God help thee, poor monkey. - Macbeth

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Movie Review: 2012


Last night, my friends J and R invited me to see the new movie "2012" with them. To be honest, I really wasn't expecting much. J has HORRIBLE taste in movies. Every movie he's dragged me to has been completely unenjoyable ("Max Payne", "Pride and Glory", and now he wants to see "Ninja Assassin"). The one reason I figured "2012" would be different was that there would be lots of cool explosions. So I agreed to go and, surprisingly, didn't regret it afterward.

Now, let's be real here. If you're looking for quality cinema, this is not the movie for you. I'm pretty sure that any intelligent person can gather from the trailer that this is not a movie full of great dialogue and compelling stories. The characters were clich├ęd and underdeveloped. The filmmakers kept introducing characters who were all connected, and I'm assuming we were supposed to feel some sympathy for them when they were all killed off. However, since there were so many people dying and we never really had a chance to connect with any of them, my response was mostly, "Huh. That sucks. Can we get back to the volcanoes?" The dialogue was stilted, and, despite several talented cast members (John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Danny Glover, and Oliver Platt, to name a few), the acting was downright awful. It mostly consisted of people shouting and people acting sad. The plot was horribly predictable (I think we all knew from the very beginning who would die, who would survive, who would fall in love, etc.), and everything about the situation was completely unbelievable. I'm pretty sure that if you put any of the science to the test, none of the so-called facts would hold up. In addition to that, the filmmakers felt the need to throw in half-baked moral lessons that seemed pretty unnecessary, if you ask me. Yes, we get the point: family is important, the Tibetans are better people than the Chinese, care more about humanity than money, plastic surgery is bad. So many messages jumbled all together and presented so half-heartedly...the only thing this movie inspired me to do was roll my eyes. So, compelling filmmaking? Not in the slightest.

However, I highly doubt that anyone entered this movie expecting a cinematic masterpiece. We were all there to see the earth explode and watch natural disaster after natural disaster ravish the landscape and all the unfortunate people on there. And the effects were impressive, I must admit. Not only that, but the camera focused on them, so you really got the full scope of the destruction. None of that cutting away and cutting back in an attempt to build suspense. We got the full view of Yellowstone exploding, buildings crashing down, Tsunamis crashing over continents, and all the other delicious catastrophies that this movie had in store. It was one of those movies that was so bad you were able to laugh at it and enjoy it anyway. And it didn't hurt that J was sitting next to me giggling like a five year old and pretending to fly an airplane through all the clouds of smoke and collapsing buildings. Hilarious.

So, my advice? If you're looking for a great movie that's going to make you think, steer clear. This will only leave you disappointed. But if you want some good cheap laughs as the earth crumbles, this is the movie for you. Make sure to go with a group of friends who aren't afraid to make comments, laugh at all the stupid inside jokes you come up with, and just thoroughly enjoy the pandemonium. Perhaps you'll annoy a fellow patron or two, but for the most part, the rest of the audience will be doing the exact same thing as you are. After all, it's not as if you're going to miss any important dialogue. I can tell you right now, there isn't any.

EDIT: My very favorite part of the movie was when Queen Elizabeth came to get on the ships with two of her corgis. As a former corgi owner myself, I was thrilled to see that, although everyone else was dying, the corgi breed would survive. (Although I do have to admit that I was a little unhappy when I thought about how she would have had to pick those two out of all the corgis she owns. How do you pick which of your pets will live and which will die? Sad day.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Return and a Long-Winded Explanation

Well. Here I am again. I apologize for the huge gap between posts. In fact, I highly doubt anyone is checking this blog anymore, although I'm sure that if I continue writing, my parents and their friends will flock here just as before. I have to admit that I didn't do much writing during my year and a half hiatus. I started another blog and made 4 posts before fizzling out. I don't think my heart was really in it. I do keep a journal, but I'm terrible about writing in there regularly as well. Part of what sparked my trip away from blogland, I believe, was the fact that I started a new job about a month before my last post here. When I started writing this blog, I was going to school in Pennsylvania and was living a rather isolated life. I had a handful of friends, but they were busy most of the time, and I wasn't incredibly close with the majority of them. So, I spent a lot of time in my room, watching movies, surfing the web, and, yes, writing entries to this blog.

When I returned home for the summer, I immediately got a job at a Brazilian restaurant, and my life changed drastically. I had friends, I had a social life, I had something to occupy my time. I went to parties almost every weekend, had girls' nights with my friends, and spent most evenings at the restaurant. Late at night, I'd sit at my computer and catch up with old friends or watch an episode of a TV show that I had missed, but, although I had plenty of stories to tell, it hardly crossed my mind to blog about it. And my days were spent in bed, catching up on sleep and driving my mother nuts with my refusal to emerge before noon.

At the end of the summer, my friends returned to school, and many returned to Brazil. Gone were the days of going out every night. I had decided not to return to school in Pennsylvania, as my happiness over the summer had made me realize just how miserable I'd been there. I moved out of my parents' house and into the bottom floor of a house with an old friend of mine. My nights now consisted of movie nights with my roommate and the occasional party on the weekends. I now had the time to blog, but I was missing one essential thing: an internet connection. My roommate and I never actually took the time to set one up, so I had to rely on a nearby coffee shop for my internet fix. And although I took to spending hours at a time there, surfing the web, sipping mochas, and enjoying the beautiful view of the lake through the huge bay windows at the back, once again I found it hard to motivate myself to write a blog. There was simply too much going on, both online and off.

Fall also heralded another drastic change in my life: although many of my friends had returned to Brazil, we did get a "fresh shipment", you might say, of Brazilians who were looking to move out of the Wisconsin Dells (a resort town that literally ships in international students on work exchange) and into a somewhat larger city. Two of the young men who were part of that migration became very large parts of my life. I first began spending time with J. He had formed a friendship with one of the few remaining Brazilian guys that I had hung out with over the summer, and we spent many nights together trolling for parties, watching movies, etc. J is a fun loving guy who is head over heels for a different girl every week (rumor has it that he even had a crush on me when we first met) and is somewhat flaky and unreliable, although he tries to be a great friend all the time. He's easy to like and fun to hang out with, and he's become one of my closest friends. When I first met him, J lived in a two bedroom apartment with the five (yes, FIVE) other Brazilians who had moved here with him. One of his roommates was a guy named E, J's best friend and much more shy and reserved. He's also more reliable, more serious, more focused, and has an ego as big as, well, Brazil. E took longer to get to know, as it was very difficult to find time to hang out with him. He was always opting out of spending time with us (J claims it's because he was shy), but I suppose all the invitations to parties and movie nights paid off in the end. He invited me over for dinner one night, and I've spent almost every night with him since. We just celebrated our one year anniversary at the end of October.

So what brings me back here? Clearly, my life has been fun and exciting for the past year and a half. Well, kind of. There have been a lot of shifts in the status quo lately that have thrown me off balance. E is in school and working, so I see much less of him, despite the fact that we are now living together. Two of my best friends, including my former roommate, have been phased out of my life to some extent. One (my roommate), was a drastic shift. We'd been grating on each others' nerves toward the end of our cohabitation, but I'd always meant to stay friends with her once we'd moved on, albeit not as close as we had once been. Part of that had to do with my distaste for the life that she was choosing to live, and part of it was just that we were sick of each other. But upon moving out, she left me with the majority of the final housecleaning and never responded to another phone call or text. I still don't know what happened, and I'm still more than a little angry, but I also see it as a good thing. She surrounded herself with drama, and I feel that I am much healthier, emotionally, for the lack of that. My other best friend drifted away more gradually, but for similar reasons. She flunked out of school, started partying constantly and sneaking into bars, got herself a junkie boyfriend and, rumor has it, has started playing with drugs far more dangerous than alcohol and marijuana. I still answer her calls and talk to her occasionally online, but, for the most part, I'm trying to stay out of her life. I find that if I'm close to her, I care too much and worry constantly, and, as there's nothing I can do to get her out of this situation until she decides to make the change for herself, I have to focus my energy on taking care of myself rather than draining myself fighting a losing battle with her.

In addition to all of this, I've realized lately that I have spent most of the last year working and doing nothing to fulfill my own emotional and creative needs. This was less of a problem when work was still a positive place, but things have gone downhill and the management has started treating us worse and worse. In addition to making me look for another job, it has also made me reevaluate what I do with my time outside of work. I have new friends (and have reconnected with some old ones) who I spend a lot of time going out (and staying in) with and who have provided me with a fantastic support system to help me face all of life's challenges. I've also taken a more active interest in my personal style and have been channeling some of my excess creative energies into experimenting with new make up and clothing and committing myself to looking good every day. Appearances may not be the most important thing in the world, but I've found that if you put an effort into your appearance, you end up feeling better. It has less to do with impressing the outside world and more to do with giving yourself something to be proud of. If you look at yourself in the mirror and say, "Damn, I look GOOD today!" it's very gratifying to be able to say that you did that for yourself. And, obviously, I have returned here, to my blog. After struggling with writer's block on a number of projects that I have tried and failed to even start, it seemed natural to return to a place where I have already written things that I am proud of. And perhaps I needed to get this story out before I could write something else. Even if no one else reads this, it feels good to be writing it. It's really the same as personal style: in the end, it's all about how it makes you feel, not about someone else's response. Hopefully, I'll be posting here more often from now on. Cheers!