it. She tells me that all the time. But she goes to practice every day after school, even Fridays. And she has run two meets - both 800s. The first meet, she looked at me evil and breathed heavily for the first 10 minutes of the car ride home. She was so mad at me. The second meet, she didn't breathe won breath of hate at me. I see that as an improvement. I'm proud of her. She's doing it. My grunge girl is doing track.

A few weeks ago, I went in for surgery for something that was personal. I didn't want to tell anyone about it. It was supposed to be an outpatient thing - about two, three hours. Recovery was about six weeks and then I could get back to exercising. Nope. Instead, I end up losing blood during the surgery, blood transfusion, one week recovery and now, a few folks know something that I wanted quiet. That recovery week was one of the WORST WEEKS FOR ME emotionally ever. I was so depressed, I just wanted to sleep one whole week and wake up and let that week be over. Or be put in a medically induced coma. Whatever. It was horrible.

A week after my blood transfusion came the AWOLNation concert. I really should have been resting: I had gone back to work that day - my first day back after my emotional hell week. And now, a concert at Lincoln Theatre. Tim offered to go but he got called back to work. We worked out a way to swap but that got killed because of a mix-up with tickets (long story). It worked out better than expected. CJ brought a friend so they got to stand up near the front, which would have been impossible for me to do. I went up in the balcony and found a stool and sat through most of it. I couldn't sit through AWOL because, well, I'm a fan and it was a great concert. But I'm not sure it was the wisest move to be at a concert a week after a blood transfusion.

The week off for Spring Break was nice: we stayed in Charleston, SC for about four days. Tim wanted to head home, since it started raining Thursday but the girls did *not* want to head home. I suggested any place with an indoor pool - he found a condo in Myrtle Beach, so we stayed there for a night while they enjoyed the heated lazy river and pool.

Back to real life tomorrow. I don't know when you'll hear from me again. Hopefully, I'll make time to write more often.