February 27, 2009

So long, farewell.

One week ago today, Laker Nation was rocked by the news that Chris Mihm had been traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.

This news was shocking, because very few people realized Chris Mihm was still on the team. A once promising role player, Mihm had been injury-ridden and relegated to the bench for most of the last 2 years. How useless had he become? Consider:
  1. This song was created about him:
  2. We traded him for a second round draft pick in 2013. Yes, that’s it.
Farewell Chris Mihm! I was rooting for you – and not just because you look like Matthew Fox. So long Chris Mihm! I wish you playing time and impressive stats. Goodbye Chris Mihm! I’d say that I’ll keep in touch, but, well, I don’t want to lie.

February 26, 2009

Random

Here are just a few random factoids I've picked up over the last few weeks:
  • Robert Downey Jr. and Sarah Jessica Parker dated for 7 years in the 80s.
  • Seal’s scars are from lupus.
  • Patrick Swayze and his wife have been married since 1975. They met when she was 15 and he was 19, and she was a student at his mom’s dance studio.
  • Barack Obama became the only president ever sworn in by a Chief Justice whose appointment he opposed.
Isn't that interesting, Morris? (You should look up interesting in the dictionary, Dad.) Sorry, sometimes 'Camp Nowhere' quotes just come out. I'm working on it.

Oh American Idol.

As we were introduced to the judges last night, I was thrilled to see they’ve gone back to the proper seating order. Randy – boasting new, weirdly square, glasses – on the left, because he goes first. Except, no! This show they’re trying something new out – a different judge goes first after each performance. Interesting. I love Simon going first. None of this hemming and hawing and asking them how they thought they did. Just: “Well. That was terrible.” My favorite Paula-ism for the night: “You bring what you brought.”

I had been digging the 4-person panel so far this season, but new judge Kara really rubbed me the wrong way last night. In early rounds when the judging was more like a conversation, it seemed like she had something to contribute. Now, with each judge having 30 seconds to talk, it feels incredibly unnecessary. Especially when they all just echo one another. With that in mind, an open letter:
Dear Judges & Producers,

Here’s a suggestion, from all of us sick of hearing the constant chorus of “That wasn’t the right song for you” (Randy variation: “I don’t know, dawg, that song. For you, for me, that just wasn’t it. I don’t know.”):

HELP THEM CHOOSE THEIR SONGS!!!

Then maybe you can spend some time actually critiquing performances, instead of something that was a moot point days ago when they chose the song.

Thanks,
Ashley
Oh, this show isn’t all about the judges? Okay, let’s get into the “performances.” Last night, the second group of 12 took the stage, battling it out for three tickets into the Top 12. And, by and large, they sucked.

Jasmine Murray, the promising 16 year-old with a million shrieking sisters, took her song too low, but she had to go first and I’ll cut her some slack. Plus, I loved her earrings. (Should I share taste with a 16 year-old?)

Matt Giraud, the dueling piano singer, kind of looks like Joey McIntyre. IE: The best member of NKOTB.



Jeanine Vailes: Like Ricky Braddy last week, this was the first of your screentime. And likely your last.

Norman Gentle. I refuse to talk about you.

Allison Iraheta. Your performance was great. Your interview was painful. You’re just so…16. And, man oh man, will you ever regret that hair in 10 years (Trust me).



Kris Allen. The girls should love you if they’re not bored by you. Solid performance, personable interview. I liked you even more when you were the only one doing the Supportive Dancing during Welder Matt’s karaoke performance.

Megan Joy Corkrey. Why on earth were you wearing white tights with that dress? You certainly need to work on your stage presence, but you’re through to the next round for sure. You remind me of Reese Witherspoon. Ditch the attitude and borrow some of her bubbliness, and people will love you long time.



I have very little memory of the next three performances – Matt, Jesse and Kai. In fact, I just had to think long and hard about whether Jesse was a boy or a girl. She was a girl. She barely made it to the live shows, and she’s gone now. Bla. Unfortunately, that’s how I also felt about both Welder Matt and Takes-Care-of-his-Mom-Kai. I’m in Simon’s boat for this one – like them both, but I don’t want to listen to them anymore. And, sorry guys. Roughneck Michael got the Tough Economy vote last week (Bye Matt) and, well, Kai, your mom is just sick; Danny Gokey’s wife died. (Wow. Most tasteless thing I’ve ever said. What has ‘American Idol’ done to me?)

Mishavonna went next and did a helluva lot better than the judges would have you think, even though she weirdly reminds me of Keroppi?



She’s my dark horse prediction.



Did anyone else notice that Mishavonna & Megan Joy wore the same dress in their hometown auditions?



And, rounding out the evening was this round’s Producer’s Pet, Adam Lambert.

Listen, I already went on the record that, based on what we saw before live performances, Adam Lambert was my favorite in the Top 36. But, if they keep pushing him on me, I’m going to jump quickly to the Anti side. And, dude. You need to decide who you’re going to be. Because your hair says tough rocker guy, and your song choice from last night (The Rolling Stones ‘Satisfaction’) backed you up, but the performance didn’t. Chris Daughtry (or David Cook for that matter) never would have smile-winked at the camera in the opening verse. You can sing anything, and you have 15 years of experience doing theater, so find your AI persona, and stick with it.



I have little hope that I can achieve the same kind of accuracy/luck as I had last week with my predictions, but I expect Adam & Megan (am I supposed to call her Megan or Megan Joy? Why include the Joy if you’re not supposed to use it?) are through easily. I’d throw Kris in there, but I’m hesitant to go with another 2 guys-1 girl night, but I also think that Allison is too similar to last week’s through-girl, Alexis Grace. So, I’ll go with my dark horse, Mishavonna. Allison will definitely get a wild card performance, and I bet Kris will too if the voters don’t back him up. If Mishavonna isn’t through on call in votes, she’s done.

February 25, 2009

It doesn't take much.

I get a good deal of amusement out of the term "amuse bouche." I had never heard of it until a challenge early this year on 'Top Chef' and I certainly had no idea that this is how it was spelt, until I read it on Yelp (Yeah, Yelp! Check out the new Social Media feature at the right, y'all). It literally means "mouth amuser" and is technically supposed to be precisely one bite. How can you not love something so delightfully, yet accurately, titled?

February 24, 2009

Spin me right round, baby

On Saturday, Trevor, Sarah & I took part in a Spin-a-Thon – a 4 hour extravaganza at Equinox Gym organized by Jessica, et al, to raise money for Cancer Patient Support Services at Boston Medical Center. That’s right: 4 hours.

HOUR ONE

I’ve never done spinning before, and I have no idea what to expect. Initially, we had planned to divide the 4-hour “course” up into chunks – each taking a warm-up and a peak section, in segments of about 30 minutes each. Once we get into the room, that plan goes out the window. We each get our own bike, which aren’t next to one another, and lines of communication go silent. I had recruited 4 co-workers to participate in the Spin-a-Thon on their own team. They come in, and take their places at the other side of the room. The instructor asks who’s never done spinning before, and tells us not to worry, that the seats will feel comfortable – in about three weeks.

We start warming up. What’s neat about spinning is that you’re totally in charge of your own workout – there’s no digital display, so you can increase and decrease the resistance according to your own comfort level without worrying about the silent judging of the person next to you (Anyone who’s ever been on a treadmill knows what I’m talking about). I begin realizing that this isn’t going to break me – that it’s really just riding a bike, and that I can do this. I look so happy:


About half-an-hour in, the first climb starts – we’re encouraged to kick our energy output up to about 80%. I’m breathing hard. Our instructor – perhaps in an attempt to convince us that we really are cycling, and not holed up in a room in the middle of a Boston winter – has unzipped his full-on racing outfit to reveal his hairy chest. I realize I’ve already decided that I won’t get off this bike until my co-workers and Sarah do. (Most of the time in my life, I can keep myself convinced that I’m not a competitive person – WordTwist, gambling pools, Scrabble – I am pretty fine with losing at these. But physical tasks are something else entirely – just ask anyone who’s ever tried to instruct me at tennis.).

The first hour ends with a sprint, 15 seconds “to the top”. I’m feeling good, like I’ve conserved enough energy to keep going, but I’m really wishing I’d been smart like Trevor and brought water.

HOUR TWO

The second hour begins. Sarah & I are motivated, and feeling good:


As the second big climb kicks off, I find myself staring at the map of the course – I’m initially just trying to figure out where we are, but I notice the title of the course, and remember that it’s based on a real mountain biking pass in Northern California. Besides the fact that it’s mind-blowing that we’re only doing Phase 4 of the whole course and it’s going to take 4 hours, I find it inspiringly appropriate to be in Northern California, a locale that always makes me think of Donovan.

For the unfamiliar, Donovan was my sister’s boyfriend and a camp friend, who died at age 25 from testicular cancer. My sister spent months taking care of him, dealing with the bureaucracy of MediCal and it’s services like those that BMC provides that they both could have really used. Donovan was the reason I signed up to do this fundraiser. I make a mental note to raise a glass to Donovan and my sister when we are enjoying our already-planned beer-and-food post-spinning celebration, and I grit my teeth to the top of the second peak.

HOUR 3

Thrilled that I’ve outlasted my co-workers on the bike, and knowing that Sarah will break with me, the first half-hour of Hour 3 is break time.

Trevor has hopped back on to cover for Team Nowhere Fast, and Sarah & I go for a walk around the fancy gym to see what $170 a month gets you. Answer: some really weird machines, and meditation rocks along the base of the mirrors.

We re-enter the spinning room with 15 minutes remaining in the hardest climb of the course. As soon as my butt hits the bike, I regret ever taking a break. That half hour walking around had done nothing except give my butt time to think about what it had been sitting on for the last 2 hours:And it wasn’t happy about getting back on.

My legs can’t quite remember the cycling motion, and the 15 climbing minutes are torture. Trevor – battling a cold and dealing with reduced lung capacity – calls it quits. Hallelujah – give me that water bottle!

The instructor tries to distract us from the torture he’s putting us through with some story about an old guy he met while hiking Tuckerman’s Peak. I am not interested in this story. I wish he had not named the old guy “Wilson” because it makes me think the point of his story will be that he was invisible or a figment of his imagination during some particularly strenuous hike, a la Tom Hanks in ‘Castaway.’ Even just hearing the word Tuckerman’s was too much – I am now thinking of Tuckerman’s IPA and I want nothing more than to be seated at a bar with a pitcher of water and a pint of beer.

HOUR 4

According to the course map, Hour 4 is pretty much all cool-down, but at this point, my biggest issue isn’t the exercise, it’s my butt. Oh wait, maybe it is the exercise – actual droplets of sweat start dripping from me onto my bike. I am disgusted by myself. Participants are dropping like flies.

Up and down, up and down – they’re trying to keep us engaged by mixing up the tasks. Here’s a speed segment, here’s a standing segment. I pedal with dread, just knowing at any point he’s going to tell me go to “back in the saddle” – that means sitting down, and at this point, it’s barely an option for me.

All of a sudden, I see a gleam in his eye: “A-ha, I know how to pump up this room of 20-40 year olds in Liberal Boston!” He cues up a remix of Obama’s inauguration speech to music. Some people might find this motivating. I find it torturous – how am I supposed to keep expending all this energy when I’m crying? The song ends. There’s half an hour left.

I place my watch on the handle in front of me so I can constantly track the amount of time left. Finally, there is one peak left. We’re encouraged to do it as a speed segment. Faster! Faster! I tune my resistance way down. My legs pick up speed. I find myself closing my eyes. I’m envisioning an actual finish line. I crank my resistance back up, I stand up on the pedals, and I move my legs faster than they’ve ever moved before. 10! 9! 8! The instructor counts us down. As I cross that imaginary finish line, I feel like I've actually completed a race.

I’m exhausted. I’m sweaty. I’m proud to have stayed on for so long. I’m thrilled to have participated in such a worthy cause. And I’m ready for nachos.

February 23, 2009

Oscar recap

Let’s just get a few things out of the way about the Oscars last night. Most of the coverage I’ve seen so far has been negative – hating on the musical numbers, thinking Hugh Jackman was blasé – but I thought the show was close to perfect. It mixed it up from previous years, and made it feel personal.
  • I loved the new presenting format, where past winners in the acting categories spoke about the nominees, instead of just showing clips from their films. It was personal and relevant. That being said, I found it hilarious to watch Nicole Kidman present to Angelina Jolie – two of the most cardboard women in the world, seemingly in a contest to see who can smile with their eyebrows raised the highest and lips closed the most.

  • I teared up quite a bit throughout the show, but I think the biggest waterworks came for Dustin Lance Black, screenwriter of ‘Milk,’ who thanked his mom for loving him even when there was “pressure not to” and who then talked to gay kids out there: “If Harvey had not been taken from us 30 years ago, I think he’d want me to say to all of the gay and lesbian kids out there tonight who have been told that they are less than by their churches or by the government or by their families that you are beautiful, wonderful creatures of value and that no matter what anyone tells you, God does love you and that very soon, I promise you, you will have equal rights, federally, across this great nation of ours.” Political in all the right ways, succinct and touching. Love it.
  • The children from ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ were my favorite part of the movie, and my favorite part of the red carpet. Seriously. Just look at them:
  • I love musicals, and I loved the musical numbers with Hugh Jackman (especially the crack about “Your Craigslist dancers” in the econo-version of the opening act). However, I think that declaring “The musical is back!” was a little revisionist (even though I support anything that involves musical mashups and Beyonce). I mean, “Chicago’ won the Best Picture Oscar SIX years ago. It’s BEEN back, y’all.
  • Presenters that were awesome: Queen Latifah (What a lovely idea to have a live performance during the Remembrances. And, it was a nice reminder when she said that to us they were images, but to the people in that room they were friends.). Natalie Portman (loved the purple, Natalie) and Ben Stiller (as Joaquin Phoenix). Tina Fey & Steve Martin (To borrow a page from Randy Jackson, these two could read the phone book and I would fall out of my chair laughing). Jack Black & Jennifer Aniston. Hell yeah I’ll give her credit just for standing up there on stage 10 feet in front of Brangelina.
  • Presenters that need some work: Alicia Keys & Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried & Robert Pattison (I had no idea he was British?). Bill Maher. Boring.
  • I wish all the Montage 2008s had been Romance ones.
  • By my count, that final montage of upcoming films (which got much less buildup than I was anticipating and wound up running over the credits since the show ran long) previewed 24 coming out this year. Interesting, since this year, not counting short, documentary or foreign language films, 26 films were nominated for an Academy Award.
That’s all for now!

February 20, 2009

The Oscar countdown

The Oscars have some things planned to make this year’s telecast fresh and exciting. (Ranting side note: I can guarantee you that in the brainstorming meeting, someone definitely talked about Generation Y/”Millennials”/”The Facebook Generation” having ADD. Guess what y’all, we don’t! Please stop pandering to us with your take on what fast-paced intelligence means.)

The first thing you might notice is a slightly less busy red carpet. According to my very reliable sources (thanks Megan!), show producers are asking presenters to avoid the red carpet. They’re hoping this will force more people to tune into the show to see what everyone is wearing. Interesting idea, but I don’t see it working. Half the hype around the Oscars – and the best way to drive post-show buzz – is from the red carpet, and since most of the presenters have an upcoming project to promote (that’s why they’re presenting in the first place!), they won’t want to skip out on that.

Another change to the traditional Oscar format is this year’s host: Hugh Jackman will take over the reins. He’ll be the first non-stand up comedian to host since 1975. The ladies love him – that accent! – and he’s done Broadway – so he has the power to command a stage – and I’m sure he’ll do just fine, but with his X-Men prequel due out this spring, it seems a bit convenient.

The final new feature that I know about (the first-time production team of Bill Condon and Laurence Mark are being very tight-lipped about the updates) is a montage of upcoming movies that they’re going to show at the end of the show, presumably to excite the public about what’s to come. I think this is a horrible idea. Not only does it make me wonder how much studios are paying to have their movie included, by providing a shortlist of Movies That Matter, it’s making the movie world even smaller.

Think about it: The movies that the broader American public gets to see is already limited by things like distribution deals and production houses that sort of arbitrarily decide what’s marketable (thus worth their money/efforts to promote) and what’s not. And I’m not just talking about super-independent movies. Consider: this movie starring Rachel McAdams and Tim Robbins:



Two very main stream actors, in a very mainstream, probably heartwarming, plot. Absolutely no buzz or publicity. Or that Christmas movie that came out with Debra Messing. I mean, people will watch anything during the holidays, but, for whatever reason, no one (outside of New York and LA) even got the option of this one.

Part of the job of being a movie fan is “discovering” those movies you probably wouldn’t have seen. That’s why everyone is so in love with ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ (and ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ or ‘March of the Penguins’ before it.). By traditional industry wisdom, 95% mainstream America never would have seen this movie, but the word of mouth buzz propelled it into non-independent movie theaters, gave it a marketing budget and made it essentially a shoo-in for the Best Picture Academy Award. I feel like the Academy Awards choosing movies in advance is limiting that possibility. But, because ’m not an Academy member and my opinion means naught. I suppose we’ll just have to see how it plays out.

Enjoy the show all!

February 19, 2009

M is for merry

Praise be, spring must be on the way, because concert season is kicking off. Last night, we took in M. Ward at the Somerville Theater. His new album just came out on Tuesday, and it was the first time I’ve caught the first show of a tour – pretty awesome. He even played a She & Him song.

There were 2 problems though, neither of which was the fault of M. Ward, his great band and the fantastic show they put on.

#1 – I started listening to M. Ward right around the time I started listening to Jay Farrar. So I kept expecting him to bust out into my favorite Jay Farrar song, “California”, even when totally conscious of the fact that I was thinking of the WRONG PERSON.

#2 – I have very bad eye sight. Even with contacts/glasses, I have a hard time identifying anything far away. I don’t mean to ignore you, I just can’t see you. Because of this, I always find myself at concerts trying to figure out what the people on stage actually look like, based on the sort of fuzzy outline I have. By the end of the encore, I had it. And, after doing some Google Image research into what M. Ward actually looks like this morning, I was pleased to see that the equation I came up with in my head was pretty correct: It’s simple really:


Mark Ruffalo



Wayne Coyne



Zach Braff


M. Ward

I mean, right?

Check out some M. Ward and She & Him for yourself in this mini-incarnation of a Social Media Experiment:


Tomorrow night, we’re hitting up Delta Spirit at the Middle East, awesome because Trevor & Hundred Years War played with them a few months back, and because they recorded their [very good] album in Julian, California (that’d be the town where Trevor and I met and got married).

February 18, 2009

Twelve down.

I have some thoughts about American Idol.

As you might recall, this year the Top 12 is being selected a little differently: Instead of two people being voted off each week, each week for three weeks, three people are being selected to stay.

I understand where the producers are going with this – it could make for an exciting show when each contestant knows that they can be out after one performance. Good isn’t good enough. But, I feel like the public is getting the short end of the stick here. Instead of each contestant having some time to find their footing, show us their personality and what they’re capable of – we only see them each once. But still, this isn’t my big concern about the new format.

My big concern is a little website called VoteForTheWorst.com, which is devoted to mobilizing people to vote for the worst contestant each night. Thus sticking it to the man, or making some point about Americans and their ridiculous devotion to pop culture idols, or something. Pathetic and mean-spirited are two words (with a hyphen) that come to mind. I’m concerned that the new advancing structure makes it easier for communities like this to “win,” because a limited number of people are advancing (instead of being eliminated). So instead of the real voters knowing that, even if one lame-o person (cough cough Sanjaya) is being advanced, the majority of the remaining contestants will be legit, there’s now this chance that at least 1/3 of the Top 12 will be jokes.

Am I being paranoid? Maybe. Or maybe it’s just that after watching the first 12 perform last night, I’m not sure I’m ready to give up on three-quarters of them yet.

My predictions for the advancing three:

Alexis Grace: Is there anything less authentic than being told to “dirty up” and showing up with pink hair? That kind of annoys me. I’m also not sure that “dirty” is the look that a mom should be going for, but hey – she sang the best of the girls.



Danny Gokey: Could the producers be backing him any more? Everyone needs to just take a chill pill. Robert Downey Jr. doppelganger with an apparently never-ending collection of eyeglasses is good enough, I’m just not sure he’s the second coming (get it? Because he’s a church music director?). Plain-old ballad singers (even when they’re by female artists) do not an American Idol make.



I think Anoop or Brent Keith will advance, but I wish it was Michael Sarver. I disagree with the judges – I liked him better with this upbeat song than the soulful thing, and I think it was a good choice that showed us some personality. I’m not sure about your explanation though, Mr. Roughneck: You chose to sing “I Don’t Wanna Be,” because you don’t want to be anything other than what you are…except American Idol, right?



If he doesn’t make it through on votes alone, I think Anoop Desai will get the wild card from the judges – and rightfully so. This kid could be great – if he would just get a haircut.

And now, some questions:

Why would Jackie Tohn wear Olivia Newton John pants with tennis shoes? Doesn’t Ann Marie Boskovich look like Lyla from Friday Night Lights?



Why did they use that Chris Daughtry “rocker” flame background that totally matched Tatiana’s dress? Does anyone else feel like Ryan Seacrest has gotten worse at this whole hosting/interviewing thing as the years have gone on? But, my most important question for the night is: Why on earth were Ted Danson and Neil Patrick Harris sitting next to one another??

February 17, 2009

It's not quite scientific

Hey, have you heard the Oscars are on Sunday? I look forward to this every year, and because Trevor & I finally caught 'The Reader' this weekend (the last of the Best Picture nominees), I am ready to make some way too emotionally-driven and completely arbitrary predictions:


Best Picture:


Shocking no one, 'Slumdog Millionaire' wins! Everyone feels good about themselves until they watch it again in two years and wonder what on earth they were thinking saying that was the most well-made film in Hollywood this year.

Best Actress:

Sorry Melissa Leo – I remember you fondly from your days on Homicide, but the Academy tends to favor Out There choices in the Supporting categories, not the lead ones. (That’s why Slumdog Millionaire’s producers lobbied for Dev Patel – the main character – to be recognized as a supporting actor, not a lead one). For you and Richard Jenkins - who was wonderful in the delightful 'The Visitor' - the nomination truly was the award.



That being said – Best Actress is the toughest category to call, what with Kate Winslet as the perennial bridesmaid when it comes to Oscars (but was she nominated for the wrong movie? In my opinion, no.), Meryl Streep as, well, Meryl Streep (but has she been recognized enough in her career? Is there such a thing? Who could have watched this movie and been impressed with her?), and Anne Hathaway as the long-time industry presence who shocks everyone with her dramatic prowess.


This is the category where I’m having the hardest time separating out my own personal feelings. I truly don’t understand how anyone could have seen 'Rachel Getting Married' and come out anything short of mind blown by what Anne Hathaway did in it. Kate Winslet was good in 'The Reader' (but what is up with movies set in foreign countries, where they speak English just with that foreign accent? Can I discredit her just for that?) but certainly not mind blowing. Still, because 'The Reader' is more front-of-mind because of its late release date, and because it's got the campaign backing of the Weinsteins, I'm going to predict this one goes to Kate Winslet.

The most predictable outcome of the Best Actress announcement? Angelina Jolie will look pissed.

Best Actor:

As far as Best Actors go, it’s also a three way race (because, inexplicably, Brad Pitt is being completely ignored for what was some amazing work in ‘Benjamin Button). The only thing that Oscar likes more than a comeback story is awarding old time industry favorites, but I wonder if this type of voting will lead to Mickey Rourke and Frank Langhella splitting the vote and bestowing the Oscar upon the, in my opinion, most deserving, Sean Penn.

Best Supporting Actress:

I still can’t believe Cate Blanchett wasn’t nominated for Best Supporting Actress. Doubt's Viola Davis has really been really hitting it out of the park in all her award show appearances:

But I really don’t support the idea of giving an Oscar to someone who’s on screen for less than 10 minutes. I think Taraji P. Henson has a real legitimate shot here, and because I truly enjoyed her in 'Benjamin Button' (I think she carried her character the most realistically through age and more than held her own opposite Brad Pitt), I hope it happens.

Best Supporting Actor:

It’s too bad that the Best Supporting Actor race is so predictable, not only because Heath Ledger won’t be there to accept the award he certainly deserves, but because it’s quite the collection of performances: Robert Downey Jr. would have had a great shot at this for his role in ‘Tropic Thunder’ because that's just the type of role the Academy likes to reward in this category (See: Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Michael Shannon and Philip Seymour Hoffman were the best parts of their respective movies.

Screenplays:

Most of the widely recognized films this year were adapted from other works, making the Original Screenplay category one of the oddest: 2 never-heard-of-‘ems ('Frozen River' + 'Happy Go Lucky'), 1 long-forgotten comedy ('In Bruges'), 1 of the front-runners for Best Picture ('Milk'), and an animated gem ('Wall-E'). If the Academy is paying attention to the carefully scripted silences in the brilliance that was Wall-E, that’s where the Oscar will land.

As far as Best Adapted Screenplay, I'd be shocked if this didn't go to 'Slumdog Millionaire,' and disgusted if it wound up with 'Doubt,' but I think it truly belongs to 'Frost/Nixon,' which took on the daunting task of converting a play into a truly watchable movie.


That’s all I’ve got as far as opinions go for now, but have you heard that Peter Gabriel is refusing to perform the song from 'Wall-E' for the telecast, because the producers wanted him to perform a shortened version? Yet, he is still attending the event. Interesting.

Reflections on a weekend

I love long weekends, because you can accomplish a lot AND sleep in as much as you want, so you don’t have to feel either overworked or lazy. This past weekend was the perfect example, as we got saw a lot of friends and did a bunch of errands, but also did a lot of nothing. Translation: awesome weekend.

Here’s the rundown:
  • MANY HAPPY RETURNS: We have been sort-of avoiding Cornwall's ever since we stumbled in there after the Beer Summit and stumbled out without paying. For the uninitiated, Cornwall's is [the best bar in Boston and] located a block from our house. Going a month without visiting there is like going a week without washing your hair – unexpected and slightly awkward because you feel like everyone’s noticing. So, in a conscious effort to re-normalize ourselves with the place, we stopped in for an early evening beer on our way out to Jessica’s house. Everything went fine.
  • FEEDING FRENZY: We made our own pizza on Friday night with Jessica and Chris, and it turned out amazing. Toppings included: caramelized onion, spinach, fresh mozzarella and goat cheese. It was seriously life changing. (The consensus is that it was the fresh mozzarella; I’m leaning towards the caramelized onions). Yesterday, I tried out two new recipes: Boozy Apple Cake (with this name, it’s just demanding to be included in a themed menu!) and Goat Cheese Mushroom Tart with Potato Crust. Both went really well – and were pretty easy.

    The tart involved grating a potato (the recipe called for 1 russet potato, I used 4 new potatoes instead) as the crust, then mixing 2 cups of mushrooms, 1 ½ cups of goat cheese, some half-and-half and an egg as the filling. Next time, I’ll add an extra cup of mushrooms to make it a little less white (and a little healthier maybe?), but, let’s be honest, anything with this much goat cheese is going to be delicious.

    The cake was essentially a yellow cake with pureed apples mixed in, which, after baking, was soaked with a concoction of whiskey, vanilla and water. I think it could use an extra apple or 2 (only 2 were used) as well as a topping – I’ll probably make some whipped cream for it in the future, but it's pretty great, and an excellent use for the whiskey that's been sitting unused for the last year and a half.

    Other food highlights of the weekend included: the housemade black bean burger at Cambridge Common, a long-awaited visit to Mr. Sushi, and getting a Zipcar to go to Trader Joe’s yesterday so we could load up on essentials like wine and laundry detergent without having to deal with carrying these things on the T. See, productivity.
  • MOVIE MANIA: In an attempt to balance out the money spent earlier in the week on 'He’s Just Not That Into You,' we went to see 'Waltz with Bashir' on Sunday. And, to round out our viewing of the Best Picture nominees in anticipation of this coming Sunday’s Oscar broadcast, we took in 'The Reader' yesterday. More on those later. In between it all, we also watched 'Before Sunrise' and 'Before Sunset' (I wonder if I will ever be able to watch only one of them again, without immediately wanting to watch the other.).
What’s kind of crazy about the weekend is that there are no photos. We didn’t take the camera out of my purse once. I kind of like that – this weekend only exists in memory. And, well, now here too.

February 13, 2009

Movie Review: He’s Just Not That Into You

Let’s get one thing straight: I love romantic comedies. Meet-cutes and happy endings – they’re the stuff that dreams are made of. But I did not love ‘He’s Just Not That Into You.’ Maybe because the movie presumes to be a Girl Power film and then winds up catering to some pretty awful clichés. Sure, I wasn't expecting girl power in the traditional way – I knew Michelle Rodriguez wouldn't be strapping on boxing gloves and Jennifer Tilly wasn't going to be renouncing men altogether – but HJNTIY presents itself as a movie that understands the BS that women hear everyday, but then perpetuates the same clichés that made that BS possible.

Or maybe I just didn’t like it because it was too long, tried to do too much and featured some pretty awful acting (I’m talking to you ScarJo).

Here’s what I liked about the movie:
  • 'Some Kind of Wonderful' is a very close second behind 'Say Anything' for Best 80s Movie Ever. It's also the most underrated. Watching Ginnifer Goodwin recite Mary Stuart Masterson's lines along with her (from the scene embedded below) and then compare herself to Eric Stoltz was worth the price of admission alone.

  • I can’t think of the last movie I saw Jennifer Connelly in (Sorry Tracey Jordan, I know you shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition, at.). As a woman trying to hold onto a supposedly perfect marriage who realizes how cold and asleep she’s been, she was great. And I loved everything she wore, especially this sweater:
  • Ben Affleck + Jennifer Aniston (I’m sorry, I literally can’t remember any of these characters names - #1 problem with large ensemble casts.) – They really held this movie together, and their relationship was so relatable and easy to root for. The couple that’s been together forever, both hung up on their individual long-held beliefs about what "marriage" means. She wants it, he doesn’t, but they come together in a difficult time and realize what love and commitment are really all about (hint: it’s not the diamond ring).
  • Surprising supporting cast: Luis Guzmán? What are you doing here? You were great. Uh, in that one scene (Paul Thomas Anderson – please make another movie so your ensemble members can participate in some more challenging projects). Yes Wilson Cruz! You have been aging so well! Hey Busy Phillips, what up? You know I love you. You would have been so much better as the Scarlett Johansson role!
  • By being directed by Ken Kwapis, a frequent writer/director on 'The Office' and featuring Kris Kristofferson, Trevor’s mom’s cousin, I’d like to think that I am now just one degree away from Jenna Fischer & John Krasinski and the rest of the cast of 'The Office,' who I yearn to meet.
Let’s get into my real issues with this movie.
  • Ginnifer Goodwin is adorable. That’s not the problematic part. The problem is, as the main character, we’re supposed to root for her the most. But she behaves absolutely absurdly; No woman wants to be shown someone so borderline desperate/pathetic, willing to completely force a relationship with anyone remotely interested, and be told that that’s who we should relate to. Eventually the script tries to pass her behavior off as proof about how much she’s invested in her own happiness, and she is slightly redeemed– I particularly liked it when she tearfully yelled “I might do a lot of stupid sh**, but I’m a lot closer to finding someone than you!” – but it was too late for her and I.
  • There was no reason for Bradley Cooper to be that tan. You live in Baltimore. Ben Affleck wasn’t even that tan and he was supposed to be living on a boat for Pete’s sake.
  • Dear Costume Designer, Why on earth would you have Scarlett Johansson wearing those awful jeans with tucked in shirts? Just…no. (You can barely see it here, but trust me, it was bad.)
  • Every single punch line was shown in the trailer. Seriously, every one. Except for the one with Jennifer Aniston at the wedding, and that I saw on ‘Ellen.’
I'd had this whole rant planned about the presumptuousness of having Ben Affleck/Jennifer Aniston get married after they'd already resolved that regardless of label they were committed to one another forever, but I realized that adding that scene in at the end was probably more about rounding out the movie (one divorce, two new couples, one marriage) than any statement about Marriage Being the Only Means to a Happy Ending, so I will just let it go for today.

All in all, it was an average movie, but it won't be joining 'When Harry Met Sally' or 'Something New' as my go-to Romantic DVDs any time soon.

6 Twix bars!

February 12, 2009

Idle Idols

It’s omnipresent and has barely gotten started, but if you don’t want any information about 'American Idol'’s newly-announced Top 36, don’t read any further.

‘American Idol’ is many things, To go with the “A” theme from last night (By my count, 7 contestants who advanced have a first name that starts with A), let’s go with addictive and aggravating for today. Let’s review.

Judges send Jamar Rogers home (No, the video isn't supposed to move - it's just audio. Pickin's are slim on YouTube right now):



And decide to keep Norman Gentle/Nick Mitchell:



I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised – this is a show that let a debacle like Sanjaya get into the Top 8. And here I was about to be reassured that the decisions going forward are now up to the public (I'm talking to you Tatiana - she of the singing over the judges and ridiculous laugh. Really, they’re going to let that girl on live TV?).

In any case, I suppose I can let go of Jamar as we get ready to go into live performances. I feel like the girls are pretty weak this year! My early favorite is Adam Lambert. The judges - except Paula - aren't sure about him yet, but he had me at 'Wicked.'

PS: Brent Keith, you look way too much like Spencer Pratt - I'm not sure I'll be able to get over that.

February 11, 2009

Things that make me die inside

Check out the banner at the top of this Entertainment Weekly TV Watch:


First, I was enraged. I don't need to see some barely dressed women as I get my American Idol rundown - and I certainly won't be convinced to listen to their "band." Then, I thought – “Oh, this is just a fake band for some new Victoria’s Secret campaign. Okay. Lame, but okay.” And then I clicked, and now I’m back at enraged.

This is a real band that Vanity Fair (the bra company, not the magazine) scoured the country for. The main criteria: Women “confident enough to perform in their bras.”

Listen. I get that when you’re struggling to make it as a professional musician, you take your breaks where you can get ‘em. But this is just too much. Music as a boy’s club? This’ll show them! Nice step forward for feminism y’all. Way to take back the music industry from lip synching, scantily clad “ladies” with no instrument proficiency.

Here’s a snip from the website: “I love being a Vassarette, because I get to sing and dance in front of a ton of people.” Wow, really? That’s what you’re looking for – attention? There’s a surprise. What’s also awesome is that in each of these girls’ bios, it says at what age they got their first bra, and it compares their "biggest inspiration" to their favorite bra type: “My biggest inspiration? That’s easy. My mom. She’s the strongest, most beautiful woman I know. She taught me women can love their bodies and be sexy at ANY bra size. Wearing my RedSexy Double Delight bra on stage makes me understand that more than ever.” I cannot make this s*** up. Not only is this ridiculous, it's also incredibly lame marketing.

I’m sure there’s some way I can blame this on Fox/American Idol/Bikini Girl, but I just don’t have the energy to get into it this morning. I can't decide which part of me is more angry - the marketer, the music fan, or the woman.

The Suns going down.

While Amare Stoudemire is still on the Suns and this picture is still relevant, I would like to just take a moment to enjoy the utter ridiculousness of it:

I recommend clicking on it to see it full-size. The size discrepancy. Shaq's sassy hand on hip. Amare's Britney-themed sleeve (Yes, I know a lot of basketball players wear them. Most of the time, they're not color coordinated). Steve Nash's Alfalfa hair.

With days like these...

Today is one of the days that I realize I’ve been away from California for much too long:

Upon checking the thermometer that hangs outside one of our windows and seeing that it was already 32 degrees out, I literally squealed in excitement (sorry about that, still-sleeping-Trevor).

It’s easy to get taken in by a day like this, where the sun is shining, the wind is mild and the shade temperature is 20 degrees higher than it has been for the last 2 months… It’s like when you get out of a long-term relationship, and a few months go by and all of a sudden it’s not so raw anymore. And you run into your ex, and it feels so normal. It’s all too easy to feel like the other person has changed, and that it’s time to open yourself up to them again. Like, maybe today I won’t wear tights under my jeans.

But it’s dangerous! Don’t get sucked in! It is only February 11. There is at least another full 6 weeks of winter ahead of us – and then another 6 weeks of rain. ::Sigh:: Spring, in Boston.

February 10, 2009

It'd be a privilege to win a date with Tad Hamilton

Anybody watch ‘Privileged’? It’s absolutely my favorite CW obsession of the moment because I feel so much less guilty watching it than ‘Gossip Girl’ – and it fulfills this desire for wholesome, fluffy teenage/college life TV that I didn’t even know that I had until I discovered the amazingness that is ‘Greek.’ (And, yes, there is a difference between what I'm describing and my well-known love for teen shows like 'Dawson's Creek' and 'Felicity.' I'm happy to go into more detail if you're curious.)

Anyway. The main character, Megan, is (for the moment at least) dating this guy named Will, who is a billionaire who also works for a living and is always doing the right thing (except when he's writing blank checks to her mom who's just going to disappear with them) and is pretty much the perfect guy, even if he did kind of date her sister-the-screwup first.

Okay, that’s part one.

Here’s part two:

Outside of occasionally remembering that Fergie is dating him when I hear ‘Glamourous,’ I hadn’t thought about Josh Duhamel in a long time. Then I saw a GoFugYourself picture of Fergie yesterday that just so happened to feature him, and it hit me why I find Will so cute. They look so much alike:



Just to further complicate matters, apparently, tonight the guy that looks like Scott Speedman from 'Lipstick Jungle' is going to guest star.

February 9, 2009

Thank you Alex Rodriguez?

After a week that included Elizabeth Hasselbeck saying Michael Phelps is now likely to take performance enhancing drugs, I would like to thank Alex Rodriguez for bringing illegal drug use in professional sports back into perspective.

Let’s compare:

Michael Phelps consumed a “drug” that is not even a banned substance in his sport and is certainly not a performance enhancer, during the off-season. He acknowledged and apologized for the indiscretion.

Versus:

Alex Rodriguez took two banned substances during a year he was awarded the league’s MVP and traded to a team where he would go on to become MLB’s highest paid player. He has gone on ’60 Minutes’ before, denying ever taking steroids and in this case responded: “You’ll have to talk to the union. I’m not saying anything.”

Sure, in A-Rod’s “defense” the results were supposed to have been anonymous. And – at this point – all accusations are “alleged.” That’s about as far as I can go in terms of defending him. And, yes, Michael Phelps makes a lot of money as a spokesperson for products that are marketed towards children. Besides the fact that he’s barely more than a kid himself, and that marijuana is barely a drug, please see above about how he admitted what he did and took responsibility for it. That is what we call personal accountability and it's commendable.

I would like to thank Seth Meyer and ‘Weekend Update’ for really summarizing the Michael Phelps situation accurately – you can see it starting at 1:32 in the below video.



For those of y’all without Hulu access, let me transcribe:

"If you’re at a party and you see Michael Phelps smoking a bong, and your first thought isn’t ‘Wow, I get to party with Michael Phlelps” and instead you take a picture and sell it to a tabloid, you should take a long look in the mirror, because you’re a dick. I mean, really.”

February 5, 2009

Mashups are awesome.

Last night, Trevor said to me, “Remember when Michael ran over Meredith with her car and Creed listed all the pain killers she might be on?”. Because we had just finished watching ‘Lost’, the first thing that flashed to mind was “What? Who’s Meredith? I don’t remember that episode! Why am I so incapable of keeping track of everything that happens on that damn show??”. He was actually speaking, of course, of ‘The Office’ episode where Steve Carell’s Michael Scott hits one of his employees with his car in the parking lot.

Though initially confusing, this gave me an awesome idea for someone with time on their hands and Final Cut Pro on their computer. Please create a mashup where plot lines jump from 1 television series to another according to character name.

Let’s say we start with Michael from ‘Lost’ – the perfect scene would be when he gets in his car and starts speeding towards a wall. Before he hits the wall, we cut to Michael from ‘The Office’ announcing that he hit Meredith with his car. Now we’re in ‘Office’ land and the possibilities are almost endless:

Michael from The Office - Kevin from The Office - Kevin from Wonder Years - Jack from The Wonder Years - Jack from 30 Rock - Jack from Lost - Rose from Lost - Rose from Privileged - Lily from Privileged - Lily from How I Met Your Mother - Lily from Gossip Girl - Lily from Pushing Daisies - Chuck from Pushing Daisies - Chuck from Chuck - Chuck from Gossip Girl - Nate from Gossip Girl - Nate from Six Feet Under - Keith from Six Feet Under - Keith from Veronica Mars - Logan from Veronica Mars - Logan from Gilmore Girls - Luke – From Gilmore Girls - Luke from The OC - Ryan from The OC - Ryan from The Office…

From there, you could keep going (I didn’t even get to the Barney from How I Met Your Mother / Barney the Dinosaur connection!), or you are back at the beginning. It’s like a bizarre version of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon – and it might become my new obsession.


Please note that today I have been having massive computer issues here at work – it appears I contracted some kind of virus. So, while I’ve been working on this entry – which clearly required a significant amount of time searching for and then playing around with images – I have been in a constant state of panic that the IT guy would actually respond to my plea for help and then walk in: “Yeah, it's the weirdest thing - it must be one of the side effects of the virus. Pictures of the cast of Gossip Girl just keep popping up!”

I hear you, but I’m not listening

For the last 6 months, I have been seeing ads for Audible.com on the bus and Red Line. It appears to be a site for downloading audio books, and promises a free download, but I have not yet made it to the site to find out what it’s all about.

There must be something wrong with the ads (or me) because this is clearly something targeted for people just like me – a reading-devout public transportation commuter – but I just have this brain freeze when it comes to actually following through. I have made a note on my iPod, I’ve recited the word “Audible” to myself as I walk from the bus stop to my building, I even wrote it on my hand once. Nothing.

So, I’m going right now to check it out. Unless I get distracted by something else in the next 20 seconds.

February 3, 2009

Man of the Month: February

Coming up with Man of the Month this time around was harder than usual (Or maybe it’s just the fact I’m not sure anyone should have to live up to a title previously held by Obama – but good luck with that Patrick Quinn). To get around the brain block, I've decided to break out of the mold a bit and honor the pop culture entity taking up the most of my time over the last month. I speak, of course, of 'Lost' (And by of course, I mean: Trevor and I spent one rapid fire week watching all of Season 4 on DVD before the new premiere two weeks ago. I’ve blogged twice about it already - and just imagine all the questions I left out of those blogs - and I’ve read more theories and missives over the last two weeks than during the previous 4 years combined.)

How convenient that this obsession comes fully equipped with totally qualified Man of the Month material! Some short love letters to the Men of Lost (And, yes, these are in order of Love - and, though they are wrapped in sarcasm, please be warned that SPOILERS may be contained):

Sayid – You kick so much ass, I have forgiven you for sleeping with Shannon during Season 2. I also loved you in ‘Bride and Prejudice.’

Sawyer – I'm still not entirely sure why you insisted you wanted to stay on the Island, then got on the helicopter to leave, then had the Most Dramatic Exit Ever...but you can call me Freckles anytime. Please don’t hook up with Juliette.

Jack – If you would just get over yourself, everything would be just fine. But you perfected screwed up leader so well in your 'Party of Five' years, and I love you for it.

Charlie – I’m sorry you had to leave us. Thank heavens you’re kind of a ghost now. I’d miss your hoodie, accent and short man overcompensation.

Desmond – Oh, Desmond. You have a chance for happiness. Why must you screw it up by reaching out to Widmore?

Jin – What progress you made as a character. I haven’t given up hope on you yet.

Daniel Faraday – I don’t know how I feel about you yet, but you are kind of adorable when you get all jittery. I hated that part last week though when you confessed your love for Charlotte though. Let’s consider you half-Man of the Month.

Yes, this is a Man of the Month first - not only recognizing multiple people at a time, but also doing so with characters. Back to real life next month y'all.

Social Media Experiment, Parts 1 & 2

Let’s start small. First, I’ll be seeing what application options Google has, so membership to one site is all that's required of you (If you are a Gmail or Blogspot user, or a Google account holder, you're all set. If you're none of the above, it's easy and completely painless to link your existing email account to a Google account, so you can use Google apps like Google Docs. You're not getting a new email address or anything, just a whole new world of Google-invented opportunities.)

In order to install any number of Google Social Media apps, the first thing I needed was the Google FriendConnect app you see at the right. It appears that everything else runs through it. You can become a “member” of my friend network, and then experiment with any of the apps I add going forward.

App #1 I am especially excited about – it's an interactive playlist creator, through iLike. I’ve started a playlist of some of my favorite songs of the moment, which you can listen to on your own, or to which you can add your own favorites. Why is this a cool social networking option? I could also embed an individual playlist in one particular entry, and people could submit their own choices for, say, Song of the Year 2008 or Best Songs to Workout to. Cool, right?

Try it out, let me know what you think.

(Also, I think Google should pay me for the number of times I namedropped them in this post.)

Up and coming

Hello loyal blog readers & thank you for your patronage,

This blog was my first real step into the Web 2.0 waters, after years as an event marketer telling people to pay a lot of money to attend conferences and become fully trained to navigate said waters. Choose your own adventure time: If you find yourself asking, “What does she mean, Web 2.0?” read on. To skip to the good stuff, please go to Paragraph 3.

Web 2.0 used to really mean something, but now it’s something that people like me throw around to try and prove that they know what they’re talking about when it comes to the internet and cutting-edge technology. These days it's essentially a euphemism for social networking. Think about it this way: When the internet first started, it was an email platform and a destination for information. Now, the internet is completely different (as pioneered by things like Wikipedia and constantly being shaped by things like Twitter) – and is all about the two-way exchange of information. It no longer just tells you things; you use it to say things as well – and not just to people you know via email and IM – to the world at large with status updates and blogs and Wikipedia entries. So that's what social networking & Web 2.0 boil down to: How we interact with the world at large via the internet (and social media just means the platforms on which we socially network). Got it?

For me, this blog has been a great intro to what social networking can really be about beyond Facebook (Yes, you can now find me on Twitter, BrazenCareerist.com, LinkedIn and much more). I've realized it's something I’m interested in learning and doing a lot more around (maybe even – yikes – as a career!), so I’m making a full-blown effort to be on the bleeding-edge of this stuff.

With that in mind, you’ll notice some changes round about these parts as I try some things out. On the right toolbar I’ve added three new boxes – they start with the heading Social Media Experiments of the Week, and that’s just what they are (though, week might be a bit generous): Forays into new ways to interact, engage and participate on the internet. Some of the new features will be an attempt to drive more traffic to this blog, some I’m hoping will make it a more interactive, fun experience for you existing readers, and some are just kind of neat. I will make every attempt to streamline where these applications are coming from, so you’re not constantly being asked to join new sites or add new functionality. And when I find things that work or really don’t – you can bet I’ll be talking about it. So, please tell me what you think – What you use, what you’ve tried, what you love and what you hate. That is what social networking is all about after all.

Hoping not to drown in Web 2.0 waters,
Ashley

F-Bombing Bale

Remember how I was talking about the 10 celebrities I would like to meet most? I mentioned that they were all included (esp. the legen-wait for it-dary Queen Latifah) because I think they'd be as likable in real life as they are in character, and that I was pretty sure that Christian Bale is not?

Yeah.

Be warned: This video is super-NSFW, and includes approximately 1 eff-bomb every 6 seconds.

February 2, 2009

Movie Review: Revolutionary Road

I don’t know if I can say that I enjoyed ‘Revolutionary Road,’ but I am glad to have seen it. That being said – most of my issues with the film are plot-driven, so if you haven’t seen it, and plan to, you should stop reading now.



As a good AP English student, I read a lot of so-called feminist literature in high school. At some point, I realized that feminist literature seemed to mean that, at the end, the heroine either marries (‘Jane Eyre') or dies (‘The Awakening’). This frustrated my 16-year old self, and it’s a large part of the reason I try to avoid chick lit today (If high-brow feminist literature is disappointing in its portrayal of women because it winds up being clichéd, what hope does Bridget Jones have?).

What does this have to do with ‘Revolutionary Road’? Well, I haven’t read the book, but according to my sources (Read: Trevor), the Sam Mendes-directed adaptation is very accurate, so I feel pretty confident saying that ‘Revolutionary Road’ is a feminist novel. This is interesting, because it’s written by a man. While I believe that men can be feminists (The idea that to be a feminist is to hate men and not shave your armpits is an out-of-date, close-minded, ridiculous view), I am not entirely comfortable with the idea of male writers – and film directors – using a woman’s feelings about and actions toward her body as a symbol for their a bigger statement, which is what I think was happening here.

Let’s get into the specifics:

Kate and Leo play a married couple, living a supposed perfect life in the suburbs of New York City in the 1950s. Under the surface, it’s far from perfect. When they met, they had ideas and plans and passions – and now they’ve somehow wound up the bored parents of two living in the suburbs, and they blame one another. She’s manipulative and prone to depressive behavior; he’s wandering, patronizing and self-righteous.

They decide to break out of this mold, to grab their lives with both hands and to make it into the one they always imagined. For them, this means picking up and moving to Paris, where Kate Winslet’s April will support the family in a well-paying secretarial position while Leo’s Frank, for lack of a better term, figures his s**t out. This decision – one that they make together, based on an amount of mutual respect they hadn’t shown one another in years – reinvigorates their marriage, and they go about making plans and feeling superior to everyone around them. It’s the kind of idealistic glow you can only hope will last. Then (again, SPOILER ALERT), she gets pregnant and he gets cold feet and cancels their plans. She freaks out, tries to abort the new baby to take some semblance of control over her own life, and winds up killing herself.

In the end, we’re left with an image of her children swinging on a jungle gym, being absentmindedly watched by their now devoted (so we hear) father. We also get to see the neighbors – who, if I had time/space and thought you were interested, I could write a whole lot more about. Let’s just say that one of them, the “perfect husband” is in love with Kate Winslet, and does more than fantasize about it – gossiping about the story of the Wheelers as they welcome a new couple to Revolutionary Road.

I know that the movie is about the cyclical attempt to recapture the American Dream. Richard Yates was challenging his readers to ask what this so-called picture perfect post-war America was really hiding. But, I can’t help but feel like there’s this underlying point being made about the futility of life as a woman, and that’s what’s really bothering me.

Wow, you’re still with me?

Plot-aside, the movie was well done. I kind of felt like Leonardo Dicaprio was channeling Pete Campbell and I wasn’t as impressed with Kate Winslet as I was expecting, but it was beautifully shot and there was excellent support from Kathy Bates, the Oscar-nominated Michael Shannon and Kathryn Hahn, who looks way too much like Ana Gasteyer:


I know I just spent a few paragraphs ranting about the plot, so it probably won’t shock you to say that I didn’t love the script. I’ll reiterate what Trevor said afterward: Because the script pulled so directly from the book, it would have been better served on stage, where such formal language seems at home. But where the script was good, it was great. For me, in the movie world, there are few things more hard-hitting, nerve-wracking and intense than arguments you can imagine participating in – the kind that leave its on-screen participants in tears, broken up, or silently sitting on the edge of a bed, broken down. These are more intense for me than any fight scene where actual punches are thrown, and this movie has raised the bar with some serious doozies.

7.25 Twix bars!