Vampires vs Doctors

Thanks to Netflix’s I have a bad habit of binge-watching TV shows. Sometimes I binge-watch two shows at once. One such binge left me watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer and House M.D. on Netflix for about a month. It’s always enjoyable to re-watch shows I loved from my first viewing until the end. I didn’t re-watch them simply because I want to experience the same feelings and see the same things as I did the first time because I wasn’t sure I would. Why you asked? Because I’m not the same person I once was. I’m older, which means I’m hopefully more mature (though sometimes that is up for debate) and I’ve been studying film theory and criticism (at the master’s degree level) for several years now. So I look at some of the finer details of cinematography and story making.

Buffy aired in 1997 (before I was even in high school) and came to its conclusion in 2003 (just as I was completing my first year of college). I was in college when I started watching Buffy which puts me close to the same age group as the main characters. House started a year after Buffy came to a close, in 2004, and ended in 2012. When I started watching House around 2008 (if I had to guess), I was defiantly younger than the main characters, and possibly still am.However, I am no longer the same age as Buffy and the gang, but I’m still younger than House and Wilson. I’m trapped in between the groups unable to easily identify with either main character due to age proximity.

When I first watched Buffy I identified with Buffy and Willow, probably because I was in the same age bracket (I was in high-school and college). This time around I found myself identifying with Giles more, I’m 33 and have been both a substitute teacher and assistant teacher for preschool students through high-school students. I have struggled in motivating students, who I knew had potential and been around for breakthrough moments, that make everyone around smile. As much as I love House and his group I identify more with his struggling interns, as they try to find their way into a successful career. I still haven’t yet decided on what I want to be when I grow up (yeah I know, some of you think I’m late to the party), I have so many interests and passions its hard to decide what I want to do with the rest of my life. Though as we see with Chase, Cameron, and 13 (and many of the other interns) sometimes our career path can change.  And that’s okay. 🙂

Re-watching the shows again allowed me to see certain scenes or episodes again, that I loved. I have always loved Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s episode “Hush”, in this episode everyone in town has had their voice stolen, and The Gentlemen are stealing hearts. The whole episode feels like one of those old silent films but has all the horror of a present-day supernatural flick. A few years ago I was privileged enough to meet and interview one of  The Gentlemen (Camden Toy). It was the closest I’ve ever come to fangirling out, and  Camden Toy, the wonderful man he is, took it all in stride. I really enjoy watching House, M.D.’s episode “Broken.” In these two episodes, House is in a Psychiatric Hospital to kick his Vicodin habit and to work on a few personal problems. In these episodes, we get to learn a lot about House, which I find very exciting.  We get to watch him grow and we, of course, get to watch him be a jerk. In these episodes, the actors perform brilliantly, and Hugh Laurie shows us how House is truly a three-dimensional character.

However, this time around I noticed things I didn’t notice before, and occasionally saw episodes I didn’t see the first time around. For example in “Hush”, this was my third or fourth time seeing this episode (okay maybe more). Halfway through the episode the film cuts out most modern shooting as far as effects (both lighting and sound) and setting (the cars the streetlights) look and sound as if they were shot sometime between 1920 and 1960 when films became more about the dialogue and less about the action. The real way to date the show was the color and the clothing worn by the Scooby Gang. The shots were also longer, to help show what was going on and help build suspense. Most of these things I didn’t realize when I first watched the episode because I had not yet studied film. Going back through House, I realized there were several episodes that I had not seen before. So it was a treat to learn a little more about the characters and how the overarching storyline was progressing. This time around the overarching story flowed a lot better and I was better able to understand why characters reacted to certain situations the way they did. With House, it is also fun to see all the episodes, because sometimes you miss a guest actor or actress that you thoroughly enjoy.

 

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Just after Thanksgiving (yes, I know, I’m slow on getting this out), my wonderful sister took me to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The film had been out for a few weeks, and we went to a matinee (honestly, the best time to go, because I could take me tea in with me), so the theater only had about a dozen or so patrons at the viewing. As we all found seats and settled down the previews played. As always, there were a few that looked promising and others seemed awful! As we sat there I wondered how this one would be. I hadn’t stayed up to date on all the media hype, prior to the film’s release. And when I thought about it, I hadn’t read the book (waits for the stammering and cursing to stop. I know, I know, I am a bad Potterhead). Would not reading the book affect how I enjoyed the movie? I was assuming so, because whenever I watch The Order of the Phoenix (my favorite Harry Potter book by far), I always get frustrated. Yates, who is a great director, made calls in the 5th film that I did not take kindly to. He cut out what I saw as vital sections book and added irrelevant pieces. Anyways this post is supposed to be about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, so let’s get back on track, shall we?  😛

The film takes place during the roaring 20s, well before Harry Potter. Cinematically speaking Fantastic Beasts is breathtaking! We are put in a world that is whimsical and classic, that occasionally shows the seedy underbelly that we’ve heard about it our history lessons. Seeing New York City in the late 1920’s was great fun, buildings are getting taller and more majestic. And when we first get a glimpse into MACUSA (The Magical Congress of the United States of America) it is truly a site to behold: with shinning black, gold and white marble; moving golden statues; and golden clocks that tick as wizards and witches hurry about their day. Some of the offices at the MACUSA are dimly light and cramped, which brings an interesting contrast after seeing such a bright and majestic foyer.

Fantastic Beasts is truly a story for everyone. During the two hours and 20 minutes of this film, there is adventure, comedy, and romance. Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) -an ex-Hogwarts student- and his suitcase of extraordinary creatures arrive in New York City. No sooner than Newt gets downtown one of the precocious inhabitances of the case escapes. During Newt’s comical attempted capture of the creature, he meets a No-Maj (muggle) named Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler). Through a series of events, most of which are funny, Kowalski ends up with Newts suitcase. Once back at his home Kowalski opens the case and some of the beasts’ escape. Causing destruction and mayhem on New York City. Seeing one of the creatures escape ex-Auror, Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston), follows the men in attempts to capture Newt and the creatures, hoping to regain her Auror status. The trio is soon joined by Tina’s sister, Queenie (Alison Sudol). As the quartet runs around New York, chasing after fantastical creatures, friendships and romantic interests form.

Eddie’s performance as Newt is fun. He got to play comedic and brave hero. My sister and I laughed several times as Newt performed silly dances or did bizarre things, to coax the beasts back towards the suitcase. Dan’s performance as Jacob was defiantly more comedic that Eddie’s; but he did play the bumbling, non-magical, side-sick. Tina and Queenie are both intelligent and spunky; though they do have different ambitions. Both ladies are integral in tracking down the creatures and helping stop evil in New York City. There are serval other noteworthy appearances in Fantastic Beasts, but I don’t want to give them away. So just watch and enjoy the brilliant performances yourself.

The creatures inside (and the ones that escape) Newt’s suitcase, are truly magical! The variety of creatures Newt manages to house inside the small suitcase is incredible. In the suitcase, there are creatures of all shapes and sizes from all over the world; and Newt has a habitat for each and every one of the creatures. There are deserts, rainforests, mountains, plains, and even a snow-covered hill-side. The colors for the creatures and their habitats are amazing, with almost every color in the color spectrum. Of course, some of the creatures have more neutral color tones, but there are a few with brilliant blues, gemstone greens, and royal purples.

During the course of the film, there are sweet moments, exciting moments, and moments of laughter. Once the film was over my sister and I both agreed that it was defiantly worth the price of admission (does anyone else miss when you could go to the movies for $5 or less; I miss those days). We even harassed my sister’s husband when we got home; we had to be sure he missed a fulfilled Potterhead adventure, that was defiantly worth all the hype. 🙂

Promise to Write More

I always seem to have my best ideas for writing at the most inconvenient times. For example this winter (though by all accounts it was supposed to be close to spring) I was driving back to northern Michigan from Chicago, when words and thoughts came flooding into my head. I started saying what I was thinking out-loud, and I thought it sounded good. So I vowed to remember it, and write it down when I got home in the next hour. Of course when I got home I didn’t write it down, because most of the words had escaped me, only a few still hung around in the back of my mind (a few still do).

In the next few days I was talking to a friend and lamenting the fact I didn’t pull off to the side of the road (not that I really could have gotten of the road with the snow as high as it was) and notate my thoughts. They suggested getting a voice recorder and taking it everywhere. Knowing my I probably argued with them a little saying I’d leave it somewhere or forget that I had it (both of which are very true). But they are right, though I probably don’t need to go out and get a voice recorder, as most phones now a days have a memo application and recording capabilities. All I need to do is open up my phone and use the handy app and voila, no more missed brilliant moments. Of course since that conversation I haven’t made any notes on my phone about random thoughts, though there have been plenty.

For years I have wanted to be a writer, that is partially why I started this blog in the first place. Over the years have looked into ways to get paid for my writing. But ultimately my searches have lead me no where. Why? Well, because I don’t write enough. I come up with ideas, and I never put pen to paper (or sit down and type my thoughts out). Instead I watch TV or play video games, and grip about my life isn’t heading in the direction I want. I blame my depression, my location and say I’m too busy, trying to find a job, working, taking care of the house. And while it is true, I am busy and depression makes it hard to get motivated and accomplish things, it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t write or try to pursue my dreams.

So what is my dream you ask? Well, I want to write about movies and TV shows (why else would I get a degree in Film Theory and Criticism). I also want to write about traveling, I love exploring new places and trying new things. I also want to get paid to do both, though that’s probably a no-brainer.  How am I going to make this happen? To be honest I have no idea, but I think a good start is writing more, and getting people to read what I write. So I will write more about the things I watch, the video games I play and I will write about the places I visit. Though to be honest even if I don’t go anywhere this summer I can still write about traveling. How, you ask? It just so happens I currently live (and grew up in) a tourist trap. You may have heard of it, it was number 6 on The Smithsonian’s  20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2013, Petoskey, Michigan.  http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/the-20-best-small-towns-to-visit-in-2013-1353277/?no-ist

I thought about writing something about Petoskey over Memorial Day weekend, as that is generally when tourist season starts for the summer up here, but one thing lead to another and that post never happened. However, I will write something either Friday or Saturday after the Summer Open House.

 

The End of HIMYM

*Disclaimer, contains spoilers*

Since last night my Facebook news feed has been inundated with comments about HIMYM’s closing episode (most of them not good). Lots of people were disappointing with how the show ended, while others said they predicted the ended, but were still sad that it happened the way they thought it would. Now me I didn’t even attempt to predict what would happen in the saga’s last episode. Maybe because I was in denial about the shows ending. Or maybe because it was a show I never dared try to predict. Why you ask? And honestly I will tell you, I don’t know. I love the show, it makes me laugh, cry and smile (sometimes all at once). But then again, maybe that’s why I didn’t predict it. I knew no matter what HIMYM would provide me with the 30 minute escape I needed from my life. And for years (even today) it did. Will I say the last episode was the best, no. But I don’t think it’s the huge disappointment that many people are calling it.

Think about it rationally (if you can). The director, writers, producers, and actors have given this wonderful show 9 years of their blood, sweat and tears. And I can promise you that no one is more distraught over the shows end than they are. They probably had about a hundred ideas about how to end the series, but they had to pick one (okay maybe 2 or 3), and fit it all into 40-45 minutes. This means that they had about 40 pages (which in screen writing speak is about 40 minutes) to wrap up Lily and Marshall’s story, Ted and Tracy’s (Mother) story, Robin and Barney’s story, the groups story, * spoilers* then Barney’s story, then Robin’s story, then Ted’s story. Once you break that down it roughly equals out to about 6 pages (or minutes) for each closing story, which isn’t a lot of time to put a nice little bow on the finale that the audience so craved.

I would also like to point out that HIMYM remains to this day a romantic comedy, even though some people argue the genre diverted from romantic comedy to drama. Who here knows the difference between a romantic comedy and a drama? *raises arm up emphatically* I do!!! According to McDonald (2007) “a romantic comedy is a film which has as its central narrative motor a quest for love, which portrays this quest in a light-hearted way and almost always to a successful conclusion.” And McKenzie (2013) says Drama films deliver “the emotional and relational development of realistic characters in a realistic setting. It offers intense character development and tells an honest story of human struggle”.  The best way to sum this up a comedy is to say it makes us smile, chuckle, and roar with laughter; where dramas make us reflect, worry, and cry. Now stop and think of the last episode, which of the two sets of words applies more to the episode over-all (not just the last few minutes)?

In this episode Lily and Marshall have a few exciting moments. We hear about the announcement of baby number 3, and a cock-a-mouse siting leads helps them decide it’s time to move. Marshall becomes a judge, and everyone calls him “judge fudge”. And at the end Marshall tells everyone he is running for State Supreme Court so that they will have to call him “fudge supreme”. Yeah, okay Lily gets emotional a few times, but they are due to pregnancy hormones (and Ted finally getting married). So overall the Lily and Marshall story has a happy ending, which equals, comedy.

During the episode Ted and Tracy meet, get engaged and are planning their wedding when Tracy gets pregnant. Ted and Tracy live together (in the suburban house Ted fixed up) and end up having another kid. After 7 years together Ted proposes, again, and the two get married. Yes, Tracy dies, which is tragic, and Ted makes a life lesson speech (about love). But then the episode jumps to an awkward moment between them, that you just have to laugh at. Though the story of Ted and Tracy ends with her death, I can’t bring myself to say their story is a drama. Why, you ask? Well because Ted and his children don’t seem to be struggling, they all smile and joke with each other, which leads me to believe they are alright.  I would still have to call Ted and Tracy’s story a comedy, it just doesn’t have a typical happy ending. Think of all the funny moments in their story: how they meet on a train platform, arguing over an umbrella (with the old lady pushing Ted to meet Tracy). Ted asking Tracy on their first date (and making sure she knows it’s with him). Ted spending all his money on a wedding (that gets interrupted because Tracy’s pregnant). Ted’s second proposal (that Tracy interrupts a lot) or Ted wondering (on his wedding day) if after 7 years and two kids and he’s rushing into this. All those good and funny moments, are what make their story memorable.

The episode starts at Robin and Barney wedding reception. During which Barney tells the bass player that he stopped messing around and got the girl. However their relationship wasn’t meant to be. Robin is gone all the time, which leaves Barney wanting, and when he goes with her he can’t always work on his blog. After a night of drinking and sex, though they love each other they decided to get divorced. They hide this from their friends for a while and high 5 each other about sex acts in the group’s presence. But eventually Robin and Barney tell the group they are divorced and go their separate ways.  Their story is the closest to drama, because of their location predicament and eventual divorce. But in the end they both end up happy (see below).

When the episode stars we find out how The Group meet. It started at MacLaren’s with a failed attempt to get a girl by Ted, and Lily telling the guys they couldn’t sleep with Robin (which even if you hadn’t watched the show before, you knew would happen). It then segues into Barney and Robin’s wedding. Where Barney tries to set Ted up with and girl and Ted and Barney give an epic high-five (which leads to them both falling over). With a turn of events, that best fits the romantic comedy, Ted doesn’t go to Chicago because of a girl, and Lily and Marshall find him in MacLaren’s the next day (they harass Ted and laugh at each other). The next big moment is when the whole gang gets together to meet Ted and Tracy’s baby.  It’s during this get together that Barney and Robin say they are divorced – to which Ted compares them to his own parents. Lily (who we soon finds out is pregnant with baby 3) gets sad and makes The Group promise to stick together, which they promise (even though everything so far tells us the group is starting to fracture). Finally there is the awkward Halloween party, where Barney proclaims he just got a girls number as Robin arrives. This of course pushes Robin over the edge and she leaves (giving Lily an emotional but at the same time rational decision to separate herself from the group). One day as the now smaller group hangs out at the pub, Marshall becomes judge. When the time is mentioned Ted whimpers over the lack of sleep he will get because of his kids and Barney tries to sleep with girls (who could be half his age). Some time passes and one of Barney’s conquests turns him into a daddy to be. Of course this conquest brought back the elusive playbook and a few judge jokes are tossed around. One day while Ted and his daughter are talking about architecture Robin appears, we learn she is famous, but also never around. Finally Barney’s baby is born (though he hopes it isn’t his – and brought cigars just in case), as Marshall, Lily and Ted sit the waiting room Marshall and Lily crack jokes about Robin. Barney has to be pushed to meet his daughter (but in the end it was good his friends pushed him). The last main event is Ted and Tracy’s wedding day. As they sit at their usual table at the pub Barney dead tired because of his daughter (and whines just like Ted did not 15 or 20 minutes before). As the group talks Robin shows up and apologizes, the Group is back together for one final picture, and of course to make fun of Ted one more time. The dynamics of the group are always comedic, they poke fun at each other all the time and have a ton of inside jokes. When the group gets together you know something funny is going to happen, that why we all watch the show (isn’t it?). If you think about it the group dynamic is also romantic, they gained Robin, then they lost her, then she comes back. Very typical romantic comedy boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back.

Once Barney and Robin are divorced Barney goes back to chasing after women. That is until he knocks one up and ends up and becoming a father (haven’t we seen this kind of thing happen in romantic comedies before). The instant he meets his daughter he falls in love with her instantly, something he said he could never do with a women. In the end Barney becomes very sleep deprived, but becomes a responsible, loving, caring man (he even starts taking care of random girls, telling them to stop drinking and wear more appropriate clothing. Barney story defiantly has a happy ending, and it is defiantly a comedy.

Ted’s story though not without heartache is full of love. He loved Tracy, in fact he loved her as much as he could, for as long as he could. Every second they spent together he loved her and she loved him. Yes it is sad that they didn’t get to stay together forever, but that doesn’t make the episode a drama. Why? Because he still has his kids, whom he loves and his kids love him. They are also intelligent (if a little bratty) they push Ted to be with Robin because their mom has been dead for 6 years, and they know he’s in love with Robin. After grounding both kids for their nagging and pushing to go for Robin, he goes to her, blue french horn in hand. No we don’t know what happens, but I’m pretty sure it’s gonna lead to a happy ending, so that fits with comedy…. not drama.

Robin’s freak out over her ex-husband and guy she should have married, is something more befitting a drama. After her break-down Robin disappears into her work. Think of any romantic comedy, and what does the woman do when she gives up on love, she loses herself in something. In Robins case she ends up as famous (which is what she wanted when she moved to NY), her picture is on the side of buses, with lots of dogs (again I urge you to think about what women get in romantic comedies when they think love has failed, pets!) The episode ends with Ted outside her window, blue french horn in hand, and both of them smiling. If that doesn’t scream romantic comedy to you, I don’t know what does.

Hopefully by now you at least understand that HIMYM is still a romantic comedy. The story was after all, all about love, filled with comedy and was for the most part lighthearted. I also hope that by now you have thought about how much story was crammed into such a short time, and are slightly less upset about the shows finale. If not I urge you to take a few deep breaths, and maybe watch the show again, there are a lot of funny moments (you know those reasons you watch the show) that you might have missed in your emotional haze. Was it perfect? Was it the best HIMYM episode ever? No, but it had all the people that mattered, doing those funny things they do, and there was some kind of resolution. And if you think you can do it better, write an episode, write a comic, write a short story, and then you can have whatever ending you want.

Catching Fire

Recently I finally had the chance to watch The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. When I was done watching the film (at like 1am) there were I two things I wanted to address. I didn’t take the time to write about it then, but rather took a few notes and said I would get to it later. Well its been almost a month and I’m just finally getting to it. Better late than never I guess 😛 The first, is that in less than hour I found myself repeatedly screaming no and covering my mouth when Philip Seymour Hoffman showed up on-screen. Not because I don’t like the man (personally I think he’s a wonderful actor), but because I realized a few things. One this is the first time I’ve seen Hoffman on-screen since his untimely death. Two that his role in The Hunger Games as Heavensbee is probably the last character I (and most people) will see him as. Three with all of the emotionally torturous roles he’s played (not to mention that all aspects of his life, like most stars are, were so public) I’m not surprised that he had a drug problem that lead to his death. The second is that governments or rather dictators can be absolutely awful. But despite the awful terrible things that happen some people are truly amazing. In The Hunger Games the government control people more than Big Brother does in 1984: rationing, crappy living conditions, always being watched, and to top it off mandatory child sacrifices. In the second film the government goes even further and it made me sick: they force the survivors of their sick game to compete again, all because they are pissed off at a girl and want to kill her, but don’t want to deal with an uprising (good luck with that). Despite all the crap the contestants have been through some of them still band together and help each other out. Some even sacrifice their own lives so that others can live.  The first installment in The Hunger Games was scary and eye-opening. The second installment was absolutely maddening and terrifying. I wonder what the third installment will be…

2014 Oscars

I spent most of today fighting with my computer so that I could watch the Oscar’s tonight, and thankfully I got things sorted out in time. Though there were of course a few technical issues as I was watching (ABC you might want to check things out for next year).

Overall I had a ton of fun sitting on the couch and standing in the kitchen as I watched the Oscar’s and the events before and after. And best of all, I never had to get out of my pajamas. Though next year I hope to be in Hollywood, even if I am just in the bleachers.

Like many I did the NY Times Ballot for this years Oscar nominations. Overall my score wasn’t that good, but then again I voted for a few things I knew wouldn’t win, even if I wanted them to.  Ellen was wonderful and fun! The pizza was a nice touch. Much as I suspected Gravity cleaned up in awards, so I guess I’m going to have to watch it sometime soon.

When they finally got to giving the award for Best Picture my stomach was in knots and my heart was racing. I knew which film I wanted to win, but so far my score hadn’t been very good, and with Gravity cleaning up a lot of the other awards I truly didn’t know what would happen. As Will Smith opened the envelope I (and I’m sure many people in the audience and across the USA held their breath), it was only once he announced 12 Years a Slave the winner of Best Picture did I draw breath (though it was something between a sigh of relief and a shriek of excitement). Needless to say I am excited and relieved that such a powerful movie won this highly honor award, though probably not nearly as excited as Steve McQueen who jumped up and down on stage after his speech.

For Best Director I really thought Steve McQueen had a shot, 12 Years a Slave was compelling and inspiring. However, Alfonso Cuaron took home the award with the multi-award winner Gravity.

For Best Actor in a Leading Role I was slightly disappointed when Matthew McConaughey won, but I wasn’t surprised. McConaughey is an amazing actor and I have enjoyed his work for years, but I wanted Chiwetel Ejiofor to win because his performance was just so powerful.

I was happy when Best Actress in a Leading Role went to Cate Blanchett, as I hoped it would. She is truly a talented and awe-inspiring actress, and I cannot wait to see her full performance in Blue Jasmine. And I loved her shout out to Hollywood about women in film, and the female audience.

Jared Leto won Best Actor in a Supporting Role, he was my second choice, as I tend to prefer Michael Fassbender. (It was during this award that ABC was having issues so I didn’t get to watch the nomination snip-its or Leto’s speech.)

Lupita Nyong’o was first choice for Best Actress in a Supporting Role, but for some reason I didn’t see that happening and instead voted for Jennifer Lawrence. Next time I wont second guess myself. Jennifer is a wonderful actress, but Lupita did an absolutely amazing job and I am so glad she won the award.

Best Original Screenplay went to Her, which I had not heard anything about until tonight (I guess I’ve been living under a rock). My vote was for Blue Jasmine, but I now excited to see both.

Best Adapted Screenplay went to 12 Years a Slave, as I predicted and hoped it would.

This year I didn’t pay any attention to Foreign Language Film Language Films. So I didn’t have any idea who would win. Again my gut instinct would have made me right, but I second guessed myself, oh well. Congrats to Italy on your Oscar winner The Great Beauty.

Frozen of course won Best Animated Feature, which for me was deeply distressing as I am a huge Miyazaki fan and haven’t enjoyed Disney films for years. I haven’t seen Frozen, but I’ve heard mixed reviews on it (and am still not too interested in watching it), while all the reviews I heard about The Wind Rises were good (and I will probably watch over and over and over again). Award or not The Wind Rises is still and animated best in my book.

The Sound Editing award went to Gravity, which I keep hearing was great (but I have yet to see). My vote was for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug: the music as always was lyrical, the voice overs and other languages were well done, and the sounds that I think would come from an epic adventure were there.

Gravity also won the Visual Effects award,  which I figured would happen. Though I have to be honest, I kinda hoped Star Trek Into Darkness would have won. I loved the alien world the film started (and as any Trekkie would) loved the star-ships, aliens, and tech the film showcased.

As I predicted (because of an article about long shots), Gravity won the award for Film Editing. The more awards Gravity earns the more I think I really must see it (though initially I never had any interest in the film).

I also didn’t pay attention to the Short Film selections, so unfortunately both of my guesses were wrong. But congrats the two films that won, Mr. Hublot (Animated) and Helium (Live Action).

For Best Documentary Short I listened to my gut and got it right, beautiful job The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life. I’m still not sure if I will be able to bring myself to watch such and emotional work, but seeing as music soothes my soul, I will have to bite the bullet at some point.

In my opinion Saving Mr. Banks should have won Original Score, but everyone seemed happy when Gravity took home another award. I will need to listen to the scores of both films to give my final opinion on the matter.

Much to my dismay “Let it Go” from Frozen won Original Song. I liked “Happy” (Despicable Me 2) and “Ordinary Love” (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), so much better.

Much to my surprise the Production Design award went to The Great Gatsby, which I will not argue with, as it was a beautifully deigned film. But after all the hype American Hustle received, and its impeccable attention to detail, I figured they would have won.

Best Cinematography (as I predicted) went to Gravity.

The Costume Design award, as I hoped and predicted, went to the Great Gatsby. The clothing though not necessarily historically accurate was absolutely amazing.

For Makeup and Hair-styling there weren’t a lot of options (which to me makes no sense, as all films require make and hair, though not all of it is difficult), but the Dallas Buyers Club won.  I personally voted for The Lone Ranger, though why I did that, I have no idea.

20 Feet from Stardom won the award for Documentary Feature, as I hoped it would. I love music, and I appreciate anyone who follows their passion as much as the artists in this documentary do.

I had hoped that The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug would win the award for Sound Mixing (for many of the reasons I mentioned in Sound Editing). But instead Gravity won yet another award.

In total Gravity (or people who worked on it) won 7 awards. 12 Years a Slave (or people who worked on it) won 3 awards (including the coveted Best Picture). And Dallas Buyers Club (or people who worked on it) won 3 awards. It was a fun-filled and at times emotional night (especially when they took the time to remember all those in Hollywood that died in 2013 and the little bit of 2014. The number was much higher than I wanted to remember). I can’t wait to watch what again next year. Though this time I will do better about watching more films that come out, guess I need to make a list of films to see in 2014.

 

You Know I’m Your Hero…

Yes, Kevin Smith you are. I’m not quite sure when I was introduced to the works of Kevin Smith, but really all that matters is, I was. Since that time I have waited with bated breath for some of his new films; and spent countless hours of delight watching and re-watching his older works. Few weeks ago (Jan 23) I watched Clerks (1994) again, for probably the 6th time, and I have to say it’s still probably one of the top 3 Smith films (Dogma and Chasing Amy are probably number two and three). Everyone raves about Clerks II, and don’t get me wrong it is brilliant too, but I like Clerks more. Why? You ask.  Well, give me a minute of your time and I will tell you.

Clerks is black and white; and I’m a sucker for black and white films. My parents liked watching the classics. So as a kid I watched things like Harvey, Casablanca, The Avengers, and Zorro.  Black and white films always seem more raw to me, and I like movies that tell things like it is. Yes, Clerks II tells is like it is, but it is also very defiantly more polished. And personally I prefer the less polished and more raw version.

The location: I’ve worked at local convince stores, in a small town, I know the drill. Dante and Jeff spend most of their day bored and talking to each other (anyone who’s worked in a small town shop can appreciate their boredom and conversations). Yeah, sure lots of people work in fast food, so I’m sure Clerks II speaks to them for that reason. But I personally stay as far away from fast food as possible, so the location of the first Clerks means more to me, because of its setting.

At the start of his career Smith got people and relationships (and he still does which makes most of his films amazing). In Clerks none of the romantic relationships are straight-forward. Dante has a girlfriend (Veronica), but he wants his ex (Caitlin); which leave Dante with a mess to clean up at the end of the film. Caitlin finds herself engaged to a man she doesn’t really want to marry, and upsets her family when she ends the engagement. Yes, the craziness that can come with romantic relationship is in Clerks II (with Dante engaged to Emma, but actually in love with Becky), but in the end it works out very well in for Dante. In Clerks we don’t know how things will go for Dante with either Veronica or Caitlin. It is the uncertainty and Dante’s decision to try to better his life that I like, but maybe that’s because I still haven’t found my happily ever after 😛

Even though Clerks II is full of witty pop culture references that I understand (and love), I still find Clerks more enjoyable. Maybe it’s because it’s reminiscent of older days gone by, maybe it’s because its more artsy, or maybe it’s because it was so brilliant that without it there wouldn’t have been numerous squeals, a TV shows, and or the comics.