Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Precious: The Case for why you should see this movie

Recently, I had this conversation with somone. I told them that I really enjoyed "Precious" and recommended that they go see it. The person responded, "I don't think I would want to see that. It's too intense." I feel that the time has come for somebody to read between the lines and call some folks out. The reason why most people are hesistant about Precious is because it depicts a life full of abuse, rape, and poverty. Things that truly happen here in America. I was reading an article on Entertainment Weekly about how the box office has slowed for Precious. Several people kept saying that they preferred "The Blind Side" because it was a more uplifting movie. I think they like "The Blind Side", because it portrays an America they want to see and believe in. They want a world where racism and poverty are briefly mentioned, tucked away in a corner to be forgotten. Yeah, you can feel good about a world where you can shove its ugliest elements to the dark recesses of your mind. The fact is that all the horrible things that Precious suffers through in the movie could happen to anyone. It doesn't matter your race, sex, or religion. One of the shows I've been watching is called "Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew". One of the patients recounted that she was molested at age five, raped three times, and had a boyfriend who put a gun to her head. She's white and seems to have come from a middle class background. This goes to show abuse knows no boundaries and can affect anyone.
Here's my reason why you should see this film despite any misgivings you have. Gabourey Sidibe takes you through a journey with her character. She starts out as this angry girl who doesn't care about school. She evolves into a woman who wants a better life for herself and her kids. A person that pulls themselves up by their boot straps and never gives up. How is this not uplifting? What is not American about that?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Adam Lambert as portrayed in the music video For Your Entertainment

I have been busy with finals so there has been a huge gap between when all the Adam Lambert controversey began. However, I'd like to focus my attention on the music video for the song "For Your Entertainment". I got this odd sense while watching the video that there were things quite off about it. The best way to explain it is to say it didn't feel like he was being true to himself. I do not know if the video was made before or after his AMA performance, but it seemed like they had wanted to portray him as straight. He doesn't eye, touch or glance in the direction of a guy. However, the women in the video have their hands all over him. Will there every be a time that a gay man can be felt up by another man? He has outed himself in RollingStone, why does he have to deny who he is because people are uncomfortable? I'm tired of the double standard of seeing girl on girl action because that is considered more socially acceptable.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

My Current TV Show Habits

I have to say 2009 has been a bust for Fall premieres. There hasn't been one new show that I've added to my DVR that I felt was worth watching. I really tried to like Glee, but I think it would be easier just to download the songs from Itunes or watch it on Youtube. It breaks one of my cardinal rules: you have to like the main characters. I don't buy Rachel and Finn as a couple. I don't understand her attraction to him because he is a putz. I thought Modern Family was enjoyable, but thought the documentary aspect would grow stale. I've got two words for Vampire Diaries--it sucks!

However, there are two new shows I really like. First, is Drop Dead Diva. I enjoy the court cases and Brooke Elliott(Jane) is a joy in the lead role. I also like the supporting cast. I enjoy the character Fred and would like to see him become Jane's love interest. The other show is Becoming Human. It's on BBC America and it has a lot of supernatural elements. If you enjoy vampires, werewolves or ghosts you will enjoy this series. The concept of the show centers around characters who've lost their humanity by become part of the supernatural world. They are all trying to find a way to regain it. It's an interesting premise and very well done.

On another positive note most of my returning shows have been great as well. Mad Men is on fire! John Hamm and January Jones deserve Emmy wins! Torchwood was thrilling even though it was just five episodes. I hope next season is longer! How I Met Your Mother always keeps me laughing and smiling. Neil Patrick Harris has come into his own on that show! Gossip Girl has its up and downs, but I'm still digging it. The same can be said for Grey's Anatomy, and Brothers & Sisters.

Shows I'm watching:
Mad Men
Grey's Anatomy
Brothers & Sisters
Gossip Girl
How I Met Your Mother
Becoming Human
Robin Hood (BBC)
The Hills
The City
Law & Order
Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List

Shows on the fence:
Law & Order SVU
Project Runway

Shows I've given up on:
90210 (until they put Dixon and Silver back together!)
Top Chef
Desperate Housewives
Army Wives

Show that should be buried six feet under:
Vampire Diaries

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Torchwood: Children of Earth

I cannot describe how much I love the Torchwood series. It is one of the most well-written, and well-acted pieces of television, and yes I will go there and say I like it way more than BSG (remake version). Watching the mini-series left me speechless and wanting more. The show doesn't pull any punches; nor does it strive to be uplifting. It puts the characters into situations where the answers are never easy, and the choices can often be devastating. The thing that has always anchored the show from being completely depressing and without hopes is Eve Myles character Gwen. Her and her husband Rhys are a breath of fresh air in this series.

The story of Torchwood: Children of Earth can be described as aliens come down and demand 10% of Earth's children. We later learn that the children are like drugs for the aliens. According to one, "They give off chemicals. Chemicals are good." In what I thought was a very realistic and yet disgusting to contemplate at the same time was the meeting that the government had. One guy suggested they should choose randomly who they would give up. They decide nobody in the government should have to give up their children to the aliens. The talk then turns to those who are in schools that test poorly should be rounded up and offered to the aliens. After all, one politician stated that Britain should not give up their best, brightest, and most productive. The talk made me shudder in my seat; however, I can see their logic and no doubt believe if this was real life this kind of decision would get made.

I highly recommend you rent or put this DVD in your queue. It is not necessary to watch the previous seasons to understand the show. It will move you in ways you never thought possible. I heard it's been picked up for a fourth series, and I for one cannot wait!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Bay is a douche bag!

I've been following the comments made by Megan Fox towards Michael Bay and his films. Basically, she said his films weren't challenging in the acting department and relied too much on special effects. Bay responded that she didn't know what she was talking about. Then he went on to say how he "made" Will Smith and Shia LeBouf's film careers. Excuse me? You "made" their careers, I think you must be mistaken! Will Smith had a career long before he starred in "Bad Boys". He was part of a rap duo called Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. He even starred in his own tv series. What made his career in films was not starring in "Bad Boys", it was actually a combination of "Independence Day" and "Men in Black" that put him on the map. He also, starred in a drama called "Six Degrees of Separation" that made people take notice of him as a dramatic actor. As for Shia LeBouf, Steven Spielberg was the one that made his career. Prior to starring in Transformers, Shia had a lot of buzz surrounding him that he was an upcoming young actor. In fact, Steven Spielberg is a producer on the Transformers series. I'm sure it was him that pushed for Shia to be cast in the movie, and not from some sort of audition done by Mr. Bay.

Speaking of auditions, I found an article on imdb.com that said that Megan Fox had to wash Michael Bay's car to audition for the part in Transformers. As she was washing his car, he videotaped her. Doesn't this smack of exploitation? Michael Bay you are a disgusting human being, and should be ashamed of yourself. Rent pornos to get your hard-ons instead of having "car wash" auditions. What next have an actress dress up in a French maid outfit and clean your house?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Where GREED rules the day--Jon and Kate Plus 8

In one of my favorite movies Wall Street, Gordon Gecko says, "Greed is good". In the excessive media attention and saturation of the TLC show Jon & Kate Plus 8, it's beginning to look as if everybody has taken that message to heart. The producers of the show to the title "stars" themselves. They've sold their souls for fame, money and good ol' fashion greed. It's quite disgusting actually, and I don't think I will be tuning in for this train wreck. I've avoided watching the new shows, because I believe reality shows are turning down a dark path. How badly do we want to see people self-destruct and hurt themselves? Is it entertaining to watch a family fall apart? I hope TLC can make the right decision and end this show. I don't think I can stomach the idea of these two people trying to keep a show going in order to fill their bank accounts.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

An Amazing NIght--06/02/09 Dodger Stadium

June 2, 2009 will be a day that will be forever etched into my memory. I went with my friend Karen to the Dodgers games vs the D-backs. We were both having a rough day, and were in desperate need of a good time. Boy, did we get one. It started out slow, by the time we entered the stadium one of the D-back players hit a grandslam. The score was 5-0. A glimmer of hope appeared when Andre Ethier hit a homerun. After that it seemed like the Dodgers were going nowhere fast offensively. In fact, a majority of the fans started leaving at the 7th inning. Defensively you had plays that stopped the D-back offense cold. Good plays were made by Casey Blake and Orlando Hudson. Hudson actually fell into the stands trying to catch a foul ball. He is definetly one of the best defensively that I have ever seen. To top the night was the come from behind win. James Loney hit a double and it brought three guys in to tie the game. Loney moved to third on a wild pitch. It all came down to Casey Blake, and he hit a single to drive Loney home. I can't describe the atmosphere or the feeling amongst the fans in the stands. It was one of those you would have had to be there (or should I say you should have stayed) to know what it was like. The best way for me to describe it is pure joy. We were all smiling, chanting, high-fiving each other, and it seemed like nothing could bring us down to earth. In these trying times, it's nice to be able to embrace your friend and share the joy of a Dodger win. Although, having a few dodgers dogs ain't that bad either.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

There is hope

While I was working on my weekend job, the power went out in my area. This is where I collect the money, both the register and credit card machine were down. I had let people in and told them we'll find them and they could pay later. What is the likelihood that they would come back and pay? Actually I had three young ladies come back. They were insistent upon paying. It made me feel good that there were a few honest people out there. I told them most people would have just left. In this downward spiral we've seem to be in, and it's only going to get worse in California--it's nice to know that cyncism and taking advantage of a situation have not become the norm. All I can say is bless their hearts, and I hope good karma will continue to come their way.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Dodger Blues

I've got the Dodger Blues, and not in a good way. Several weeks ago it came out that Manny Ramirez tested positive for a banned substance. My initial reaction was denial, and let's wait for all the facts to come out before we pass judgement. Then when I heard that the banned substance was one that someone takes when they are getting off of steroids--my heart sank. For the past couple of months, my apartment manager has been telling me "just you wait, it's going to come out next that Manny Ramirez took steroids". I took a let's wait and see. In the back of my mind it's seemed possible, but I hoped that it wasn't the case. That the effortless home runs that Manny hit were from natural talent. In some ways I think we've come to idolize people like singers, sports figures, politicians, etc as being god-like. As if they were untouchable from human frailties. I think we need to snap out of that mentality. Deep down we are all humans, we make colossal mistakes some times. However, like any good story we overcome, we make amends, we grow and become a better person. Although a few people might never grow up, I do believe that anything is possible. I came to a point where I had felt as if I was about to lose hope. Reading all these articles tearing Manny apart, asking for him to quit baseball, and saying that the team was going to suffer because he wasn't in it.

I'll admit I was concerned when the team starting losing games especially to the Nationals and the Giants. However, I do feel that a team is more than just one player. If one player can be the cause of a team winning a championship or losing out on one, then Kobe Bryant should have led the Lakers to a victory last year. It's not about one player, it's about a team. You need good defense just as much as you need a good offense. I think the Dodgers have both this year. They may not all be power hitters like Manny, but they can at least hit, steal bases, and catch the ball. If anything I feel like the players this year have a can do attitude. Last year it was more of a defeatist attitude, when they fell behind or tied a game they ended up losing. This year you can't count the team out. They could make 5 runs in one inning! I can't believe I would see the day when Juan Pierre was intentionally walked!!!

I await Manny's return with apprehension. Most people seem to think that when he gets back he's going to hit like he once did. Well, if history is any indicator his performance will tank. Then what will the Dodgers do? Will we trade for another power hitter? Are there any power hitters out there that aren't juiced? Time will tell! In the mean time I will keep going to games and cheering the team on. I'm even thinking of getting the JuanPierrewood t-shirt!

P.S. Can somebody explain to me why Frank McCourt believes people will pay $99 dollars for a t-shirt with the zip code on it, and two seats?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Implications of interracial couples on TV

I noticed an interesting trend the other day on two of the shows I watch on the CW 90210 and Privileged. Both shows feature an interracial couple, one is straight the other is gay. One of the partners is African-American while the other is white. What disturbed me until last Tuesday (Feb. 10, 2009) was that neither couple was ever shown kissing on the lips. The camera would capture the kiss from a angle where you would see the back of someone's head. I found this annoying, because I've never seen this done. You always see at least the lips touching especially with straight couples.

This had several implications for me. Was the censorship of these couples part of because we had a Republican administration in office at that time? Or could it be part of an even more disturbing implication that interracial relationship are on par with gay relationships. That they are things that shouldn't be promoted and have to be watered down to the point where it seems more like a friendship than a relationship? Prior to that night the couples spent most of their time hugging rather than kissing. Is the election of Obama into office responsible for lifting this censorship? Will we get to see and enjoy scenes where interracial couples straight or gay enjoy public displays of affection?

One of the things that keeps me watching 90210 despite some shoddy writing as of late is the fact that they do have two interracial couples: Dixon and Silver who are the couple I mentioned earlier and Adriana and Navid. Adriana is white and Navid is Persian. The thing is everytime I read message boards for these shows it's these couples that people mention that they really like. It makes me feel optimistic that maybe our country is moving forward. I hope that this will open up doors for all kinds of actors. That we will cast based on who is the best actor for the job, not what race has been specified in the script. Grey's Anatomy does this, I think all shows could benefit from their example.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Eat Pray Love Review

I had bought this book sometime last year and just had a chance to finally read it. I had five people tell me already how much they enjoyed the book. It seems to have struck a nerve for some people and I wanted to see if it would have the same effect on me. I enjoyed the section in Italy. Part of the reason could be that I wanted to know if she was going to have a torrid affair with an Italian guy. Alas she did not, I guess it keeps it from going the Under the Tuscan Sun (movie version) route and avoids all those tourist cliches. Another part that I enjoyed was when she was describing the pizza she bought in Naples. Man, I could only wish that slice of pizza had manifested itself in real life. Now I really got to save up and travel! The India section was the weakest part of the book for me. I didn't buy the whole New Age conversion--that the constant meditation changed her spiritual well-being. Is it really about meditating that changes one's life or is it the opportunity to be a fish out of water in a new land? To be taken out of our element and introduced to new things? The Indonesian chapter had the most interested cast of characters. She studies with a medicine healer and ends up making friends with a woman and her child. The woman ends up needing financial assistance so she can take her medicine shop elsewhere. There were moments where the lady healer had me laughing. She was so right on with her diagnosis about Elizabeth. However, the book took a dark turn as we find out the healer is taken advantage of Elizabeth. I was surprised by this, because I had expected the typical American comes into save the day. Everything sort of works itself out and we do get our romantic ending. I heard there is a sequel to this book and I will definetly pick it up for a quick read. I recommend the book only for the Italy and Indonesia section. Anybody else read this?

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Reader- A rather perplexing journey

I watched the movie The Reader last Friday and it left me perplexed. I'm unsure about how I feel about the film and the way it approached its subject. The film is about a young boy who has an affair with an older woman. Later on in his life he happens upon her trial and he is keeping a secret of his own. I think the film brought up a lot of tough questions and I'm not sure if there is a good answer or a perfect response.

1. Would it be possible for someone who was a Nazi guard, who was responsible for the deaths of Jewish prisoners to achieve some sort of forgiveness? Can this person be redeemed?

2. Could that same person ever re-enter society and function as a normal human being?

3. Is the next generation doomed to repeat or doomed to forget the past?

Watch the movie and let me know what your thoughts are.

Ghost Town--Good laughs and a few tears

I just watched the movie Ghost Town and I loved it! I didn't have high expectations going in. One of my least favorite writers David Koepp wrote and directed it. I have to say if this is how he writes when he's not doing a Spielberg movie I'd like to see more of it. What it made good was Ricky Gervais performance as a dentist, but I also think the supporting cast deserves kudos as well. Tea Leoni and Greg Kinnear are the types of actors that are grossly underrated. I also, have to commend Aasif Mandvi who played Dr. Prashar, his patient co-worker.

The gist of the movie is Ricky Gervais' character Dr. Pincus is a major jerk. He's annoying and disrespectful to everyone. His first encounter with Gwen (Tea Leoni's character) results in him pushing the door close elevator so she can't get on. Greg Kinnear's character, Frank is cheating on his wife and planning to buy a pad for him and his mistress. Before all is said and done in a freak accident an A/C unit falls in front of him and it sidesteps into the street. Then a bus comes and runs him over. He begins haunting Pincus, because he believes in order for him to cross over he has to prevent his wife from marrying this other guy. Naturally, Pincus falls for her and the movie strays from the typical cliches one of them being that the "other guy" in this instance isn't a jerk, but a humanitarian aide worker. When you get closer to the end and it is revealed what is the true intent of the ghosts in this film it will make you cry. It will resonate with you long after the movie is over.