Tuesday, November 20, 2018

What's Next On My List? Something To Talk About

When I decided which movies to review in the next coming weeks, I wished for them to be movies that mean something to me. One of those is the film that made Julia Roberts one of my favorite actresses of all time.

"- What is dignified about kicking somebody in the balls?
- Well, I feel better."

When Grace finds out that her husband Eddie has been cheating on her, she decides to move back home with her little girl. Her father, known for putting his business ahead of his family, forces her to just swallow what happened in order to not ruin his name. His behavior shows his daughters that he is not the man they thought he was, and maybe their mom is a pushover... it is their daughters courage to stand up for themselves that make their mom stand up for herself as well.

"- Are you addressing me?
- Yes.
- Well lick it, put a stamp on it, and mail it to someone who gives a shit."

I re-watch this movie quite often, as I find new layers and new lessons to learn each time. I think I was too little to understand the story at the time, but now, as I having had experiences with cheating, I find that out of the the stories out there that dealt with it, this is possibly the best. First of all, the one thing I think is the psychological aspect of stepping out on somebody: the story focused on the simple fact that lack of communication can lead to distance, which in a marriage can be particularly deadly. I do not condone his actions of course, but there is one scene where he and Grace talk about how intimacy has been dead between them, and that happened without them even noticing. In a following scene, however, he promises to her that he will tell her before things get out of hand again. I do believe that if you are aware of a problem you should face it. I find that there are relationships that are worth saving, and when Grace's sister tells Eddie that one day maybe they will make great grown ups. These two met when they were too young to understand that relationships need to be worked on, but it was not too late as their love for their daughter kept them close to each other. To me, every time, I am moved that Grace finds that no matter what happens, she will not eat shit with a fork and spoon. Her daughter, even if she is hurt by having to spend time without her father, should not be shown that her mother stood by when somebody was betraying her.

"I've got to see a horse about a man."

Watch it? I think it is truly a great movie and I like the idea that we are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of our parents if we stand up. It might be a small thing, it might be a big thing, it does not matter. Our parents were thought differently than us, and as time changes, so do we. Many times nobody is left to blame, but one cannot pretend that something is OK if they don't feel that way truly. I love this movie because it taught me both hope and caring, and most importantly, that some toxic people can be within our own family and we are not forced to take shit from anyone.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ 

Grace King Bichon - Julia Roberts
Eddie Bichon - Dennis Quaid
Wyly King - Robert Duvall
Georgia King - Gena Rowlands
Emma Rae King - Kyra Sedgwick
Jamie Johnson - Brett Cullen
Caroline 'Doodlebug' Bichon - Haley Aull

Saturday, November 17, 2018

What's Next On My List? Charlie's Angels

Back when I was a tiny little girl, there was an action movie that made me feel powerful, that made me want to kickass, that made me wish I was the strongest woman alive and I could take down bad guys, and that movie was none other than:


Three girls, Natalie, Dylan and Alex, working for a man known only has Charlie, need to save a man, who turns out to be the villain all along. The girls realize that they have been tricked and use their own resources to make sure that the man who made them the angels, and helped them find each other all those many years ago stays alive.

I do not get the criticism these movies receive, up to today I wished they would have made a trilogy, because I loved this casting, the jokes, the stories, the twist especially, and this was the movie where I got to know Sam Rockwell, one of the best actors I know. Yes, the movie is misogynistic, yes, it degrades women sometimes, but... take a f*cking closer look: They abuse the fact that women are perceived as sex objects, and when they do attack, you do not see it coming. They might not mind the fact that they are perceived as they are, because it also keeps them undercover, able to blend in, which as the investigators and sort of agents as they are, is quite crucial. You do not make fun of the original series from the 70s, and these movies paid homage to the original, something the new TV show from 2011 did not do, nor do I feel like the new movie will either, but I do not want to judge in advance. And then the second movie came out:


The girls are asked to recover two rings, which, when put together give out the list of people who are hidden in witness protection. Way too many people are interested in finding this list, and the villain decides to sell it to the best bidder, but the girls are shocked when they find out who was behind it all.

I have to be honest with you here, not only is this one of the best sequels I have ever seen, but it is definitely one of my favorite movies. When it comes to criticism, I have to go back to my arguments on the first one: the movie knows its audience, in my opinion, because they gave me exactly what I wanted to see. First, this gave me Justin Theroux, who is another national treasure, second beautiful women using what they have to fight another day. They are kickass again, I do not know how to explain it, I am trying to come up with all the things I can to help you understand, even if I am not being very argumentative... I understand that I have nostalgia goggles, but I have just recently re-watched them and I need to say that I was still mesmerized by the layers in it. The movie managed to show three story arcs, from A all the way to Z, with a good villain, several twists and jokes to tell the story. I don't... I really do not understand the criticism, I just looked at the rating on imdb and my question is... what do you expect from these movies?

You would be disappointed if it weren't sexy women. You would be disappointed if they did not kick ass. You would surely also be disappointed if they had some other feminist agenda to shove into your face, but don't you get it? Those last two things are connected! If you make them into completely dumb bimbos, they will not be kickass... Think of you being the writer who has to modernize something but still keep enough elements to know that you are looking at essentially the same thing! How would you go about it? The movie dares to ask questions that the TV show never did, specifically regarding to Charlie's identity. Setting it up in a new modern society will require changes, and you can disagree with me, but I think these movies made the perfect changes for 2000 and 2003. And I hope it is in this moment you realize that there is a huge difference between what we in 2018 expect of our leading women, and what we did at what was essentially still the end of the 90s.

Watch them? I am sure you already have, but I think this is the time to re-watch them. I will always love these movies, no matter what happens and I will not, for the life of me understand why people do not like them...

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _

Natalie Cook - Cameron Diaz
Dylan Sanders - Drew Barrymore
Alex Munday - Lucy Liu
John Bosley - Bill Murray
Eric Knox / John McKenn - Sam Rockwell
Vivian Wood - Kelly Lynch
Roger Corwin - Tim Curry
Thin Man  - Crispin Glover
Jason Gibbons - Matt LeBlanc
Jimmy Bosley - Bernie Mac
Seamus O'Grady - Justin Theroux
Madison Lee - Demi Moore
Pete - Luke Wilson

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Blogger: Premature Christmas Decorating

Whichever side you take in this debate, I invite you to read my take on how I deal with this every year. I am sure that you have an opinion, and I also know that most people believe that they have the right answer... my argument is simply that feelings cannot be decided by a date in a calendar, and you'll see what I mean in a second.
www.mandatoryrollercoaster.com

I live in Hungary, which means that we do not have Thanksgiving, and even if we adopted Halloween, it isn't really a tradition still, it was mostly the last 10 or 15 years that we started to celebrate, or show signs of it. Not to mention, that most people would still rather have a 'party' than celebrate it with the family, something that never occurred to me, as I take candy over alcohol and board games over dance parties any day of the year. I have almost always celebrated it, as you could guess, as my family was fond of American holidays since we lived there for a whole year, a year that had a great significance in the life of my siblings. My interest in American culture got deeper with time, I majored in U.S. history and culture, and still up to today I celebrate their holidays as I respect them tremendously. So even if most do not think that we need Thanksgiving, but have no problem adopting Black Friday... (in case you missed it, this is a comment on the fact that humanity is garbage!) I, on the other hand do make sure to give thanks to everything life has given me from the end of November to the end of the year.

www.freeimages.com
And when it comes to my family, it is indeed Christmas that is the ultimate holiday. So what about putting up that Christmas tree early? I am very mad when I go into a shop looking for Halloween things, or even just a pumpkin lantern to put on my table, and a wall of Christmas decorations fall on me. My reason for that is that I find it to be incredibly disrespectful to other holidays. To some Halloween is dressing up and eating candy, to me it is a night when I remember those who I have lost. The importance of the Day of that Dead that follows is never lost on me, but all these decorations give the impression that we do not care. In Hungary it is held on November first, in many other countries it is the second; whichever you celebrate, I apologize for those who do give the impression that somethings can be overlooked. Especially because there is an important debate about how Christmas is too commercialized, and I believe that it is at these times that people do feel that. Another problem is that premature 'Christmas spirit' does not always last until the end of the holiday season... and I can tell you, nothing sucks as much as sitting under the tree with your family and not being able to enjoy it.

The key about Christmas spirit is that it cannot be controlled, it comes when it does, you can help it along, but that is it. There is something that moves inside of you when you see decorations everywhere and I understand if people are maddened if they are in a time of their life when this is absolutely the last thing they want to be feeling. However, whenever I hear that Americans believe that there is a war on Christmas, I would very much like to shove them in these stores in the middle of October, which I am sure will surprise many of them, seeing that they have two holidays in the middle...

Bob's Burgers
People hate me too, in case you are wondering reader, I like to wake up a week after Halloween and start listening to Christmas songs, but even if I share them on social forums, I do not force it onto other people. And I think this is the key problem: when every store has their decorations out mid-October, how do you avoid it? I understand why you are mad. However, if your friend finds that they need the Christmas spirit, for whatever reason (that is right, nobody owes you an explanation) then LEAVE THEM ALONE. First of all, you do not know anyone's real baggage or life story; what if they never celebrated before? Let it be for any reason, they let their heart open to the opportunity and then you immediately kick them down? What if you celebrate National Talk Like a Pirate Day, or National Pancake Day, would you like if people kept kicking you for it? "Well Jim, I think you have had enough for today, argh!" When you think about it, the reason there is freedom of religion in the first place means that we acknowledge that people need and love somethings that you might not - this difference is often the reason we make the world better, so we should embrace it. And if one wishes to believe in Christmas, you need to respect that. A person's church is made up by their own definitions, you are not meant to understand it.

www.someecards.com
Second, as this holiday is a hard time all around, you might learn new things that open your approach to how you celebrate it. Hating on it will not help it make better, especially because you will probably not change the reasoning behind stores putting out trees, lights, wrapping paper and all that comes with it way early. If you think about it, it might be radical to me comparing it to religion, but really, nobody minds another person's beliefs until they force it on them. If I, for example, want to put up my tree right now, who is going to stop me? I need that little bit of cheer in my life and I know it will make me happy. Does a grumpy person's war with commercialism come before my own happiness? It should not. A friend of mine just posted on facebook the following meme: "Me waiting for it to be socially acceptable to put up the Christmas tree", with the grizzly bear sitting at the picnic table, and you know what, there is no rule that stipulates this. Society cannot define what I feel, and Christmas is essentially a feeling.

Third, what could be the causes for involuntary Christmas spirit? Besides the shops, the lights and the music in the background, I can tell you for sure that if you are preparing presents for your family and friends, you will not be strong enough. However, if you are starting to make presents in November, you probably don't want to be strong either. Also, if you have a friend like me, I might rub off on you, but I am house trained, so you'll be okay.

A gift from my sister.
And finally, how to escape it? You can't. The only thing you can do is not worry about it more than you should, because even if you try to tell somebody WHY you think it is wrong, they won't care, the same way you don't care about them putting up the tree sooner. So my advice to you is to let it go and not kick those who, for one reason or another, need it in their life. I do agree that stores are out of control, and I do agree that it is completely unnecessary, even if somebody likes to avoid crowds, they probably shop online and go at the beginning of December, not in October (and year round Christmas shops do exist for this specific reason!). I will, however, always stand for the idea that nobody, and I mean nobody, has a right to tell me or anyone else what kind of decorations they can put up in their own homes. And if you take my advice, you'll leave people alone too. 

Have a super happy and successful holiday season!

Usual movie reviews coming back soon.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

What's Next On My List? Over The Garden Wall

Over the years my sister and I have become fond of 'coming of age' stories, because we found that there is a lot to be learned about how each story is told. To me this one is just as wonderful as Labyrinth or Where The Wild Things Are, by taking us onto a journey into the unknown and making sure we never forget this adventure!


Two brothers, Wirt and Greg, get lost in the forest on Halloween night, and encounter a series of unlikely creatures and beings that inhabit these mystical lands. They are, however, also trying to flee a beast who tries everything he can to trick them into staying the woods forever. It is Wirt's wish to make sure Greg gets back home safe the thing that saves them in the end.

I was scared terribly when I watched this the first time around, although it was balanced out very well: some funny episodes followed others with significant depth to them. The beast itself is something I would hate to encounter ever in my life, which means that it truly embodies everything a child would be terrified about. Overall I was moved by the simplicity of the conflict between Wirt and Greg, and by that I mean, that most siblings need to arrive to the conclusion that their brothers and sisters are not to be blamed for the decisions of our parents. In the story we find out that the boys are only related through their mom, and Wirt's parents had gotten divorce previously. I have found it endearing that the one who already feels in some ways the weight of life finds it easy to blame the innocent boy who does everything out of sheer interest for the world. No fear, no crippling anxiety, just wonder. That is probably why this pair is perfect: as the audience you have the same questions as Wirt, the same worries over getting lost in an unknown place. At the same time, you'd like to wonder around and discover like Greg does. The two main characters are spectacularly written in my opinion, not just as opposites, but as two sides of the same coin.
There is of course an implication, that this adventure wasn't all in Wirt's head, despite it serving the purpose of him 'coming to age', and no longer misplacing his anger and taking responsibility for his brother; we are still introduced in great depth to all the people they encountered, and we begin to care, wishing to see if they find their happy ending as well.
Ultimately this story is about facing the beast within, and I find that this somewhat creepy but magical world that we are introduced to serves as a perfect metaphor for that moment in many of our lives when we decide to take back control from the voice in our heads. These two boys will do everything they can to take care of each other, and I think that is a great lesson. I do believe that blood doesn't bind us, meaning that even somebody within your family can be a toxic force, but it wasn't the case between these two. And the fact that it all occurred on the night of Halloween makes this story perfect for this year's review of mine.

Watch it? Definitely. You will laugh, cry, be scared and root like never before to have these little heroes reach their goal. It is only 10 episodes of ten minutes, think of it as a good movie, and trust me, it'll be your favorite too! I would like to thank the writers and creators Katie Krentz and Patrick McHale for giving us this lovely story.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ 

Wirt - Elijah Wood
Greg - Collin Dean
Beatrice Melanie Lynskey
The Beast - Samuel Ramey
The Woodsman - Christopher Lloyd

Saturday, October 27, 2018

What's Next On My List? Catch Me If You Can

I still remember the day I saw this movie: we were at a little open cinema by lake Balaton, and I remember that I was in awe. I believe that was the day I kind of grew up, and by that I mean that I developed a new kind of appreciation for movies, and I wished to see stories that were more intriguing with real moral values.


Frank Abagnale Jr. runs away from home when his parents are getting a divorce, and he puts all he learned from his conman father to use in order to take care of himself. He cheats and lies his way into high end jobs that procure him enough money to run away from the FBI as long as he can, however, one agent, Carl Hanratty, decides that he will not stop until he is brought to justice.

I gotta say, this is not really a review, as this is my absolutely favorite movie of all time and there is no criticism I can think of, and as such I will not even try to look for anything. This movie is a masterpiece in my opinion.
Up to today this is my favorite Leonardo DiCaprio movie as well. I have said this before, but I am not a fan of his... ever since he started acting with the same directors, he barely does anything new... I feel like I am just staring at the same person yelling and swearing in different outfits and times. I also feel like he has a baby face, and in this movie he plays a 16 year old boy who tries to appear older and it works for me. And on that note, this is also my favorite Tom Hanks movie (along with You've Got Mail), and it was the first time I did not see actors, I was just watching a great story unravel. I like the jumps in time, I like the colors, the set up, the little details, from the Pan Am airline all the way to the little town in France.
The script is based on the real life events of the man who managed to con his way into being a pilot, doctor and a prosecutor, only to end up being an agent himself, helping the FBI catch guys like him. And I don't know if I am happy that we were rooting for a con-man, but for the first time ever, the actual motivations make sense to me: he just didn't want to face the divorce of his parents. He didn't kill anyone, he tried to not hurt the ones he really cared for, and the love he had for his dad never stopped, not once. In the end, at least in the story told in the movie, he just spent money he did not have. What Frank was good at is reading people, something he learned from his father, and if he didn't become a conman, he would have been a great businessman in my opinion. Nonetheless, to me the fact a boy wishes to run away from his problems is very relatable.

Watch it? Oh my god, you haven't seen it yet? This movie came out sixteen years ago and won lots of awards, get it together man and watch it NOW! Every single actor you love today appears in this movie, so you'll love it for sure.

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ _ _ _

Frank Abagnale Jr. - Leonardo DiCaprio
Carl Hanratty - Tom Hanks
Frank Abagnale - Christopher Walken
Roger Strong - Martin Sheen
Paula Abagnale - Nathalie Baye
Brenda Strong - Amy Adams