"The Definition of Insanity is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results" - Albert Einstein

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shugs Rock the Beatles

Check Out Meshuganotes rocking the Beatles' Medley

Arranged by yours truly!!


Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 22: Movie You Wish You Could Live In

I've thought about this a lot.  In fact it was one of the random questions that was asked to me during Meshuganotes auditions this past week.  And without a doubt, I would want to live in Chocolat.

There are a lot of ways I could explain this movie to you, but the most effective way seems to be of course a vague list in no particular order.

1. Provincial France.
2. Chocolate all the time.
3. Johnny Depp as Boyfriend.
4. Chocolate all the time.
5. Great score to characterize your life.
6. Chocolate all the time.

The movie is one of the best movies I've ever seen.  Really.  It's sweet, sentimental, and has just the right amount of serious thematics to make it a worthwhile watch.  Not to mention it is a gorgeous movie just to see.  I highly recommend it to everyone.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day 21: Movie with your favorite actor – Johnny Depp

What is there really to say about Senior Depp that hasn't already been said?  That he is dashingly good looking when he wants to be?  That he is tremendously odd?  That he is old enough to be my Dad?  That he's been snubbed of an Oscar?

Yup, I've said all of those things.  And they are all true.

Finding Neverland is to date probably his greatest acting achievement.  I would cite Edward Scissorhands or Pirates of the Caribbean, but I refuse to acknowledge the last three movies in the series of the latter, and it is too easy for Johnny Depp to be weird.  Finding Neverland is his greatest work because he manages to pull off a sentimental, but subtle performance as author J.M. Barrie.  And the film is brilliantly cast alongside Depp featuring Dustin Hoffman and Kate Winslet.

A cryer for sure, but definitely worth the watch.  It is so well made.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 20: Movie with your favorite actress – Juliette Binoche

She's beautiful, talented, exotic, and literally, magical.  Juliette Binoche is just so good in everything she does.  And I love her.  Must watch movies include: The English Patient, Cache, Chocolat and of Course Dan in Real Life.

In Dan in Real Life, Binoche plays the fascinating and heartfelt love interest of Steve Carell, but Girlfriend of his brother Dane Cook.  This film has one of the most brilliant supporting casts I've seen in Romantic Comedy in recent years (including Amy Ryan, Alison Pill, Emily Blunt, Norbert Leo Butz, and Dianne Wiest).

This film is one of my favorite movies to watch on a rainy day, or a sad day, or really any day.  And it is easily the best romantic comedy to come out of the first decade of the new millennium.  I highly recommend it for a family night, a date night, or a night in.

Day 19: Film that made you cry the hardest

Sad movies are in my genes.  If you know anything about my Mom, you know she only wants to watch a movie if it makes you laugh so hard that you cry, or if it is so mind-numbingly depressing you actually NEED to sit through the entirety of the end credits just to compose your red splotchy eyes and sniveling snout.  And I when I was growing up, it was basically required family hazing that every so often we would have to put our busy lives on hold so we could sit down as a family and watch a movie that made us feel genuinely terrible for being alive and healthy while being foolish enough to think our trivial problems had any bearing on what true sorrow actually is.

And the saddest movie of them all is Schindler's List.

1. It's about the Holocaust. Traditionally the most depressing of all movie genres (The War is Evil and Genocide is worse Genre to be specific)
2. The whole plot line is bleak the entirety of the movie, despite the fact that one lone character manages to have hope throughout the movie.
3. It's about bad things happening to good people.  And not bad things like losing your car keys, bad things like being sent to death camps to watch your family die.

And Lord Voldemort is the Villain.

I watched Schindler's List for the first time 3 days after my 13th Birthday when my Mother decided that I was old enough to understand it.  Let me tell you, it is not Birthday fare.  I cried the entire evening onward after the scene where Schindler breaks down on the train tracks because of his gold pin.

As if that weren't bad enough, my middle school made us watch it that same year as the end of the year Spring Movie.  Because that's what every young, 13 year old Jewish girl wants to do at the end of her last year of Middle School: Watch the saddest movie ever made with 300 gentiles.  (On a side note, I firmly believe that the middle school administrators wanted to specifically torture our class, because the year before they made us watch The Patriot, and like the class after us got to watch like Finding Nemo.)

Anyways, it has gotten to the point where if I just hear the violin solo from the film there's a 70% chance that I will immediately burst into tears.  Brilliant Film, but Hard to Watch (Not based on the book Stone Cold Bummer by Manipulate).

Day 18: Film that is your guilty pleasure

This movie is honestly just a movie for preteen girls and collegiate girls who don't want to leave their high school friends behind forever, not that I would ever know what that was like...

But I do think this is a very interesting film.  For one, it deals with a lot of mature issues for a flim that was marketed to 12 year olds.  Love, Loss, Sexuality and the Divine aren't really the themes I usually catch in my viewings of Lizzie Maguire, again, not that I would have watched that either...

What I will say is that this film can really only appeal to women.  Granted women of all ages, and I would highly recommend that mother's and daughters watch it together, but let Dad off the hook.  He won't like it, and would probably rather be spending that time playing online poker anyway.

Day 17: Least favorite book adaptation

Remember how in my last post I talked about how many bad book adaptations there are in the world of film?  This is one of them.

Ella Enchanted.

The book is a young adult novel, based around the cute concept of the idea that the protagonist maiden is cursed in that she must always follow all orders or she will die.  It's not War and Peace but it aint terrible.  It certainly is well thought out in the conventions it creates for itself, and is an interesting intellectual exercise in following orders.

The movie is nothing like that.  The only thing that is the same from the book is the curse of the young girl, but everything else is entirely changed, and in what I would argue is arbitrarily.  For one, Ella runs away from home and meets an elf.  Elves are not in the book at all.  And then there are two random musical numbers just so Anne Hathaway can sing some bad pop songs that don't even work in the conventional world of the musical, let alone a movie that isn't a musical.

And it is campy.  SO campy.  Don't go see it.  I won't even dignify this film by finding a poster for it.  It's that bad.

Day 16: Favorite book adaptation

I think I anguished over this one. 
1. There are a LOT of movie adaptations of books. 
2. Many of them are fine and ok movies, but terrible adaptations of the book. 
3. Many of them are carbon copies of the book in a film version, but are not very good movies.  

But there is one glorious exception: Breakfast at Tiffany's.  Ok, technically not a book but a novella, and yet still the best I think there is.  Close second award goes to the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but we will see them later on in the series.  

The novella by Truman Capote is first of all, brilliant in its own right.  Everyone should read it.  But what the movie does that is so spectacular is that it adapts the novel, so that the movie has a distinctively different moral feeling, and yet at the same time, it is so true to character, description and dialogue, it feels like watching the same characters doing exactly the same things as in the novella, with an entirely different outcome, and it is ok.  It makes perfect sense the way the movie plays out.  The noted differences are important and anything but arbitrary.  The movie is just Classical Hollywood glammed up a bit and it's delightful to watch.  

And on an entirely different note, it is one of my favorite movie posters of all time.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 15: Favorite Play Adaptation

This is a hell of a category, because I love plays, and because I think other than book adaptations, play's work the best as far as translation into film genre goes.  Way better than Musical's, that is for sure.  
And who wrote more plays than any other to ever be adapted into film?  Why William Shakespeare of course.  Shakespeare's works have been adapted so many different and captivating ways into film that it is impossible to even name all of the different films done.  But my absolute version of any Shakespeare play, or any play for that matter, adapted into film is Scotland P. A.

It is your typical adaptation of Macbeth, in the setting of a fast food burger joint in the 1970's when the invention of the drive through was just being pioneered.  

Sounds weird right?  It's way weirder than you think it is.  But also way more awesome.  

The witches are drugged out hippies induced by marijuana hallucinations.  The old King Duncan is murdered by being fried to death in the french fry oil.  Macbeth's secret ambition is to own the fast food joint, and Macduff's is to run a veggie stand.  And Lady Macbeth does by going insane and cutting off her hand with a meat cleaver.  

It's probably the greatest Shakespearian adaptation ever made.  That's right, you heard me Laurence Olivier!

Shakespeare lover's and hater's all should watch it.  

Day 14: Favorite documentary

I don't really love Documentaries as a genre.  To me, film is a medium of art form meant as a means of expression, and while I'm absolutely not suggesting that every single Documentary is without worthwhile stylistic choices, I'm just saying, most are.  So for me to really like a documentary I have to be basically engrossed in the subject matter of it.  Which is not an easy feat, by any means for any film, let alone one that is unconventional in its very form.

So this past year for some reason or another, my mother watched Inside Job.  And became absolutely obsessed with it.  She literally begged us to watch it, and at one point really refused to talk about anything else than this film.  Eventually I of course became fed up with this and decided to go ahead and humor her by viewing it.  And it wasn't half bad.  Some may even say I found it interesting and enjoyable.

This was almost good enough for my mother, but I think she was secretly disappointed that I wasn't outraged at the hypocrisy and deceit in our financial institutions and called to arms in an effort to dismantle capitalism.  Truthfully, I was just outraged that Morgan Freeman wasn't available to narrate.

But nonetheless, it is a truly interesting story of corruption and greed.  I do recommend that everyone watch it at least once, because we all deserve to experience the unbiased liberal slant the film wants to see.  And because it is probably the best documentary I've ever seen.

And then we can all watch Wall Street because that movie is awesomer.

Day 13: Favorite chick flick

For those of you who are wondering why I haven't posted in almost a week, and have been devastated that I might have given up on my project, fear not!  I haven't posted in forever because the apartment I just moved into will not have internet set up in it until the 25th, so I've been unable to update the September movie series.  Be prepared for the posts to be slow until then, for in order for me to post I have to walk my lazy ass to a coffee shop or steal the internet from Ohio State's campus, but never fear, because I WILL finish all 30 movies before October 1st!

Moving Right Along:

I love chick flicks.  I do not love the term chick flicks.  It implies that the movies are exclusively for girls, and not for women, let alone men.

Regardless, Chick Flicks are still one of my favorite genres of film.  There are really good ones, and there are really really bad ones (I'm looking at you Katherine Heigl) but for every dime a dozen movie about a stupid blonde, there is a fabulous chick flick that is empowering to men and women, delightful and entertaining.

That movie is Whip It.

Whip It is the punk rock daughter of every "feel good" chick flick makeover film with an extra splash of bad-ass-ed-ness and some superbly casted and talented actors *Cough* Kristin Wiig *Cough*.

The film is the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, and if you ask me, it's the third-wave feminist Chick Flick that Women's Studies Professor's have been searching for their whole lives.

Main Themes: Girls Kick Butt, and are Hot.  Girls don't need men to make them happy, and they are frequently better off without dirtbag boyfriends.  And Girls are Awesome.

And if there was any reason to watch any movie, it would be for the kick-ass names of the Roller Derby Girls in the film.  Personal Fave Name? Bloody Holly.  Close second to Jabba the Slut.

My Roller Derby Name is Ace of Skates. Andy's is Weird Al Yank-a-Bitch.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 12: Favorite Love Story

Nobody likes a love story where Boy meets Girl and then everything goes absolutely perfect from there on out.  In fact just merely thinking about it makes me want to gag.  People who like that kind of stuff can just go find their soulmate and watch some stupid Katherine Heigl movie until they eventually turn into gender stereotypes themselves.

When I wanna watch a love story, I wanna watch people that are so hopelessly perfect for each other manage to screw it up time after time until finally they get it right.  Sometimes they don't even get together, but that's okay too.  The story of a Love Story is in the journey, not the ending.

And my favorite is the classic story of people who just belong together, When Harry Met Sally.

Let the official count show that this is the second Rob Reiner film I've picked thus far in the countdown.  That makes it a tie between him and Robert Zemeckis for the most directorial picks.  I'm hoping they settle it by remaking each other's best films their own way in a cinematic Throwdown a la Bobby Flay, and the late Francis Ford Coppola gets to be the guest judge.  That would be so awesome.

But anyway, When Harry Met Sally.  Talk about film chemistry that only comes along once in a blue moon of filmmaking.  Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan are like the Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman of the 20th century, except more realistic and less attractive.  But for this movie, their incessant banter is practically charming in the way it gets under your skin.  The audience wants to see them get together so bad it literally makes them cringe.  The perfect romance.

Carrie Fischer is great in her supporting role and the music of Harry Connick Jr. practically precedes this film in terms of iconography.  Such a good movie for any date night.

Day 11: Favorite Kid's Movie

What film is practically perfect in every way?  Has been called Disney's Masterpiece and is Supercalifragilisticexpialdocious?  No, not The Black Cauldron silly, it's Mary Poppins!

Never before, and as far as I am concerned, never again will such a magical film be made.  Julie Andrews wins the Academy Award for Best Actress for the Eponymous role of a lifetime, Dick Van Dyke gives the most noteworthy performance of his lifetime as Burt the Chimney Sweep, and the music from this film has become so famous in it's own right that it is practically part of the vernacular.  I mean I really must have watched this movie five hundred times when I was a little kid, because I still know every word to every single song.  I learned who Suffragettes were because of this film, and once I thoroughly embarrassed my mom at a party when I was 6 years old by asking out hostess for Rum Punch.  Nothing can bring you back to your childhood like watching Mary Poppins can.

And it's not exclusively a children's movie.  I actually think the main themes of the film are more relevant to adults than they are to children anyway.  Take for example the only pivotal character in the whole movie, Mr. George Banks.  At the start of the film he is an overbearing husband, workaholic and inattentive father to his two children who are clearly screaming out for attention with their mischievous behavior.  At the end of the film, Mary Poppins shows him how important his family is to him and he embraces his children, wife, and kite flying skills.  That's a lesson that really only applies to adults.

Not to mention many of the other important themes: Kindness to the homeless, the elderly, and the misfortunate, to be unprejudiced against people who work in lower class jobs, and to appreciate your family rather than money.  It is no accident that the evil employer of Mr. Banks is in fact a Bank.  And who is the happiest character of them all, Burt the Chimney Sweep, who is presumably living off street performing wages and chalk-drawn-magical-land's caramel apples.

If you've never seen it, watch it.  If you haven't seen it in years, remind yourself how much you love it.

And Kudos to whoever designed this poster for it in 1964.  Gotta love those penguins.

Day 10 - Favorite Foreign Film

I don't care if people think I'm a hipster for this, but I love foreign films.  They are so different from American films, and are usually better.  I became semi-obsessed with them because of this introduction to World Cinema class I took last spring, and I'm so glad.  This category is a really difficult pick for me because I like so many foreign films, but I think the best one I've ever seen has to be City of God, or Cidade De Deus.

The film tells the horrifying story of the slums controlled by warring drug gangs outside of the famed Rio De Janiero in Brazil.  City of God is shot and edited as if the film were a music video, dazzlingly beautiful, but starkly contrasted to many of the devastations of the characters.  City of God is perhaps the greatest film to ever descend from the Cinemo Novo brazilian tradition: cataloging social poverty among the lowest classes through film meant to alarm the bourgeoise.

This film is definitely worth a watch, but isn't the kind of movie you'd want to rent for a date.

Honorable Mention for Favorite Foreign Film goes to Run, Lola Run, which is like a cinema-length video game, and is totally awesome.  Conceptual in its approach, but still totally brilliant.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 9: Favorite Musical

As I'm sure you know, I love Musicals.  I mean really love them.  Some are good, some are horrific, but the calibre of talent that can be seen in a well made musical is in my opinion unparalleled by any other art form.

Unfortunately for myself and the rest of us here on planet earth, an impressive film musical hasn't been put out in the last 10 or so years.  I'm not really sure I even endorse musicals on film, because they almost always get messed up, plotted incorrectly, or just end up being down right stupid.  Granted I'm willing to alter my thoughts on this if the upcoming film adaptation of Les Miserables doesn't suck.

So when it comes to picking a best of the best, I'm going with the greatest musical performer of forever, and my mother's idol.  No, not Louis Armstrong, but Barbra.  

Hello Dolly! is ironically, a film adaptation of a stage musical, but it is done so well that it stands tall in its own right.  Barbra is perfection as Dolly Levi, in her acting and of course her singing.  Walter Matthau is precious as her gruff and reluctant lover, and a very young Michael Crawford is absolutely enchanting as Cornelius Hackel.

The production value of this musical is what makes it really astounding.  It comes from an era of big sets, big costumes, big musical numbers and big stars. There must have been over 200 chorus members, as well as an unguessable number of extras.  For God's sake one of the scenes takes place at a parade.  Shot in wide angle lens!

The film is a spectacle if there ever was one and worth every second of watching.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 8: Favorite thriller

Thriller's are great because they are like the blood rush of the horror film but the intellectual equivalent of a crime film with more car chases.  And arguably the best made Thriller film to come out in recent years has been Inception.

Inception is great because on the surface, it is an exciting movie that blows your mind away.  But Director Chris Nolan did such amazing work with the editing and sound that the movie is actually a meta-movie.  Take for instance the loud THWOMS in the soundtrack.  At first they are just stereotypical ominous Thriller music, but they are in reality, a massive slowed down version of the Edith Piaf song that is used to wake up the characters from the dream.  Which is a fantastic use of sound, because it corresponds diegetically to the theory that time is slower in the dream world the more levels down you go, as well as non-diegetically to a typical soundtrack.

Same sort of theory works for the cut edits in the film: ergo they are perfect for conveying that feeling of being in a dream and not knowing how you got there.  The audience is used to this type of film edit, so when Ariadne experiences that trauma in a lack of understanding, the audience does for the first time too. Both parties have been duped by dream/film convention.  Now THAT is some good filmmaking.

And to think, Chris Nolan couldn't get an Academy Award nomination in directing to save his life.  DAMN YOU DAVID LYNCH!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 7 - Favorite Animated Feature

There are few movies that I really love to watch over and over that I don't gain anything new from.  I usually only re-watch films if I they make me feel a certain way again or if I can learn something different about them from what I had seen before.

I never really get anything different from my repeated viewings of Fantasia and Fantasia 2000.  I just enjoy watching them.  They are my sick day movies, and every time I watch them, I get better.  No seriously, I will be cured of my illness after watching both of them.  Every time.  

Fantasia 2000 is actually my favorite of the two, which seems like blasphemy but it isn't really, because it is a better presented movie, with more interesting musical and animated choices.  Also, the choice to use various different hosts to present each individual number is a a leap and bound above Dean Taylor, who introduces every single piece of the original Fantasia in a monotone drone usually complete with a pun or a less than interesting historical fact.  For what it's worth though, I do like his banter with the animated Soundtrack in the first film's intermission.  And the first one has that terrible version of "Rite of Spring" where life on earth is explained from cell form until the death of the dinosaurs.  It drags.  You try to tell me that is as good as the Firebird Finale in the later film.  Yea Right.  

And given all of that, my favorite individual sketch is still the Nutcracker Suite from the original.  Those dancing fairies are just so great.  

Watch either one next time you are ill, or just want to feel classier than you normally do.  So worth it.  

Day 6 - Favorite Horror

I should say I lacked a certain appreciation for horror movies for about the first 19 years of my life.  Probably because I grew up on musicals, and those are horrifying enough in their own right.  Also because my parent's never introduced me to the slasher genre.

But this past spring I took an amazing class called Women in Serial Killer Films and practically fell in love.  Albeit that I watched the best of the genre and left the dregs for the Netflix Instant Play, but the films were so much better than I thought they would be.  Very intelligent, and actually some are very feminist.  And my favorite? 1990's classic: Scream. 

This movie is great because it is really the first post-modern horror film, drawing on Halloween, Frankenstein, Psycho and so many other classics for the making.  And the film isn't just an illusion to the most famous slasher movies ever made, it is based around the idea of a stereotypical scary movie, except that everyone knows it.  It's the most obvious meta film that I can think of, and not even in an unappealing and abusive way.

Totally Feminist, Totally Scary, and Totally Amazing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Day 5: Favorite action

Action movies are tough for me, because by definition they aren't my cup of tea unless they are mixed with some comedy/romance/horror/sci-fi to make them more entertaining.  So in picking my favorite action movie, I really just picked my favorite action/adventure/sci-fi film because we all know that Die Hard is stupid. 
Back to the Future is a really great film because it has everything you could ever want in a movie, in perfect balance.  It's a time-travel/friendship and family drama story mixed with a whole of comedy, and there's even a musical number (that doesn't even suck).  And what I think is most interesting about the film is how when you watch it as a kid, it is basically dazzling because "like woah, he traveled through time" but when you watch it as a pseudo-adult there are many more deeper themes to pick upon.

I would be totally remiss if I didn't talk about the score of this movie, which is easily in my opinion one of the top 10 best scores for a film ever.  The melody line is unforgettable and  powerful and heart pumping if ever an action movie score was.  Ku-Dos.

Also for what it is worth, all of my adult opinions on time travel come from this film. And time travel is totally possible in certain conditions. Not that I would know about it though.  

And let the official count show also that this is the second Robert Zemeckis movie I've picked on the countdown.  I suppose we shall see if that sub-list grows.

Favorite Quote:

Doc Brown: So tell me future boy, who is President in the year 1985?
Marty: Ronald Reagan
Doc Brown: Ronald Reagan the Actor?  Who's vive President, Jerry Lewis?

Rumor has it when Reagan watched this at the White House theatre he made the prompter rewind the film again so he could list to the dig once more.  And then laughed his head off. He may have been a crazy right-winger but at least he had a sense of humor.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Day 4: Favorite drama

When I say favorite drama, I mean favorite drama. And I'm not talking about some sad but sweet Nicholas Sparks books turned film piece of teenage crap. I grew up on hard knox dramas that my mother made me watch. And if you couldn't say at the end of the movie "that was one of the saddest things I've ever seen in my life" then it wasn't worth watching. For all you old school film buffs, my Mom's three favorite films are Terms of Endearment, Funny Girl, and Brian's Song. She and I agree that Schindler's List is the best film ever made. So what's my favorite drama? The Dead Poet's Society.

Now I admit, I'm predisposed to like this film because it deals with a lot of English poets. And I think that Shakespeare is pretty great.  But it is a really well made film for anyone who isn't in to that sort of thing also.  Robin Williams gives what I think is the best combination of his dramatic and comedic acting of his entire career to date as Professor Keating, and the supporting cast is equally impressive.  A very young Robert Sean Leonard (later to be known as Wilson on "House") stars as Keating's most eager pupil to "Carpe Diem" and gives an extremely memorable performance.

4 out of 4 stars.  An amazing film, but be sure to bring your tissue box.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Day 3: Favorite comedy

If I was going to be trapped on a desert island for the rest of my life and could only bring one movie with me to watch over and over again I would bring This is Spinal Tap. I'm sure critics would disagree with me when I say that it is Rob Reiner's crowning achievement, but either way, it is still the funniest movie ever made.  And what is so great about it is that every time I watch it, I notice something a little bit different, new or funnier.  Each viewing is its own wonderful experience based on who you arewatching with.

The story follows the band Spinal Tap from the UK on their North American Tour.  The films spoofs everyone from The Beatles, and The Rolling Stones to ACDC and Alice Cooper.  It the most glorious mess that has ever been seen.  Ever line is a quote.  Go see this film and buy their album, pictured below.


This film goes to Eleven.  

Day 2: Least favorite film

My friend Andy would probably kill me for saying this, but I really just hate this film.  David Lynch completely over directs in it, and the plot line makes absolutely no sense.  Apparently it is supposed to be that way, but I don't buy it.  Any film that randomly throws in Lesbian Sex Scenes and then tries to pretend they were all part of some amazing master plans that also incorporates a mystical cowboy, a woman with blue hair and "llorando, llorando" is not only trying way to hard, but thinks too highly of itself.

To top it off, this film got a sole Academy Award nomination when it came out, for Best Director.  Seriously Academy? David Lynch can get a freaking nod for one of the worst thought out, overly directed films I have ever seen and Christopher Nolan can't get one for anything he's ever done?Seriously? Did you even watch Inception?

Don't go see this film.  0 out of 4 stars.

For anyone who has seen it, I wish this film would take a hint and be a bit more Club Silencio.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The 30-Day Movie Challenge

Welcome to the inaugural post of my September blog series, the 30-Day Movie Challenge. Each day over the course of the next 30 days I’ll be posting a different movie pick for the series, why I picked it for the category, a review and an overall rating. If you are so inspired, start your own challenge, or respond with your own movie picks in the comments section.

Day 1: Favorite film – Forrest Gump

Picking a favorite film is not an easy task for anyone, let alone we few film studies majors.  It’s much simpler to narrow your field of focus to a few films, or a specific genre or director, but even that can be a challenge. So when picking a favorite film, I honestly believe it’s better to just go with the unquantifiable traits, and really go with what your gut tells you. 

So without a doubt, if I’m gonna choose a favorite film, it has to be Forrest Gump.  It has that thing that Walter Benjamin called aura, that thing that is just special for reasons that can’t be explained.  Anytime Forrest is on TV, I have to stop and watch.  Despite that I’ve seen the film at least 50 times.  I just love it. 

Now just because I can’t explain why I love it so much doesn’t mean I can’t at least name all of the different things that make it great. 

For starters, the story is fantastic.  Not only because everyone loves the story of a man’s life, but Forrest Gump is more than just a single man’s story, it is the story of a generation of baby boomers, which it why it was always be infinitely better than rip offs of Forrest Gump like the dreadful Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  I'm just saying, it has almost no redeeming qualities.  And it is very poorly plotted.  

Then in addition to the script, the acting and the music are the heart of this film.  Hanks will probably be remembered for this role above any other, and if you could earn an Academy Award for compiling the soundtrack to a film, this film would have won it.  Plus the score is pretty great too.  

A special nod to my favorite character of the film, Lieutenant Dan.  Superb acting.  Literally robbed of the Oscar. 

Favorite Quote:

Lt. Dan: Do you know what it's like not to be able to use your legs?
Forrest: ... Yes Sir, I do.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Noted Observations and Unreal Photography

10 Observations Noted:

1) Bermuda is possibly the best place on earth to sit and do as little as possible. Thus far, I'm halfway through reading The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and I've tanned at least a slight shade darker.
2) Bermuda has the bluest water and the bluest sky I think I've ever seen. And pink beaches unlike anywhere else in the world. It's terribly picturesque.

3) Tiki huts in the United States are cool, but in Bermuda, they are cool. And they serve you booze on the beach.
4)Bermuda has lots to do when doing nothing. For example, watching a speedboat race around the island from the beach.

5) And it you get sick of one beach there is always another one to go to, which is just as beautiful as the one before it.

6) Boating in Bermuda is WAY fun. Probably because the water is so blue, but also because boats here are cool.

7) Bermuda has lots of chickens.

8) Bermuda also has lots of pretty flowers, which are infinitely better looking than the chickens.

9) Bermuda has some cool looking birds, and some weird looking lizards too.

10) Tree frogs are pretty gross, but getting pictures of them is pretty awesome.

As a reference point, the average tree frog is about the size of a human thumbnail, and basically invisible against a brown tree in the middle of the night.

However, with persistence and an excellent camera caddy (myself) Dad managed to get around 20 shots of the little buggers and three practically award winning photographs. Eat your heart out Elle MuleBomb.
Close-up Shot! You can't even see them this well in person. How cool is that?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Snorkeling at Nonsuch Island

And let me tell you, there is no nonsense on Nonsuch Island. The five of us took a motor boat out to Nonsuch and then explored a shipwreck and the beautiful (and terrifying) fish that swam up next to us. Here's some shots from the boat ride over.

What Beautiful Babes.
Dad drove over, but then I was allowed to dazzle him with my boat driving skills. Which were impressive if I do say so myself.

And then came the snorkeling. Which was fun, but I almost got attacked by jellyfish, so also sort of terrifying. My family will tell you that there were no jellyfish and that I was seeing things, but I know what a jellyfish looks like and they almost stung me to death.

Here I am pre-jellyfish sneak attack.

And here's the happy family.

And thanks to my Dad's fancy underwater camera, we get to share some of our fabulous underwater fish shots. This one is a parrot fish I think, about the size of an average football.

And here are some striped fish that had no reservations what so ever about swimming right next to your head and pretending to attack you.

Here is a variety of fish that are swimming in and out of a foot and a half wide opening between the rock of the island and the wall of the ship that had wrecked on it. We had to swim through the opening, which was claustrophobic and filled with really big fish. Clearly I was great at it....

Anyways, that was fun but enough snorkeling for me for a long, long time.

Some Shots from the First Day

Here are some pictures from our first day here. Monica and Alexa insisted we go down to the beach so that Alexa could put her toes in the ocean, and Monica insisted that I take pictures of her looking pretty and in a moment of solitude against the ocean. I of course had no choice but to oblige.

The two happy sisters

The beach and the Atlantic Ocean at night.

And here of course are obligatory pictures of Monica looking solemn or whatever.

I think she's dancing in this one.

In this one she is in solitude.

And in this one she's far away.

And here is what Dad did the entire time

More pictures to follow, so stay tuned.