Despite an All-Star cast, Divergent took too many liberties with the book ultimately diverging (yup, I did it) from the many of the complicated storylines and situations. The movie was missing much of what made the book so interesting and the characters so compelling in the first place.

Divergent
Directed By: Neil Burger
Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet,  Ashley Judd, Ray Stevenson, Miles Teller, Jai Courtney, Mekhi Phiefer, Zoe Kravitz, Tony Goldwyn, Ansel Elgort

 

From the moment I heard Veronica Roth’s Divergent was to be turned into a movie, I knew the movie wasn’t going to work, at least not entirely. The plot of the book and the emotions of the characters are two complicated to be translated into a 2 hour movie and unfortunately my feelings were right. Divergent suffered the same way Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games did as a first movie. Too much set up, too much exposition, not enough character development. While sometimes it worked for the movie, enough of it didn’t work to make it successful.

 

WHAT WORKED

The Movie Made Sure The Audience Knew What Was Going On (for the most part)
Something that The Hunger Games could have used (yes there will be a lot of these comparisons) was voice over, and I was thankful for its use at the beginning of the movie. Divergent’s world is complicated, but instead of it being explained through lengthy and messy dialogue, it was told with voiceover. It was handy, it was simple, and I always appreciate showing rather than telling, especially when…

Visually, the World Was Just As I Imagined It
The filmmakers did a great job of portraying the post-apocalyptic, futuristic world, incorporating the factions in a realistic, cohesive way. While it may not have been how I pictured it, the production design sucked me in. And that Ferris wheel, yeah, they got that exactly right. Another they got right?

 

The Casting, [Which] Was Near Perfect (which also meant great acting)
Though Shailene Woodley wasn’t how I initially picture Tris, I think she brought a certain charisma and great acting ability to the character. Woodley just has this au natural vibe to her. She doesn’t wear much make up, and the way she delivers her lines is very natural. She just has this ease about her. As for Tobias, I can’t imagine anymore more perfect than Theo James. Frankly, this good looking man is the perfect Tobias. James brought a nice balance of soft vs. hard to Tobias. Despite his baby face, Miles Teller knows how to play the perfect douche bag (I think it’s his Vince Vaughn-y way of babbling), thus making him a great Peter. Kate Winslet was beautiful yet intimidating just as Joanna should be, Jai Courtney was menacing as Eric, and Maggie Q is really the perfect Tori. Maggie Q is just amazing and we need more Asians in film (who don’t just do kung fu or karate.) Now as for the casting of Christina, Al, Caleb…we’ll get to that later…

 

WHAT DIDN’T WORK

Wrong Depiction of the Characters
While some characters were cast correctly, other characters — Christina, Al, Caleb, Will – just felt wrong. Though I might be able to forgive the casting of Al and Will IF we were able to spend more time with them. The movie seemed to swiftly gloss over some characters, while interpreting other characters in correctly, or let’s just be honest, not to my liking. Take Tris for example: What makes Tris Tris is that she’s independent, she’s fearless, she’s wreckless, and she’s impulsive. She doesn’t need anyone’s help. She will learn how to survive and figure it out herself. She shows no weakness. In fact, she’s forced to show vulnerability in order to not become a target to her enemies. The movie version of Tris was not as powerful. She felt like the outcast girl who suddenly became the girl everyone liked. Things seemed to come easy for her. No one really hated her, not even Peter. Sure she was outspoken, but only really with authority. She had no spark, fire, or sass about her. Overall she was likeable, TOO likeable. And Christina, while she and Tris were friends, they didn’t always get along. They were highly competitive. But the with the movie’s version of Christina, nothing really stood out. *major spoiler alert* She let Tris get the flag? Come on MOVIE. This is an important character moment. Epic Fail. Other characters such as Will, Al, Tris’ parents (Hey, why is the President Tris’ father?) weren’t just developed making those emotional moments less impactful because, well, we never really new the characters in this first place. You can’t just gloss over these characters because the way they impact Tris is important. But the movie did gloss over them because…

Time was focused in the wrong areas.
It was almost as if they spent TOO much time developing the backstory, explaining the factions, setting up the real issue. And this is the problem with turning a book like this into a 2 hour movie. It’s impossible. Just as it was for the first installment of The Hunger Games. While the “romance” between Tris and Tobias developed nice and slowly, suddenly at the end it sped up into warp speed in a way that made NO sense whatsoever. And the climatic end scene was pretty much a mess. It was as if everything was happening TOO fast and yet not fast enough. Sometimes the movie slowed down to a crawling pace. When you think in the middle of a movie “we still have a long way to go” that’s never a good sign. I don’t know how the filmmakers would have saved it, but character development can go a long way.

Books are always harder to turn into movies, especially when there are so many beloved characters. However, I’m much more likely to forgive leaving out important moments if the characters are developed right. Take for example the Harry Potter series. There are so many instances where I felt certain moments in the book, BELOVED moments were left out, but the one thing the movies did well were introduce characters we know and love in a way that helps develop the main three. Nowadays it seems like secondary characters are dragged out just to please the fans but not to serve any purpose to the story.

Divergent wasn’t a bad movie. Visually it was stunning, the acting was great, and the movie has immense star power. It just didn’t live up to the essence of the book, and movies rarely ever do. I understand that movies based on YA books have to cater to a certain demographic, but I just wish movies like these could be grittier. Show battle wounds, show bruises, show blood. Make us feel scared, make us sit on the edge of our seats, don’t be afraid to let the dark side out.

 

Rating: B-

 

 

 

 

 

 

The thing I like about Captain America is that he’s a good man first, and a super hero second. While other superheroes are dark or selfish, arrogant or extremely complicated Captain America is a true honest to God, good, crime fighting superhero.

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-international

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Directed By: Joe Russo and Anthony Russo
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johannsen, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Mackie, Robert Redford, Frank Grillo, Sebastian Stan, Emily Van Camp

Premise: As Steve Rogers adjusts to life in the present, he discovers that it’s hard to find people to trust. Even when S.H.I.E.L.D. sends him on missions it’s never cut and dry, there is always some other task going on that Steve isn’t aware of. But when a bloodied Nick Fury appears in Steve’s apartment after being attacked with the message., “Don’t trust S.H.I.E.L.D.,” Steve finds himself both a target and a fugitive. S.H.I.E.L.D believes he has the government by refusing to disclose Fury’s last words. He and Black Widow find themselves on the run knowing they are the only people who can expose the conspiracies deep within the government.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a brave superhero movie. Steve Rogers is just a man, and while the other Avengers fight killer robots with advanced technology, monsters we can only dream of, aliens from other planets, vengeful Gods with mystical powers, Captain fights for something. And that something is very real. It is something we, as mere mortals, can understand and relate to. He fights for justice, against a corrupt government, against ultimate power, and against control over the human race.

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-1

The movie is tense and exciting and introduces new characters that are fresh and original. One of the best things about Marvel and their stories are their ability to weave complicated emotions throughout their characters. They ask the hard questions. What do you do when your brother is the ultimate evil? What do you do when you can’t contain your terrible terrible temper? What do you do when you’re just a man that can shoot arrows well? What do you do when you feel like the whole world is against you? What would you do if you had to fight your best friend whose not evil just brain-washed to do evil? This movies and movies like this (i/e The Dark Night Rises) are powerful are because the issues they tackle are relevant today. “Absolute corrupt power, corrupts absolutely.”

 

6 Things You Should Know:

1)      There is Character Development – You know me, I’m a fan of substance over flash and this movie really allowed its characters to shine. While answering old questions and giving us new ones. The actors had heavy loads this time around and Chris Evans, Scarlett Johannsen, and Anthony Mackie have some great chemistry together.

2)      The Falcon is AWESOME – I mean seriously he is. Those wings are fantastic and the first time to you them it’s hard not to nerd out about it. Not to mention Anthony Mackie brings some much needed humor to the movie.

NE4zhyuSrelt79_1_10

3)      The Nick Fury Car Chase is One of the Best Action Sequences – We always knew Nick Fury was a bad ass. From the moment Samuel L. Jackson stepped into the role there was no way he couldn’t be. But to finally see that Fury can be more than just a man dolling out vague information and funny quips is an exciting thing. It also proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that Nick Fury is THEE biggest bad ass of all the bad asses. (PS: The Winter Soldier is a close 2nd Bad-Ass.)

4)      I Wish There Was More... – Humor:  The one thing the movie was missing was more of its light hearted humor. Sure Anthony provided more of the lighter moments, and it had those nice one liners and quips Marvel is so well known for, but with such a heavy subject matter I would have like to have seen some funnier moments. …Emily Van Camp: I’m guess Sharon Carter will play a bigger role in Cap 3, but I wish there were more Emily Van Camp, I love her

5)      The Fighting is Thrilling – Sure you can fight with a robotic suit, or a hammer, or a shield, but the thrilling fight sequences was when it went hand to hand, fighting with knives, or fists, or sheer will-power. GSP fighting Cap, come on! Amazing.

Captain-America-The-Winter-Soldier-Captain-America-and-Batroc

6)      #ItsAllConnected – I can’t wait to see what impact this movie has on the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Because frankly it’s a game changer. And that’s what makes Marvel so ingenious. It’s all connected! How often do you get to see the aftermath of a movie play out?
CAPTAIN-AMERICA-THE-WINTER-SOLDIER-Images

You can call him a do-gooder, you can call him boring, you can call him the least exciting Avenger. But when it comes down to it, what makes Cap so fantastic, what makes him possibly the best Avenger is the fact he’s a man first, and a hero second. He chooses to believe the best in people, who chooses good over evil, he chooses others over himself. I’d pick Cap first to fight by my side any day. Because of all the things I listed, and well, because he just looks so damn good in that suit.

 

Rating: A-/B+

 

 







I am a romantic at heart. I want to meet the love of my life. I want to be walking my beautiful dog in the park when suddenly my dog, gets tangled in some hot guy’s dogs leash and we both instantly feel that spark and fall in love. I want a meet-cute. But the truth is, it’s hard to meet people. Now there’s internet dating where it’s all so formal. Where you can literally pick your guy from a list of people you supposedly have stuff in common with. If they don’t like your picture you will disappear with a swipe of a finger or the click of a mouse. Life is complicated and unpredictable and messy. Things will NEVER turn out like you want them to.

I go back and forth on how I feel about the How I Met You Mother Finale. I’ve always loved this show and its ability to balance the funny with the bitter sweet. The finale had some highs (Ted meets the mother!, the high infinity, the E.T. goodbye, young Penny), and some lows (divorce!?, Robin’s hair bob, Robin shying away from the group, Barney reverting back to Old Barney). And while it didn’t end at all like how I expected it to, after a few days of marinating on it, I think I’m okay with it. A finale that ends neat and tidy where everyone is coupled off and everything is perfect would have no doubt been sweet and lovely, but at the same time you could say there would have been no surprises and that it was boring and expected. Life is unexpected. Life is messy. Ted found his soul mate, Ted fell in love, and his Love gave him two more loves Penny and Luke, but then life continued, the mother died and Ted told this story as a way to let her go and finally move on with is life. Ted has never been a reliable narrator, but after so many losses, Ted needed a win. What happens after Happily Ever After?

The finale of How I Met Your Mother has been compared to LOST’s ending, and I think the comparison is right. While having all the answers to every question would be satisfying and having the Hollywood ending where everyone walks into the sunset would have been perfect, life isn’t like that. It’s complicated. Lost ended in a confusing, controversial, dare I say even frustrating way way but ultimately, overall, it was satisfying, just like much of the series. How I Met Your Mother ended in a way that was also true to the series, heartfelt, emotional, and bitter sweet.

 

Top 5 Moments from the Finale “Last Forever”

 

5.  Ted showing Penny the GNB Building
I loved seeing little Penny. She was so sweet! And it was adorable seeing her with her dad.

4.  E.T. Goodbye
It was weird. It was creepy. It was sweet. And it was hilarious. And at that point I was already crying. Laugh/crying is the best kind of laughter. That just makes good TV.

3.  Barney’s Speech To The Love Of His Life
I admit, this moment got me. As Barney would say, “Tears!”

2.  Ted’s Kids Call His Bluff
Seeing the kids do more than just look, laugh, smile, or be shocked was a great moment. And I love that the first thing they do is call Ted on his BS. They’ve learned well.

1.  Ted Meets The Mother
There aren’t many perfect moments on television, but this was one of them.

 

Top 5 Shockers from the Finale

 

5.  The Mom Dies
I knew this was going to happen. I knew it. But seriously? You make us love her then you take her away?

4.  Ted Waits Seven Years to Marry the Mother
Why does Ted, Mr. Big Gesture Romantic, Mr. Doesn’t Wait For Anything, wait SO LONG to marry the mother? This is TOTALLY out of character. I feel like he’d marry her anywhere. What was he waiting for?

3.  Barney Reverts Back to his Old Self
This was just SAD. Maybe that was the point but Barney was making so much progress. After a divorce with Robin, it seems like he’d be the one to get away. Unfortunately he just went back to being Barney. The play book, the hitting on the ladies, the catch phrases all of it somehow lost its charm with age.

2.  Robin and Lily Break Up
I understand that things change. I understand it being hard to see your exes all the time, but Robin and Lily breaking up was a shocker. It always seemed like Lily was more invested in their friendship than Robin ever was. There are ways to still hang out with your best friend and not see anyone else. It was really quite sad, and made me not like Robin. I’ve had a lot of friends abandon me for various reasons, but the friends I have now I hope I keep for forever.

1.  Robin and Barney Get A Divorce
This one literally made me say “OH MY GOD!” out loud. Quickly followed by a “What Is Happening?” and a “Are You Serious?” First it was because I always thought they were SO perfect for each other (but in hindsight maybe that was the problem. Neither of them were into compromise or sacrifices) But then I thought why? Why spend an entire season investing in a relationship and a wedding only to have it all fall apart? That seems likethe waste of a season especially because the finale hit on so many other things I would have liked to see more of. Including what they cut out.

 

Top 5 Questions after the Finale was Over

 

Question 5:   What was Lily up to now that they were back from Rome and where did she and Marshall move to now that they were saying goodbye to the apartment?

Question 4:   Why couldn’t we have spent more time with the Mother throughout this last season as well as get more into the futures of Lily, Marshall, Barney, etc?

Question 3:   Why couldn’t Robin at least stick it out with Lily, even if she didn’t want to be around Ted and Barney?

Question 2:   How are Robin and Ted going to make it work if she’s always traveling and he has the kids?

Question 1:    How will Barney feel about Ted and Robin getting back together?

 

Top 5 Quotes or Conversations from the Finale

 

5. “I’d get married tomorrow in a White Castle but this guy needs more of a wow factor.” – The Mother

4. “It helped but that was really creepy. I don’t want to see you for a while.” – Lily

3. Marshall: “A certain delicate flower cried all night in the shower.”
Lily: “…and I was pretty bummed, too.”

2. “If I hadn’t gone through Hell to get there, the lesson might not have been as clear. You see kids, right from the moment I met your mom, I knew I have to love this woman as much as I can for as long as I can and I can never stop loving her even for a second. I carried that lesson with me through every stupid fight we ever had, every 5 AM Christmas morning, every sleepy Sunday afternoon, through every speed bump, every pang of jealousy or boredom or uncertainty that came our way. I carried that lesson with me, and I carried it with me when she got sick. Even then in what can only be called the worst of times, all I could do was thank God, thank every God there is or ever was or will be and the whole universe and anyone else I could possibly thank that I saw that beautiful girl on that train platform and that I had the guts to stand up, walk over to her, tap her on the shoulder, open my mouth and speak.” – Ted

1. “Just be cool lady damn.” – Ted: It was the way he said it.

 

 

Top 5 Things I Wish Happened In The Finale

 

5. I wish…we spent less time on Barney reverting to his old and tired ways…I mean come on guys we saw 9 years of this, and more time on Barney being a dad…to a little girl…who would one day grow up to be like one of those 18 year olds he hit on. Come on, that is comedy GOLD right there.

4. I wish…we spent more time with Ted and the Mother and seen her integrated into the group.

3. I wish…we saw a different side of Robin, the fact that she ran away from all her friends made me NOT want Ted to be with her. He deserves better.

2. I wish…we saw more of those sleepy Sunday’s, Christmas Mornings, time with Ted, the mother and their kids. Sure in theory the kids remember all these things, but still…I wanted more of Ted’s happy life with the Mother.

 1. I wish…we saw a big family dinner with Lily and Marshall and their kids, Ted and the mother and their kids, Barney and his daughter, and Robin.

 

 

Overall, the finale is one I will always remember. Just like LOST. It may not be perfect, but it’s memorable, and as a writer, and a creator and a person who just loves TV and loves HIMYM, that’s all I can ask for in a show, perfect ending or not.

 

 

 

You’ve read my most memorable episodes of Season One, now here are some favorites from Season 2. Season two definitely had more powerful and emotional episodes but also had great moments within each episode that I think about from time to time. Check them out, yo!

“Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner”, Season 2
Personally I think this may be one of the best episodes of the season. Veronica and Duncan discover Meg was keeping a secret about a kid she babysits possibly being abused. They go on a hunt for the kid. Each kid has their own sets of issues but the worst by far is Meg’s sister who gets locked in a small closet. The best moment of the show, when Lamb actually shows his goodness by revealing he too has been a victim of abuse. He lets Veronica and Duncan go, then parks outsides Meg’s parent’s. The music combined with the chilling shot of the cop car keeping an eye on the house is nothing short of fantastic.

“Donut Run,” Season 2
This is the episode where Duncan escapes with his daughter. The thing that sticks most with me about this episode is a review I read (it may have been in Entertainment Weekly) stating that while Veronica left her father in the dark about her actions, she also left that audience in the dark. And as a narrator it was a little inconsistent. No matter that it also had some great moments: their staged break-up at school, Lamb going head to head with the FBI (Lucy Lawless!), Veronica’s dad covering her, the reveal of how Duncan got away. It was all so compellingly fantastic.

“Ain’t No Magic Mountain High Enough,” Season 2
The school has a festival, Jackie is a pariah, and Veronica tracks down who stole the festival money. The best part of the episode is when the true criminal is reveal. The interaction between Veronica, Jackie, her teacher, Madison, and the principal is nothing short of freakin’ hilarious.

“Look Who’s Stalking,” Season 2
A lot happened in this episode, especially with the whole Veronica hunting for the person who’s stalking Gia’s family, but this episode is truly all about the alterna-prom. Having our favorite cast members, who of course all hate each other crammed into a small elevator is so perfect I can’t even tell you. Top that off with a truly “epic” moment between Veronica and Logan this episode is such a keeper. Also epic?  That moment Veronica shows a rare glimpse of vulnerability in front of Logan.

“Not Pictured,” Season 2 Finale
This one should have been called Leave it to Beaver…The most memorable part was the ending, where Beaver, I mean Cassidy tortures Veronica. That moment where Veronica believes she watched Cassidy kill her father is truly heartbreaking. But nothing will prepare you for what Cassidy does once he realizes he has nothing left to lose. Also, LoVe Forever.

Memorable Season 2 Quotes

Keith: What’s up, honey?
Veronica: Wallace is having a little trouble giving me a urine sample.
Keith: Can’t you talk on the phone and paint your nails like other girls?

Weevil: Look, should I be expecting a visit from Lamb? If I know I’m being brought in, I’ll put on my good underwear, you know?
Veronica: You should really do that anyway.

Ms. Hauser: What wonderful mountains, Madison!
Madison: Thank you, Mrs. Hauser!
Veronica: Oh, Madison, you have a little… [Rubs her own nose]
Madison: What? Brown? Because I’m a brown-noser? [Sarcastically]
Veronica: No. Glitter. Because you’re a fairy princess!

Veronica: Okay, I’m Veronica. I’m from Neptune. And I once shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.
Dean: Oh, how’d that go?
Veronica: It was a bit of a letdown.

Logan: Ah, you have that ‘I’d-rather-be-making-out-with-a-broken-bottle’ look. Which if history serves, means you’re about to say something awkward.
Veronica: This? This is my ‘I’d-rather-be-spelunking’ look. It’s like you don’t know me at all.

Logan: I thought our story was epic, you know? You and me.

Mac: Don’t distract me, I’m plotting how to kill you and make it look like an accident.

Keith: Did you watch House of Wax again? You know that Hilton girl gives you nightmares.

Gia: Wow, how Mission Impossible! I feel like at any moment, Tom Cruise is going to dangle from the ceiling on cables.
Veronica: Great. Now I won’t be able to sleep. I hope he doesn’t try to marry me.

Veronica: “A PONY!?”

 

 

Veronica Mars the movie opens this Friday and frankly I can’t wait. I loved the TV Series, even if Veronica the College Years wasn’t as interesting as Season 1 and 2. When I heard Veronica Mars was being funded on Kickstarter I knew the movie was going to be epic. I mean if the creators and writers are this excited to make a movie than it has to be good right? So before it comes out I’ve been playing catch up on the series. Here are my favorite episodes, quotes, and random thoughts for Season One.

Most Memorable Episodes

“Like A Virgin”, Season One
Nothing says high school more than filling out a purity quiz then having it released to the entire school. My high school had a slam book. Once that got out, well let’s just say it wasn’t pretty. But that’s probably why I liked this episode so much, it felt real. Veronica went on the search to clear up her friend Meg’s good name with no real regard for her own reputation.

“Ruskie Business”, Season One
The actual plot to this episode was particularly memorable for me. How creepy is it that someone would use a private detective service to find someone in witness protection program so they can kill them. I mean it must happen all the time but it’s creepy and it also showed just how reckless Veronica can be. Sometimes father does know best, honey.

“Weapons of Class Destruction”, Season One
Most memorable thing about it? Hello Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Any girl between the ages of 25-35 should know who JTT is. It doesn’t even matter that he doesn’t make for a believable FBI agent, he’s JTT he can be whoever he wants to be. He even trumped the 2nd most memorable thing about this episode. That hot hot HOT kiss between rivals Veronica and Logan. There’s something about the “turn-away-then-pull-them-back” move that’s just SUPER hot.

“A Trip To The Dentist”, Season One
While this is the episode where Logan’s friends find out he’s dating Veronica and she digs further into finding out who raped her that’s not what I remember most about this episode. What I remember most is Veronica parking outside Wallace’s house even though they’ve been fighting.  When he approaches her outside, she bursts into tears a rare form of vulnerability. Then she finally lets him inside her head…and into the Lily Kane murder evidence she’s been collecting since her friend’s death.

“Leave It To Beaver”, Season One Finale
This finale was super stressful, but also probably one of the best episodes of the entire series. It both thrilling and creepy at the same time, especially that ending. Aaron Echols hides in the back of Veronica’s car and she in turn chooses to crash her car into a tree rather than be taken hostage or even killed by Aaron’s hand. What ensues after the crash is nothing short of crazy. And it’s Just. So. Good.

 

vmars

Memorable Quotes from Season One

Wallace: I suddenly feel like I’m in a scene from The Outsiders.
Veronica: Be cool, Sodapop.

Veronica: I printed out the entire browser history from Logan Echolls’s computer in his fourth period computer lab class.
Wallace: So is he guilty?
Veronica: Well, of wanting desperately to see pictures of Alyssa Milano naked, yes.

Veronica: The hero is the one that stays and the villain is the one that splits.

Veronica:[to Troy, about Logan] Uh, your monkey’s gonna have to ride in the back.
Logan: Ha ha. Nice car. God, it must’ve been a huge cereal box.

Clemmons: Mr. Echolls, I was wondering if I could have a word?
Logan: “Anthropomorphic.” All yours, big guy.
Clemmons: Oh. [fake laugh] Your father has generously offered to donate a pair of boots for our school fundraising auction.
Logan: Not the ones made for walking? God, I love those boots.

Veronica: Am I naked? Because in my nightmares, I’m usually naked.

Veronica: Can you do me a weird favor without asking any questions?
Wallace: Isn’t that the bedrock upon which our friendship was founded?

 

What are some of your favorite moments and quotes from VMars Season 1? Favorites and Memorables from Season 2 to come.

 

 

I watch a lot of TV. I admit that. And while I own a lot of DVD’s I find myself guilty of watching movies live on TV. The other day E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial was on and I had to watch it from top to finish. Even though I’ve seen it a million times, even though I OWN it. I had to watch it right there on TV, commercials and all. This made me start to think:  Is It Weird…that there are some movies out there I HAVE to watch every time they are on TV, even when I own the DVD, that’s most likely still in its shrink-wrap packaging?

 

The Movies I HAVE to WATCH

 

Pitch-PerfectPitch Perfect
A couple months ago HBO played Pitch Perfect every day, and every time I saw that it was on, I watched it. I really did. No matter where it was in the show. I watch it until the end, I really do. I’m such a sucker for some sarcastic Anna Kendrick, and that damn Cups song.

 

 

sugar and spiceSugar & Spice
This show comes on maybe once or twice a year, but whenever it does, I watch it. Four years ago, I finally bought it. And since then it’s remained in its packaging. But when I see that it’s playing on TV, I have to watch it. Come on, bank robbing cheerleaders who use cheerleading stunts to commit crimes? So good. AND James Marsden? Yes, please.

 

 

The-SandlotThe Sandlot
“You’re killing me, Smalls!” This show brings back memories, and it will always be one of my favorites no matter how old I get. My kids will watch this movie and fall in love with it. ABC Family has those summer weeks where they show Sandlot practically every day. And I watch it. Every. Single. Time. I will watch this show for-EV-er, for-EV-er…even if I can recite it line for line.

 

 

shawshank3The Shawshank Redemption
This is my favorite movie of all time and TNT loves to play it. Every ‘time I watch it I somehow miss the beginning, but let’s face it, the movie doesn’t get good until Andy and Red meet. This movie is a classic and in my opinion one of the best, and that is why it remains in its pristine packaging while I watch it every time it plays on TV.

 

 

Sweet-Home-AlabamaSweet Home Alabama
This is my second favorite romantic comedy, only behind While You Were Sleeping, which let’s be honest, is the best. I loved the fact that in this love triangle there was no bad guy, just a guy that wasn’t right for her. I hate those rom-com’s when the first guy she’s with is obviously the wrong guy, it’s like well, why is she with him then? I also love Reese Witherspoon, this is a good Saturday afternoon movie…or you know, whenever it’s on TV. Sometimes all it takes is 1 minute and I’m sucked in.

 

 

Jurassic-ParkJurassic Park
Admit it, this is one of your favorite movies too. And if not, you’re crazy. Favorite scene ever? When Lex is eating jello and notices the velociraptors behind her grandfather. That jello jiggling on the spoon is a classic visual. When this movie plays sometimes I just watch it to see my favorite parts. Dr. Grant listening to the triceratops breathing, the goat, the first time the gang sees the dinosaurs…such a great movie. (Tangent: How does my spell check not know the word velociraptor?)

 

 

prettywomanPretty Woman
Another classic, right? How can anyone resist Julia Roberts in this movie? (notice I said in this movie.) TBS plays this movie waaaay to many times and I watch it waaaay too many times. I recently decided I needed to own the movie, but it’s never actually made it to the DVD player. Favorite can’t miss scene? Here’s a hint, fast forward thought it would be a big mistake. BIG MISTAKE.

 

 

So am I just weird? Or do you have movies you can’t stop watching when they’re on TV?

 

 

There aren’t too many places you can go when making a thriller on an airplane. Literally. And, not literally. Reminiscent of movies like Red Eye, Flightplan and Air Force One, Non-Stops biggest problem was that it wasn’t very believable.

 

Non-Stop
Directed By: Juame Collet-Serra
Starring: Liam Neeson, Julianne Moore, Nate Parker, Scoot McNairy, Michelle Dockery, Lupita Nyong’o, Shea Whigham, Corey Stoll

Premise: While on an international flight to London, U.S. Marshal Bill Marks receives a series of mysterious text messages from an unknown sender. It announces that every 20 minutes someone will be killed unless 150 million dollars is wired into an account. Through a series of unfortunate events the clues Marks finds point to him as the threat.

 

What The Movie Did Well:

The “Bad Guy” Was A Mystery – Early on, was a small comment made by one of the characters in the movie that had me convinced as to who the villain was. And in movies like this you always look for that twist. And you pat yourself on the back when you are right because you saw it coming. Well, to be honest, I didn’t see that coming, so that was a pleasant surprise. And another surprise was that the motivation of the “bad guy” had weight. It made sense. It’s something that could happen today. (I’m leaving it cryptic on purpose…you’re welcome.)

It Built Suspense – Whether it was trying to figure out who on the plane was behind all this, to waiting to see how Marks was going to get himself out of these unfortunate situations, the movie kept the tension high. Whether or not the circumstances were believable didn’t matter all that much because I just wanted to see what was going to happen. Oftentimes writers write themselves into a corner that they can’t get out of, but this movie seemed to use it as a challenge instead of as a way to hold them back. “How many corners can we write ourselves into to?”

What the Movie Didn’t Do Well

Many Of The Plot Points Were Unoriginal – Flightplan, Red Eye, Air Force One, (and there was a Lifetime movie with Lacey Chabert and Drew Seely by the same name and I watched — and by watch I mean fastforward through the boring parts —  it before I saw this movie so that didn’t help matters either…) basically, if there was a movie that happened on a plane, chances are various plot points were in those films made an appearance in this movie. I mean, for once. can the “hero” not be accused of being the villain or being crazy? Or if this is the case, than make them so. Now there’s a twist, someone one get me a pen!

It Was Too Implausible – Wouldn’t you make yourself less of a spectacle by clueing other people in? Wouldn’t you seem less crazy if you acted less crazy? After such a big threat would the cockpit really open their doors again even if it was for someone they knew? Would the plane really get access to news stations? Does there always have to be the “typical terrorist”? Would taking a plane hostage for money even work now? Is the government really that quick to judge and leave everyone on their own? So. Many. Questions.

Build Character – Every character seemed to be a stereotype instead of their own person, and when they had a chance to show their true colors they were easily swayed one way or another. And some characters just didn’t make sense at all. I literally thought to myself, “What are they doing in this group?” There was no one to root for and I found myself getting more and more frustrated with Marks as the movie went on.

Basically, I wish this movie took more creative liberties. Instead it felt like a bunch of other movies. With the exception of Air Force One, airplane hostage movies rarely work. Even Red Eye took them off the plane eventually. You can Redbox this one. Sorry, Liam Neeson, I’m not taken with this movie. (See what I did there? Yeah you did.)

Rating: C-

 

 

 

Well Oscar season has come and gone. And this year’s Oscars seemed particularly long. I mean was it just me or did it seem really LONG? While there were no outright shockers there were as always, some great moments, some awkward moments, some bad moments, and some moments you’ll never forget.

Here’s the Best and Worst of the 2014 Academy Awards:

 

Best (and by Best I mean Funniest) Ellen Joke: (To Jonah Hill) “You showed us something in that film I have not seen for a very, very long time.”
The best thing about the joke? No awkward elaboration in order to let other people who may have not seen the movie understand it. She just let it be, and it was hilarious. It was one of those jokes that takes a minute to get, but when you do, it’s hilarious.

Worst Ellen Joke: “Possibility number one: 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture. Possibility number two: You’re all racists. And now please welcome our first white presenter, Anne Hathaway.” 
Seriously, awkward, and completely cringe-worthy. I mean I couldn’t even write this quote without cringing. Just terrible.

Best Presenters: Joseph Gordon Levitt and Emma Watson
Ok, so they didn’t really do anything too special, but they are just an adorable couple. I mean, come on. The people I were watching the Oscars with want them to be a couple so bad. Plus this:

Worst Presenters:  Matthew McConaughey & Kim Novak
Can you saw AWKWARD? I mean Matthew McConaughey was trying to do this adlibbing thing but it just came out as awkward and Kim Novak? I don’t even know what was going on with her. She just wasn’t present at all. It’s sad to see her too because she was SO beautiful when she was younger.

Best Speech, Lupita Nyong’o, with Runner Up: Jared Leto
Couple or not, these two had the best speech of the night. Jared’s speech was so well-composed and thoughtful. His speech giving has really evolved from his Golden Globes speech. It was sincere, eloquent, and well-spoken. But Lupita’s was the best of the night. She was just so humble and gracious and my eyes may have welled up a moment or two, especially when she said “You’re dreams are valid”. I thought J-Law was going to take it, but I’m so so glad Lupita won. And she looked gorgeous.

Worst Speech: Matthew McConaughey
Okay, okay, so he won an Oscar, he can pretty much say what he wants. If I ever won an Oscar I’m sure I’d be a babbling mess of a woman, but when Matthew McConaughey went on a tangent about being his own hero, or never being his own hero. No matter how much I tried to focus on his words I just couldn’t understand him. Like my brain was refusing to allow his words to infiltrate it. What the hell was he trying to say?

Best Musical Performance:  “Happy” by Pharrell, Runner Up: “The Moon Song” by Karen O and Ezra Koenig
Okay, so I’ve heard “Happy” so many times, but while a lot of the other performances were solo performers standing in place, this group dance party was a breath of fresh air. He got high caliber actors out of their seats and covered the stage in energetic dancers and performances. I liked it! Also, I could listen to Karen O. forever.

Worst Musical Performance: Idina Menzel
Okay this may seem too harsh, especially when she gets her name mispronounced by Travolta, but this was not the Idina Menzel we know and love. She was shaky, nervous, off key, and pitchy. This is definitely my favorite song from Frozen so it was disappointing to see her botch this song. It wasn’t terrible, it just wasn’t her. She can do better. (Side Note: Dear Mr. Travolta, teleprompters are there for a reason. Adele Dazeem is nowhere near Idina Menzel.)

Best Dressed: Lupita Nyong’ O, Runner Up: Sandra Bullock and Amy Adams
I thought for sure Lupita’s dress was white, but it is actually pale blue. It compliments her skin perfectly. The only thing that didn’t work was the headband. No. Just no. Sandy looked simple, elegant and classy. I loved that she kept it simple and didn’t try to over-bling anything and that deep color was absolutely gorgeous.

Worst Dressed: Pharrell Williams
No explanation necessary.

 

Hands Down Best Moment from the Oscars (Best meaning Favorite):

tv show gifs

Other Random Thoughts and Tidbits
  • I know Anne Hathaway got away from the limelight for a while because of all the haters…but sorry her presenter delivery for best supporting actor did not help…(And I generally like Anne.)
  • I really felt bad about Ellen talking about Jennifer’s fall and everyone harping on her again about her fall on the red carpet. Poor girl. However it lead to the great line, “If you win tonight, I think we should bring you the Oscar.”
  • What do you think Sandra Bullock and Leonardo Dicaprio talked about?
  • Am I the only one who didn’t know Catherine Martin was Baz Lurmann’s wife?
  • Was the pizza delivery guy real? Because seriously he had the Best. Night. Ever. (Update: Here is the answer.)
  • Where did the money go Ellen collected? Was it real money? (Update: Here is the answer.)
  • Love Bill Murray giving a shout out to Harold Ramis.
  • Nicholas Hoult looks so cute
  • Love Jamie Foxx’s line flub. “Great stories can change your life, great stories with great scores will blow….(awkward pause)…your mind.
  • Love the supercool handshake between Alfonso Cuaron and Sidney Poitier. Love the way Cuaron says “Bullock.”
  • How did Will Smith get to announce Best Picture?
  • Love seeing Paul Dano!
  • Steve McQueen seems like such a serious guy so I loved seeing him so incredibly happy. I would totally jump up and down too if I won an Oscar. Congrats!
Random Thoughts…With Pictures!
  • Love Lupita’s brother Junior sneaking his way into the best picture ever.

tv show gifs

Oscars

  • Amy Adams gots some dance moves:

amyadams

  • I don’t know how I feel about Anna Kendrick’s dress. Do I like it? Do I hate it? Her second dress however is adorbs!

anna-kendrickak

 

 

  • Love the Academy recognizing Sarah Jones, a camera assistant killed on the set of Midnight Rider. If you don’t know (click here and here and also here). Now you know. Unless you work in the industry you can’t even understand what seeing her name on the telecast means to us. It means safety, it means valuing “below the line crew members”, it means a lot! I am glad the Oscars and ABC made it happen.

sarah jones.

For a full list of the winners, click here. What were some of your favorite moments of the ceremony?

 

 

The 2014 Academy Awards is almost here! Thus is time to make my predictions. While usually the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards gives us a general sense as to who the winners will be. Hopefully there will be some surprises come show time. Check back Sunday after the ceremony for my the winners and for my thoughts.

MY PREDICTIONS

BEST PICTURE

  • 12 Years A Slave
  • American Hustle
  • Captain Phillips
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • Gravity
  • Her
  • Nebraska
  • Philomena
  • The Wolf of Wall Street

 

What Will Win: American Hustle or 12 Years A Slave
What Should Win: Gravity. There’s no way it will win, but it should.

 

BEST ACTOR

  • Christian Bale, American Hustle
  • Bruce Dern, Nebraska
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
  • Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

 

Who Will Win: Matthew McConaughey
Who Should Win: As much as I want want want want WANT Leo to win an Oscar, this is Matthew McConaughey’s year. He should and WILL win.

 

BEST ACTRESS

  • Amy Adams, American Hustle
  • Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
  • Sandra Bullock, Gravity
  • Judi Dench, Philomena
  • Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

 

Who Will Win: Cate Blanchett
Who Should Win: I really really want Sandra Bullock to win, I thought her work and performance on Gravity was extraordinary. However, this is a tough tough category as I’d LOVE to see Amy Adams win an Oscar and Meryl’s performance is the only thing that makes August: Osage County worth watching. Plus Cate did pull out all the stops in Blue Jasmine even if I couldn’t stand the movie. This is a tough, tough category. (I said it earlier, but it bears repeating.)

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
  • Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
  • Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
  • Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

 

Who Will Win: Jared Leto
Who Should Win: Jared Leto. His performance in DBC is worthy of the Oscar and frankly blows all these other performances out of the water. The only actor who comes even remotely close to Jared’s performance would be Barkhad Abdi. For a newcomer, what he did in Captain Phillips was amazing.

 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
  • Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
  • Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
  • Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
  • June Squibb, Nebraska

 

Who Will Win: Jennifer Lawrence or Lupita Nyong’o
Who Should Win: This is another tough category as well, but my love for Jennifer Lawrence gives her that much more of an edge over Lupita Nyong’o. But as great as Lupita’s performance was in 12 Years a Slave, Lawrence’s is the one that show such a wide range, and is a performance I will remember.

 

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
  • Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
  • Alexander Payne, Nebraska
  • David O. Russell, American Hustle
  • Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

 

Who Will Win: Alfonso Cuaron or Steve McQueen
Who Should Win: Alfonso Cuaron. Again, this is a tough category as all of these directors are beloved in Hollywood. But the technological accomplishments Cuaron made with Gravity are astounding. He deserves to win.

oscaraward

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave
  • July Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater, Before Midnight
  • Terrence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Billy Ray, Captain Phillips
  • Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope, Philomena

 

Who Will Win: John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave
Who Should Win: John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave, or Billy Ray, Captain Phillips. Both movies the strength was in the story as opposed to the performances. I’d be happy if either won.

 

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • David O. Russell & Eric Singer, American Hustle
  • Bob Nelson, Nebraska
  • Spike Jonze, Her
  • Craig Borten & Melissa Wallack, Dallas Buyers Club
  • Woody Allen, Blue Jasmine

 

Who Will Win: Woody Allen for Blue Jasmine, or David and Eric for American Hustle.
Who Should Win: Ugh, this is tough. I feel like the academy will want to vote for Woody, just to see if he will show up. But I really would like to see either Dallas Buyer’s Club or Her take it. Both were extremely well written.

 

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

  • The Wind Rises
  • Frozen
  • Despicable Me 2
  • The Croods
  • Ernest & Celestine

 

Who Will Win: Frozen
Who Should Win: Frozen. Just let it go, Frozen will win (See what I did there? See what I did?)

 

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • Philippe Le Sourd, The Grandmaster
  • Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
  • Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Roger Deakins, Prisoners
  • Phedon Papamichael, Nebraska

 

Who Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
Who Should Win: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity. I mean, come on, no brainer. This movie wasn’t a swap a lens, put on a filter, adjust a light kind of movie. This award needs to go to Lubezki.

 

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • Catherine Martin, The Great Gatsby
  • Patricia Norris, 12 Years a Slave
  • William Chang Suk Ping, The Grandmaster
  • Michael Wilkinson, American Hustle
  • Michael O’Conner, The Invisible Woman

 

Who Will Win: Michael Wilkinson, American Hustle
Who Should Win: Michael Wilkinson, American Hustle. Just ask Amy Adams boobs, I’m sure they’d agree. Joking aside, the dresses were gorgeous and he made everyone in that movie look good.

 

BEST HAIR AND MAKE-UP STYLING

  • Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny, The Lone Ranger
  • Stephen Prouty, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
  • Adruitha Lee and Robin Matthews, Dallas Buyers Club

 

Who Will Win: No idea.
Who Should Win: Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casney for The Lone Ranger, and I say this as a completely BIASED person. I’ve worked with these people and they’re amazing. Joel and Gloria FTW!

 

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN

  • American Hustle — Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Heather Loeffler
  • Gravity — Production Design: Andy Nicholson; Set Decoration: Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
  • The Great Gatsby — Production Design: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Beverley Dunn
  • Her — Production Design: K.K. Barrett; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena
  • 12 Years a Slave — Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Alice Baker

 

Who Will Win: American Hustle
Who Should Win: Her. I thought the production design on her was really original. It looked both in the future and in the past, making it feel timeless.

 

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • GravityTim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug — Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
  • Iron Man 3 — Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
  • The Lone Ranger — Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
  • Star Trek Into Darkness — Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

 

Who Will Win: Gravity
Who Should Win: Gravity. Come on. It’s Gravity people.

 

The Oscars is on this Sunday, March 2. Be there or…well not be there. But you know you wanna be there! It gives you an excuse to have a party and a drink. Or just a drink.

 

 

 

 

 

Is it weird…for me to say that I am in love with this trailer? I never knew it was possible. But it is. Come on, you have to admit it too. Since the trailer premiered last week, I can’t stop thinking about it. It is nerdy, funny, weird, eccentric, and frakkin’ hilarious. Groot ducking so he’s in frame, the use of “Hooked On A Feeling,” the “What the hell am I watching?” vibe all throughout the trailer and of course this:

guardians-of-the-galaxy-star-lord

 

I love it so much…is that weird?