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Archive for the ‘REELtime’ Category

hesjustnotthatintoyou2Last night I saw He’s Just Not That Into You (HJNTIY). First, I need to admit I’ve never read the book. Actually, I actively refused to read the book. A lot of my friends told me to read it, that it would enlighten me, that I would never look at relationships the same again, or that I basically should just give up all together, but I couldn’t do it. I hated the premise, and true or not was never in the mood to be deconstructed by a featured blip in a Sex and the City (SATC) episode.

 But I figured I’d give the it a try, as I’m a sucker for chick-flicks and typically for the clichés they inevitably entail. I came out of the theater yesterday wish-washy. The film was all right for what it was, but overall I left pretty disappointed in everything except for a few of the one-liners (most of which appeared in the trailers anyhow).  

 The movie’s format ran like the first season of SATC where curbside commentators were inserted into the episode’s plot line. I didn’t like the effect in that season (hence why the producers of SATC stopped this method of filming) and I thought it was unimpressive here (the only movie where it worked was When Harry Met Sally). I also wasn’t a fan of the fade-outs to a black screen where a tagline popped up like, if she’s not sleeping with you… or if he’s not calling you… Frankly, it wasn’t needed; I just wanted to hear the characters’ stories.

 With that said, the characters weren’t that great or perhaps it was the acting. Jennifer Aniston and Ben Affleck were the only likeable pair. Drew Barrymore was just a cameo (with which I was okay) and her best line was spoiled in the trailers. Over-the-top Ginnifer Goodwin (Gigi) sounded nauseatingly desperate, clingy, clueless, and at-times ridiculous. Yes, I understand she’s a girl who wants a guy and can’t comprehend why every guy she meets never wants to go out with her again. And yes, I get that the point of her whole diatribe is so that she can meet Alex (Justin Long) who will give her profound insight into the inner-workings of the average male’s mind. But really…my willing suspension of disbelief just does not stretch as far as the development of their relationship. Scarlett Johansson remained the random, sullen co-star much like she played in The Other Boleyn Girl (where she was the MAIN character and yet she NEVER spoke, not to mention the fact that she happens to be an American playing British royalty- Americans playing Brits is a huge pet peeve of mine; they suck at doing it). And while I realize her character in HJNTIY is “the other woman” and not a reflection on her as a real person, it is NOT okay under any circumstance to screw a married man no matter how charming his smile or what he can do for your career.

 What’s probably most frustrating about this movie is that it never makes a cohesive point and there’s really no reason it shouldn’t. The connections of the main cast are flimsy at best; Ginnfer Goodwin meets Justin Long while stalking his friend Kevin Connolly (Conor). The story just doesn’t back up the title and it was a title that couldn’t be more straightforward (unlike Doubt or The Reader, titles both open to interpretation before even glancing at a synopsis). It doesn’t get much blunter than He’s Just Not That Into You. Yet, somehow after 2 hours and 9 minutes, I managed to leave the movie feeling oddly hopeful, like he may not be into me now, but he will be if I just do this, whatever this may be. Isn’t that exactly what I’m not supposed to think? Or is the movie being ironic? See, confusion.

And yes…the movie was too long! Perhaps had there been more pithy dialogue, it would have garnered better focus, but as such, people started whispering, digging through their candy boxes, slurping the last of their sodas. And while I enjoyed a few laugh-out-loud lines like:

  • “If treats you like he doesn’t give a shit, it’s because he doesn’t give a shit.”
  •  “We are all programmed to believe that if a guy acts like a total jerk that means he likes you.”
  •  “I had this guy leave me a voice mail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my BlackBerry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting.”

I would have been just as content not spending $11, and instead watching one of the trailer clips for HJNTIY, like the one  filmed by the three male protagonists. Their spoof on 10 Cliches Not In the Movie called out all the chick-flick stereotypes we’ve come to know and love. Unfortuanately this meant producers had to come up with some new ones, and in this case, they fell flat, but at least these guys made me laugh.

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My family speaks in movie one-liners and when you get us all together in a room…we pretty much lose all capability for intelligent conversation in favor of out-quoting one another. This pastime is never more apparent or appropriate than Christmas dinner.  A few favorites are below:

1. “Buck Melanoma, Molly Russell’s Wart.”

2.  “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Horry, Fa Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra.”

3.  “Grace, she died thirty years ago…”

4.  “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.”

5. “Tis the season to be merry…”

“Well that’s my name.”

“No shit.”

While we definitely quote some movies more than others (Christmas Vacation is on there twice clearly), we have over the years embraced a new addition to our movie repertoire. This film is a celebration of the “family” and we value it for that reason.

The newest member of our family (my cousin’s husband–married in October) decided to spend his first Christmas married with us. This is not an easy undertaking and we “originals” acknowledge the challenge. If you want to be heard at the dinner table, you have to yell louder than the loudest person speaking at that moment. Multiple conversations jet from one end of the table to the other. Half the time you miss half  the comment which results in a circular conversation of trying to understand what was just said. And the whole time, we fill our plates with seconds and thirds until Mom starts the Dessert Push.

He (my cousin’s husband) decides to throw his opinion into the chaos and proclaims how delicious my dad’s meal is.  My dad sits at the head of the dining room table and waits for all 20 of us to quiet down (a rare feat) before he responds. In a low, gruff voice with his left hand casually rolling through the air, he beckons the newest member to lean close and whispers,

” Someday, and that day may never come, I’ll call upon you to do a service for me.”

Thus, Dad has added The Godfather to the latest in a long string of quotes coloring our holiday conversation.

So, to round out this post, I must share with you my Top 10 Holiday Picks:

10.  Home Alone (I know I know…but who can resist Kevin McCallister)

9. The Santa Clause (Tim Allen as Santa)

8. Star Wars (really any…but definitely IV, V, or VI)

7. Elf (Will Ferrell is great…just great and who doesn’t love candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup)

6. Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 cartoon, not Jim Carey)

5.  Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer (TV claymation)

4. Miracle on 34th St. (while I appreciate the antiquated versions, I’m referring to the 1994 Mara Wilson film)

3.  A Christmas Story (the non-TBS-duped version)

2. Christmas Vacation (Chevy Chase– “Hey. If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I’d like Frank Shirley, my boss, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on Melody Lane with all the other rich people and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, fore-fleshing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is. Hallelujah. Holy shit. Where’s the Tylenol”–priceless.)

1. The Godfather (I takes the canoli; III sleeps with the fishes.)

Honorable Mention:

Old– Prancer.

New–Fred Claus (surprisingly humorous)

Disappointment:

The Polar Express (ugh.)

My family will probably have something to say about my picks. I obviously realize most are cliche and probably were box-office flops (ie The Santa Clause), but without fail, I sit with a cup of cocoa (5 marshmellows) and a stocking-sugar cookie and watch each of them during the holidays…sometimes twice.  I know you have your secrets too. Maybe around Memorial Day, I’ll share another batch of closet-favorites…after all, we are family of quoters not limited to just Christmas flicks.  Stay tuned.

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sex and the city…

Signs in ticket booths across the City announced that all matinees and evening shows for Sex and the City were sold out. But I waited in line with a friend until it paid off and the 86th St. theater ran an extra showtime. I stood for the extra 4:00 show with a mass of women and a few men, most of whom were native New Yorkers excited to welcome their girls home after a long vacation. I listened to conversations around me as friends prattled about each the women. They speculated on what each might be up to as if they had just bumped into them in line for coffee. Some laughed about “old memories” as if they had repeatedly held broken stall doors for Samantha or Miranda in a bar’s bathroom or had brunch at a UES diner every Sunday afternoon with Carrie and Charlotte. I couldn’t help but be swept up in the chatter, wondering if my Carrie would marry Big. Because after years of watching the show on DVD and later on TBS (even syndicated, it’s still good), I felt like she and I were old friends. Now while I’m not one to be completely swept up by TV characters (books however are another story), I, along with many others, am fascinated by Ms. Bradshaw.

In true SATC fashion, Carrie narrated the film, offering witty quips to the plot of her life. But missing from the movie was the one constant: a blank computer screen filling with that perfect question that impacts each of the four women on the show and all of the viewers. And of course as the familiar *bing*bing*bing and New York City images flashed across the screen, I found myself wondering in typical corny, cliché Carrie fashion:

If all of these women had followed Carrie through the six seasons of her life, though obviously at different points, did they each take away a lesson about sex and the city? Will the re-runs now teach a new generation those same lessons?

In 1998, when the show first aired, I was 13. I was not thinking about sex and I lived in rural Pennsylvania, a far stretch from the city. I was in seventh grade and the only thing I knew about relationships and love were from those my sister had already been through. Sarah was twenty-five, in the realworld and in reallove. She’d gone to the prom, been heartbroken and re-bounded. She’d found her girls, her core who shared those secrets in a language only their group truly understood. They couched together each week and sipped wine as they were introduced to sex and the city on HBO. Together, they experienced Carrie’s big successes and bigger failures, until she finally made it Big.

I grew up literally years behind my sister…so while never in her shadow, I instead got to grow up seeing her learn and reflect from her mistakes (there weren’t too many…) until she found her Big. But I still had a long way to go from 13 to 25 and now from 23 to 35.

At 13, I spent Friday nights at Warrior Stadium, where the lights from high school football games switched on at dusk. I met friends just inside the entrance and circled the track again and again, never paying much attention to the game, worrying more about who was holding hands with whom, who opted to sit on the main hill and on whose blanket they chose. We endlessly chattered about which boys names filled the margins of our 5* notebooks. For me at the time, AJ scripted over notes in my Pre-Algebra and Social Studies notebooks.

I met AJ at one of the first football games, when the weather was still warm. He was the new kid. And I liked him. It took me four laps around the track for to say “hi.” The next three were spent whispering with my friends that I thought he was cute. We walked by the bleachers and the high school band trumpeting “The Hey Song,” by the visitor stands, by the hill where all high schoolers pretended to watch, and the food shack where parents spooned cheese on nachos later. And 10 full loops later we were boyfriend/girlfriend.

Today at 23, I realize I’ve scratched through a lot of different names on my notebooks. And I guess what I’ve discovered is that even when I buy a new notebook, those faint traces from where I wrote too hard are still etched in. Their names still on the tip of my tongue; and believe it or not, I think if pressed I could probably recite each of their phone numbers by heart. So in 1998 when AJ and I broke up after two months of middle school bliss, and I thought my world was shattering around me, it wasn’t. And I had my sister to fall back on…Sarah told me the world was not destroyed (I was a tad over-dramatic then, some might say I still am…) and wouldn’t end with him (“Look at him…” she said, “would the world really end over him?”). She repeated this in varying phrases when I was being a silly college girl, and now when I’m an adult in New York City.

It’s been ten years since AJ, ten years since the first premier of SATC and while I still am not sure of the ingredients to a cosmo (Niamh knows, so it’s close enough), I can tell you a few things a bit more surely than I could at 13:

I don’t need a cosmo when I can have a good beer (thanks Rick), I don’t need designer when I can have Kohl’s, and I don’t need a guy when I have New York (but…clearly everything goes topsy-turvy if your name happens to be Mr. Big…).

That’s my lesson and if you are a fan of the show, you should know the episode…

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