Saturday, January 31, 2009

If That's Movin' Up, Then I'm Movin' Out

Text message from Kristin Faulkner, Jan. 30, 04:42 pm: Omfg. I think alissa is leaving. For good.

Many roommates in college have been struggling with their other roommates, I've noticed. Some have rude ones, some have ones that have sex while you're still in the room, some have ones that were their friend before they freak out one day and physically shove them into a wall...

So I thought this post would be appropriate.

To anyone thinking of moving out, please take the time and let your rage settle. Move on from your situation and simply let things go. This is not to say that you can't call them bitches later, but this is to say that you should do as Ron Burgundy says. You stay classy.

Otherwise, you'll seem way more childish than you ever had before, like this beautiful display of maturity. It's only slightly above a Post-It note break-up on the scale of passive aggression. To Alissa, I genuinely hope you enjoy your new housing situation and I wish you all the best. Have a great life!

(Like she even reads this blog)

To my girls Kristin and Amanda, congratulations on making your triple a double. Your room is officially where the party's at, now that there is no one to offend. Unfortunately, this means that the Ali-Alissa talk will never happen.

But seriously, kids, if you're going to move out, could you just do it quietly and without fanfare? It's better for everyone that way. I mean, if you're more dramatic about the whole thing it makes for a good laugh for your old roommates (and their friends via Facebook, IM, and text - so for that, I do thank Alissa for her more overt exit from T4).

It doesn't accomplish anything for you to be bitchy. Just keep those feelings inside as you pack up your Beatles poster, island-print sheets, and questionably-doused pillowcase (that's still fucking funny).

So for everyone with roommate issues, I would like to just show everyone it's not an isolated incident.

I mean, I don't have any issues, I live with one of my best friends, but if your room life sucks, you're not alone.

Friday, January 30, 2009

My RA is a Faceless Bro

I want Kwesi back.

This isn't to say that I completely hate his replacement. I'm sure the new the new RA Bob* is a really nice guy. He's a frosh business major, and when I first saw him, I won't lie, I thought he was hot. As a first impression, he seemed pretty cool.

*Not his real name.

Problem is, I haven't really seen him since the introduction. Well, I have and I haven't.
The next time I saw him after the floor meeting, I didn't recognize him. He didn't look different, so physical change isn't a factor. It's just that he looks like such a bro.

According to this informative NewsLine investigative report, a bro is "an 18-to-24-year-old male who wears Birkenstock sandals, watches Family Guy, plays Ultimate Frisbee, and wears an upside-down visor or a baseball cap with a pre-frayed brim."

He's usually pretty very clean cut and cute, in a generic-looking frat boy kind of way.

Problem is, he's so generic that you can't pick him out of a line-up. For real. If RA Bob tipped over Rogan's on a Saturday night and I was asked to identify him, he would go free (and Top Shelf would be out of cheap liquor). The kid was walking up the stairs behind me and said nothing. I didn't even know he was the RA until it hit me about five minutes later.

Kwesi, on the other hand, is a pretty recognizeable individual. And not just because he's black. It's because he actually made the effort to put himself out there and say hi, or creep on us shamelessly at the dining halls, rather than communicating with the floor almost completely with Post-it notes.

So to RA Bob, I have some advice: come talk to us! Really, we're a pretty friendly and open floor (sometimes too friendly and open). We don't bite (unless you want us to, maybe you're into that).

And please, dye your hair purple or something so that I recognize you.

The Joys and Pains of Internet Movie Viewing

As you've noticed, I've been on an ongoing mission to watch all of the Best Picture nominees. So far, I've seen three: The Reader (Fabulous, with the added addtion of being free), Milk (Fantastic, I had to pay for that one), and Slumdog Millionaire (My favorite to win, I would pay to see it again and probably will). I'm well on my way to seeing a fourth with Frost/Nixon.

Problem is, I have no motivation to actually watch it.

As the lovely Anne Gould Northgraves would say, I'm in a quandary. I've had Frost/Nixon sitting on my Firefox toolbar for the past few days now, thanks to some time surfing Google and the video servers that so graciously (and illegally) provide it. So really, cost isn't an object - I can sit in my jammy jams and watch Michael Sheen give Frang Lengella a journalistic bitch slap at my convenience.

Problem is, I have absolutely no motivation to watch it. I do want to see if it's worth all the hype, and to see how much Langella will look like Tricky Dick. But my motivation to truly want to see the film has waned as the amount of press about other nominees has waxed.

At this point, it's a foregone conclusion that either The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (which I will watch as soon as my RA lends it to us - more on him later) or Slumdog Millionaire will win Best Picture. And it's a foregone conclusion in my mind that I'm rooting for the latter.

Any thoughts on who the winner should be? Or any reasons why I should actually watch Frost/Nixon?

PETA: Please Excuse This Advertisement

So we can't see Janet Jackson with a pastie covering her boob, but this was almost fair game?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Can You Feel The Love?

I can't.

From the creative geniuses that brought us Flavor of Love, Rock of Love, I Love New York, I Love Money, Flavor of Love Charm School, Rock of Love Charm School and Rock of Love Bus comes For the Love of Ray J - a show about another aspiring R&B artist trying to find love in a group full of willing skanks.

Like many "celebrities" these days, Ray J has found fame from two main sources: by association association. He's little brother to 90s R&B phenom Brandy "Moesha" Norwood (I know! Flashback!), and formerly dated and made a sex tape with fellow "celebrity" Kim Kardashian (who is also famous by association to Paris Hilton and having a sizeable ass) of the ever-popular E! network show, Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Personally, I hope for more ridiculously irrelevant and sexual nicknames for the "ladies," pointless challenges, and a reunion special hosted by Sharon Osbourne. Now I realize that Osbourne is in charge of the Rock of Love Charm School, but she's just kind of badass and guilt-trips these girls into shaping up.

Or it ends in her throwing drinks at the bitches. Which is cool.

Alias Just got Damaged

The more I watch FX's fabulous legal thriller Damages, the more I realize this:

1) Glenn Close is a total bunny boiler.
2) The creators of this show have clearly been watching their Alias DVDs and took notes.

In case you haven't been watching Damages, the basic outline is this. Ellen Parsons (Rose Byrne) starts working at Hewes and Associates law firm straight out of law school. She's pretty, naive, happily engaged. Her boss is Patty Hewes (Glenn Close), and she's...tempestuous? ["Heinous bitch is the term used most often."] They work together first on the Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson) case, where this rich dirtbag swindled millions out of pension from his workers. A ton of shit goes down, and Ellen's life essentially falls apart because of Patty's possessiveness and the work load of the case - she loses her friends, her fiancee gets killed, and her morals are pretty much destroyed. At the end of season 1 with nowhere really to turn, she goes back to work for Patty - unbeknownst to Patty, Ellen is also working for the FBI to bring her down.

In case you haven't been watching Alias, here's the basic rundown (of the early seasons, at least, the last 3 aren't important). Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) starts working at SD-6 straight out of college as she attends grad school. She's pretty, naive, happily engaged. Her boss is Arvin Sloane (Ron Rifkin), who has a thing for a guy named Rambaldi. They work together on "protecting America's freedom." A ton of shit goes down, and Sydney's life essentially falls apart because of Sloane's level of commitment and the work load of all her travels - she keeps her friends (but they're pissed), her fiancee gets killed, and...actually, she still has some morals. At the end of the first episode, Sydney goes back to work for Sloane - unbeknownst to Sloane, Sydney is also working for the CIA to bring him down.

That's kind of vague, so let's get a little more specific.

1) They both are hired because they have some connection to the organization's longterm goals. Ellen was friends with a "key witness" Katie, and Sydney was hired because of her relations to Rambaldi.
2) They both hate their bosses, who view them as surrogate daughters for the ones they lost. Patty's daughter Julia was stillborn, so she substitutes Ellen in her mind as a daughter. Sloane's daughter Jacqueline was stillborn, so she substitutes Sydney in his mind as a daughter (and because he had an affair with her mom, so it's totally a legit possibility at the time).
3) They both have friends that get tied up with their jobs, are somehow involved with heroin, and are completely discredited in their respective fields. For Ellen, that friend is Katie, whose life and credibility are destroyed because of her involvement with the Frobisher case and that douche Greg (and cocaine. Can't forget the cocaine). For Sydney, that friend is Will, whose life and journalistic credibility are destroyed because of his investigation of SD-6 and Danny's murder (and a shot of herion from Jack, albeit unwilling).
4) Hewes and Sloane both have righthand men that end up turning on them. For Hewes, it's Tommy Shayes - a devoted father of a little girl who despises Hewes's methods and ends up helping Ellen. For Sloane, it's Jack Bristow - a devoted (distant) father of a little girl who despises Sloane's methods and ends up helping Sydney (actually, Sydney helps him, but whatever).
5) Both Sydney and Ellen get romantically involved with a man out for vengence against a common enemy because of a death of a loved one. For Ellen, it's Gus from therapy (whose finacee was killed by Frobisher). For Sydney, it's Vaughn (whose dad was killed by Sydney's mom, which...awkward).

This is where it gets hairy. Ellen had a doctor fiancee named David that hated her job and ended up killed in the bathtub of Ellen's apartment - a killing which Hewes planned. Sydney had a doctor fiancee named Danny that hated her job and ended up killed in the bathtub of Sydney's apartment - a killing which Sloane planned.

I realize that this is just the musing of a very observant fan. But seriously. Damages? Stop stealing pages from J.J. Abrams's playbook and make up your own ridiculous storyline.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lena Olin: The Closure

So I've noticed a trend in a few of the movies and television shows I've watched: Lena Olin seems to be one of those actresses that when she's in something, her character seems to bring about some sense of closure (and/or plot-twist) to the main character. Go with me on this one. And just a warning now, before I get compliants:

This post has spoilers about Alias, Awake, Chocolat, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and The Reader.

So on Alias, Olin plays Irina Derevko - the KGB spy-turned-terrorist mother of main character Sydney Bristow. She came to the US and married poor Victor Garber (ahem, JACK BRISTOW) to gain information from the CIA. That devious tramp. For the whole first season, she's thought to be dead. Until the plot twist that she's alive at the end of season 1. After drawing Sydney back in with maternal love - and after fooling Jack again - she bails from prison in another plot twist and joins Sloane to rule the world (insert evil laugh here). After throwing herself off a building with a bungee cord and a harpoon (seriously, watch this episode, she's a total badass), she disappears for about 2 seasons until the end of season 4. She comes back after a plot twist that she was again not dead (despite watching Jack shoot her in the face) and helps save some random town in Russia from total destruction. She again disappears for a season and shows up in the series finale at the end of season 5 to show that she's really an evil bitch, she's fully ready to blow up London and Washington D.C., and that she doesn't care if Sloane dies (really, who does?) because she has all the Rambaldi she really needs. She and Sydney fight, and she ends up falling through a glass ceiling and dying - for real this time, unless there's a movie in the works. This death gives Sydney closure that she's been seeking for 5 years, and she (semi) leaves the spy business with hot hubby Vaughn and her baby.

In Awake, Olin plays Lillith Beresford, mother and business partner of Clay Beresford (played by a typically horrible but reliably sexy Hayden Christiansen). Clay has a heart defect and needs a transplant. Clay just got married to girlfriend Sam Lockwood (played by a typically horrible but reliably sexy Jessica Alba). When Clay gets word that a heart is ready for him, and that his buddy/doctor Jack Harper will operate on him, Lillith (nice name, huh? It comes back later) begs and pleads with Clay to have the operation done at a more prestigious hospital with her friend/prestigious surgeon at the helm. Since Clay is a stupid douche, he goes with Jack to operate on him. As the title suggests, he wakes up during the surgery due to some issue with the
anaesthesia and hears the entire plot by the surgical team and by new wifey Sam to kill him off and steal his riches (which now would go to Sam). There are some odd hallucinations, and some awkward non-bonding between Sam and Lillith. But at the very end of the movie, when the problem with the heart goes - and Lillith's guilt over killing her abusive husband back in the day, combined with her love for momma's boy Clay - the plot twists and Lillith overdoses and leaves her own heart for Clay to keep on living. In a final hallucination at the end, she smiles, tells Clay everything about her life with his dad and how she wanted him to live on, and blows out the match on her life, leaving him to wake up with a sense of closure about his "marriage," about his family life, and his life in general.

In Chocolat, Olin plays an unusual role for her: the weak housewife. She plays Josephine, submissive housewife to abusive Serg, in the small French town that Julliete Binoche's Vianne invades. She's too scared to leave until encouraged by Vianne to do so and create her own life. She starts to work at the chocolatier with Vianne and her life starts to improve. Her husband tries to clean up his act by going to Sunday School with 7-year-olds and buying her flowers, but she turns him down flat and that makes him angry enough to bust into the store at midnight and try to kill her and Vianne (because no one likes the gypsy lady that doesn't observe Lent). He fails, they continue living - although they come close to dying on a fire-ridden boat while Vianne and Johnny Depp have hot hot sex in a tent-raft. At the end when Vianne and her daughter Anouk leave, Vianne hands the store over to Josephine to bring herself closure with the town and to move on to the next.

In The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Olin plays Czech bohemian Sabina, the bowler-hatted artist lover to Daniel Day-Lewis's womanizing doctor Tomas. Everything is going great until Tomas goes to another town to treat someone and meets Tereza, the shy and monogamous Julliete Binoche (again, sense the trend?). They get married, Tomas continues to cheat with Sabina and others (as Sabina gets involved with train-lover Franz, played by Derek De Lint), and a lot goes down during Prague Spring (trust me, Wikipedia can explain this far better than I can). This whole cheating thing wouldn't be so uncomfortable if Sabina and Tereza weren't sort of friends. There are some awkward meetings between Sabina and Tereza, including a rather revealing photo session (if you are offended by nudity and/or sex, dont' see this movie. Trust me on this), and some awkward meetings between Franz and Sabina - Franz tells Sabina he loves her and not her bowler hat, and Sabina feels that love is overrated, so she bails. After some inter-country moving between Czechoslovakia and other nations, the group splits up for good and Tomas stays with Tereza, leaving Sabina to move to the United States with her art. It is through her that the story finds closure when she (and the audience) find out that Tomas and Tereza - her only real friends - both die in a car accident.

In The Reader, Olin plays not one, but TWO roles (one is seen in the picture above). They're small, but important characters. The basic outline of the story is this: Michael Berg (Ralph Fiennes/David Kross for the younger Michael) barfs outside a building and meets Hanna Schmitz (Kate Winslet), a much older woman that he starts sleeping with. Again, Juliette Binoche connection: she was considered to play this part, which would have made this the third movie she and Olin had co-starred in. And again, if you don't like movies with a lot of nudity or sex, don't see this - Kate Winslet's boobs might as well get a seperate credit, they're in the movie so much. As his family worries about him and his friends wonder why he leaves swimming so early in his Speedo, he continues the love affair over a summer after WWII. Their foreplay is him reading to her, whatever book he happens to be studying. After some trips to the country for bike riding and beer, Hanna gets reassigned and leaves without telling Michael goodbye. Years later, when Michael is in law school, he observes the Nuremberg trials - the trial that Hanna happens to be in because she was a Nazi guard at Auschwitz. She and 6 other women are on trial for picking the women that would be killed. Through the testimonies of Ilana Mather (Lena Olin, for the first time) and her daughter Rose Mather, who wrote a book about her time there, it's revealed that Hanna made her prisoners read to her. Michael puts together from past experiences with Hanna that she is illiterate and therefore incapable for keeping the camp records she has been jailed for keeping. She's jailed for life, and he records books for her. She learns to read, but right before she gets out jail, she kills herself. In a plot twist, she leaves money in a tea tin for a now older Michael to pass on to the now grown Rose Mather (played by...Lena Olin) to put towards a literacy foundation. She turns down the money, but keeps the tea tin, because hers was taken in the camp. With a few wistful looks after their meeting as he leaves, she provides the closure for Michael about his affair with Hanna, and he takes his daughter to Hanna's grave to tell her the whole story.

She also brings about the plot twist and closure of Hollywood Homicide, but that's a shittier movie than Awake was, so I'm not discussing it.

The European Dream, The Ithacan Nightmare

So apparently I ordered the same book twice?

I get a package notification from the mailroom and get excited that an envenlope is here for me. I figured it was from Mom with something random inside, so I hopped skipped and jumped down to the mailroom, ripped open the package and found...

...a book. A book that I already had. Apparently, I ordered two.

What the UGG?

If you know me at all personally, you know my stance on UGG boots - and, in addition, the fake UGG boots, hereafter known as FUGGs.

So you know I'm completely biased when I write this post, in that I think that UGG is short for UGGly. They're not waterproof, and they're not that cute (unless my now 17 year old sister wears them - Hi, Corinne!). Resident Australian Stephanie told me last year that they were meant to be worn by surfers that wanted to warm up after getting out of the cold cold Pacific Ocean.

So I generally make fun of the haggers (girls who wear UGG boots, leggings as pants, and North Face fleeces. Side ponytail and cell phones are add-on features to this growing breed) for wearing them, not because I'm jealous, but because of the Crocs factor: no matter how comfortable they are, they still look pretty fugly.

But today while doing laundry at about 10 AM, I found an even rarer bird: The ever-elusive MALE hagger.

He wears gym shorts, a sweaty t-shirt, a winter jacket, and a baseball cap cocked slightly askew. He looks like your average college "bro," but instead of sneakers or Adidas sandals with black socks...he wears girly UGG boots.

My day is complete.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Well, 3 out of 5 Ain't Bad.

As some may know, I've made it something of a goal of mine to see as many Oscar-recognized movies this year as I can get to and pay for (...or not). It's not because I'm a pretentious film buff, really. The roots of this mission are a little bit deeper than that.

For all who don't know my living situation, it's this: I live on a floor of film buffs. The majority of the people I live with (including my roommate) are cinema and photography majors - emphasis on the cinema part. And every year, I watch the Oscars and wonder: Do these movies really deserve the awards they win?

Most of the movies fall into a gray area where some people know the movies - usually those living in a city lucky enough to get all the limited release films that always get nominated - and where most people (average popcorn movie-goers like me) don't. So when the lists for the awards shows made it out this year - first the Golden Globes, then the SAGs and Critics' Choice, and then finally the Oscars - I made it a mission to see if these films were actually worth the praise they receive.

I figured I'd go category-by-category in the next few days to say who I think WILL win and who may DESERVE to win.

This Newfangled "Class Blogging"

I have to admit, I've never really blogged about anything important before (I know, vhat?!).

So when our Politics of Security in East Asia professor told us that we were required to post to a master blog following each reading as an assignment was somewhat intimidating.

I like to blog, don't get me wrong. Any excuse to talk to a ton of people at once is a good one in my book - especially if it involves a subject I'm passionate about (not always deep issues or important topics, but sometimes). But blogging, in my eyes, has always been more of a hobby than something that should be graded. It's a good way to keep everything together, and to introduce a new information-sharing medium. But the whole reason why I blog in the first place is so that I can rant and rave about stupid things that happened to me, or TV or movies that I liked. I've never had to blog about security issues and what I think Japan should do in the event of a nuclear war, you know?

(Although if asked, I would think that Japan would know what to do now in the event of being bombed. I don't mean that to be rude, I mean that as a fact.They got hit twice 60 years ago and certainly don't need some spoiled college kid telling them to drop the sushi and run like hell)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

SAG Awards: So Amazingly Good

There's something about the SAG Awards that just puts the warm fuzzies in me that the Golden Globes, Oscars, and Emmys don't. Maybe it's the fact that the people voting are the people acting, rather than some unseen Foreign Press or Academy. Or maybe it's the idea of people and movies and shows that deserve to win...actually winning.

I do admit, the "My name is _____, and I'm an actor" speech is cheesy. And it could be cut most of the time. Except for when Victor Garber gets adorably nostalgic with his speech, or when Will Arnett says "I'm Will Arnett, and I'm an alcoholi--actor."

So for the winners...


Cast in a Motion Picture: Slumdog Millionaire

Male Actor in a Leading Role: Sean Penn, Milk

Female Actor in a Leading Role: Meryl Streep, Doubt

Male Actor in a Supporting Role: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight

Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Kate Winslet, The Reader

Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture: The Dark Knight


Ensemble in a Drama Series: Mad Men

Ensemble in a Comedy Series: 30 Rock

Male Actor in a Drama Series: Hugh Laurie, House

Female Actor in a Drama Series: Sally Field, Brothers & Sisters

Male Actor in a Comedy Series: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock

Female Actor in a Comedy Series: Tina Fey, 30 Rock

Male Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Paul Giamatti, John Adams

Female Actor in a Television Movie or Miniseries: Laura Linney, John Adams

Stunt Ensemble in a Television Series: Heroes

I pretty much agree with all of these winners, and I actually screamed when Slumdog Millionaire, Hugh Laurie, and Meryl Streep won awards. Mainly because, I really loved all three but figured they had no chance of winning their awards against their more critically acclaimed competition. So cheers to everyone who won.

And Hugh Laurie, if you're reading this, sorry about losing $100 betting on James Spader AGAINST YOURSELF.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Welcome to Hell

Militant Vegans, Parents who bring squalling brats to R-rated movies
Circle I Limbo

Republicans, Hipsters
Circle II Whirling in a Dark & Stormy Wind

Circle III Mud, Rain, Cold, Hail & Snow

Circle IV Rolling Weights

Qusay Hussein
Circle V Stuck in Mud, Mangled

River Styx

General asshats
Circle VI Buried for Eternity

River Phlegyas

Saddam Hussein, George Bush
Circle VII Burning Sands

Osama bin Laden
Circle IIX Immersed in Excrement

Uday Hussein
Circle IX Frozen in Ice

Design your own hell

Friday, January 23, 2009

She's Back!...To Rip on ER

Can I poll the tens of loyal readers to see who actually watches ER here?

I've been watching a lot of entertainment television lately (E!News, which really needs to lay off the Twilight and Miley coverage) and they've been talking up ER and its impending series finale. Keep in mind that this show has been on 12 seasons now, and has hosted the likes of vintage-hot John "Uncle Jesse" Stamos, Shane "That Kid from Once and Again" West and George "I'm Not Your Pal, Friend" Clooney.
After running for 12 years, the show would come second to "The Simpsons" to be one of the longest primetime television shows in history.

But seriously, who watches this show?

There are four major network medical shows on television right now: ER (NBC), House (FOX), Grey's Anatomy (ABC), and Scrubs (ABC). One features a relationship between a resident and her dead fiancee, one is on its last season because even its main star and producer acknowledges it's not great anymore, one has talented and funny actors with interesting storylines, and one is ER.

So I want to hear back: What medical dramedy do you watch? And if you were near death, which hospital would you want to be admitted to?