And The Living Is Easy

It’s officially summer.

Well, not officially, but as far as any conventional measurement goes…

My daily walks have given me enough color that I don’t feel ghosty pale anymore…I’m ready for beach time, though I don’t know when it’s going to come.

I sometimes long for the summers of school time, when your life would slow down. Now it seems like everything goes crazy at summer time. This is partially because Tomfoolery Theatre, the group I help run, does it’s main work in the summer. (Auditions were this week! So, there’s that.)

Put here’s a (brief) look at what I have coming up in the next few months:

Summer Movie Season Trudges On:

I’m hoping to get to either Mad Max: Fury Road or Aloha this weekend. Next weekend Entourage is hitting, and I’ve decided to be unapologetically excited about that, followed by Jurassic World and Inside Out, which then lends itself to a nice little break before Terminator: Genysis (I need to find a minute to rewatch the first two Terminator movies…)

Special Edition NYC!

That’s next weekend. I have a hotel room, I have costume plans. I’m really excited and nervous. I had a ball at ACBC but I’ve also pretty much given up weekly comics reading, because I got really far behind and also because there have been so many good books coming out lately (Prose books) and I don’t have unlimited reading time, so something’s got to give. (I’m currently working through Gumption: Relighting The Torch Of Freedom by Nick Offerman. Hilarious. And educational. I admire this man so much.) But I’m looking forward to it. Since I’ve decided to jettison NYCC in favor of Disney World this year. (Where I will be, exhausted, dehydrated, and waiting in line a bunch. Seriously, it’s 80% the same activities) this is (probably) my last con this year. I’m comfortable with the decision…I think.

Usual Stuff

Obviously, Game Of Thrones will continue, and I’m about to launch into season 3 of Kim Possible and Sailor Moon seems like an endless trove of joyous pretty colors and glitter. (Seriously, I’m trying to figure out how much original anime I have left and my Google-fu is failing me…does anyone know what Hulu’s deal with the movies is going to be? I mean, I assume they’ll be there, since we’ve been promised “full and unabridged.”)

Life Things

My sister’s boyfriend Joe graduated from college! So we’re celebrating that. A couple of my cousins also graduated from college and high school and what not, so there will be celebrations of that. Plus work, and trying to write things that aren’t this blog.

But I swear, I will get to a beach. I will do it soon! (Or possibly in August, when all of this stuff is done.)

Happy Summer Everyone!

 

Like A Sinner Before The Gates of Heaven

Last week, while I was taking my daily walk on my lunch break, (Lest I turn into an actual slug) I stepped into Dunkin Donuts. (If I’m walking, I am rewarding myself with an iced coffee.) I took out my earbuds, and was delighted when I heard Meat Loaf’s, “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” on the speakers.

I really love Meat Loaf, because honestly, if you can’t get into a ten minute long rock operas about motorcycles, you probably just don’t like fun or joy.

So getting back to my office I went on Spotify and pulled up Bat Out of Hell.

Do you know what will make your afternoon of boring data entry feel ridiculously epic? Why yes, the answer is listening to Bat Out Of Hell.

I’ve been listening to it a lot lately, and as it absorbs into my regular music routine, I’m grateful to have found it again. Bat Out Of Hell was one of those pieces of work that’s loomed large in the background of my life, and that in recent years, I’ve sort of scoffed at with a degree of irony.

Oh sure, I’ll sing “Paradise by The Dashboard Light” with a guy I’m flirting with at a karaoke bar.

I’ll snicker at the little skit that precedes “Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth,” but admit that I actually like Meat Loaf. That the final burst of “Bat Out Of Hell” gives me shivers.

Please.

But I’m trying to lose that irony coat. It’s impossible to totally lose it. I’ll always be just a little bit sarcastic, and love something in a campy way. But life’s too short, and there’s too much stuff I actually like, to watch, listen to and read things because they’re “awesomely bad.”

Bat Out Of Hell is amazing. It’s camptastic joy and sheer rock and roll badassery and Meat Loaf’s voice has an otherworldly power that’s unmatched. (Seriously, “Bat Out of Hell” is like a late era Elvis song, if Elvis could belt high notes for 8 bars.)

Anyway, I think people should listen to it. Or some other artifact from your life that you’re not sure still speaks to you. (I’ve had a similar experience lately with Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick…Boom. But that’s another story for another day)

Keeping The Faith: Faith, Romantic Comedy & Anna Riley

Keeping The Faith

Last night my mom and I watched Keeping The Faith, a movie I have absolutely seen multiple times. (Possibly more than 20? It used to be on cable a lot, and it was, believe it or not a sleepover staple for my friends and me. We were weird youth group comedy nerds, it hit many of our sweet spots!)

If you’re unfamiliar with the film, it’s worth a watch. In it, a priest, played by Edward Norton and a rabbi, played by Ben Stiller, both fall in love with their childhood friend, played by Jenna Elfman.

The movie is a little all over the place, sometimes being a standard rom com. After all, Elfman’s character, Anna, is a high powered executive, who learns to let go a little bit, because of her relationship with Jake. (Stiller). And the love triangle plot could be totally played out.

But the faith aspect sets Keeping The Faith apart. Jake and Anna’s relationship isn’t complicated by her work, and her desire to further her career. She doesn’t see a problem with scaling back on her work to make a relationship work. She’s achieved wonderful things and will continue to, but she’s ready to explore a new path.

The complication comes because Anna isn’t Jewish, and as a rabbi, Jake can’t really commit to a gentile woman, lest he alienate his family and his congregation.

Also, Brian (Norton), who as a Catholic priest, can’t pursue his feelings for his friend ads another layer of interest to this otherwise trite story.

So we get two men, at a loss for where to go with regards to this woman. Which is a really big switch when it comes to romantic comedy.

And why more romantic comedies need female leads like Anna. Anna is not conflicted. She knows what she wants, and she’s willing to make sacrifices, though not change who she is, in order to pursue it. When Brian confesses his feelings to her, she rebuffs him immediately and lets him know that, aside from the fact she isn’t interested in him, she could never ask him to give up his vocation for her.

I’ve just forgotten what a lovely little movie it was, and while the faith themes always resonated with me, as did the vocational questions, it wasn’t until this viewing that I realized how interesting, nuanced, and different a character Anna is.

And this is in no small way due to Jenna Elfman’s performance, which is delightful. In the hands of a lesser comedic actress Anna could have become a cliche, or been cloying, but instead she’s charming and warm and kind of a delight. Romantic comedies have died a slow and agonizing death over the past ten years. And, although indie cinema seems to have picked up the slack, but I could do without all of the irony involved in those movies.

If more romantic comedy heroines felt like Anna Riley, I don’t think things would have gone down in flames so hard and fast. She’s a person, with feelings and layers and it’s something that should be celebrated.

Keeping The Faith is worth revisiting, although there are elements that instantly date it. The soundtrack is heavily 99-00 in feel, and the constant bafflement by Anna’s use of her cell phone is another oddity, but it also has a finale where Edward Norton sings a karaoke rendition of “Ready To Take A Chance Again.”

So worth your time. Because of religion. And feminism! And romantic comedy! (I so very rarely get to have those three things all together!)

Here’s The Sitch: Kim Possible Season 2 Episodes 28-30

Hey! Guess what I did this week? I finally finished season 2! (Which is why I pushed through to three this week, because, we were so close.)

Kim Ron Rufus

Season 2: Episode 28: “Ron Millionaire”

This week’s episodes are um…not the kindest to The Ron Man. I’m mostly OK with it.

In this one, Ron gets a check from Bueno Nacho, which gives him a lot of money in compensation for the creation of the Naco. Suddenly, Ron is off the rails pretentious, building himself an entourage, and dating Bonnie, who is obviously, only into him for the money. (She’s pretty upfront about this, to her credit.)

Meanwhile, Drakken is having financial troubles, so Shego is stealing him supplies that seem to coincide with Ron’s ridiculous purchases.

In the end, Drakken just steals Ron’s money, and he’s left with just Kim. He’s mostly OK with this.

Season 2: Episode 29: “Triple S”

I assume this episode came about because Disney was probably promoting The X Games pretty hard over on ESPN.

The Seniors hire a “financial adviser” who bilks them out of their money. To make ends meet, they begin selling tee shirts with the X-Games. Meanwhile, someone’s been robbing the adviser, Vinnie, and the person has a mysterious “555” tattoo, and killer extreme sports acumen.

Meanwhile, Ron is trying to get jock cred in order to get more dates. It doesn’t work. Kim and Ron head to the X-Games, and interview various extreme athletes. (All of whom voice themselves. Fun!) And it turns out that the culprit is Senior, and the “555” is in fact, “SSS.” Ron also invents a new extreme sport which gets him the jock cred, and makes him insufferable. (See a pattern?)

Season 3: Episode 30: “Rewriting History”

I love this episode because it plays with tropes in a way that very few shows can get away with.

On a trip to the Tri City Museum, Kim and Ron learn about their ancestors, who were best friends until, Kim’s great great Aunt, Mim Possible, was framed for stealing an invention. And Ron’s ancestor, Jon, was disgraced for trying to clear her name.

Oh, and the invention was stolen from Doctor Dementor’s ancestor, by Drakken and Shego’s, obviously.

And it turns out that it was all a dream in the end.

The episode is saved by Ron constantly screaming that “none of this makes any sense.”

Boo-Yas And Nacos

  • Kim describes Ron’s money madness as “way worse than when he got the froofy haircut.” I love a good call back.
  • Ron insists that his posse call him “The Ron.” Kirsten Storms reading of correcting herself after a glare from him might be my favorite thing she does on the show.
  • Ron doesn’t completely lose his heart. He hires Kim a squad of commandos which is nice.
  • Seriously, I find “Triple S” a completely useless episode, and I would like to not talk about it anymore.
  • God, I never realized that “Rewriting History” is so brilliant. The constant parade of everyone’s relatives and the interlocking story line are all great.
  • Wade’s great uncle Wayne is still alive. He helps Kim and Ron clear Mim’s name. Also, Barkin’s ancestor was a police chief and it’s adorable.

Game Of Thrones Winner: “The Gift”

I kind of can’t believe how fast we’re moving through this season. And as we speed through the unknown, I’m having trouble dealing with how the show is moving. Yes, there are definitely things that are happening, and a lot of them are pretty great, and some of them are less so.

But let’s declare this week’s winner

The High Sparrow won this week, which I don’t think should surprise anyone.

High Sparrow

Between arresting Cersei, explaining how Loras and Margaraey could maybe survive, and of course, giving us the amazing gift of him bickering with Lady Olenna, it’s hard to give him the week.

And honestly, how satisfying was it watching Cersei’s face fall as she realized what was happening to her. It was so good. And a remarkable turn by Lena Headey. (As if we didn’t already know what a bad ass she was.)

So, congratulations, High Sparrow, whatever your real name is. You won the game of thrones this week.

Even though, you’re not interested.

Or whatever.

The runner up the week is Sam! He had sex with Gilly! You go Sam! (Also Jorah, who was all badass in the fighting pits.)

Missandei And Grey Worm 

No action. That’s two weeks in a row.

I miss them.

Sansa’s Agency Watch

Another new feature. After last week, I’ve decided to note how they handle Sansa’s agency and storyline moving forward. (This is how I’m mitigating that I’m not dropping the show all together.)

Sansa tried to get Theon to help rescue her by giving him the candle to signal Brienne. He of course told Ramsay, and BOOOO Theon! While this action is a step in the right direction the fact that Sansa is being kept locked in her bedroom for Ramsay to rape every night, and that he then killed that servant is absolutely the worst. But, at least Sansa is engineering her own rescue, or trying to, unlike Jeyne, who was way more pathetic and less active.

So that’s where we are.

It wasn’t always like this

Tomorrowland

New York Magazine’s review of Tomorrowland called it the “anti-Hunger Games.” And while, yes, in many ways this movie shares a twisted version of that series’s DNA, it’s also very much it’s own wonderful thing.

The plot, without spoiling too much is standard Heroes Journey stuff. Florida Teen Casey Newton hears a call (she touches a magical pin that takes her to another world). She’s then lead there by a herald, a little robot girl named Athena, to her mentor, Frank Walker.

Then they go on a fantastical adventure to save the world.

That’s selling the movie short, because I came out of it grinning from ear to ear, madly in love with Casey as a protagonist, and the word “delightful” kept coming up as the best way to describe the movie.

I’ve made no secret of the fact that I’ve been looking for this movie for years, and actively anticipating it since last October. (Remember, when I saw George Clooney all up close and stuff? I may have mentioned it a time or ten.) And it didn’t disappoint at all.

When I was a kid on rainy Saturdays my dad would take us to the video store and we would rent movies. A lot of the time he’d be sharing stuff with us that he’d loved before we were born, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, The Princess Bride. I’ve spent a good chunk of my 20’s on the look out for those movies for when my kids are born. The Avengers, Pacific Rim, and now, Tomorrowland.

The cast is wonderful. Britt Robertson delivers as Casey and Raffey Cassidy as Athena are wonderful. George Clooney and Hugh Laurie are, of course, superb. Thomas Robinson turns in a really fun performance as young Frank and you can’t help but see the similarities between him and Clooney. (Seriously, that kid should grow up to be quite good looking.) There are fun small roles by Tim McGraw as Casey’s dad. (Seriously, I’m always surprised by Tim McGraw as actor, he’s always reliably good.), Kathryn Hahn and Keegan Michael Key (If he turns in one more awesome and unexpected performance this year, he is The King Of Movie Season 2105, he’s been GREAT these past two weeks.) A lot of people try to give out the name “The New Spielberg,” as if they will ever be another, but Brad Bird comes close, getting the action and feelings of each scene exactly right.

I should also note that Disney has been on a roll. I’ve seen every release since Frozen in a theater and the only one that hasn’t met or exceeded my expectations has been Maleficent.

Rankings!

  1. Tomorrowland
  2. Avengers: Age of Ultron
  3. Pitch Perfect 2

Trailers:

Shaun The Sheep: This animation studio has never been one of my favorites. But it looks serviceable enough in the Wallace and Grommit and Chicken Run vein.

Pixels: Can we just…not, maybe? There’s an excellent “Tales of Interest” segment from Futurama, watch that instead.

Paper Towns: Ugh, everytime I see an ad for this I want  to throw things. And this coming from a woman who once called Nick And Norah’s Infinite Playlist “unappreciated genius.” Again, I think I’m just too old/not old enough to be into it.

Star Wars: Remember last year, when I got inappropriately weepy at each and every X-Men: Days of Future Past or Mockingjay trailer? This is going to  be like that. I saw the Lucasfilm logo, and was like, “nope I got this, I’ll be fine this time.” I heard the music, felt a lump in my throat. Saw the Darth Vader helmet and swallowed. Mark Hamill began narrating and my eyes welled up. The screen went black and the tears started to roll.

Ant-Man: I’m trying you guys, but I just don’t care. I wish I did, and I’m hoping to be proven wrong, but I just…can’t get psyched.

It’s A Small, Small, World

Walt_Disney_World_4

So I’m going to see Tomorrowland tonight and I don’t know that I’ve been so excited for a movie in a while. It is without a doubt the non Star Wars movie I’m most excited about this movie season.

I’ve noted on my facebook a few times that this is a pretty Disney-tastic movie season.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Tomorrowland

Inside Out

Ant-Man

Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens

And as I found out yesterday…I’m headed to the World itself this fall. Which will now be consuming large amounts of my energy and focus, since I’m sure in the ten years since I last visited Walt Disney World a lot has changed. (In fact I know it has, because I love Disney World and I followed the construction of New Fantasyland with rapt attention. I’m going to cut a mofo to try to get into Be Our Guest.) Also, as an adult I can now drink around the world at Epcot, and frankly, I’ve wanted to do that since I was like ten.

So, I was very excited to go see Tomorrowland anyway this weekend. Now my excitement has compounded. Because I’m going to be seeing Tomorrowland again soon, and I really can’t wait!