Month: July 2012

Let the Games Begin!

Ahhhh. The London 2012 Olympic Games are finally here. Spending the last year in London was especially exciting (and frustrating) because of the upcoming quadrennial event. There was LOTS of construction. And the city only seemed to get more crowded. I visited the Olympic park in May, and by that point it still had a long way to go (see my personal pics below). Part of me is glad I’m not there (did I mention the crowds??), but the other part of me is also sad that I’ll miss out on the global camaraderie that comes out of the games. That’s the main reason why I love the Olympics – it’s a truly global event, and we can find inspiration by some amazing people, many of them overcoming unimaginable obstacles (let the underdog stories begin!). And I love me a good Olympic montage, complete with a John Williams’ score. You see the tears of pain, but you also see the tears of joy. The Olympics show us people in these incredible moments. How can anyone forget the moment the USA men’s swimming team won the relay in Beijing? I specifically remember where I was and who I was with when I watched that – my friends and I replayed it over and over again since it was so thrilling and just made us so happy. I can’t wait to watch and see what memorable moments this year brings. And I really hope that Danny Boyle and his team can bring us a spectacular opening ceremony…it’s not like the Chinese put them under pressure or anything…


Views of the Olympic Park

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Will Ferrell & Zach Galifianakis: Talk Show Guest Gold (with a side of Hamm)

I took pleasure this last week in watching the multiple appearances of Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianikis on various late night talk shows since each night they managed to do something new. So many times actors who are promoting a film pop up on the talk show circuit and fall victim to repeating the same stories. Not Will and Zach. As comedians, they’ve kept the promotion of their upcoming film The Campaign light and fun. They both stopped by The Late Show, Zach swapped spots with Jimmy Fallon, and they both graced Jon Stewart with an interviewing intervention, with a little extra help. Will Ferrell has always been a particularly favorite guest of mine, ever since his sexy leprechaun appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Get a taste of their shticks below!

Monday: Will sports the controversial USA Olympic Team beret with Dave.

 

Tuesday: After an earlier stunt in which his suit gets drenched, Zach channels Paul Shaffer.

 

Wednesday: Zach and Jimmy Fallon get a case of trading places on Late Night

 

Thursday: Will and Zach don’t like lame interview questions from Jon Stewart

Watch here!

 

 

Where do YOU meander?

To fulfill my love of travel and all things culture, and to fulfill the void of not currently traveling, I’ve started a second, travel-related blog titled ‘meanders&musings’…why a travel blog if you’re not traveling, you ask? Well, I find that the best way to keep some of my sacred travel memories alive is to write about them. Plus, you can always ‘travel’ and discover new things in your own backyard. find it here! xx

Your Fourth of July Movie Guide to Fun and Freedom: Let’s Go America All Over Everybody’s Ass

My guide of great summer movies to make your Fourth of July super special, and super patriotic. Because that’s how we Americans do.

The Sandlot

This is a quintessential film in my personal film library and of my childhood. It’s nostalgic to the core, and makes you feel like you had inadequate summers, unless you’re in the moment of watching it – then you feel like you’re one of the boys. Even if you’re a girl. There are just too many wonderful moments – the drowning fake-out, the dog chase through the 4th of July block party, “You’re killin’ me, Smalls!,” the Beast, and so on. It still holds up every time, and now makes me wonder whatever happened to Patrick Renna, who seemed to be in every movie in 1993.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Will Ferrell is a Great American Hero (of Comedy). This isn’t my personal favorite movie of Ferrell’s, but it does contain some truly American themes: NASCAR, disillusionment, ignorance, rednecks. Those elements may not be mutually exclusive, but I do think, when you really look at it closely, the movie has got a much deeper commentary of America’s darker aspects of society. It speaks truth. Just look at the video of Walker and Texas Ranger below for evidence (jump to 5:01 for the kicker). And for the faithful Americans out there, it’s got a whole lotta Baby Jesus.

Jaws

Nothing says summer like the beach…and lots of bloodshed. Is it weird that Jaws makes me want to patrol the beaches and buy a boat? I guess that’s what a Spielberg film does to you…makes you believe you can do things that realistically you cannot – aka The American Dream! No, but really, Jaws is a masterpiece, a near-perfect orchestration of cinematography, suspense, and that freakin’ musical score. Thank you, John Williams – the great American maestro.

American Graffiti

Another trip down memory lane a la the 1960s, this is one of my all-time favorite films. Like The Sandlot, it makes you wish you had a summer night like the one here. For anyone that appreciates oldies, this is a soundtrack to live for – a compilation of fun gems. And it’s Harrison Ford’s first movie role, and George Lucas’ second feature film. So really, this film embodies the American Dream in nascent form. It also personifies the budding car culture and competitiveness that is innate to our society.

To Kill a Mockingbird

On a more serious note, To Kill a Mockingbird is not only the ultimate tearjerker, but this American classic is made of integrity. Another story about summers of childhood, its core is Atticus Finch, as he tries to do good and serve justice in an unjust world. It’s a reminder of an ugly history, but also a reminder that people are capable of acts of kindness and truth.

Independence Day

Ah the disaster movie. There’s nothing America loves more than reveling in the impending doom of a catastrophic meteor shower or alien invasion and consequently enjoying the accompanied kicking of ass that is sure to follow. I genuinely love this movie. It’s one of those movies I always find myself stopping to watch if I come across it channel surfing. It’s ridiculous, yes. But it has heart, patriotism, and it’s funny. Like, really funny. It’s even scary – yes, the part with the alien dissection gone horribly wrong – but the scariest part? When that dog almost gets engulfed in flames in the tunnel. It’s just too much! The cast is also great. It’s Bill Pullman’s second finest performance (behind Spaceballs, of course).  And that shot at the end when Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum appear from within the smoke after destroying the alien motherload, strutting and smoking cigars like two badass mofo’s in the desert, it just makes you wanna say, “America…fuck yeah!”

Happy Fourth! Rock, Flag and Eagle!

My Week in Movies

Over the course of the last week I managed to see four films in the cinema and one outdoor screening of an 80s classic. And I also managed to lose a considerable amount of dough. But that’s ok, because I was only dissatisfied with one of the five films, and I’m guessing you’ll be surprised at which one.

First Stop: ROCK OF AGES

For me, this was a silly but ultimately entertaining romp. The irony is that this is the furthest thing from being rock ‘n’ roll – it’s musical pop to the extreme. In fact, watching the film made me think how the story would be more fun on stage…too bad I just missed my opportunity to see it in London. The two leads, Julianne Hough and  Diego Boneta, are pretty to look at, but it’s mostly the awkward and campy performances of Alec Baldwin and Russell Brand and the anti-archetypical role of Tom Cruise that lure you into this strange bubble of rock in 1987 Los Angeles. And then Mary J. Blige pops up. Randomly. It’s no Singin’ in the Rain or Chicago, but I did enjoy some of the mash-ups of songs and it made me buy some classic 80s big hair rock songs on iTunes afterwards. So I guess the long con of the aging rockers worked. But I’m okay with that.

Second Stop: BRAVE

Sighhhh. All I can really say that this was a disappointment. I would have said it was a huge disappointment, but I can’t honestly say that it looked that appealing in the first place, certainly not as much as all the other Pixar films (with the exception of Cars 2). And that’s the problem. Once you attach Pixar to a film, you expect a certain quality, a certain flare, a certain je ne sais quoi. To me, with Brave being a princess story, it felt like a conventional Disney animated movie, even though, yes, it’s ‘unconventional’ in some ways. And that’s not to say that I don’t enjoy (or did enjoy) all those Disney ‘princess movies’…I love them. But they feel more appropriate for the times they were made, and I understand that Brave is trying to be different, but the overall storyline felt like a copout since it was simply a weird story about a curse gone wrong. Plus, as was discussed with friends after seeing it, we all agreed that there was no clear antagonist and no real comic relief (two consistent features of Pixar films). Ultimately, I never connected with the characters and felt bored. I’m guessing that the multiple directors of the film have some reason to do with the underdeveloped story. I did, however, enjoy the opening short, La Luna. I’m hoping next year’s Monsters Inc. University will be a redeeming sequel after the last two misadventures.

Third Stop: SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED

Well, I can safely guarantee that this was my favorite of the films seen this week, and possibly my favorite of the year so far. Firstly, it stars Aubrey Plaza and Jake Johnson from Parks & Recreation and New Girl, respectively, which in my opinion are two of the best comedies on TV right now. So it’s already got that going for it.  More importantly, this indie film is so understated, yet it involves time travel. What more do I need to say? It’s sweet, melancholic, and is about people finding their niche. Sounds cheesy, but it succeeds through its quiet and honest nature and its subtle humor. Check it out:

Fourth Stop: TOP GUN

This wasn’t Tom Cruise’s week. But it was a week of Tom Cruise for me. A local boutique hotel held a ‘dive-in’ screening of Top Gun by their pool, just in time for a patriotic showing before the holiday. This is a fun one to watch with a crowd – a crowd that is drinking, that is! I mean, there are so many iconic moments in this film, and at every one of them people cheered and/or sang along. The Danger Zone. Singing in the bar. Tighty whities. The need for speed. Volleyball in ill-fitted jeans. Taking people’s breath away. The list goes on…

Last Stop: MAGIC MIKE

Yes, I saw Magic Mike and I’m not ashamed. Some people were not fans, but I enjoyed it…and not only for the reasons you may think. Yes, there’s plenty of eye-candy onscreen, but at the end of the day it was an interesting film directed by Steven Soderbergh. I had completely forgotten that fact until his name came up on the credits at the end, and then it made perfect sense how he chose to construct the film. I immediately realized how similar in tone and aesthetics this was to his Erin Brockovich, and even somewhat similar in plot. There still could have been much more character development (for instance, why did we never actually see Mike making his custom furniture that he raved on about?) and the film does drag on in the second hour. I feel like some people were disappointed with the movie since it ended up being different than what they were wanting (aka a lighthearted stripper movie with minimal clothing…aka The Full Monty, but this time with a hottie, aka Channing Tatum). The movie certainly delivered the minimal clothing part, but was a lot darker than advertised. I think that made it a better story and it juxtaposed the fun atmosphere of the onstage performances with the seedy backstage reality. At the end of the day, we reconfirmed that Tatum has got some serious dance chops (Acting chops? Still up for grabs) and we were all disturbed by Matthew McConaughey’s tasselled thong.

“Will you accept my hose?”

“In the real world, most men would be vilified for dating twenty women at once…but honey child, this ain’t the real world.”

If you have ever found yourself loving The Bachelor/Bachelorette, and hating yourself for it, then repent no more! All the painstaking and guilt-ridden hours spent watching the most dramatic rose ceremonies ever has now paid off because you will surely enjoy this incredibly spot on and hilarious web series parody, Burning Love. It stars familiar faces of The State fame, such as Ken Marino and Michael Ian Black, is written by Marino’s wife, Erica Omaya, and is full of some other popular comedians and actors. It nails all of the female archetypes, including three dental hygienists (one is retired – and 84!) and Black’s deadpan delivery a la Chris Harrison is eerily accurate. Episode 10 premieres tomorrow – you can watch it here.