Yes, yes, I know, I know. Let's skip the part where I say something about how long it's been since I've written in this blog, and then offer up excuses, and then make a lame joke about how it won't happen again, only for it to then happen again like a week later. Let us instead fast-forward straight into content! Or what content I can conjure being OMG YOU GUYS SO STRESSED AND BUSY BLAH BLAH BLAH PROCRASTINATION CAKES.
The long and gentle spring that Mother Nature somehow saw fit to bless Texas with this year is over now, and the thick soup of Southern air and melting tar from a scorching sun have come on with a vengeance to remind me yet again to rethink my migratory patterns. (Why can't I get any company to sponsor a long journey North in the summer months? Maybe as part of a cultural exchange?) The only activities for which I can summon any energy at all are sendentary ones - reading countless trashy summer novels interspersed with Fitgerald and Eudora Welty (two novelists best suited for long summer days), watching So You Think You Can Dance from the laziness of my couch, moaning about my troubled and ill-fated life to Sven, the Swedish pool boy, as he delicately fans me with palm fronds. And watching movies, of course.
The only two things about summer that I love are vacations and the movie schedule. The vacation is rapidly approaching and stressing me out, so let's switch attentions to summer movies! Some of these I have seen in the theatre lately, some I watched at home (read: knew they'd be crap and refused to pay for them when they came out), but they're all the latest I've seen (for the first time. endless rewatchings of Step Up 2:The Streets do not count).
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
You guys. YOU GUYS. Man, this movie sucked. Like . . . REALLY sucked. And before you ask, no, I am not a comic book nerd. I don't even like comic books. And I don't care how faithful an adaptation a comic book movie is. All I want from a comic book movie is Shit Blowing Up, and maybe some awesome ninja skillz. And I guess Wolverine had that, but it also had:
1) terrible fight choreography. How many times must we watch Wolverine and Sabretooth yell ARGH at each other and then run at one another from across a distance (filmed from above, always)? Why not a fight where someone gets punched in the balls? There's a movie I'd like to see.
2) An incomprehensible plot. Why is Wolverine angry? I don't know, but he seems to be, a lot. Why is there A Random Elderly Couple whose sole purpose is to put clothes on Hugh Jackman's naked body, thereby negating the first interesting thing to happen in this shitty movie? Why is Liev Schreiber so mad? Is it because the last time he and Hugh were in a movie together, it was Kate & Leopold, which somehow becomes A BETTER MOVIE just by comparison to this? (note: I imdb'd Liev just to ensure that it was him in Kate & Leopold, and not Liam Neeson - long story, I get them confused sometimes - and realized he was in all three Scream movies. Well, not so much "realized" as "grudgingly remembered." ALSO from his imdb credits, I've realized that Liev Schreiber has not been in one movie I like. Not one! Which is weird, cause prior to this, I always really liked him. I must have been thinking of Liam Neeson.)
3) EGREGIOUS MISUSE OF TIM RIGGINS AND RYAN REYNOLDS. You know what would have made this movie awesome? If it had been called Tim Riggins: The Tim Riggins Story, starring Tim Riggins' Abs and Also Ryan Reynolds.
4) Adamantium. I am so fucking sick of adamantium after watching this movie, and not two months earlier, I was semi-drunkenly lobbying my friends to agree with my theory that adamantium was the world's best adjective. (My friends, being comic book nerds, disagreed on the basis that adamantium is actually a noun. However, I think the word is powerful enough to swing both ways.) How can Wolverine be killed by adamantium bullets? You don't kill humans with flesh bullets.
Oh, hey? You know what DIDN'T SUCK? STAR TREK OMG. I am not a fan of Star Trek, the series(es), (I had to ask "which one does William Shatner play?" and kept referring to Spock as Dr. Spock, who wrote books about child-rearing and did not, far as I can tell, have Zachary Quinto's eyebrows) but you know what I am a fan of? Clever storytelling, compelling acting, kick-ass action sequences and Simon Pegg. So this movie TOTALLY DELIVERED! I really enjoyed the way they've set up the new franchise, and the movie wove a layered story and complex characterizations through some pretty awesome action sequences/fight scenes, really funny and poignant moments, and Winona Ryder in a wig. A+, I say.
DRAG ME TO HELL
BFF and frequent blog commenter Meredith has started an AMAZING horror movie blog where, amongst other things, she reviews new releases. So on we hied to the Friday opening night of Sam Raimi's newest movie, Drag Me To Hell. Meredith's the expert, so go read her blog for an actual review, but my own thought process went something like this:
In English? GO SEE THIS MOVIE RIGHT NOW. It was so good; it completely delivered on everything it set up, it did not fall back on any sort of "safe" territory, and it was completely gruesome and funny and schlocky and horrifying and AMAZING. I'm not saying I like it better than the Evil Dead trilogy, but by the time I saw the Evil Dead trilogy, it was already an Established Cool Thing, which means that there were 10000 references to it, in-jokes, etc. That sort of divorces you from the immediacy of the thrills (plus, I think Drag Me To Hell is scarier. Evil Dead is more Awesomely Badass and Totally Wrong, but DMtH is scarier.); for me the ED trilogy is more a Cult Phenomenon That Can Be Scary, rather than A Scary Movie That Is A Cult Phenomenon. If you understand the difference?
What I loved best about Drag Me To Hell, apart from the awesome set direction in the lead character's house, was that Sam Raimi never fell back on the "It was just her imagination" horror film trope. The reason modern-day slasher flicks don't do much for me is that they are 90% fake-outs and 10% actual scares, which means that by the time the actual scares come around, I'm so over it. DMTH is 100% actual scares. If there is a funny noise coming from behind the door, it is because A DEMON IS WAITING BEHIND THE DOOR AND HE WANTS TO EAT YOUR SOUL. Not because the wind has blown through the curtains in an offbeat way. It was IMMENSE.
Know what is not so immense?
He's Just Not That Into You
LORD. The other night I decided to watch this movie (which I totally legally purchased, I swear, officer), because it has approximately 62% of Hollywood's entire acting force in it. And guess what? Imagine ALL of the bad movies those actors have ever been in (I have helpfully listed some below) and then combine them. AND THEN MULTIPLY BY A FACTOR OF GLITTER, STARRING MARIAH CAREY. And you have this shitty, shitty movie.
Here are things I have learned from watching this movie:
1) I am a lady. This means that I am a prudish*, stalking freak of nature who is obsessed either with Getting Married, Having A Baby or my MySpace Profile. (if you are keeping track, in actuality I am obsessed with: baking the perfect cupcake, Jamesons, dance parties, indie music and winning the lottery, so that I can afford to jet-set around the world with multiple romantic intrigues.)
*unless I am a scheming tramp like ScarJo, in which case I lead poor men astray after yoga classes and wind up alone and sad, because I have reached the ripe ol' age of 25 without getting married.
2) Baltimore must have the lowest Standard Of Living costs of any city in the world. Bar managers have gorgous, spacious lofts! Copy Writers can afford tons of cute, designer clothes! Jennifer Connolly has enough disposable income to basically trash her gigantic turn-of-the-century townhome with adjoined courtyard in a fit of pique!
3) Men are liars and manipulators who are only after tail. Oh. HOW I WISH THIS WERE TRUE. Someone should write a movie called "He's So Into You, He's Going To Cry On The Second Date And Talk About How He's Never Felt So Connected To Anyone Before." It can star 98% of the men I've ever dated.
4) If you are psychotically stalkerish enough, TRUE LOVE WILL COME TO YOU. Jesus, it's like this movie's been penned by Edward Cullen. Note to Hollywood: we do not need stalking to become MORE glamorized. Hasn't Say Anything done enough? Must we continue on in this ridiculous notion that if someone says they are not interested, it actually just means THEY WANT TO BE PURSUED? They wanna know what love is, baby, and they want you to show them.
(That leads me to the excellent Psychotic Letters From Men, which amused/sickened me this weekend.)
More movie reviews (including Up! and Harry Potter!) as I see them. For now I'll try to remember that I do actually have a life, such as it is, and try to commit those events to words. Possibly more often than once a financial quarter.
Thoughts on any summer movies you've seen?
Movies In Which Actors In HJNTIY Starred Which Were A Bit Shit:
Ginnifer Goodwin - Mona Lisa Smile. Julia Roberts. Julia Stiles. Kirsten Dunst. First Wave Feminism. ENOUGH SAID.
Kevin Connolly - THE NOTEBOOK. Oh, okay, fine. He's also in The Ugly Truth, which is a romantic comedy starring Katherine Heigl, and I hate her, so.
Scarlett Johansson - Remember when ScarJo was in Ghost World? Good times. Remember when she was in The Island, Scoop, The Prestige, Nanny Diaries and The Other Boleyn Girl? Not so good times.
Bradley Cooper - it pains me to say this, because I love Bradley Cooper like a fat girl loves cake, but: Failure To Launch.
Justin Long - I'd love to give him a pass, cause I love Justin Long, even though I'm a PC. But he was in Herbie: Fully Loaded AND voiced Alvin in the Alvin and the Chipmunks CGI atrocity.
Ben Affleck - Did you know his middle name was Geza? As for bad movies, see: pretty much his entire CV.
Jennifer Aniston - Where to start? From US Weekly to People to the Enquirer, Aniston has starred in one of the shittiest movies around, "Why Angelina Jolie Is A Scheming Slag Who Stole My Husband." Also: Picture Perfect.
Drew Barrymore - Oh, Drew. I can't hate you. You're too cute! and even your bad movies, like Poison Ivy, are amazing. But still, I'm not sure even you can defend Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
Busy Phillips - did you know she was in this movie? I forgot, too. Her best movie is, of course, The Smokers, a movie notable for inspiring this review: ". . . 30 minutes into the film I found myself in great sympathy of those animals who gnaw their legs off to escape a trap." If you haven't seen it, you totally should, but invite me along. It is my favorite Bad Movie of all time.
music: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights