Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sequels: Sometimes, You Must Kill Them

It's like beating a long-dead horse skeleton. Really, really not worth it.
Then again, once in a while, magic happens, ie Godfather, Dark Knight, Aliens, Toy Story.

But last weekend, I saw Pirates 4--yes, FOUR--and going into it, I just kept thinking, "Really? Really?" I'm almost starting to forget that the original movie is so magical and ingenious, though not really because that's impossible. Why do they keep making movies? I mean, I know why. It's because we buy the tickets to see it, usually on opening weekend, and no matter how bad it is, there's a pretty decent and guaranteed return on the investment. Leaving practically no incentive to make the sequels actually good.

And Disney is the biggest culprit. I will admit, a lot of kids enjoy watching their favorite movies over...and over...and over...and over...and over again. Having a sequel available can help slow down the drill that's destroying the parent's sanity. But...still. Cinderella was given two sequels. So was Aladdin, and the Lion King. Once again, Pirates was given three. Fantastic movies, not-so-fantastic follow-ups. Not that they were all Knife status, but the mere idea of it is so unappetizing that I can never really get excited about them.

Crazy as this might sound, I'm beginning to compare half-baked sequels to fan fiction. Oh yes, you read that right. There are some strong similarities to what makes them good, and what makes them blind the audience in their hideousness.

Problem 1. If the original was amazing, great. You fell in love with the characters, the author's universe, and the story itself. And every time you get to the end, you just don't want it to end. And so you come up with hare-brained ideas to continue the story when it just needs to end--and often, these fan fictions end up being erotic, which is just weird. Keep that to yourself. Lesson: Let it go, let it die in peace. Don't torture it!

Problem 2. Riding on the glory of original work, so that you can avoid being original yourself. Maybe this doesn't apply to sequels as much as franchises like Halloween and its counterparts, James Bond, and so on. Instead of coming up with your own idea, you just tweak someone else's. In the novel world, I see so many Pride and Prejudice spin-offs, it's sickening. Sometimes, you get something good (like adding zombies to Pride and Prejudice, or Rob Zombie's Halloween) Lesson: If you have legitimate skill in storytelling, no matter the medium, prove it. Do it yourself.

Problem 3. Familiarity. It's just easier to get people excited about something they already know and/or love, again reducing the incentive to make it a quality product. And yes, once you've established something everyone loves, you can take more risks. But personally, I value the original risk more. Lesson: You can be good by improving what's there, and you can be great by starting what isn't. Think the PC and Internet.

This summer is so full of sequels, that it's time we look back and reanalyze why we're doing it. Make no mistake, I will see X-Men, Kung Fu Panda 2, Hangover 2, and HP 8. Although, HP doesn't count. That one has to finish. When they made the first movie, I didn't doubt they would finish all seven books. And I am going to the midnight premiere, and may end up standing and cheering as if I were at the Superbowl. Some obsessions are unhealthy.

I will not see Spy Kids 4...I mean, really, why? This is just wrong.

Anyway, Pirates 4. Good not great. I'm glad they completely refreshed the storyline, taking out some key characters to put in Penelope Cruz, who was excellent. Depp lost absolutely none of his charm, and that is not easy. The plot was messy in its details, if not in its overall points, and I laughed and had fun. Especially at the end. If you're really not enjoying it and want to leave, stay for the last scene. It's worth it. So, Fork. I was prepared for the worst, and got okay, instead.

Here's a reminder of why there is a Pirates 4. Okay, it's all Captain Jack, and there are good moments that don't include him, honestly, but I like this one.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rom-Coms: The Good, The Bad, and The REALLY Bad

Here's the formula for a romantic comedy (aka rom-com, chick flick, etc):

Guy and girl meet, one of three things then happens:
1. They hate each other
2. Someone makes some stupid, crazy and secretive plan to get something.
3. Or both

Then the plot thickens, "funny" stuff happens, and they start to like each other.

The plan is found out or some stupid fight happens, guy or girl leaves without any intention of coming back. Which is completely unrealistic and frustrating. I mean, can you at least listen to the whole story? Don't just storm out after hearing one bad thing. Talk it out. Work out fights like real people. If this is a common occurrence, the relationship is really not gonna last for very long.

Chase scene! Cannot forget the chase scene with the gooey speech admitting all the feelings that the hero-heroine just couldn't say last week. And all ends happily ever after.


But some of the movies unfortunately cast into this genre are good, usually because they are completely unique and don't include lame cliche jokes. For example:

50 First Dates: That's an adorable movie. Highly improbable, verging on impossible, but funny and sweet. A guy meets a girl he really likes, but oh no--she has short-term memory loss. Every day, she forgets what happened the day before. Now he has to figure out a way to help her remember him, because he's in love. Aw, how sweet. And I mean that for real; I'm not secretly gagging.

Strange, but wonderful for it. And Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore--NOT my favorite comedy actors by far--were actually quite cute. My rating: Spoon. Once in a while, when you want an easy, sweet, romantic comedy that's not completely dumb, go for this.

Stranger Than Fiction: When Wil Farrel does something not involving him undressing and pulling really dumb jokes, he can be quite funny and quite amazing. Though, yes, I did like Talladega Nights. This movie, however, is a complete turn from his normal style. And I mean a complete turn.

He plays a boring, OCD IRS agent who starts hearing a voice narrating his life. The voice then predicts his death. Not so good, right? Well, on the way to solving this mystery, he ends up realizing what a drab life he was living and he decides to really live it. He goes after the girl he likes, learns the guitar, and triumphs. The issue of his death hasn't been resolved, though, but that's for you to find out by watching. It's a sweet, gooey romantic comedy from the guy's perspective. With a little bit of an insane author thrown into the mix. And it's wonderful. Spoon Spoon Spoon.

This, right here from Stranger Than Fiction, is the best pickup ever. And I mean, THE BEST. It will melt the hearts of any anti-romance fiends and/or cynics.

"You want me?"
"In no uncertain terms."

How, how can anyone resist that? This part alone, I believe, makes this movie my all-time favorite romantic comedy.

Juno: Do I need to say why? I think this is a pretty solid, universal Spoon of a movie. It started the trend of indie/hipster romances where the characters like to talk about their favorite obscure bands. Nowadays, movies like that can be annoying unless they're done right (like 500 Days of Summer).

It's Complicated: Awesome movie. Meryl Streep is gorgeous and elegant no matter what she does. And this movie is unique and does not play to the traditional genre at all. It's funny, cute, entertaining and worth watching many times over. Girls' Night Out Spoon! (these kinds of spoons usually have ice cream on least, they do for me and my girlfriends).

Just Friends: Yes, it has many rom-com cliches. No, it is not a cliche. Yes, it is awesome. Anna Faris makes my life better, all the time. Basically, it's this: On your marks: A fat, dorky kid in high school gets picked on by the football team, but he happens to be bff's with the hot head cheerleader, who has pushed him into the deadly Friend Zone. Get Set: Fed up, he runs away, gets in shape, and becomes a music-producing celebrity 10 years later. A twist of fate brings him back to his hometown, where his dream girl still lives. And...go! Oh, don't forget super-psychotic pop star (Faris) tagging along, and rival Dusty Dinkleman, another loser-turned-Don Juan who always seems to one-up our hero. This movie is my family's Christmas tradition...along with Elf, all the clay-mation classics, and Christmas Story. Spoon. Watch it!

Now, onto the romantic comedies I really, really don't care for:

  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: Actually, can we extend that to just about EVERY Matthew McConaughey movie? He is pretty much a douche. No more. Please. Do I need to bring up Ghosts of Girlfriends Past? Do I?
  • Maid in Manhattan: I do like Jennifer Lopez, really. But, this movie, not so much. Cinderella stories are a very easy default, and often fall quite flat. (A Cinderella Story is an example of one that doesn't fall entirely flat)
  • The Proposal: SHOCKER. I love Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. But the premise of this movie falls apart very quickly and it's kind of lame. They go from NYC to ALASKA for a weekend and fall in love??? NO. It's not a Knife, but it's not a particularly pleasant Fork, either
  • Family Stone: It's boring--I know it's a drama-dy, but it's not a good drama OR comedy in any way. And Sarah Jessica Parker's BF who wants to propose doesn't really stand up for her, and then falls for her sister the minute she comes into town. Nice. Again, not a knife, just a really bad Fork.
  • The Holiday: Not good, not that bad. Kate Winslet and Jack Black were great together. Cameron Diaz (whom I hate with a fiery passion) and Jude Law...just awful. The dialogue was lame and awkward and not inspiring at all. Another Rusty Fork
  • What Happens in Vegas: Another completely contrived, stupid plot with lame antics. Knife.
In conclusion, Matthew McConaughey is annoying, and Cameron Diaz needs to be censored out of every movie she's ever been in, except Shrek. If they ever end up in a rom-com together, be ready. The end of the world comes shortly afterwards.

There are so many more...but I'll leave it here. I think the idea is clear enough.

I think the real problem is that romance and love and relationships are far too complicated to work in silly, contrived plots. Yes, we all love the easy, happily-ever-after endings, but when we come across stories that have realistic and well-done relationships, the result is SO much more satisfying.
I can't help but enjoy the math jokes :) Au revoir!

Friday, April 29, 2011


Why, oh why do I love zombie movies?

Demotivationals. Gotta love them.

Then again, why wouldn't I? I think part of it is the adrenaline rush, similar to that in suspense movies when a character runs away from imminent death and you're holding your breath just hoping they'll survive. Another part is putting yourself in the situation: "What would I do if the world suddenly fell to flesh-eaters without a sense of mercy or pain?" Scary thought, right? But that's what makes zombie movies, and other survivalist-themed movies, so hard to not watch.

I still need to watch some of the better zombie flicks, like Dawn of the Dead. It's not on Netflix!!! grrrr

So, here are my 4 favorite zombie apocalypse flicks, in no particular order, that all earned official Spoon status!!!

  • Zombieland
  • 28 Days Later
  • Shawn of the Dead
  • Night of the Living Dead

Okay, so there is debate on what classifies as zombie: after all, 28 Days Later is about a virus, not the dead coming back to life. As is Zombieland. But it's the same idea, so I count it! Bow to my will.

Anyway, Zombieland and Shawn of the Dead are fantastic because they're funny and brilliant. This new genre of romantic-zombie-comedy is freaking amazing. You almost, ALMOST, want to live in Zombieland. It's like a happy zombie movie. Who thought of that?

Movie Quote: "You ever see a lion limber up before hunting a gazelle?"
#2: "You got red on you."

Perhaps what I like is that the romance part actually makes sense. If a guy and a girl escape death multiple times together, fighting a war against hellish creatures, then falling in love at the end simply makes sense. That's a pretty strong bond. In normal romantic comedies, it just doesn't always add up.

The other two are pure art, whereas the first two are pure entertainment. Night of the Living Dead started it all. For an old movie with somewhat silly special effects, it is intense and creepy. And it doesn't disappoint. There isn't really a part where you think, "No, that's not right. That shouldn't have happened." Like the girl who freezes up in shock for the entire movie. You have to hate her, because you want to slap her but you can't. Good job director for having a good diversity of characters. And the ending, while not predictable, made complete sense. It was a very, very satisfying and exciting movie. I thank the people who made it for starting one of my favorite genres.

28 Days Later twists a lot of things we take for granted in movies. Like the fact that when the world falls, all humans will: 1. Remain sane, and 2. Help each other out. As we learn in this movie, sometimes the threat isn't just the enraged, infectious flesh eaters. It's other people, too. The zombies, however, are not to be forgotten. They are terrifying. None of this slow amble towards food; they sprint. Adrenaline doubles during the frantic dashes to safety. The action factor has increased. And it is a ride for your life! Oh, what fun!

I also love the point when the girl Selena tells Jim (Naomie Harris and Cillian Murphy, respectively) not to expect anything. Thanks to, I can get the full quote :D

"He was full of plans. Have you got any plans, Jim? Do you want us to find a cure and save the world or just fall in love and f***? Plans are pointless. Staying alive's as good as it gets."

Because, well, that's what tends to happen in movies. Either the protagonists save the world, or fall in love. SPOILER ALERT: this movie fulfills one of these things anyway.

Other zombie movies I enjoyed that qualified for Fork it status:

  • Resident Evil (1 and 2, probably 3 though I haven't seen it): Action-Packed, cheap entertainment. FUN
  • 28 Weeks Later: pretty exciting, not nearly as good as the original
I feel like I'm missing one...ah whatever.

Some movies I did NOT like:
  • The Crazies(newer version): does this count? Well, it sucked. KNIFE IT
  • I don't even remember the name, but it was on the Chiller Channel and it was based off a video game. You really shouldn't trust these kinds of movies. If it wasn't in the theaters, chances are there's a good reason for that. It was bad. But there was nothing else on.
And with that rant, I depart, with a quote from one of my all-time favorite movies ever:

"Who are you, and why are you doing this?"
"We are bad men, and for the money."

Monday, April 4, 2011

New Releases and a Surprise Hit!

It has been some time. Oh, the life of a college student who so wisely takes 18 credit hours, expecting free time. *Note sarcasm.

Aaaaannnyway, I would like to introduce you to three new releases in theaters still, and a super-special surprise hit!

First off: Hall Pass

Not going to go into much detail about it, but it's a pretty straightforward comedy-romance. By the way, that is in fact different from a romantic-comedy, which is usually centered around the romance. This, however, is centered more around the comedy, with a touch of romance. Still, it was quite predictable in its plot, leaving the surprises to the jokes and more shocking moments.

Honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about Owen Wilson. I mean, he's funny, in a way, and his voice was fantastic for Cars, but he's one of those drier comedic actors that doesn't really hit that ol' funny bone, except when he's the "villain," aka Zoolander and Meet the Parents.

Other that that, the movie had me laughing out loud--literally, not in that text-y way that should be more appropriately be name, LSTM (laughing silently to myself, thank you Demetri Martin). Jason Sudeikis, who plays the best friend and partner in crime, was really funny. He's vaguely familiar, and apparently he's known for SNL, so I'll have to check that out. There are some great one-liners, that I definitely cannot repeat in polite society, and a moment I'd rather forget...but that's okay. The female counterpart leads were fun as well--I love seeing Pam from "The Office" in movies. I feel like I can say, "I knew her before she was popular!" Yeah, me and many thousand other people. And did you know Amanda Bynes was originally cast for the role of the babysitter? Huh...that would have been interesting, and I'm not sure if it's in a good way.

My rating: Fork it! If you're a huge fan of the trashy idiot-men trying to party and having a roller coaster ride in the process, go for it. If you need an easy, fun time, go for it. Otherwise, no harm done in not seeing it.

Next on the list: Limitless

I'll try to be unbiased, but it's hard when Bradley Cooper is on the screen. I tend to be a sucker for big-time Hollywood hotties, except Gerard Butler (and I don't know why).

But seriously, this was a fun movie. There's a little bit of an action flick, a little bit of a godfather-esque business drama, and and add a little well-place, natural comedy and romance. It really is unique. Shocking, intense, suspenseful, even a little harsh at times. It's an adrenaline ride with few breaks.

My favorite scenes were the ones that had DeNiro and Cooper facing off in verbal battle. That's fantastic material right there. I could feel the electricity buzzing the whole time, and I loved it. I didn't want there to be a winner between the two; it felt like a sad defeat.

On a more serious note, Limitless brought out a lot of elements of the terrible desperation of drug addictions. Yes, it's a drug that makes you better and smarter, but the addiction leads to people getting hurt. And the struggle for power makes you willing to do anything. The writers apparently had no qualms about crossing the line here.

My rating: Fork it Good! It's not on my list of ones-to-see-again-and-again-and-again-until-my-hands-hurt-from-typing-this-way, but I recommend people see it. One day, I'll find myself watching it again, but probably only in a passive sense. But still! It's a fantastic one-time flick, and fun! Go see it!

Third of Four on the list (hang in there with me): SuckerPunch

Talk about having a predisposition towards a movie. I went in expecting to love it, because I liked the premise, I like the director of 300, and I'm a fan of action and fantasy stories that are purely about being awesome, if not realistic. Which caters to the nerds like me, but if someone doesn't enjoy it, they're just boring. I mean, there were Nazi Zombies in this and Orcs. COD and LOTR anyone?

It's a little difficult to understand. I still can't pin down whether or not the club where the girls performed was real or not--I'm guessing yes. So, the storyline is confusing, but here's what you need to know to enjoy it: a girl locked away in a mental hospital creates a plan to escape, and to help, she creates an alternate reality where each part of the plan has some intense battle scene straight from every graphic novel/fantasy movie that ever existed.

You would think that this would remove some of the suspense. After all, things like sneaking into an office to steal a map are really suspenseful, and not actually showing that part should alleviate that intensity. But no, it doesn't. And that's genius, in my mind. That's skill.

My rating: Fork it Good. It's a little exhausting to want to watch all the time, and the mind-blowing action is not meant to be worn out, but I think even people who are skeptical about this fantasy-action drama should try this movie. It's one fun ride.

Now for the surprise hit! Before I reveal it, let me just say that I specifically searched for a romantic-comedy that would be bad, so that I could say I watched a bad rom-com. But no, I actually really liked this movie. And I'm still befuddled by that fact.

Here it is: Beauty and the Briefcase

What about this movie doesn't scream "I'm not going to be good?" It's made for TV, it's got a silly premise, and re-hashed, cliche jokes and plot conflicts. And the acting...oy, nothing fantastic there. AND YET I LIKED IT. Why?

I'll start by saying there were some unexpected turns. The typical conflicts in the plot (evil girlfriend, main character lies and gets caught) were toned down and played out in a less annoying way than most rom-coms. And the more I watched, the more I fell in love with the main love interest, Michael McMillian. He's just aderrrrrable. It's so cheesy and contrived, and Hilary Duff, my Lizzie McGuire, never really learned how to actually act. But it was fun! And cute!

I face-palmed myself for liking this so much. I must have been in the right mood.

Which leads to the rating: Fork it! If you're with your girlfriends, with a ton of sugar you claim you shouldn't have (but you will), you should watch it. It's quite a cute movie.

Next up on the movie list, to continue my losing battle against the rom-com, will be a blog dedicated to that genre. Prepare, Hollywood Cupid, to go down.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Busy Week!!!! FOUR movies :D

I had a mission for this post: an older movie (20+ years) and a newer one that is not well-known (at least to me).

Little did I know that I would add an Oscar winner AND a 1920's silent film that was lost, then found, then restored and then some, to this mission. But it happened :)

First on tonight's lineup: The Sting.

1973 is almost 40 years ago. Think about that for a moment. Then let me tell you about an intriguing, fun ride of a movie that holds your interest in a calm and elegant manner, and then in the last half hour it punches you in the gut multiple times and leaves you staring dumbstruck at the screen. AWESOME. Quick plot cover: a young con man teams up with a retired pro to get revenge for a mutual friend by pulling a big con on a mob boss. What could possibly go wrong?

And may I just say, many, many years too late, that Robert Redford was a hottie. I mean, day-um. It's weird to find out that my grandmother had a crush on him as well...oh the immortal and slightly creepy power of art.

I also noticed while watching this that, to me, it seems like movie makers back then required a little more attention and understanding from their audience. This is an intelligent movie with some complicated dialogue, and if you don't actively watch this movie, you can miss a lot. The important parts still get to you, but you miss some of the better subtleties throughout. So pay attention. It'll be a better experience. Or you can just sit back and stare at Redford. That's cool too.

Final Word: SPOON. Mostly because I need to watch it again to re-absorb all the details, but I can see myself, at some point, craving to see it again. And not just for the eye candy--I also enjoyed the quiet but strong female support, especially Eileen Brennan. So go watch it!

Next on the list: Best in Show

This was one of those Netflix recommendations that caught my eye. Five very different owners of competitive-show dogs head off for the big competition in a mockumentary that pokes at all of us in so many ways. The redneck provided the best laughs. If you're a fan of The Office, British or American, you'll appreciate his awkward monologues that probably killed some brain cells.

There are some other funny moments, but overall the movie is slow. Granted, it's a more subtle comedy, and very realistic in its portrayal of awkward moments in our lives, but it's easy to lose focus. The cast was a B-list line up--Eugene Levy, Jennifer Coolidge, John Michael Higgins, and even Jane Lynch (who, as of now, is NOT a B-lister)--but I liked them.

Final Word: Forka-Forka. That is to say, if you love The Office, and you've got some time, go for it. Or if you want a really different kind of comedy, give it a shot. But you don't lose anything by not seeing it.

Now for the fun. Another Netflix recommendation that blew me away and completely changed my view of movies.

The movie that apparently won't die, even after all it's been through:


A silent movie from 1927 Germany that disappeared and then was rediscovered in South America. Some scenes were damaged, which is obvious when you watch it, and some are completely gone, so instead you see title screens telling you what happens. Just that makes it crazy. But then it gets good.

This movie describes a strange world where the working class lives underground, completely separate from the elite class--the "head" is separate from the "hands." The son of the man who rules the city then discovers the horrors underground and joins the aspiring revolution. He meets Maria, a woman advocating a peaceful transfer of power through the "heart" or the mediator (in case you didn't notice, that's our hero).

Then things go insane. Like, w.t.f. insane. A crazy inventor creates a robot that looks like humans and obeys his commands, and the leading couple is about to suffer a terrible trial for their love and their revolution. There are so many things that start going on in this movie, you have to watch it to understand. And because it's silent, you have to WATCH it.

It did run a little long, especially towards the end, and the acting was a little odd at times, but it changes how you understand movies and storytelling. It draws you into a visual roller coaster of a story, and you forget that it's silent--at least in terms of dialogue. We are so used to movies that are completely dialogue-driven that we never think of the ways to tell a story without words. Educational for sure.

Final Word: FORK it GOOD. I do not see myself coming back to this frequently, because I don't have a lot of time, but I'm glad I saw it. By the way, it's on that giant list of 1001 movies to see before you die. So I'm not alone here.

And last but NOT least: The King's Speech.

I'll make this short: It deserved every nomination it got and then some. And, honestly, you can't go wrong with Colin Firth. It's kind of impossible. He's an acting superhero. The rest of the cast, too, was superb--can I just say, Bellatrix Lestrange and Peter Pettigrew here? Did not see that coming. But it was a delightful surprise for sure. Helena Bonham Carter is also an acting superhero. With or without Tim Burton.

It was funny, sweet, heartbreaking, intense, fun and a great ride. And a great story. I love good storytelling. I will say, however, that, being the daughter of a photographer, I noticed some almost-overwhelming camera angles that seemed overdone. But they were few and far between.

It's still in theaters! Go go go! The verdict: Fork it Good.

And...exhale. And in case I don't see you, Good Afternoon, Good Evening, and Good Night.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Black Swan" and the Many Topics In and About It

When Natalie Portman goes crazy, she goes freaking nuts. But she's beautiful when she does.

I love this poster as a supplement
to the mainstream one
That said, Black Swan deserved every nomination and award it got--though it's mildly disappointing that the score couldn't win an Oscar since it's not technically original, just a revamp of the original composition. Oh well, I guess. It's still amazing.

This movie is Gritty, Intense, Dramatic, and Suspenseful. And, above all, Beautiful, in a scary, insane way. One critic had described it as "over the top," giving me weird expectations. And yes, it was a little, but in a good way.  It was...theatrical. I personally squirmed constantly at the violence or the threat of violence in the movie. Every second, I was terrified something painful and disgusting would happen--it started with the bleeding finger that she started to pull apart. Gag. I'm still trying not to remember it. But the violence wasn't overdone, like some movies--aka, Saw III and every single one after that. I mean, I wouldn't say there's a such thing as tasteful violence, but there's violence that fits and violence that's just there.

Besides that, this movie screws with your mind repeatedly. Once you find out that a particular scene didn't actually happen, you look back and remember little things that were out of place. This is one of the few movies that will probably give you more and more to see every time you watch it. Nothing can beat Fight Club, though I think we all know that.

And then did my friends say it..."awkward" parts. I usually call it that as well, but "adult" or "mature" probably works better.

Honestly, I don't mind it--again, probably not a such thing as "tasteful" sex in movies (sometimes the line between movies and porn blurs, especially in R movies)--but there's overdone, and there are things that fit. Here, I think it fits, and ultimately it's up to the creators of the movie and each individual audience member. Here, Nina (Portman) was an uptight, fragile (in soooooooo many ways) childlike girl. You saw her room, right? Stuffed animals and PINK everywhere (not the awesome singer, but the color). And apparently, in order to become the passionate and powerful Black Swan, she has to find "sexual freedom." Not really, just saying.

**Note to all writers out there. Be creative. Break the mold. Next time a character is tightly wound, unwind them without any sex. I DARE YOU. Do something Hollywood hasn't done yet.**

Nina finds her power as the seductive Black Swan, but loses her mind doing it. Leading to an ending that is simultaneously triumphant, terrifying, and tragic. Oh, and insane. Have I said insane enough??? Because that's what this movie is. Wonderfully insane. The ending was just right, and poetic to boot.

The other actors were also perfect--I love to see Mila Kunis, whom I know from "That 70's Show" and "Family Guy," do something that well. She provided most of the funny moments in the movie in an easy, realistic way. It was awesome. And Barbara Hershey, the mom, was scary, as was Winona Ryder. Like really scary.

And after doing a little extra research, I discover (thanks to that Portman suffered some intense injuries on set--like a concussion and dislocated rib. That's dedication.

With that said, I give this movie a rating of!

Drum roll please!

Keep going...

Not there yet

Don't stop now!

Halfway there!

Just kidding.

SPOON! If I could go back to the movies theaters and see it, I would. Unfortunately, money prevents that occurrence. But I would like to see it again, maybe notice something new.

Next post, I am going to find an older (20+ years) movie that's interesting, and maybe a newer one that's really not well known. I want to spice it up!!!!

Live Long and Prosper!

PS--I'm trying to add some more life to the blog, so here's one of my favorite pieces from the movie. It has the classical bit that reflects the ballet and the movie's ties to the ballet, then a darker side that reminds you what Nina's losing in her journey of becoming the Swan Queen:

Friday, February 4, 2011

"Social Network" and a Look Into Something I Really Hate

Who would have thought that Mark Zuckerberg was, in secret, a dry-humored zombie killer? Mind blown.

But seriously, Jesse Eisenberg (look it's the Berg twins!) is great. He's like a slightly-more mainstream Michael Cera. And a little more diverse, at that. I love the dry humor of these two actors. It's a refreshing change to Will Ferrell and Jim Carrey. I love them both, but there needs to be diversity in the comedic world. And thank God we have it.

Now, the Social Network. Problem Numero Uno: Contrary to popular belief, (note hint of sarcasm here) computer programmers aren't exactly the party crowd that get lots of groupies. Rich programmers, however, are a different story. Being a girl aspiring in a career in this field, I can say that the stereotypes are true and untrue. They're true because someone who dedicates their life to programming that much tends to have a different social life than a business man. That said, everyone is different. And this field is changing. Not to mention, people who work in computers tend to be more logical and straightforward, and those who do well are intelligent and fun to hang out with. We're not socially awkward, I promise!

Back to the story: I liked it a lot. It was funny, intriguing, and witty. I wonder: was there really a chicken involved??? That bit was great. The characters were complex and realistic, no matter how close to reality they are or are not. Eisenberg was amazing.

Beyond a well-executed idea, the movie had a subtle point that sticks out the more you think about it. Just for a second, let's go through some names: Mary Kay. Mark Zuckerberg. Bill Gates. Simon Cowell. Michael Dell. Steve Jobs. What two things do they have in common? 1. They're successful entrepreneurs. 2. They don't have degrees.

This is what I see in that fact, which Social Network brought to light: true success comes from something beyond education. Something that breaks the mold. You don't have to have a business degree to have a great idea and make it work. The people who work for you probably do--ie accountants. In Social Network, you see a character who takes the leap with his idea and lives his life according to his rules. College wasn't necessary. How cool is that? Food for thought.

Before I go into Problem 2, I shall give the bottom line, because Problem 2 is a bigger part of something that needs to be fixed.

Social Network: Spoon, but kind of a rusty spoon. At first, I put it into upper Forking, but as I thought about the deeper implications of the movie, I decided it deserved the little push into Spoon status. Kind of like a teacher looking at a student who's tried really hard in class so s/he bumps the student from an 89.3 to an A-.

Now, the hissy fit. Sound mixing. Music. Dialogue. They are so %*$@! off sometimes. You've seen at least one movie where the music interferes with the dialogue, I know you have. You sit there, listening to the conversation, and suddenly, "Wait, what did they say? I didn't hear that."

I despise answering that question. It's not the viewer's fault, though. You know what I think? Some guy, at some point, in the editing room, got laid off, and on his last project, he screwed with the sound, but no one fixed it. Then lazy editors starting copying that to make their movies. And now we have this. #?*!

Another problem: Dialogue is really quiet, so you turn it up to hear, then the music or sound effects come in, and your ears bleed. And imagine when you're watching TV right below someone who's sleeping, and you have to constantly change the volume because you can't hear the words, but everything else is shattering the room. True, personal story.

Here is my petition to the world of sound mixers: Make your sounds level. Boost the dialogue if you have to. Make sure we hear every word we're supposed to!!!! PLEASE! And you know, you don't really need music all the time. Be diverse. Mix it up. Be picky.

That said, that was my biggest problem in Social Network. The main score of the movie was amazing. It won an award, and rightfully so. If I remember right, it was like three notes, la, la, then LA. This low, resonating note hits you in the face, building suspense for a movie that doesn't need suspense, but once you have it, you're excited. So cool. But...I couldn't hear the words. Okay, the club scene doesn't count. But in other places, the music was distracting. And the movie is about the characters! It's not an action film. Dialogue (and by transitive property, understanding the dialogue) is so insanely important.

On that note, TV is worse. The actual show is roughly tens of decibels below the commercials, as in, your ears bleed the minute commercials start. I'm not alone in this observation, and it does not make me want your laxative product more because it's loud. Let me rephrase that: It doesn't make me want it at all because it's loud. I don't want or need laxatives.

Ahem. To summarize, loud commercials don't change my mind.

And there ya go. Exhausted yet? I am.

Stay classy, San Diego. And the rest of the world, too.