Saturday, December 25, 2010

You're talking about the woman I almost love.

#29. Die Hard 2 (1990).

You know, I really remember this being more of a Christmas movie than it is. Aside from the fact that it's snowing and Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow, plays over the credits...uh, not so much.



But still a fun action movie. John McClane saves the day again and there's lots of explosions and some good dialogue. Win.

#28. Sagan om Karl-Bertil Jonssons julafton (1975).

This was one we watched every Christmas when I was growing up, and I still love it. It's Swedish, and apparently they watch it over there yearly, too. It's hard to find over here (impossible, actually), so we've been watching the same taped version we've owned since, who knows, 1984 or so...



I recently bought a PAL version from the UK on DVD, since I have an all region player. But it's the wrong narrator! :( I'm sure the narration is perfectly good, but it's just not the same...the original narrator (whose name I must look up) is wonderfully dry and deadpan, unmatched.



Anyway, it's always a cute story and though I am putting it on the list though I haven't watched it yet, I no doubt will today!

#27. The Lemon Drop Kid (1951).

This is one from my childhood. Silver Bells has always been my favorite traditional xmas song, and while I don't believe it was written FOR this film, this was the first film to feature it.



Very cute, great lines, and though I can't say I know Marilyn Maxwell from anything else, I do think she's great in this. Bob Hope is Bob Hope, as always, great stuff.

"I know it and you know, but it would sound pretty peculiar in court..."

#26. Go (1999).

This is one of those borderline Christmas movies, but I think it counts. It always makes me laugh, and that will make almost anything count.



The story is basically about the same night told three times, as experienced by three different groups of people, and they're all very different stories. And I've seen it several times, but it's still hysterical and full of great, quotable lines.

#25. A Christmas Carol (George C. Scott).



I guess I don't really have a lot to say here: we've all seen this story a million times in a million ways and I think this is my favorite version. George C. Scott just does the most perfect Scrooge. 'nuff said.

#24. Mystery Science Theater 3000: Santa Claus (1959).

Hahaha, this is fucking awful. Just look at the picture, for Christ's sake. First of all, there are numerous films with this title, so this is Santa Claus.



Clearly, you would never want to watch this without the aid of Mystery Science Theater 3000. And really, if you are going to go there at all, I would recommend Santa Claus Conquers the Martians over this. Both are gloriously awful, but the other is somehow more charming. I was trying to knock a dent in this list by xmas, and this one was available for instant download. It has been years since I saw it last and wow. It's a gem from Mexico, dubbed for your viewing pleasure, and it's just wrong on so many levels. Win.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

This place is like the circus with alcohol. How have I never been here?

#34. When Harry Met Sally (1989).

I wish I could do this on New Year's Eve! :D (The link, not the picture, sheesh.)



I would love to do the Alamo Drafthouse's WHMS evening with full menu (with all the toppings "on the side"!)

It has enough xmas in it to make the list, but I think most of us associate this one with New Years, as the Alamo apparently does...but as I said previously, New Years counts too!

Anyway, this one still makes me laugh even though I've seen it an ungodly amount of times, so that's got to mean it's still cute.

#33. Metropolitan (1990).

It's not surprising how much I like this movie, even though the characters really aren't so likable. I'm still drooling for Whit Stillman's new Damsel in Distress to come out, assuming it's still being made and all is going well...



Not many people know this movie, it's very low budget and it's very New York. I don't know much about the Upper East Side crowd or the debutante ball phase of life those kids go through, but it's still interesting, especially since the audience gets the perspective of the outsider, Tom Townsend, who is also quite poor. (I always kind of wanted to name my cat Tom Townsend, even though I sort of loathe the character himself. I've always been far more partial to the more openly obnoxious qualities of the Chris Eigeman character!)



It occurred to me not that long ago that even as a child I was always drawn to the pretentious, uptight (and often mocked) characters in cartoons. For example, I always liked Ratty in The Wind in the Willows. Poor Ratty. And then I always felt really bad for Rabbit in Winnie the Pooh, who, let's face it, is the bitter alcoholic of the bunch.

Anyway, back to Metropolitan...so I like the character-driven pretentious stuff sometimes, sue me.

This is a good Christmas movie, though it's not really a Christmas movie. But it's set in New York (mostly) during Christmas and makes for some great sets and scenery.

#32. Holiday Inn (1942).

This is one of my top, top traditional xmas movies. I have the original, which unfortunately includes the blackface number for Lincoln's birthday. Hmm. I usually fast forward or hit the loo on that one. In all honesty, I can appreciate the times, cringe and endure it, but it's also just the poorest number of the bunch.



Ha ha, I sort of wish I hadn't look at the trivia on imdb. Apparently Marjorie Reynolds' singing was dubbed! :O I had no idea!

Apparently they shot a Labor Day dance number but it got nixed. And I knew this one:

For the "drunk" dance, Fred Astaire had two drinks of bourbon before the first take and one before each succeeding take. The seventh (last) take was used in the film.

This was also the film for which "White Christmas" was written, not the actual film White Christmas, which I saw for the first time last year and has got to be one of the biggest pieces of shit I've ever seen.



It's probably always been obvious, but apparently yes, the real Holiday Inns were named after this film, which kind of depresses me a little. They are perfectly fine hotels, I suppose, it's just a shame they have nothing in common with the film whatsoever other than ripping off the name.

#31. Home Alone (1990).

So I'm cheating a little here. I saw this last xmas (or most of it) when my nieces were in town. I don't need to see it again this year, and I think it should be on the list for variety. Plus I really remember the first time I saw it. It had nothing to do with the movie itself, but both my sisters and I went to the neighborhood theater on Christmas Eve so my parents could finish wrapping presents. (Not that I was told that at the time.)



My oldest sister would have been 17, then Alex would have been 13 going on 14 and I was 11. It was really just fun going out to the theater with them, and the movie was fun (not fantastic or abysmal either way). But it was a really good time, I know I laughed and enjoyed the movie. And ahhhh, the film had yet to be bludgeoned to death by repetition and Macaulay Culkin hadn't been utterly destroyed by the family drama and fame machine mix.

I'm not a big fan of visual gags and slapstick, not even at that age, but it was still fun as a kid. When I saw it last year I appreciated it in that way that, as an adult, you are thankful when a kid's movie doesn't make you want to disembowel yourself while you watch it. Always a plus.

#30. Joyeux Noel (2005).

Here's one I've only come to know in the past couple years, and this was second time to see it. I liked it even better this time, really great movie.



It is set during World War I, and certainly it has its bleak moments, but there are so many cute moments and of course the whole story is very sweet, so it's still a very nice Christmas movie. I don't think I could recommend this one enough--this is what a Christmas movie should be. (If it can't be black and white with musical numbers or else animated and intelligent!)

Really great music, too. A+.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Pope doesn't get unpleasant.

Yay me. I managed not to leave school today going, "Fuck you, fuck you, you're cool and fuck you."

This is actually a movie reference, and I have no idea why or how I ever came to see Half Baked, but there it is. I do not in any way recommend this movie, but I did laugh twice.



My point, Charlie, is that I'm super proud of myself for NOT doing this today. I'm not hostile, just...well, it's angsty bullshit that is probably best not aired on a public forum.

Anyway, off to drink and play a Battlestar Galactica board game with friends (oh yes, I'm owning my dorkness--jesus, it's not a role playing game, ok?) and then finish up packing for my ungodly early flight. And yes mom, I'll get the pat down! ;)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

$1,000 worth of pizza? His arteries must be as clogged as a toilet at the State Fair.

Wow, so it has been a while since I've been able to pop an xmas movie in while cooking, let alone be able to sit down and just watch on the sofa. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation was still in the computer, so I took it out and filed it under "S" for "Totally Fucking Piece of Shit," and then looked for what should be next.

I still have to wrap up my closing argument, but in the meantime, there is rugelach to be made as well as espresso martini jelly shots and Kahlua fudge brownies! And I need to pack! So movie time.

#38. Just Friends (2005)

I saw this once a couple years ago, and it wasn't as bad as I expected. First of all, I don't really recommend it, but if you would like something kinda stupid that accidentally makes you laugh and you don't really hate yourself after, then this works fairly well.



I don't really know Amy Smart but she's decent in this, Ryan Reynolds does comedy really well in my opinion, but the point is that Anna Faris is always worth watching.

It goes on a little long but it has enough moments that it was worth having on while making Espresso Martini Jelly Shots! (They have to set, I haven't started knocking them back yet...)

#37. Scrooged (1988)

Always an awesome one. I always like it when Bill Murray manages to be in good movies. Lots of great supporting characters, too, needless to say. Great quotable lines.



You know what's weird, though? Even though this movie is from 1988 and it's pretty obvious just from his hair, it has never felt that way to me. I've just never associated it with the 80s the way I do so many other movies (even some early 90s ones). I guess it always felt more like an early 90s movie somehow. Maybe I'm just crazy.

It's also funny (and I forgot) that this is directed by Richard Donner--he of the Lethal Weapon trilogy. /random.

Anyway, it's so enjoyable I almost don't feel bad about the fact that I should be working on my closing argument right now. *whistles innocently*

#36. Peter's Friends (1992).

See? Like what the fuck, Scrooged is four years older than this? Really?



Anyway, yes, this really is a New Year's flick. And I care because why...? My list, my rules. I have Thanksgiving shit on here, too, it's a "holiday list."

No one ever knows this movie, and it's probably not very good, but I've got a buttload of nostalgia for it. I don't think I could really recommend it in good faith unless I encountered some anglophile who hadn't somehow run across it. After all, Hugh Laurie, Stephen Fry, and Tony Slattery who totally reminds me of my Beantown bartender. :O

#35. Bridget Jones' Diary (2006)

I was saving this one for when I really needed it, but now's as good a time as any. The second one is an utter turd, but they really got the first one just right.



I know, I know, god forbid someone hire the Texas girl to play a Brit, *eyeroll*.In any case, I think Renee Zellweger does a kick-ass Bridget Jones. And I know it was soooo interesting (somehow?) as to how much weight Zellweger gained or lost around this role (you could say the same about Christian Bale, but when a guy does it, it's all about "how devoted" to the role he is, you know?)



Like, why was this even made? (And why am I re-posting it?) Because um, am I the only one who, were I a guy, would rather meet up with the chick on the left? After all, no one wants to break their special lady friend. ;)

But the movie is super fun, Colin Firth is always pretty easy on the eyes, and it's fucking funny. 'nuff said. I guess this one's actually a bit of a New Year's movie, too, but it's mostly Christmas. Reindeer jumper and all.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I like crushing bastards.

One of the highlights of yesterday was walking out to go next door to the Weezer concert and finding snooooooooooowflakes falling! It was so cold yesterday I remember thinking it seemed like it was going to snow, whatever that feels like. But it did! Not enough to put any on the ground, but it's a start. 30% chance of it happening again this afternoon, allegedly.

And this is awesome:

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How deliciously cryptic.

I'm not sure when I started hating multiple choice, but I think I might now. And this is a really bad sign because the bar? Yeah, HALF of that 2-day long bastard IS multiple choice.

I had my first final this morning...wait.



Ok, I needed to go to a happy place. (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is very much in a need of a re-watch, I'm realizing...)

I'm back. So technically my first final. My seminar paper was due on Monday, so that's in. I am still positive that professor is going to delicately rescind her offer for me to be one of her research assistants next semester. We'll see.

So this was 40 questions, 3 hours and I did have time to revisit them all. Yeah, I changed FIVE. I know what they say about not changing shit, your first impulse, BLAH BLAH BLAH. But I am 31, I know me, and I read fast. I miss shit. I do. So I really think I was right to change the answers. Except for one. One I know I got wrong even though I changed it.

I am pretty sure I missed at least 3 (after talking about the exam with my friends L and D, and we usually have a steadfast rule that YOU DO NOT TALK ABOUT THESE FUCKERS AFTERWARDS). But it's hard not to talk about it...anyway. I don't think I bombed, but I really wanted to do well. For my GPA, for the fact that anyone who works in trial in any capacity really ought to have a solid grasp of the federal rules of evidence, and just for my own ego, you know?

I also turned in one of my two trial critiques--the one for the other guy. I still have to do my own, which I am not worried about. L and I are going to finish up reviewing our trial Friday afternoon with beers. So I really just have Thursday morning to worry about. And oh holy jesus am I worried.

But I really do think I grasp the concepts and however terrified I may be, I think I am more prepared than I realize? (What stage of which syndrome does "delusion" fall under?)

In any case, it won't be happening tonight and tonight I am packing it in and trotting literally next door to go watch Weezer rock the fuck out to their very first album. :D

Friday, December 10, 2010

The point of reporting the news is not to make one recliner-bound old man smile for half a second. You're the NEWS, not Ziggy!!

I can't believe it's already Friday. Shit. I am so excited that I can officially say TEN DAYS TIL LITTLE D!!! On the other hand, holy fuck I have two finals on the horizon.



Um, so why the Johnny Depp pic? Well, even though I mention a bunch of movies below, I'm too busy and/or lazy to get images for them, and I do mention Depp in that discussion, so it seemed only right.

So, anyway. Bourdain was supposed to have 3 teeth out today, but judging by the bag of teeth I was given, he is a toothless cat now! Well, he still has his canines. He hasn't been hiding all night, either! He came out and about shortly and wanted to eat! (Wet food, needless to say!) His brother is quite pissy because Bourdain smells medicine-y, so he keeps hissing at him. Sigh, it's always something. And though Bourdain is always a happy kitty, he does seem especially happier, so I wonder if it's because his mouth doesn't hurt anymore.

And naturally, they charged us for each of EIGHT TEETH (I looked at the itemized bill) not the three they said they would extract. It's hard to get upset since I am glad they did it and it's best to knock him out once, but they couldn't call? Cause jesus fuck, I'm thinking it couldn't have been anymore expensive if MY fucking dentist did it. (I almost wrote "a real doctor," but that might be a little more insulting than I intended, ha ha...) Pricey goddamn cat, in any case.

So you may have noticed I've gone on a Christmas movie hiatus. Finals will do that to you, I'm afraid. I think I am finished with my paper as of this morning, so there's that. I am putting it away until late tomorrow or Sunday, so I can read through it with fresh-er eyes. It's due Monday by 6 pm. Before you go, "Wow, gee, you finished early," I should say my first final is that next Tuesday morning and then the real beast, the one where I have to like, learn it all cause it lived all semester on the back burner, that one's Thursday morning.

And I have two mini-papers for my trial class, based on my and someone else's presentations. Not worried about that.

So watch out when I'm done, because not only will I be all over my remaining Christmas movies, but goddammit I'm going to the theater. There's starting to be a bunch of shit worth watching again.

First of all, I don't know if I even want to see The Fighter, but I love living in Boston. They had three midnight shows pre-opening night. That's Harry Potter-heavy. And I remembered they held the premiere of The Town at Fenway Park. So Boston clearly supports its own, what can I say.

But I actually do quite like Mark Wahlberg as an actor, so I have no problem seeing it.

Also, wow, I still have to see The Social Network (it's still out, amazingly) and 127 Hours, Black Swan (more on this in a second), and I'm still a little curious about Morning Glory...

This is just off the top of my head, I know there's more.

Okay, I think whoever created the trailer for Black Swan should be peed on and then fired. Could you cram more angst into a trailer? And especially for people like me who want to like Natalie Portman but just can't anymore due to her annoying followers and the twinge of self-righteousness that may in fact just be my imagination. I'm can't say for sure what it is about Natalie Portman that just bugs me for the past couple years, but I'm sure there is a really great blog post out there somewhere that says it far better than I could. But you know what I mean.

Anyway, the consensus from people whose opinions I respect and who have seen it is that it's really beautiful to watch and should not be taken seriously. Visually it's more Cronenberg/Lynch and story-wise it's just silly and OTT. You would never get this from the trailer. If the trailer took itself any more seriously it would need a Prozac prescription.

On the flip side, The Tourist just came out, and though it has been resoundingly yawned over, I'd totally watch it for the scenery (human and country alike). Mostly because I get a goofy Thomas Crowne Affair vibe from the two-second trailer. As in, it's probably fun to watch but it would irritate you if you gave it any real thought. And I'm also willing to bet TCA has way more style and thought behind it. (I'm talking about the 90s version, which I still prefer to the McQueen/Dunaway version, that's right, I said it.) Even The Tourist trailer is crap, but I'm still happy to tap into vapid brain mode right about now.

Oooh, and must-sees coming out soon are Rabbit Hole and The Tempest. Nicole Kidman in the former (and back to good stuff I think) and Helen Mirren in the latter.

So the paper is done (ish) so now it's me, the Yule Log channel, evidence, agency (oh agency, I am so sorry) and opening/closing argument points for Sunday. Yup, I have trial team all day Sunday. Hopefully not ALL DAY. Hopefully they're not THAT sadistic.

Another 30% chance of flurries tonight. C'mon Boston, make it work.

[Editor's Note: Hey, I never did mention Johnny Depp, did I? He's in The Tourist, okay? There.]

Thursday, December 09, 2010

She did say "no offense."

My evidence notes are horrible things to read for meals or whimsy:

“After weeks of emailing, Paul and Susan go on a first date. At his place, he ties her to the bed and sodomizes her.”

The question at issue has to do with evidentiary matters of previous events, e.g., emails or testimony as to what Susan is into…and wow, apparently my computer does not recognize the spelling of “sodomize” and would instead prefer I change it to “odorize.”

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I think people who like to smoke candy and listen to cigarettes will love it.

It occurred to me while I had Christmas music playing in my headphones while writing about genocide, torture and slavery that You're All I Want For Christmas has some fairly fucked up lyrics.

You're all I want for Christmas
All I want my whole life through
Each day is just like Christmas
Anytime that I'm with you

You're all I want for Christmas
And if all my dreams come true
Then I'll awake on Christmas mornin'
And find my stocking filled with you

(You're all I want for Christmas)


It's not just me, right? Regardless of whether I've been watching too much Castle or reading too much about murder and forced disappearance, right?

I spent all morning on my paper, and I am so glad I will turn that fucker in without knowing how many hours I spent on it. I know it's a lot, and knowing the actual number would only sadden me. I think I am maybe half-way done.

So then I had a somewhat leisurely lunch break involving leftover Thai, one of my shame shows (bonus points for a character insisting on using L'Occitane shampoo to wash the good wine glasses, not that she usually does the washing up) and last night's Daily Show. I have to recommend the whole show last night, though I'm not sure if it was really on or I was just so much more appreciative in light of my morning. Or maybe in between, but the whole thing is still worth watching, plus it was an interview that's only seen in-full on-online.

But in any case, the animated segment herein was really great:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Gretch Who Saved the War on Christmas
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Can you not call right now? I'm trying to get my jam on.

So I was catching up on Castle the other day and meant to mention this. Awesome.

Monday, December 06, 2010

What fresh hell is this?

#39. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989).

Wow, that's 97 minutes I'll never get back.



So it wasn't too bad until the last third really. Before that it was ok; nothing funny really happened, but I wasn't hating it. And obviously I don't have nostalgia to work with, but I can't see having liked this even as a kid. I have never been a fan of obvious humor. Or fucking awful movies.

And by obvious I mean prat falls and big sight gags that are overly set-up. Any joke was preceded by the sort of set-up that panders to the lowest common denominator. (Gee, what's gonna happen?!) Another example? The neighbors (one of whom is played by Julia Louis-Drefus). The fuck did the neighbors ever do? They're childless and drawn on the pratty side, therefore they get to suffer a number of mishaps due to the Griswalds, (events that are mostly unintentional but never addressed), and for no real reason except, once again, obvious and vaguely mean-spirited laughs.

I almost didn't make it through. Electrocuting cats is FUNNY! Old people are SENILE! Time for another ANIMAL GAG! I really started to hate myself and John Hughes both. He wrote and produced this. I will try to block this from my mind to preserve the admiration I normally have for Hughes.

Worst of all is the forced genuine wrap-up moment at the end when he tried to say how Christmas isn't all about money when clearly it has been for him. Garfield had more sincerity in its Christmas message, for fucks sake, not to mention it felt like someone actually spent more than two minutes writing it.

Seriously, I'm almost in a bad mood I hated it that much.

I smell like jail.

#43. Black Christmas (1974).

So I've seen this a couple times. The original "the call is coming from inside the house!" movie.



I wasn't especially in the mood this time, but luckily I was also cooking. I do enjoy it, but despite being set during Christmas, it's clearly more of a Halloween movie. (Unlike Die Hard, Lethal Weapon and Gremlins, which somehow still have a little more to do with Christmas even if they are primarily action or horror flicks. Don't make me explain.)

Anyway, I still have never seen the remake, only parts. And what I saw was wretched. This on the other hand, is lots of fun (when you're in the mood). Olivia Hussey and Margot Kidder are both fun--the former seems weirdly out of place to me (though it works great, don't misunderstand) and the latter has a very different role from what I've otherwise seen her do!

#42. It's a Wonderful Life (1946).

So I only saw this for the first time last year, about this same time. I was about to take my contracts final in a few days and was taking a break.



I was surprised how much I liked it. Not just because I usually dislike Jimmy Stewart, but because by the time something is as ubiquitous as IAWL, it's blown out of proportion, it's overdone, it's not as great as it's built up to be. And maybe I went in with low expectations, but it worked! Aside from all the "angel and his wings" crap, which one can just sort of pass off as cutesy perhaps, it's still a really enjoyable film.

#41. Garfield's Thanksgiving/A Garfield Christmas Special (1989; 1987)

It's my blog and I can put whatever I want on my movie list. So there. Yes, this counts as one movie, even if clearly they are two shows. (Plus, I've still got about 40 to go, you know?)



Both are still really enjoyable, doubtless due entirely to nostalgia. And I think I do prefer Garfield's Xmas, although Grandma may be the best part of both.



I'm just so glad I can watch them now on DVD, without having to sit through President Reagan blathering on before the "Special Presentation" began. (The Christmas one actually had a segment edited out, presumably for time, so that's kinda neat to see now.)

#40. Lethal Weapon (1987).



Another great Christmas action flick. I'm not a big Mel Gibson fan--less so as the years go on, but I will always appreciate his older stuff, this included. Martin Riggs might be the best thing about Mel Gibson, and yeah, I'm including Mad Max in that.

I always confuse this one and the second one, but it doesn't really matter. They're both funny and action-packed, so I was never all that hung up on the plot I guess. ;)

And what a mullet! Bonus.

Friday, December 03, 2010

To our beautiful family, our black President, and my magnificent dong.

For Alexandra! (Well, and anyone who missed it!)

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And just in case you can't figure it out, Urban Dictionary can tell you all about pegging.

He said...and I'm quoting here..."soon."

I can only hope this doesn't come back to bite me in the ass (re: finals), BUT CAN WE HAVE SNOW NOW PLEASE??! At this rate, it's not going to snow here until I fly home to Texas for Christmas!

Though ironically, Denton, TX saw a shit-ton more snow than Boston, MA last year. Including our first white Christmas since 1926! :D Can we have another one?

I also intensely miss fireplaces, needless to say. Although thanks to a law school friend's facebook post, I now know about YULE LOG!

It's a little pathetic, but I will take it where I can get it, man.



This is the Yule Log Cam, I believe. So I can sit here and have a "roaring fire" (yes, yes, on my TV) with xmas music playing (I think I will play my own, thanks). There is a slightly different channel with just a loud crackling, fire. But the Yule Log is sexier. Yes, I am very discriminating.

So last night was my last night of class! It was my favorite class, and the prof even brought little mini muffins and cider. (There are 12 of us.) I couldn't stop eating them but was trying since D and I had reservations at Rabia. The online menu is very old, apparently, but still pretty similar. Their menu there at the restaurant was much more extensive.

I was taking D for xmas dinner and also to kinda celebrate being halfway done with law school, assuming I don't fail evidence or agency. O_o

I really meant to take my camera and I'm pissed that I didn't. We will simply have to go back and order the same things again. For the appetizer, we had the lobster bruscetta bisque thing--not on the online menu--which is this bread bowl filled with lobster chunks and bisque...I think it was gone in four bites--two each.

D had the:

Ziti with Broccoli & Artichokes
Broccoli florets, artichoke hearts & ziti served in a garlic, lemon & extra-virgin olive oil sauce

I had the:

Honey-Glazed Butternut Squash & Pumpkin Ravioli
In a cream gorgonzola sauce drizzled with a balsamic reduction glaze

We shared a cherry crumble cheesecake which smelled radiantly fresh before you even took a bite.

It was completely dead in there, even for a Thursday night, which I really liked. I hate to feel rushed and that's a real possibility in the North End. You simply CANNOT go in the summer because the tourists ruin it. So many places don't even take reservations--why should they? Nor do most places even have coffee or dessert--again, that would seriously hinder their turnover and profit, that's how fucking crazy it gets. And watch out--some places also don't take credit cards! Yikes. Actually that happens in all of Boston with minor regularity...scary if you're like me and don't have an ATM card and never carry cash!

So I like the North End in the winter and even the weekends in winter are probably worth avoiding. But I would go back to Rabia's anytime, my ravioli was superb.

Oh, and here's the Prosecco Brut Maschio I bought myself while I was waiting for D. (I was at least reading my agency notes...) I used my phone's camera which is on the crappy side...



It's not like champagne at all, it's hard to describe. But it was quite nice. I was also sitting at the oyster bar--I think (like so many places here) they are also known for their oysters. I'm not a HUGE oyster fan, but in small doses they are fun. Like once a year. And not last night. I went for heavier fare...

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Though Poe and I weren't what you'd call simpatico, he shouldn't have taken two in the chest.

Ha ha, Alex, I just couldn't get this line out of my head.

I have to admit I've been watching The Good Guys. It's not that it's good, but...I keep watching it. I guess I have two reasons.



The two main characters (Colin Hanks and Bradley Whitford) are entertaining enough but if the two women were any more poorly written or uninteresting...they are clearly token women. (One could try to argue that that goes with the show's "style," but I call bullshit and weak writing.) And I find the women so disappointing since the same guy who created it (Matt Nix) created Burn Notice. And we all know Burn Notice has Gabrielle Anwar. 'nuff said.



So the first reason I have for continuing to watch is that I just like Bradley Whitford. Even if his character does have to have a creepy 'stache. Whitford does smarmy so well, from Adventures in Babysitting to the pretentious douchebag he played on The West Wing. Not that I didn't secretly enjoy Josh, but man, what a douche. And he's actually not playing smarmy here at all, but he does provide the only laughs, usually from a nice, dry delivery. (To be fair, Hanks does a nice job, he's just not written for laughs. Also? He sounds exactly like his father and it's often quite eerie.)

The other reason? It is totally and completely shot in Dallas! I think I spend the majority of the time trying to figure out where they are, checking out the backgrounds or the buildings. One whole episode large featured The Crescent (where Alex I stayed once and I believe Mob and K had their honeymoon). Though I have to say, it took them long enough to get some new B-roll, sheesh. Also? Kinda neat to see all the Texas license plates again. ;)

#44. Gremlins (1984).

Ah, Gremlins. I had not seen this in several years, but I still remember it vividly.



(I never really noticed in this scene before but yes, Gizmo's mouth goes from this horrified frown to a gaping "O" throughout the scene, it's awesome.)

I just appreciate this movie even more, though, you know why? I honestly feel like this was supposed to be "family-oriented" but you know? It's really pretty dark! And I also think this is a great example of special effects having way more attention and love paid to DETAILS. That just doesn't happen with CG these days.

For example, the kitchen scene. Someone spent HOURS figuring out how to blow up a Gremlin, what should happen when you put one in a blender, and then they got to spend HOURS making the innards and they clearly had fun doing it. The microwave-exploding Gremlin--now that's a real nice effect. Also, the scene where Billy feeds them chicken after midnight--great close-ups and even greater sound effects...I'm surprised I can still eat fried chicken.

So I know it was this movie and Temple of Doom (same release time) that brought about PG-13 from the MPAA. Because this is more than a PG but really not R material. And I loathe the MPAA generally, but I do see the point here. For example, like right off the bat, Mrs. Deagle is telling Billy about how she wants his dog so she can take him to the kennel to have him put down, but if she got her hands on him she'd kill him slowly, like put him in her dryer on high.

Real nice. But I just wish movies were still like this, kinda dark and edgier and not so watered down like they are now.

And apparently it was supposed to be darker (from imdb):

Chris Columbus' script went through a few drafts before a shooting script was finalized. His original version had the creatures killing the dog and cutting off the mom's head and tossing it down the stairs. These elements were never shot due to the fact that both Joe Dante and Warner Bros. wanted the movie to be more family oriented.

Mr. Hanson, the science teacher, originally died with dozens of hypodermic needles stuck in his face. But, by request from Steven Spielberg, this scene was re-shot it with just a single needle in the buttocks.




And though this movie is 26 years old (!!), Gizmo is still really fucking cute. And this was also one of the first movies I ever saw in the theater. My dad and two sisters saw it first and I had to stay home with my mom. But I got to eat Nerds, so there was that. And apparently after seeing it, my dad thought I could handle it. (Sound judgment similarly demonstrated later by making me watch Eraserhead at age 11--ha ha, hi dad! Of course I'm glad I saw both.) I wasn't a fan of going to bed that night after the Gremlins viewing, but obviously I managed.

But getting back to the content, I never really liked Billy much. He's just too douchey and naive. Like when he's walking Cate home. "I thought everyone was happy at the holidays." What are you, five? Of course, then there's Cate: "While everyone else is opening their presents, [some people] are opening their wrists." WTF?? Thanks, Cate. Super cheery.

But back to the bucket of douche that is Billy: I love his reaction when he first sees Gizmo. "Wow, Dad, he's really neat." NEAT? Like, NO ONE is fazed by the fact they have no idea what the fuck this living creature is. (This living creature that can't drink water. O_o)

Even when he first shows Gizmo to Corey Feldman (who's like 7), Feldman's all, "Neat. What's his name?" I mean, if someone showed you a weird looking live creature and claimed it was their pet, I think I'd be mildly concerned.

And then when Feldman knocks the water over? Billy really doesn't seem all that concerned in proportion to the intense FREAKING OUT that Gizmo starts up. He really comes off like an irresponsible shit, I can't believe his dog has lived as long as he has.

And one last neat thing from imdb I hadn't ever picked up on:

Mrs. Deagle, the richest lady in town, has named her cats after different kinds of currency (including Kopeck, Drachma and Dollar Bill).

So all in all, I think this one survives the years really nicely, but I'm also incredibly biased by nostalgia. If you don't believe me, I think I still have my stuffed Gizmo in storage. ;)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My previous source of entertainment just got fired.

#45. Sleepless in Seattle (1993).

There's a moment I like when Meg Ryan is driving behind her fiancee on her way to his parents' house, and she's flipping through the crappy radio station choices. There's one station playing multiple awful versions of Jingle Bells, and she not only sings along just as badly as one singing in their car might, but continues to chant, "Horse, horses, horses, horses," after the song's over. For some reason, it always makes me laugh.



And I can only assume it's because there are some really cute moments all throughout the film (again, not cutesy) that I can keep watching this one. Because there is nothing subtle or nuanced about the story itself. I usually hate it when movies treat the audience as if they have an IQ of 2. And to be fair, I have often found myself in theaters with people who seem to betray this very quality--louding repeating "funny" dialogue is a big favorite of mine. But still. A little subtly never hurt anyone, okay?

And the kids are good. I usually hate children in movies (shocker), or at least the way they're written. And I am actually not fond of Hank's kid at all, but I still think he's well done in the movie, if that makes sense. Like I can respect the kid but I'm also glad he's not mine. (And speaking of annoying, Rosie O'Donnell is also perfect in this role but again, someone I could really do without most of the time.)



And I do secretly want the house. I remember it was on the market a few years ago. I guess it might be annoying when random tourists come by your house, though.



That was the other day. Been working on school stuff since, it's the last week of classes. I have two finals coming up and a paper. Well, two mini-papers as well for my trial class--I have to critique my performance in my trial as well as someone else to whom I've been assigned. Both are incredibly hard to do. I have to critique this guy's presentation and we're in mid-trial for them right now. He's doing a really good job, which makes MY job pretty hard. I'm wondering if it's cool to mention that a yellow tie and an earthy-toned suit are a very poor match and in fact will just plague the jury with thoughts of pea soup. "Try a cool tone for a tie with that suit." Okay, I should probably leave the suit critique out. But you know, it would probably be good advice...okay, anyway.

Bourdain had a vet trip this morning, we were worried about his weight. He is so much thinner these days but still happy and bouncy. So maybe teeth? As it turns out he has only gone from 14 to 11 pounds since April 09, and he has 3 cavities. So guess who gets to go back, get knocked out and get 3 teeth extracted? Awesome. He did really well this morning, but he has been in the closet ever since we got back.

Okay, back to Patty Griffin, my English Breakfast tea and corporate complicity. I'm 2/3 done! Woot.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What about this steak? It tastes like prison ass.

#47. Home For the Holidays (1995).

A little bit on the darker side, but absolutely full of charm, Home for the Holidays. (And in retrospect, I probably could have picked a different subject line for the Robert Downey, Jr. movie...)



So Robert Downey, Jr. admits to having used heroin during this making of this film, and I'm also pretty sure he said there are whole scenes he doesn't even remember doing. Honestly, I can't say it shows, he turns in yet another great performance.

Great supporting cast, too, Steve Guttenberg does a really good douchebag, and Cynthia Stevenson is also perfect as her...uh, sister. I mean this in a good way, but what an unlikeable bitch!

But it's full of really great lines, cute moments (not cutesy moments) and that touch of genuine reality I'm glad I cannot relate to very well, since I am lucky enough to have a family that is not severely dysfunctional. Even Claire Danes doesn't annoy me in this; (though to be fair her screen time clocks in at probably 5 whole minutes).



The story refrains from being saccharine or wrapping things up neatly. With the exception of the final Dylon McDermott scene...puh-leeeze. I know it's pre-9/11, but I just don't buy the airplane scene or how empty the plane is, I don't care WHERE it's coming from or heading toward. So regardless, it's a little gooey at the end, but I can live with it.

#46. The Shop Around the Corner (1940).

So this is the movie that You've Got Mail was based on. I hated that movie, but I'd been wanting to check this out since last year. I couldn't get my hands on it since it was monumentally on "long wait" with Netfux. So I got it a little earlier this year.



I usually dislike Jimmy Stewart, but either he's grown on me over the years or I've just mellowed out or both. I still loath Mr. Smith Goes to Washington with every ounce of my being, but occasionally I guess as an actor, Jimmy Stewart himself's not so bad.

This movie is certainly innocent; based on the pen-pal relationship he strikes up with an anonymous woman, it's more like an ode to Craig's List these days...I also love the obscenely naive idea that these people are thinking about getting engaged before even meeting. Awesome.

Now I don't recall You've Got Mail very well (aside from trying not to vomit in the theater), but I think it's more than different enough. On the other hand, I think the female lead here is pretty unlikeable...she's kind of a snippy bitch, and not in a good way! I feel like a bunch of character development got left on the editing room floor and now she just comes off like an uppity shit. I don't think it's Margaret Sullavan's fault, but not having seen her in anything else, I can't really say...!

But overall it was still a perfectly enjoyable Christmas movie. Glad I saw it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I'm not the one who just got butt-fucked on national TV, Dwayne.

So in the spirit of biting off more than I can chew, I thought I would try to look at FIFTY HOLIDAY MOVIES. Why not. In no order and completely whimsical. So horror, comedy, action, old and new, good and bad. Including flicks I have never seen nor wanted to see before (meaning I will finally watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation even though I loathe Chevy Chase).

But it was important to start things off right, at the very least.

#50. Die Hard (1988)



I mean, it's a classic. It never gets old and it remains full of fantabulous quotes. Since I really have nothing new to add, I chose some random trivia off imdb...

In the scenes where John McClane is required to run through a multitude of glass shards in his 'bare' feet after Hans has his men shoot out the glass partitions in the computer room, Bruce Willis is in fact wearing special 'rubber' shoes designed to look like his own bare feet. One can in fact see this if looking closely as his feet appear quite unnaturally large in some of these crucial 'barefoot' scenes.

The original script called for terrorists to hijack the building, and for a super-hero cop to stop them. Director John McTiernan modified the script to change the bad guys into robbers pretending to be terrorists so that the audience could enjoy their intention of grabbing a load of money. He felt having terrorists as the villains would make the movie less enjoyable and give it a political angle, which he wanted to avoid. McTiernan also changed the hero, John McClane, into an everyday, flawed man that rises to the occasion in dire circumstances. He felt the audience would identify more with him than with a "super-cop."

Bruce Willis was the sixth choice for the main character. It originally went to Arnold Schwarzenegger, then Sylvester Stallone, then Burt Reynolds, then Richard Gere, then Harrison Ford, then Mel Gibson before Willis got it.

The Serbian, Croat and Bosnian translation of the title is "Umri Muski" ("Die Like A True Man"; literary: "Die Manly" ). The pirated VHS translation back in 1988 was "Skupo Prodaj Svoju Kozu" ("Sell Your Skin At High Price").


#49. While You Were Sleeping (1994)



So this is a pretty bad movie. Complete with a big barf-bag-worthy ending. Well, not the ending so much as the Big Reveal Scene at the end. Wow, gag.

And yet, it still has a number of really cute scenes that make it worth watching (for me, anyway). I want to say it is all Sandy, but Bill Pullman has always made me laugh, too. He does clueless and dorky really well. The supporting cast does a nice job even if nearly all the characters annoy me with their forced quirkiness.

But you know I have a big Sandra Bullock weakness, so no big surprise that I can get through this one yet again, however silly it is. For example, I can even overlook the fact that BP asks her to marry him after knowing her for, what, two weeks? (Even though his character previously gave her a hard time for getting (supposedly) engaged to his brother after a mere three months.)

#48. Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)



I know, you think I'm knocking out the fun and obvious ones first. But I thought since today is Thanksgiving I should get in a few genuine Thanksgiving films, too. And this is a big one.

This absolutely falls into that "never gets old" category. And one day I will write up for you just why this movie works but something like Due Date comes off as so mean-spirited. Because I do think it's an interesting debate, and I worry I'm just biased by nostalgia. I get that PTA has charm and detail on its side--in abundance--but surely it's more than that.

And by all means, if you have any to recommend that you think I need to watch, suggest away! 50 is quite a lot, you know.

Yes I have guns in the house, but I keep them in the freezer. Next to the heroin.

Fuck it, I saw both. I saw Love & Other Drugs and then Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, Pt. I.



So the first one. Hmm. I love me some Anne Hathaway. Truly. I can say I think she's genuinely talented (Rachel Getting Married, thank you very much), but I think we all know it's more that I think she's just fucking adorable. Since, uh, mostly she's done a lot of shit (don't make me name them here, you've seen a few of 'em too, probably...)

But really, I was pretty curious to see this one. You know, in a cheesy, easy bubble-gum sort of way. With the hope it had a little "there" there.



First of all, WOW the trailer is misleading. I'll just come out and say they dress it up like a rom-com or at least a romantic dramedy, and to some extent it is, but the trailer sort of goes out of its way to never tell you she has Parkinson's. Which is a huge part of the story. (And not a spoiler.)



So I have heard some people liken it to Up In the Air. But fear not, it is not so bleak and depressing. Those elements are represented, to be sure. But like the New York Times picked up on, it was never really all that comfortable with that side of itself, and weirdly mixed in an abundance of saccharine. With tits. So it was pleasant enough and all, but towards the end I found myself just kinda bored, frankly.

But overall, it was not a bad flick to watch, I don't regret seeing it or want my two hours back. And Jake Gyllenhaal was good, too, as was Oliver Platt who always plays the same role yet is criminally underused in movies.



I remember this dress, bitchin' dress. Anyway.

HP was decent. I have a hard time judging them since I gave up such a long time ago. But it was entertaining enough and it was really a fast 2 1/2 hours, to be honest.



And especially since the last book was probably also my least favorite, I don't really have a lot of room to complain. Same complaints as always, it just should have been made into a mini-series...

So here, this is even better. I remember The Elements from when I was a kid, but I was certainly never motivated to give it a go myself!! Impressive.

Jim's on his honeymoon, so I started using his office to fart in.

So I was watching 30 Rock and for some reason someone mentioned Teddy Ruxpin, which I swear to god I hadn't thought of since 1985. I never had one, but I think a friend did...but I really remember Teddy Ruxpin from the 80s. And I blame commercials, totally.

This commercial is kinda fucked up, actually. "Hey, if you're a total loser, Teddy will make you cool!"



This came up, too, and I remember this commercial really well, probably because I thought the dolls looked evil and I remember really hating them...



But I also looked for a couple commercials for some toys I had but whose commercial I didn't necessarily remember...oh, like Barbie...my very first Barbie was Day to Night Barbie (back when grammar was still used properly), here's her commercial:



And let's not put Peaches & Cream Barbie in a corner...



You know, as many Ken dolls as I guess there were, we never really had more than 1 or 2. Alex had the Ken doll for so long, until I think he got left at a friend's house? I think I had a Ken doll at one point, but I guess he's just not as much fun to dress up? ;)

And then there were commercials for games I remember...I used to really want to play this for some reason:



...and in retrospect? Well jesus that seems like a boring game! I do remember finally getting to play it at a friend's house...I guess it was fun at the time?

Ok, time to see Santa (with the big Maker's Mark billboard behind him, lol) at the Macy's Day Parade (I wish I were in NYC right now!) and then back to my paper and agency reading. Just a little, then some cooking. ;)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Are there drugs here I don't know about?

I really hope my summer plans work out, since I seem to mostly have put my one big egg in my one really tiny basket. I checked the materials I mailed overseas, since I registered them, and found:

Your item left the United States from ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS) at 7:29 am on November 13, 2010.

Which I thought was kinda cute. My item has left the country! Safe travels, item!

So I was annoyingly sick for 8 days mid-November. I never get sick, and wow, does that suck. It's ok for a couple days because you can catch up on movies and you don't feel too bad about just lying there not moving. But by the time the second weekend approaches, it's like, um, ok, I've got shit to work on, you know? And then bam, one morning you wake up better. So that was nice to FINALLY get over. And no, mom, it was not Cape Town Plague. ;)

I didn't get to see anything too terribly awesome. First I watched Date Night because I knew it was supposed to be mediocre, but I figured it had to be good for some laughs. Plus, Tina Fey, good times, why not?



Oh sigh. So did you know? you can't just put 2 people in a movie, say, "Go!" and hope for the funny. No. You cannot. Because someone DID that here, and hey whoa, it did not work. I would have turned it off halfway through but I think the remote was just out of reach. It wasn't wretched, just such a colossal waste of time and talent.

Then I moved on to 9 1/2 Weeks, which I had somehow never managed to see before. It certainly holds up fairly well, considering how 1986 it is.



It's not the jaw-droppingly steamy number I'm sure it was in 1986, but it still has its moments. Good bonus points for the obvious fun that someone had coming up with food sex scenes and playing with the lighting. I also though the psychological aspect of the film worked pretty well and was really interesting. So that was surprisingly entertaining...



Hee hee, couldn't help it, sorry.

After that it was just some TV, some Californication, Being Human and Paradise Kiss.

And now hopefully I won't get sick again for another fifteen years! Kthxbai.