Holy (Bleep)!

On a recent revisit to The Grand Budapest Hotel, I found myself thinking about my love of Wes Anderson films as well as my friends who also enjoy those same films. I was looking at that particular demographic within my friends. The Wes Anderson fans tend to be humanities majors. Many of us would be defined by most of society as “good kids.” Most of us are practicing Christians. I can think of many reasons why we enjoy his films-color scheme, script/dialogue, characters, music, actors, lighting…the list could go on for a while. There are many things to love these movies. I mean…I’d totally let Wes Anderson plan my wedding.

image from Wikipedia

The movies are pretty brilliant. They’re intelligent, eccentric, witty, and at least a little crass. It’s that mix that got me thinking. In Grand Budapest, M. Gustave (skillfully portrayed by Ralph Fiennes) goes from poetic dialogue that is not common in modern cinema to crass conversations or swearing. As I listened to Fiennes go seamlessly from reciting poetry to swearing, I wondered why this particular group of individuals enjoys this brand of cinema. I have plenty of good friends who wouldn’t enjoy the crass language. So why do other friends and I enjoy Anderson’s portrayal of the human experience? We don’t all have some crazy mustard yellow fixation, do we?

Image from Wikipedia

Then I posed this question to my roommate who also enjoys these films. She provided me with an answer that resonated with me. Wes Anderson’s film reminds us that we belong to both heaven and earth. In other words, these movies show us a vivid and all-too real depiction of the fallen condition of humanity. Life is not a fairy tale. We are not yet perfect. We aspire to the skies, but we fall short far too many times. We want to perfectly crafted sentences that use elegant language, but life falls short. We fall short. And in our more base moments, we fall back on crass language.

Image from Rotten Tomatoes

That crass language is far easier to use than those elegant phrases. Many times, it feels far more appropriate to swear than to use poetic language. There is a certain impact to “fuck” that “‘Twas first light, when I saw her face upon the heath, and hence did I return, day by day, entranced, though vinegar did brine my heart, never w…” just doesn’t have. Poetry is beautiful, but it often lacks a certain level of baseness that is so intrinsic to our human condition. There is something utterly satisfying about swearing or speaking in crass terms. Both swearing and poetry fit the human condition; they simply fall into different moments of life. These movies acknowledge both the baseness (earth) and elegance (heaven) of the human condition.

Beyond just the language, the films present a world that is flawed. These characters aren’t perfect. Their lives are far from perfect. These are not the stories to which we necessarily aspire. (Okay, certain parts of them definitely look appealing.) But there is something charming and endearing about these stories. The flaws and the charm resonate with us. Many of us have dysfunctional families. Many of us want to do something dramatic or exciting. Adventure appeals to us. Some of us wish that we looked good in mustard yellow. We realize that life doesn’t always give us happily-ever-afters. Anderson acknowledges that, but he also helps us to acknowledge the humor in the dark moments. Life is filled with elegance, with humor, and with profanity. Somehow, Anderson blends these elements together and makes them thoroughly delightful.

Also, there is Courtesan au Chocolat.

The Thoughts You Have on Watching The Road to El Dorado as an Adult

Prior to this evening, neither Joy nor I had ever seen The Road to El Dorado. We had seen the below gif on the webs, but we’d never seen the original movie.
But the movie is on Netflix, and we wanted a quiet Saturday night so we could go to bed at reasonable hour given that this is the worst Saturday of the year.
Naturally, because I’m a jerk, we had to write a ridiculous blog post while watching the film. So, here goes nothing…
Why is everyone speaking English?

That guy is clearly from Hawaii.  How did someone from Hawaii get to Arizona?
He doesn’t believe they’re gods.  He’s going to spend the whole movie trying to prove they aren’t.

We’re the monkeys.  People say we monkey around…

She can hear them!  She can tell what they’re saying.

Her out fit does not look comfortable.

Also, she has really big hips and thighs for someone with that small of a waist.

There’s a lot of inconsistencies in this movie.

Do you ever wonder if the animators were on drugs?

Why on earth would you think that?

Right then they definitely were.

No, I think they were just drunk.

I’m sorry, how long are footprints going to stay on the beach?

Dude, you’re not making friends.

It’s Godzilla, Joy!

My life is worse for having watched this movie. It’s not substantially worse or anything. But my life was better before I saw this movie.

Movie Review: Brooklyn

A few weeks ago, a friend texted me and asked if I wanted to go see the new Tina Fey movie with her. I said yes, and she said, “Great! Brooklyn is showing at 3:45 tomorrow.”

Well, if you know anything about the movie Brooklyn, you’ll know that Tina Fey isn’t in it. Also, we didn’t end up seeing any movie that day because something came up. However, as we were making plans, I had looked into Brooklyn, and I really wanted to see it. So, I had a snow day today, but the weather wasn’t bad near my home. (One of the perks of living a bit of a drive from where I work) The roads were clear, so I took myself to the movies.

Now, I had a suspicion that I would like this movie. It looked like a heartwarming story that would have requisite sad bits alongside a quality plot and good acting. It didn’t look groundbreaking or life-changing. But it looked like a good, positive movie.

What I got was a genuinely heartwarming story with excellent acting. The story, which is an adaptation of a book I’ve not yet read, was beautiful. I did cry a bit here and there. I laughed. I really laughed at this adorable little eight-year-old Italian-American boy; he was hilarious. Mostly, I was just enchanted. I fell in love with the characters. I wanted them to be happy and have genuinely good lives.

The movie tells the story of Eilis Lacey, a young Irish woman who moves to America in 1951 to make a better life for herself. She is smart, and that’s one of her greatest strengths. Homesickness is her greatest foe. The story is primarily a story of her transition to adulthood and her gradual adjustment from life in a small town in Ireland to life in a large city in America.

The writing is good. The story is compelling and believable. The characters feel real. Their goals and motivations make sense both in the real world and the world of the film. Eilis does a thing or two that I don’t necessarily like, but I’m not sure that I would have behaved differently in her shoes. The soundtrack is gorgeous; it supported the movie well and helped convey the emotions that the director wanted the viewer to feel.

The acting was wonderful. Saoirse Ronan moves beautifully from a slightly fearful immigrant to a strong woman who can think and act for herself. Emory Cohen, despite not actually being Italian-American, plays Eilis’s Italian-American love interest. He nicely portrays a sweet, honest, and enthusiastic young man who wants to make the most out of his life. Domhnall Gleeson is delightful as a young man Eilis comes to know upon her return to Ireland. He’s more reserved than Cohen’s Tony, but there is a quiet strength to him that I found utterly endearing. The supporting cast is also brilliant. I really enjoyed Jim Broadbent as the priest who sponsored Eilis’s immigration and Julie Walters as her landlady in Brooklyn. (It was also fun to see three Harry Potter veterans in the same film even if Gleeson, Walters, and Broadbent were never onscreen together.) Eilis’s housemates in Mrs. Keogh’s boardinghouse were believable and enjoyable.

Overall, I really liked this movie, and I’d encourage anyone who likes enjoyable things to see it.

My rating is an A-. Yes, I had one or two unanswered questions at the end of the film, but overall, I enjoyed it.


 

Disclaimers:

I never did see that Tina Fey movie. Maybe I should see it someday?

I have a soft spot for Domhnall Gleeson because we both have names that coffeeshop baristas seem to be incapable of spelling. Someday, I want to hang out with him and compare misspellings of our names. (Also, I don’t think that he’s ugly.)

Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I love Jane Austen. Most people who know me are well aware that Pride and Prejudice is my second or third favorite Austen novel-depending on my mood and my attitude towards Captain Wentworth that day. It is also a truth nearly universally acknowledged that I do love a good parody. I dearly love to laugh, after all.

From BBC America

Therefore, it was with great delight that I read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies back in 2009. I took flack from some friends for enjoying a “rip-off” of Austen, but I didn’t mind. I liked the book. I thought that it continued the original novel’s themes well. I felt that zombification could be used as an analogy for the marriage market that Austen is so carefully criticizing in her original work. I immediately began hoping for a movie adaptation, but that was a bit slow in coming. It appears that many people were interested in such a project, but it took a while to get all of the ducks in order. And then, about about six months ago, it became apparent that all of the ducks were finally in order.

The movie came out yesterday, and naturally, I had to see it on opening night. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t know when the last time a movie (that wasn’t made by Mel Brooks) made me laugh so hard. It was a bit violent, but overall, it was enjoyable. The acting was good. I really enjoyed Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet; I thought she brought the right level of independence and sweetness to the role. I felt that Sam Riley was delightfully gruff. Charles Dance was a pleasant surprise as a Mr. Bennet who would far rather see his daughter alive and in full possession of their mental capacities than happily married to men who would see them leave their zombie-fighting days behind them. Lena Headey was a divine Lady Catherine de Bourgh who reminded me of Madame Kovarian from Doctor Who, and I liked that about her.

pride-prejudice-zombies-characters-1However, my one gripe with the film is that while it contained the spirit of Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel, it was not terribly faithful to the novel. It was a true representation of the spirit of the novel, but it left many events out of the film. Now, I understand that this had to be done for the sake of time, but I’d really been looking forward to watching Lily James fight ninjas. Yes, it gave me a strong-willed Elizabeth Bennet. Yes, it gave me many moments of strong, independent women taking care of themselves. I had many pleasant moments of saying internally, “Yes! Sisters be doin’ it for themselves!” But there were no ninjas.

Admittedly, the loss of the ninjas was not the only change. The role of Wickham was changed, but I didn’t mind that too terribly. I felt the changes functioned well in the context of the film. A few things about Charlotte’s relationship with Mr. “Eleventh Doctor” Collins were changed, but that helped with the time management of the piece. Also, Matt Smith did an excellent job of playing an absurd Mr. Collins. But it would have been nice to see a showdown between Elizabeth and Lady Catherine’s ninjas.

Overall, it was enjoyable. I laughed a good deal, and that was definitely worth it. I would recommend it to people who like both Jane Austen and Monty Python. If you don’t like both of those things, you probably won’t like it. The script isn’t the greatest thing ever written, but that’s okay. I wasn’t expecting it to be brilliantly written. I have my Colin Firth-Jennifer Ehle P&P for that.

My official rating of it is a B. I would have given it an A if there had been ninjas, but no ninjas, no A.

Love Actually is The Holiday

Last night, my roommate and I had a Christmas rom-com double feature. We started out the evening with Love Actually and then moved on to The Holiday. While we were watching the movie, my roommate typed up our reactions to the movie so that we could share them with the blog.

(NB: A good alternate title for this post would be “A Good Catholic Girl watches rom-coms, gets frustrated with modern morality, and swears a lot.”)

Enjoy!

Who the fuck says “I know” to Colin Firth?  Moreover, who says “Get OUT, loser!” to him?!  What the actual fuck.

How many lobsters WERE present at the birth of Jesus?

How do you actually get a job doing [what Jack and Judy do]?  How much do you get paid to do this job?

Natalie swears:  shit, shit, fuck, piss it, fuck, fucking,

How do you hide that many people in your church?  And their instruments!  Unless…do they know all these people?

WHO cheats on Colin Firth with THAT guy?

/who cheats on Colin Firth?!

What do you do when your friend acts like…..  Colin Frissell

what prompts Harry to ask Sarah about her love life, exactly.
WHAT is Harry’s deal?  He cheats on his wife…

What made Colin think that Wisconsin was a fantastic place?

whooo says stuff like that to a married man?  if I was drunk, I MIGHT say that to [this single bloke I know]

what is she wearing?

Who labels their launderette?

Thomas Brodie-Sangster was 13 years old, playing an 11-year-old who looked about 7.  Six?   (“9” according to Cecilia)

“No one’s in love when they’re eleven!  No one!”

What does Harry/Sarah/Karl’s business actually do?

How come we don’t ALL have Prime Minister Hugh Grant around when we go through a breakup?

Does Daniel have nothing better to do with his life than worry about an 11-year-old’s love life?  I mean, come on!

Who cares what language you speak?  He’s Colin Fucking Firth!  Just snuggle!

Who would elect Billy Bob Thornton president of anything?!

(Well, who would elect Hugh Grant prime minister of anything?)

Why is she wearing that suit?  That suit is weird.
I would love to know what his Aunt Mildred looks like.

Why are you a douche-canoe?

Her dress is weird.

Why are you talking?!  Your personal life is not politics.

What is Colin Firth’s sweater?

How is Billy Bob Thornton afraid of antique furniture?  How is anyone afraid of antique furniture?

How do you sit?

You are fucking 11 years old. She is not the love of your life.
Who watches Titanic?
What’s all the garlic for?
How do you treat Emma Thompson like that?
The 270-pound necklace would, in 2015, cost $613.31.
Seriously, how do you treat Emma Thompson like that?
Why were they eating ice cream on Christmas Eve?  Isn’t it a bit cold for that, and also, bad for throats that are about to sing in a nativity play?
Does he think she doesn’t know?
How can you hate Uncle Jaimie?
His whole family just congregated SO fast.
Prime Minister – dancing, providing reassurance after breakups, going door-to-door “caroling” / etc.
“Eight is a lot of legs, David.”
Everyone should steal their lines from Colin Firth.
Can we talk about how many things are wrong with this Christmas pageant?
She already gave them ice cream!  Why do they need treats?
How can Colin Firth find Aurelia’s exact house while the Prime Minister has no idea where to find Natalie?
Do they have Dunkin Donuts in Portugal?
HE IS ELEVEN YEARS OLD.  YOU DO NOT FIND THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE WHEN YOU’RE ELEVEN YEARS OLD
People talking like house-elves to each other is adorable.
Can I just point out that the PM does not fly into Heathrow and come out a commercial terminal?

~~~~~~~~~

Don’t kiss Jude Law when you want to kiss a cat!
why is this an explanation for irrational urges?  Look at your life, look at your choices!!  Shut the fuck up, if you want to make out with him, then make out with him; don’t sit here and try to rationalize your behavior.
Shut.  up.
Why does his six-year-old have a mobile?
Never promise you won’t fall in love with someone.

HANG UP.
“So he’s a schmuck!”

This is one of the movies that gives me unrealistic expectations about love.
It makes me feel like – love is only for beautiful people in beautiful clothes by beautiful houses in beautiful landscaping.

Don’t have sex just because you want to. NO.
Be honorable.  Be respectable.  Be respectful.

You couldn’t pay me to marry Jude Law’s character in this movie.  Actually, you couldn’t pay me to marry Jude Law ever.

I vote that New Year’s Eve, we drink wine and get takeout.

She’s here for, what, a week?  How do we have any evidence that this relationship will be successful?  They’re getting awfully serious after a date and two shags.

These poor girls are going to end up…
…with a wicked stepmother?
You shouldn’t introduce your daughters to your girlfriend after 2 dates!  You’re sitting there playing happy families…
You are who you are!  Own who you are – name it and own it.
What’s wrong with hot chocolate spilled on your jeans?

VIDEO SHOP.  IT’S BLOCKBUSTER.

“I only used the good notes.” ❤
Sex and love are not the same thing.  Love is a verb, not a feeling.

To sum up:  The Holiday is suffering through the unlikeliness of a psychotic Cameron Diaz and a horny, impulsive Jude Law for the sake of watching Kate Winslet, Jack Black, and Eli Wallach being heartbroken people who sweetly help support each other.

Why I Keep “Volunteering” to Marry Tom Hiddleston

It happened again. Someone pointed out that Tom Hiddleston would be a really good husband and dad-except for the fact that he’s not married. My immediate response was “I volunteer as tribute!” It wasn’t the first time that I’ve done that. It probably won’t be the last. It’s a thing that I do sometimes. I find Tom Hiddleston attractive, and that’s just a fact of my life these days.

Every now and then, I say that I should write a post explaining my Hiddleston crush. Why is it that I like this tall, skinny English dude? I first started considering this post this a few years back when I read a post somewhere on the interwebs written by some dude who was whinging about how girls keep falling for Hiddles and he couldn’t figure out why. I can’t find the post anymore, and to be honest, there are multiple such posts. But why?

Is it his hair? His smile? His eyes? His accent? His personality? His brain?

Yes, yes to all.

One of the most attractive things to me about any person is their personality. I like good, kind people who are genuine, people who love others, people who give of themselves. I want to see people who treat others (regardless of gender or any other qualifications) with respect. For that reason, Tom Hiddleston is attractive to me. In everything that I have ever seen of him, he respects others. He respects the women in his life-costars, his sisters, his mother etc. He respects his fans. He respects his male coworkers. He respects the people to whom he ought to look up, and he respects people who he is not required to respect-fans, children etc. He smiles at people, which is huge for me. I try to smile at people regardless of whether or not I know them because I think that it’s a small but important gesture. I really like the quote below because it’s simple and true. I don’t expect you to be happy all the time, but I do appreciate when people are joyful and try to share that joy with others.

Hiddleston is also quite intelligent. He has a degree from Cambridge University in Classics. That’s nothing to sneeze at. A few years ago, one of my students looked at me and said, “I just figured you out! You like smart men.” Exactly, I like smart men. And, as my roommate once told her brother, I’m more attracted to his brain than I am to his body. The man loves good literature. He loves Shakespeare. He claims that Shakespeare is the reason that he became an actor.

He always seems like he loves what he’s doing. It’s hard to find an interview where he isn’t smiling. Even when he’s being teased, he seems to be enjoying it. I’ve never heard him complain about his work or his costars. I’ve never heard him bash the work that he did when he was younger and perhaps more desperate for work. I’ve seen him laughing with his costars. I’ve heard him talking about enjoying his costars as people. He talks about hanging out with them.

I don’t think that Tom and I have exactly the same morals. He’s advocating more male nudity in film. Now, I don’t have a problem with his argument’s base in gender equality; I’d just rather see no on-screen nudity. I don’t know that we could have a happy marriage because we don’t have the same moral compass, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t dream about him or watch his movies.

So why do I like Tom Hidldeston? Honestly, it’s because he seems to exude joy. He seems to be a content human being AND he seems intelligent. And that is incredibly attractive to me.

Also, he has lovely blue eyes, and I’m kind of a sucker for lovely blue eyes. But things won’t work out for Tommy H and me unless he becomes Catholic. (Hey, T-Hiddles, the Eastern Catholic Church is awesome. Want to come hang out with the cool kids? We’re the real happy few.) But if that doesn’t happen, that’s okay. I’ll just watch his movies and enjoy his talent.

The Questions You Ask On Watching The Emperor’s New Groove as an Adult

Last night, my roommate (henceforth to be known as JCS and part of the Egotist’s Club) and I watched The Emperor’s New Groove together. We compiled a few MANY questions that we’d like the answers to, and we’re sharing them

– Why has Kuzco never fired Yzma before now?
– Where did Kuzco’s guards learn to Riverdance?
– Was Pacha democratically elected to be leader of his village? Or did he get his job from a random lady passing out swords in a lake?
– Why doesn’t Pacha’s wife have pregnant-lady boobs?
– Does saying “We’re just going to sit up all night saying how much we love each other” convince children to go to bed in real life?
– Where did all the purple animals come from?
– How did no one kill Kuzco before now?  He’s so annoying.

– What were Kuzco’s parents like?
– Where did Kuzco get that mouthwash from?
– Why do all these people have mullets?  This movie is not set in the 1980s, these people are not Canadian, this movie is not about hockey.  What’s with the mullets?
– Why is Pacha wearing a skirt?
– If Yzma’s signature color is purple, why did she wear a pink dress to Kuzco’s fake funeral?
– How old IS Yzma?
– Demon alpaca?

JCS: Why is this one conversation like an awkward morning-after discussion?  Like, walk-of-shame awkward?
JCS: How does Pacha know anything about blood-sugar levels?

Why are there Jews in the Incan empire?
Are there really sombreros in the Incan empire?

JCS: I don’t understand why he left the blanket.

Why does Kronk have a tent that only covers his knees?
Why are his pajamas more modest than his uniform?
Why does his teddy bear not have pajamas?
Is Yzma half-mosquito?
Is Yzma a ninja?
First of all, how did the children move so fast, and second of all, why do they need to Zamboni their floors in the middle of the jungle?
Why is there a mariachi band?
Why do the alligators barf?
Why doesn’t Kronk just kill her?
What does she have against spinach puffs?

JCS:  Why are all her potions and poisons pink?

How’s the octopus supposed to do anything?  Like, octopi are not supposed to be able to function on dry land.

How does this guy keep getting thrown out of windows?

Why does Kuzco wear dinner plates as earrings?
Where did they get the spinach for spinach puffs?
Why do these men not have hair on their chests?
Is it really that important to know squirrel?