12.31.2013

Movies of 2013

 Here's our list of movies! If you haven't had the chance to look at our Best Albums 2013, you really should. 

The Bling Ring: This happens to be the only movie the three of us have seen and all liked. This does not mean it’s the best film of the year, but it’s definitely got some bite. Sofia Coppola brilliantly captures the goals and desires of teenage youngsters these days. Trust me, I spend all of my time with the lil monsters. If you’re looking for a good workout mix or party mix, the soundtrack features Sleigh bells, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, Phoenix, Frank Ocean, and many more.  -Annie

Gravity: This movie... It was actually filmed in a zero gravity environment and you can tell. Apart from being f---ing gorgeous with views of space and earth, it's so smart. There are only two characters/ one character for most of the film... this makes my writer brain hurt thinking about how to craft that, without boring your audience. -Rachel

Inside Llewyn Davis: The only thing you may know about this movie is that there is a man with a cat. That’s okay, because that’s partially true. The movie tells a sorrowful yet beautiful tale of what it means to exist in the world. (That may seem vague and fluffy, but if you see it you’ll know what I mean.) Also, the soundtrack is bomb. -Annie

Behind the Candelabra: This came out straight to HBO, starring Matt Damon and Michael Douglas, about the life and love of Liberace. He (Douglas) uses his wealth, fame, and talent to court young Scott Thorson (Damon). Liberace claims Thorson as both son and lover at which point things get weird. It ends, though, in one of the sweetest scenes ever. - Amy
The Heat: Also a Sandra Bullock film, with her real life friend Melissa McCarthy. You can tell they're actually friends because the chemistry is spot on. It's smart, funny, and unexpected. Plus let's face it: a buddy cop film starring two chicks is pretty bad ass. -Rachel

Blackfish: whatever you’ve heard about the documentary (good or bad) it’s worth watching. If a movie about whales and Sea World seems boring, it’s not. It kept a group of high school seniors quite and attentive the day before winter break, if that tells you anything. -Annie

Much Ado About Nothing: A modernization from the Shakespeare by Joss Whedon (our favorite). It’s black and white, with the original language, and was filmed entirely at Whedon’s house during the time he was working on Avengers. I have some trouble with the story itself – a father wishing his daughter’s death because she’s been accused of being unfaithful – but the cast is amazing and the film as a whole is completely charming. - Amy

Frances Ha: The dialogue in this movie feels so real it’s almost creepy watching it. I felt as if I was intruding on their lives. (What a funny and awesome place to be as a spectator!) The whole story is truly lovely. Essentially, if you like the show Girls, you should watch this. -Annie


Other notable mentions:

American Hustle: Whether or not you find the story compelling, the acting is impressive. All of the main characters gave beautiful performances (Christian Bale, Amy Adams, J-Law, Bradley Cooper). It’s definitely worth seeing, but I’d wait until it comes out on DVD. -Annie

The Way Way Back: Watching Sam Rockwell act is always a pleasure. -Annie

Coffee Town: Who knew Josh Groban could act? It’s funny and somewhat ridiculous. Watch it. 
-Annie


Rachel’s additional list!
So... I go to NYU and I am exposed to a lot of films I wouldn't otherwise see. This is my weird/ unreleased film list of things Amy and Annie had yet to see... because they are grownups with jobs and husbands, whereas I am ridiculous.
1. Don Jon- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6615kYTpOSU Joesph Gordon Levitt's debut directing
2. 12 Years a Slave- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUQNjfhlREk Gah. Emotions.
3. Dallas Buyers Club- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvMPU0WaPcc The kind of movie actors dream about being in.
4. Short Term 12- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H8QxAYxNRgs Based on a short film. Great. Touching.
5. The Wolf of Wall Street- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iszwuX1AK6A
Leo, doing A Catch Me If You Can-esque part. Let's keep not giving him Oscars because he will keep making GREAT films anyhow.
6. The Butler- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUA7rr0bOcc
Written by Danny Strong (from Buffy) He's writing both Mockingjay films.
7. The Book Thief- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92EBSmxinus Great book. Love Geoffrey Rush.
8. Saving Mr. Banks- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5kYmrjongg Emma Thompson steals the show.
9. Captain Phillips- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3ASoBrFGlc Tom Hanks at his best.
10. Frozen- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=moSFlvxnbgk
Not a trailer, but one of the best parts. This is classic Disney, with a new self awareness.


12.29.2013

Albums of 2013

Here’s our list for favorite/recommended albums of the year! We for sure haven’t listened to everything, so if we missed some good ones, you should let us know.

  1. Volcano Choir, Repave – This album had me at the first song. Jon played it for the first time when we were cleaning our tiny apartment. It was the most fun cleaning I’ve ever had. It’s calm and relaxing but definitely has a nice kick (meaning fun melodies and beats) to it. Listen to this on a rainy day with a cup of tea and a good book. -  Annie
  2. Vampire Weekend, Modern Vampires of the City – One of the reasons I love this album is because it’s tasteful and accessible. This is a perfect album for long car rides, grading papers, running, (I like listening to Worship You for running), drinking whiskey, and solo-dance parties. - Annie
  3. Kacey Musgraves, Same Trailer Different Park – country, poignant, specific. Musgraves is one of those song writers who can speak to wider human experience without being generic. She’s in turn funny, cynical, and generous. Even if country music isn’t your thing, I recommend giving this album a shot. - Amy
  4. Neko Case, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You – soulful and dark. One of the most memorable songs on this album, for me, is “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu”. It’s about a kid she saw at the airport who was getting savagely yelled at by his mother. She says, “They won’t believe you/ When you say, “My mother, she did not love me.” She talks about how it happens everyday. You’re not often going to get that kind of candor in music. - Amy
  5. Atoms For Peace, AMOK – I was always going to love this album. A Thom Yorke side project, it’s fragmented and dance-y in a way that’s good for people who want to keep to themselves. Interesting and engaging, if a little bit cold. It’s good for Saturday mornings on the “L”. - Amy
  6. Inside Llewyn Davis, Soundtrack – The album has a great mix of 1970s pop songs (Please Mr. Kennedy) and tragic folk songs (Fare Thee Well). Favorite song from this album is Oscar Isaac singing Hang Me, Oh Hang Me... but that might be because of the movie. -Rachel
  7. James Blake, Overgrown – R&B, singer/songwriter, shoe-gazey, electronica – so many types of music seem to be incorporated into this album. It’s been two years since his first album, when people were saying he was changing music, and he’s just getting better. - Amy
  8. Great Gatsby, Soundtrack - I get most of my music for movies and I have to say this is my favorite album of the year. The movie was a letdown for me, but I love EVERY single song on this album. No Church in the Wild by Jay-Z is my personal favorite. -Rachel
  9. BeyoncéBeyoncé – You can always count on this diva to deliver. The self-titled album is a visual one, every song with a music video. As you could probably imagine, each track is different from the next. I know that bugs some people; there isn’t a cohesive feel to the album. Every track is its own entity. (Or as Miley puts it, each song is a banger.)  She’s got her usual crazy high-low range songs (Pretty Hurts), her kick ass/don’t mess-attitude (Yoncé, Flawless), and some retro, sexy tunes (Blow and Rocket).  Be prepared to hear some Frank Ocean, Drake, Jay-Z (duh), and her very own kin- Blue Ivy! -  Annie
  10. Miley Cyrus, Bangerz – For how painful her music video is, Wrecking Ball is a great pop tune. Unlike a lot of music made for her demographic, Bangerz is about doing things your own way, about not caring about what other people say. (“It’s our party. We can do what we want.”) There’s also some good jamming out in your apartment to be had. - Amy

The following albums are one that I particularly liked but got less love from Annie and Rachel. (The fools! JK)
  • Arcade Fire, Reflektor – There aren’t as many stand-out songs, on this album, as on The Suburbs, but it’s still a really solid record. I like cruising to the first song on the tread mill, and I’m looking forward to getting better acquainted with the rest. - Amy
  • Typhoon, White Lighter – There are, like, twenty Portlandesque members to this band. They have the right amount of sincerity for me. The right amount of swelling and Indie-band singing. Stomp your feet to this one, feel something. - Amy
  • Laura Marling, Once I was an Eagle - The songs in this album weave together in interesting ways. Her voice captured me immediately. If you listen to the first three songs and aren’t hooked, I don’t know who you are. - Amy
  • Dessa, Parts of Speech – This is a hip hop album that’s alternatingly catchy and edgy. Plus it has a Bruce Springsteen cover that I listened to one million times. - Amy
  • Moonface, Julia with Blue Jeans On – Spencer Krug’s crooning voice over mostly melancholy piano-driven melodies is a hard thing to resist.  This Jagjaguwar release can stand in the same room as For Emma, Forever Ago, and even holds together more lyrically than Justin Vernon’s masterpiece. - Mitch

12.24.2013

Christmas Angel

I’m on an airplane, flying back home to Seattle for Christmas – to the land of families, mid-sized sedans, and wooden nativity sets. I get a bit more sentimental on airplanes than I do on the ground. I think it’s the wonder of being in a metal capsule thousands of feet up in the air. There’s also the possibility of a clear- and pending-death thing. It gets me in the mood for a little reflection. Also, I can’t watch TV up here, so I might as well write about it.

I spent hours on Sunday watching the first season of Angel on Netflix. (A pop-up stopped me, multiple times, to ask whether I was still watching. I could’ve died in the meantime, it figured.) In this one scene, Angel cooks eggs for his employees/friends. This is how it goes: they fight evil all night, and in the morning, sometimes, Angel makes them eggs. He’s a surprisingly good cook for a vampire, since vamps are not really into eating solids.

I was touched and a bit jealous. It struck me how easy it is, on TV or in other media, to get me to root for a group of people. All Angel has to do is show me three people sit down to eggs, and I immediately watch 17 more episodes.  Just get people together, in close relationships, and have them occasionally be nice to each other. That’s all it takes.

There’s been a lot of hand wringing over the effects of technology and media in our lives. Do we watch too much TV, so much so that we never go out and meet one another? Do we miss out on each other because we’re too attached to our phones? We’re always connected via social media, but are we really connecting? Are we doing it ALL WRONG?

I’m kind of over it, the worrying. Yep, we do seem a bit messed up with our phones and earbuds and loneliness. Not too many people I know seem genuinely well-adjusted to the 21st century. And sure, it’s probably better to be with friends than to watch Friends. But it’s not like the struggle to connect is new. We’ve always been connected but improperly connecting. It’s a human thing: to be interdependent on each other and yet ignorant of what it’s like to be literally anyone else.

Maybe you could use a rest from analyzing your life, right now. Life’s hard enough without the accompanying guilt of not “getting out there” enough. Of not having all the boxes checked. Of having killed all those people before gypsies cursed you and restored your soul.

So whether your Christmas Angel is a nativity one, carved out of wood, or a fictional brooding vampire, it’s okay! By the power invested in me by the fact that I write on this unsolicited, unpaid blog sometimes, I grant you immunity from holiday scrutiny.


Merry Christmas, everybody, and Happy Holidays.

12.15.2013

Christmas Pussy/Turkey

I was on the train the other day. It was relatively empty, and I overheard some of a conversation that two gentlemen were having. They were exclaiming about a particular instance when a turkey was being traded for some pussy. They went on to expound on the benefits of such a scenario. ("Trade some turkey for some pussy - haHA!") I had my headphones in so I didn't hear the whole conversation. But I did hear them mention Rudolph, the name, I gathered, of a prostitute.

It was a seamy, sexist conversation, and I wasn't happy to be within earshot. Especially as they'd often stop what they were saying, look at me to see if I heard, and then burst into laughter. But, at the same time, it had a charming amount of Christmas spirit, some of the makings of a story, a story like...

INT. BROTHEL, 1935 - DAY

The brothel madame, HILDA, sits at her writing desk looking harried over brothel finances.  RUDOLPH, one of the prostitutes, an old hand, tidies up the clearly destitute whorehouse. 

She hangs garments over the windows as makeshift curtains. She pulls curtains down from the windows to make garments. Even the TASSELED PILLOWS look sad.
HILDA
Rudolph, honey, I don't know if we're going to survive this Christmas season. 
RUDOLPH
That's ridiculous. You've kept our doors open during hard times before. Like your "Hard Times for Hard Times" campaign. That was genius.  

HILDA 
 This time's different. The men, with all these dustbowls, they have no money. I'm closin' us down.  

RUDOLPH
No! That can't be right. 
She rushes over to her madame and holds her hand. 
RUDOLPH (CONT.)
Hilda, I will think of something. Give me a week.

HILDA
Rudolph, you're my best whore. So, I'll give you a week. But that's it!
RUDOLPH
I won't disappoint you, ma'm. Oh! I better make lunch. The girls will be getting hungry. 
She starts to leave for the kitchen. 
HILDA
What's on the menu, today?

RUDOLPH
Turkey. 
HILDA
Too bad we don't have more of that. We could pay bills with your turkey sandwiches. Delicious.
Rudolph stops in her tracks. Lightbulb! She has an idea.


EXT. STREET CORNER - EVENING

Rudolph's out on her beat, showing off the wears. A haggard FARMER approaches her. 
FARMER
How much?

RUDOLPH
Three dollars. 

FARMER
Ah, ain't nobody got that much!

RUDOLPH
Well, how much do you have, honey?

FARMER
I ain't got nothin'. 

RUDOLPH
You sure about that? Why you approachin' prostitutes in such case? 

FARMER
I thought you could give me one on charity. It bein' the Christmas season an' all. 
A cop drives by in a wagon. Rudolph and the farmer make out in order to avoid suspicion. 
FARMER (CONT.)
That's a start!

RUDOLPH
I don't do charity, honey. 

FARMER
Then I best be back to me 'ol broad.

 RUDOLPH
Wait, you got a missus? 

FARMER
Yeah. 

RUDOLPH
She wouldn't be makin' a nice turkey dinner for your family on Christmas Day, would she? 

FARMER
Well, yeah. Killed the big tom, just the other day. 

RUDOLPH
I'll tell you what, you bring that big tom turkey in to the brothel, and I'll give you some pussy for it. 

FARMER
You would? Ah, that's mighty temptin' ma'm. But what about my kids? I can't take away from them their big, Christmas turkey. 

RUDOLPH (STROKING HIM)
Think about it...

FARMER
You drive a hard bargain. 

RUDOLPH
Gotta save the brothel. 

So, of course, she does save the brothel, boys and girls, by clearing the whole town of their Christmas turkeys by trading the turkeys for sex. She settled it with all the people to whom the brothel owed money to pay the debts in turkey sandwiches.  But before she started carving up the turkeys of Lincoln, Nebraska, one of the whores accidentally struck oil in their backyard. The brothel's money troubles were over. Rudolph took a band of the brothel's best looking girls, and they rang round to all the houses from whom they'd traded turkeys. They presented the poor families with their Christmas turkeys, while wearing the guises of sexy santa ladies. Everyone rejoiced. (Except for the families, who were unhappy about the prostitutes, sexy santa outfits, notwithstanding.)

And that's how Rudolph saved both the brothel and Christmas. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what those two guys on the train were saying. 

12.13.2013

Still to Come

Greetings Dear Readers.

I realize I joined this blog, introduced myself and vanished. Well, Grad School has been kicking me in the face repeatedly, until this very moment and I haven't had time to write for funzies. Or see people. Or shower. Grad School is fun.

But now I only have one more One Hour TV show to edit and turn in by Monday! That's a cake walk... actually it's not, but it does give me a day or two to take a breath.

So in celebration of completing a terrible amount of work, I did not go to a bar and rage like a cool kid. I laid in bed a marathoned Doctor Who. That's right. I know how to party.

As I lay there, watching Doctor Who, I remembered all the things I love this nerd show. And I thought about how, at one point in my life, I hadn't seen this show. I didn't know piece of me was missing.

I go to a Film and TV centric program. (duh) You can't turn around without running into someone who's fiercely passionate about something you've never heard of. There's Joe: guy who knows ALL old Hollywood films. There's Nick: guy who knows ALL Jack Nicholson films. There's Kim: girl who knows ALL I Love Lucy TV shows.

I guess I'm girl who knows ALL nerd things, even though I don't actually know them all. I was talking to Joe and he's never seen Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, or Doctor Who...

I went into shock. How could he... what?! Things which have touched my heart and he'd never seen. After recovering from shock I realized I was hugely jealous of him. I love rewatching Doctor Who on my days off, but I'll never have it for the first time again.

River even has a quote in the Library where she says "It's not over for you. You've got all of it to come. You and me. Time and Space." When I quoted this to Joe, he didn't understand the amazing power of this moment because he hasn't seen it. But one day he will.

I don't know if this post has a point, expect to say- Wow. The universe is full of such amazing things, things you haven't seen or tried or met. Things that, one day, you won't be able to imagine your life without.