Is It OK to Say a Movie is Boring?

The great thing about twitter conversations is that there’s no need to shorthand them. Here’s a quick, easy read wherein a really nice guy in my twitter feed says he was bored by “Blade Runner.” Which kinda shocked and thrilled me, because even though I think “Blade Runner “is stunningly gorgeous and impactful, I also think it’s pretty flawed. (Although decidedly not boring.)

“The Masterbat0r” is more like it. But, to be fair, those two lingering shots of the boat waves really helped to advance the plot. 

I find that most people demure when it comes to the subject of movie-induced boredom, especially when discussing critically-acclaimed films, and I’m not sure that’s a healthy impulse. Some films–even films with a lot of merit– are just boring, and I think it should be ok to say so. What do you think?

Liberals, You are Not Warring Hard Enough

war

(You should read the following with a Ken Burns film-esque soundtrack playing in your head. And somehow make everything sepia-toned.)

My Dearest Love,

I write to you with the gravest of news. The War on Christmas continues, but I fear our side makes no inroads. The fearsome warriors of Fox and Friends and their mighty general, Billo the Blowhard, prove too strong a foe.

Darling, you know this weighs on me more heavily than most, as I am atheist. And, so, it is with an ailing heart that I inform you of this grim chapter in our righteous fight.

Last night, I awoke to find the house festooned with evergreens, gayly-colored balls, queer, tiny lights and garishly-wrapped gifts. There appeared to be at least one stocking hanging from the mantle. And it had clearly been hung with care. It was hideous sight, and I confess I felt a bit ill upon seeing it. Who had unleashed this Merry Mayhem? I searched for a culprit. Only to find she stared back at me from the mirror–it was I! Oh, the horror! It seems I had become manic with some sort of cheer…some sort of Christmas-induced spirit, and I had committed these atrocities myself.

War truly is Hell. Still, I fight on, my love.

Warm Regards,

Your Anti-Christmas Valkyrie

This One’s for the Ladies

A few days ago I did not get around to answering a couple of comments. I’ll answer them now!

In a previous food-related entry where I discussed cooking for people with different food needs/wants, bbkf said this:

I know if i made a light soup or salad for supper, hubbkf would be aghast and rummaging in the cupboards about a half an hour after eating because he tends to not eat during the day and is ravenous by evening…also, he’s one of those a-holish people who can eat all the junk food they want and not gain weight…so, if i do make something on the lighter side, i make sure there’s bread and other things to fill it out…

the thing i find most difficult about cooking for hubbkf is gauging his satisfaction: i mostly get ‘it was alright’…’pretty good’ is high praise with ‘i didn’t care for that’ as being the worst…although one time i made a meatloaf that was so bad that he quietly fed his piece to the dog…who wouldn’t eat it either…

This sounds so eerily similar to my situation, I’m frankly a little freaked out. The whole thing. Especially the part about gauging satisfaction. I get “It’s delicious.” for everything. Now, I know that not everything I make is delicious so that, of course, has no meaning for me. Lately hubby’s been getting “better” about this. It’s pretty easy to coax a “I wasn’t crazy about it.” from him. Soooooooooooooo Yay(?) for me?

oh, hai! i am feeling especially blabby today! here’s a couple of recipes/sites i have had much hubbkf related success with: pork tacos and a racheal ray soup recipe of all things…not a fan at all of racheal’s teevee stuff, but i get her mag and i must say any recipe i have tried from them has never failed…go figure…

I’ve had every outcome you can imagine trying Rachel Ray recipes. Can’t remember a time I actually completed a recipe in 30 minutes, so I have to call bullshit on that, but I think she’s actually pretty great at writing recipes for home cooks that are healthy (they’re well-balanced and don’t use a lot of–if any–processed ingredients), yummy, have a hint of sophistication and are eminently doable. And actually I find that the more of her recipes I try, the more the success rate goes up. I know she’s not considered, like, a hoity-toity foodie-type, but I genuinely think she’s onto something with her formula…so I’m sticking with her.

Rachel’s must-try soup? Her Sausage and Peppers Stoup. It’s almost indescribably delicious.

wiley asks:

Do you make Lord Chubbington’s (he’s growing out of that name, hey?) baby food?

I do not. LC is very sensitive to textures. He hates “in-between” textures. So a food either needs to be toothsome or crispy or completely smoothly blended. It’s very hard for me process my food to the consistency he likes, and when I’ve tried he has disliked it intensely. He also does not seem to like things like fresh fruit and veggie slices. He is, however, learning to like things like little ham cubes, and he he ate some of my turkey chili on pasta and turkey bolognese, so he *is* branching out.

I am always open to suggestions re: toddler food.

notimpressed

Instagreat: Why Instagram Is Not Nearly as Useless and Stupid As You Think It Is

When I first learned about Instagram, the photo-filter app that makes all your pictures look like an indie album cover or old Polaroid, I was not impressed. As someone with a fairly intimate relationship with Photoshop, my first thought was “What’s the point?” And I wondered why anyone would be interested in taking photos that looked painfully pretentious, like “I AM…TRYING SO…HARD…TO BE RETRO-CHIC.” But, you know how this ends: I’ve never met a gadget or app I could resist, so…I downloaded it.

But here’s the thing: Instagram is fun. And it’s easy. And it’s egalitarian. It’s an art form that invites everyone to play. And occasionally that play turns into something seriously beautiful and resonant.

Sure, I could recreate its filter effects in Photoshop, but it would take minutes, if not hours, of tinkering. Instagram is, well, instant gratification.

And the fun thing about the app is that its truly transformative (not a word, I know, but stay with me). You can take a photo that’s remarkably unremarkable, crop it and add a filter/blur/frame and turn it into something cool and interesting to look at. In a matter of seconds. That’s addictive.

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Finally, like all great art forms, it makes you look at the world differently. I looked at the world with the eyes of a fantasy artist when I started taking my manipulations seriously. But in the past couple of days, I’ve been “Instagramming” everything, wondering if a particular vignette or pose or moment would be suited to its claustrophobic, hipster-retro look. There’s definitely a trick to taking an Instagram-worthy photo. I plan on blogging about it soon, so stay tuned.

Long story short, I’m hooked. Perhaps you should get hooked, too.

I Gave My Dad the Gift of a Knuckle Sandwich

The Knuckle Sandwich knife set is by Guy Fieri. I bought my dad one in the series because, like me, he enjoys wielding a big, sharp knife. (In the kitchen, mostly.) I also enjoy the sheer flashiness of the Knuckle Sandwich design. They’re knives that make a statement.

Why I am bringing this up now? Well, it seems there’s a review of the new Guy Fieri restaurant in Times Square, and it is, um, not effusive. Which makes me kinda sad, because Guy Fieri has always struck me as a perfectly nice guy with a genuine appreciation for the homestyle and artisanal-style cooking he samples on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.” I have a soft spot for people who have a coked-up-puppy-style appreciation for their passions, and Guy has always seemed over-the-moon happy about the fact that he gets to sample so much mom and pop cooking from around the country. I relate to that; I’d love to do the same.

I read the hit piece with a bit of hesitation, because Guy Fieri is a popular celebrity chef/dude-bro kinda guy and I was afraid that this would cloud the reviewer’s judgement. But I was relieved that Mr. Wells condemned the food and the service and didn’t make any “cult of personality” accusations about Guy or his fans. It was not a cheap shot at people who might like the man. (Not because I am a huge fan myself. I’ve actually never tasted his food or tried his recipes, mostly because they all contain about 1,000 ingredients, which is a big pet peeve of mine. I don’t think you need to stick your pantry in a dish to make it taste good.) I appreciated the straightforward review because hatin’ on folks from The Food Network can sometimes morph into a kind of snobbery I don’t have much of an appreciation for. But this was a fair critique.

Snobbery’s a funny thing, because I think some forms of it can be good. Snobbery can be a stand-in for discernment; snobbery can be in instructive. But I find the best way to be instructive using snobbery is to be a good snob: like what you like firmly and pleasantly, and say why you like things in a way that avoids hyperbole and trashing others’ likes. That’s not to say you can’t dislike something unabashedly. I just feel certain there’s a way to trash a restaurant or a movie or an artist without trashing its fans.
Which in a very, very convoluted, roundabout way brings me to this discussion, which seems to have evolved into a conversation about hipsters and the concepts of hipness and coolness. Why does this particular discussion never fail to fascinate and generate such impassioned responses?

The Zany Fart Sound-Making Nu Zoo Review Crew in the Mooning

A few quickie reviews…
Please take all my reviews with a grain of salt, as I have to watch most things with one eye on a toddler and may miss neat stuff.

1.) Prometheus. I liked it. It was flawed but fun. If you enjoy Sci-Fi spectacles with a creeping sense of dread and a scrappy, Ripley-esque heroine, you’ll enjoy this. It does, indeed, answer some questions, as the trailer promises, but it asks a lot more. That made the movie a teeny bit frustrating for me. If they don’t answer them in the sequel –which I’m assuming is in production– I may have to reevaluate the film.

2.) Rock of Ages. I imagine this musical is great fun on the stage. And Tom Cruise looks like he’s having a ball in this, chewing the scenery like a cow chews cud, as he plays hard-drinking jaded rock star/sex symbol Stacey Jaxx…but on film, the musical comes off very, very, very flat. It’s like, you sense you should be singing along and having fun and getting swept up…but you just never do. Grease it ain’t.

3.) American Horror Story: Asylum. Some people say that when you create a piece of art, there should be a place on the canvas where the eye can rest. A pleasing spot of nothing, negative space. If I have one complaint about American Horror Story–and I’m not sure I do, even–it’s that the series is almost completely devoid of negative space. But what may be its only flaw, may also be the thing that makes it brilliant. Because you are never given a chance to rest when watching. Ever. Every scene that is not creepy in the sense that most horror films are, is creepy in the way intense psychological dramas are. Like Stephen King, the writers of AHS want us to know that while there may be ghosts and demons and aliens milling about, the scariest thing on earth is the human mind. AHS seems to want to push boundaries and invite calls of “Campy!” by cramming exorcisms, demons, aliens, serial killers, cannibals, mean nuns and torturing doctors into one show, but so far, they are pulling it off. I don’t know how they do it. It may because they balance the border-pushing horror and raunchiness with exemplary acting and terrific writing. AHS is nothing less than must-watch for me. One important caveat: I would not recommend letting anyone under 17 watch it. I just wouldn’t. Mature audiences only, please.

Music Cooties

Is it blasphemous to quote MLK for an cccasion such as this? Because I want to scream “Free at last, free at last! Thank FSM, I’m free at last!”
See, The Hubster recently had to download his own iTunes account for work-related purposes. So his music is no longer intermingling with mine, tainting it and getting it’s dork juice all over it. Listen, I’m already a dork. I don’t need anyone upping my Dork Quotient.

I used to go into Recently Added, hit Shuffle and shit like this would start playing. It didn’t exactly make me a happy camper. And because I rely a lot on smart playlists, I was constantly having to search out and quarantine his Dorkola Virus-ridden songs. It was a fooking pain in the ass. Well, no more. I am free at last.

Let’s celebrate some good music…And RMF!

You and Deeper Movie Meanings

I recently asked if it were possible to have discussions about pop culture without it becoming a food fight.

A couple people–to my delight–wondered the same thing.

Smut Clyde asked (with tongue-in-cheek, I suspect) “why bother?”

Dan Coyle reminds us why: Because when you can just discuss a thing, it’s just plain fun. Plus, you might learn a thing or two.

Fer instance, when I got all annoyed because someone on Internet was wrong about “Little Miss Sunshine,” I searched out a clip of the climax and watched it. And when I watched it, I discovered I had completely missed the point of the scene the first time around. I thought it had just been a way for the family to come together in a way that was played for shocks and laughs. Well, there was considerably more to it than that. The filmmakers were obviously making a statement about the sexualization of the little girls in beauty pageants. (Seriously, the pageant scene is ick-gross.) It was ironic, you see, that Little Miss Sunshine’s outrageously inappropriate dance was far more joyful and–in its own way–innocent than anything you’d normally see at these events. I didn’t get that until I went back and watched the scene and thought about it. And that’s why I think discussion sans hyperbole is helpful.

So while I’m here, pondering deeper movie meanings, I was wondering if any of you wanted to offer up an interpretation of the pretty terrific–I thought–“Black Swan.” *SPOILERS STARTING NOW* The best I could tell was that all the weird stuff, the hallucinations, were just a metaphors for Nina completely losing herself to her single-minded obsession–to play the swan queen. I’ve searched out other opinions and much to my chagrin found people offering up explanations like Nina was sexually abused by her mother. Um, WHAT?! There is nothing in the story to suggest that even slightly…Although certainly her mother is overbearing and smothering. Not abusive, though. Hell, was her mother in even real? At this point I’m questioning even that.

And then the charge that Nina was schizophrenic. I’m sorry, I don’t see where that makes sense. That would make the story about a ballerina with mental health issues. Granted, Nina has issues. Big ones…schizophernia isn’t one of them; that seems so dull an explanation. Instead I think it’s simply of a story of frightening obsession. The former doesn’t even seem like a story worth telling to me, whereas the latter is so much more compelling a concept.

What are your thoughts on “Black Swan?”

Super-Rich Guy: 0 vacuumslayer: 1

Who got more bang for his/her buck?

A billionaire buys one of the most iconic pieces of art of the modern era, “The Scream.” What does this say about him?

1.) He’s got shitloads of money

2.) He has interesting taste

Meanwhile, a humble hausfrau buys a $20 dollar plaque that says this:

OMG, don’t you want to drink wine with this person? You bring the wine.

What does this say about her?

1.) She is not a billionaire

2.) She is delightful

 

Clearly, the billionaire is sucker.

Let Me Add Another Butt, Offer a Rebuttal, If You Will

I’m always looking for a good, snarky political blog to read because I have no life, anything that can take my mind off how awful things are these days is a-ok with me.

And then, inevitably, the talk-out-your-ass review of something pop culture-related.

Coming on the heels of the overly-praised Girls (a ten episode self-esteem workshop on body issues/self-absorption aimed at the 23-28 female demographic, yet written at level easily understood by overly-bright tweens

Actually, NO. I’ve seen a couple of episodes of “Girls.” I haven’t decided whether I’m going to continue watching the show or not. One of the reasons I’m not sure is because it makes me uncomfortable. Because I got married so early, I missed out on a lot of this angst on display here. I missed out on a lot of stuff, good and bad, I reckon. So yeah, I figure that anything that lingers like that with me, evokes that sort of response, probably has something going for it. Then there’s the fact that it’s kinda gritty, kinda funny–at times laugh-out-loud–funny, and also just kinda different. And that the show is written by a woman in her 20’s–who admitted on Colbert that she’s never had sex–leaves me gobsmacked. Honestly, I can’t conceive of creating something of this merit at that tender an age.

So, I took issue with this huffy response to my–admittedly not diplomatic–comment:

Actually, no it isn’t. It’s masturbatory navel-gazing crap that thinks it has IMPORTANT THINGS TO SAY but is actually a faux hipster soap opera. It’s an after-school special with sex and swear words. But don’t take it from me, my 23 year old daughter gave up on it weeks before I did and she’s their demo audience.

Actually, yes it is.

“Masturbatory navel-gazing crap” seems more than a little hyperbolic to me. There’s navel-gazing, sure. I’m not sure where the masturbation comes in. I dunno. It seems like something you type out if you’re SUPER-MAD someone dared disagree with you.

I have no idea what a “faux hipster” is. Is it something that attempts to be hip and then fails? Because that’s not necessarily a bad thing for me. I really don’t care if a show fails to meet some arbitrary hipness threshold.

And soap opera? I love soaps. Daytime soaps, nighttime soaps. Bath soaps. I’m 1000 % pro-soap. Oh, and, here’s something discerning TV-watchers should know: EVERY NIGHTTIME DRAMA THAT FEATURES STORYLINES THAT ARE NOT SELF-CONTAINED ARE FUCKING SOAPS.

It’s an after school special? This seems like more goofy hyperbole meant to shut down conversation. Um, OK, dude. Whatever.

But this is my favorite part:

my 23 year old daughter gave up on it weeks before I did and she’s their demo audience.

Fuck, his DAUGHTER doesn’t like it. Which means that no woman in her 20’s anywhere is watching the show, I’m sure. Luckily, I’m a.) 39 b.) not his daughter. So I think I’ll continue to watch–JUST TO SPITE HIM.

No, but, seriously, the show is worth a looksee.