1.30.2008

She took the words right out of my mouth

I called my sister yesterday:

Me: We have to go to New York before you go to Spain. [Note: She's going to Spain for three months--lucky girl!]

Deb: Why?

Me: RENT is ending its run on Broadway in March.

Deb: Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!


We're definitely going to try to see it one more time. It'll be our 3rd time seeing it on Broadway, and I think our 11th time seeing it altogether. I can't wait!

1.25.2008

Even more catching up

Let's see....

Saw 27 Dresses with Deb over the weekend. Gotta say, it wasn't as bad as we expected. Even though you could predict certain things within seconds of a shot, it was still entertaining. Katherine Heigl and James Marsden (with his mega-watt smile) have such winning personalities that it's fun to watch them on the screen. If you're in the mood for a chick flick, this will do.

Finished reading Augusten Burroughs' only fiction novel, Sellevision, the other day. Ohmigod. It was hilarious! I was on the Metro when I read the last paragraph and I had to cover my face with the book because I was laughing and looking like a dork. He had some nice touches in there, like mentioning something about the Barbra Streisand for Vice President debacle. He also mentions the popular movie Titanic II that was playing. I really do love his writing...I hope he comes out with another novel soon. I need to go back and check, but I think in one of his memoirs, either Dry or Magical Thinking, he talks about how he was completely wasted the whole time he wrote Sellevision. Wow.

Oscar nominations: Don't really have much to say other than I'm pulling for Juno to win best picture--it was my favorite movie of the five nominations, though I haven't seen There Will Be Blood yet. (The other noms are No Country for Old Men (this would be my second pick), Michael Clayton and Atonement.) My friend Mark and I are perplexed by Ruby Dee's nomination for Best Supporting Actress for American Gangster. It's the only recognition AG received in the nominations, but I don't think the nom is deserved. I think they should've nominated Jurnee Smollett for The Great Debaters. She was fantastic, and left a lasting impression. Ruby Dee's performance did not.

American Idol: I haven't really had much to say about the tryouts so far--it's same ole, same ole. I'm curious to see what happens when they show the Omaha auditions next week. We were in Omaha last summer when they held the auditions--lots of folks showed up. Simon still cracks me up, and he's still the one to listen to. Except for the one girl that sang Janis Joplin's "Piece of My Heart." I have NO idea what the judges were listening to that they let her go to Hollywood. Oh well.

Amazing Race: The finale was fantastic! I'll announce a SPOILER in case anyone hasn't watched it on Tivo yet (shame on you), but I was so excited that TK and Rachel won--I just loved how they came from so far behind. Good for them!!!

I guess that's it. I'm now reading Tom Perrotta's The Abstinence Teacher -- so far, so good!

Oh, one more thing--just a random thought. I was just saying over the weekend that I can't find Peter Pan peanut butter on the shelves and have been having a hard time finding a pb I like. Jif and Skippy just don't do it for me. Well. I saw on the news the other day that Peter Pan's being redistributed again and should be on the shelves shortly. I'm so happy! (It doesn't take much, does it?)

1.17.2008

Beautiful

Today we had our first snowfall of the year in the DC area. washingtonpost.com has a photo gallery featuring some pictures taken today. Please check out the gallery, specifically picture #5. It's Luke, a lion at the National Zoo. I LOVE this picture! (Sorry, there's a little advertisement you have to watch first.)

Top Movies of 2007 - two opinions

On Ebert & Roeper a couple weeks ago, Roger Roeper and guest host A.O. Scott from the New York Times discussed their Top 10 lists for 2007. I like to keep track of these each year and keep track of which movies I've seen. Their lists are below--movies I've seen are in bold italic text.

Roeper
10. Paris, Je T'aime
9. Once
8. Superbad
7. Zodiac
6. Gone Baby Gone
5. American Gangster
4. Juno
3. The Lookout
2. No Country for Old Men
1. Michael Clayton

A.O. Scott
10. Knocked Up
9. The Savages
8. Into the Wild
7. There Will Be Blood
6. 12:08 East of Bucharest (Haven't even heard of this one)
5. Terror's Advocate (?)
4. I'm Not There
3. Sweeney Todd
2. Ratatouille
1. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days

Looks like I have a lot of work to do on A.O.'s list! I thought it interesting that neither of them had Atonement on their list. I'm not sure I would either--I'm just saying. I need a little more time to think about my list, but I know that Paris Je T'aime, Once, Gone Baby Gone, Juno, The Lookout, No Country for Old Men, and The Savages, would be on it. What's that? Seven? I have to think about what order I'd put these in, and think of what else I'd include. I'll get back to you on that!

No wonder they sound so much alike

The other day I mentioned a comparison between Amy Winehouse and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. I don't have the liner notes for Amy Winehouse's CD because I downloaded it from iTunes, but I read in the paper this morning that the Dap Kings backed Amy up on the song "Back to Black." Cool!

1.14.2008

Other stuff to catch up on

  1. I finished Steve Martin's book, Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life last week and really enjoyed it. I've had a crush on Steve Martin's since I was 6 or 7 (whenever I first saw him on SNL) and I've also been a fan of his writing for a long time (please go read his essays in Pure Drivel--so funny!) and he didn't disappoint here. Though the book wasn't laugh-out-loud funny very often, I found it to be very nostalgic and sentimental, but not in a sappy way. You could just tell that Mr. Martin cherishes his days of stand up, and he seemed to enjoy reminiscing. I would love to read a follow-up about his movie career.

  2. I saw No Country for Old Men over the weekend. Man. That movie was intense. It had about the same violence level as Fargo, but it wasn't as funny (though, there are some humorous moments). Javier Bardem, who won the Golden Globe last night for the role he played, was amazing. Talk about creepy!

  3. I saw Atonement last weekend. I haven't read the book, but would like to. Though I felt the movie dragged a little in the middle, I did enjoy it, and it stayed on my mind for a long time afterward. It's also beautifully shot and my I really enjoyed the score. As the movie opens, a young girl is typing away--it starts in 1935, so this is one of those classic black manual typewriters with the round keys. Anyway, at the beginning and throughout the movie, the click, click, click of the typewriter is interwoven into the musical score--the clicks sort of add the percussion to the music. It was very well done, and it helped pace the movie. Oh, and I just saw that the movie won the Golden Globe for Best Original Score. Very cool.

  4. I'm a latecomer to Amy Winehouse's album, Back to Black, but I like it a lot. If you like her, you'll probably like Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings. They have a new album out called 100 Days, 100 Nights that is great. Just like Amy Winehouse's songs, the music is a throwback to the 60's--it's funky and soulful and fun. Check them out.

  5. And finally, I watched the fake Golden Globe awards last night on NBC. The show was hosted by Access Hollywood's Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell. Maybe it's just me, but they seemed annoyed with each other. They seemed to be talking over each other and just uncomfortable over all. Nancy would make a comment, and then Billy would have a look of consternation on his face, and then he'd say something like, "Good point," through a tight smile. Maybe he was concentrating too hard on listening to the director in his ear, so he didn't hear what Nancy was saying. I don't know, but it was weird. Anyway, I'm thrilled, THRILLED that Mad Men won Best TV Drama and that its lead actor, Jon Hamm, won Best Actor. AND, that Extras won Best TV Comedy. Great shows!

Lots to catch up on - TV

I've fallen way behind on posting here, but have a lot to talk about. Let's go:

  1. Amazing Race ***SPOILER ALERT - I came into this season's show about halfway through, but am glad I did. When I started, there were about 7 teams left. I would've been happy for ANY of them to win except one: Nate and Jen. Jeez Louise. They are the most annoying couple EVER. As the teams were racing last night to be the final three teams to compete for $1M, I was rooting so hard for Nate and Jen to be knocked out, and guess what? They were! Woo-hoo!!!! END SPOILER***

  2. Cashmere Mafia - I've seen two episodes of this Sex & the City knock-off and kinda like it. Here's my favorite scene from the pilot episode: but one of the four lead characters found out her husband was having an affair with a woman within their social circle. I LOVED it when she announced to him that he wouldn't know when, and he wouldn't know who, but she was going to take a lover...someone within their circle, and then they could start over again. Good for her! (Not sure what this says about my morals, but whatever!)

  3. How to Look Good Naked - New reality show on Lifetime featuring Carson Kressley from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy trying to get women to have feel better about themselves and accept their bodies, no matter their shape and size. Love it. Carson is still hilarious. On Friday night's show, he took a young lady to salsa lessons. Next thing you know, he's dancing by in a Carmen Miranda outfit! By the end of the show, the women are walking tall, feel proud, sexy and beautiful, and Carson convinces them to do a NUDE photoshoot. Talk about brave!

    On the first episode, Carson showed the guest (Layla) a video of three women, whose faces were blocked. The one of the left was wearing a cute black dress with a wide belt--she was walking tall and like she had purpose. The one in the middle looked frumpy. Her clothes were a mess and she didn't have good posture. The last woman was wearing a blazer and pants with no color--tans and browns, she was walking slowly and seemed like she was trying to make herself invisible. Carson asked Layla who she thought weighed the most, and who weighed the least. She thought the frumpy lady in the middle weighed the most, and the lady in the black dress weighed the least. Well, Carson unblocked the faces of the women and guess what? It was all the same person! It was quite a revelation to see that just how the woman pulled herself together and walked tall made her look 20# smaller! That was cool.

  4. Top this Party - Also on Lifetime is a show about party planners in Orange County and Las Vegas. So far, the party budgets have been from $100,000-$250,000. I like the Orange County show better, because the party planner is hilarious. He's so sarcastic and will cut down an annoying client under his breath in a second. His comments are so funny.

  5. National Body Challenge vs. The Biggest Loser - The Discovery Health Channel aired their National Body Challenge last week. I find that show to be a little more inspirational than The Biggest Loser because the people are losing weight in real life. They're still going to work and raising families and learning to eat healthy and exercise. They're not exercising 6-7 hours/day. And, other than a few mentions of Kashi cereal and bars, there's not so much blatant product placement. It gets really ridiculous on The Biggest Loser. One contestant will say to another, "I'm hungry, so I think I'll eat this Polly-O String Cheese that Jillian told me about." Ugh. So annoying.

  6. American Idol starts this week. (Tomorrow, I think.) I read that contestants will be allowed to play instruments and that there will be less focus on celebrity guest stars this year. Hmmm.... As long as we don't get any repeats of Sanjaya, I think it'll be okay.

1.04.2008

More movie recommendations

Paris Je T'aime Movie PosterI watched Paris, Je T'aime on DVD over the weekend and absolutely loved it. It's a collection of 18 five-minute vignettes, all related to love, all taking place in different sections (arrondisements) of the city, and all done by different directors, including Gus Van Sant, the Coen Brothers, Gerard Depardieu, Wes Craven and Gurinda Chadha (who directed Bend It Like Beckham). Not all of the stories are happy stories, and I didn't necessarily care for all of them, but the shots of Paris are gorgeous--it was fun to watch and say, "hey, I recognize that place." My favorites were the ones directed by Gurinda Chadha (Quais de Seine), Isabel Coixet (Bastille), Oliver Schmitz (Place des fêtes -- this one is beautiful, and my very favorite), Tom Tykwer (Faubourg Saint-Denis -- this one features a great performance by Natalie Portman), and finally, Alexander Paine (14e arrondissement). Go check it out!

And now, a reminder about some other movies you need to see. Lucky for you, they're out on DVD now. First is The Lookout and next is Once. [Note: Richard Roeper had both of these on his top 10 of the year list. He also had Paris, Je T'aime, for that matter!]

1.03.2008

Books, books, books...

Just finished a book called The Flawless Skin of Ugly People by Doug Crandell. It's about a couple in their 30's (Hobbie and Kari), high school sweethearts, who were drawn together because of traumatic incidents when they were young, and also because they were outcasts -- he because of his terrible acne (acne vulgaris) and she because of her weight. It's narrated by Hobbie, who has been separated from Kari for six months because she's away at a "fat camp." In the beginning, I found the story interesting and the writing quite effective. But as it went on, I found myself skimming because the plot became frustrating. There were a bunch of obstacles that kept Hobbie from reuniting with Kari. After a while though, I was like, come on! ANOTHER obstacle? It just got to be too much. The 11 reviewers on amazon.com all gave it 5 stars out of 5. I would probably go with 3.5.

Next up: Steve Martin's autobiography, Born Standing Up. (I'm going to be busy over the next several weeks--I got this, plus four other books for Christmas, including, Tom Perrotta's The Abstinence Teacher and John Elder Robison's Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's.. Looking forward to them all.)