8.28.2011

For Kerri - Our Idiot Brother

My friend Kerri commented on another post that I should see Our Idiot Brother. Well, Kerri, I saw it on Friday night and really enjoyed it!

I don't think it will win any awards, but Paul Rudd was wonderful as he always is. I especially loved the scenes involving his dog, "Willie Nelson." For those who don't know, the movie is about Paul Rudd, a sort of free-loving hippie who's never held a job for very long, and his three sisters, each with issues of their own. After he does a stint in jail, he bounces around between his mom's and his sisters' homes, affecting them all in different ways. The movie is sweet and funny.

I also saw Midnight in Paris last weekend. For the first several minutes, Woody Allen shows various scenes of Paris that were SO beautiful. The movie is about Owen Wilson, a screenwriter who's trying to write a novel. He and his fiance (Rachel McAdams) are in Paris with her parents. He's in love with Paris and nostalgic for the Paris of the 1920's. His fiance and parents couldn't care less (man, they really got on my nerves!) Owen wanders off on his own, and something happens at midnight that transports him back to the 20's, where he comes across Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda, Picasso, and many others. The movie is VERY charming and made me realize that I need to get back to Paris sooner rather than later.

8.26.2011

A very special episode...

Just finished watching "Louie" on F/X which stars and is written and directed by comedian Louie C.K. F/X didn't advertise this particular episode as "very special" in the treacly way ABC or NBC would've done, but this episode actually was special.

The show is usually 30 minutes, but tonight's show was an hour. Louie travels to Afghanistan with the U.S.O. after a night of taking care of the ducklings his 5-year-old daughter's teacher sent home with them. When he gets to Afghanistan, he discovers that his daughter packed one of the ducklings into his luggage for good luck. (Not sure how the duck went unnoticed through military security or how he survived in luggage for a flight from NYC to Afghanistan, or how Louie's clothing wasn't covered in duck poop, but that's not the point! Just go with it.) I read that Louie based this episode on his personal experience with the U.S.O., and it was interesting to see how that whole process worked.

There's a scene toward the end where the helicopter carrying the U.S.O. performers has mechanical trouble and has to land in a remote area. While they're waiting for help, a group of Afghan people approaches, some of them armed. The U.S. troops yell for them to put their guns down, the Afghan men protest and things get really tense. Louie's freaking out, drops his bag, and puts his hands over his head like he's under arrest. When he drops the bag, the little duckling crawls out. Louie goes to catch him, and trips and falls. There's a moment of silence and then everyone just starts laughing. The Afghan men shake hands with the troops and take turns petting the little duck. A good time is had by all, and when the backup helicopter arrives, Louie ends up giving the little duck to a young girl that was with the Afghan group. There's a sort of "can't we all just get along?" message there, but it wasn't pounded over your head.

I know that sounds so sappy and unrealistic, but it was so well done, and what really hooked me is that at the end of the credits, there's a note that says the story was inspired by Louie C.K.'s six-year-old daughter. How sweet is that?! Great show.

8.20.2011

Just for the funk of it.

I was watching the Ricky Martin Behind the Music, and when it got to his breakthrough performance on the Grammy awards in 1998 (the one where everyone was like, "who is that guy?!"), it got me thinking about some of my other favorite live performances. One of my all-time favorites featured the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Parliament also on the Grammy awards. It was a hot, funky mess on stage, but so much fun.


And here's Ricky's performance:


Oh! Here's another favorite. Aerosmith doing Dream On with a full orchestra. I'm a sucker for rock or hip-hop performances backed by an orchestra.

8.12.2011

Mark this day.

Something very unusual happened today.  It only happens once in a great moon, and heck, maybe it happened because there is a full moon tonight.  I can't believe I'm going to write these words:

I
downloaded
a
COUNTRY
song

I've mentioned on this blog repeatedly that country music just doesn't float my boat, but I've acknowledged that every once in a while, there will be a song I do like.  But even when there is, I don't usually put it on my iPod...I just enjoy it when I happen to catch it on the radio.  Well.  The Zac Brown Band was on The Today Show this morning.  They sang "Free," and I was like, "Oh damn.  I like this song."  I waited several hours, listened to it again on iTunes, and then went ahead and purchased it.  it is a good song though.




My dad's a country music fan, and when I called to tell him the news, he went on about how much he likes the ZBB.   They do seem like cool guys...I love that in addition to performing their songs on Today, Zac and his chef also did a cooking segment with Natalie Morales.  They use one of their tour buses to serve food to their fans at their shows.  That's pretty cool.

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Three weeks, four movies.

So, I love movies and I love going to the movies, but until recently, I hadn't really been in the mood for it. Part of it was that there was nothing I really wanted to see, but it was more of a feeling that I just didn't want to bother.

When we were in Omaha, my sister and I found ourselves with a few unplanned hours, so we decided to see Crazy, Stupid, Love, which was so great. We loved it. And we LOVED Ryan Gosling and his sexy self. I can't wait to see it again.

And the winner is....

Melanie!!!

Although I was pulling for Sasha to win this season of SYTYCD, I wasn't unhappy about Melanie's win because I loved her too.

The show was kind of anti-climatical, probably because there wasn't a lot of suspense, but I enjoyed the tap routine, and I loved seeing two of Sasha's best performances again (the ones with Kent and Twitch). I also loved seeing the one with the Big Kiss from Melanie and Marko again.

Good season--I look forward to next year.

8.10.2011

SYTYCD finale

No recap tonight because Blogger was down when I was ready to start, and now I need to run to the grocery store, but I just wanted to say that my vote tonight is for Sasha. This is based on her first performance with Mark (the two of them seemed to be made for each other performance-wise). Plus when they ran through her highlights, I was reminded of her piece with Twitch, as well as her incredible performance with Kent last week. She's an incredible performer and I'll be pulling for her to win tomorrow.

Also? No one except Nigel bothered to give any real critique tonight. Katie Holmes, Kenny Ortega and Mary LOVED everything. (Well, except for Tadd and Sasha's routine--Katie was the only one who praised that.)

We'll see what happens tomorrow!


8.05.2011

2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America by Albert Brooks

2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America2030: The Real Story of What Happens to America by Albert Brooks

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this tale of the future from actor Al Brooks. I've always been impressed with his imagination (particularly because of the afterlife world he created in the movie Defending Your Life), and after reading this book, I'm even more impressed.

There are multiple characters and story lines, but one of the main themes is that in 2030, cancer has been cured and people are living longer than ever. AARP is one of the strongest lobbies, and younger generations have come to resent the "olds" because of the strain they put on the system. I don't want to say much more than that--you just have to read it.

2030 was very thought-provoking. Any time I had a conversation with someone about the current state of affairs in the United States (such as the debt ceiling debate or healthcare), something from from the book would come to mind and I'd bring it to the conversation. I believe that a lot of Al Brooks' "predictions" will truly come to fruition. Some of those predictions I will welcome--such as a car that drives itself, and others I fear. (Again...you'll just have to read it. No spoilers here.)

For example, I was visiting my aunt and uncle who have been taking cruises annually for the past 15 years. They said that on their last cruise, they met a lady who essentially lives on cruise ships. Turns out this was cheaper than her moving to a retirement home. Well, in 2030 the retirement homes are cruise ships. They just move from port to port. See what I mean? My aunt and uncle met one lady already doing this--I'm sure there are others. A full retirement home ship can't be far behind.

In any case, I would recommend this book to everyone. It definitely makes for interesting discussions.

View all my reviews

Update (8/7/11):  One of the headlines in Saturday's Washington Post was: "China bluntly tells U.S. to end its ‘addiction to debts’."

And, on page 170 in Al Brook's book, when the U.S. tries to borrow trillions of dollars from China, China officials tells the U.S.: "As you know, your debt to us is bordering on fifteen trillion dollars [remember, this is the year 2030], and yes, you pay back with fair interest, but you are a bottomless pit and we no longer feel comfortable feeding it." And later, on page 197: "We feel, as I'm sure you do, too, that your debt is already too high, certainly regarding money you have borrowed from us."

Hmmm....can we say prescient?

8.04.2011

SYTYCD's Final Four

The final four were announced tonight, and I believe America got it right.  We have Marko and Tadd and Melanie and Sasha.

I love all these dancers, so it's difficult to choose my absolute favorite.  I'd be thrilled for any of them to win.  But...after Sasha's performance last night, deep down inside, I'm pulling for her.  Looking forward to the finale next week.

In other news, Pia from American Idol performed.  She's still really pretty, the song was decent, and she's still got that walk-walk-bend-knee-walk-walk thing down pat.  She still needs to get some personality on stage though.

Whew. Catching my breath.

I was out of town last week and didn't get to see either SYTYCD show.  Tonight I've had a "Dance" marathon and watched both of last week's shows, and am now watching tonight's show.  That's a lot of dance, and I'm not really in the mood to blog the whole thing, but can I just say that I could barely breathe after watching Sasha and Kent's routine?  It was, well....breathtaking.  

Tyce Diorio choreographed it and said it's about two people who've hit a wall in their relationship, and it's all the emotions you go through when someone does you wrong.  Just as Sasha and some of the judges revealed, I've been there too, and could really relate.  It just brought it all back for me.  And the song, "Fool of Me" by Me'shell Ndeg√©ocello...ay yi yi.  Those lyrics: You made a fool of me.  Tell me why.  I could've written the words myself.

Anyway, here it is.  Sasha's best performance of the season, as far as I'm concerned.