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Monday, May 8, 2017

American Beauty, etc.

          Greetings one and all. I know it's been quite some time since my last post, and I blame the majority of that on the Disney College Program. Granted, I've had some downtime where I could have written up a storm, not about movies but about the incredible time I'm having down here in Orlando, FL. Not only am I surrounded by pixie dust and the magic that define Disney, but I find myself growing into an entirely different person. Different in the sense that I am growing out of my insecurities and into an independent and confident persona. Am I making sense? Probably not, that's something I'll never grow out of. My intentions with this post do not involve extrapolating about my time here in Disney. I have a purpose in this post and--believe it or not--it involves an actual film. At last, on a sole day off I have amidst my busy schedule of working six days a week, I have the urge to write. Perhaps it sparked from my dad's inspiration to paint a remarkable painting? Perhaps it was provoked by a phenomenal film called American Beauty? Perhaps it was the three drinks I had with dinner? Who can ever be sure? Anyway, I plan on writing as much as I can before this choo choo train runs out. Bear with me with the various tangents and eccentricities that characterize my writing. Here we go.
          As I said, American Beauty is a truly phenomenal film, one I'm surprised I have yet to write about. In the past, I've said that it is easier to criticize--or in my case, brutally admonish--movies. Writing a post that extols a film's virtues (?) and good qualities is rather trite. The positive comments come off as repetitive, sounding as though they were generated by a thesaurus of compliments. Also, a scathing post is just so much more entertaining. American Beauty, however, is far from horrible. In fact, I consider it to be one of the greatest contemporary dramas of all time. Fun fact: I work at Disney's Contemporary Resort as a seater at both The Wave and The California Grill. I don't know why I capitalized the word "the." 
          Directed masterfully by Sam Mendes, the film follows Lester Burnham, a beyond average man who suffers through the monotony of suburbia. He laments over the loss of his life, the essence of happiness that should fill every person's day. He notes how his family despises him, how pathetic they think he is. The film documents (?) his desire and sudden action to take control of his life and improve it for himself and only himself. As simplified as that description sounds, the movie is orchestrated flawlessly and enraptures the audience into submission. Not in a sexual way or anything, why would you even think that? Submissive. The score, composed by Thomas Newman, is ideal as it envelopes the film in a quiet, curious ambience that asks viewers to "look closer," as the tagline reads. That was a pretentious way of saying that the musical score of American Beauty fits perfectly and sounded very good. The acting by Kevin Spacey is spectacular, the perfect combination of cynical and hopeful. I was really hoping for a better set of traits to come to mind but I have nothing. Lester has a wicked and dark sense of humor that I think any person can appreciate, particularly his outlook on the workplace, how the higher ups really do not care about their employees and how they treat them like less than human. I can appreciate that observation very much. I love my job, I promise. With that being said, I think there is a bit of Lester Burnham in all of us. Yet another cheesy statement, but what I mean is that each one of us has a moment, or ten, where we look blankly on events in life, commenting in our heads how absurd life can be. In one scene, Spacey even breaks the fourth wall when he tells his wife that he will act however she wants him to act in order to uphold a facade for everyone else. Then he proceeds to drink heavily at a social gathering as his wife puts on a fake smile and mills her way through a crowd of people she doesn't really like. It's as if his portrayal of Lester is asking, "Why do we as people have to subject ourselves to these asinine moments, essentially waste our lives, when we don't have to?" I feel I'm getting a little too philosophical. I think I just want to make this post as long as possible. Yes that's it. 
The film is essentially just a progression of Lester giving less fucks in his life and that is something I think all of us strive to do. Every time the new Lester stands up to someone, whether it's his wife or (even better) his boss, you can't help but find yourself grinning super wide because you have those fantasies of telling people off too. Lester himself smiles when he finds himself with the upper hand in a confrontation and his giddiness must feel glorious. He says in the movie, "It's a great thing when you realize you have the ability to surprise yourself," and us the audience can only imagine how great that must feel. I digress. Kevin Spacey is a first-class actor, without a doubt, and he deserved the Oscar for his humorous, real portrayal of a man who finds himself at the end--a spiritual awakening in a sense. As cheesy as that sounds, the movie is anything but. It's just my mediocre choice of words. Annette Being gives an amazing performance as his wife, Carolyn, a woman who transformed to fit the mold of a perfect housewife. Yet the shiny veneer that is her pleasant demeanor covers a desperate woman who struggles to keep up appearances. The scene where Carolyn preps the house she is determined to sell (spoiler: she's a real estate agent) captures this as she vigorously cleans a house only to find herself alone and a failure. That scene alone should have given her an Oscar, but no. Hillary Swank had to get it for Boys Don't Cry. As if anyone even remembers that movie, please. Not that I'm bitter still. 1999 was a long time ago, I get it. I don't actually. Supporting players include Thora Birch, who plays Jane Burham, their daughter. As I watch the movie, she reminds me of a 90s Jennifer Lawrence, only more depressed and less lucky with an agent in Hollywood. Because she never made it, that's the joke. As Jane, she is, as Lester puts it, a typical teenager: angry, insecure, and confused. She gets romantically involved with her new neighbor, Ricky Fitts (spoilers, spoilers everywhere), after she becomes flattered when he records her from his front porch. Hard to resist romance like that, I agree. Their relationship, in my opinion, stems out of their isolation from "normal" society as well as their individual loneliness. I'm no psych major or anything, but that's how I see it. One scene that has cemented itself in film history is the "most beautiful thing I've ever seen" clip where Ricky shows Janie a video of a cellophane shopping bag moving in the wind. Captivating stuff.
          Another character is Angela Hayes, the iconic girl covered in rose petals that the movie is recognized for. I promise I won't go into the symbolism of roses in this movie because I know that's taking it beyond pretentious into realms I don't want to tread. The focal point of her purpose here is Lester's obsession with her. Obsession may be a strong word, but he does envision her wearing nothing but rose petals throughout the movie. His attraction to her essentially inspires him to better himself to the point where he snaps out of the dullness of his domestic existence, becoming a whole new man. Although it is a tad creepy that his lust after a teenage girl motivated him to change into a "new man," it's not far from realistic. Middle-aged men thirst after some drive that will snap them out of monotony. Or so I assume based on this movie and stereotypes. Sure, she's underage and he's literally old enough to be her father, but whatever gets him going am I right? I hate that I used the word literally. And that I made that god-awful justification for Lester lusting after a high schooler. Lester lusting, that's funny. See, I told you to prepare yourself for just how weird I can get. I realize I'm giving a character-by-character analysis but I'd rather do that than give a full plot synopsis. It's not as if I'm giving away massive spoilers either, this is all basically from the trailer and word of mouth. Moving on.
          American Beauty is such a poignant portrait of the twentieth century American family. And yes, I acknowledge the pretentious loftiness of that statement. I talk as if I'm some film major who writes screenplays in hipster coffee shops, but I can assure you that I'm just your ordinary movie buff with a tendency embellishing my language. There I go again, talking like a hipster. I'm going to just ignore it and keep going, sound good? Wonderful. Beyond the Burnham family and their domestic dysfunctions, we have Ricky Fitts and his equally (if not more) dysfunctional family dynamic. His father, played magnificently by Chris Cooper, is military--he is the military, that's what I said--so of course he has a strict paternal role to play in the household. It goes further (farther?) than that as his wife/Ricky's mother is basically catatonic, milling through her role as caretaker for her boys without a shred of emotion. This can suggest that Ricky's father abused her. Actually, I can say that is a certainty based on his brute character. Now, your modern gender-studies-major feminist will have plenty to say about how much of a bigot he is, and he really is. Though I could care less about that. What disturbs me is the menacing hold he has over his family, how he has reduced his wife to a shell of a person. What's more disturbing is that, despite this persona, there is a sliver of heart in this man. There are scenes where I can sense him struggling with his dominant brute personality, how he strives for an affectionate relationship with Ricky. In the end, the brute wins and he is forced to live up to this manly man standard. Chris Cooper's performance was outstanding, worthy of more recognition, I reckon, as he portrayed a man struggling with his persona as a man's man. There is a questionable scene at the end, which to this day I still cannot comprehend. Those who have seen this movie know what scene I'm referring to. Moving on, Ricky chooses to play along in this stern setting and live his life behind a locked door of his room where he conducts drug deals and records mundane events and calls it art. True, there is an artistic aspect to the little things in life, but calm down. A plastic bag and a dead bird are not that fascinating. But I digress. More on Ricky, he exudes such a level of confidence to a point that is both impressive and intimidating. In all honesty, I can understand why Jane is drawn to him. Wes Bentley here sort of resembles Jake Gyllenhaal as well, so that might have something to do with how attractive he is. Sure, his videos of dead birds are creepy and so is the fact that he finds them to be "beautiful," but you can't judge someone over frivolous things like that. This is me commenting on Wes Bentley's solid performance, not how I'm in love with Ricky Fitts. Just clarifying.
          With that, that is all I have to say about the matter that is American Beauty. I am actually right in the middle of watching it, this massive spurt of writing just came to me. I'm incredibly talented, I know. I'm really not. Before I wrap this up, I would like to talk about my time here in Florida thus far. As of now, I have been living it up in Disney for about three months and it feels like I've been here for years. I found myself here, as annoyingly cheesy as that sounds, and I feel myself becoming a happier person because of it. The interesting thing is that nothing about me as a person has really changed. I may have said something earlier about Disney changing me as a person, which I would like to take back now if that is what I said. "Why not just scroll up to see if you actually did say it?" Because I don't really feel like it, Cheryl, relax. Anyway. The single thing that has changed about me is how I view and carry myself in life. I can finally start a conversation with someone I don't know without thinking that I come across as some weird, random person. I can stand up for myself and not give a damn about what people think. Now I only care a tiny bit about what other people think, and that's okay because you can't go through life being a complete bitch, right? I can finally talk to a guy without the thought in the back of my head that I am unattractive or uninteresting. That is not to say that I consider myself a flawless, extraordinary person because I definitely do not. What I can say is that the insecurities that have restrained me from enjoying life before have disintegrated slightly. I say slightly because there will always be that cunt in the back of my mind telling me how unworthy I am of happiness. What is different now that I've been living here is that I can tell that mind cunt to fuck off from time to time. I say cunt a lot, that hasn't changed. I'm going to stop before this becomes some off-beat slam poetry set about how I've changed because I'm starting to irritate even myself.
          Well, that's all I have to put on the record for now. I hope I'll get more of these bursts of inspiration to write because I truly love writing. I know only a handful of people actually take the time to read this, and that the majority of them is people I know in real life, but I write because I love it. While I appreciate the flattery from those who read it--I'm looking at you Paul S.--I don't seek out recognition. As if that was ever a question. I think I'm just writing a bunch of nonsense to make this post a bigger chunk than it already is. So long for now and see ya real soon.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Golden Globe Predictions 2017

Good evening and welcome to another addition of movies and digressing on various tangents. This will not be a very long post, I've already come to peace with this conclusion. With the Golden Globes airing tomorrow night, I figured it would be nice for me to throw my hat in the ring. Not with a dark horse film nomination, obviously. Why would you even think that? The purpose of this post is as the title entails: I will share my predictions of who I think will win the Golden Globe for each film category. I will also include who I would like to win based on whether I've seen the movie or performance, obviously. Mostly based on how good a film or performance looks because, as of now, I have seen about four of the movies listed across all categories. Let us now jump right into this.


Best Motion Picture - Drama
Manchester by the Sea
Moonlight
Hell or High Water
Hacksaw Ridge
Lion

This category is practically a no-brainer. There are awards pundits who suggest that this is a race between Manchester by the Sea and Moonlight, but given the massive controversy at last year's Oscars, I'm going to have to go ahead and declare Moonlight's victory right now. Based on the high racial tensions spread throughout the country, giving this award to anyone but Moonlight would have murderous results. As if Hollywood is full of disenfranchised African-Americans, but I suppose that's neither here nor there. The only film I've seen in this category was Hell or High Water, which was an excellent film that may have had a chance in another year with less quotas. Ahem, pardon me, without such strong competition. Projected winner: Moonlight. Desired winner: Hell of High Water.


Best Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical
La La Land
20th Century Women
Deadpool
Sing Street
Florence Foster Jenkins

Not much to predict here, given the mass acclaim for La La Land, a film that is universally lauded as the greatest film of the year. (If you don't count Moonlight, of course.) La La Land is at the top of my list of films to watch this year in regards to awards season. Did I mention that this is my favorite time of the year? La La Land has such an old Hollywood feel about it, I absolutely love the premise of it. While many people believe this category to be a landslide victory for La La Land, I would not be surprised if the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) threw people a curveball and gave the award to Deadpool. This could be another Hangover situation where a crowd favorite takes home the Globe and stuns critics. We shall see. Projected winner and desired winner: La La Land.


Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama
Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea
Viggo Mortensen for Captain Fantastic
Denzel Washington for Fences
Joel Edgerton for Loving
Andrew Garfield for Hacksaw Ridge

Well well, Ben Affleck's little brother finds himself back in the awards circuit, this time in a leading performance in a film that seems totally uninteresting. Though it is one of the most acclaimed films of the year, both Manchester by the Sea and Casey Affleck's performance appear to be unimpressive. The film itself looks pretty boring, no sugarcoating it, but then again I have to see it before making any assumptions. That's never stopped me before, but hey it's a new year and a time for change. In any other year with no political overtures, I would say this award is a clinch for Casey Affleck. However, there indubitably are political overtures that could favor Denzel Washington. In my opinion, Denzel's performance, in the trailer at least for I have not seen Fences yet, looks much stronger than Casey's. Again, we shall see. Projected winner: Casey Affleck. Desired winner: Andrew Garfield, because I see potential in him as a young actor and hope he moves up in the movie world.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
Amy Adams for Arrival
Natalie Portman for Jackie
Jessica Chastain for Miss Sloane
Isabelle Huppert for Elle
Ruth Negga for Loving

I don't think there will be any surprises in this category. Natalie Portman has been the frontrunner not only for the Globe but also for the Oscar in recent weeks. Her turn as Jackie Kennedy, a mysterious figure who for some reason fascinates the American public, has been praised across the boards. Then again, with the past election results, perhaps the HFPA will throw another ridiculous curveball by awarding Chastain for her performance as some corrupt female political figure. Feminism is still needed according to everyone in Hollywood, but I still believe Natalie Portman has this in the bag. Whatever that saying means. Projected and desired winner: Natalie Portman.


Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical
Ryan Gosling for La La Land
Ryan Reynolds for Deadpool
Jonah Hill for War Dogs
Colin Farrell for The Lobster
Hugh Grant for Florence Foster Jenkins

First, may I just say that I am happy to see Hugh Grant return to the spotlight as well as be recognized for a film that I haven't seen yet but want to see. Welcome back, you sexy British gent you. Now this is a surprisingly tricky category. On one hand, La La Land is among the most nominated films of the year as well as the most praised film of the year. However, most of the praise regarding performances has gone to Emma Stone. That being said, this award is open season for the Hugh Grant and Ryan Reynolds. Should it go to Hugh Grant, I will be pleasantly pleased. (Redundant adjective-verb phrasing, it was intentional.) Ryan Reynolds has a strong chance in this category because Deadpool was adored not only by critics by general audiences as well. Once again, a potential Hangover stunner. Projected winner: Ryan Reynolds, a high stakes and controversial wager. Desired winner: Hugh Grant.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical
Emma Stone for La La Land
Annette Bening for 20th Century Women
Lily Colins for Rules Don't Apply
Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins
Hailee Steinfeld for The Edge of Seventeen

Here we arrive to the prospective darling of this year's awards season: Miss Emma Stone for her critically acclaimed role as an aspiring actress in Hollywood. A win for her would be such a beautiful ode to Hollywood tradition, a dedication to the ambitious hearts and souls that have roamed the streets of Hollywood for generations. Her win appears to be a certainty at this point, even up against the feminist performance of Annette Bening in the running. Again, this is an assumption based on the trailer. Sorry Meryl, but I'm going with lovely Emma on this one. Projected and desired winner: Emma Stone.


Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Mahershala Ali for Moonlight
Jeff Bridges for Hell or High Water
Dev Patel for Lion
Simon Helberg for Florence Foster Jenkins
Aaron Taylor-Johnson for Nocturnal Animals

This one is probably the most easily predicted out of all categories, excluding Best Drama. Mahershala Ali will be handed this award on a pedestal because of course he will. Awards pundits are wavering between him and Jeff Bridges, but let's be real. It is undoubtedly going to the Moonlight actor. Detecting a hint of animosity, are you? I haven't seen Moonlight yet, true, but I have a strong inkling that suggests it is nominated solely based on the topic. Especially after last year's scandal at the Oscars regarding diversity, it just seems highly serendipitous that this film receive this much acclaim. Again, I have not seen the film, and I will gladly (albeit sorely) admit if I am wrong and that Moonlight is the greatest film of all time. Nevertheless, however, it is nominated and praised for the reason I suggested before. Projected winner: Mahershala Ali. Desired winner: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, I suppose because the film looks great. I genuinely do not care about this category.


Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Octavia Spencer for Hidden Figures
Viola Davis for Fences
Naomie Harris for Moonlight
Michelle Williams for Manchester by the Sea
Nicole Kidman for Lion

You can just discard thoughts for Michelle Williams and Nicole Kidman to win because that is definitely not happening. I personally don't care for either of them, though I used to like Nicole Kidman before she started looking as though she's wearing a rubber mask of herself. Her talent has dwindled over the years as well, I'm not that shallow. In the three-way race between the other ladies, pundits have been divided over who will win. It seems to be mainly between Octavia Spencer and Viola Davis, who both starred in The Help back in 2011. Based on the amount of emotion and slobbering-crying Viola Davis exhibits in Fences, from what I've seen in clips and trailers, I think the Globe is going to go to her. That is all. Projected winner: Viola Davis. Desired winner: Octavia Spencer.


Best Director - Motion Picture
Damien Chazelle for La La Land
Tom Ford for Nocturnal Animals
Barry Jenkins for Moonlight
Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea
Mel Gibson for Hacksaw Ridge

This will be quick. The award appears to be in favor of Damien Chazelle for his work on the cinematically aesthetic La La Land, and I have no objection. His previous film, Whiplash, was surprisingly exceptional in style and direction, so god speed Chazelle. However I'd like to take a moment and acknowledge Mel Gibson's nomination. I am beyond thrilled that he has returned to the spotlight of Hollywood, and from what I have seen he has been greeted with open arms. This welcoming embrace of the talented Mel Gibson is quite a drastic flip from his former banishment from Hollywood after some drunken and taboo behavior. I am so incredibly pleased to have him back in the stratosphere of movies, and I hope he graces our presence more often from here on. Projected winner: Damien Chazelle. Desired winner: Mel Gibson.
Welcome back, Mel.

Well, there you have it. Hopefully I will return with Oscar predictions, or just a general awards post or two in the foreseeable future. Then again, I will be employed at Walt Disney World at the time, so it all depends on how much free time I will have. Before I end this, I'd like to give a public service announcement regarding my tone and my phrasing. In other words, what I say and how I say it. I will no longer be afraid of expressing my opinion. I will not be harsh in conveying my ideas, I will remain as respectful and objective as I can, but I will not censor myself. To be fearful on the Internet and in everyday life is utterly preposterous and I will not bow down to the feet of political correctness and the leftist agenda. My opinion. My blog. Condemn me for what you like. I know who I am and what I believe deep down. It's not as if anyone reads this anyway though, right? Backpedaling from that pseudo-political stance, I will bid you all good night and a happy awards season. Cheers and sweet dreams, dearies.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Year That Was... 2016

Greetings one and all. There seems to be a consensus that 2016 was an enormously shitty year, an idea that started trending after the death of David Bowie in January. Personally, I thought 2016 was just like any other year. While the election consumed most topics of discussion and serves as a pretty monumental event, my life was essentially business as usual. In fact, I would say that 2016 was an above average year for me. Also, the fact that so many people hated this year, releasing memes upon memes to flesh out their dissatisfaction with 2016, makes me like this year even more. Because I'm a cunt who feeds off the whininess of my fellow humans. I often use the word cunt in my everyday speak, so no apologies if that offends anyone. I'm not here to caress your precious feelings. As before, I will list the events that impacted me most this year along with a paragraph or so of description. Enjoy.

1. Trump. Well well well. Isn't this the massive shock nearly everyone didn't think would happen? That is to say, this election victory was a big fucking surprise. If you are prone to being triggered or easily offended, please refrain from reading this segment. I am almost positive you will not like what I have to say, and I know how huffy and puffy certain people can get when reading an opinion they vehemently disagree with. And if you are a friend reading this and disagree with what I have to say,  please let's not allow politics to invade the sanctity of our friendship. True, what I have to say is shockingly anti-liberal and I stress my points rather aggressively, but I personally believe political opinions should have no place in friendships. Let's just stick to talking about sex and drinking copious amounts of alcohol shall we? Disclaimer over. Back to the meat of it. Trump actually won. As unprecedented as this result was for most people, it has happened. In all honesty, part of me is rather elated that Trump won. Why, you may ask, as you spit out water in comical shock? Because that means Hillary actually lost.

Now, I realize this tone I'm taking is drastically different than the sober, indifferent tone of the previous post I wrote right before the election. Back there, I experienced the fear of being ostracized for my soft take on Trump. Across the boards, so-called analysts and mass media conglomerates predicted the landslide win of Hillary Clinton. The fact that Trump miraculously defeated the she-heathen is astounding, it really is. I woke up the next morning with the definitive result of Trump's win on various news outlets, and the feeling I had was one of odd amusement. By that, I mean that I was not completely crushed by this win as many undoubtedly were. My friends were among the crestfallen individuals who mourned the victory of Trump. Personally, I had a general sentiment that can be summed up like, "Huh, Trump won. How about that." Even now, as protests unfold across cities that voted democrat, I feel unfazed by the future that is President Trump. Though I will say I am rather enjoying the hysterical backlash of the neoliberal regressive left. Their reactions to the election are laughable when you realize that they carried Trump into office.
The "silent majority" of this country grew sick of identity politics and PC thought policing, and the media only justified their support for a man whose platform defied political correctness. As for the electoral college v. popular vote debacle, I really cannot wrap my head around the discrepancy between the totals. If this were truly a democracy, where the people vote for their president, wouldn't the popular vote count for something? What is the point of having American citizens vote for their president if, ultimately, a group of electors make the decision? No wonder Hillary supporters are calling for the college's extinction. Then again, I cannot help but wonder what would happen if the situation was reversed. If Trump got the popular vote and Hillary won the electoral college, would there even be a fuss over the college's efficacy? Somehow I highly doubt it. Moving on. As of December 19, the election results are final: Trump is our president. However, there is still an overwhelming sense of denial among the masses who are anti-Trump. Beyond that, Clinton herself challenged the democratic system by suggesting a recount. And, to top it all off, let us all blame those goddamn Russians for hacking into our precious democratic election. Because America is clearly a third-world country that could easily be hacked into, right? As for the allegations that Russian hackers released those incriminating DNC emails, I cannot help but wonder why people do not focus on the contents of the emails rather than the source of so-called hacking... I did not mean to get this in-depth into politics, Jesus. That was me taking the Lord's name in vain, not addressing someone named Jesus. I'll wrap this up now. To me, Trump winning the election was like an underdog film winning Best Picture at the Oscars. Me and my movie references, I always have to sneak them in. Of course, the United States election is far more significant than the Oscars, objectively speaking anyway. My overall sentiment about future president Donald Trump is as follows: I am optimistic, particularly for improved relations between Russia and the United States. For those who are genuinely afraid of a country led by Trump, relax. Despite what the media propagates, Trump is not Hitler. He will not institute genocide of any sort because this is the twenty-first century and Trump has never promoted that. Rather than suffer from "literally shaking," take a deep breath and be hopeful that Trump will not be that bad. Keep in mind that he is not a dictator, that he has to go through Congress to pass bills and issue policies. Try to be optimistic, as incredibly difficult as that may seem, because this onslaught of protesting just produces resentment and anger. Those who are upset with the results, above all, should understand that now is a time to remain calm and keep peace in mind. What a sappy shift that was. Anyway, please feel free to call me a Nazi, an alt-righter, or a racistsexistbigotmisogynistantiwoman-type slur. Free speech and all that.

2. Dexter. Moving on to brighter pastures, we come to a show I now consider my all-time favorite show of all time. The second all time was redundant, it sure was. A while back, I discussed my intense admiration for this magnificent piece of television in a condensed paragraph. Moreover, I promised that I would write out a thorough, season-by-season analysis of the show (similar to my Desperate Housewives post) once I rewatch it in the near future. How likely it is that post will come to fruition is uncertain, as I am incredibly flaky when it comes to writing here. It's not like I'm especially busy either. Anyway. Dexter Morgan is a mesmerizing character with essentially one flaw: he has an urge to kill people. Fortunately, he is taught a code of ethics, known throughout the show as The Code no way, by his adoptive father where he only kills bad people. Dexter is a hero in television because he cleanses society of people far more horrible than himself. I mean, really, Dexter Morgan is a sweetheart minus his bloodlust. While he considers himself a danger to those he loves, I believe that he deserves happiness and that he would never truly harm his loved ones. What, Debra? That was hardly Dexter's fault, she chose to stand by him as he tends to his victims. Spoilers all over the place. That should have been expected. To wrap this segment up, I'll use a quote from my previous post expressing adoration for Dexter because this is a retrospective post after all: "In a word, Dexter is a masterpiece. I find myself tearing up just thinking about how incredible the show is in its entirety." That was a short quote. Again, I hope to write a post dedicated to Dexter. Of course, that precious hope means nothing considering my once-a-month track record. Nevertheless, here's hoping that I do indeed write a Dexter analysis and prove myself wrong. 2017 resolution #1.

3. First Celebrity Meet-and-Greet. Back to exciting material from the year! Back in June, I attended the Wizard World convention in Philadelphia, which is basically Philly's Comic-Con. This was a momentous gathering of nerds, for there were several famous actors in attendance including, drum roll please: Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Mackie, Dominic Cooper, Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, James Remar (he played Dexter's dad, fun fact), and Stanley Tucci. That last name may sound familiar. Cue facetiousness. Of course you know Stanley Tucci. What makes him such a special guest at this event is that I met this man face to face. Not only did I receive his autograph with a special message written just for me (it said "Best Wishes," he only wrote it on mine I'm sure of it), but I was honored to take a picture with Stanley Tucci. I feel like my grammar is all over the place and I apologize. I guess I'm still excited over the fact that I met Stanley Tucci. I keep repeating his name, too. Still can't believe it, in all honesty. One would think that a girl my age would be more excited over Captain America or Thor or Loki, but nope. I was enthused over Nigel from Devil Wears Prada. To end this segment full of sentence disorganization, I'll include one of the pictures as proof that I indeed met Stanley Tucci. It's not photoshopped either. Apologies for the cropping.

4. A Tragic In Memoriam. Not to say that all other in memoriam compilations are not tragic. I emphasize the devastating nature of this year's death toll of famous figures because it truly was one unlike any in recent memory. Every month this year, it seemed that we lost a notable person whose accomplishments precede their undeniable greatness. It's honestly difficult for me to write anything about this topic because it is incredibly sad. As a placeholder for a paragraph of inflated language and potentially embarrassing rhetoric on my part, I'll include a brief video showing the prominent individuals we lost in 2016. Rest in peace, each one of you.
["2016 Celebrity deaths: Remembering famous names lost this year," by MLive]


5. Graduated from (community) College. Not much to say, nor is there anything I want to say about this "accomplishment." To be fair, graduating from any college, even one of the community variety, is a victory of sorts. I now possess an associate's degree that opens me up to a myriad of job opportunities. Like McDonald's. In all seriousness, I am relieved to be done and excited for the future, which involves transferring to a real four-year university. But first...

6. Disney College Program. On January 20, 2017, I will embark on a journey that I was destined to take. Months after receiving that momentous acceptance email, I am still in shock over the fact that I will be a part of the Disney College Program. I will be working at the Most Magical Place on Earth, and yes I wrote that with caps because that is how genuine my belief in the magic of Disney World is. I sound like a naive child when I talk about anything Disney related because that is how sincere my passion for Disney is. Working there is a desire that has been festering within me since the moment I first laid eyes on Cinderella Castle. It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I discovered the Disney College Program and began striving towards that. For me, the Disney College Program is the first stepping stone on a career path that leads me higher up in the Disney hierarchy of magic making. Yes, magic making. I genuinely want to create magical experiences for guests, just as cast members have done for me every time I visited the wonderful world of Disney. In just twenty days, I will be departing for Walt Disney World on a road trip with one of my best friends; then on January 23, it begins. My Disney adventure will commence, and I am positive that I will be the happiest I've ever been, that I will discover a world where I truly belong.

Once again, I have been horrendous with my posting consistency. That's an annoying way of saying that I haven't been posting as often as I'd like. I know I repeatedly express how I wish I would post more. One would think that if I truly wanted to write more, I would sit down and fucking will myself to write. I curse for emphasis, you know this and I know this. After writing this all out, I realize how much of a contrast there is between the first and last segment of this retrospective. Let me be clear. My political views, and I would hardly call them views, in no way affect my enthusiasm and genuine delight for Disney and the Walt Disney Company. My personal opinions are separate from my ability and motivation to work for this magical company. I hope that didn't even require clarification. Then again, who the hell bothers to read the drivel I dish out once a month, if that? Anyway, enough with the toxic negativity. This marks the end of what has been for many a shitty year, which is good news, though I hope there was some light in your 2016. Here's hoping that 2017 will be far better on all counts. Cheers to you all and happy new year. See ya real soon!

Monday, November 7, 2016

The Presidential Drinking Game

Greetings one and all. Pardon the title, there will be no drinking game included in this post. It just seems like a fitting title for this circus of an election. I want to preface this by stating that I really prefer not to get political. I know I write myself into a corner at times where I cannot help but share my political tendencies. I know that these tendencies deviate from popular thought, how against political correctness I declare to be. Well, I won't really delve into unconventional thought. Instead, I have decided to put my two cents into this spectacle known as the 2016 Presidential Election. This is an election movies can only dream about. That being said, I hope with the utmost of expectations that Hollywood adapts the ridicules and media frenzy that has surrounded this election since the summer of last year into a feature film. A comedy would be most suitable I reckon. The Republican debates alone are worthy of a chunky segment of runtime. Never have I witnessed such an absurd display of so-called politics. Especially recently, politics have been thrown out the window only to be replaced with tabloid journalism. Rather than deliberate on why they are a good fit for president, both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have spent time denouncing one another. Essentially, this election is more of a "Don't Vote For The Other One" campaign.
We have gotten to a point where citizens are choosing candidates in spite of the other candidate. People are voting for Clinton because they do not want Trump, and people are voting for Trump because they do not want Clinton. Granted, there are individuals out there who are die-hard supporters of one or the other. Personally, I fall in the category of indifferent, meaning that I recognize the ineligibility of both candidates. Fortunately, I am not registered so I can't really trouble myself too much about the election results. We all know Hillary is going to win, right? Can we just make that declarative assumption and give up now? What is flabbergasting to me is how Clinton clinched the election. Not the fact that Trump wants Mexico to pay for a concrete wall across the U.S.-Mexico border. Not the fact that Trump wants to ban Muslims from entering the United States. No, the reason Trump has fallen from the good graces he had on a thin thread was the illicit recording known colloquially as "locker room talk." It is absolutely astounding that something like this can annihilate a candidate's chances for presidency. I am aware that the majority of people believe this recording is anything but trivial, however I have to ask who the hell cares? I understand the sensitivity of this topic of sexual assault; however, the recording does not indicate that Trump physically attacked a woman. Yes, grabbing women by the pussy is a crude and disgusting comment. Forgive me for my belief that Bill Clinton most likely spoke in those terms as well. In addition to actually assaulting women sexually, but that was in the past everybody it's irrelevant. Unless Donald Trump said it. This was a recording taken over ten years ago. People will argue that it is still a determinant of character. I will counter-argue by noting Hillary's smug and dismissive remarks towards rape victims and how cavalier she was about helping rapists get away with the crime. People defend Hillary's honor by saying that was in the past. Pause. Then why does it matter what Trump said about some married woman ten years ago? I consider Hillary's uncaring comments toward rape victims far more incriminating than Trump's sex drive. If Hillary can change, then Trump should be given the same benefit of the doubt. By now you may be questioning my political indifference to this election. True, I dislike Hillary more than I dislike Trump. That is not to say that I like Trump. I believe he is politically unqualified to be President of the United States. He is still that wealthy entrepreneur who wants everyone to like him. He is desperate to be accepted beyond his level of prosperity, and this quality will prove to be humiliating in a president of such a prominent country. That being said, with the "Don't Vote For The Other One" campaign, I would vote for Trump over Hillary if I had a gun to my head. Why? Because I do not like Hillary. This is personal. Much like the dislike for Donald Trump is personal among the majority of supposedly informed individuals. Hillary Clinton is an untrustworthy, manipulative snake who has twisted the system to benefit herself. Not the American people, herself. The fact that the media is making light of her various indiscretions and scandals is infuriating. I realize that the media has been pro-Hillary from the get-go, as was the Democratic National Committee it turns out, but it seems unpatriotic to be so uneven with this election. Finding one pro-Trump article is near-impossible, as is finding one anti-Clinton article. If an article tries to be anti-Clinton, it is a pathetic and obligatory attempt to feign objectivity. As of yesterday, the FBI has ceased all investigations into Hillary's emails. How convenient, given that the election is tomorrow. It is especially frustrating to me that, when asked about the emails, Hillary immediately blames Russian hackers and Russia's attempt to sway the election in Trump's favor. The idea that Russia is this evil empire out to destroy the United States is a paranoid sentiment that is reminiscent of the Red Scare craze. The emails distributed by WikiLeaks have also been credited to Russian hackers, which is ludicrous considering that Julian Assange has no ties to Russia. Oh, of course, he must have used Russian servers to release these emails. Got it. Regardless of who leaked the emails, shouldn't we be focusing on the content of these emails? When Hillary is asked questions about these emails, she deliberately avoids explaining herself and the media lets her get away with it. Sure, she expresses "sincere" regret over the incident(s), but forgive me for having my doubts that Clinton has turned over a new leaf. If given the opportunity, she will commit a similar act of negligence if it entails advancing her political career. As if she can move any higher up the food chain. All this anti-Clinton rhetoric seems driven by conspiracy theories, I am aware, but such language appears to be necessary when searching for the truth. Again, conspiracy-esque. What bothers me is that Hillary refuses to divulge relevant information regarding her political behavior, a right that is due to the American people voting in this election. What bothers me is the rampant amount of double standards present in this election. People demand that Trump release his tax forms and elaborate on sexual assault accusations, yet Hillary is given a free pass when it comes to suspicious emails and a history of political debacles. Down below, I will link a video explaining the discrepancies in Clinton's career more thoroughly. Down below in the comments, you may feel free to call be a Trump supporter or conspiracy theorist because such name-calling will not bother me, for I know that I am not either of those. Well, maybe the conspiracy theorist, but at least I can function in society. Sort of.
Anyway, I think that's enough political ranting. I would like to reiterate my lack of a political position. My only declaration is that I do not like Hillary and that I do not like the unevenness of media coverage on these two candidates. Donald Trump is a caricature of sorts who is desperate to affirm his self-proclaimed greatness. Hillary Clinton is a politician who abuses the system to benefit herself and she never fails to smile when she has done just that. Again, I hope a movie is made about this election, preferably directed by Jay Roach after his excellent work with Game Change. I cannot help but wonder what would have happened if Bernie Sanders earned the nomination instead of Hillary Clinton. For one thing, I would have registered to vote and put my ballot in for Bernie. In Michael Moore's documentary Capitalism: A Love Story, Bernie Sanders said that this country needs to readjust its priorities from worshipping greed to serving the majority of people in the United States. He represents an ideal that may not become reality in this political environment, though I am still drawn to supporting him over the clown and the two-faced generic politician.
I hope you enjoyed this amateur analysis of the 2016 Election. I urge you to vote for whoever you damn well please to vote for, or to bow out of this lunacy and just watch the world burn. Have a wonderful apocalypse.

The Flaws of HRC

Monday, October 24, 2016

Disclaimers, Dexter, and Disney

Greetings one and all. I wish I had a better opening line, but that's all I have. Instead of writing an essay for my modern lit class, I decided to do some writing on this medium. Let's face it, this is more significant than writing about the significance of "Howl" by Allen Ginsberg. For shits and giggles, I'll give a brief synopsis of the film that I had to watch in order to write a paper comparing the poem to the film. Watching the movie Howl was just as dull and, dare I say, excruciating as reading the poem was. I won't get too much into it seeing as how this website could be tracked down for plagiarism once I turn in my paper. Moving on.
Several years later, I continue this post. I feel as though I should add audience laughter after every self-deprecating comment. That would require having an actual audience, however. Anyway. I have several things on my mind that I would like to discuss or merely glaze over, depending on how important I feel the thing is. Much has happened since my last post, events that I want to revel in for the most part. This is going to be a very fragmented post, so I apologize for that in advance. I will attempt to write this as professionally as possible and refrain from conversational talk. That may be a feat I cannot accomplish considering how giddy I am about certain events. Enough cock-teasing. Ready, set, let's begin.
A Promised Retraction. A few months back, I condemned the new Ghostbusters movie as feminist propaganda. I am paraphrasing, of course, to make what I actually said sound worse than it was. Why would I do such a thing? Regardless of the technicalities of what I said, I promised I would admit I was wrong. Here is exactly what I said: "If the movie turns out to be hilarious and plot-drivenly good, I will not deny it. I will admit I was wrong and prematurely critical." Adding to that, emphasis here, I said: "I will not, however, say that feminists were right. If I enjoy the film, it will be due to the talented director and his collaboration with the cast and script. Movies are movies, people." There you have it, word for word what I said. Now that words have been included to bulk up this portion, allow me to say that I judged the movie too quickly before ever watching it. I blame it on the noise surrounding the movie. If it weren't for these new-wave feminists, I would have watched the movie like any other without any preconceptions. Putting aside ideas of female empowerment, let us take a brief glance at Ghostbusters as a movie. It was generally entertaining and the jokes landed rather well. The women were not annoying at all, and why would they be? I can only speak for Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy, as I've said in the other post, because I know and appreciate their sense of humor. Kate McKinnon, a recent Emmy winner mind you, was funny, and so was Leslie Jones believe it or not. Well, she was tolerable anyway, for I feared her to be a walking stereotype as the trailer implied. Each of the women were funny, in my opinion, and I give special kudos to McCarthy because, well, I thought she was the funniest. Chris Hemsworth was hilarious, I have to admit. As much as I don't care for him, he was very amusing as the dim-witted receptionist. The movie as a whole is nothing extraordinary, nor is it anything atrocious. Ghostbusters 2016 was just a good movie, plain and simple. One nerd technicality I will agree with is that the movie should have been set in a different universe; however, there were never any specific references to a former team of Ghostbusters. At least not that I noticed. I was never a die-hard fan of the original Ghostbusters anyway. They were entertaining, for sure. But hey, so was the 2016 rendition. At one point in the film, the ladies are reading what trolls have to say online about their Ghostbusters team, which is a knowing nod to the real-life trolls who hated on this very movie. I was one of them, I admit, and this is my restitution. Forgive me, Paul Feig, but you did all right. While looking at the troll comments, one of the women says, "Don't listen to what crazy people write online." The movie should really follow its own advice.
Hello, Dexter Morgan. I don't know how I can possibly sum this show up. To start off, I have never before seen Dexter until this past August. How it all began is rather a funny story that involves a random guy and Netflix. That's how the greatest stories ever told begin, right? Basically, he suggested we watch the show from the beginning--because why not?--so that's what we did. I'm a bit surprised I have never seen it prior to that moment, considering my intense interest in serial killer anthologies. Anthology is a good term to use there, says I. The random guy and I went through two episodes before falling asleep, and that was all it took for me to get hooked. More than that, I was utterly enthralled by those two episodes and I would continue to be stunned by Dexter, both the show and the character. It was no wonder that the show was a massive success in its time. Before I say anything more, I would like to point out how brilliant Michael C. Hall's performance was. Really, people, let's give him a round of applause because the depth he went into to portray a sociopathic serial killer with a Code was tremendous. As much as I love Bryan Cranston... No, Walter White was still a bit more of a challenge. Though Michael C. Hall has my lifetime adoration nevertheless. Like Breaking Bad, it took me well after the series finale to watch Dexter from beginning to (tragic, untimely) end. In a word, Dexter is a masterpiece. I find myself tearing up just thinking about how incredible the show is in its entirety. Thinking about how it is truly over makes me cry, as I listen to the subtle and melodic musical score of the show. People debate how there could be a continuation, seeing as how they did not kill off Dexter, but I'm afraid that's hogwash. [Spoilers, duh.] How can they go on after such a disappointing finale? Sure, he's alive and living in isolation as a lumberjack. Sure, he could reunite with Hannah and Harrison. I can't help but wonder why the writers of the show did not make that the finale in the first place then? I understand that Dexter feels as though he kills everything he comes into contact with, everything he loves, that he cannot help but kill and lead those he loves into harm's way. My view, however, is that Dexter deserved a happy ending. Before you say, "But how can he after killing Deb?!" Relax. There are many complexities to Dexter, which is why it is such a phenomenal show, and I get why Dexter made that self-sacrificing decision to protect those around him from his own malevolence. Throughout the show, viewers fell in love with Dexter. They rooted for him, yes? I certainly did. So did Rita's mom, remember? And she was a schoolteacher who got fired for conservative views. Moving on. I so wanted Dexter to meet up with Hannah and his son. The second half of the finale had me screaming at my projector, and once he embarked on the stormy Atlantic, it was then I knew that the show decided to take this ill-fated turn. I suppose it was poetic, for Dexter to die with Debra. Only it was not poetic because the final scenes showed Dexter donned in a lumberjack beard, all alone. Tears were shed, heated analysis was made, and months later I am still going through Dexter withdrawal. I intend to watch the series all the way through again, hopefully, when I have endless free time. By then, I hope to write a more in-depth analysis of this remarkable television show. I absolutely love Dexter, despite my bitter views on the ending, and it currently holds a spot as my all-time favorite television show. Sorry, Walter White, but Dexter Morgan has my heart for the time being.
A Dreamlike Announcement. This final piece regards a personal event that has already altered my life in an oh-so optimistic manner. That makes sense, right? The happiness that surrounds me when thinking about this prevents me from speaking coherently. What event, you may be wondering with irritation as you read begrudgingly through my coyness? Last month, I received an email saying "Congratulations! You have been selected to participate in the Disney College Program at the Walt Disney Resort!" Pause for an Olive moment à la Little Miss Sunshine. I shrieked with elation when I got the email. I really could not believe I was accepted. Granted, I am a major Disney geek. I live and breathe Disney. I go there every single year and I have been there approximately fifteen times. It is quite preposterous how spoiled and in love I am with Disney. To be accepted into this "resumé-enhancing" opportunity is simply a dream come true. Working for Disney is my ultimate ambition in life, this is what I want to do. I'm basically reciting what I prepared for my phone interview. That was the most nerve-wracking experience of my adult/career-oriented life. At one point, I got disconnected from my interviewer and began hyperventilating. I was afraid I said "umm" and laughed too nervously and too often throughout my time speaking with her. I had seven pages of notes and answered questions she may ask. The interview lasted about twelve minutes give or take, and that was on August 29. About one month later, I got that miraculous email that granted my wish. I would be part of the Disney College Program, work for Disney World and take seminars to learn about the Disney heritage. I cannot be more thrilled if I wished for it. The idea of spending four months in Disney World is bonkers. All I know, as of now, is that I will be working as a hostess and that my dates are January 23-May 25, 2017. I might extend my program if I am able to do that because I certainly will enjoy my time there. No question about it. I understand the stresses that accompany a job working for one of the most successful companies in the world. There is stress attached to any job, really, and a job for Disney really cannot be so horrendous. I will be at Disney World. I will be living in a truly magical place, absorbing the essence of Walt's dream as well as soaking up the happiness around me as I, hopefully, make guests' days. I sound very cheesy and I am not sorry. Beyond the magic of working at Disney and the ability to visit the parks for free on my days off, I will be putting my foot in the door of this magnificent company. Here's hoping this experience leads me somewhere in the long-term. That's where I'll wrap things up. I got myself too excited. Not in that way. Get your mind out of the gutter. We're talking about Disney here, compose yourselves. I'm done now. Have a magical evening.