Archive | December, 2011

My Favorite Movie of 2011: The Future

30 Dec

I operate largely based on feelings and intuition, not on thought or logic, so when I really like something it can be hard for me to talk (or write) about it. I want to tell you guys about The Future in a really smart, insightful way, maybe throw in a few jokes, use a metaphor that makes you say, “Damn, girl, this sounds like a great movie.” But instead all I can tell you is that this movie was just kind of there, waiting for me, when I needed it. When I was feeling really down and confused, it hit me like a punch in the stomach, leaving me kind of nauseated but also just exhilarated.
Maybe you don’t like Miranda July, and that’s fine, I guess. I certainly can’t make you like someone or something, but I can tell you what I like about her. All of her work, be it film, prose, or otherwise, has an emotional vulnerability that’s so complete it’s shocking. Rarely have I seen a writer/performer/director be so open and unafraid when talking about emotions. People tend to apply the word “brave” to art when there’s violence or ugliness or maybe just whatever the hell it was Charlotte Gainsbourg and Willem Dafoe were doing in Antichrist. When I think of brave filmmaking, though, I think of Miranda July, who isn’t afraid to handle the slippery, squirmy things like feelings. The kinds of things we’re, if we’re honest with ourselves, usually trying to get away from, not confront. But that’s exactly what she does. She puts relationships, feelings, emotions, and connections front and center, as if they’re the only things that matter. And, really, aren’t they?

Her previous film, Me and You and Everyone We Know was, to me, primarily about people trying to make connections and the problems that keep them from doing so. This film was more about people trying to figure out what their lives are supposed to mean. The Future is about getting to a certain age and realizing that, even though you thought you’d have things figured out by now, you don’t. It’s about trying to make a change and a difference by taking an action, any action. It’s about how taking the wrong action can lead you somewhere you never intended to be, a place where you’re not even sure who you are anymore, where you’re standing on a suburban street in a nightgown and wondering what, exactly, it is that you’re supposed to do all day. It’s an amazingly affecting film, and maybe you’ll get something completely different out of it! Even though it follows a fairly traditional narrative structure, I think a lot of it is open to interpretation.

It’s worth noting that the trailer doesn’t necessarily represent the movie very well. That’s no surprise, as I’m pretty sure a movie trailer has never done anyone any favors (aside from Sofia Coppola, who always manages to have perfect trailers). That talking cat, for example? A very small part of the film. In fact, I didn’t even remember it until I watched the trailer again. Also, the trailer makes the whole film seem a little cutesy, which couldn’t be further from the truth.

This is, to be very clear, an upsetting movie, one that is not in the least bit comforting (as Me and You and Everyone We Know was). But it’s honest about the important things, those parts of our lives that seem so monumental but ultimately become the mundane scraps we piece together to make our days, weeks, years, and lives.

If you want to hear Miranda July herself talk about the movie and her creative process, Meet the Filmmaker has a really delightful interview with her in which she discusses the film and her creative process.

Also worth noting: this may seem shallow, but Hamish Linklater gets better looking the longer you watch him. At first you will think, “This is an okay guy,” but by the end you will be thinking, “Okay, I get it. Attractive.” You’ll have to figure this one out for yourself.

Lady Jam: You Da One, Rihanna

29 Dec

I heard an interview with Jay-Z on NPR a while ago (an aside: there’s a sentence that sums up everything you’ll ever need to know about me. Love listening to Jay-Z, but he’d better be on Fresh Air!) where he offered up his explanation for why so much crotch-grabbing happens in hip-hop. Basically, he said that performers are nervous, and they often go from recording their album to playing a giant festival without ever learning how to be in front of crowds. Since they don’t know what to do on stage or where to put their hands, they instinctively reach to cover themselves. They feel, in a word, naked.

This is all just to say that I don’t think Rihanna’s ever been nervous about anything a day in her life. I imagine she’s stoned out of her gourd at all times. When I told Alex about Rihanna’s semi-recent hospitalization for exhaustion, he said, “What, did she walk up a flight of stairs?” So, while the Youtube comment typo “Why is she grabbing her crutch all the time?” might be hilariously apropo, I think we can all assume that Rihanna is not covering up her insecurity with false bravado. She’s just doin’ Rihanna.

Things I Actually Don’t Like About Gilmore Girls

29 Dec

Sure, Gilmore Girls is the best show ever, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Far from it. These are some significant problems I have with the show, the things that make me roll my eyes, get super-frustrated, or complain to Alex.

1. The Logan Years. I get that Rory had to date a rich asshole. What I don’t understand is why it had to take up, like, 4 seasons. She could’ve been sleeping around, which would have been way more interesting.

2. All of the extras are terrible. Maybe this is only so noticeable because all of the main actors are so fantastic (seriously, when is Lauren Graham going to get more respect?), but, Lord, I just cringe every time some Inn guest or Luke’s customer stiffly delivers their lines. Children are the absolute worst. Insufferable.

3. The April storyline. Nope. Sorry. I will never, ever, like this. April was like a cartoon character who smashed everything that was good and pure about Loralei and Luke. I will forever hate her.

4. A real lack of minorities. This made sense in Stars Hollow, as small towns do tend to be predominantly white. And yet Stars Hollow somehow managed to have many more minorities than Yale. Just about every website I’ve found that lists this sort of thing puts Yale’s percentage of white students at around 40%. You’re bogus, Gilmores! Seriously, couldn’t one of Logan’s rich, asshole, white friends just as easily have been black? Couldn’t Rory date an Indian guy? Couldn’t she maybe accidentally bump into an Asian student in the hallway? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

5. Not enough Marty. This should’ve been a bigger plotline. You know it. I know it. Amy Sherman-Palladino’s top hat knows it. I’ve included a newer picture of Marty because looking really good is the best revenge.

6. Lane got the shaft. First off, Dave was the best boyfriend and nothing ever lived up to him. I actually grew to really like Zach, though. I mean, clearly this is the ideal date (they also ordered pizza, in case you don’t remember):

But you cannot tell me that getting pregnant with twins and staying in Stars Hollow was even remotely okay for Lane. It wasn’t. She got pregnant after having terrible sex one time on a beach! That isn’t fair!

7. The drunk driving. Why was everyone always driving drunk? I never noticed this until Alex pointed it out, and now I can’t stop noticing it. Loralei downed multiple cocktails at Friday night dinners, and you can try to tell me she ate a lot, but whatever. She’s a petite woman. She had to be buzzed. Logan was basically perpetually toasted and always driving. In one episode, Luke goes golfing with Richard, gets drunk, and calls Loralei. Despite the fact that he tells her he’s drunk, she tells him to drive himself home. Her advice? Drink coffee. LORALEI GILMORE. DID YOU MISS YOUR HIGH SCHOOL’S ALCOHOL EDUCATION CLASS BECAUSE YOU WERE HAVING RORY? There is no excuse. Amy Sherman-Palladino owes me a PSA about drunk driving.

Diane Keaton

28 Dec

I would just like to point out that this is what Diane Keaton wore when she accepted the 1979 Oscar for Best Actress.

Lady Intro: Veronica’s Closet

28 Dec

Remember when Kirstie Alley was in the “in-between” phase? Like, in-between Cheers and being known only for her weight gain or loss? Today, let’s all take a moment of silence to think about Kirstie Alley. She deserves it.

Merry Christmas!

25 Dec

We did it! Approximately a month of Christmas jams (I don’t remember when I started doing this)! Some (Alex) said it couldn’t be done, but just look at us now. I hope you are spending time with friends/family and not reading my blog right now, but if you are, the best gift I can give you is two of my favorite Last Christmas covers. Pas/Cal is an old favorite, and I just found Saskatchewan a few days ago. Enjoy, and I’ll see you all in a few days!

Merry Christmas!

24 Dec

As I mentioned earlier, Alex and I love to watch Christmas sitcoms on Christmas Eve. We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we’ve seen some good ones (Wings, Frasier) and some bad ones (Family Ties, or anything that uses A Christmas Carol’s plot). The crown jewel is the episode of The Fresh Prince where Aunt Viv lets Will decorate their house since it’s his first Christmas in Bel Air, and wouldn’t you know it, he does things a little differently. An episode that’s also pretty great (and that completely defies the “No Christmas Carol” rule) is this Sanford and Son episode. Merry Christmas, guys!

Christmas Jam: I’ll Be Home for Christmas, She & Him

24 Dec

I’ll admit it. I don’t really like a lot of “classic” Christmas songs. Singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer feels, to me, like singing the ABCs. Give me a Last Christmas any day! But I really love I’ll Be Home For Christmas, and it’s made me tear up on more than once occasion (despite never having been away from home on Christmas). Let’s just pretend my extreme emotional outbursts are a charming part of my character.

I hope you’re all having the best Christmas possible and spending time with the people you love. I’m extremely lucky to have spent the past two days seeing lots of my favorite friends (including people I only get to see a few times a year), and now I get to spend a several days with my family. Enjoy all your holiday traditions! For my part, I’ll be watching Christmas sitcoms with Alex tonight and trying to rearrange the letters of my mom’s stocking hangers. Merry Christmas!

A Little Christmas Present

23 Dec

Do you want to hear Zooey Deschanel talk about friendship? Um, do I fall asleep at night wondering why I have a cowlick in my bangs that prevents me from ever having hair like hers? The answer is YES.

Christmas Jam: 12.23.95, Jimmy Eat World

23 Dec

Seems appropriate, since it’s 12.23.11. I can’t be the only one who fell asleep listening to this album every night in high school…right? “Lucky Denver Mint” was my (sleepy) jam!