Thursday, April 17, 2014

Best New COMEDY on Television. Nerd Out America, Party's Up North!

The principal cast of Silicon Valley (2014- present) all doing their best Steve Jobs pose.
This show is like a warm hug from an old friend. Since I moved to LA I've pined for a little piece of home and would use any excuse to get behind the wheel of whatever shitty car I was driving at the time that allowed me to still pay student loans on time and drive up north 5 hours just so I can bask in the glory that is Palo Alto, a place popularized by The Social Network (2010), it's embarrassingly most famous film star alum; James Franco (who actually made a film called Palo Alto (2010) which blew hard), but also recently is stealing the big glaring spotlight from the botoxed stars of Hollywood to the real magic workers that wear Ivy League hoodies and 'fuck-you flip-flops' and write code all day...for about just as much money as movie stars make. 
Big Head (Josh Brener) and Richard (Thomas Middleditch) discuss coding technique
Culture in Silicon Valley could not be more different than culture in SoCal. There's no such thing as bro-code, wearing sports jerseys, or cheering for ANY sports teams. No one goes to Coachella, no one drives a car that's over 60K unless it's a Tesla (seriously a Mercedes is a mythical creature up here), sweater vests run rampant and the drug of choice isn't sizzurp, it's adderall. It's heaven. Remember all those kids who we thought of as 'geeky' in middle/high school? That's right they run the fucking world. They work for Zuckerberg, Bryn, and Wozniak who combined make more than every film that has ever been produced ever. One line of code could bring in more money than all the returns on Avatar (2009)...easily. They ride bikes, drink tons of Peet's coffee, and don't know what to do with a stripper if she was grinding buck naked on their junk (which actually happens in one of the episodes).

Palo Alto isn't exactly cheap in fact it ranks as one of the 3 most expensive places to live in the US, so all these 20-something geniuses decided to sublet million dollar Palo Alto homes to friends at their company and split the rent costs. Don't worry none of them ever use the pool.
From the brilliant mind of director Mike Judge, this show has a fantastic cast, who actually look like every guy I ever met in Silicon Valley ever. Every time I'm up north visiting mommers I run into one of these guys at University Cafe (if you're a local you know exactly where that is and why it's popular). I know they only shoot the exteriors in Palo Alto, because I actually recognize the streets without seeing the street names but the rest is shot in sunny yet shitty LA, but you know, it IS television. On top of everything else, I'll give a shout out right now to an old friend of mine with whom I did drama club every year at I. Weiner Jewish Secondary School (funniest name ever I know) when we both lived in Houston TX; Josh Brener. He plays 'Big Head' a coder on the show who get usurped for a salary of 600K (not shitting you) to write code for a competing company. This show is basically geek heaven, but without all the D&D nonsense. It's written brilliantly, and has the same tenacity, wit, and snark that Mike Judge brought to Office Space (1999)...It's white collar torture but ya love it.

Trailer below, get 'wired in' today.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Sexiest Dances on Film (In no Particular Order, But Baby's in the Corner)

Here come the ladies ’bout to give a little show...
- Down in Mexico (Death Proof dir. Quentin Tarantino)

- Show Me How You Burlesque (Burlesque dir. Steven Antin)

- America (West Side Story dir. Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins) 

- Mein Herr (Cabaret dir. Bob Fosse)

- Broadway Melody Segment (Singin' in the Rain dir. Stanley Donen, Gene Kelly)

- Higher Ground (Center Stage dir. Nicholas Hytner)

- Red Light Audition (Fame dir. Alan Parker)

- El Tango de Roxanne (Moulin Rouge! dir. Baz Luhrmann)

- Saraghina's Dance (8 1/2 dir. Federico Fellini)

- Airotica (All That Jazz dir. Bob Fosse)

- Britney Spears' Everytime (Spring Breakers dir. Harmony Korine)

- Tango Scene (Scent of a Woman dir. Martin Brest)

- The Beggar's Waltz (The Band Wagon dir. Vincent Minnelli)

-Big Spender (Sweet Charity dir. Bob Fosse)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Best New Show on Television. End of Story.

Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan play pioneering researchers in human sexuality, Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson.
 I had the opportunity to see the cast of 'Masters of Sex' a show which premiered on ever the envelope-pushing network; Showtime in September of 2013. Aptly named after its subject, sex doctor and pioneer extraordinaire Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen). Sheen and his co-stars including the wild-card Lizzy Caplan, Caitlin Fitzgerald, Annaleigh Ashford, and Teddy Sears rounded out the panel at PaleyFest to talk about this naughty caprice which has won accolades, awards, and critic's praises if not the best ratings. 

Masters and Johnson pay close attention to their many experiments.
Here's the thing though, it's a story no one really knows or talks about, and one that desperately needs to be. It is ripe for dramatization, and considering the executive producers are women they definitely approached a very dangerous and taboo subject with the utmost finesse to get it past the television censors, although at this point, Showtime allows pretty much anything.
The cast talked with gusto about how much fun it was not just to play dress up but to inhabit these ferocious characters at the forefront of new discoveries when birth control was only an idea, orgasms were a myth, and the only position acceptable to any was missionary. Dr. William Masters (Sheen) and his assistant and future wife Virginia Johnson (Caplan) worked tirelessly in order to discover what this whole 'sex' thing was actually about. Particularly, what was this phenom we call the orgasm and what does it mean They would have people come to their offices and masturbate with basically the first patent dildo ever in existence, well...first vibrator, lets be fair the dildo dates back to ancient Rome. After which the study progressed to couples therapy where they utilized couples to test attraction, chemistry, and all that other crap in how it affects the sex part, you know, the part we're all waiting for and have on our minds the entire time. Basically without these two trailblazers, we would have never had the knowledge we have today. Forget the Kinsey scale, these two scientists took it way further than just 'how does this make you feel where you bathing suit covers?'. 
The real Dr. William Masters and his colleague turned wife, Virginia Johnson
And keep in mind, this was the 50's, you can only imagine how many obstacles and animosity the two had to face. But the biggest obstacle was of course; working with each other on scandalous material, watching people fuck basically everyday, and everyday talking about sex without having it with each other. Well, as I've already told you, and not given anything away because if you know the story, they did eventually get married, so I'm sure they basically...turned their own experiments on themselves, to use delicate terms. We owe all of our orgasms to them basically. They taught us not only the best means of achieving them, but why it is we need them so goddamn badly. 
A favorite patient of theirs utilizing a vibrator that they basically created. So you have that to thank them for, ladies.
The show itself is just immaculately executed (no pun intended). It has superb actors, a lot of them cast against-type and unlike shows like 'Mad Men', puts the aesthetic of the times in the background so that it can focus solely on the story. Argue all you want; the 'times' that 'Mad Men' is set in is a character on that show unto itself. I'm not saying it's better, I'm just saying the two are completely incomparable. Just because they take place in similar times does not mean they are alike in any way. This is more of a historical record peppered with light sex-comedy but mostly wildly astute about its observations regarding the sexual and cerebral relationships between men and women, men and men, women and women, everybody basically. They were able, through science to draw conclusions way ahead of their time in how sex relates to basically every primal and emotional cog in our psyche. They are about human beings and the very thing that makes us human and separates us from animals...our ability to feel, to love, and to make love to each other without the purpose of procreation, but with the intended purpose of giving and receiving pleasure. And yes, there's a lot of gratuitous sex on the show, I mean, it's in the title, so grab a box of donuts and start watching. It's respectable, reputable T.V. that you can go ahead and masturbate to. I won't judge.

Promo below (sorry I could only get a link to the youtube page for it) but seriously do some work once in a while and click below :P

Friday, April 11, 2014

I Finally Watched 30 Minutes of Gatsby and That Was Enough For Me

A view from above. One of Baz's (excuse me but actually, it's one of Busby Berkeley signature shots that he invented back in the 30's that Baz ripped off, but you know...) Don't choke on all that glitter.
Baz Luhrmann bless him, seems to believe that we as humans sitting in a darkened theater are so dulled and thick that they need to be assaulted by colors, music, and camera tricks to create such a high level of visual stimulus so that nothing competes. But what he seems to misunderstand is that when there's already an important, nay...iconic story, already articulated, which every movie-goer has by this time read or has had to read or are at least aware of you have to tread lightly and respect the original material. We get all of the parallels, symbolism, and themes attached to the story of Jay Gatsby even if we haven't read F. Scott Fitzgerald's American opus published back in the 20's about the disillusionment of a culture built on fame, money, and decadence, set in the sparkly aura of The Jazz Age.

Not for a minute did I believe this love story. Those two couldn't have had less chemistry if they were first cousins.
Luhrmann probably latched on to certain words and phrases in that first act, like 'decadence' 'collosal vitality' and 'so we beat on' and put them to literal translation. And, compared to his other work, it's like everything else. A lot of show, and a lot of melodrama, but no real performances, and all of the character arcs have to be shoved into our faces as if we don't get what exactly it is each character is going through. Everything serious and violent has to be done in slow motion, and everything glamorous and uplifting has to look like it was just found in David Bowie's closet and shot through a Sepia filter. It's like, step away from the computer, and read the book another time. But, I'm quite honestly not hating on Luhrmann, I think he's really trying but he's tragically misguided. It's like giving a 3 year old a camera, they don't know what the fuck it is or what to do with it. I think he desperately wants to be camp or even cult, but takes himself too seriously to ever achieve that. He's nowhere near as brilliant as someone like Paul Verhoeven who could adapt Gatsby for half this budget and do a better job. So Baz is floating somewhere in between the John Waters/Todd Haynes/Andy Warhol territory and the Ridley Scott/Michael Bay/James Cameron territory...trying to find his own voice and style, but it's just not one that fits into any kind of spectrum or genre, it's (just like his films) a big ol' mess.
Baz is like the George Lucas of his genre when it comes to actors, where he can take intense complex actors and just make them give the most boring two-dimensional performances of their careers.
The only person that I think gives any kind of performance (and you'll probably kill me for this) is actually Jay Gatsby himself; Leonardo DiCaprio. Though every time he said 'old sport' I cringed because he just couldn't get that to sound natural. He looked the part, he played the part, and he is the artifice through which we see the beginning, middle, and end of a golden age. And he plays all of those movements very well. I'll give him that...or rather to the best of his abilities. It's very hard for a performer like Leo to drown in abysmal material.
A still from Moulin Rouge, with the actors' wardrobe photoshopped so it would be appropriated for the right era.
But in the end, we don't watch Baz Luhrmann's films for the performances lets be honest we watch them so our heads will twirl around until our eyes bulg from their sockets and steam comes out our ears like an old Looney Tunes cartoon. Unfortunately Baz in all of his aesthetic genius couldn't grasp that there is an ironic edge to Gatsby, it's actually not about the glitz and glamour, it's about the tragedy of how putrid and unreal all of that is and the awakening to that; it's the death of a dream not the birth of it. The disillusionment of Neverland and acceptance and acquiessance to banal and bland 'real world' life. Sorry if that ruined Gatsby for you, but you should have fucking read it by now. PS. It is such a fucking cop-out to adapt a book with first person narration into a film with first-person narration, like seriously? We need the book read to us by the main character? That's why the book. I want my 13 dollars back.

Subtitle: 'Ok, it's the 20's but pretend like you're at an LA nightclub in the now. Get her a vodka redbull'
Baz saves the last like 2 minutes to kinda pepper in some tragedy but it's conveyed through a teary-eyed, whiny Tobey Maguire trying his best to emote near a green screen, and feels reminiscent of like a child losing his favorite toy more than disillusionment of an entire era, as usual, it's pretty futile and devoid of any substance. And isn't that the ever-present problem with Baz? That he makes films that are all style and no substance? Give me an example to counter that I defy you.  First he had to ruin Shakespeare for all of us, and now he's taken on bringing down Fitzgerald. Who's next Baz? I'd love to see your adaptation of 'Naked Lunch', I just hope the ghost of Burroughs stabs you in the eye. For some reason I have a feeling he's been itching like hell to re-do 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'. Can't wait to hear his bastardized version of Moon River. But for now, let's all sit quietly and wait for his new Kung-Fu epic. Heads are going to roll.

Trailer below (whirlwind of mehhhhhh)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Reviewing Cumberbatch...The Man.

You. Are. Welcome.
We're never short of reviews of Cumberbatch's performances because he's an unbelievably talented actor. He's up for two Shakespeare roles in the next few years; Hamlet and Richard III, both on the British stage, once graced by Sir Laurence Olivier in the same roles. Speaking of which he was recently compared to the late great thespian and that's a fucking feat. Everyone knows he's brilliant as modern-day re-imagined version of the Sherlock Holmes stories in Sherlock as the titular character and he can even take banal action-movie offal like Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) and make it watchable. With a loyal following of slightly unhinged female fans known as Cumberbitches (of which I am a card carrying member), Benedict seems to be on top of the world. Last seen in the infamous Oscar selfie that Ellen Degeneres took, and rubbing shoulders with Michael Fassbender at the Vanity Fair after party. 
Sexy and they know it. 
You would think the sky's the limit for Benedict, and you'd be right, but turns out you know what? He's not very lucky in love. And he tends to self sabotage, and despite being an unconventional sex symbol he's still painfully awkward around females, and his biggest life goal he has yet to achieve, which is having children, because hey he's almost 37 and time's running out. Now, if these were traits of any regular run of the mill guy, you wouldn't even give him a second date, much less let him buy you dinner, especially when I mention the next rumor floating around the interwebs; that of the small 'baby carrot-like' penis. Seriously look it up, it's out there. If that isn't an enormous crutch (yes, I get the irony of that statement, I'm not stupid). But that's gotta sway on his confidence and perhaps attributes to the fact that he's 'awkward around the female species'. I'm not going to lie and say that the size of the boat doesn't matter at all, in fact, quite the opposite, but you know what? I wouldn't mind a stubby Cumberbatch if he was as intense of a romantic as he claims he is.

Poulet and Cumbernbatch circa 2010...yawwwwwwn.
He also has that whole 'I've slept with only one woman for 12 years' thing going on. When he was a mere student at RADA probably a little on the awkward looking side, he made a relationship out of a friendship with fellow student turned actress Olivia Poulet. She's...homely to say the least but I'm sure back then Cumberbatch wasn't exactly the catch he is today. And they were together literally for 12 years, I mean...that's crazy. 12 years and no ring? (I also get how coincidental that statement is considering Cumberbatch was in 12 Years a Slave (2013) but that's 1. Insulting to the film 2. unintentional. Moving on.

Cumberbatch with some slutty Russian model who's half his age. We all go through that phase. 
After a slew of randomized chicks and internet rumors, Cumberbatch is still more or less alone, and sans children. So seriously ladies (and gents), who's going to donate $1 for my plane ticket to London? I figure if all my readers do, I'll be able to go by next month and give him a mini-Cumberbatch by the beginning of next year. I've got a bag packed and nothing to lose. Hop to it! (Seriously, send me to my destiny).

Just for fun...

Monday, April 7, 2014

These People Dated (Thank God They Didn't Reproduce)

Brad and Gwyneth. Yeah. this was a big deal back in the 90's. That would have been some spectacular looking spawn, but now we have Apple and Moses on one side, and an entire soccer team on the other side. I love how they even coordinated their hairstyles. 
Johnny Depp and Kate Moss. A match made in cocaine and eating disorders.
Evan Rachel Wood and Marilyn Manson. No...just no. Creepy as fuck.

Cameron Diaz and Jared Leto. Although not so bright himself I feel like if he mixed his DNA with Cameron's that would result in one ridiculously stupid child.
Elizabeth Moss and Fred Armisen. One of the two Mad Women to bag an SNL repertory player, unfortunately she's psychotic and a friend of Xenu, no wonder the Portlandia co-creator ran screaming after a short-lived 3 month marriage. 
January Jones and Jason Sudeikis. The adorable SNL veteran met Stepford Wife in training January Jones when she hosted the show, later going down in history as one of the shows worst episodes ever. This was the biggest yawn couple ever.

Jennifer Lopez and P. Diddy. America's sweethearts?

Courtney Cox and Michael Keaton. Court has always made questionable love decisions, I mean she WAS married to David Arquette for like a decade but even this one is a bit bizzare, and not just because of the 12 year age-gap.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Nymphomaniac: Art That You Can Wank To

Shia and Stacey as Jerome and young Joe. Already an iconic image. 
In approaching a Von Trier film, there is a ritual. You cannot be hung over, just have had a meal, or be with anyone else. Literally anyone. The shock value alone will leave you open for public mockery. So it's saturday, it's too cold for the beach. I don't want to get out of my newly bough plush bathrobe from Restoration Hardware that my mom so generously got for me last weekend (thanks mom!) so there was nothing better to do than order Nymphomaniac Parts I and II and binge watch them until my mind was mush and I had lost all feeling in my lady parts and decided to never have sex again as long as I live. But that's typical Von Trier. His as most would say 'misogynistic' treatment of his female characters is a hallmark of most of his films, scratch that, all of his films, even though artfully and masterfully executed. I am not one to label Von Trier a chauvinist. I'd label him a Nazi but that's a whole different story (we all remember what happened at Cannes). Why is he not misogynistic in my opinion? Because throughout the film and afterwards you are very much in an empathetic and completely kindred state with the female protagonist. His films do not show women as victims, though throughout they are subjected to all sorts of abuse, mental, physical, verbal, you name it. His protagonists stand in defiance of said abuse and are always women that know exactly what it is they want and know how to ascertain it. In the same breath I would say that James Cameron par example is a misogynistic director, and if I have to explain why, you might as well stop readying right now. Von Trier even gives Skarsgård a monologue about the vicious double standard that women have to deal with in terms of being aware and in pursuit of sexual pleasure. 

Stacey Martin as young Joe, later played by Charlotte Gainsbourg. I really hope I don't have to explain what's going on in this picture. A character who's 'coming of age' was considerably different from most. 
Anyway on to Nymphomaniac, with the hooplah surrounding the film and the almost laughable marketing campaign that has been lampooned by basically every major film critic, it was a highly anticipated cinematic romp, no pun intended. Ok puns are going to be unavoidable here so just bear with me. 
The film concerns a woman named Joe who has been found beaten in an alley way by Stellan Skarsgård, an intellectual asexual who nurses her back to health while she tells him all about her sordid background as a nymphomaniac. The only difference is that she was a nymphomaniac out of lust not out of need. You see? She wants sex because she fucking wants it bitches, not because it's something she can't control. It's like saying you're an alcoholic because you're thirsty. 
Although this looks like a still from your regular run-of-the-mill porn, it's actually one of the more funny scenes in the film, if not one of the most sexually explicit. Hard to combine the two.
Basically, though Von Trier muse Charlotte Gainsbourg is first billed and in every advert for the film, most of the film concerns her in her younger state, played brilliantly and fearlessly in her debut performance by Stacey Martin. The biggest novelty in this film is the endless parade of surprising supporting players, mainly those of Shia Lebeouf and Jamie Bell. This is where Von Trier really shines as a director because he basically takes a chance on seemingly banal and wasteful actors and transforms them into unbelievably vivid performers. It's also probably Uma Thurman's best role since she was Mia Wallace even though she's on screen for less than 10 minutes. He also does a little tribute to one of his own films Antichrist (2009) shhhhh! I think it's supposed to be a secret. 
Sexually speaking it's actually one of the more easy films to digest aesthetically. I'd much rather watch Shia and Stacey have un-simulated animalistic intercourse than watch some Nicholas Sparks inspired bullshit where Ryan Gosling kisses the back of some girl's neck behind some curtains with a violin playing in the distance, and the rest we are meant to imagine for ourselves. I think Von Trier touches on a very important aspect of sex that we try to ignore as movie-goers. We always want to imagine it as beautiful, electric, and magical; an act that fulfills us, always with love. 
This is Shia's epic apology for well...everything that preceded this film. He's actually a damn good actor. I'm going to burn in hell for saying that. Film buff hell. Where they only show Michael Bay films and demons screeching Tarantino's praises constantly taunt you. 
Because we as the movie-goer and as actual human beings all lack that basically. The universal truth about sex is that it's AWKWARD. It's strange, painful, (not in the way that you think, you perv), unfulfilling, and most of the time lacking what is constantly referred in the film as 'the secret ingredient'; love. Sex is a constant state of learning. Learning what we like, what others like, what we absolutely need and what we absolutely won't ever do. It's a self-discovery more cerebral than we think, and Von Trier manages to capture this by equating it to almost a Zizekian philosophical study in this film, not to say that it's pretentious in the least. There's a beautiful scene where Skarsgård explains the beauty of Bach's compositions by three elements, which Joe (Gainsbourg) equates to three types of lovers that when combined create a 'beautiful tune'. Speaking of which, the use of music is absolutely brilliant in this film. Instead of a prolonged Wagner score (again, ahem...Nazi), that he usually uses, it's a total mix up of some of the most iconic classical music pieces out there. My favorite is when (spoiler alert) Joe is forced to go into sexual-addiction rehab, she has to get rid of anything that reminds her of sex or anything that turns her on. In the background is playing the first movement of Mozart's requiem, as if she's preparing for death, or that a piece of her is dying. It's not exactly subtle, but it's tongue in cheek. (Another pun!). 

Gainsbourg must either really really love working with Von Trier or has some kind of debt that has yet to be repaid because I don't know of any other actress who is able and willing to put herself through as much as she has, and not just in this one film. 
Now, I'm of the belief that Von Trier has probably had sex maybe three times in his life, and perhaps that is why he needed to make Nymphomaniac. It reminds me of a review that I read from Roger Ebert talking about the Peter Greenway film; 8 1/2 Women (2001) where a father and son create a private harem being inspired by the Fellini film, 8 1/2 (1963). He begged the question; how many directors make films about their unspoken sexual fantasies, and the answer is...all of them. Von Trier just took it a step he tends to. And the ending is I mean, absolutely brilliant, and the best exhaltation of a woman's plight I've ever seen. I can't give away more than that, but it's brilliantly perfect. Anyway, I liked it. I recommend it, but again. Approach with caution.

Trailer below:

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Let Me Explain Housewives Culture to You

Promo still for the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Season 4 reunion. Premiered yesterday.
I hate reality TV, and I mean with an adult pre-occupying hate. There is really nothing likable about it except for the schaudenfreude we all feel after finishing an episode of Couples Therapy or some show where someone's just the personification of the 'hot-mess express', which is basically every show. You look into my iTunes library, and it's seasons of cerebral shows like Sherlock, Mad Men, Downton Abbey, some Lost because you know, of course), and then a plethora; just a cornucopia of different episodes of different incarnations of the Real Housewives franchise. I have two favorites, the others, I really don't pay much attention to, but the 'classy' ladies from Beverly Hills and the nutbags from New Jersey have transfixed me, and I'm an Ivy League graduate. It's beyond a guilty pleasure it's more of a guilty obsession, to where I actually imagine myself on the cast. 

Frenemies Brandi Glanville and Lisa Vanderpump share a laugh on Watch What Happens Live.
Here's the irony, a lot of these women are not even housewives. They are not even wives some of them. Par example; Brandi Glanville a regular 'housewife' on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills has been divorced for 6 years. Another member of the cast; Lisa Vanderpump is certainly not what we think of as a housewife considering she's an entrepreneur and a working woman, with 2 high-end restaurants in Los Angeles to constantly manage. But apparently being the equivalent of a homemaker is not the criteria it takes anymore to be cast on this Bravo juggernaut. 

White house gate crashers Michaele Salahi and Tareq Salahi shake hands with President Obama. 
One incarnation of the franchise that I loved was The Real Housewives of DC, which was absolutely brilliant. When it ran for it's one and only season back in 2009-2010, DC was the 'it' city with everyone's fascination tuned into that city's culture. Obama had just become president, and it was a hub of culture and activity. It was like move over San Francisco, Portland, and New Orleans, there's cool shit going on in DC. Bravo was not about to let that pass them by, and decided to move their cameras to DC, and what was cool about those broads was that unlike most other housewives from basically every city that they pick, they actually had class, were 'old money', and spoke articulately, which is something you never expect from a Bravo syndicated show. There was just a tiny bomb on that train which happened to explode all over the network and they found themselves in some serious hot water and that bomb goes by the name Tareq and Michaele Salahi. Remember them? The White House Party crashers? Yeah they were on the show, and Michaele was a bona fied housewife, but believe me, it didn't take for the others long to figure out just how big of a phony she really was and when the gate crashing happened and the two were put on trial, the other housewives had a big laugh watching it together to bask in the glory that was Michaele's demise. Unfortunately, because of that little stunt, Bravo was disallowed from continuing the DC franchise and there were no more seasons filmed there. 
Table flipping, weave-pulling, and general screaming was a staple of the Jersey Housewives franchise. 
The Jersey housewives kill me because there is literally nothing stopping them from bad and tacky behavior. These are not 'ladies', these are Jersey girls, who all married rich and now they get to act like completely despicable morons, but it always comes back to the same thing 'family' a very Jersey notion. And also very ironic because most of them spend their free time which is all their time trying to sabotage one another considering that most of them are related, so I'm not sure how high 'family' actually exists in the totem pole of important things for them. I'd imagine somewhere between Louis Vuitton handbags, and cheap wine. 

A never-ending supply of booze was definitely a housewife unto itself. 
And then there's my favorite girls to see unravel with every blessed episode; The chicks from the hills, Beverly to be exact, so much irony in calling them that since most of them don't even LIVE in Beverly Hills. One lives in Malibu, two in Belaire, and I think one's even in the Valley. They switch up that cast the way a girl switches up her favorite pair of jeans to wear. Lately they've had two additions; British-born Wicca Carlton whom I love, and Puerto-Rican beauty queen Joyce, whom I can't stand...and let's face it, none of us can. Drunky Taylor, who's husband killed himself probably because the show was getting a bit too close for comfort on all of his embezzlements and fraudulent money deals, is off the show (fucking finally) as is heiress, gravely-voiced monster uberbitch, Adrienne Maloof. And that's all well and good, but I love how even in the face of the worst kind of estrogen motivated backstabbing and drunken arguments, they still manage to act like ladies...this includes Brandi by the way. For those not in the know, Brandi came on like a spitball on fire as Adrienne's then Lisa's BFF, who was cheated on by her husband B-movie actor, Eddie Cibrian with his co-star at the time, Leanne Rhymes. She drinks, she cusses, she wears clothes that are far too revealing but keep in mind she's a former model, that's just par for the course. She's kind of like the American Patsy Stone if Patsy Stone was a real person. She's had tiffs with basically everyone else on that show but still somehow manages to come out on top, and not because she's taller than everyone else. I think she's basically the main reason to watch it if you're going to get into it. At the reunion, which premiered its first half yesterday she had no problem telling Joyce that she looks like an Olympic figure skater in her dress, adding to that 'Sochi's calling bitch'. So I guess that's basically why. It's also the same reason women tend to 'hate their friends'...there's even a term for that; remember 'frenemies'? In Julie and Julia (2008) there's this great scene when Julie her husband and her friend are eating and Julie says 'what does it mean when you don't like your friends?' and her friend answers back 'it's totally normal', then her husband tries to add 'men like their friends!' and Julie says 'we're not talking about men, who's talking about men?'. So if you're a woman, you should get into it, the only season running now is The Real Housewives of NYC, which has been a snoozefest since Bethenny Frankel left, so punch those reruns into your iTunes and prepare to laugh your ass off if not find yourself totally relating to some completely inexcusable behavior, because you know what ladies? It's all within us, these broads just have the balls to show it off, in front of cameras. Once a week. On 8 inch Louboutin stilettos. 

RHOBH Season 2 intro, with some old faces, that look like new faces thanks Botox! Damn these girls are sassy, sassy's the word I'm looking for :P

RHODC intro. They just have the 1. Sorry for inability to find clips Bravo runs a tight ship. 

And finally the new seasons of Jersey intro. You can just smell the animosity.

Monday, March 10, 2014

5 Film Characters I Relate Too

Of course they are all going to be female, and I could really only pick 5 before it became redundant. I know that one of them is a TV movie character, but still. Also, 2 are based on actual people but honestly I don't give a shit. Also I had to choose from contemporary films because it's just a bit weird to say that I relate to Liv Ullman from Persona or Gena Rowlands from Woman Under the Influence (which I do, but both of those concepts are dated and I wanted something that would also be relatable to my readers. You're welcome :) 

Julie Powell (played by Amy Adams) in Julie and Julia (2008). On the cusp of 30 and terrified about it, working as a mid-level nobody in a cubicle with nothing to show for her last 29 years except a tiny kitchen apartment in Queens and a loving orange cat, this New Yorker at a crossroads who was such an admired writer in college only no more, decides to change her life by cooking her way through Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, not devoid of regular meltdowns and panic attacks. In the end, changing her life. As she says in the film 'I was drowning and Julia pulled me out of the ocean.' To which her husband quips; 'Don't get carried away.' Yet another problem I have. Also the obvious parallel that we're both bloggers, if you missed that you're really thick. 
Susannah Kaysen (played by Winona Ryder) in Girl, Interrupted (1999). The chain smoking, sarcastic before sarcasm was a thing, Susannah just doesn't seem like she belongs anywhere or cares about anything, but it's actually the opposite. She probably cares too much and her heart is too big for normal people, all the while her biggest life goal is 'not to end up like her mother' (no offense mom). She sees life as a giant version of the myth of Sisyphus and herself as the one cursed to roll a boulder up a hill only to see it fall down again and repeat for all eternity, and no where else does life feel like that than in LA. Another writer too. 
Harper Pitt (played by Mary-Louise Parker) in Angels in America (2003). The borderline insane wife of a closeted law clerk, Harper constantly seeks life her mind with the help of copious amounts of valium in 'wee fistfulls'. Not to say I'm a pill popper, but I am a notorious day dreamer, where my fantasy life is far more interesting than my life at hand. I don't have a 'Mr. Lies' (played by Jeffrey Wright) to fly me around to Antarctica, but I'm in constant limbo between the banality of my ordinary life, and the spectacularity of my fantasty life. 
Jasmine (played by Cate Blanchett) in Blue Jasmine (2013). Who didn't relate to Jasmine? I mean that's why she won the Oscar isn't it. We all have a bit of Jasmine in us, in that we may snap at any moment because we as women are delicate beings and if one doesn't handle with care, we can self destruct if all we've done is put our faith in others rather than ourselves to take care of us. Jasmine is devastatingly flawed. The only thing being more devastating is that she doesn't lose hope until the very very end, and even then perhaps not, that she can reinvent herself and change her life for the better despite the cards she's been dealt. The ending shows you that continuing to have hope even in the face of the most hopeless of circumstances is the craziest thing a woman could do. 
Kirsten Dunst as Justine in Melancholia (2011). It's very simple really, though Justine doesn't say much, her actions explain everything about what kind of woman she is, whether it is bathing nude in the blinding light of melancholia or laying motionless face up in a river, Justine is a rare breed of human. She is uncomfortable in fact traumatized by otherwise happy events like her own wedding, and can't stand being near anyone who seems to antagonize her. But in the face of a literal apocalypse she is able to be the source of comfort and unwavering strength to anyone who needs her. In an actual disaster, she would be the bastion of strength because she's aware that there's nothing left but that to do.

Trailers below:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ode to Jared Leto

Adorbs...and flawless Ombre I might add. Better than mine. 
Alright, my blog has been rather silent lately, so let's just write some shit shall we? Especially after a sex dream, that's the best time to do it. Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel used to do that in order to make one of the treasures of Experimental Cinema - Un Chein Andalou (1929) so why not? Yeah, I just compared myself to Dali and Bunuel, I'm definitely sex-crazed enough. I think I would have fit right in with their trifecta at Residencia de Estudiantes with Lorca hanging out watching the Spanish sunrise over a bottle of champagne talking about art before Franco's revolution chased them out...ok getting way off track here. 
Let's talk about the obvious thing I want to talk about. The prettiest Oscar winner we've seen in a not Lupita N'Yongo, and quite honestly there's a celebrity cult around her and if you're at all on twitter or follow indiewire on Facebook you'll notice that every other post is about her, so let's just not even. She's awesome, good for her, the end. No I'm talking about the scruffy-poet looking, bow-tie wearin', mom-lovin' slice of heaven that was Jared Leto at the Oscars. I mean it couldn't have been more perfect. During award season, he was playful and at times borderline offensive, getting seriously scolded for his 'insensitive' remarks after winning his Golden Globe, but for the Oscars he really stepped up to the plate. And quite frankly I'm against the rumors that someone was paid to write that Obama-esque speech for him. There were tears in his eyes when he gushed about his mother, and you just can't fake that...unless you're an actor and you're really good which he obviously is, but still. Those were some real tears. Aside from that he had some good ol' fashioned fun. Whom else would you rather photobomb if not Anne Hathaway? She deserve to get photobombed basically every time she poses in my opinion, and Jared looked so much hotter than her anyway, I was embarrassed FOR her. He took selfies with him and the Oscar sign, and even participated in the silly pizza ordering gimmick, giving his slice to (again) his mommy. I was just melting. 
Leto as Rayon (light on the weight, but a heavy character to carry with him all the time which is actually what I heard he did during the production of Dallas Buyers Club (2013))
Most of us don't really remember Jared Leto since his arm slicing days in Requiem for a Dream (2000) considering he was barely recognizable in Chapter 27 (2007) where he played John Lennon's killer Mark David Chapman and weighed roughly 100 pounds more (I wonder if he went off veganism for that, probs). 
Considered ever the method actor, and always very dedicated to his roles, his weight loss and ahem...waxing for the role of Rayon in Dallas Buyer's Club (2013) was not the first in which he had to go a dramatic transformation. Poor man, he's been at it longer than Christian Bale, and doesn't get any notice for it like the latter does. 
Again, barely recognizable as Mark David Chapman in Chapter 27 (2007)....yes co-starring Lindsay Lohan, now acting opposite her is a feat for anyone. 
I remember him as the flannel clad, always strumming an acoustic guitar, pretty boy in the short lived 90's cliche'd series My So Called Life (1994 - 1995) and then maybe some easy-to-digest softy 90's films before he reappeared ripped and cut with bleach blonde hair as Angelface in the quintessential movie of the 90's; Fight Club (1999) For which I'm sure he had to really work out. I mean he played a mean fighter until Edward Norton kicked his ass. 
We all remember THIS guy...I think some of us dated this guy in high school. 
Then he was smart enough to work with Mary Harron as Patrick Bateman's doppleganger who gets brutally murdered by an ax in perhaps the funniest murder scene that exists on cinema; American Psycho (2000). But that's as far as I'll go on listing his credits, basically he took a 4 year hiatus from acting to focus on his band, all fine...but seriously Jared you robbed us of a good 4 years of material here. Now that we all know what you're capable of please don't ever do that to us again. And may I remind you that he was actually the oldest to be nominated in is category. He's older than Fassbender, yeah if that's what you're wondering only he looks like he's about 5 years younger. I guess all that Yoga and vegan diet does him good. I couldn't do it though...because when (not if) we date, I need cheese. Fancy, French, stinky cheese. It might come down to a Sophie's Choice of Jared Leto or cheese...and quite honestly I can't answer that right now. Anyway, again getting off track. Jared proved to us Oscar night that he is one of the best in the business and not just a pretty face that can put on or lose a tremendous amount of weight for a project with a killer voice, he's a captivating talent and also in a class by himself. You know me and my penchant for comparing contemporary actors to dead actors of the Golden Age, but I just can't here. Which is probably a good thing. Keep at it Jared...also call me.

Dallas Buyer's Club (2013) Trailer

Chapter 27 (2007) trailer 

Leto as Paul Allen in one of the best films (if not the best film of the new Millenium; American Psycho (2000)) 'Try getting a reservation at Dorsia now you fucking stupid bastard!' 

Music video for 'City of Angels'; off 30 Seconds to Mars' latest album...he's a Renaissance man.