Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hail to the Hat...

I don't remember voting for it, but now that it's out there...

Judging on the web traffic, you would think Aretha's hat took the oath of office today. I think Obama should give that bow a cabinet position, don't you? Maybe Secretary of Sparkle?

Seriously though, I loved the President's speech. I can't remember the last time I was able to listen to an entire political speech without getting apoplectic with rage. Even when Bush said things I agreed with (which happened more often than I would ever admit in public), his delivery and voice and mannerisms seemed so patronizing and arrogant to me that I couldn't get through more than a couple of minutes. Today, however, I listened; I absorbed; I feel like I may have learned something. I don't have any delusions that President Obama will be any more successful managing the current crises than his predecessor, but I most certainly appreciate his ability to create an atmosphere of hope and change. He seems to have inspired the country to be more positive, more pro-active, more open... and really, that's what he will need to make the changes that we so desperately need.

Good luck, Mr. President. I, for one, am completely in your corner.

And Aretha, dear lady... you are CRAZY and so was your inauguration day bonnet. Keep up the good work.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Oh, Hai! Sandra Bullock…

I don’t know if I’m just out of the loop or what, but I can’t remember the last time there were so many romantic comedies about to come out. Not only are there lots, but our favorite leading ladies are getting back into the action, as well. Maybe it’s the economy, or the war(s), or even just the weather, but nothing entices Hollywood to make light, feel-good, tooth-rotting, sickeningly sweet, romantic-comedy fare like a nation teetering on the brink of IMPENDING DOOM!!

When I think of modern Romantic Comedies, I think of actresses. The men in these movies are props, after all. I think of Meg Ryan, Drew Barrymore, JLo, Renee Zellweger, and of course, Sandra Bullock, or as I refer to her, Sandy B. Many other actresses have made some great turns as romantic leads, but these are the five that I think define the genre. (Runners-up would probably include Kate Hudson, Reese Witherspoon, Julia Stiles, and Cameron Diaz, and if we were giving out Honorable Mentions, I would have to include Debra Messing for The Wedding Date, and that chick from The Cutting Edge).

I can’t explain why I love these movies so much, especially those from Sandy B.’s portfolio, because, for the most part, they are TERRIBLE! But they are also endearing, and funny, and damn it all, they’re entertaining.

Sandy B. has been absent from the Rom-Com racket for quite some time, probably in an attempt to salvage her reputation as a serious actress, for which I cannot spite her. Her last appearance in a rom-com was opposite Hugh Grant in Two Weeks Notice in 2002 (TOTAL FAVORITE!). Since then, she has mostly dabbled in dramas and suspense thrillers, which all did OK, but I don’t think any of them could be called breakthroughs.

Aside: if you’re following along with me in her IMDB profile, you may notice a certain movie filmed between Two Weeks Notice and the present day entitled Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous, and you may also argue that this film could be classified as a romantic comedy, and you would be totally right. However, I think it practical and prudent to pretend that that movie NEVER HAPPENED because it is an ABOMINATION!

Ahem… fast forward to NOW and Sandy B. has not one, but two, rom-coms slated for release in early 2009, starting with one called All About Steve, which comes out in March.

First things first: I HATE HER HAIR!! But aside from that, this looks really cute. I think Sandy B. is at her best when she’s playing a misfit, and this character looks adequately kooky. The lead guy and the title’s namesake is Bradley Cooper, and other than seeing him pop up in the occasional TV show, I don’t know him all that well. More importantly, though, this trailer reminds me of the great comedic delivery and top-notch physical comedy Sandy B. is capable of when given good material.

Next up, and releasing in June (not that far off if you think about it), is The Proposal.

Ok, how about some pros and cons:

Pro: RYAN REYNOLDS!! That man… gah! It’s very hard to find men who are equally appealing in a suit as they are shirtless, and very helpfully, Hollywood has found one for us. THANK YOU!

Con: Sandy B. plays a female executive who is a bitch. How utterly original.

Pro: I will say Sandy’s hair is much better here.

Con: The premise is kind of out there. In what world would a boss threaten to fire an employee if he/she doesn’t marry him/her so that he/she could weasel out of an immigration issue? I mean, I suppose it could happen, but if I were in Ryan’s place, I’d just call my lawyer and sue for harassment and conspiracy. There’s nothing hard about it.

Pro: Betty Frikkin’ White

So, yes, I’m excited about both of these movies. I was afraid that Sandra Bullock had turned her nose up at romantic comedies, so I’m excited to see her back in her strongest suit. I don’t have a whole lot of hope that either of these movies will be amazing, but Sandy B. has a way of being great even if the material is flat.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Li’l Sis recommends…

Li’l Sis called to tell me that we MUST see this movie… (Ma’am, yes, Ma’am!)

New In Town

The presence of Harry Connick, Jr. is a definite plus. The only rom-com I can remember him in is Hope Floats, which is an all-time favorite. The Zellweger, on the other hand, is worrisome. I never know whether I like her or not. She’s very hit or miss with me. Chicago was a hit and the Bridget Jones movies are classic. And she was exquisite in Down With Love. Ok, so I pretty much like everything she's in, so I’ve just argued with myself, apparently. Perhaps my wishy-washiness can be chalked up to things like this…

I mean… yikes.

But yes, I’ll see this movie, because Li’l Sis is a terrific movie-mate, and I’ve never said no to a good, old-fashioned, fish-out-of-water, straight-out-of-the-textbook, formulaic romantic comedy. Predictability is a like a salve on the messy warts of existence. Two tickets, please.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Holiday debriefing…

Since this year’s holiday plans did not include traveling, I decided to make a to-do list of vacation activities, not only to avoid boredom, but to give me crap to blog about. It went like this…

1. Clean apartment from top to bottom

Not a particularly fascinating blog topic, but since we’re here… I did clean from top to bottom (bottom to top) and once I recovered from the headache caused by my very liberal use of bleach in the bathroom, I was quite pleased with the result. It didn’t even take that long. Having my own place has made me much neater, although I’m still prone to clutter (magazines, books, clothes). What I’m not so good at is dusting and organizing. I still think dusting is a waste of precious time, but organizing is always a good thing because it helps me gain control in a world of chaos.

2. See at least one movie in a theatre

Li’l Sis and I took in Twilight (finally!). It was alright. I thought the girl playing Bella did a good job, in that she was just as frustrating on screen as she is in the book. I mean, I don’t pretend to understand the hearts and minds of teenage girls, but would any self-respecting emo, hormonal, impressionable, high school girl act like Bella? Granted, Robert Pattinson is swoon-worthy, but he eats wild animals, sparkles, and doesn’t seem to own a hairbrush. Love is great and all, but not when bodily harm is involved. In other words, JUST BITE HER ALREADY! Anyway, I did like the movie, but only because I’ve decided not to let my dissatisfaction with the conclusion of the series color my appreciation for the first book.

3. Start a new knitting project

I can’t say I succeeded here. I thought about it a lot; I looked through all of my patterns and books, organized my yarn, etc… but I didn’t actually settle on anything. I crave a massive project, but looking at all the barely started, half-finished, sitting in a bag, never to be seen again projects next to my yarn stash gave me pause. I should probably finish some of those before starting something else, but I couldn’t find the motivation. Therefore, this holiday activity will have to rollover.

4. Listen to all the CDs I’ve purchased this year

So THAT’S where all my money goes! I have a terrible habit of buying music and then not listening to it, which is just CRAZY, considering how much I’ve spent. I managed to plug through everything between lots of walks and mindless internet-browsing, and I was very proud of myself when I was finished. However, since I listened to almost 50 albums (I know, it’s ridiculous) practically back-to-back, I don’t remember any of it. Perhaps it wasn’t really worth it?

5. Read the entire Harry Potter series

I’ve actually been meaning to do this for quite some time. I was so exhausted after the build-up, release, and manic speed-read through the final book two summers ago (god, has it been that long?), that I figured I needed a break. And since movie 6 comes out this summer, it seemed like I was ripe for a review. I’ve read the first four books more times than I care to admit (actually, I can’t admit anything because I’ve lost count), but prior to this holiday Potter-blitz, I’d only read the last three books one time each. I know, I’m a bad Potter-fan. I thought this would be an easy thing, but I underestimated how long and involved these books are. I have just now finished reading all seven, and it is one week past Christmas vacation. I’m really quite tired.

Since this was my first complete read-through of all seven books, I was able to take in the entire scope of the series. It really is an amazing feat of literature. Some of the best fantasy fiction being written today is absolute GARBAGE compared to Harry Potter. Often times, these huge, sprawling epics are littered with unworthy installments. Even The Lord of the Rings has been criticized for the plodding and drama-leaking second book (The Two Towers), and that’s frikkin’ JRR Tolkien, for god’s sake. But all seven books in Rowling’s series are gems; perfect within themselves, and yet perfect parts to the whole, too. One of my main goals after this re-read was to be able to confirm which one of the seven is my favorite. It’s still The Prisoner of Azkaban, but now that I see how they all fit together, The Half-Blood Prince almost caused an upset.

I love PoA because of the seamless blend of magic, mystery, and action. While the first two books are genius, I feel like the darker tone and thrilling twists of this third novel make it the one in which the series begins to take off. But H-BP is really amazing, too. I didn’t fully appreciate it the first time through (all those years ago), but it really is a masterpiece. Such a fitting prelude to the final book…

Finally, I’m glad I did this because now I can say I actually like the last book. I won’t lie… when I first read it, I was a tad disappointed. I suppose I thought it would end differently (too many nights spent on fan-sites soaking in all those theories about how the series would end kind of backfired), and I found so much of it to be frustrating (why are we still camping!? DO SOMETHING!). I’ll also admit that I was incredibly confused at the end when I read it the first time, which probably informed my bad attitude about it. This time, I followed the twists and turns much better, so it was fascinating rather than tedious. But let’s be real: all those horcruxes and all those hallows – that’s a lot to keep up with. No wonder I was lost. But now that I understand everything, this book is a tremendously entertaining climax to a tremendously awesome series. I doubt very much that any series will ever be as good, or as universally beloved. That is, unless she plans to do a spin-off. Personally, I think she is. How else do you explain that awful, awful epilogue?

(and don’t get snippy with me. You know that epilogue was bad. Unnecessary, sentimental, pointless… awful)

Oh, and as a sidebar: I also read the recently released Tales of Beedle the Bard. Very cute.

6. And finally… get a root canal

My mouth added this one to the list last-minute. See what had happened was… one of my wisdom teeth had a bad day and decided to end it all by coming down hard on a stale pretzel and breaking in half. OH THE PAIN!! So, yeah, I got a root canal. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought. It was almost pleasant. Just kind of sat there for 20 minutes with some dude’s hand in mouth. No biggie.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

This cover would suck without Photoshop…

Behold! The cover of Kelly Clarkson’s new single, slated for release on January 19, 2009.

Note the return to blonde highlights and bright colors and sense of fun and sexy. It appears that Kelly has decided to return to her pop/rock image a la Since You Been Gone, and my reaction is all kinds of THANK GOD!

Don’t misunderstand me. I really liked her previous effort, My December, even though many considered it a failure. That album got caught up in some serious PR drama that prevented it from getting the recognition it deserved. Yeah, it was dark and serious and a tad self-indulgent, but there was also some skillful song-writing and amazing singing. And I just can’t knock someone like Kelly, who won her career on a TV show, for wanting to add a little bit of credibility to her portfolio, even if her sales suffer.

But let’s not kid ourselves, Breakaway was AWESOME, and My December didn’t even come close.

It isn’t exactly safe to assume that her new album, All I Ever Wanted, will be closer to Breakaway than My December, but the cover certainly implies a return to form…

To be honest, I was almost CERTAIN that her next album would be country. I mean, you don’t spend two years with Reba McIntyre without developing a twang. But all the insider gossip alludes to a fun, light, rockety-poppety release and I’m ecstatic. The album drops on March 17 [marks calendar with giant permanent marker].

Thursday, January 01, 2009

This is Cam Gigandet...

He is wearing a skirt. And argyle stockings. And strappy boots. And the piece de resistance: a twee little man-purse.

What do we make of this?

Well, first… I liked Cam in Twilight, even though he only had like five lines. He was adequately smoldering and shirtless during his brief appearances on screen so I say job well done.

But this…

Ok, let’s deconstruct.

First of all, this is an actual kilt. My first reaction when I saw it was to say, OMG he’s wearing a pleated skirt. (I don’t have any kind of problem with men in skirts/dresses/all forms of non-pants; actually, I think it’s kind of awesome, but it has to be done right…the man skirt surfaces every year in one form or the other, but it has yet to really catch on). But what Cam is wearing, I believe, is a Utilikilt. Yeah, I know right? Who even knew? But apparently they exist.

So, Okay, it’s a kilt. Maybe it’s the fact that it falls above the knee, as opposed to below the knee which is wear a kilt would normally fall, that makes Cam look like he’s about to enroll in a particularly progressive Catholic school. I still think it looks like a skirt.

Second, those socks. God I hope they’re socks. They’re either knee-highs (what time does the bell ring, Sister Mary Francis?) or stockings, but because of the kilt, they are dangerously close to looking like tights, which is probably more than I can handle. Then again, tights would be the polite thing to do, especially if he’s wearing the kilt the way nature intended.

The boots are a stroke of genius, though. They add a touch of masculinity to a look that is careening recklessly towards cross-dresser, so I have to give that one to him.

Now, I can totally get behind the man-purse, or murse. I wish the world would just get over it. I hate stuffing all my crap into my pockets! No wonder I’m so attached to my hoodies – I can store my whole universe in the kangaroo pouch. I wouldn’t have to resort to a dumpy looking hoodie if the world would let me carry a purse. As it is, I carry a bag most of the time (my pockets just can’t accommodate my iPod, checkbook, lunchtime reading, camera, etc.), but it’s like a gymbag, for god’s sake. I used to carry a sleek, leather messenger bag, but I got tired of the nasty looks. I got tired of telling people around here that in the big cities, ALL MEN CARRY BAGS LIKE THESE! So, I’m totally on his side on the murse issue.

When you add everything together… it’s a look. I don’t hate it. He’s still hot. But I’m almost positive he dressed like this to stir up the paparazzi.

So, as I approach him to pin this Red Badge of Sartorial Courage upon his chest, I’m also asking him if this was some sort of dare, and if so I hope it was worth it.

Ye Olde Blog Banners…

I’ve noticed that whenever this blog gets linked somewhere, the linker usually mentions the blog banners. It usually goes something like, “Reeva Dubois is amazing… blah blah blah… astoundingly entertaining… blah blah blah… out of his mind…blah… I like his banner.”

My original intention was to change the banner weekly, and trust me, I have the banners to do it – I’ve made TONS – but I can barely be counted upon to even update weekly, so I let that project go. However, I’ve collected every banner I’ve ever used in a cute little archive, which is now available to you, my dear readers (all 10 of you). Go here…

There aren’t a whole lot. I was actually kind of surprised… it certainly feels like I’ve used more. As you can see, the collection is largely comprised of movie stills with a couple of TV shows thrown in for color. I’ve been itching to branch out into some music and book related banners, hence the Beyonce banner above. I’m particularly happy with that one; not only does it directly address my favorite thing at the moment (yeah, I’m still obsessed with that video), but it worked out brilliantly from an aesthetic standpoint. It looks like Beyonce is totally screaming my name in her hench-single-lady’s face.

I woke up this morning all set to change the banner, you know – start fresh, but I don’t think I’m ready to let Beyonce go just yet. But I’ve cooked up some good ones for down the road. Until such time, are there any requests?