Archive for the ‘Writers’ Category

Two Blondes Countdown to the Oscars: Best Original Screenplay

February 20, 2011

The Nominees:

Another Year

The Fighter

Inception

The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN

Jessica:  The Kids Are All Right

Alison: The Kids Are All Right

WHO WE WANT TO WIN

Jessica:  The Kids Are All Right.  First, I should probably note that I have not seen Another Year.  I have seen the rest.  I think The King’s Speech will make a good run at Best Picture, but I don’t think it will (or should) take this category.  Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg did a fantastic job of portraying a modern, believable family.  I heard an interview with Cholodenko on NPR’s Fresh Air where she said that in real life she has children by a sperm donor and Stuart Blumberg was a sperm donor in his younger days.  The characters are funny, sensitive, and flawed (yet still likeable).

Alison: First, I haven’t even heard of Another Year, let alone seen it.  I think The King’s Speech and The Fighter were two of the best movies of the year, but not sure they deserve to win for Best Screenplay. And while I liked the movie and agreed with what Jessica had to say about The Kids Are All Right, I still sort of want Inception to win. No, I wasn’t super attached to the characters, and yes the story was flawed (this has been the complaint I’ve heard most often), but it still took you on an amazing adventure. And I can’t imagine keeping track of different levels of dreams while writing this script. I applaud Christopher Nolan’s imagination and think the academy should too.

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Two Blondes Countdown to the Oscars: Best Adapted Screenplay

February 19, 2011

We’re counting down to the Oscars on Feb. 27 by giving our thoughts and opinions on each of the major categories, one per day, until the big day.  First up, Best Adapted Screenplay!

The Nominees:

127 Hours

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN

Jessica:  The Social Network

Alison: The Social Network.

WHO WE WANT TO WIN:

Jessica:  The Social Network.  I know film is a visual medium, but man, do I love talky movies and The Social Network is talky.  I love Aaron Sorkin’s style – that rat-tat-tat-tat dialogue.  On top of that, this movie was ‘adapted’ from a book that was being written simultaneously based on deposition transcripts and interviews with the real-life people.  That’s a fascinating process.

Alison:  This one’s tough for me. Was I utterly absorbed by the movie The Social Network? Yes.  Did I love some of the dialogue heavy scenes between Jesse Eisenberg and the lawyers pursuing a case against him? Yes!! (Double exclamation was on purpose.)  Was I emotionally attached to the characters in the film?  No.  Was I emotionally attached to the characters in Toy Story 3 and may have even teared up a little while watching that film….yes.  So there is a part of me that wants Toy Story 3 to win because it moved me more.  I still think The Social Network is a great film and would be happy to see Aaron Sorkin win.  But for me, the thing I remember most from that film is the music.  I LOVED the music.  But that’s another topic for another blog post.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1

December 1, 2010

Alison says:

This may hurt my street cred (Jessica is shaking her head at me for thinking I have street cred), but I love the Harry Potter books. Love them. I think JK Rowling is amazing. Just had to say that. But I will admit something. Despite being a HUGE fan of the Harry Potter books, I hadn’t really kept up with the movies. I’d seen the first one in the theaters and hadn’t been too impressed and was upset at how disappointing the movie felt in comparison to the experience of reading the book. Then I think I saw the 2nd and 3rd movies, but didn’t feel the need to keep up with the movie series after that. I just loved the books too much. Then a couple months back, I saw the trailer for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” and was like “Wow, that looks really good.” Then a few weeks ago, Jessica asked me if I wanted to get tickets ahead of time to go see the new Harry Potter movie. I mentioned not being caught up on the movies, and thus she lent me her DVD collection. And yes, the movies did get better with each one. And then I got really excited to see Deathly Hallows (and Jessica’s excitement was also somewhat contagious as well).

Jessica and I got tickets for Friday night of opening weekend at the dome at Arclight. As we sat down in our seats with our boxes of Sour Patch Kids, we were pretty ecstatic to see one of our favorite stories brought to life and so was everyone else in the theater. It was palpable in the air. People could not wait to see this movie. And it was a great film. I was thoroughly happy and thrilled the entire time. I’d also like to say for anyone who thinks wizards or spells are nerdy, then go see this movie and see how dangerous magic can be.  Okay, I just re-read that sentence and realized it sounds extremely nerdy, but I’m serious. There’s some scenes with fights between wizards where the effects and the speed of the spells and zaps literally took my breath away. It’s a stunning, exciting movie. And I absolutely love these characters. The minute the movie was over, I was sad I have to wait so many months for Part 2.

LA Viewers: Worth paying full price at Arclight. Go see this movie. Also worth paying full price to go see a second time. It’s one of those movies that is just a great movie-going experience.

Translation for non-LA viewers: Go see it. Now.

Cute Jessica quote from before the movie started: “Accio Sour Patch Kids.”

 

Accio Sour Patch Kids!

Jessica says:

Warning:  I discuss the plot of this story, so SPOILER ALERT, but I mean really?  The book was a phenomenon that has been out for over three years.

I did not write the review immediately after seeing the movie, which I have vowed to myself to do several times now.  I’m just a procrastinator at heart.  Usually the problem that occurs when I don’t write my review immediately is that I end up forgetting whatever I had to say about the film.  That is not the case with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1.  I remember it easily.  In fact, I’m still in the process of re-reading the book.  The problem is my opinion has been swayed by hearing what others had to say about it.  If you would have asked me right after I walked out of the screening Alison and I went to I would have seem like a giddy schoolgirl, “It was awesome!  I can’t wait for the next one!”  Now, with time, my reaction is a bit more tempered.  It was good, not great and not my favorite of the Harry Potter set.

I’m sure you know this by know, but the book on which the film was based was split into two films.  This is part one.  I’m not sure there is much to be done about any of the possible negatives from this Deathly Hallows, Part 1.  The final book in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is a mammoth in physical size and is chockablock full of a combo of action and very important information.  The film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow, Pt. 1, drags a bit in places, but I’m not sure that could be helped.  Most of the very important information you’re given in the book happens in the first two thirds, which just so happens to be the plot for this film.  Harry, Ron, and Hermione are on a mission set to them by their former headmaster, Dumbledore, to find Horcruxes.  I’m not going to bother to go into describing what those are here, just suffice it to say they are very important to the overall plot of the 7-part story.  The section of their journey that is covered in this film is kind of boring at times because they can’t find what they’re looking for (cue U2).

 

There are some really great parts in Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1 too.  I will admit that I teared up when Ron destroys the Horcrux after it reveals all his insecurities.  I also got a little emotional in the final scene – the opening of Dumbledore’s tomb.  Ugh.

If you haven’t read the books, but enjoy the films just stick with this and remind yourself to think of it as only part one to a story.  If you’ve read the books and love them to the point of being kind of obsessive (like me), then you have nothing to worry about – you’ll just be so excited that it’s finally here that you’ll enjoy it.

Two Blondes Make Their Emmy Predictions

August 28, 2010

Emmy time is upon us!  Here is our breakdown of who we think will win and who we want to win for each category for the 2010 Primetime Emmys:

Outstanding Comedy Series

Jessica’s Vote:  30 Rock – If it my choice here comes as a surprise to you, this is obviously your first time visiting our blog because I mention my love for this show and Tina Fey about once every other post.  Love, love, love, love.

Alison’s vote: I’m going to have to agree with Jessica on this one.  I love 30 Rock, but I am a little torn, because Modern Family has made me very happy this year.

Jessica’s Prediction:  Modern Family – There has been so much buzz about this show this year, it would come as a surprise if anything else won.  Glee is obviously a much buzzed about show as well, but I’m giving the edge to Modern FamilyGlee is an hour-long show, which is unusual for the comedy category and there was some industry grumbling about whether or not it belongs in this category. I think Emmy voters will be drawn to the fact that Modern Family is a traditional-style sitcom.

Alison’s Prediction:  I also second Jessica’s prediction for Modern Family.

Outstanding Comedy Actor

Jessica’s Vote & Prediction:  Steve Carell (The Office) – I know Tony Shalhoub has taken this category in the past, but I think this is finally Steve Carell’s year.  He’s announced he’s leaving The Office at the end of this upcoming season and has yet to win for this role – one that it’s hard to imagine The Office without.  Hmm, it might also go to Jim Parsons for The Big Bang Theory.  He has buzz still going from last year.

Alison’s Vote & Prediction:  I have a real soft spot for Monk, but also am constantly amused by Alec Baldwin and Steve Carell.  I’m gonna have to vote for and predict Steve Carell.

Outstanding Comedy Actress

Jessica’s Vote:  Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) – While Tina Fey is awesome, when it comes to specifically being a comedic actress, I can’t think of anyone working in TV who is better that Amy Poehler.  She manages to make Leslie Knope, a character who in lesser hands would be irritating, endearing.

Alison’s vote: Tina Fey.  I heart 30 Rock.

Jessica’s Prediction:  Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) – I have never seen this show*, so I have no idea what her performance is like, but I hear good things about her and the show constantly.

Alison’s Prediction: Not sure who to predict, as I’m a little behind on what’s going on in television these days and haven’t seen all of these shows.  Wait, Alison, you haven’t seen these shows and you’re still voting on such important issues? Yes, yes I am, it’s my blog and I can blindly vote if I want to.

Outstanding Drama Series

Jessica’s Vote:  Lost…or Mad Men…how can I be expected to choose one?  I mean, I love Lost.  Loooove, and I’m still mourning my loss from the show ending.  It deserves the Emmy win for best drama for the overall show, not just this season.  However, I also love Mad Men and…OK, if I have to pick one, it’s Lost.

Alison’s Vote:  I really don’t know how to choose between Lost and Breaking Bad.  They’re two of the best television shows you will ever see.  Best writing, directing, acting, everything!  I love both of them to the point of watching multiple episodes in a row and not getting enough sleep on many occasions.  Jessica is telling me I have to choose…. KA-PLOW!!!!!!

We interrupt this blog to let you know Alison’s head exploded because she could not decide which is better, Lost or Breaking Bad.

Jessica’s Prediction:  Mad Men

Outstanding Drama Actor

Jessica’s Vote:  KYLE CHANDLER!  Sorry, I’m just so excited that he’s finally nominated I couldn’t contain myself.

Alison’s Vote: I don’t know how to choose between Matthew Fox and Bryan Cranston and am terrified to even try because of the previous incident.  They both amazed me this year with their work.  Also, like Jessica, I am a huge fan of Kyle Chandler’s.  He should win the award for portraying the kind of husband every girl wants with eyes that reach into your soul.

Jessica’s Prediction:  Bryan Cranston.

Outstanding Drama Actress

Jessica’s Vote:  CONNIE BRITTON.  Sorry, same problem again.  Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler are my favorite couple on television.  However, I fear not enough people watch Friday Night Lights for it to win, so…

Alison’s Vote: I really, really want Connie Britton to won. The way she portrayed a mother’s struggles with her teenage daughter really made me want to call my mom and apologize for a lot of incidents in high school.

Jessica’s Prediction:  Julianna Margulies.  She’s already won every other award for which she qualifies with The Good Wife and it is a good show.

Outstanding Reality – competition Series

Jessica’s Vote:  Well, my vote would be for So You Think You Can Dance, but it’s not nominated.

Alison’s Vote: I don’t watch reality TV, so I leave this one to Jessica.

Jessica’s Prediction:  Amazing Race because, well, they always win.

Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy

Jessica’s Vote & Prediction:  Gee, I don’t know…maybe THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O’BRIEN!!  Do I enjoy and watch all the shows nominated in this category?  Yes.  Did I work on one of them, namely The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien?  Yes.  It’s just like my mom told me when I wanted to be in student council in junior high and one of my friends told me she would vote for me, if I would vote for her.  Mom said if you’re not willing to vote for yourself, then why would anybody else vote for you?  And I’d really like us to win this.

Alison’s Vote & Prediction:  Jessica’s words on this subject were perfect.  I loved working on this show with this group of people and we all worked really hard to make something special. Just getting a nomination already is of course wonderful enough recognition on its own, but it would also be nice to watch our friends holding up a shiny, dangerously pointy award on stage.**

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Jessica’s Vote:  30 Rock “Anna Howard Shaw Day”  In case you don’t remember, this is the episode where Liz Lemon schedules a root canal on Valentine’s Day.  Look it up on Hulu, if you haven’t seen it.

Alison’s Vote: I can’t choose between 30 Rock and Modern Family.  Both shows make me incredibly happy and both shows are what I take the time to watch on a regular basis.

Jessica’s Prediction:  The Office “Niagra”  It’s the Jim and Pam get married episode.  Very good, but my heart belongs to 30 Rock.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Jessica’s Vote:  Well, this is really impossible for me to choose.  I’m having the same Mad Men versus Lost conflict in my head, but this time it’s complicated even further by the fact that one of my friends, the lovely and talented Ms. Erin Levy, is nominated for co-writing the “Shut the door.  Have a seat,” episode of Mad Men.  Plus Friday Night Lights is also nominated.  This is impossible to choose.  I know the finale of Lost was controversial, but I liked it.  In the end, I’ve got to go with my friend – “Shut the door.  Have a seat.” from Mad Men (yay Erin!).

Alison’s Vote: LostLostLost.  Never before has a show captured my attention so completely from start to finish.  I have almost ended friendships because of ignorant friends who didn’t know they were not allowed to talk while Lost was on.  I love Lost.  It transformed television and I can’t thank the creators enough for making something so amazing.

Jessica’s Prediction:  “Shut the Door.  Have a Seat.” Mad Men.

*Nominated Shows I (Jessica) Don’t Watch (and therefore can’t really have an opinion on.  And don’t yell at me, I know I should be watching a lot of them, but I do have other things to do in life.)

Nurse Jackie, Monk, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Breaking Bad, Dexter, House, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Closer, Damages

**Alison was lucky enough to attend the Creative Arts Emmys this year.  Here is her report:

The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien's table at the Creative Arts Emmys 2010

Alison at the Creative Arts Emmys 2010

I was lucky enough to attend the Creative Emmys last week and thought I should dole out another award in accordance with my time spent there.

OUTSTANDING PEOPLE TO SPOT AT CREATIVE EMMYS

The award is a tie between Jon Hamm and Damon Lindelof. Jon Hamm will someday be in the dictionary next to handsome.  I realize he’s also a talented dramatic actor and was also very funny on 30 Rock, but it’s hard to even think about that while standing in the same lobby.  He’s just so gosh darn handsome, it’s like looking into the sun.

Damon Lindelof is adorable and a genius.  He is part of the team behind Lost and I obviously am a big fan.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: (500) Days of Summer

September 11, 2009

JESSICA SAYS:

I moved into my current apartment in Los Angeles just over two years ago.  It’s a v. cute, old building – Art Deco, built in the 1920s, etc.  However, it is in a neighborhood that has its sketchier bits.  It seems that the combination of Art Deco and a slightly dodgy neighborhood attracts hipsters like moths to a flame.

Anyway, I quickly learned that people like to film in my building…a lot.  The first thing that was filmed there after I moved in was (500) Days of Summer.  I looked it up on IMDb when I saw the notice of filming signs and was not all that surprised to find that it seemed to actually be a film about LA hipsters.  It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel (the reigning queen of hipsterdom) as two young Angelinos, who meet, fall in love, yadda, yadda.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not entirely anti-hipster (as I’m realizing I might sound).  It’s just that I tire easily of the whole aren’t-I-cool-the-way-ironically-like-things-from-two-decades-ago.  So, I was intrigued by the movie, not only because I knew it would feature my home, but also because I find Zooey Deschanel to be quite charming.  Did you see her sing in Elf?  Adorable!  Here’s a shot from the film of Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt on my roof:

(500) Days of Summer won me over fairly easily.  It’s a pretty charming little story.  The opening narration warns you that, “this is not a love story,” and that is true, kind of.  It is a love story, just not a story of everlasting love.  I’ll give kudos to Marc Webb (director), Scott Neustadter (writer), and Michael H. Webber (writer) for managing to tell the story of a man getting his heart broken without being overly sentimental or depressing.  The title, (500) Days of Summer, refers to the 500 days the relationship between the main characters, Summer and Tom, lasts.

The film has a great soundtrack, even if it does heavily feature songs by The Smiths, a band of which I am not a huge fan.  I have been known to rock out to the blue-eyed soul styling of Hall & Oates on many an occasion, so imagine my joy when there was an entire dance sequence in the film choreographed to their hit, “You Make My Dreams Come True.”  Awesome!

I recommend seeing (500) Days of Summer, but you should try to go quickly because it’s been in theatres for a while now.  It would make a good date movie.

Two Blondes Watch TV: 30 Rock

November 14, 2008

Two Blondes watch their TiVo and ramble about themselves:

JESSICA SAYS:

Alison and I discussed writing a review of the season three premiere of 30 Rock, but then, to quote Alison, “Who are we kidding? It will really just be us worshiping Tina Fey.” It’s true, even the worst episode of 30 Rock is funnier than nearly everything else on TV (The Office can give it a run for its money). Anyway, life got a bit hectic for the two of us, so the review got put off. So here is my review of the first two episodes: “Do-Over,” and “Believe in the Stars.”

It’s true; I worship Tina Fey. She is at the top of my list of celebrities I’m positive I would be friends with, if only we had the chance to meet. Others on this list include: Rebecca Romijn, Lauren Graham, Christina Applegate, Gwyneth Paltrow (yes, I know she annoys many, but I find something about her to be charming), and of course, Oprah. It seems Oprah is one Tina and I had in common. That’s how Oprah ended up as the special guest in “Believe in the Stars.” In that episode, Tina acted much the way I would imagine myself acting, if ever seated next to Oprah on a plane (freaking out like an over-excited fanboy), which means maybe I won’t ever be besties with Ms. Winfrey.

Let’s back up to, “Do-Over,” the first episode of the season. I started laughing out loud in the opening scene. Liz (Fey) sees her old boss, Jack (Alec Baldwin), on the street. He left the company at the end of season two to work for the Bush Administration. Liz tells him how happy she is to have him back because his replacement, Devon (Will Arnet), “is the worst. It’s like he doesn’t even care when we should have cake for people whose birthday is on the weekend.” “The Friday before. At lunch,” Jack answers without giving it a second thought. Everyone in this show is hilarious, but especially Alec Baldwin. All that comedic prowess he showed in his numerous appearances on Saturday Night Live is finally being put to good use on a regular basis.

To be completely honest, “Do-Over,” wouldn’t be in my top five episodes of 30 Rock. It has some great jokes, but the plot of this episode was a bit too far fetched for me. Liz is trying to adopt a child, which seemed to come out of left field at the end of last season. In this episode, a woman (Megan Mullally) tries to evaluate whether Liz is a good candidate to adopt. As someone who works in TV production, I got a nice little kick out of Liz’s response to how many hours a week she works, “60-80.” Ah, if only that was a joke.

“Believe in the Stars,” was a lot better. This is the genius of Tina Fey—she is consistently able to make jokes that are so smart and insightful, yet they feel like something that could have easily been said by you or one of your friends last night at the pub. For instance, this is how 30 Rock talked about sexism today–Liz and Jenna (Jane Krakowski) are talking about a lawsuit between Jenna and her costar, Tracey Jordan (Tracey Morgan) over royalty payments:
Liz: Well of course Tracey takes care of his boys and not you. He thinks he can take advantage of you because you’re a woman.
Jenna: Men think they can get away with anything. It’s like when Adrien Brody kissed Halle Berry at the Oscars.
Liz: No one has it harder in this country today than women. It turns out we can’t be president, we can’t be network news anchors, Madonna’s arms look crazy.
Jenna: Mmm hmm.
Seriously people, I don’t understand why more of you aren’t watching this show.

ALISON SAYS:

Dear People Who Don’t Watch 30 Rock,

What the BLEEP is wrong with you? What is it? Did someone sketchy touch you in your bathing suit area and cause some permanent damage to keep you from enjoying what is arguably one of the best shows on television? Really, I want to know. What are you even doing with your time? I can’t imagine a better use of one’s days on this earth. Maybe you’re a little scared of change and something being that funny and that smart at the same time. But it’s okay. Just try it. Try one episode. See what happens. See if your concept of television comedy doesn’t change. See if you don’t wake up the next day and hear the birds singing just a little bit louder. See if it doesn’t erase all those shudders from accidentally stumbling onto Two and a Half Men on television. It may hurt a little at first to love a show that much, but you will be a better person for it.

Thanks,
Alison

Dear Tina Fey,

Hi. (insert nervous laugh) I love your show! And your glasses!

Alison

Two Blondes Go To A Movie: The Secret Life of Bees

October 20, 2008

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble about themselves:

ALISON SAYS:

This might be one of the first movies I’ve reviewed that both my mom and I would enjoy together. Most movies I like she would refer to as “different,” which means she didn’t get it or enjoy it. But I think she would love this film.

I had read the book The Secret Life of Bees a few years back and really enjoyed it, thus I had my misgivings about seeing the movie, as I’ve found movie adaptations usually don’t live up to the book (see all Harry Potter movies for examples). But I am here to say Gina Prince-Bythewood did a masterful and moving job with this film. She should be applauded for the performances she brought forth from her cast.

Dakota Fanning was amazing. Most of us already knew she has acting chops from her many performances as a kid. And this film proves she’s still got it and then some. Not to mention she’s absolutely stunning. Maybe I missed a few of her films and thus some of her awkward phases, but to me it seems like she went straight from cute to beautiful.

The rest of the cast was equally as compelling. What a powerhouse of talent. Actually, to be completely honest, Queen Latifah seemed to be phoning in the wise, warm-hearted maternal figure a little bit, but I feel bad saying that because I think she’s great. I was very impressed with Alicia Keys. I hadn’t seen her act before, but after seeing some singers turned actresses (see any Jessica Simpson movie) I wasn’t sure if I would be able to believe in her role. But I did. I completely forgot I was watching Alicia Keys and only saw June Boatwright.

I watched Gina Prince-Bythewood speak after an AFI special screening of the film. I found her and her film really inspiring. I also think it’s awesome that she wrote on A Different World way back when.

Dear Gina,
Can we be friends?
Alison

LA Viewers: Worth paying full price at the Grove or Arclight.

Translation for non-LA movie viewers: Go see it!

JESSICA SAYS:

Having grown up a white girl on a honeybee farm run by three black woman in 1964, I really identified with this movie. OK, that’s not true.

I have not read this book, which I realize is surprising, considering I’m someone who TiVos Oprah. It probably isn’t a movie I would have necessarily been lining up to see, but Alison lobbied for it. I think I was a bit apprehensive that it was going to be heavy-handed with the lessons it wanted to teach us and too schmaltzy.

The most pleasant surprise was Dakota Fanning. Holy crap was she good! She acted everyone else in this movie under the table. There is a scene where her character has a breakdown about why don’t her parents love her that made me cry copious tears. I probably cried as much as I do during the, “Give my daughter the drugs!!” scene in Terms of Endearment.   She was fantastic.

The movie was a bit schmaltzy, not that I’m totally opposed to that. I did enjoy the movie, but it won’t be on my favorite of the year list. The rest of the cast was good. Dakota was great.

I recommend seeing this as a Sunday matinee.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

October 18, 2008

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble about themselves:

Note: Our review may have some similar sentiments, but we swear we wrote them separately. Great minds think alike sometimes…

ALISON SAYS:

I haven’t loved a cast this much in a long time. First off, I love Michael Cera. Not in a creepy way. I’ve never gone looking for where he might live in Los Angeles and stood outside wondering if he’d walk out, see me and find me as charmingly awkward as I find him. Really, I haven’t. But I have watched DVD’s of Arrested Development and been amused for hours. Clark and Michael has distracted me from doing work many a time. I may have even considered writing a non-creepy and comedic love ballad to express my thanks for there being a boy-man like Michael Cera both on the big and small screen.

Second, there’s Kat Dennings. Can we just talk about talented and beautiful this actress is? Angelina, we have a real contender for “best lips in Hollywood” now that Kat Dennings is on the scene. And Kat is beautiful in a way that’s real and not just good make-up. She was the perfect slightly insecure, but knows who she is teenage girl. Here’s two quotes I read on IMDB from Kat: “There’s nothing else I would rather do, unless there was a profession that involved cuddling bunny rabbits and kittens all day for money.” “I’ve basically made a career out of my imagination.” How cute is she?!

Then we also have Ari Graynor with her portrayal of the drunk best friend, Caroline. I wanted to stand up and applaud her hilarious, spot-on portrayal of what drunk teenage girls act like. She was able to be charming at the same time as being obnoxious. Then I also loved the boys who played Nick’s gay friends. They were funny and sweet, and never felt like a stereotypical portrayal of the gay best friend.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist felt very real to me. Possibly the realest (is that a word?) movie about teenagers I’ve ever seen. Some past teenage movies (like Juno) left me feeling manipulated and like someone was just trying to sound “cool.” Nick and Norah just felt real and left me happy, amused and charmed. It reminded me of being young, insecure and trying to figure out love. And made me somewhat nostalgic for the days of kissing boys in the streets of New York just when the sun is coming up, or being seventeen and asking a boy if “he’s interested” and being so scared of rejection. It’s a movie that leaves you with that attitude of life being full of infinite possibilities, not to mention lots of great music.

LA Viewers: Worth paying full price at the Grove or Arclight. Yes, I realize what’s going on with the economy, that’s why being entertained is so important right now.

Translation for non-LA viewers: Unless you’re dead inside or hate young love, go see this movie right away.

P.S. The director’s first film Raising Victor Vargas is worth getting on Netflix. A grittier, lower budget look at young love.


JESSICA SAYS:

I like to consider myself to be somewhat of a master when it comes to the mix CD–incidentally, I still feel the urge to call it a mix-tape. ‘Mix CD’ doesn’t have the same ring to it. As of today, my iTunes library has 5,238 songs in it, which is 343 days worth of music, so there is a lot to pull from. There is an art to a good mix. One song needs to lead to the next and you certainly never put back-to-back songs by the same artist. That’s the antithesis of the mix.

So, I was already into this movie, simply from the title. A title that is also, admittedly, a bit clunky. Although this irritates me about other people, I am also someone who is annoyed when my new, favorite, quirky, little band that no one has heard of becomes big, e.g. Vampire Weekend. I have been known to grumble when a song I like is featured on Gossip Girl, or the like. This movie is full of bands to whom this has already happened, or they are dangerously close to it happening. To my point, Vampire Weekend is on the soundtrack.

Two minutes into the movie, watching Michael Cera leave a squirm-inducing voicemail to his ex-girlfriend, and I knew I was going to like it. As we were leaving the movie, I realized what was so familiar and likable about it–it felt just like a John Hughes movie. Instead of Chicago suburbanites, they were New York. Instead of finding the meaning of life at the end of a rollicking day that included singing on a Von Stuben Day float in a parade, they passed through a gay Christmas musical review. And of course, instead of cassette tapes, there were mix CDs.

For full disclosure here, I wrote my Master’s thesis on John Hughes movies. I chose them because I figured if I was going to spend that amount of time reading about and watching something, I had better like them. Plus, I had already seen them each at least five times. As much as I loved Jake Ryan by the end of Sixteen Candles (OK, who are we kidding, I still do love him.), I think I love Michael Cera more. He’s just so funny and sweet and adorable.

So yeah, I really liked this movie. My one criticism would be there were parts that dragged a little bit, but on the whole I really liked it. If there were a competition for best bee-stung lips, Kat Dennings could give Angelina a run for her money. As someone who has had friends that were carbon copies of Caroline, the attention needy intoxicated friend, I can attest that Ari Graynor was perfect in the part.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is worth the full Friday night price. I especially recommend this if you ever had a crush on Jake Ryan, Ferris Bueller, etc.

Two Blondes Go To A Movie: Choke

October 3, 2008

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble about themselves.

JESSICA SAYS:
Here is what I knew about this movie going into it: It’s based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk. That’s it. Sometimes that’s a really nice way to go into a movie (or book for that matter) because it prevents the sentiment that my mother utters after every single movie when you ask her what she thought–“Well, it wasn’t what I expected.” I have read Fight Club, which is also by Palahniuk, but haven’t read Choke. So, I expected it to be dark and twisty, with a little social commentary added in for good measure. To borrow from Mom, “It wasn’t (totally) what I expected.” It was dark and twisty, but I missed the social commentary. Side note: anytime I quote my mother, be sure to read it with a pretty strong Midwestern accent (specifically Saint Louis).

A quick plot summary–Sam Rockwell plays a recovering sex addict, Victor Mancini, who works at a colonial reenactment site. His mother, played by Angelica Houston, is a patient in a mental hospital who no longer recognizes her son. Victor begins to fall for his mother’s doctor, played by Kelly MacDonald, as he sets out to find out who his father is.

Kudos to the casting director of this film. I don’t think there is another actor out there that plays sleazy, but likeable as well as Sam Rockwell. I’m kind of in love with Anjelica Huston now. As I left the movie, it dawned on me that I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of her movies before. I am in the process of adding her films to my Blockbuster queue right now. This film was filled with scenes that turned on long, silent close-ups of her face as she processed emotion and information. I was in awe. Plus, I got kind of mesmerized by her looks–she’s attractive, but not in a traditional sense and I could never quite put my finger on what made her striking. It’s like the individual parts are kind of odd, but the sum of the parts works. Last but not least, I was so pleased to see Joel Grey, star of Broadway and father of Baby Houseman (a.k.a. Jennifer Grey–“Dirty Dancing”). He’s such an odd little man and he worked that beautifully as one of the recovering sex addicts in therapy with Victor.

Have you ever seen a movie and thought, I bet this is a really good book? That’s how I felt with “Choke.” That’s not to say I didn’t think the movie was good; I did. I just felt like the book probably said things the movie didn’t even attempt to (the missing social commentary I referenced at the beginning of this). I laughed out loud several times, which is how I judge how funny something is. Even better, it was pretty moving, too.

Just a warning: I was unprepared for how much sex there was in this movie. After reading this, you will already be aware it’s about a sex addict. I was not. All the sex scenes felt appropriate and were relevant to the plot, just…you know…this isn’t one for the kids.

This is worth seeing for the full Friday night price. Just don’t see it with anyone whom you might be uncomfortable watching people do the ‘around the world.’

ALISON SAYS:

Who knew broken, depressed sex addicts could be so funny? I sure didn’t until I saw this movie. I have never read any of Chuck Palahniuk’s books, though after reading some of his info on Wikipedia, I’ve just added some of his work to my library account (yes, I have a library card and actually use it). Here’s a few choice pieces:

When Palahniuk “attempted to publish his next novel, Invisible Monsters, publishers rejected it for being too disturbing. This led him to work on his most famous novel, Fight Club, which he wrote as an attempt to disturb the publisher even more for rejecting him.”

“Palahniuk would also become a member of the rebellious Cacophony Society* in his adulthood. He is a regular participant in their events, including the annual Santa Rampage (a public Christmas party involving pranks and drunkenness) in Portland. His participation in the Society inspired some of the events in his writings, both fictional and non-fictional. Most notably, he used the Cacophony Society as the basis for Project Mayhem in Fight Club.”

“Choke” is the latest film adaptation of Palahniuk’s work, and it’s definitely worth seeing. It has a stellar cast, all talented and all funny. There’s a depressing realism to the misery that is their lives, but you still love being along for the ride and keep hoping they’ll find some semblance of happiness. Sam Rockwell dazzles as a guy you sort of want to hate, but can’t help being charmed by. I can’t believe I just wrote “dazzles.” Brad William Henke masterfully portrays the sweetest, most cuddly chronic masturbator you’ll ever meet. Clark Gregg should be proud of himself for his directorial debut with this film, not to mention his hilarious performance as Lord High Charlie and the fact that he wrote the screenplay.

LA Viewers: Worth paying full price at The Grove or Sunset 5.

Translation for non-LA natives: It is worth paying money to see this movie in the theaters. It will make you laugh and you get to see boobs (if you’re into that).

Sidenote: This is not the movie to bring your small children or your mom to. Or to bring anyone who might be weirded out by somewhat explicit sex scenes.
*Jessica has no idea what the Cacophony Society actually does, but you had her at “pranks and drunkenness.”