Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dead Like Me

This unemployment gig has been good for a few reasons (that is me trying to look on the bright side), one reason is that the free time allows me to watch entire seasons (or series) of shows that I was too busy to watch when I was in school. Forget the fact that I'm still in school, technically, community college doesn't give me enough work to make up for the lack of work in my life.

N-E wayz...this girl I was friends with in middle school started every sentence in letters with "N-E wayz" it drove me crazy! There are other transition words! But, alas, I use it as a way to reminisce.

I've nearly completed Dexter, but I have no desire to finish because Josie started school and watching it alone isn't the same. Also, I wiki'd the show so I know how the fourth season ends (don't give me that guilt trip, I have always hated surprises and so I want to know what I'm getting myself into ahead of time) and I'm not really excited to see how it ends. It is one of those things that you ignore in hopes that it will someway not happen. Oh well, soon enough I will get the courage to reach closure, maybe I'll wait until right before season five picks up in the fall.

To fill the hole that Dexter left, I have started watching Dead Like Me. I love Bryan Fuller, so it seems natural for me to dedicate myself to yet another Bryan Fuller creation. Dead Like Me, like Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls, has a supernatural quirky element to it. However, instead of bringing people back to life (Pushing Daisies) or inanimate objects talking (Wonderfalls), this show is about a group of grim reapers (the undead) who live amongst the living and take people's souls upon death to allow them to "move on." The main character, George, is an 18-year old college dropout who enters the world of the undead when she is killed by a toilet seat from the Soviet Union space station that doesn't fall into the Pacific and instead hits her in Washington. She meets another grims quota, so while he is able to finally "promoted," she is stuck in the world she hated when she was alive.

I love George's character, she reminds me of Jaye Tyler in her I hate the world attitude and her reluctance to let anyone inside her life out of fear of pain. She must try to come to terms with her death and accept that she must let her family and old life go. Even though she hated it while she was alive, now that she is dead she is filled with regret and longing. She visits her family's home despite the better advice of her grim mentor, Rube (played by Mandy Patinkin), and she ends up hurting herself. She then tries to avoid her job of taking the dead only to find out the hard way that she can't change destiny, all she can do is her job.

I'm on episode 8 of 29 and I'm really loving it. There is also a movie that came out last year but the reviews I've read by fans on Amazon aren't very good. I'll watch it when the time comes and formulate my own opinion. The series, like so many of Bryan Fuller's creations, died young because rave reviews by critics and award nominations don't buy viewership. So sad :(

But, anyone interested in checking the show out, imdb has links to full episodes and Netflix has the series on instant queue.

Jet-Puffed Marshmallow Creme and Sweet Potato Fries

Yesterday I was eating some Trader Joe's Sweet Potato Fries and a brilliant idea came to mind: "I bet these would taste great with marshmallow creme!"
Since marshmallow creme was not in my pantry, I was not able to taste this dream. So, today on my way home from school I stopped by Stater Bros. to pick up some Jet-Puffed creme.

It tastes like Thanksgiving! I think I have discovered my new favorite snack food.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Where The Wild Things Are

Angel has discovered a theatre in Pasadena that has $2 matinee and $3 regular movie tickets!!! I realize Pasadena is a 45 minute drive w/o traffic, but paying for gas I still end up saving moeny when I consider that hot dogs are $1 and hot chocolate is $2. Grant it, the hot dogs and hot chocolate are not amazing, but they fit in pretty well with the whole experience.

The Regency Theatre has movies that are leaving the box office, so we won't be seeing any new releases there, but it is a great place to catch up on old releases taht I was too poor to see when they debuted.

We went to see A Serious Man but technical difficulties with the projector left us with a refund and a free ticket to another movie. Since Where The Wild Things Are had only recently started, we decided to check it out instead of waiting another hour for another show to begin.

The movie was interesting. I suppose it has been awhile since I read the book, but the movie I saw seems very different from the book I remember. Both Angel and I were left wondering what the point of the movie was when it ended, and neither of us was really sure if we actually liked the film for that reason. The young boy who plays the main character, Max, did a great job. He is a young actor who clearly has the potential to do greater things in the future. The character Max, as well as the "wild things" were all rather annoying in there own way. From Carol who has some serious rage issues, to Judith who has some intense insecurity issues, the "wild things" in genenral seem to portraying young children who have some kind of parental issues, mostly it seems they lack a parental role model. Then there is Max who runs away to the wild things after he gets in an altercation with his mother in the kitchen. He jumps on the counter pretending to be a monster and eventually bites his mother when she grows frustrated with him not obeying her commands to get down.

I think the characters are all rather annoying.

The music, however, I really enjoyed. And, despite the annoyance of the characters, the movie is beautifully and artfully done. It is visually very enjoyable, although it does have a slightly dark feel to it. It definitely is not the family movie I expected based on the popularity of the book. I know Maurice Sendak is kind of a controversial children's writer, but I always really enjoyed his Nutshell Library collection. I was never really attached to Where The Wild Things Are, so maybe that influences my opinion. Maybe if I was more connected to the book, I'd understand the movie better.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

coming soon: Date Night

If you are like me, then your favorite thing about going to the movies is seeing the previews. When the movie sucks, at least you have the "coming soon" features to talk about and research. I hate when people want to jump into a movie after the previews have started, I paid money for this ticket so I better see the previews! Is there anything that compares to the feeling of excitement you get when the new Harry Potter trailers are released, or the new Twilight Saga trailer?

Well this post is about neither wizards nor vampires. Date Night is a new 2010 movie that stars Tina Fey and Steve Carell. The plot of the movie is not as important as the fact that Tina Fey and Steve Carell did a movie together. When I saw this preview I thought, "OMG! Why did I never picture them together in a movie until now?" As a lover of NBCs Thursday night comedy line-up, I can't believe it never crossed my mind that Steve Carell and Tina Fey might just be amazing together. To be fair, Tina Fey is just about amazing in everything she does. Steve Carell is good in most his projects (though sometimes I find The Office uncomfortable to watch when Michael Scott is being especially painful--Scott's Tots) and has the ability to be hysterical (Anchorman, 40 Year Old Virgin), and family friendly as well: is it wrong that I like Dan in Real Life?

Moving on, I just want to say that I have very high hopes for this movie, and this comedy pairing.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Up In The Air

Today, Natasha and I went to a $4.50 matinee of Up In the Air at Terra Vista 6 theatre. I don't care that the theatre is a little run down, the fact that it allows me to spend less than $5 on a movie ticket fully makes up for that.

The movie Up In The Air was really good. I'd heard a lot of great stuff about it and it is nominated for and already won some awards, so I went in to it expecting greatness. One friend described it as being depressing, and while I do understand that after watching it, I think the "depression" comes from the movie being real. It is about a man, Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), who spends most of his time away travelling because his job requires him to go from city to city and "let people go" from their job. He is really good at his job and loves the mobility of it. He doesn't have a home, doesn't desire the baggage that comes from having relationships, and the only real goal in his life is to reach 10 million miles in his American Airline frequent flier program.

When his company decides to save money by switching to a video phone firing system, his life is shaken. At the risk of feeling cemented to one place, he tries to convince his boss (Jason Bateman) that the personal firings are more respectful and provide better comfort to those being "let go." His boss is not convinced, but suggests that the young and ambitious Natalie Keener (Anna Kendricks) shadow Ryan and figure out the in's and out's of letting people go. Natalie thought up the idea of saving money by switching to video firings, so her work with Ryan is meant to help develop the idea.

The two are very different people, and so they both offer different perspectives on work, love, and life to the other. Ryan has spent his whole life alone, believing that in the end everyone dies alone, but the young Natalie has dreams of love and family. Yet, when Natalie's boyfriend dumps her via text, it ironically parallels the impersonal communication she herself is bringing to their job, while Ryan fights against that.

By the end of the movie, you see Ryan has potentially fallen in love with a fellow traveller, Alex (Vera Farmiga), he has been meeting up with in different cities. And he forces himself to decide whether loneliness is what he really wants in his life.

There is one scene in the movie where Ryan, Alex, and Natalie are talking and drinking after Natalie's dump, that I think is my favorite scene from the movie. Natalie opens up about how she thought she'd be married and starting a family by 23, and goes on to describe the perfect man that generically describes every girls ideal man. Than you hear Alex give a 34 year-old woman's perspective, and you realize that at 10, or even 23, you don't know what you want. Even at 34, you are just beginning to figure things out.

Maybe it's because I'm 23 and realizing myself that I'm nowhere near reaching the goals I set for myself as a child (family), but I really liked this quality of the movie. The honesty about love, dreams, and life. I'm not going to beat myself up about dreams I made at 10, because I'm not the same person today when I made those dreams. The characters seem more real and relatable, more honest and less needy than those in romantic comedies. The fact that it didn't end with a cliche ending also won me over. I think cliches are for optimists, and I'm really finding myself to be a realist these days.