Friday, August 16, 2019

Blogger: My First Time At Sziget Festival

For years now I have avoided the Sziget Festival, despite it being organized in my city, mostly because 1, I did not appreciate during my teens live music as I do now ; 2, I am not spontaneous enough... When my friends told me stories, I would only heard the bad things, and well, that is my fault. But I grew up in a household where it is easy to hide behind fear, especially if we think that fear was justified by one news article... so here we are, hearing "horror" stories of how there are too many people, how getting of the island was problematic, drunk teens left and right, storms, mud everywhere... I just put it off.

... but music persisted.
Years passed and my love for music grew deeper and deeper. So much so, that I have made a list of bands and singers that I just have to see live at least once in my life. One of these was The 1975, who have been touring around Europe for years, with three albums out in just six years, and they finally returned to Hungary. But I have written about them in detail a few weeks back, and you can read that here! So going back... when I saw the line up, I just knew that I had to buy the tickets. Never again will I pass up an opportunity like this, if I have the money for it. And that meant losing my Sziget virginity...

The thing that I never thought about, although I should have, was that I have very smart and intelligent friends who loved Sziget and maybe, instead of an article about the problems, I should have focused on the good things they told me about. I don't want to make excuses, really, I was just uninterested for the most part. I don't really drink when I go to concerts, I like to be sober, to take in every second, remember every moment and enjoy every beat. Being among drunk, well, hippies, was not on my bucket list... but I finally went and was somewhat... mesmerized.

Now, I keep reading about Woodstock...
It appears in movies, TV shows, just the other day I saw an article entitled "50 Years After They Met at Woodstock, Couple Finally Finds a Photo of Their First Hours Together", it is a part of history that will remain with us forever. And first, I had this sense of sadness, because I felt that I will never experience something like that, but then, it also made me happy how music brought people together in a way that made its mark in the history books. And when we arrived at Sziget I was without words, as if, I was able to travel back in time to a place where the problems of the world are left outside. OK. To be fair, one guy tried to air-hump me and like, honestly dude, f*ck you, but jerks exist everywhere and since they sell alcohol it was somewhat expected too, but I felt that that was just a reality check in case I forgot that I am still alive and that I did not travel in time.
Nonetheless, the way music brings people together amazes me. First, everyone was wearing clothing that even a casual Friday would disagree with: from the shortest shorts, to the big full body kangaroo onesie. And then, the glitter... so much freaking glitter! Some very well placed, along with the sparkly make up, and some just everywhere on the body. I believe that the guys who had glitter on their chest hair were my favorite kind of people. The theme that got closest to my heart was the emphasis on diversity. The whole island has the theme of freedom, from war, work, hatred, reality... everything that today makes our world bad again. CocaCola signs saying #LoveIsLove, couples being free and there was (for many consecutive years now) a tent from BudapestPride where you could marry your loved one, whatever their gender. I do believe that a lot of artists are voicing their opinions on how equality is key, and for Sziget it is very smart to enhance that message, helping their guests and just being good hosts in a world that tries to promote hate. One of my favorite moments of the two days I attended was when I tried to take a picture with a huge Sziget sign, and this random girl showed up and just hugged me, photo-bombing my pic, but I could not stop laughing. This kind of love of one another is the one that we should all promote...

... and the bands I saw did promote love.
As I said before, the first band I watched was The 1975, who have just gotten in trouble for fighting the ban on homosexuality in the United Arab Emirates. But they are not shy on political issues. I find that nowadays very few songs focus on current political situations. I was just at a peace march a few days back and all the songs they played were from the 90s... and of course, we had very good times, but they are shit now... This band is not shy when it comes to expressing their opinions. Matt Healy, the singer, said "I hate guns", and then proceeded to dedicate their song "Be My Mistake" to the United States... I find that to be a very powerful message already. Their song "Love It If We Made It" is also a nice nod to the disgusting filth going on in the political sphere of the planet as of right now. During one song he asked the audience to embrace their loved ones, girlfriends or boyfriends, and just sway with them to the melody of "Couldn't Be More In Love". I have been waiting six years to see this band live and it was everything I dreamed of. They are wonderful performers and they got the crowd dancing and singing with them, featuring songs from all three of their albums. I was blessed to have seen them, and I plan to go every time they come anywhere near me again. They are simply my favorite band of all time. 
And the promotion of love and peace was overall the main message of Woodstock as well, so in that fashion, the second concert that I went to hit all the right notes again: Florence + The Machine. The other day I realized that I had been with this band for over ten years, not having realized that their first album came out in 2009. I heard their song "Cosmic Love" in the show One Tree Hill, and I did not really take into account how many years have passed since... I became legal that year, and it was actually this silly drama for teenagers that taught me to value music more in my life. Florence, stepping out barefoot onto the stage and dancing her way through the whole concert, dedicated this very song to us, the fans who have been here since the beginning, saying it was the first they wrote, while very hungover. I felt blessed to be part of their fan community, and blessed is the right word: Florence went down to the audience and chose one person to whom she directed "What Kind Of Man" and the guy was simply in trans. What we saw on the big screens in those three minutes was worthy of a thousand hours in church. She took the audience with her on a trip and we all felt every note of that song flow deep within us. She spoke one more time before that, and told us to tell the person we came with that we love them and then to turn to strangers and do the same. Finally, she dedicated their song "You've Got The Love" to the LGBTQ+ community, telling as that "We love you and we are with you". I still cannot understand how I was lucky enough to take part in this experience.

Final thought...
What this island now represents to me is simply the notion of being present. The fact that I experienced all of these moments live is something fascinating to me. I, for one, will never forget that Richard Ashcroft when on and he closed his set by singing "Bitter Sweet Symphony", a song I have known for 20 years, 2/3 of my life, and there I was, hearing it live and I felt tears come to my eyes. I think that for too long I was focusing on the how of the organisation of these concerts, instead of the fact that I would hear my favorite artist live. That is the major change in me when it comes to concerts now: being there in the moment is much more important to me, then just hearing a song on my MP3. Now, my list of artists I wish to see live is not that long, but I got at least two more crossed out and that alone made even the weird and unwanted moments of the Sziget experience worth it!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Fresh From The Theater: Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

I have been looking forward to this movie for quite some time, and boy, I was NOT disappointed! So let us dive into it!

Hobbs and Shaw are recruited for their skills on a mission in which neither of them really want to take part, but the world is at stake. Although they might not agree on most things, they still want to save those they love, and at that point their goals align. Despite the bickering and the obvious differences in style, the two work together to save Shaw's sister and, with it, the rest of the world.

I just wanted another F&F movie... obviously I missed the main characters, but over the past movies, these two have evolved into very strong characters and they kind of deserved a story of their own. Not to mention, that I am on board with anything that has more Helen Mirren and these two! As far as the story is concerned, it was just a simple action movie, but I didn't want more... I wanted to be entertained and I sure as hell was. Now, I still have issues though. There is this tiny conflict in me about Shaw's character... he was an awesome addition to the cast, and in this movie his interactions with Hobbs were simply outstanding, but he did kill Han... I understand that when he was added they did not know how well he would be received, and also that Tokyo Drift happened to soon, and it had to be added to the franchise in a different manner. And when it came to The Fate Of The Furious they did not forget his history, but again, goals aligned. I think that movie was supposed to erase what happened, and I am not sure I can... at least not 100%. That does not mean that I don't love this character, I would just much more prefer him to be an antagonist. That said, there is plenty more about Shaw that the writers can investigate and I hope that they do. 

Watch it? Oh yeah. It is another one of those instances when a movie just wants to be crazy and fun and filled with action movie and nothing more. And it delivers. They put together two awesome actors and had some other outstanding ones and gave us a story that is just beginning of something much larger. Can't wait to see where it all goes!

Until the next item on my list!
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Brixton - Idris Elba
Queenie - Helen Mirren
Madame M - Eiza González

Thursday, August 1, 2019

What's Next On My List? Cocktail

I actually put this movie on some of my lists, but I always re-watch it at the end of summer, and somehow this year too, I can tell that it is coming to an end, once again. I decided to watch it now, and while I did I also wrote down a couple of thoughts.

Brian Flanagan moves to New York to learn business, but his part-time job as a bartender becomes his dream. He is betrayed by his friend and decides to move his dream to Jamaica, where he meets a beautiful young woman by the name of Jordan. Brian keeps running into his old friend, and a continuous competition between them almost drives Brian to lose the only person he really cared about.

For the first time I am watching this movie with the intent of understanding what it is that I love so much about it, because it is definitely in my top 10 favorites. Have to say, that I like a story that is about things not working out the way you planned them. Our main character is thrown curve balls all of his life, and yet he makes the best of it. And that is something to aspire to. He fails at college, his best friend betrays him, he gets too cocky and loses the love of his life, only to find himself fighting for the things here never thought he would need. Brian might not be a conventional hero, but what I love about him is that he learns his lessons. It shows that just a couple of years can teach you to grow up and own your mistakes. It also taught me, the audience, that sometimes friendship is more than just being nice and caring toward each other, and on top of that, love is much more than just romantic movie cliches. Even if Brian was able to save himself and his relationship, even if he wasn't able to save his best friend, I think it is important to remember that he might not have succeeded, BUT at least he tried. And that is the most important and likable characteristic of the protagonist.

Watch it? To be honest, I was quite shocked to learn that imdb had such a low rating for this movie... makes me think that those younger generations that do take the time to rate movies online might not have liked it. But as an avid 80s fan myself, this movie just hit all the right notes. And I am sure this movie got a lot of praise when it came out. The soundtrack is great, the casting is marvelous, the story is simply real and as such very painful at times. But at the end of it, I want to re-watch it, and that says a lot about a story with lies, betrayal, even death, but the purest form of love available out there. I recommend this movie to any Cruise and Shue fan, they are bound to fall in love with it themselves.

Until the next item on my list!
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Brian Flanagan - Tom Cruise
Doug Coughlin - Bryan Brown
Jordan Mooney - Elisabeth Shue
Bonnie - Lisa Banes
Mr. Mooney - Laurence Luckinbill
Kerry Coughlin - Kelly Lynch

Sunday, July 28, 2019

What The F*ck Is This Sh*t: Cats Trailer (2019)

I love musicals. Many people don't. Which means that a lot relies on the movie adaptations, which if fail, Hollywood leaves out several years before making another musical movie, which leads me restless and sad. Thankfully lately they have been on a roll, especially some that are made directly for movies (and are as such better made than some transformed from stage like Les Mis...). The reason I love movie musicals so much is because I know that there are some musicals that I will NEVER see on Broadway and I will NEVER see on London's West-end. But there is something magical about movies, the big screen, and if it is in the right hands, you have the same kind of magic as you would have listening to those majestic songs live. Theaters are mostly against recordings of the stage performances, which I find to be equally important, and not the cause for less people going to theaters lately. And again, if recorded/directed by the right professional, the stage performance is the best thing someone who will never see the big shows can ask for. In 1998 Cats already had one of these performances, it is one of our family favorites, and we watch it every year around the Christmas season. So we thought, if that is the base of the movie, how could we NOT be excited about it coming to the big screen?

And then...

Then this happened.

And I don't understand how it happened.

Cats (2019)

What is that? What am I looking at? Is it the worst Halloween costume ever made? When I put on cat ears I am more believable, seriously. What is the point of CGI here? What incredible technological revolution are they trying to sell me? Because 1, I ain't buying, and 2, would rather ask them to go back in time and decide not to do this. Why aren't they in real make up, like the cats in the stage musical? Why couldn't they even try to imitate cat noses? Why is there NO effort to hide their human characteristics? And when posing this question I realized: it was more important to showcase how many famous people are in this movie than to actually disguise them AS THE ANIMAL THAT THE WHOLE MUSICAL IS NAMED AFTER.

I have come to the point where I think that the weirdly moving animatronic cat from the original Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1996) is well made. Look at it. Just look. It's terrible. And it got slightly better with each season, as at first it looked like something a truck had ran over, not to mention, that it was OBVIOUS when they cut to an actual cat. It sometimes ran left and right, or the aunts would pick him up and they would still dub a voice over him, while the cat was NOT into being held by anyone at any point during the shooting. It was just funny, a puppet, a stupid badly made puppet, animatronic even at some point, I am sure, thus the change from season to season, but it served its purpose: it looked like a f*cking talking cat. 

Hell, even this complete and utter nightmare is more cat like:

This performance by Mike Myers in The Cat In The Hat from 2003 received 3,9 rating on imdb, and I can tell you that even if the plot is beyond stupid, looking at it now, the cat is clearly not the worst part of that movie.

And I don't want to bring up well made cat costumes, I want to point at how, the BAD ones are SUPERIOR to the mess that this movie is. Not to mention the casting, WHY is the male cat, who has fathered hundreds of cats now a woman? And I AM a woman, not a misogynist, I can complain, because the lyrics just don't make sense no more! The only new thing about this movie is the fact that they are truly cat sized in our world and seeing just those two minutes... I could not care less.

Because you know what also looks better than this? THE ACTUAL CATS MUSICAL THAT WAS TAPED BACK IN 1998!

Even at the risk of never getting a Wicked movie (which some 5 years later after its first announcement still has no cast...), and with the risk of people getting too critical with musicals again, I am advising everyone to stay the f*ck away from this mess, because I am done with CGI, with green screens, with whatever technology, when I know that there are perfectly skilled and award winning make up artists out there that should be doing this. Look at this musical, these are not actors in suits, these are cats, believable cats and well... if you ever wondered what Judi Dench or Jennifer Hudson would look like in a fur coat, now you know. Yey.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Blogger: De, Egy Karkötő Meg Tudja Menteni A Világot

Scroll down for the English version!
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Senki nem fizetett nekem azért, hogy leírjam ezeket a gondolataimat, de nem bírtam ki, mert elegem van abból, hogy ha valaki megoldást mutat annak beleköpünk a kezébe.

Egy számomra azelőtt ismeretlen magyar blog oldalszerűség megosztott egy cikket, aminek semmi más célja nem volt, mint az, hogy minél több klikket kapjon a címével, egy Amerikai cégről írtak, a 4Ocean-ről, akik éppen a világ tengereit és rakpartjainak a tisztításával foglalkoznak.
Nagyon kellett koncentrálnom, hogy ne menjek át bunkóba ebben a bejegyzésemben, mert rendkívül feldühített a cikk, ugyanis csak arra koncentrált, amire akart, és annál könnyebb dolog nincsen, mint információk kihagyásával félre vezetni emberek százait.
A cég újrahasznosított műanyagból készült karkötők eladásával finanszírozza a munkát, amit végez. A legnagyobb baja mindenki az, hogy mennyi pénz megy a cégben, miközben sokan önkéntes jelentkezők. Itt hozzátenném, hogy nem mindenki... sőt, rengetegen fizetett dolgozók. Nem beszélve arról, hogy olyan helyeken dolgoznak, ahol a minimálbér, mondjuk amit csak a mi országunkban kapnak, az egy elképzelhetetlen összeg számukra. Instagramon és Youtubeon is konstans tartják a kapcsolatot a követőikkel és az adományozóikkal, valami, ami minden olyan cégnek, akik csak a pénzedre pályáznak nem prioritás.

Az én kérdésem az, minden kritikustól, hogy akkor mutassanak rá arra a zöld, környezetbarát projektre, ami INGYEN VAN. Nem tudom, mi a baj azzal, hogy valakik egy olyan programon gazdagodtak meg, ami jót tesz a bolygónknak? Semmi nincsen ingyen ebben a világban, és ha megnézzük, hogy az Amerikai kormányt, hogyan befolyásolja a pisztoly és a olaj lobbi, én nem hibáztatok cégeket, akik a kormány segítsége nélkül kezdenek el dolgozni valamin. 

Kérdezném azt, akinek a pénzzel gondja van, hogy megnézte-e valaha bármelyik videójukat, amit az olyan állatmentő és megőrző egyesületek készítettek, akiknek az adományuk többségét adják? Én tengeri teknősök és egy Hawaii fókáknak a mentésére küldtem nekik pénzt, ami után két videó is készült, hogy milyen hálásak voltak az adományokért, amit kaptak, és senki nem tartott pisztolyt a fejükhöz, hogy azt mondják, hogy hálásak... Főleg mert ez a Youtube csatorna olyan ezreket tud elérni, amit az ő kis mentő szolgálatuk sosem tudna. Nem beszélve arról, hogy minden 30mp videótól a 4 percesig, oktató videókat töltenek fel, és be is mutatják azt, hogy a Te pénzed mire lett fordítva. Nekem megér 20 dollárt akkor is ha esetleg 19 abból egy ember zsebébe megy, mert közben látom, hogy oktatják a világot arról, hogy a műanyag milyen károkat tesz. Valami, amiről az oktatásban még MINDIG nem esik szó, véletlenül sem.

Igen, szerintem egy karkötő, ahogyan a reklámjuk is mondja, meg tudja menteni a világot. Nem tudod, milyen messzire jutott a szemeted, mert eszedbe se jut, hogy egy nagyobb eső és a csatorna milyen messzire tudja elvinni a szemetet. Én horrorral nézem a videókat, ahol bemutatják, hogy egy teknősbéka beléből miket szednek ki, de ha valaki azon gazdagodna meg, hogy egy olaj földet örököl senki nem turkálna a zsebében, "Ügyes voltál Feri!" és mennénk tovább. Nem gusztustalan? Nem szomorú, hogy a pénz vezet mindent és ezért nem fordítunk környezetbarát programokra? Hogy, ami csak 10 év múlva termel profitot azt a tervezetet meg se nézik? De ha valaki bemutatja, hogy a környezetvédelem is jövedelmező, akkor nem nyugszunk, míg nem húztuk le a leplet az állítólagos csalásról! 
A youtube kommentemre reagáltak.

Én elhiszem majd, hogy ez a cég átver engem, amikor tényleg egy bíróság elé kerülnek, és nem buta magyar honlapokon látok cikkeket, vagy vlogokat, amik csak a klikk számra mennek rá. Addig is, senki nem állítja meg ezeket az embereket, hogy kitalálják azt, ami az ő zsebükbe nyomja a pénzt és megmenti a bolygónkat. Én tudom, hogy nem vagyok erre képes, szóval legalább nem állok annak az útjába, aki ezt teszi helyettem, sőt, támogatom is mert nem bírok ki még egy fotót egy bálna beleiről, és nem tudom más, hogyan bírja. 

Én azt tudom tanácsolni mindenkinek, hogy ne higgyen el mindent, amit elsőre olvas. Főleg ha egy olyan cégről van szó, amiről senki csak egy kis buta magyar blog mond rosszat. Sőt, a "ezt átverés?" youtube videók, amik készültek is arra jutottak, hogy "nem". Ezek után meg azt mondanám, hogy ha valakit irritál, a sok reklám, amit lát a 4Ocean által a Youtube videói alatt, akkor ne álljon meg ott, hanem nézze meg a többi videóikat. Nézze meg, hogy hány cégnek segítenek, nézzék meg hány ezer ember jelenik meg a tengerpartokon és takarítja szívesen az utánuk hagyott mocskot. Nézzék meg azt is hogy instagramon hány ezer ember hálás a karkötőért, amit kapott, hogy nem csak egy csekket küldött, hanem kapott is vissza valamit, valamit, ami onnantól kezdve minden beszélgetésnek a része lehet, és ő maga is oktathatja az embereket körülötte.

Nem arról van szó, hogy egy karkötő egyedül mit tud tenni, hanem az, hogy ha összefogunk mind, akkor mit tudunk elérni és sajnos materiális emberek vagyunk... igenis jólesik, hogy kapunk valamit cserébe a segítségért, amit nyújtunk, de számít ez, ha legalább segítettünk? Túl sok kárt tettem már én is, mire megtanultam, hogy oda figyeljek arra, amit hagyok magam után, és itt nem a gyerekeimről van szó, hanem az én életemről is még. Valamit tenni kell és most. Szóval mi lenne ha hagynánk azt dolgozni, aki helyetted, igen te, aki ott ülsz és olvasod ezt, helyetted is arra törekszik, hogy jobb hely legyen a földünk?

És ha ez a cég nem szimpi, semmi baj: mások is próbálkoznak, mint The Ocean Cleanup, avagy bármelyik állatmentő cég, ami a partnerjük volt - nekik lehet külön is küldeni pénzt vagy jelentkezni önkéntesnek. Merjünk utána nézni a dolgoknak! És értsük meg, hogy a karkötő egy mentalitás, amin jó lenne ha mind osztoznánk, hogy jobb legyen a világunk!
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One Bracelet CAN Save The World

Nobody paid me to share these thoughts, but I couldn't handle being quiet anymore when I keep seeing people spit in the hands of those who are looking for solutions.

Some Hungarian blogish site decided to write a click-bait article, with the intent of ruining the image of the 4Ocean cleanup company and their sale of bracelets made form re-used plastic.

I really had to concentrate on not using fowl language, because the article made me really pissed off. But I feared that my message would get lost, so I want to remain strong. Most important thing is that we need to remember that with lack of information, it is very easy to mislead people.

The company finances the work it does by selling bracelets made of recycled plastic. The biggest problem for everyone is how much money goes into the pockets of the founders of the company, while many workers are volunteers. Here I would add that not everyone is a volunteer... most of them are paid workers. Not to mention that they work in places where the minimum wage in their country is unthinkable. On Instagram and Youtube, they keep in touch with their followers and donors, something all charities that want your money never do.

My question is, for all the critics, that they point to the green and environmental project that is FREE. I don't know, what's wrong with being enriched with a program that is good for our planet? Nothing is free in this world, and if we look at how the US government is influenced by the gun and oil lobby, I don't blame companies that start working outside of the government and without their help. The $20 are worth it for me, even if some of it goes into the pocket of the founders, because I see that they teach the world what damage plastic is doing. Something that is still not always discussed in education, not by a long shot.

I'd like to ask those who are caught up on the question of the money, if they have ever actually seen any of the videos that were posted by the companies they are collecting donations for? Any of those animal safety and preservation companies that nobody would know about, had it not been for the audience that 4Ocean already has. I sent them money to save the sea turtles and the Hawaiian monk seals, after which two videos were made, where the workers at the preservation sites showed how grateful they were for the money they received, and no one held a gun to their head to make them say it. Not to mention that every 30 second video, up to the 4 minute ones, are training and educational videos and a demonstration of what your money has been spent on.

Yes, I do think a bracelet, as their advertisement says, can save the world. You don't know how far your garbage has gone, because you don't think how far the rain and the water-ducts can take the garbage away. I look at the videos with horror, showing you what a turtle has in their stomach, but if someone gets rich off an oil field they inherited, no one would rummage in his pocket, "You did good Johnny!" and we just go on with our lives. Isn't that disgusting? Isn't it sad that money drives everything and so we don't invest in environmentally friendly programs? That something that will only make a profit in 10 years is not even considered? But if someone demonstrates that environmental protection is profitable, we won't rest until we uncover that alleged fraud!

I will believe that this company is ripping me off when they really go to court, and I see more than articles from blogs on silly Hungarian websites that just look to be click-baits. In the meantime, no one is stopping you haters from finding green solutions yourself. I know I'm not capable of doing this, so at least I'm not causing obstacles to those who ARE tying to make changes, and I will also support it because I can't look at another photo of the disgusting waste they take out a whale's stomach. I don't know how others can look away.

They answered one of my comments.
I can advise everyone to not believe everything they read. Especially when it comes to a company that people are trying to make look bad with ZERO success so far. I would say that if anyone is irritated by the many advertisements you see for 4Ocean on your Youtube videos, don't get irritated, investigate! Click on their page and look at their other videos. See how many companies they help, see how many thousands of people appear on the beaches and clean up the dirt left behind. Look at how many thousands of people on instagram are grateful for the bracelets they've received: we are not just sending them a check, but also getting something back that can be part of every conversation from now on, and we can educate people around us.

It is not just what a bracelet can do alone, but what we can do together, and no matter how much we work together, we are still material people ... it does matter that we get something in return for the help we provide, but isn't it more important that at least we did something? I have done too much damage myself, by the time I learned to pay attention to what I leave behind as far as trash is concerned, I feared it might have been too late. Something has to be done and now. So how about we let work the person who, instead of you, you sitting there reading this, is working on making our Earth better?

And if this company isn't to your liking, no problem: others like The Ocean Cleanup, or any of the animal rescue companies they've partnered with - you can either send them money or volunteer. Let's dare to look at things closely! And understand that bracelets are a mentality that if we all shared we could make our world a better place!

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

What's Next On My List? Teen Wolf

We had a VHS tape of this movie and growing up I think I watched it at least once a month. I just want to be writing about things that I love lately, even if others do not agree. Maybe this will change your mind!

Scott is in a hard place, he is not excelling at school and his basketball team keeps losing. After a series of weird incidents, Scott goes home to find out that he is going through a lot more than just puberty. He turns into a werewolf, and his father greets him as one as well, telling him that this curse has been in their family for generations. Scott breaks out in one of his basketball games and he is first received with fear by many, but with admiration by some others. The fame of the wolf changes him, but his closest friends remind him that he does not need the wolf to be more, he already is.

Years later the CW remade it into a TV show  with the same title, Teen Wolf (2011), that I have never seen. I was told it was good, but the reason I never got around to it, is because this movie now has a reputation for being cheesy and stupid and I am not really on board with that... first of all, yes, I might have nostalgia goggles on, but if the concept of a movie was able to yield 6 seasons of one of the most watched shows after 2010, then maybe it isn't that stupid... Second, this movie might have the best soundtrack of any 80's  movie ever made. I waited for years, and it actually wasn't until Youtube that I finally got around to finding all the songs. And I will share the best one with you! Finally, I just love the casting in this movie. They cast the nerd, the cool one, the cheerleader, the jock, everyone so perfectly, the onscreen chemistry was off the hook; and Michael J. Fox was such a good actor, that when it came around to Back To The Future, they re-started shooting with him and worked around his schedule to make sure he could be the lead. There is a lot of trivia around this movie that is fun to investigate, I would invite everyone to do so!

Watch it? I do think people don't understand the underlying message: it is a coming of age story. It is based in fantasy, but most movies are. To me the fact that the TV show was such a success shows that this movie was ahead of its time. We now love vampires and werewolves and all kinds of monsters that appear in our otherwise very boring reality. I still adore this movie, the soundtrack will stay with me forever. I do recommend it if you wish to know what kind of awesome movies give inspiration to Hollywood producers today.

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

Scott Howard - Michael J. Fox
Harold Howard - James Hampton
Stiles - Jerry Levine
Lewis - Matt Adler
Pamela - Lorie Griffin

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

What's Next On My List? The Wedding Date

When this movie came out in 2005 I watched it twice in the theatre: I was looking forward to it since the first trailer came out and I was not let down. It just came up in a conversation with my sister and I decided to write down a couple of thoughts and the reason why I find this to be one of the best romantic comedies out there.

Kat goes back to England for the wedding of her little half-sister, but her ex-fiancée is the best man and she has not moved on as much as she wishes she had. She decides to hire an escort for the weekend, Nick, in order not to appear hung up on her ex. The two spend hours talking about relationships and the future, which brings them closer together. Finally, Kat learns why her ex left her, but just in time to realize that she is ready to move on from that relationship.

This was one of those few movies that gave me even more than I expected. For the first time in my life, I watched a movie two times at the theater and wished to own it on DVD as fast as I possibly could. The reason I decided to talk about it, is because it came back up in a conversation with my sister and I had to admit that this is probably one of the only romantic comedies that taught me something. Our main character cannot move on from her her ex and their engagement, because she does not want to. Nick tells her, that every woman has the love life she wants, and it took me years to learn that, but it is true: the moment you learn to care about yourself and to love yourself, the only person you are going to share your heart with will share that same respect for you. Our main character decides, that her narrative isn't that of the bride left at the alter, but that of the woman who seeks happiness in life. And she isn't the only one that learns a valuable lesson. Her sister Amy evaded the truth at the risk of losing the love of her life, but not only does it catch up to her, but she realizes that living in a lie is tearing her apart inside. Sometimes you need to trust the people in your life to love you, even if you are not perfect. And what I actually like the most in the movie, is that one person, the one whose presence almost ruined the life of two smart women, as he learns absolutely nothing. Now, I do believe that people can change, but they do only when they want to. The lead women in this story wished to wake up to a better day and as such they have taken command. Now, you cannot change those who don't want to, but they also create their own misery, it is nobody's job to save them.

Watch it? I think it is going to be an eternal favorite of mine. There is this infinite number of romantic comedies out there that have absolute no value other than entertainment. And that is fine, but that is also the reason why we do not re-watch them anymore, just once. That is why this one stands out, the story does hold incredible moral lessons that have, truly helped me for one in learning to love and care for myself. No other romantic comedy ever held such an important role.

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

Kat Ellis - Debra Messing
Nick Mercer - Dermot Mulroney
Amy - Amy Adams
Edward Fletcher-Wooten - Jack Davenport
Jeffrey - Jeremy Sheffield
Victor Ellis - Peter Egan

Thursday, July 4, 2019

What's Next On My List? The Emperor's New Groove

Probably the best Disney animated cartoon ever made in the history of time. Seeing that this year I have already started reviewing animation that was highly underrated, I thought it would be stupid to leave this one out.

Kuzko, the emperor, is in danger, as his second in command Yzma wishes to get rid of him for good. By accident, instead of the poison meant for him, he is administered a potion that turns him into a llama. Kronk, Yzma's right hand, after a series of mistakes, does not end Kuzko, but leads him onto the path of Pacha, a good hearted man who decides to help him get back home.

I remember when my brother got me this on DVD, and I had no idea what to expect. Despite the fact that I think it is one of those cartoons that was meant for a more mature audience, I know that I loved it as a kid. Somehow the jokes of Kuzko breaking the fourth wall resonated with me very well at that age, and I think it might have been the first time I saw that and couldn't help but laugh. So as far as the storytelling it concerned, to me it was revolutionary. Coming back to the characters themselves: We have seen other instances of villains being blinded by power, so that alone is nothing new, but the overall moral message was delivered well: all the money in the world cannot bring happiness.
The tale of the prince/princess/emperor getting stranded with the common folk and learning humility is one of the most reused stories of all time. However, none of those stories have these villains. Yzma might be the funniest character to ever appear on the TV screen. I get her motivation and I get her fuel for power, and I don't necessary want her to win, I just love how she just plays with the audience the same way Kuzko does. Her interactions with everyone, from Kronk, to Pacha's children was very well made. And of course I enjoyed how her attitude changed toward Kuzko from the beginning to the end of the movie. Voiced by the wonderful Eartha Kitt, she was simply the greatest villain ever made, and she was most certainly my favorite over the years.

Watch it? I think this movie got a bigger following in the years coming after its release. And I am always happy to hear how many of my friends also loved it. It is actually my sister's favorite too, and how can you not want to adopt llamas after this? I want one JUST so I can name it Kuzko. So go watch, watch and watch! And keep asking yourself, why do they even have that lever?

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

Kuzko David Spade
Pacha John Goodman
Yzma Eartha Kitt
Chicha Wendie Malick

Friday, June 28, 2019

10+ Movies That Will Take You To Paradise

During the summer time I tend to rely on movies that have been shot in literal paradise, like Hawaii or the Bahamas. I decided to gather together all those movies that, either because of the story, or the setting just simply take me with them and I feel like that for a couple of hours I am able to leave this concrete jungle behind. The movies listed here are not all Academy Award nominees, but they are great for guilty pleasures for sure. Good or bad, visually, they are all stunning. The list is at random, so do not think of it from best to worst or the other way around. If you wish to be transported away, any and all of these are perfect. I decided to give you a rating at the bottom, on a scale of 5, just so you know what to expect.

I was very young when this movie came out, but we watched it every summer because it was always on TV. Back then I did not like the story a lot, at first, but it is somewhat harmless overall. Our main character acts her age, which means, irrational, lies, and lashes out at her dad. She also uses manipulation, which, for a child of divorce, is not that strange. I also understand how a young girl, with all of her life ahead of her, does not realize yet the luck she says traveling around the world and with a father that does love her so much. This is just a family movie, as good as any other from the 90s, and it is fun to see young Katherine Heigl. Re-watching it now is kind of surreal, a lot of old emotions and also new ones came out, because with the years we tend to forget those movies that paved our childhood. But it is good to go back to them every once in a while!
Fun: 5/5
Romantic: 4/5
Adventurous: 2/5
Visually: Stunning!

A couple of years back I wrote a review on this movie, as it is a remake of one of my mom's favorites. I really liked this version, fortunately for a Sandler movie, the toilet humor was reduced to a minimum, almost none, and it was just plain funny. It is of course a romantic comedy, so you might expect the ending from the first scene, but every time I watch it I just laugh my ass off. Because of its predictability, the movie added a lot of jokes that made it simply delightful. In the second half of the movie they travel to Hawaii and it is simply visually stunning. If one is looking for an evening of loud laughter I do suggest watching this - especially because Sandler and Aniston have great on-screen chemistry. (Click here to read my review!)
Fun: 5/5
Romantic: 4/5
Adventurous: 1/5
Visually: Breathtaking!

My sister got me this movie, and it is just one of the silliest stories out there. It was specifically made for anyone who wants to believe that younger guys can be mature adults. It is a fantasy, in my opinion, and the movie also points out that indeed a mother of two should not be running away to Hawaii every chance she gets. But, I agree with her, I want to go to Hawaii every chance I get as well... especially for that hot stud of a surfer instructor. This movie is perfect for a summer evening, if you just want to lay back and not worry about the story that unfolds in front of you. It isn't going to win any awards, but I don't think it was meant for that. You have a talented actress from the 90s being courted by a young stud... This movie is for guilty pleasure and for that it is perfect.
Fun: 1/5
Romantic: 5/5
Adventurous: 2/5
Visually: Impressive!

This is the single worst movie I have ever seen in my life. I just have no f*cking idea what it was about, still. Like... there is this army guy and he screws over some locals, and hangs out with Emma Stone, who is supposed to be a local, but we can all clearly tell that was a terrible miscast... or just altogether racially insensitive. And then there is this scene where one of the guys doesn't talk and it is with subtitles and just like WHAT AM I WATCHING? That having been said, out of all the movies listed here, visually, this showed us a side of Hawaii that not many movies do. Main reason for that of course being that most movies give us the tourist side, while here we approach the locals and their view of their home. If you want, I do recommend it, and go and rate it for yourself online. And, as I said, when it comes to the islands themselves, this movie gives us a lot more. Even if the story is hardly compelling, it does still take you away to paradise.
Fun: 1/5
Romantic: 1/5
Adventurous: 3/5
Visually: Remarkable!

Growing up this was one of my favorites. Admittedly, watching it now, it is a little bit weird, but I still award the plot for its originality. That is, until I noticed the similarities with Dracula... I mean really, on older man sees a woman who looks just like the love of his life, and he decides to steal her from the young man who is about to marry her. But this one has a happy ending, and our main character defeats Dracula. In order to do that, however, he has to get back to Vegas, after being shipped quite far, precisely Hawaii. Paradise is just a small part of the story, but a significant and entertaining one. I think this is just a wonderful example of great 90s romantic comedies, with leading actors that have not since been in similar movies. I recommend it to anyone.
Fun: 5/5
Romantic: 4/5
Adventurous: 3/5
Visually: Splendid!

Okay, I think I have seen this movie a hundred times. This is where little me fell in love with Harrison Ford, and he was simply to die for. Honestly, I am not surprised Anne Heche fell in love with him, even if they shared an otherwise horrific adventure that set them on the course to find each other. In the story, Robin and her fiancée Frank travel to paradise to get away from the busy days in the city, however, due to a work emergency Robin has to fly back home. On her way, she and her pilot get in a crash on a deserted island after ending up in a huge storm. For a whole week they try to survive, and when they finally get back to reality, it is just not the same anymore. If you have not seen it yet, I highly recommend it.
Fun: 5/5
Romantic: 3/5
Adventurous: 5/5
Visually: Remarkable!

So far we had mostly romantic comedies, but that is not the only genre that loves to pack its bags and travel to paradise. A few years back a thriller with my beloved Paul Walker and Jessica Alba in the lead came out, where good people ended up being in the wrong place at the wrong time. After discovering a plane wreck with highly valuable cargo, our main protagonists have to run away from harm and try to survive. Every year I write about a movie that Walker stars in on his birthday, to remember him after his passing. I also wrote about this one, and you can read it here. I do recommend it if you are looking for something more than just a romantic comedy.
Fun: 2/5
Romantic: 4/5
Adventurous: 5/5
Visually: Astonishing!

Both movies made about the Brady family poke fun at the original series and I have to say... they are hilarious. This was unconventional family and the movies enhance that the best they can. In the sequel, the presumed deceased first husband of Carol returns to get something of his, and it puts the whole family out of sync. However, when it turns out that he is an impostor, they band together to save the day. I was quite young when I saw this for the first time and I already laughed out loud a lot, then, as an adult, I could appreciate far more the parody and the foolishness of it all. The actors are wonderful in it and it is where I met and fell in love with the great Gary Cole, who has been one of my favorite actors ever since. In the second half of the movie, they travel to Hawaii and well... just watch it. It is an outstanding silly movie, you'll find yourself yelling out "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!" in no time.
Fun: 5/5
Romantic: 1/5
Adventurous: 3/5
Visually: Beautiful!

A friend of mine had a copy of this movie and I loved it. This is a more typical Sandler movie, as in, there is some completely unnecessary toilet humor or characters that just make you feel uncomfortable... that having been said, it was still, overall a wonderful story, that really moved me. The main character had a head injury, but the protagonist loves her so much that even if he has to remind her every single day of their life about their love, it is worth it. And unlike any other romantic story that wishes to enforce in my head how they are unique and exceptional... this one really felt like it too. I still do not think that I have seen any other movie with a story that moved me so much, whilst trying to be funny. It is a very original concept, and I do not think enough people appreciated it for what it was. And, as a bonus, it is also filmed in Hawaii, so if this does not convince you to give it a shot, I don't know what will.
Fun: 5/5
Romantic: 4/5
Adventurous: 2/5
Visually: Extraordinary!

Since there are more genres that have indeed traveled the miles - either with a camera crew or on a paper - I wanted to talk about those as well. My childhood favorite is Lilo & Stitch, which I think is where my love of Hawaiian culture begun. First, the music. This has my favorite Disney soundtrack of all time, and I am including the MCU in that! Second, the story: this movie has more heroes than some other Disney movies I know. The motivations of the heroes and the villains is more than clear, and the lesson in the end is that not everything is black or white. It is funny and moving and had wonderful lessons for children. Not to mention that this little monster is the cutest thing ever drawn on paper! Three, most important, the characters: I love everyone in this story. The typical 'orphan' gimmick of Disney cartoons is made fun of and the idea of 'family' is re-written to teach us that families come in all shapes and sizes. I can't think of a better children's movie.
Fun: 5/5
Romantic: 1/5
Adventurous: 5/5
Visually: Extremely well done!

And last but not least...

This movie enchants me still. Moana is destined to become the new chief of her tribe, but she is drawn to the sea instead of the land. She discovers that her tribe is descended from travelers, but the sea was no longer their friend. The people of Moana will be forced to leave the island, but not being able to navigate the sea, they are afraid of what lies over the reef. I just adored every single second of this movie. And I tell you why... yes, it is true that we don't need princesses who have to be rescued because girls can do it alone! This has quickly become one of my top 5 favorite Disney movies. The characters are lovable, the songs are wonderful, not to mention that culturally the Polynesian heritage had to be showcased. I have been studying it in my free time because I am somehow drawn to them, thinking of Hawaii for example, the history, they myths, the language... really I want to learn more and more. This movie just made me want to continue my little research. (You can read my review here!)
Fun: 5/5
Romantic: 4/5
Adventurous: 2/5
Visually: Animation was superb!

I hope some of these were new to you, or at least a blast from the past that is worth investigating again! I just love to be taken away from my bedroom to sunny beaches with beautiful white sand and the shade of palm trees. If you are like me, I'm sure this list is for you!

Until the next item on my list!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

What's Next On My List? We Are Marshall

I have been thinking about writing about this movie for a while now. I finally decided to cover it because I see a resurgence of movies and TV shows based on real life events in the streaming era of Netflix and Hulu, and they seem to be getting more popularity than ever before. And as such it is a good idea to go back to this gem.

The winning football team of Marshall University suffers a terrible plane accident and all the players die in the crash. Only the assisting coach and some of the players currently on the bench remain, but one outsider, one coach, still sees the chance to make this school great again. He sees that this university still encompasses the spirit of that team, and football Sundays are the only way for people to respectfully move forward with their lives: by honoring that team every chance they get.

I got a hold of this movie because of Matthew Fox, and quite frankly, I would have given him a lot more screen time, as his scenes with actual dialogues were not in majority. Which was a shame, because he had wonderful interactions with McConaughey, and their on-screen chemistry was spot-on. Turning over, the lead himself was outstanding: before this I had seen several movies of McConaughey, but up to today this is my favorite. The movie encompasses a very important lesson: grief has no expiration date and nobody faces it the same way. This outsider, this coach comes in, and the way he forces football onto some makes those still in pain seem like he is disrespecting them. But actually, I do believe he teaches them that for some life has to go on. Nobody holding onto a ledge can make it long without falling. What this coach's approach has taught me is that there are more ways to respect those who passed than just sitting in silence. Some might have disagreed, but the love he brought to his job was simply indisputable.

Watch it? I find that this movie somehow fell between the cracks and many did not see it. This tragedy was one of the worst things that ever happened, and yet it is not the only one.This movie wished to tell this story to showcase how some are never forgotten, and that we all deal with grief differently. Because this tragedy is not unique - we have had more bush crashes, plane crashes and deaths of young hopeful people than I would like to admit. But as such, we have to go on... some things in life we will never get over, but there is hope in helping each other through it. And this movie in particular tries to convey that important message.

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

Jack Lengyel - Matthew McConaughey
Red Dawson - Matthew Fox
Nate Ruffin - Anthony Mackie
President Dedmon - David Strathairn
Paul Griffen - Ian McShane
Annie Cantrell - Kate Mara

Saturday, June 15, 2019

What's Next On My List? Hawaii Five-O (2009)

Every summer I gather together the last season of this show so I can spend 40 minutes every other day in Hawaii with my favorite police team of all time.

Stephen McGarrett is a retired Navy Seal who goes back home to Oahu, after his father is killed by a suspicious organization. He is given the chance to run his own task force to deal with harder cases, and for it he hires the best: Danny Williams, a detective from New Jersey who is his exact opposite; Chin Ho Kelly, a young police officer who was put off the force for wrong reasons, and Kono Kalakaua, a sniper shooter right out of the police academy. As time passes outside outside members help them with cases, and an excellent cop from Chicago joins them, Lou Grover. As well as a tech consultant, Jerry Ortega. Finally, their team changes, with another Navy Seal, Junior Reigns and finally Tani Rey, a strong woman who was kicked out of the police academy, but McGarrett saw potential in her. Each episode covers a single case, but in the background there is always a much larger story playing out, and each season just gets me to come back for more.

“- You know what you are?
- Annoyed with this conversation.”

This is actually a remake of a show of the same name, that ran from 1968 to 1980 with twelve seasons, and main characters by the same name. I remember that before season 6 started, lead actor Alex O'Loughlin was very excited, because none of his shows have ever gone that far before. There was an interview and a video where, before the shooting started, locals blessed the shooting location (you can watch it here!), but they have done that at the beginning of several seasons. And that is what I love about the series: there are a lot of episodes that deal with the cultural history of the island, and I feel not only that they are respectfully making the best out of the surrounding they have, but they teach me a lot. I am fascinated by Hawaiian culture, and I do believe that the list of things I have learned are partly thanks to having wished to look up everything after hearing about them in the show (let it be that only one of the islands still uses the old Hawaiian language, the meanings of mahu and kahuna, and wishing to say thank you with mahalo, just to mention a few).

“- You know, for a woman who died in a car bomb 20 years ago, you are remarkably put well together.
- Thank you, I’ll take that as a compliment.”

Season 1-8:
I was thinking whether or not I should do a season by season run down of the show, or just talk to you about it in general, and I decided to go with the second for one reason: it is hard for me to pinpoint best and worst storylines, since, I loved them all. When season 8 begun, there was a change in cast, which I will tell you I was worried about. Now, the reason for that was that the co-stars were not receiving the same pay, and they decided to quit. I was super bummed, and altogether still not happy about how it went down, but actually, the change of blood did do some good to the show as well: certain dynamics were getting simply old. As far as the money behind the show is concerned... I do not know much than the tabloid magazines say and none of the actors have addressed the issue as far as I know, so I will leave it at that. I do often miss those old characters, but they wrote some great ones after making up for their loss.
Then, I love that each season has a Halloween episode and a Christmas one (Mele Kalikimaka!), which despite the sand and the hot beach in the background are still very festive. Then, there are some recurring characters, and some family members played by exceptional actors like Carol Burnett and Melanie Griffith. As well as old actors from the original Hawaii Five-O series, and Magnum P.I. (which was also remade just in 2018, and it is set in this world, using some of the characters you have come to know and love in this series over the years). There are some cases that are pretty clean cut and you can guess where it is going, but that is mostly due to the fact, that even episodes that focus on character development, like a Thanksgiving episode, or others were Steve is forced to go overseas, still include a case that needs solving in the background. Others, that do focus solely on the case, always shock me cause I have no idea what the outcome is gonna be and it is thrilling to watch.

“- Have you ever mentioned any of this to Detective Williams?
- No. That would be inappropriate.
- What? Sharing your feelings? Telling the people in your life what they mean to you? How is that inappropriate?
- Well, perhaps you’re right, but it’s just something I’m not comfortable with.
- Oh, I get that. It isn’t easy for you, but you’re going to have to get past that. You’re not going to be working with stiffs anymore. You’re going to be interacting with living, breathing people on a daily basis. Gonna have to learn to open up and share your feelings. Trust me. It’s a good thing.”

Now, I am currently watching season 9, and no spoilers, but some familiar faces have already popped up and some actors that I am just delighted to see on this awesome show. I like detective stories, obviously and I have seen hundreds of shows like this, but somehow this is still the one I look forward the most.  When I can finally binge it, it means that it is summer for me too. This cast, this series really conveys the idea of family. Every police drama you see tries to force on you the "No man left behind" gimmick, and I get that, but for some reason I also feel it when it comes to these characters. When one of them leaves, I feel sad. When one of them is in danger, I am scared. Although I have learned the little word ohana from Lilo & Stitch, I can tell you that this show brings it to life every single time. They might just be great actors, but I refuse to believe that that is all that it is. People who care about their projects showcase that. I do cry quite often when it comes to this show... It is simply emotional when you have spent as many years watching it as I have.

To conclude, I do find this to be a timeless gem, that you can get into at anytime, even start right now if you haven't seen it yet! In season 8 a dog joined the cast, and I have been calling him puppy cop and it just feels me with glee when he is around. I just love this show, the fact that it is set in Hawaii is significant, but, it is also smart and it has heart. It was announced that they are gonna get a 10th season and I am super happy for them!

Until the next item on my list!
_ _ _ 

Steve McGarrett - Alex O'Loughlin
Danny Williams - Scott Caan
Chin Ho Kelly - Daniel Dae Kim 
Kono Kalakaua - Grace Park
Kamekona - Taylor Wily
Lou Grover - Chi McBride
Max Bergman - Masi Oka
Jerry Ortega - Jorge Garcia
Junior Reigns - Beulah Koale
Tani Rey - Meaghan Rath
Dr. Noelani Cunha - Kimee Balmilero