Monday, June 20, 2011

The Biggest Deal Ever

Once upon a time, four years ago, a variety of young people I'll call "classmates" went on an exodus across the country. Some of them moved to west coast states, some of them moved to southern states, and some of them even moved outside the US (!). They have been known to go not only a full week without running into their middle school gym teacher at Best Buy, some of them have even gone a full month. And not just without seeing former gym teachers, without seeing any former teachers! It seems like a totally outrageous society full of freewheeling lunatics, and it's certainly horrified me to the core, but bearing those facts in mind, it's kind of confounding to me that moving two hours away from my "hometown" at the tender age of 21-and-a-half is the biggest fucking deal ever. I don't understand! It doesn't make sense! I can't even fathom why people think it's so crazy and spontaneous when you factor in that EVERYONE ELSE DID IT FOUR YEARS AGO. For some reason "18 Yr Old Leaves Home" translates to "Leaving the Nest" and "21 Yr Old Leaves Home" translates to "Blatant Suicide Mission." And the craziest part is, this isn't even my hometown. I absolutely hated Pennsylvania for the first six years I lived here, AND I HAVE ONLY LIVED HERE TWELVE YEARS, so those are not favorable stats. I have nothing in common with anyone in Centre County. Like literally nothing. It took three years just for the weird kids to warm up to me. And my parents kept telling me to try to make more friends. It didn't happen - can I please stop now? How long do I have to pretend to care about JoePa before we can just call this a failed experiment? At this point it's just embarrassing for both of us. I feel like that kid who's forced to take violin lessons for ten years who absolutely hates it and never gets better, except for me it's Normal Human lessons. I'm just not cut out for this quiet desperation thing. If I'm going to be a freak, I'd rather just embrace it and live somewhere where I can blend in enough to be a Semi-Freak than have to live with 40,000 normal identical people and be an Ultra Mega Freak.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I like tattoos. I like people who have tattoos, I like looking at tattoos, and I like obtaining tattoos. Last year, after much deliberation and Flickr searches, I decided to get a tattoo of a butterfly. I got it on an area of my body that many communities refer to as "the love handle." I chose this area because it makes the butterfly seem like it's floating - as opposed to an area like the shoulder, where it would seem like the butterfly was "resting" on a surface. I show it to people all the time, and aside from the standard "what does it mean? / that must have hurt!" I always get the exact same inappropriate, presumptuous, stock response: OH MAN! JUST WAIT TILL UR PREGNANT! THAT THING GUNNA STRETCH LOL.

No one ever asks if I'm going to have kids. (I'm not.) No one even says "if you give birth," it's always "when you give birth." It's like women have their own Death 2.0 - like we all have to face the inevitability that we will one day produce offspring. It's just an innate fact of being female - we all desire children.

I'm never going to have kids - ever. I'm going to get a tubular litigation as soon as I have a real job and can pay for it. The only future children I will ever have will be adopted. And I don't even want to get married until I'm at least 32, so that means the possibility of kids are well over ten years in the future. I'm sorry that I'm not living The Central PA Dream of finding a fiance by the time I graduate college. The only person I've actually dated in college is currently under house arrest. (I guess he'll be in charge of the dishes, huh?) Everyone I know keeps getting engaged and talking about how they're ready to settle down and share their life. I don't want to share my life - I barely even got to use it yet.

By the way, I heard this exact same reaction 1,000 times when I first got my belly button pierced. YOU'LL HAVE TO TAKE IT OUT WHEN YOU HAVE KIDS LOL. Even if I wanted kids, that would be a stupid reason to not get it pierced. What if I save my precious vessel for five years in the anticipation of childbirth and then find out I'm infertile? What if I am fertile, and then get ovarian cancer and become infertile? What if I am fertile, do get pregnant, and then die choking on a grape? (It happens!) Why the fuck should I care if I might have to take a piercing out in ten years? More importantly, why do you, A TOTAL STRANGER, care if I might have to take a piercing out in ten years? I might have to do a lot of things, that doesn't mean I'm going to let my entire life orbit around a single arbitrary future possibility.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Oracular Spectacular (also not a movie)

Once again I've opted to talk about something that isn't movies! Instead I'm going to educate the masses on THE BEST ALBUM FROM ANYONE IN A REALLY LONG TIME, "Oracular Spectacular" by MGMT. I am so obsessed with it right now. You might be familiar with the hits "Kids," "Time to Pretend," and "Electric Feel," but the rest are even better. "The Handshake," "The Youth," and "Pieces of What" are three of my faves. Because it's necessary to your life to buy at least those six songs, it's only logical to just buy the entire album. I use it to work out, to ride the bus, to drive around in the car, to hang out in my room, and to dance crazy at parties. It's all purpose music. I saw MGMT live last summer and they were awesome in concert, too.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Blockbuster is closing!

So the State College Blockbuster Video location announced that it's going out of business. That means I got to purchase discounted rental movies this weekend! Unfortunately they were not actually that discounted as they were still $9.99. However I still bought their only copy of the movie Ghost World. For those of you who are unfamiliar, this is a movie about two girls who just graduated high school, who end up following this creepy loner guy around town and later befriending him. It's way better than it sounds, I'd seen it like eight times prior to buying it. One girl is played by Scar Jo and the other is played by an actress who never became famous.

I also bought these little DVD cards of the cover art of various movies. They were only five cents, but you had to buy at least twenty, so I ended up getting some for my friends, too. I hung them up around my room all haphazardly like they do on Kindergarten bulletin boards and I would venture to say that it looks pretty badass. They were perfect for the spots where I couldn't fit a full poster. I'm probably going to go back and buy some more today. Maybe I'll figure out a way to take a picture of my display and put it on the blog! STAY TUNED DEAR READERS!

Next weekend I will probably go back to Blockbuster when the prices have diminished even further. I'm hoping I'll be able to find a cheap blu-ray of A-Team. I was really hoping they'd have Igby Goes Down but I guess somebody snatched it up already. I also wanted to get The Room, which I saw for the first time this weekend. It's this cult classic famous for being laughably bad, and it is hilarious.

I noticed they had a lot of stupid blu-rays out, like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Who the hell buys that? No one needs to see a romantic comedy in high def, especially one starring Matthew McConaughey, who is arguably the ugliest man on Earth. The same thing happened when Mike's Video went out of business, and I went on the final day, and all they had was Swing Vote on blu-ray. Hopefully this coming weekend will be more fruitful.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The 2010 Freddiez

Due to the fact that the Oscars are this Sunday, and due to my disgust at the 3rd rate celebrity circus known as the “Golden Globes,” who have decided to conduct themselves with the same integrity and artistic insight as a middle school talent show, I have determined that it is necessary for me to offer my own series of awards. This will both educate the masses on the films of 2010 worth buying, renting, or burning, and will offer recognition for the merits of actors and filmmakers who have been overlooked.

The awards are called “The Freddiez,” named for one of cinema’s most celebrated thespians. Throughout his career, he has been captivating audiences with characters crafted from the depths of his own internal vision. Never afraid to burst through the boundaries of cinema, he has simultaneously wrought forth a new age of motion picture, illuminated an acting world that had long since been darkened, and offered a voice to a generation. The man of whom I speak is, of course, Freddie Prinze Jr.

Each award will have a list of nominees, followed by the winner, followed by a brief and/or extremely verbose explanation of the choices. A lack of corporate endorsements has put the budget at $2.75, which was spent on a Hurricane 40, so the ceremony unfortunately will not be televised, or held. However, that doesn’t make The Freddiez any less legitimate. As the late Barney the Dinosaur once said in his magnum opus Barney and the Queen of Make Believe, “It’s always fun when you pretend.” So without further ado, let us proceed to the first category!

For achievement in beating a dead horse

Toy Story 3
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
The A-Team
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

AND THE FREDDIE GOES TO… Harry Potter 7! Although Toy Story 3 was a better movie, I feel that Harry Potter 7 more fit the category of “best sequel,” due to the extreme improvement upon the previous Harry Potter installation, which was laughably bad. While Harry Potter 6 was immature, inane, and often ridiculous, Harry Potter 7 was a thoughtful and serious portrayal of three teenagers who must abandon their school and homes to engage in the war against evil.

For achievement in girly stuff

Easy A
Morning Glory
Dear John

AND THE FREDDIE GOES TO… Easy A! A high school comedy with a female protagonist that isn’t about going for the quarterback and realizing that the quirky best friend has been the right man all along? That alone is enough to make Easy A the winner, and the fact that Emma Stone is one of the best comedic actresses of today doesn’t hurt. Fun fact: I was the main character for Halloween this year.

For achievement in making romance seem fun/comedic

Going the Distance

AND THE FREDDIE GOES TO… Going the Distance! That’s right, there was only one good romantic comedy this entire year. In my opinion it’s the only good romantic comedy ever. For one thing, it’s actually comedic, and for another thing, it’s about an actual romance. Most romantic comedies feature a lead character and a “love interest,” but this one has two lead characters, each with their own plot line, development, and series of jokes. It’s original and believable, and Drew Barrymore and Justin Long have awesome chemistry. I bought this movie and encourage everyone else to buy it, too, because we need more movies like this.

For achievement in negating strides in feminism

She’s Out of My League
Leap Year
No Strings Attached
How Do You Know

AND THE FREDDIE GOES TO… Leap Year! While you may have read my review of No Strings Attached and assumed that it was the most anti-feminist movie of the year, you will be dazzled and amazed by the lack of progressive thought that occurs in the film Leap Year. This movie is about a woman who flies to Ireland so that she can propose to her boyfriend on February 29th, because traditionally women can only propose during Leap Year, and only on Leap Day. She meets a local Irish hottie along the way, and after a series of “hilarious” pratfalls, falls madly in love with him. As her journey finally comes to a close, she dumps her long time boyfriend over a miscommunication and immediately scampers off with her new man. The End!

For achievement in the warm and/or fuzzy arts

Morning Glory
Ramona and Beezus
How to Train Your Dragon

AND THE FREDDIE GOES TO… How to Train Your Dragon! This is a really good “coming of age/boy and his dog” movie, except the dog is a dragon. The boy is funny and likable, the dragon is adorable, and the classic “don’t judge a book by its cover” message never feels forced or preachy. Watching it is the equivalent of eating an ice cream sundae on the porch on a warm night. You can’t leave this movie in a bad mood, it’s downright heartwarming. (Spoiler Alert: Don’t worry, Nicki, the dragon doesn’t die in the end.)

For achievement in embarrassing public crying

For Colored Girls
8: The Mormon Proposition
Waiting for Superman
Remember Me

AND THE FREDDIE GOES TO… Waiting for Superman! This is a documentary about the poor quality of education in America, and the hardships facing impoverished youth. If the last category was like eating an ice cream sundae on a warm night, then this category is like seeing someone else drop an ice cream sundae on the sidewalk, and then end up in prison because they don’t know how to read. They offer a lot of shocking interviews and statistics, like that only 12% of kids in Washington DC are proficient in reading. It’s pretty informative, and I think I learned a lot about the education system – but prepare yourself, because the ending is rough. In fact it might even be good to watch How to Train Your Dragon after this to recover. However, I still recommend it, especially for people who like documentaries, or are interested in education.

For achievement in lolz

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
The Other Guys
Get Him to the Greek

AND THE FREDDIE GOES TO… Scott Pilgrim vs. the World! This is just straight up an awesome movie. It stars some of my favorite people, such as Michael Cera (Superbad/Arrested Development), Anna Kendrick (Twilight/Up in the Air), and even everyone’s favorite hottie Kieran Culkin! I went into it fearful it would be another misfire by Michael Cera, (Year One?) and ended up buying the collector’s edition blu-ray at full price. I watch it all the time, and it just gets funnier with each viewing. The premise is that Michael Cera has met the girl of his dreams, but can’t date her until he’s defeated all of her seven “evil exes.” He heroically embarks on an adventure to win her love, all the while dodging such roadblocks as his own celebrity ex-girlfriend, his band’s budding career, and a teenage stalker. It’s amazing, and absolutely everyone should see it.


So, I decided that instead of just deeming one movie “Best Picture,” the Freddiez would take the Olypmics and/or Science Fair approach, and award a bronze, silver, and gold to the three best movies of the year. We will also tack on an Honorable Mention for good measure.


And the Freddie goes to… Blue Valentine! Another movie about a marriage gone wrong. The themes in this movie are really similar to those present in an actual Oscar nominated film The Kids Are All Right, (both center around an ambitious and industrious doctor who is married to a more sensitive free spirit) but personally I thought Blue Valentine was a better portrayal, mostly due to the leads Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling. The only qualm I had was the fuzzy sense of time (it takes place in the year 2000, but I spent the first half thinking it was the 1970s.)


And the Freddie goes to… Inception! Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, and Christopher Nolan? How could this movie be bad? (It can’t. And it wasn’t.) You should see it just to join in on the arguments about what the ending means. PS I saw this with my dad and his opinion was "I don't even know what the heck it's about."


And the Freddie goes to… Black Swan! Don’t let people tell you this is a movie about a psycho lesbian. Yeah, it has a lesbian scene, but it’s not the focus of the movie and if you actually watch it you’ll see why they included it. This is a movie about expectations, and what happened to one girl when she couldn’t meet them. Natalie Portman is actually amazing, you will never believe you're looking at the same actress who fritters around the screen making lame menstruation jokes in No Strings Attached.


And the Freddie goes to… The Social Network! This is easily the best movie of the year. I've seen it three times, and every time I get something different out of it. It's not just about Facebook, it's about success, fitting in, living in our times, what it means to be happy, etc etc. I read a review that said it's The Graduate of the new millennium and I totally agree. Andrew Garfield is AMAZING as Mark Zuckerberg's best friend Eduardo, and it's complete bullshit he didn't get nominated for Best Supporting Actor. Justin Timberlake is also amazing in his role as the founder of Napster. Just go buy it. Don't Netflix it, three days is too long to wait.

Well, that wraps up this year's Freddiez. I've already got my Oscars drinking game planned out, so be on the lookout for an extremely joyous and/or enraged post this Sunday on the results!

Thursday, February 3, 2011


This is a movie about the poem “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg. It’s pretty much a rundown of Allen Ginsberg’s life, (he’s played by the sexy James Franco) with some animated sequences depicting passages from “Howl.” It also has a plotline about an obscenity trial against the poem’s publisher.

The best scenes in the movie are definitely the ones depicting Allen Ginsberg’s life. James Franco totally nails it, of course, and looks pretty good with a beard and hipster glasses. Speaking of hipsters, until I saw this, I didn’t realize hipsters existed in the fifties. I definitely thought this was their first time around. Anyway, I actually didn’t like Allen Ginsberg prior to seeing this film. He seemed pretentious, self-righteous, and a tad judgmental, and I always had a creeping suspicion that he was a douche. However, after learning more about his life, (like that whole ‘mother was killed in a mental asylum’ thing), I have a greater fondness for him. I didn’t even know that he was homosexual, but that’s probably due to a lack of attentiveness during 11th grade English.

On the other hand, the animated parts are not good at all. It’s a lot of stilted, dated looking computer animation, and it’s really distracting. It’s unfortunate that they chose to focus on naked human figures, because they end up looking weird and unrealistic. The first time they came on screen, I was hoping it was a one time experiment by the art department, but it persists for the entire movie. The upside is that these segments provide an ideal opportunity to run to the bathroom.

The final aspect of the movie is the obscenity trial, and while it remains pretty bland, it does point out some interesting questions about literary merit. A key problem with the trial is that it doesn’t maintain any tension – the audience already knows that “Howl” goes on to critical praise. And while you can make the argument that the audience will always know the ending with a historical story, I would like to mention that everyone knows what happened to the Titanic and everyone knows what happened to Facebook, and both inspired excellent movies. The issue never seems compelling – the judge is on Ginsberg’s side from the start, and the opposing lawyer is an absolute idiot. I was never really clear on what the consequences of losing the trial would be. I assumed that the poem would be removed from circulation, but it had already been released prior to the trial, and its not like the police were going to take battering rams to all the San Francisco studio apartments and search for it, so the whole thing seemed kind of moot.

All in all, this is your average good movie. It’s probably worth seeing if you’re an Allen Ginsberg and/or James Franco fan, but if you have no interest in either, then you’re better off with something else.

Hottiez 4/5 Did you see the part where it stars James Franco?
Ability to make me hate Allen Ginsberg less 5/5 I don't hate him at all anymore!
Animation 0/5 I think they were on the same peyote Ginsberg took when they decided to use computer animated corpse monsters to re-enact the poem

Friday, January 28, 2011

No Strings Attached

A tragedy has befallen my apartment. I no longer have internet access. It departed from these lands when my roommate went away for Christmas break, at which time I assumed that when she returned, she would bring the Internet with her. However, that did not happen, so now my only contact with civilization is on my mobile web browser, which is tiny, slow, and has an allergy to frames. I thought all was lost, until I discovered that Wegmans offered free wifi in the “cafĂ©” area. This left me with two options: call Comcast, argue over the phone for an hour, schedule a day long appointment, and then buy a bunch of new cables, or starting hanging out at Wegmans. Given that Comcast is a black hole of time, money, and the human spirit, while Wegmans has four buffets and serves Miller Lite at the checkout counter, the solution seemed clear. I can even pick up some shampoo!

So here I am, finally able to update my blog. I’ve seen a lot of movies in the past month, but today we’re going to discuss No Strings Attached, because I saw it two days ago and it’s still pissing me off.

This “movie” stars Natalie Portman (who was also the executive producer) and Ashton Kutcher. You may recall that Natalie Portman recently starred in the film “Black Swan,” for which she awarded a Golden Globe, and nominated for an Academy Award, for which she is the favorite to win. Bear this in mind as you read on. Ashton Kutcher, on the other hand, recently appeared in “Valentines Day” and “Killers,” both of which landed him a nomination for Worst Actor in the Razzies. I have seen both of these movies, and I can assure you that “Killers” was the worst movie of 2010. Some might tell you “Jonah Hex,” but what those people fail to tell you is that “Jonah Hex” is almost an hour shorter than “Killers.” This may lead one to wonder, Why would Natalie Portman give the performance of a lifetime in an Oscar worthy film, and then decide not only star in, but executive produce a shitty romcom with Asthon Kutcher?

One reporter wondered enough to ask her himself. Her explanation was that she was tired of seeing romantic comedies about sappy, desperate girls who spend the entire movie pining for a man. While I agree with her on that, the current romcom formula isn’t “pining sappy girl,” it’s “sexy workaholic scurries around the big city in high heels. She’s the motivated, successful girl who’s got everything – but she’s too organized for her own good! UNTIL SHE MEETS A SILLY CAREFREE MAN WHO TEACHES HER HOW TO DANCE LIKE NO ONE’S WATCHING – AND LOVE LIKE NO ONE’S LOOKING.”
Anyway, so Natalie Portman essentially decides to make a feminist romcom, (which is pretty much an oxymoron), about a woman who doesn’t want a relationship, she just wants a fuck buddy. It begins when the protagonist is fifteen at summer camp. Everyone else at camp is hooking up and making out with each other, but she’s sitting on the outs with her friend Ashton Kutcher. She says she’s weird, and asks if that bothers him. He says his parents are getting divorced and starts crying. She tries to comfort him, and he asks if he can finger her. End scene.

I honestly can’t even fathom why this scene is in the movie. The characters never speak again until ten years later – the fact that they met once in adolescence has no bearing on the story whatsoever. They aren’t “lifelong friends,” they don’t even try to use the “but he’s like my brother!” angle. It’s pointless. I have no idea why they chose to show us that she didn’t kiss anyone at summer camp. It would be like if there was a flashback in Titanic where we find out Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t like ice cream when he was seven.

Fast forward through a bunch of scenes of Natalie’s character in college that also make no sense whatsoever, and somehow we end up with Natalie tricking Ashton into going to her father’s funeral. He shows up wearing cargo shorts and a Michigan hoodie, thinking it was a date, and ends up having to wear that to the cemetery. Hilarity ensues? After the funeral, we cut back to the family home, where Natalie tells Ashton that he’s a great guy, and he’ll be lucky if he never sees Natalie again.
From here on out, it’s just a two hour montage of Ashton trying “woo” Natalie, while she insists they remain fuck buddies. Ashton is wonderful and amazing (gag me), but Natalie is terrified of falling in love because she might get her heart broken (kill me.) There’s also some bullshit at the end about Natalie’s little sister getting married at 22 (stupid) and how she teaches Natalie about risking it all for love. Eventually Natalie comes to her senses and realizes Ashton is the perfect man, and they fall in love and get committed. Credits roll, and I leave the theater, wishing I were committed – to an institution.

I don’t even know where to start with this movie. What were you thinking, Natalie Portman? This is even more misogynistic than an ordinary romcom. First of all, the protagonist just wants to be fuck buddies, yes, but it’s not because she’s independent and confident, it’s because men are scary. She’s extremely timid and insecure, and constantly having mini freak outs about Ashton “getting too close.” She says herself that he’d be lucky to never have to see her again. The fact that she isn’t hooking up in high school and college almost makes the situation creepy, like they’re trying to tell us she’s not even a sexual person. How did she go from reserved and uninterested to demanding sex daily followed by anxiety meltdowns? It’s never explored – they spend too much time documenting Ashton’s father’s sexual exploits with Ashton’s ex “foreign” model girlfriend, whose accent switches between British, French, Swiss, and shitty. (I’m not making this up.) Second of all, even if she were really progressive and independent and therefore didn’t want a relationship because she legitimately didn’t need one, it wouldn’t matter anyway because the moral of the story is that women only think they’re independent until they meet the right man.

Natalie Portman isn’t even really the star. Here’s what we know about Ashton: He’s an assistant for a teen musical TV show, his dream is to become a writer, his dad was a famous TV performer who has cast a shadow over Ashton his entire life, his ex girlfriend dumped him for his dad, he writes episodes for the TV show in his spare time but he’s always been too afraid to show the big execs. Here’s what we know about Natalie: She’s a doctor. She likes to fuck. She has some roommates, who are the only funny and/or interesting people in the entire movie. Oh, and her dad died.

It’s basically a movie about Ashton Kutcher, and how he molds Natalie. It’s like Taming of the Shrew, but it’s even worse because this time it was written by a woman. A woman who was just nominated for BEST ACTRESS in a movie that was just nominated for BEST PICTURE, which I have seen twice, and loved. It’s unfortunate that less than 30 days after I decided I love Natalie Portman, I have to go back to hating her. This movie didn’t need a skilled actress, it might as well have starred Kate Hudson.

The only redeemable people in this movie were Natalie’s roommates, played by Greta Gerwig and Mindy Kaling. Greta Gerwig hasn’t been in many mainstream movies – she was in Greenberg last year. Mindy Kaling is known for playing Kelly on the The Office. I read another review that said they should have scrapped the entire movie and wrote a new one with just those two going on a road trip, and I totally agree.

Also, there’s another movie coming out in July called Friends with Benefits, starring Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis and it is the exact same movie, but probably way better. This one was completely unnecessary and I think Natalie Portmans owes the world an apology.

Feminist RomCom Success: 0/5
Likelihood of Bruce Willis being forced to increase alimony payments to talentless Asthon Kutcher and Demi Moore as a result of this bomb: 5/5