Saturday, April 28, 2012

Larry Crowne (2011)

I would start with a description of the story, but there is no story. The characters are one dimensional. I chuckled twice. Maybe. And the fact that it was because of Wilmer Valderrama’s character negates any good will following those chuckles. I thought I would enjoy a drunk, bitchy Julia Roberts, but it wasn’t fun. I’ve heard her be snide and condescending in interviews and that’s fun, but she’s so much smarter in her interviews. This is a movie written by Tom Hanks and Nia Vardalos, starring Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts, directed by Tom Hanks and the best part of the movie was Wilmer Valderrama’s character. Actually, the best part of the movie was my mom’s imitation of Julia Roberts’ laugh. Pretty spot on. Please don’t waste your time on this movie. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This book is an easy read dealing with a difficult topic in a light way. Skeeter, a Southern debutante in 1962 Mississippi, comes home from college and wants more out of life than getting married and being a member of the Junior League. Her friends are all married and, though don’t seem to like it, can’t imagine another life so they try to be the best at what they are, which brings out the worst in them. These friends have maids and it’s 1962 and it’s Mississippi, so the dynamic between them and their maids is mostly racist. Skeeter notices the dynamic, though she doesn’t really address it as racism, (which bothered me the most about this book) and she decides that the dynamic from the point of view of the maids is a story worth telling and sees it as her ticket to becoming a published author and getting out.

There are the usual cringe-worthy moments of false accusations and condescension. There are also a few humorous moments. There’s even a mini-love story involving Skeeter AND a mystery involving Skeeter’s childhood maid. The mini-love story was unnecessary and didn’t really move the story forward or add any depth to Skeeter, but I’m guessing the author thought it was necessary to show Skeeter as a warm blooded woman (and not a total, radical feminist), but still able to stick to her goals.  The revelation in regards to the mystery was so anti-climactic that I thought I had forgotten how to read and wasn’t understanding the actual words.

When the movie came out, I heard some rumblings about it being racist because it was about a white person helping black people. I wouldn’t say it was racist or even whitewashed. The most troubling part was Skeeter’s desire to be different, but not clearly describing from what and not knowing what was happening all around her. Her ignorance was a little jarring and it made her innocence seem feigned. I think that’s what bothered some people. But even that much should’ve been cleared up with one line from Minny: “I just . . . I want things to be better for my kids, but it’s a sorry fact that it’s a white woman doing this.” It’s a light, but not fun read.

I started reading this book after I finished the third book in the Songs of Ice and Fire. I needed a palate cleanser. It was a strange transition, though. Both books set up the chapters with the character’s name it covers and is from the point of view of that character.  I adjusted after the hundredth page. Looking back, I’m pretty sure Tyrion Lannister and Minny would probably get along. As would Cersei and all of the members of the Junior League. And those maids would’ve fit right in at Harrenhal.   

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

24/7 Mayweather/Cotto

First Episode:

"What would the show 24/7 be without me?" – Floyd Mayweather, Jr. 

An actual look at what a boxer does in order to prepare for a boxing match and not a sad display of what one man thinks a rich person is supposed to be. 

Second Episode:

“Adventures in rational discourse are rare . . .” - Narrator of 24/7

And that pretty much sums up Floyd Mayweather, Jr. 

This is pretty accurate, too: 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cabin in the Woods (2012)

I haven’t seen a horror movie in a theater since The Ring (2003). I love horror movies, but I almost never watch them.  The main reason I haven’t seen a horror movie in the theater is because I prefer to watch them with a cute guy and bury my face in his chest when I get scared. Taking my romantic history into consideration, I figured I’m just going to have to get over it or never see a horror movie in a theater ever again.  After seeing Cabin in the Woods, I can say with confidence that I still haven’t seen a horror movie on the big screen since The Ring.

I guess it could be a horror movie even though it’s not scary at all. It’s like a psychological experiment with twist. You have a glimpse of the twist right when the movie starts, then it goes into the usual horror movie plot (cabin in the woods-discovery of something they should’ve left alone-sex-killing off of characters one by one) with the usual characters (sexual blonde-alpha male jock-the good guy-the fool-the non-sexual girl). There’s a good bit of comedy having to do with the twist. I did chuckle a few times. I think the problem was that I was expecting more horror-wise and twist-wise. Not to say I don’t recommend the movie. Definitely hangover theater (movies you watch on a Sunday when recovering from a hangover) theater.   

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Station Agent (2003)

There isn’t anything about this movie that I didn’t like. The barren situation that slowly blossoms into something substantial. Peter Dinklage is wonderful as Fin.  You know what he’s thinking and feeling, at least you think you do, but you still want to know more. There’s the pushy supporting character, Joe (Bobby Cannavale). I’m not really a fan of his, but he’s so fun in this role. He’s just perfect. There’s the intense, but vulnerable Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), who’s in so much turmoil, her pain was unbearable to me. I try to think of a role of hers that I haven’t liked, but I can’t. Cleo (Raven Goodwin), who would’ve been one of my friends if we had been in elementary school together and who I would probably try to befriend now. Michelle Williams and John Slattery also show up to this awesome party.

This is the story of a man, Fin, who loses his best and only friend and starts a new, even more, isolated life away from his teeny, tiny comfort zone. He comes into contact with Joe, a food truck attendant, who forces a friendship on the new guy. Joe is filled with such exuberance that Fin eventually has to give in. There’s Olivia, who is hiding out and has also isolated herself for various and valid reasons. They form this strange and sweet triumvirate. It’s not even that no one else will have them. They just fit and it’s glorious. It made my small heart grow three sizes.

The characters are solid. And I don’t mean that in a 70s kind of way. They all have presence and this sweet, endearing aggressiveness. The story is engaging. I didn’t want the movie to end. I could’ve watched those characters’ lives unfold over the course of several hours.

This whole movie was like watching the end of winter turn into spring and then a beautiful summer sunrise at the end. See this. Now.