Thursday, December 27, 2012

Les Miserables- Dying Alone, Thanks

First of all, Merry Belated Christmas to all of you non-Jews!

Just so all you guys know, the rumors are true: My family spent the holiday eating Chinese food and going to the movies. We've been doing this every year, and lately, because the film industry has been so adept at churning out high-quality pictures, it's always been a struggle to choose what to see.

Not this year. I'd literally been counting down the seconds until December 25th ever since it became the assigned release date of Les Miserables. There are no words to describe the levels of anticipation that have been building in my brain for this movie (unless you use the word "psychotic," perhaps). When I was a kid, I saw the Broadway stage production literally 12 times, a few with the original cast. I own the OG soundtrack on iTunes and the 25th Anniversary Special on DVD. I still know all the lyrics to every single song, and in which order they appear in the show. Nothing brings out my inner (and outer) Jazz Hands! more than Les Miz, except maybe Tommy, although that's more a celebration of The Who than anything else.

Christmas Day arrived, and I texted my brother to tell him that my dad and I were going to see the movie (I hadn't yet checked with my dad, BTW; I just assumed that the world revolved around my plans) and inquired as to whether or not he would like to join us. He eloquently responded with "No. Gay."

My dad and I tried three separate showings before we found one that wasn't sold out. It's good to know that the film was so insanely popular because between that and The Walking Dead, I'm going to have enough metaphors for my sex life until 2014.

Dad and I bought our tickets and I almost danced into the theater. God, no wonder I'm single. No one ever hears my people sing, if you get what I'm sayin. And you guys always get what I'm sayin.

I'm here all week! Alone.
As a film in general, it wasn't perfect. I'm not totally biased, and I did have a few issues:

1) Amanda Seyfried. Her acting, like the rest of the cast, was excellent, but she can't really sing. It kind of took me out of the movie.

B) The track they added in to get that Best Original Song Oscar was stupid. It sounded very Disney and didn't fit in with the rest of the music at all.

DEER CHIHUAHUA) Eponine had very well-manicured nails for a poor 19th-century French girl. I guess hair and makeup missed that one.

That being said-

This was one of the best movies I've ever seen. Putting away my inner theatre geek and squealing fangirl, everything about it was phenomenal. Set design, costumes, hair and makeup, everything. I'd heard negative reviews about Russell Crowe, so I was apprehensive about him coming in. Did he have amazing vocal capabilities? No. However, the way he played the role of Javert and handled the musical style really let him nail the character. He should stick to playing dicks; it's what he does best.

I'd also heard some backlash regarding Eddie Redmayne, who plays Marius. Those people are obviously high, because he was fucking fantastic and deserves a career out of this. Hugh Jackman is incredible too, and while he probably won't win the Oscar (Daniel Day-Lewis made a movie this year, so universal law dictates that he must win all the awards), he should at least get a nomination. Every time he did something awesome, which was frequently, I wanted to yell out, "Fuck yeah! Wolverine!" He's a classically trained Broadway actor, and he really shows it here. 

I was very, very satisfied with the casting of Eponine. "On My Own" is arguably the most popular and well-known song in the show, having also become the most annoying because every girl on the planet has sung this at least once in the shower without even knowing where it originated. This role was the most followed on the Internet, with everyone from Lea Michele from Glee to Taylor Swift (ugh, NO) said to be auditioning for the part. Whoever they chose would have a HUGE surge in their career, so I was thrilled when they went with Samantha Barks, a trained stage actor and singer who played the role in the London production and the 25th Anniversary concert. She more than holds her own against A-list film actors.

And then, of course, there's Anne Hathaway. They should have had a guy walk up to her during the film, into the screen, holding an Oscar, and say, "here you go, Miss Hathaway." Everyone else they nominate in that category is pretty much just because they have to write other names in. If you didn't feel at least something when she busted out "I Dreamed a Dream," then you are clinically dead.

Also this dude is in the movie. 

As soon as I got home, I immediately got on Facebook chat with Melbs from A Quick Succession of Busy Nothings to squee about it. I sent her that link and we agreed: "Oh. HELLO." Gina from This is Not Your Blog let me know that she would not have been opposed to the costume department taking some very modern liberties. "What? It was a tough battle and their shirts blew off." Les Miserables: The Michael Bay version.

What makes the direction of Les Miserables especially memorable is that Tom Hooper, a former Oscar winner for The King's Speech, decided to have his actors sing their numbers live on camera. That seems incredibly arduous and challenging, even to the stage actors he cast as leads and cameos. I mean, shit, I don't even like posing for my friends' Instagram.

BTW, as soon as I saw Tom Hooper's name attached, I had a minor brain fart and thought, "Tobe Hooper? Like, Texas Chain Saw Tobe Hooper?" How great would it be if instead of dying from consumption or at the barricades, all the characters in Les Miz got hacked to pieces by Leatherface? I would totally watch that.

Gangnam Style
The entire time we were in the theater you could have heard a pin drop in the audience. No one talked, texted, nothing. You could hear people sniffing and sobbing. Dad got a little choked up. On my own end I counted about seven ugly cries, and I knew exactly what was coming.

Also, I kept poking Dad in the arm while I played Spot the Cameos and told him random facts about the show. ("It's the original Jean Valjean!" "She was Eponine in 1987!") There were a bunch of times where I caught myself singing along, out loud. I'm surprised there weren't more of them, considering my dad informed me later that I was lip-synching all the lyrics throughout the entire film. At the end of the movie a few people clapped but I was the only one who gave it a standing ovation like a loser. 

Party of One
As far as adaptations go, except for a few minor changes that have nothing to do with the outcome of the story, this is probably the most faithful rendition of any medium I've ever seen on film. I was praying that this wouldn't turn out like the Rent movie, which was horrible, but apparently I had nothing to worry about.

I will definitely see this at least two more times. I'm hoping I can find a Rocky Horror-style sing along, with props. I'm going to make my own musket and barricade so I can avoid interaction with all other humans.

FYI, here is a hilarious review of Les Miserables with even more musical stylings. If you didn't feel old before, I guarantee you will after this:

A Les Miserables Review In The Form Of A SmashMouth Song

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The More You Know

It's probably not news to anyone that at the time of this post, 26 people were murdered in a Newtown, Connecticut grade school yesterday morning. 20 of those people were little kids. One was a teacher trying to protect her students from the gunman.

The shooter, who I will not glorify any further by naming here, had forced his way into the school. He was a 20 year old kid. It was also reported that he killed his mother and, when he was satisfied with his handiwork, himself. His older brother had to disable his Facebook page when he was erroneously identified as the suspect.

News reports say that the gunman suffered from a personality disorder, which calls into question exactly how the fuck this 20-year-old deranged fucking lunatic was able to get his hands on a loaded murder weapon in the first place. There are extensive background checks for minimum wage jobs at McDonald's, yet this douchebag manages to score an assault rifle? I can't be the only one that sees the epic fail in this.

I found out about the events that occurred late yesterday morning when I logged onto Facebook. I was all set to post about how stoked I was to go see The Hobbit, but I was immediately flooded with status updates about Sandy Hook. Some of my friends admittedly went a little overboard- yes, it was a tragedy; yes, it was sick and senseless and disturbing and horrible; yes, it hit close to home for myself, my family and a lot of my friends (I went to high school about 20 minutes away from Newtown)- but posting news updates and photos and angry rants every five minutes is not going to make anything go away, and will only feed into what this nutjob would have wanted.

(I'm also looking at you, news anchors and media shitstorm. Interviewing parents and even worse, terrified and sobbing children, is probably the most disgusting ploy for ratings I can even imagine. No. Go home.)

One of the most awful parts of this is probably that while this asshole will inevitably be rewarded with a Movie of the Week/feature film/countless magazine covers, in a few weeks no one will remember the names of any of the victims, including the teachers that died shielding their students from bullets.

Some have said that it's too bad that the killer turned the gun on himself, since now none of the victims' families will have the chance to take him out themselves. I'm looking at it this way: I hope the worst is over, and as strange as this sounds, we as a country can look at this in a positive way. Call your friends and family and tell them you love them. Spend time with them if they're located in your vicinity. Do unexpected nice things for random strangers.

Yesterday, inspired by these events, I gave two dollars to a homeless guy and he acted like it was a check for a million bucks. Then, on the way to the movies, I stopped at a pharmacy to get snacks, and paid for the woman behind me since she only had two items in her hand. I didn't even tell her; just let the cashier know that the "next girl was taken care of" and left. I didn't say anything to my brother, either. Was it a huge gesture? No. Her total was like five dollars. However, I felt that with my actions I had just said a massive "fuck you" to a guy that had just murdered a bunch of little kids.

Also, maybe this will help improve the US as a whole, and force a tighter rein on gun control and a better healthcare system which recognizes mental disabilities. I'm not saying this could have been prevented with Healthcare- clearly this dude was severely unhinged- but at least steps could have been taken and at least he could have seen a shrink or something. Apparently there were "warning signs," although emailing people and saying "yo, I'm thinking of shooting up an elementary school tomorrow; don't tell anyone" probably doesn't count as a harbinger so much as a massive fucking RED FLAG. I'm not placing immediate blame on anyone but him; however, maybe if someone had paid closer attention to his distress calls this would never have occurred.

Basically what we have to do right now is pull through this together. Attempt to stay positive and not dwell on the past. Try to return to your normal lives. Eat, sleep, watch TV, go see The Hobbit. Let out your frustrations in any way you can, if you so choose- I've obviously done this in my writing, like so many of us (two excellent examples I've found in the blogosphere of people affected by this tragedy are Christopher from Mixed Drinks & Mixed Feelings and Rainey from A Rainey Day with a Chance of Sunshine- especially poignant because Sandy Hook was her elementary school). Be thankful for what and who you have with you right now, because honestly, they may not be there when you come home tonight.

And to make us feel (marginally) better, here is a basket of tiny puppies.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Minority Report

I know I'm late on my Dead Space analysis. My New York move finally came through, so I'm just now settling in. I'll get to it sometime before Season 3.2. Or, before they kill off another minority.

So, yeah, about that: I'm finally a New Yorker again. I'm crashing at my brothers' place in Brooklyn until I figure out exactly where it is I'm going with my life, but hey: at least I'm here. I hadn't even left the terminal at LAX before I updated my Current City on Facebook, to which Penny Lane responded,

I love how you wasted no time changing your city to New York, NY.

Fuckin' A, I did. Peace out, LA.

I did, in fact, manage to find some incredible girlfriends there, which in Los Angeles is more arduous a task than locating a pair of real jugs, and of course all of this happened after I had already booked my flight because the Irony Fairy is real. My last night in LA was spent at my friend's acoustic singer-songwriter performance, where I was serenaded and may or may not have actually cried a little (guess which one). All my girls came out to see me off and Kitty knitted me a scarf, which I then slept in because we're practically lesbians. Then we all drank some wine and cried a lot, and I got on the plane.

PS- everyone leave comments about how amazing the scarf is, because I want Kitty to go into business with this. Maybe if enough people love it she'll actually listen to me.

The plane ride was relatively uneventful- no Quadrant of Crying Babies (which sounds like it could be the next title in the Song of Ice and Fire series), although there was an old dude snoring behind me for a good three hours. There was an also an unbelievably magnificent guy two rows in front of me- he looked like Baby Goose if he hadn't slept or showered in a week. I wanted to kidnap him and make him read me the dictionary all day. You know, after the dirty stuff. He was no question my future second husband, so of course all I did was stare at the back of his head and leave without saying anything. Dying alone, 100%.

My first weekend in New York has been spent with my family, due to the fact that last night began Chanukkah in the Nugs house. I did have a gift for my brothers, and while they were certainly very appreciative, they felt no Jewish guilt whatsoever in the fact that they got me (and the rest of my family) absolutely jack shit. Whatever, yo. We're all poor. I also sent Ginny's cats a Christmas gift, and apparently, it made them so high that they turned on each other and one kicked the other in the face. You can get a glimpse of all the carnage here. 'Merica.

He's also a little molester. It's true. He grabbed my boob once in my sleep.
Of course, to acknowledge Chanukkah, a major Jewish holiday, I visited the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center because that's an awesome way to ignore my cultural heritage. Holiday season in New York, while freezing my proverbial balls off, is the optimum time to visit the City because it's one of the things that we're famous for- in addition to the Tree, we have the Skating Rink, the Rockettes, the store windows, Macy's- I won't even go on because I've already posted about this, so you can read all about it here. Times Square, on the other hand, doesn't count because no genuine New Yorker gives a fuck about Times Square.

I did, however, receive a couple of gifts to commemorate the holiday. I've been wearing out the aforementioned scarf from Kitty, and I've been really tempted to tell people I made it myself because I've gotten a ton of compliments on it and I have no real discernable talents of my own.

Also, almost as cool, I've been granted the Liebster Award from Christopher at Mixed Drinks & Mixed Feelings! It's been awhile since I've won an award for blogging, so this is pretty great. He also handed this out to my friends (and fellow New Yorkers) Penny Lane and Natalie Paige, so that makes it even better.

Basically, the Liebster Award is given to blogs you think deserve recognition- those with less than 200 followers. You then post 11 random things about yourself, answer 11 questions from the person who gave you the award, make up 11 questions of your own, and bestow the Liebster on 11 unlucky victims of your choosing. So here are my 11 facts:

The one thing about myself that I absolutely hate is my middle name. It totally doesn't fit the rest of my personality and I will never tell anyone what it is. So don't bother asking. Not even with tequila.

I was at the top of my class in first grade. The first time I got a B, I cried.

My first childhood crush was Lion-O from Thundercats. I was four.

I have never broken a bone or sprained anything. This is a total miracle because I'm always tripping over my own feet or falling all over myself.

I have one published piece of writing; it's a poem that's in an eighth-grade textbook.

I have never eaten Nutella. 

The first concert I ever saw was the Bangles. I was really young, probably around three.

My family's heritage is about 70% Russian, yet I've never been there and can't speak the language.

I have no tattoos and no piercings, due to the fact that I am terrified of needles.

I went blond once; for my junior prom. It was not a good look.

My mom makes the best mashed potatoes in the world. Ever. No arguments.


1) If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Oh god. This is like Sophie's Choice, only less depressing and horrible. I'll spare you all the analysis of every single superpower of every character in the DC and Marvel universes (univi?) and just go with Genius Billionaire Playgirl Philanthropist.
2) If you had to move away from where you live, where would you like to move?
Um, already done. See: entire post.
3) If you could see any five bands in concert (past or present), who would they be?
Can I pick Radiohead again? Yes, because it's my blog and whatever I say goes. Besides them (another four times): Led Zeppelin, The Black Keys, Beastie Boys and Daft Punk.
4) You get to spend a week with a celebrity of your choice; who is it?
I think we all know this one. If I mention his name one more time I'm going to come up on police reports.

5) You have unlimited funding for a day; what would you do?
First I would give a million dollars each to my friends and immediate family members. Then I would bank a few mil in savings and never touch it again. Then I would invest in a private island with my own litter of adorable puppies, and purchase a jet to take me there whenever I wanted. Then I would fire the owner of the Mets and the Jets because I can do a better job than both of those clowns. Then I would buy the NHL and get the season started again because SERIOUSLY???? COME ON!

Then I would buy Baby Goose. Because why the fuck not?
6) If you could have any restaurant located IN your house, what would it be?
Ray's Pizza. YES.
7) Favorite superhero?
Second childhood crush: Superman. Faster than a speeding bullet, if you get what I'm sayin.
8) What was your very first blog about?
This is my first blog. Winner and still champion.
9) Drink of choice?
Alcoholic? Anything with vodka. Non-alcoholic? Chocolate milk. I'm an eight-year-old.
10) Biggest pet peeve?
People with bad grammar, especially when they mess up their homophones. Ugh, HATE.

11) How many awards have you gotten (blogging or otherwise)?
This brings the Blogging Awards total to eight. I also won some community awards as a kid, but I can't remember them because that was like eleventy billion years ago.


Bobby@ BooyaBobby
(Different) Gina @ This Is Not Your Blog

11 OBLIGATORY QUESTIONS: (Meaning please validate me)

1) If you could only eat one kind of chocolate forever, which type of chocolate would it be?
2) If you could have one celebrity for your "Cheat List," who would it be?
3) What is the one habit you have that you really wish you could break? For example, I swear like a sailor on leave and I know how incredibly not attractive it is, but I really can't help it.
4) What is your favorite condiment? (CondimENT. You little perverts.)
5) What's your one vice? (Alcohol, cigarettes, New Jersey...)
6) Who is the family member you're the closest to?
7) Pick one: Pizza, bagels, hot dogs or pretzels?
8) What, in your opinion, is the most quotable movie of all time?
9) I like that favorite superpower question. Let's go with that.
10) Besides Brooklyn (obviously), what is your favorite type of accent?
11) Describe the perfect zombie apocalypse. And make it sexy.

I like that Blogging Awards are once again a Thing, especially because I've been given one. You don't have to do this, but if you don't, I'll be sad, and that does mean more puppy pictures, so it's really your call.

                        I am not above bribery, FYI.

Happy Chanukkah everyone!