Monthly Archives: July 2012

DVD Blog-entary: Footloose (the original, not the unnecessary remake)

Hello!  I’ve slacked off on these, haven’t I?  What can I say:  it’s been busy over on the music blog.  As I sit here grooving to Russian Unicorn, I’m preparing to blog the hell out of one of my fave childhood flicks:  Footloose.

I can hear the soundtrack in my head already.  It was one of my favourites in the parental vinyl collection.  Kenny Loggins was the 80s soundtrack man, folks.  Don’t even try to argue.  Your points will be invalid.  Trust me.  So’s the remake of this film, which I refuse to ever see out of respect for the almighty Kevin Bacon and John Lithgow.

To help you out kids, I’ll try and add visual cues to my comments so you can play along.  Grab your DVD, load it in your player of choice and “Ev’rybody cut, ev’rybody cut!

Press Play

  • Oh, the old school Paramount logo…. nostalgia!
  • Let there be lips… er feet!  Sorry, wrong nostalgic fave.  Hell yeah, Kenny Loggins!
  • Oh my lord, mesh slip on shoes…. *shudder*  I loved a lot about the 80s, but the shoes…
  • Leg warmers!  *dead*
  • Moonwalk!  Just in case you didn’t know this was the 80s…
  • Stock footage is blatantly stock footage.

  • John Lithgow is awesome in this movie.  Remembering his role as Rev. Shawn Moore made watching him on Dexter extra delicious.
  • Kevin Bacon is not having your shit, John.
  • LOLZ, your daughter is painting her nails satanic red during your sermon.  Which, by the way, sounds like an existential crisis that should be delivered on a psychiatrist’s couch.
  • “Son, I know this is boring as fuck, but if I’ve gotta pretend to care, so do you.”
  • Gaggle of girl geese watch as the secretly pervy Ariel Moore meets dreamy Ren.  “Are you blind?  He’s gorgeous!”  (And decently endowed.  See Wild Things.)
  • “Hey dreamy trucker!  Going our way?”
  • I totally forgot Sarah Jessica Parker was in this!  She looked more human and less horse-like back then.
  • Oh, Hollywood!  Crazy girl straddling two vehicles without expert instruction is so plausible.

  • Triple facepalm for you Ariel, you go Ariel!
  • Bwahahahaha!  Irony:  they’re all terrified of Slaughterhouse Five… and I can’t make myself finish it out of boredom.  Irony two:  Tom Sawyer is a classic to them… y’know, because the racism/hatred of fellow man is right where it belongs instead of being challenged in Twain’s world.
  • Music cue:  “Dancing In The Sheets”.  Gonna have a dancing montage at the malt shop, baby!  Sexual innuendo via hot dogs and seductive lyrics.
  • Snap!  Daddy busted yo’ ass!
  • Music cue:  Metal Health (Bang Your Head).  Welcome to your first day at Bible Thumper High!  Mind the ten gallon hats.
  • LOL!  Did that girl just say, “Hrrpmh!  Girl, you are on!” or am I high?
  • Kevin Bacon is the man:  he just has to dance (with girls like Ginger) to get free brewskis.  #bigpimpin
  • Willard is the apparently SJP’s pet puppy.  Baits him with food and babytalks him.
  • Ren is horrified:  dancing?  Banned?  A plague of small towns with no dancing? It’s like the world’s taken over by the crazy mom in Detroit Rock City.
  • LMAO at the over-copped-cops pulling him over.  Whacking him with a cassette tape in the face.  Where was YouTube then, huh?

  • “Daddy?  Y U No Like Music?”
  • This scene was so much cooler when it was between Jennifer Grey and Jerry Orbach in Dirty Dancing.  Lithgow’s just too down with his Christian Rock Band secret dreams.
  • The next day, trucker moron’s back.  Cutting off poor Ren’s tiny clown car, making gay slurs.  He’s so bad-ass.  I’ve also realized it’s no wonder I picked up ‘douchebag’ at a young age – a 1984 film tossing it around that was a constant?  Indoctrination into cussing, baby.
  • Meow, Ariel!  Chuck wants to see me?  No 1 curr.  Busy working with flour, brb.
  • I love the random cuts to new scenes that vaguely translate into an advancing plot.  Now we’re at the gym, where Kevin swings on a steel rod and finds out Ariel’s a hoor.
  • Speaking of, bam!  Cut to Ariel being a hoor with Chuck, who does not support her college ambitions.  Y’know, Mr. “Slaughterhouse Five” Ren would appreciate intelligence.
  • And another cut 60 seconds later!  Tractor chicken!
  • “Wanna git high, Ariel?”
  • “Yay, Ren!”  “How’d I get myself into this?”
  • Cue the Bonnie Tyler baby, because we know this scene is an excuse for a manhood measurement that determines her love interest.  Considering Ren’s more of a “streetwise Hercules”, guess who wins her love?

  • Y’know Ariel, ALL OF YOUR FRIENDS ARE CHEERING REN.  Just a thought.
  • Bacon’s ass is filthy.  Did he crap himself?
  • SJP is like, the Charlotte to Lori Singer’s Carrie.
  • Bwahahahaha teachers trying to trap Ren with planted pot.  It’s like Glee.  Can you fight this feeling anymore, Ren?
  • The stepdad or whoever sounds like the Charlie Brown parents to me every time he’s on screen.  “Wah wah wah.”

  • Music cue:  “Never”.  Aka Ren feels the need to dance while thinking of his hormonal teen drama.  Gonna have a recap montage!  I love this movie, I do, but Ren’s dance right here looks eerily like the inspiration for this:

  • Y’know, maybe this is why High School Musical was so compelling for the tweens.  It’s the magic of Zac Efron channeling the magic powers of Kevin Bacon’s groin-pumping moves and flailing arms.

  • And now we see why we had to know Ren’s down with gymnastics:  he has to swing on a bar when angry to loud pulsing music to express his angst.
  • Ariel’s such a stalker.  She magically shows up at his sooper sekrit dance hall and demands kisses.
  • “I’m not just a town floozy!  I applied to colleges.  I didn’t even tell my Daddy about all of them!  I’m a rebellious lover of education.”
  • Of course, magically their banned books hideaway is in this little hideaway of Ren’s.  And this where they wank to lit porn and cement their love.  At least it’s based on intelligence and art.  Oh, and Ariel’s deathwish because she is banned from healthy means of expression like dance.  Thus, Ren’s quest to save the town.
  • “We’re not living in the Middle Ages here.  We got TV, we got Family Feud.”  Awesome Willard moment.
  • Oh dear God, shut up, Reverend!  Do you ever do anything aside from preaching?  If you were just a nice guy who liked the Yankees or something, you might have more listeners.
  • Music cue:  “Hurt So Good”.  Sekrit music cue:  “Breakin’ the Law!”.  Welcome, my pretties, to the evil world of booze and boogie.  ZOMG SATAN!
  • Damn girl, eat a sandwich!  I can see every bone in that girl’s upper body.
  • SJP is all, “Wah!  Dance with me, loser!”
  • I don’t get why she doesn’t just go dance solo to fast numbers until “Footloose” comes on (second time of three… just in case we forget what we’re watching).  I also don’t get why Willard didn’t ask for dance lessons sooner.  Plus, any idiot can slow dance.
  • Hey, jealousy!  Get yer lumberjack paws off my woman!
  • Hey, Lithgow!  Your daughter can’t be a cherry on top of anything when she’s popped hers.
  • I’m pretty sure that God doesn’t like violence, Reverend.  Better go beg for forgiveness.  Oh wait, we flash-cut to the church!  He heard me!
  • YES!  My favourite part:  the “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” dance montage!

  • BRB dancing to my jam!
  • Lithgow wants a cookie, bitches!  Pony up!

  • And now, boy drama.  Ariel is all, “Um, I wanted to tell you that because you suck at tractor chicken, I’m going to keep my legs closed to you now.”
  • Damn!  This is the second bitchslap she’s gotten in this movie.  Does she have an invisible “hit me” tattoo, or did the screenwriter just not have any other ideas?  And a third slap!
  • “What’s in da box?!”  Sadly, not Gwyneth Paltrow’s head.  Just music.  Is this music evil too?  It’s inducing kissing…

  • See, Mama Moore has the common sense.  “O hai honey, just looking at you made me wanna get nasty.  You gonna jab out the eyes of all the kids to gird their loins?”
  • The only payoff for being a pastor’s daughter:  knowing every Bible passage countering Daddy and the town’s dance hate-on.  LOL.
  • …. Y’know, it’s as true now as it was then:  the violence comes from the religious intolerants when it’s a matter of moral change.  You don’t see Ren chucking bricks through windows.

  • Awesome speech of awesome:  “Ecclesiastes assures us… that there is a time for every purpose under heaven. A time to laugh… and a time to weep. A time to mourn… and there is a time to dance. And there was a time for this law, but not anymore. See, this is our time to dance. It is our way of celebrating life. It’s the way it was in the beginning. It’s the way it’s always been. It’s the way it should be now.”
  • Finally, someone in this town with sense:  “Screw dem town council idiots!  Let’s DANCE!”
  • Ariel and the Reverend are like, Ariel and King Triton, only Triton’s cooler.   He also doesn’t fear telling it like it is to her face.  And now, Ariel’s about to break your heart, Daddy dear:

  • Book burning makes me VERY angry.  Rage!  See what you’ve done, John?  See?  Innocent books are perishing!
  • Tearjerker daughter-daddy moment time!  “I believe in you, Daddy!”  *sniffsniff*
  • And now, the Reverend would like to say a few words on why you’re all judgmental assholes and should allow people to think for themselves.  Oh, the horror!
  • “By the way, Imma approve this inadvertently by asking you to pray for the dancing teens.”  Nah nah nah!
  • “I’m free!”  Sing it, Kenny!  One more montage (montage)!  Gotta decorate the warehouse with a montage!
  • Ariel’s wearing such an ugly dress.  Honey, you need cleavage for that look and you barely have hips.
  • “I was gonna come up…. da… da…. der…. You’re beautiful.  Let’s bone.”
  • Alright bizznatches, you know where this movie ends, right?  Dancing?  Fun?  Oh wait, first everyone’s gotta be all awkward because only Ren and Ariel know how to freaking dance without a crowd.  It’s even more awkward than my first junior high dance, and that was one of those video dances, so um… yeah.  Lame.
  • Also, Daddy and Mommy Moore gotta come spy.  Y’know, to ensure he finally stops crusading against the evilz of muzik and remembers to bone his wife again.
  • Last, Chuck’s gotta have one last wankery fight so he can get his ass soundly whooped and left for waste.  Whee!
  • NOOOOWWWWWWWW EVERYBODY CAN CUT FOOTLOOSE!  Hit play on that video below my pretties and enjoy the finale of gif-tastic joy!

THEY SAID EVERYBODY CUT FOOTLOOSE!  EVERYBODY!

Thank you for participating in this picspam of joy for the 80s!  See you next time, when I take on another classic film…

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Movie Review: The Dark Knight Rises

I waited over 24 hours before sitting down to this review.  I wanted to temper my initial reactions with the wisdom of time, as well as examining the thoughts of others and collecting awesome gifs for my blog version of things.

This review will be in two parts:  the first half will be my overall opinion with care to avoid major spoilers.  If you haven’t yet seen the film and want a non-obsessive-fangirl opinion of the film, this is for you.  The second half will be where I delve into the nitty gritty, both good and bad, and will be flagged as such.  All set?  Let’s begin.

The Dark Knight Rises
Overall Rating:  7.5/10

Although I enjoyed the first two Batman films in the previous series spawned by Tim Burton, I am one of the first who will say that Nolan’s reboot of the franchise has been brilliant.  Batman is not a fluffy, light superhero.  He is a truly dark man, living in a city of darkness and struggling to be a symbol of hope when he himself has little of it.  He’s an anti-hero, and Christian Bale has played him well.

I found the first installment, Batman Begins, to be a little dull and slow to move, but fully appreciated that it was the mythology establishment of the trilogy.  Kind of how half of The Fellowship of the Ring bored me, with me waving my hands at the screen saying, “Get on with it!  Go journey already!”  The Dark Knight, however, was brilliance.  Movie perfection.  This is thanks to the astounding talents of the tragically departed Heath Ledger, whose pitch-perfect performance of the Joker is breath-taking and unnerving – just as it should be.  The entire plot of that film, and the downfall of Harvey Dent, is so relevant and befitting the Batman/Bruce Wayne Nolan created with the first film.  I was left highly satisfied and wondering precisely how Batman would return.

With The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR), we pick up eight years later.  Bruce Wayne has become a recluse, his business empire is going down the shitter, and Gotham City is oh-so-proud of its law, inspired by the heroic Harvey Dent, that keeps criminals locked away without parole.  Yes, the good times are a-rollin’ in Gotham City.  For the rich, anyway.

You see where Nolan’s going already, don’t you?  It’s ripped from the bloody headlines of the past few years.

Bruce is pulled from his crippled state of melancholy by Selina Kyle ripping off his mother’s pearls from a safe – and his fingerprints in the process.  Curious as to how the hell his magic safe got cracked, never mind why anyone gives a crap about his prints, he boots up the magic toys of the Bat Cave and eventually slaps on his suit again.

Simultaneously, we have a scene where an aged Commissioner Gordon ends up being taken prisoner in the tunnels beneath the city during a routine criminal chase and notes that, O hai! there’s a whole gang of people building shit of a nefarious type down there, led by, as one brilliant person on Twitter called him, “a Scottish Foghorn Leghorn with a dollhouse radiator stuck in his mouth”.  Gordon gets away severely injured, rescued by budding sleuthy cop John Blake.

We all know these worlds are going to collide in bloody fashion as Bane takes over Gotham City with a bang, so I’ll leave the major plotting here for now and move on to my general comments…. Although first:  props to Alfred for smacking down Bruce and being tired of his shit.

Visually, this is a Nolan film, and that’s a positive.  It’s as dark and brooding as any viewer would want a film like this to be.  The gadgets are cool, the costumes fun (aside from Catwoman – the ear-goggles combo was kinda childish), and everyone looks the part, right down to Bale hobbling with a cane after years of body-punishing crime-fighting.

Spinning off of that, the mortality of the characters is also something that’s handled realistically overall, which I appreciate.  Bale’s Wayne has visible scars and internal damage that’s true to what the average man would endure while playing superhero.  He looks older, somewhat less muscular (fitting since he’s been out of the game for eight years), and has to work to get back into shape.  Gordon, too, has aged and is slower, weaker and exhausted, yet still mentally with it.  He relies on Blake for his body while training his young mind.

The theme of mortality -0f the difference between a man and a symbol – is prominent in this film, as well as the notion of yin and yang.  Specifically, as one character puts it, you need to fear death to truly fight to survive.  It’s where that last push of strength comes from, that adrenaline surge that allows us to defeat obstacles.  If we don’t care about the consequences of failure, we cannot rise as champions.

All this said, TDKR has several huge issues with it that result in a film that falls flat and is frankly predictable, something Nolan isn’t guilty of in past work.  For starters, let’s talk about casting issues.  Anne Hathaway as Catwoman… ugh.  Seriously?  We all know she got this job because she is, for reasons I cannot fathom, a Hollywood “it girl” right now.  While she’s certainly not as terrible as Halle Berry’s version, she’s incredibly irritating and unconvincing for most of the film.  For starters, she doesn’t look sexy or seductive, with or without the suit.  I’ve never seen her that way, and every time she prances on screen, she reminds me of a teenage girl playing at Lolita to the annoyance of a man who’s after a grown woman.  Her strange accent she’s adopted for this role isn’t sultry or sinister; it just sounds… fake.  She needs to fire her acting coach and find another.  Most importantly, I don’t buy her as a love interest for Wayne, nor do I buy her as the poor, troubled woman who just doesn’t believe she can be a good guy (more on this in the spoilers section).  Frankly, all she’s got going for her is flexibility and spiky heels.

Bane…  I can let go of the fact that I expected him to appear larger than life.  What I can’t let go of is the fact that I couldn’t understand half of his dialogue, and given that Nolan is huge on dialogue as a part of his message, this is a tremendous issue.  My fiance had serious issues making out over half of what he said, so it wasn’t just me.  It reminded me of one of my bitches about Inglourious Basterds:  when a dialogue master castrates his own dialogue, a film is made lesser by it.

In general terms, before hitting the spoilers, the plot comes off tired (and, to a degree, ripped off from The Dark Knight and also preachy in its left-wing slant, which is bad since I’m a lefty-libertarian), takes too long to get going, skims through what should be the bulk of the film, and twists at the end in such a way that you will roll your eyes at how Nolan destroys everything he’s set out to do for the first two hours (or, in the case of Batman, the entire trilogy).  It’s not clever; it’s so painfully obvious in foreshadowing that even I, someone who hasn’t read the comics, saw so much of it coming.  I never felt that way in the first two films.

Whew!  Here’s where I suggest you leave if you have yet to see the film.  See it, by the way, if you’re a fan of this trilogy.  Just don’t expect it to come close to The Dark Knight.  As with The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the second film is the best film, because the director isn’t just grasping to go out with every bang he can ram into a flick.

Seen it?  Let’s really chat.

This blog entry really nails a lot of what irked me, so I’ll give a nod to a like mind before beginning with my first bitch:  I hated the ending.  Hated it.  I actually loved the initial ending, and even the second ending.  God, I feel like I just watched Return of the King for the first time all over again, because this is deja vu.  But the ultimate ending…. ruins everything for me.  It wimps out on a powerful ending.  Worse, you roll your eyes and realize that yes, Alfred did actually spell out the goddamn ending for you a good hour ago.  It’s not clever, Nolan; it’s corny.  You’re capable of better.  If the point of this entire film was to comment on the mortality of men versus the eternal life of a symbol, then Wayne should have died.

After all, what you’re telling me is that a) even though he told Selina that he couldn’t use autopilot, she somehow managed to meet up with him and flee, where they waited around for Alfred’s ass to conveniently come to his damn cafe and see him; b)  that, if Alfred hallucinated that finale, he actually thought Selina was a good girlfriend for him; c) that he somehow managed to leave a bag of goodies for Blake for pick-up in this process (I was willing to suspend that one and believe that he sat it aside before the final showdown brawl); and d) that Lucius never noticed for six months that Wayne fixed the autopilot.

Sorry, but no.  Your original ending was fine.  You pulled a serious Deus ex machina out of your ass.

Speaking again of Hathaway’s character:  I don’t buy any of her plot with Wayne.  I don’t buy her as a poor, hapless girl unable to catch a break or change.  I don’t buy Bruce forgiving her for setting him up to get his back broken by Bane and ass whooped.  I don’t buy Bruce even getting over the pearls, let alone selling him out and destroying his fortune.  I don’t buy her not knowing just how much damage she was doing with her thefts.  Last, I don’t buy him trusting her in the grand finale to suddenly be a good girl, let alone her sudden love for him.  Total. Bullshit.

Next plot issue:  the general class war theme is tired, not timely.  First off, we already had that in a more subtle and intriguing fashion during The Dark Knight, when the Joker pits the two ferries against each other.  I literally felt, watching this film, like Nolan had planned for Ledger to be in the third script and when that went to hell, he watched CNN for a day and went to town.  Strangely, he somehow spins from his initial message, delivered by Selina, of “How dare the rich think they can be so powerful and leave nothing for us down here?” to “The poor murder and riot without impunity and this is why the big, powerful cops and government have a right to slaughter the uprising and be in power forever.”  It’s like a backhanded compliment to Occupy.

How Nolan makes the lower classes come off…. Uh…. Yeah. Fail.

Next issue:  I concur with the above…  The whole “Bruce fails and fails to escape” shtick got old fast.  In fact, it’s used just to accelerate time like a diluted montage, just so Nolan can skip over most of the five months of class war.  I don’t get it:  you spend forever getting us to this point and we get maybe ten solid minutes of the anarchy and reversal of fortunes, featuring a horrifically underused Cillian Murphy.  Forty-five minutes in, the main conflict was still in the distance.  I know because I looked at my cell phone, bored and wondering how long I’d been watching the film for.

Blake recognizing Wayne was vastly oversimplified.  Instead of also pointing out his hiatus and connection to past events, all he can say is that, “You’re a rage-y orphan like me with a mask, so you’re Batman”?  No no.  Levitt is fantastic in this film, and I’d love a spin-off with HIM, and I did enjoy the end acknowledgement of what I knew from moment one, but his deduction skills in that scene were unbelievable.

Last point of contention:  the castration of Bane’s character.  Really?  He’s just a crying man in love with Miranda/Talia?  Ugh.  I liked him better as the unstoppable beast Batman just couldn’t overpower who’d out-thought him as well.  Kinda didn’t care for the Miranda twist at all.  I would have much rather seen her die and that spark Batman’s final surge of adrenaline.

Summing up:  casting, aside from Hathaway, was stellar; the core message of death/mortality/symbols and class war was a good idea executed imperfectly; but ultimately, the film becomes an indulgent piece of wank that doesn’t know when to quit.  Luckily for Nolan, a lacklustre film of his is still a great film by overall standards.  It’s just not a worthy conclusion to this trilogy.

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Domestica: Invest In Cool Cleaning Gadgets

In university, I stayed in residence for three years.  The residences at our campus were essentially 4-bedroom townhouses, with locking bedrooms and shared common areas.  It was pretty awesome and cost efficient:  no meal plans, since we had a full kitchen.  You can live off $28/week if you really try, by the way.  *innocent whistle*

Anyway, once a month our advisors would come in and check our units and give us hell if they weren’t spotless.  Why they felt this compulsive need to babysit our bathrooms, I don’t know.  Maybe they felt it was wiser than waiting until the final check-out examination and discovering a unit was completely destroyed?  The phase of residence I was in was also used in summer, so it needed to be good to go year round.  Yes, I went to university year round, and it was awesome, because I did a five-year program in four years, with the bare minimum course load for full-time status.  I still got three weeks off, too.

ANYWAY depending on your advisor, these monthly checks could be rather tiresome.  You’re busting your ass for your midterms and then boom!  Scramble to scrub the mold off the shower tiles because you’ve all been lazy and also, the bathroom’s so old it practically attracts dirt.  I was fortunate to mostly have roomies who would agree to a weekly cleaning schedule on rotation, with the “week off” being putting the garbage and recycling out Thursday morning.  However, the checks always seemed to fall when I had the bathroom and well…. my roomies never competently maintained it.  Result:  two hours of taking a specially reserved toothbrush to the grout and hurting my back.

Learn well from my lessons:  don’t cheap out on cleaning supplies.  Get gadgets and products that actually work.  Save time and pain.

For example, acquire a telescopic shower tile and tub cleaner.  This one gives you an idea of what I mean.  My future mother-in-law bought me one two years ago and I LOVE HER SO MUCH.  I spray mildew cleaner every few weeks or otherwise opt for the usual bathroom cleaner, let sit for a few minutes then la-la-la, glide the brush over the tiles.  I do the same with the tub then hit the shower on, rinsing and sloshing the water around with the brush.  Less than five minutes versus the 30-40 spent in university.

Money well spent, my friends.

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Domestica: Jeweled Rice Recipe

I absolutely love rice.

As a kid, I used to make myself bowls of rice – just rice – for lunch, devouring them with soy sauce.  As an adult, I broke free of my mother’s devotion to Minute Rice and discovered a world of rice:  jasmine; basmati; arborio (technically a pasta); bamboo-wrapped sticky rice.  Gah!  Rice is a miracle food.

When I learned of my wheat intolerance (which I ignore in the name of certain foods – oops!), I began to research new recipes without the evil grain.  Of course, I came back to rice.  How could I not?  That’s when I found this recipe.

I won’t lie to you:  it takes a significant amount of prep time.  However, it makes a ridiculous quantity you can enjoy all week.  Y’know, if you like rice as much as I do.  The blend of sweet and spicy flavours truly makes it.

Voila!  Jeweled Rice!

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Domestica: Happy Canada Day! Have A Beaver Tail!

It’s Canada’s birthday, baby (and also Pride Parade day in Toronto)!  What better way to celebrate than with a beaver tail?

No, not one of these:

One of THESE:

Om nomm nomm!  And you know, calorie-wise, they’re not terrible until you load on half a jar of Nutella (oops) or a metric ton of candy (the mister).  The trouble is, Beaver Tails are not, for some reason, available on every street corner.  I know, right?

That’s okay:  I have found a decent recipe.  Indulge baby!  You’re welcome.

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