Truth or "Dare"

I might as well stick with the Zach Gilford theme from my last two posts.  So....
Emmy Rossum - yes, I'm enough of a dork to both remember and admit to seeing Ms. Rossum for the first time in the movie Genius, on the Disney Channel.  Typical Disney Channel movie of its time (cute, somewhat slapstick, worth sitting back and watching to pass a Friday evening).  Time went by, and there she was again, this time in The Day After Tomorrow.  Again, I enjoyed the movie.  Nothing spectacular, but I wasn't upset at having spent money on the movie ticket.  Next, I believe, was Poseidon.   Yet again, nothing amazing, but I enjoyed it as much as the original Poseidon's Adventure (maybe more, considering Mike Vogel AND Josh Lucas were in it).  And then the absolutely incredible Phantom of the Opera was released.  From the moment Ms. Rossum sang the first note, I was spellbound.  Add in finally watching Mystic River awhile back, and I am on the Emmy Rossum bandwagon.

Zach Gilford - as you may remember, I proposed to Z earlier this week (I even tweeted it to him personally, believe it or not).  FYI, he hasn't answered.  He IS in Hawaii filiming right now, and it is a crazy time difference, so I'm not worried.  He'll say yes.  But anywho....I, like many other people, first came to know of Mr. Gilford when Friday Night Lights premiered.  As Matt Saracen, he represented the boy I would have been best friends with in high school.  Not really cool, by popular standards, but just enough on the fringes to be accepted.  Smart, sweet, cute, shy, polite, the kind of guy that a girl wants to beg a smile out of (and doesn't that smile just light up a room?!!?).  Zach Gilford makes you want to root for Matt Saracen.  After FNL came Post Grad.  Not everything I hoped it would be, but I can't say I was disappointed.  I enjoyed the movie, and again. loved Zach's character.  I have not seen The Last Winter as of yet, but will do so at some point.

And that brings me to Dare.  All my info pointed to it being a psychological thriller set in high school.  Emmy Rossum and Zach Gilford are two of the three main characters.  Emmy Rossum starts out as, well, ME in high school.  The girl worried about being perfect, but wanting to be a rebel.  So far, so good.  Zach Gilford plays Johnny, the bad boy.  That smoldering stare, the attitude....now we're getting somewhere.
And at this point, the movie crashes and burns.  I have to be honest, I don't often say a movie is horrible.  That honor is held back for the small few like Superstar, Beavis and Butthead Do America and O Brother, Where Art Thou.  But Dare?  OMG, it was horrible.  How can someone take two of the best actors out there, and still put out such a piece of trash?  Girl seduces boy, girls male best friend tries to seduce boy (and succeeds, to a degree), best friend brags to girl, all three wind up in bed together (though clothed).  There was nothing psychological about it, and definitely nothing that made it a thriller.  It was a movie about teens and sexuality (maybe), and then it ended.  I don't know how it ended, b/c it simply went from a scene into the credits, but it ended.  Weeks later, I'm still puzzling over what, exactly, this movie is supposed to be about.  Not only was it horrible, it made absolutely no sense.

I can only hope that The River Why, Off the Map, and FNL season 5 will be much, MUCH better.  Otherwise, that proposal may just be rescinded.


The Birds and the Bees (or Mrs. Taylor and Julie have "The Talk")

I love Friday Night Lights.  I grew up in a football crazy town.  My junior year, my highschool team went all the way to the semis.  We had a hotshot sophomore runningback who was the "IT" kid of prep school football.  We had the obligatory cheerleaders, most of which where pretty cool, if you like cheerleaders.  We had a pretty ok marching band, made all the better by a certain trumpet player (me me me me me!).  Most people couldn't tell you who won the other sporting events taking place on campus, but they could tell you the football score.  We were a typical highschool, and therefore we also had teenagers having sex.

Friday Night Lights episode 3.10 "The Giving Tree"
So, who wanted to be Julie Taylor when she and Matt Saracen finally did the deed?  Come on, raise your hands.  I know I've got BOTH of mine in the air.  Seriously cute boyfriend (didn't I propose to him earlier today?), lakeside campfire, starlit night....yeah, I'm there.  Sign me up.  Matt Saracen, here I come!
Now, who wanted to be Julie Taylor went Coach walked in on them in bed a few weeks later?

I had to pause the episode at this point to ponder the question: What would my father have done if he'd walked into a room and caught me-at-16 in bed with my boyfriend?  I've been thinking on that for a couple of weeks now, and I still don't have an answer.  I remember my 16th birthday, riding somewhere in the car with my parents, and Daddy looks at me in the rearview mirror and says, "Sweet sixteen.  Sweet sixteen, and never been kissed.  Right?"  I smiled cheekily back at him, and replied, "Right."  Uh, yeah.  That thing in the practice room last day of freshman year, nope, that wasn't a kiss.  Or two.  No, Daddy, I can't tell you a great makeout spot in the old neighborhood.  Nope, not me.  And no, I never cut class, skipped practice, snuck out of the house.  And when I was busy not doing those things, be clear that those things I didn't do had nothing to do with boys.
So, what would my father have done?  He would not have handled it as calmly as Coach Taylor did.

I don't remember having "The Talk" with my mom.  My oldest nephew was born when I was 7, so I was barely 6 when my parents started teaching me the basics about where babies come from.  Despite my relatively sheltered upbringing, sex was not treated as taboo.  It was dealt with honestly, and from a young age.  These days, you have to teach your kids young, or they'll learn the wrong things from their kindergarten classmates.  But in my generation, there were girls I knew that didn't know anything about it until they were in middle school and took the first sex-ed class (boy, did they receive some shocking information!).  But my family taught us young, using age appropriate details, and because of that, I never had the privilege or horror of having that discussion with my mother as a teenager.
That made the next Taylor family scene extremely interesting for me.

Mrs. Taylor enters Julie's bedroom later on in the day.  Julie, knowing that her father has told her mother, immediately wants to know what her punishment is.  Good question.  Grounded, never see Matt again, boarding school, chastity belt, QB2's castration.  They all went through my mind as something that my father might have gone with.  Mrs. Taylor replies, "You're punishment is you have to have a talk with me."  Mrs. Coach is one classy mom!

The first part of the conversation is basic.  Do you love him?  Does he love you?  Are you using protection?  What kind?  Every time?  And then Mrs. Taylor tells Julie that having sex once doesn't mean you automatically have to start having sex all the time.  Sleeping with one guy doesn't require you to sleep with every guy you date.

How many parents tell that to their children?  It applies to male and female.  But we don't tell our children this, as a rule.  They have sex, and we lecture them on protection.  We remind them about STIs and pregnancies.  But how often do we tell them that if they've realized they're not ready, they don't have to keep on having sex?  How many STIs and unwanted pregnancies could be avoided by letting our kids know that it is OK to say "No."  You may have said "yes" once, but that doesn't have to be the answer every time.
If I ever have kids of my own (don't worry, Dad, I'm sure it will be by immaculate conception), I hope that "The Talk" I have with them can be as open and honest as the one at the Taylor house.

To Be or Not To Be?

But seriously, folks, there are much more important questions out there.

1. Do Joey and Pacey ever have kids?
2. Is the veronicamarsmovie@warnerbros.com really an email account that allows us to express our fervent desire and continued campaign intentions for a Veronica Mars movie?  Or is it a way for the WB to put all our emails in one easily-deletable account?
3. Zach Gilford, will you marry me? (please say yes, please say yes!)
3b. And Zach, honey, can we PLEASE honeymoon in Bora Bora?
4. When will they put a Starbucks on THIS end of campus?


Reefer Madness (or Down the Rabbit Hole)

Have I mentioned that I'm a huge Kristen Bell fan?  Yes?  Well, just in case you didn't quite grasp the idea, I am a HUGE Kristen Bell fan.  When I realized that she was one of the stars in a movie I saw years ago, I had to go back and watch it again with fresh eyes.  So, recently, I popped in a newly purchased copy of Reefer Madness: the Movie Musical.

If you have not seen/heard of the movie, please begin by visiting the Wikipedia entry for the original 1938 film entitled Reefer Madness.  From there, you can find entries for the 1998 stage play and off-Broadway production, as well as the movie version that I will be discussing, 2005's Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical.

Reefer Madness: The Movie Musical is a satirical comedy, and plays off of an old propaganda film.  The basic premise is that marijuana is akin to the devil, and will ruin your polite, beautiful, innocent children, turning them into sexual deviants and drug addicts.  It takes place in the 1930s, telling the story of two young teenagers who come under the grip of the reefer stick.

Jimmy Harper and Mary Lane are played wonderfully by Christian Campbell and Kristen Bell.  Christian seems to have been born with the cheeky grin that teenagers seemed to have in the 30s, and Kristen shines while showing off her musical theatre training.  "Romeo and Juliet" is the first song we see Christian and Kristen sing, and is extremely amusing.  (I will never again be able to refer to Shakespeare's famous play as anything other than Romeo AND Juliet.)  Fast forward a few musical numbers, and you will find yourself watching "Jimmy Takes a Hit/The Orgy" and "Lonely Pew," which then lead into "Listen to Jesus, Jimmy."  While these are technically four seperate songs, they really blend together into one spatial equation.  If you are a fan of Grease, you may find the blocking in "Listen to Jesus, Jimmy" very familiar.  The scene reeked of "Beauty School Dropout," complete with angels on a descending staircase.  A few short scenes later, and we get to see Mary take her first hit of pot, leading to "Little Mary Sunshine."  Guys, here it is, a chance to see Kristen Bell in dominatrix mode, singing of whips and nipple clips.

And from there, the movie just fizzled.  I loved the first half or so, but the ending just dragged.  I felt like I was watching a famous Michael Jackson video, minus Michael Jackson.  Then again, maybe that's why I never did drugs.  My hallucinations would probably have meshed well with the last 30 minutes of the movie.

Alan Cummings does his usual wonderful job throughout the film, and Neve Campbell has a brief opportunity to show off her voice as a diner waitress.  The various parents and druggies all fit into the stereotypes that you would expect to see in a propaganda film.

Now I think I need to go and see the original 1938 film.  Luckily, it's included on the DVD.


Forgetting Sarah Marshall: Theatrical Cut

Last night, I sat down in front of my entertainment center to watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall, starring Kristen Bell, Jason Segel, Russell Brand and Mila Kunis.

Let me begin by saying that I didn't hate the movie.  I can't even really say that I disliked it.  It is not on my Top 100 list (note to self: make a Top 100 list), but the DVD will stay in my DVD collection.

I knew going in that one of the most known scenes in the movie was at the very beginning, the Jason Segel nude scene.  It may have had great shock value when it first hit the theater, but I found that it added very little, if anything, to the movie.  I'm not into nudity for nudity's sake.  The audience realizes that Peter is naked.  We feel his embarrassment and awkwardness at having Sarah break up with him while he is skyclad.  This was one time that the implication did a better job than the actuality.

While there are numerous bit characters that add flavor to the movie, in reality it's about 4 people.  Peter, Sarah, Rachel and Aldous.  The basic premise is this:  Sarah dumps Peter.  Peter has multiple one-night stands to try and get over Sarah.  Peter goes to Hawaii to try and forget about Sarah.  Sarah and new beau Aldous are vacationing in Hawaii at same time/hotel as Peter.  Peter continues to run into Sarah and/or Aldous, as well as develop a relationship with Rachel, who works at the hotel.  Add in a few nude scenes, some sex, some loosely amusing locals, two clueless newlyweds, Jonah Hill as an Aldous stalker, and some raunch, and you've got yourself a feature film.

I found the characters of Peter and Rachel to be pretty one-dimensional.  Peter could have been good, but there are too many details left out.  If Jason Segal, who both wrote the script and portrayed the character of Peter, had allowed the character to grow a bit more, I think I would have liked the character.  Rachel's character added nothing.  I really like Mila Kunis, I think she has talent.  But all one needed to play Rachel was a hot body and a pretty face.  Mila deserves more than that.

The character of Aldous Snow was quite possibly the most redeeming part of the movie.  Russell Brand was absolutely hilarious as a Brit rock front man.  I will forever be singing "Inside of You."  Effing hilarious!

The movie sets out to make us as an audience dislike Sarah Marshall.  She arrives home early, dumps her boyfriend of 5 years, and leaves.  The next time we see her, she's already vacationing with another man.  Slowly, details leak out to tell us that she'd been cheating on Peter for quite awhile.  But the scene where she finally confronts Peter completely redeems her, in my opinion.  She goes from being a hotshot actress on a hit show, one who just up and leaves one man for another with an almost callous attitude, to a woman who has helplessly watched her lover sink lower and lower into a depressional pit, unable to find a way to help him out of it.  Does it make her actions right?  I don't believe so.  And yet, I had to cheer for her.  Plus, I am a big - no, make that HUGE - fan of Kristen Bell.  She's incredible.  But the dress she wears to the luau is horrible.

I won't completely spoil the movie for you.  Go, watch it.  The ending is actual pretty good.  It's just not really my kind of movie.


To Whet Your Appetite

Upcoming reviews, in no particular order:
1. Friday Night Lights 3.10 (Netflix)
2. Reefer Madness, the movie musical (DVD)
3. Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts (paperback)
4. Forgetting Sarah Marshall (DVD)
5. Neptune Noir: Unauthorized Investigations into Veronica Mars (paperback)


Why? That's a questions I ask myself quite a bit. Why? Why do I love movies so much? Why do I love TV so much? Why do I love music, and plays, and theatre so much? Well, that's something that I can't answer easily. I watch or listen to various entertainment niches, and I feel something. Sometimes I can identify exactly what I'm feeling and why, but more often than not, it would take an entire week of conversations to explain. And me, I LOVE to explain, in great detail. So, maybe I can't truly make you understand why I feel what I feel, but I sure as hell am going to try.