Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Oh my little pony carnage

This is Lola's handiwork while we were at Smith's. I scooped it up quickly before Scout saw it, which is nice, she didn't need Halloween to come early this year. We'll see how long it takes her to wonder where Toula-Roola may have gone.

Her body and one leg remains missing. We won't worry about where they may turn up.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

What Emily's Been Watching, September Edition

Look at me! It's October 2nd and I am doing this post! I DID keep a list of this month's movies, only thing is.................I lost it. So- here is my attempt at remembering once again......

ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, SEASON ONE (2003-2004) [NR]: Comedy. I have been hearing good things about this show since it aired, yet it took me until now to finally say, "I need to rent this and see what all the fuss is about". As expected (by you and myself), I loved it. It's hilarious. I think this is actually the first thing I have really ever seen Jason Bateman in. I just checked IMDB and I forgot about Juno (didn't care too much for that movie), and I also saw Starsky and Hutch but don't remember him)- so never mind. But my point was that he is funny, he's cute, he's good- he should be in more stuff. Oh and it had David Cross in it of chicken pot chicken pot chicken pot pie fame! I am excited to see the other two seasons and wish there were more- but I guess there aren't because of people like me who ignored it while it was on air. BUT because of people like me that are enjoying it now on DVD, I believe they are going to make a movie with the original cast. Cool. That will be fun. Emily recommends this show to anyone really, it's about at the same "clean" level as the office and is a very clever comedy.

LAST STOP FOR PAUL (2008) [PG-13]: Comedy. This was a movie I just happen to walk by at the library, saw the cover was plastered with independent film festival awards, read the back and decided to give it a go. This was a film about two work friends, one of the dude's best friend dies (the other guy doesn't know him, it was a childhood friend). This dead friend had a trip planned to travel around the world and obviously, couldn't make it. The other guy was one of those guys that takes off on a whim to Mongolia for the weekend (or the like), so he talks the other guy into taking the trip for the dead dude and scattering his ashes along the way. So basically, the film is two guys going around the world and the adventures they come across (their ultimate goal is to go to the "Full Moon Festival" in Thailand). I watched this movie in two parts- while watching the first night I kept thinking "WHAT IS UP WITH THE ACTING? HOW did this guy get this gig?" Things felt really amateurish, etc. In the morning I googled the movie and found out some stuff about it. 1. The movie was directed and "written" by one of the friends (the better actor). 2. the movie had no script. 3. the movie was filmed with one little camera and had no crew. 4. the other friend was a producer with no acting experience (duh). 5. Practically everyone else in scenes they interact with are just locals that were stopped on the street and asked to be in the movie and fed lines.
This on hindsight made me forgive the movie of a few things. I thought that when I finished the movie the next day while folding laundry I would totally forgive it. This did not happen, somehow I got a tad more critical. But the thing is, I can't say I didn't enjoy it. I enjoyed the exotic locations and the plot was pretty interesting and kept my interest the whole time. I also have respect for that kind of film making. It was an interesting idea and he carried it through fairly well. After watching it however, I lost a little of my warm fuzziness for the movie when I watched the extras and found out that the directer/lead actor was a total douche. Mostly because in the out takes he kept getting REALLY pissed off when some hapless tourist would walk in front of the camera and ruin the scene. How are these people supposed to know that the little camera resting on the stairs is filming a major motion picture (if they indeed even saw the camera in the first place- most didn't)? I can see how that can get frustrating and he was no doubt under pressure, but to the average person watching from their couch, he seemed pretty douchy. Lastly, when reading the awards caked all over the cover, you figure out that they are mostly weird, never have I heard of film festivals, so that part wasn't as impressive as it seemed. That isn't really an issue here though. All in all I enjoyed myself and the acting far excelled "BTK", so did the (non existent) script and non existent cameraman for that matter. I also support independent movie makers with an interesting idea executed better then I could do it.

UNITED 93 (2006) [R]: Drama. First off, let me say that I have avoided this movie since it's release on purpose. The events surrounding Sept 11th 2001 still fill me with such an ickiness I do all I can to just avoid stirring up those terrible times again. While watching this movie I watched footage of the planes crashing into the towers and the falling of the towers for the first time in almost 9 years. Call me an avoider if you like (because it is pretty accurate).
I decided I was ready to face it this 9/11 and rented this movie (I mean it's not like I was there or anything- I was back, and safe in Utah in a little basement apartment when the planes hit). So I thought seeing this movie would be good therapy. I actually rented this from the library a year or so ago and it sat at my bedside for 4 weeks while I never got up the guts to watch it. Well, I did this time and it was crazy. What a story. What an event. This story nine years later is still SO unbelievable to me. Not really up to talking about the movie much so that's all I'm going to say. I confess to not having the guts to watch the extras with the real families and stories. Couldn't do it, maybe someday. Emily recommends this movie if you like an incredible story of bravery and sacrifice and fear (and if you aren't a whimp like me- if you are, perhaps you might give it a go anyways. Therapy.)

JANE EYRE (2006) [NR]: Romance. I have to give a GIANT thank you to my friends
Emily and Ami for bringing this movie to my attentions.

Confession: I watched it twice in it's entirety and about three more times in bits and pieces (my favorite bits and pieces of course which added up to about 3/4ths of the film) in a week's span. I had the long anticipated season 4 of Dexter in my possession and Bleak House I have wanted to see also for some time with me at the time, yet I shut it all out while I was in Jane Eyre land. Nothing else could interest me. The movie itself was so well done- it was beautifully stylized. The blend of gothic and softness was extremely well executed. They managed to make this film without playing up the gothic aspects too much. The shining jewel of this movie however was Toby Stephens. His portrayal of Rochester was epic in my eyes. I think Charlotte Bronte herself couldn't have been more pleased. I was so impressed by his performance and his mannerisms I had to watch over and over. He brought the essence of Rochester to life like I have rarely seen a character from a book before- I was fascinated and totally taken in. I could gush all day, but I suppose I will spare you all. The girl who played Jane did an excellent job too. I loved her despite the fact that she bore a stark resemblance to a childhood friend that was a little distracting at times. She was an excellent Jane and played off of Toby Stephens really well. Great on screen chemistry. By the way- what is it about those Brontes and their dark and brooding leading men? I don't know what it is, but it really appeals to me somehow. I have never seen a screen version of Wuthering Heights, but I LOVE that story too.
"Do you think I am a machine? That I can bear it? Do you think because I am poor, plain, obscure and little that I have no heart? That I have no soul?" Loved this movie!! Have started reading the book again (haven't since high school)...... Emily recommends this movie if you are of the "turns about the garden" and "fortnight" set. You know who you are (and you aren't Rob).

I had to use a fan trailer which I usually avoid watching at all costs (too dramatic), but the only other thing I could find was a spot done for BBC One that was even more dramatic then the fan ones. This was the best I could do.

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN (2008) [R]: Horror. I have heard a lot about this movie lately, since America is remaking it. Fans are pretty wary of this fact since they feel that it is already a perfect film. Why remake it? Is it just to make a English language version? (The film is Swedish.) I can see their point. The movie was very beautifully made. I am in full agreement that the American movie makers are going to ruin that aspect. It has a distinct foreign style to it that an American one just won't have, it will be a shame to lose it. Don't get me wrong- we make good movies, but different and in different ways. I will still see the new version, but it will not replace this one- it will have to be a very different film. It is a story about a 12 year old boy who is bullied by classmates and he meets a little girl who turns out to be a vampire. They are protective to each other and form a very sweet little union. It's gory at times, and there is one scene with attacking cats that was REALLY weird (anyone that has seen this film, what the bip was up with that cat scene? Please share), all in all, it was most excellent and well worth seeing. Emily recommends this movie if you like a good, well made, interesting horror movie without a lot of excessive violence and gore. Watch it with the subtitles, I implore you. It was set to automatically play dubbed and I had to fix the audio to get rid of the English dubbing. I only watched for about 3 minutes that way until righting it, but had to go back to the movie after shutting it off once, forgot- and continued it and it was dubbed again and I was scandalized! The voices were so horrible, I fixed it quickly. Just don't do it- watch it in Swedish.

So that's it (I think). Good movie month.

Friday, October 1, 2010

This Monkey's Gone to Vegas

Road trip!

Some months back, well, really a long ways back- Matt wanted to go to Magic Mountain in October. He was told that the lines are non existent then. So- we planned this year to go. Sue became on board, and we threw Disneyland in there (she has connections where she can get access to 3 free tickets on any given day) so we were going to take advantage of that (who wouldn't?) Not long after cementing these plans, Matt got the miraculous news that the Pixies were reuniting for a tour and they happen to be playing in Vegas on Sept 25th. Even though that wasn't QUITE October, it was close enough to seem like Kismet. So the ultimate trip was born.
Or so we thought.

Did you know that Magic Mountain decided to close during the week after labor day this year? Yep. They are now only open for Sat and Sun until spring (probably something to do with those non existent lines). We couldn't figure out for the life of us how to make that work with a concert Sat night in Vegas, so we didn't. We scrapped the entire California leg of the trip since MM was the reason to go in the first place. Rob and Scout stayed home and Sue came along anyway, she had work off and has good friends living in Vegas she likes to visit when possible. It was handy having her there, besides the fact that Sue is a lot of fun, it enabled me to take Tiny E and relive a little burden from Rob since I was also making a wedding cake for his Aunt's wedding that day (I had to miss) so Rob had to see to the cake arriving and getting built at the reception. I would like to thank my cousin Jeanine for pointing out the MM fact for us, I can see us not finding that out, going there only to find ourselves in a Wally World-ish nightmare. So props there! We weren't too disappointed once we accepted the facts. The Pixies concert had easily become the big event of the trip anyway. Let me explain a little bit about Matt and the Pixies in a way my readers might understand. The Pixies are Matt's Radiohead. Besides that, they have been broken up since 92 (I think- around there anyways), they are not friends, and they have reunited only once and that happen to be while Matt was on his mission (his biggest mission sacrifice, here told). He thought he would NEVER be able to see them, this was a BIG deal.

So, we set off as early as we could after Scout's soccer game (thank you trip nazi* for letting me attend my daughter's game) *this was Matt's nickname given to him because he had carte blanche on the trip seeing as it was his mecca of sorts).

On the road

The day of the concert and countless days proceeding it, Matt was very scared that something would go wrong. He feared every fear there is that something would come between him and the Pixies. Car trouble, sickness, death, forgotten tickets, forgotten IDs, squirrels in the road, you name it. He also feared: they would sound terrible and Francis would not sound anything like he used to (this is a valid fear: I saw Peter Paul and Mary back in high school, and Mary sounded like she had smoked 5 packs a day for 40 years- which she most likely did. She still sang alright, but talking? Yikes.). Well I would like to report that not one of these things got in the way of Matt and the Pixies. In fact it was all he had ever dreamed that it would be. They sounded FANTASTIC! We were right up front besides the fact that when we got there after dinner there was a giant line and people were already being let in- we made it in and walked right up front. The only people in front of us was one line of people against the rail, and all of them were recording, so it would have been lame being there anyways. We parked ourselves in front of Joey (lead guitar) and close to Frank -this kind of gave Kim the shaft, but watching Joey play took precedence. The show was so fun! I haven't bounced around in the front row of a concert in a very long time and it was awesome. I was again grateful for being tall, since you can stick your nose up once in a while and get some relatively fresh air. I always feel so bad for the girls that are at armpit height at these things. They played the entire Dolittle album (it was called the Dolittle tour), and included a long series of clips from the movie that the song was based on. Slicing up eyeballs? Check. Un chien!
My favorite parts I can think of was the song, "Hey", "Into the White" (they fogged the place up a lot, in fact, you couldn't see the band the whole song, just fog. Being so close, we were also enveloped in a blanket of fog and it was one of those times that you just feel surreal (an indelible image if you will). Everyone was kind of quiet and probably going through the same thing as me and it was just cool. And which song was it Matt that Joey and Frank were playing together and it was just magic? That was also a favorite part. Also, when they started playing "Where is My Mind?" Apparently that is a very rare song to hear live and it was amazing and very unexpected. A VERY cool thing they did was email the mp3s of the concert to us! Seriously isn't that the coolest thing ever? I hope Radiohead does that when I see them in concert. (Note I said "when" not "if". If Matt can see the Pixies, I WILL see Radiohead).

Here are some pics we took with our phone at the concert. (I would like you to note how close we are, no zoom at work here.)
Black Francis

Joey Santiago

They had this up on the screen during "Here Comes Your Man" and it was such a cute thing. Best I can figure, they put each member of the band in a room alone and sat them down and filmed them listening to Here Comes Your Man. They kind of sit there looking awkward, they fidget, they nod their heads to the music, they smile, Frank messed with his glasses, they look awkward again. It was just really fun and I will most likely think of it for the rest of my life every time I hear that song.

The report from Sue while she babysat was that Elle was super good. I was glad to hear it. Apparently, she and Doug really hit it off. I texted her during the opening band (it was so bad it was not worth mentioning here), I asked Sue how Elle was doing and this is what I got back: "she loves Doug and is eating yogurt in her dunglees".

Sue and a knocked out Elles picked us up afterwards and we got some smart water and chocolate. Then we tried to watch a movie but ran into too many obstacles so it was shower and bed (we wouldn't have lasted more then 5 minutes into the movie anyways).

The next morning we woke up and then laid around waiting for Matt to wake up. We were hungry (especially Elles), so went to the ol' IHOP and watched Elle stuff her face with everything she could get her hands on. That girl LOVES breakfast foods.

Then before leaving town, we decided to explore a little (I haven't been to Vegas in about 7 years, so it was time). We took a series of pics of Elle in various Vegas spots -just for the record.
Treasure Island
This was about .5 seconds before the panic set in upon fully realizing her surroundings.

In front of a fancy-a store at The Venetian. This was really taken to get a shot of that glittery horse for Scout's benefit since she was unable to go.
Attempts at a good gondola shot. Elinor was unimpressed.

Group shot.
(I would like to point out my crazy slept-on-wet-hair-then-got-up-early-after-a-concert-and-tried-to-do-something-with-it-but-only-halfheartedly-since-it-was-a-travel-day hair).

So that's pretty much it. We drove home and made it back somewhere around 9. Then Matt and B drove home to Wyoming the crazy kids. Speaking of Matt and B you can read their account of the trip here.


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