Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Let the games begin...

Alright, everyone, this is going to be a simple little post, detailing the past week and how I've been feeling lately. Might I start off with the fact that, for an hour and thirty minutes, I was working out? More like a healthy exercise, which caused me to sweat profusely. Afterwards, I took a refreshingly hot-and-cold shower in one of those bathtub/shower combinations. Then, dripping from the shower, I hobbled over to my bedroom and told my mother some useful nutritional facts about which foods help specific needs of the human body. For instance, flaxseeds and sweet potatoes are wrinkle defenders, just as doughnuts and French fries decrease one's chances of conceiving a child. Interestingly useful, yes? I, then, dried my hair to a silky smooth and decided it was time to spend quality time with my baby brother, who is now coming up with witty sentences. Innocent childishness is probably the cause of it. Dutifully, I spent nearly an hour with him, without breaks, and one could be confident in assuming I felt relieved and accomplished for doing so. I must add that my calves are extremely tight, most likely from the steady work-out routine I've been practicing. Each step I take is just another slightly-painful clench for my entire leg. My calves are the only section which feels effected by my extraneous exercise schedule. (Extraneous? That sounds about right.) Unfortunately, my thighs have been feelings a bit...softer than what I'd expect. Perhaps it's my low self-esteem acting up again. One may wonder, why the sudden urge to increase my exercise dosage? Well, my friends, later this August, I'll be venturing to Walt Disney World once again. Henceforth, I would like--rather, love--to look stunning when I depart for the magical land. Same as last year, I have made a sort of resolution to meet a perfect stranger and engage in a "summer fling". Preferably with an older man. That's right, a man. I'm sick of these immature boys. It's almost impossible to find one who has actually heard of The Artist. More like, impossible. There is one, but he finds me to be immature for his tastes. How ironic. That would be considered irony, correct? The last guy I've been with was [censured], and that was nearly three weeks ago. While that may not be that long for the average girl, the fact that it was the only guy I've ever been with, intimately, it's rather sad. No sex was involved, I can assure you, for that would be utterly tragic if there was. You can see why I am quite anxious to meet someone in the foreign and whimsical land of Walt Disney World. The fact that he is there, alone, is enough to sweep me off my feet. Again, an older man would suffice.

I feel I am getting off course. Yes, my day thus far. After playing with my little brother, I sat down on my leather loveseat and prepared for my lunch-slash-dinner. For a "first course", a delicious salad with avocado, mango salsa, and cucumbers. The ideal summer treat. Following typical procedure, I finished only a slight more than half of it, preparing for my entree, which I would feast upon an hour later. Today, just as any other day, I was pleased to see a plate full of sautéed vegetables, which included colorful zucchini, eggplant, squash, red and green peppers, red potatoes, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes. Oh, how scrumptious. My mother is quite the chef, believe it or not. And no, I cannot cook anything but eggs. And, may I say, I cook them to perfection. Oh, I forgot to mention: I had a small glass of gin-and-tonic. Instead of tonic water, which is full of carbonated gunk and high-fructose corn syrup, I substituted Perrier sparkling water. And a lemon. Now, doesn't that all sound delightful? It sure was. I am proud to say that I did not fall asleep after my expectedly-tasty cuisine, as I usually do, rather I willed myself to write this very post. Actually, no, I willed myself to begin a certain "project" that I must complete over the summer, as part of the annual request of my "boss". I figured writing this was much more amusing. Aren't you benefiting from this impromptu decision? You bet you are.

Moving on. This won't be a cheerful post on how my life has been. More like a weekly review of the movies I've seen over the past few days. There have quite a lot. (My grandmother just came up to give me my yearly allowance for finishing a job well-done over the past year. I feel so special.) Again, the past five days, I've been with my father, celebrating my graduation I suppose, and we have seen an impressive amount of movies over this weekend. Expect a bundle more for the next two months to come. Do not expect, however, a review for each and every one. I'm trying, fellas, honest! For now, I hope you will be satisfied with what I have now.

Christopher Nolan's impressive adaptation - I am referring to the extraordinary Dark Knight trilogy the complex director has composed. I call him "complex" because he has written every screenplay for the new Batman saga, as well as directed them. But more than that, he was the primary mind behind the fascinatingly difficult Inception, which was most-deservedly nominated for Best Picture in the year where ten were nominated once again, though notably left out of the Best Director race. I must briefly say that Inception may be one of the most remarkable films of the decade, dare I say the absolute most. Not because it was hard to understand, that would be too easy, but because it was so unthinkably ingenious. Dreams inside of dreams? Who else to eloquently create a story around the interesting concept? Anyway, as for the new Batman, starring Christian Bale as the mysterious caped crusader, it was a truly brilliant feat on Christopher Nolan's part. After a detrimental disaster, with George Clooney as the star of that ridiculous flop, the Batman film franchise was thought to be ruined. Along came Christopher Nolan, with the assumably-impressive Memento to carry as proof he could do this. He transformed the franchise from a bright-and-dandy comic-book story to the ominous and realistic tale of a man with a dark past. He decided to take the story of Batman and warp it into something that could feasibly occur in the fictional city of Gotham. He created a poignant saga of a disturbed individual who becomes a hero in the process of healing his wounds. Christian Bale is uncharacteristically cast as such a hero, portraying this Batman with genuine, human feeling. Unlike his predecessors, he plays Batman as a human being, not a comic book character with all those goofy, daunting moments. Before his pretentious Oscar win last year, I actually became fond of Christian Bale, solely for this role. I was close to watching American Psycho, which I stopped watching right before he killed someone with an ax, but up until then I was in the midst of a great performance. In addition to this one, as Batman. As I've mentioned, Christopher Nolan adapted the tale of Batman to something that could actually be considered feasible, to add to the intention of creating a drama without the label of "superhero movie". To do this, he made The Scarecrow into a criminal psychologist who uses a scary mask resembling a scarecrow and "psycho gas" to subdue his victims. Also, he had District Attorney Harvey Dent be physically misshapen by a fire to literally burn half of his face, hence the title "Two-Face". Unfortunately, for a viewer such as myself, he was not so successful in modernizing The Joker. What was a timeless and sensational performance in Tim Burton's Batman by Jack Nicholson was shamelessly forgotten because of Christopher Nolan's creation. I'm sure you all know who was behind the hideous mask of his perception of The Joker. Yes, yes, the late Heath Ledger, who received a god-damn Oscar for his "efforts". Oh, haven't you heard? I despise Heath Ledger's performance of The Joker. It was awful. That does not even begin to describe how I feel about his performance, for it has been an endless debate between myself and those who admire his portrayal. Allow me to give you the condensed version: Heath Ledger was utterly terrible as The Joker, turning a devious villain into a disgusting maggot of a being. The actor's purposely-altered speech makes him sound like a bit of a retard. I never use that term, but that is just what describes him. The make-up is mostly to blame, as it is what causes me to perceive this new Joker as a revolting mess, from his sweaty face-paint to his disturbing facial scars. Of course, it was the director's fault for directing him to act in this specific way, no actor would dare ad-lib here. Especially a has-been like Heath Ledger was. Furthermore, and my father agrees with this, Heath Ledger received that posthumous Oscar because he killed himself, not because it was an Oscar-worthy performance. Oh, did I upset some of you by saying he killed himself? Well, he did. Nobody overdoses accidentally. It's unheard of! Anyway, despite that grotesque performance, the new Joker had many insights that would stir up an engrossing debate on the issue of whether government is beneficial to society or detrimental to it. Is government truly trying to cleanse the nation of crime, or is it merely diverting our attention from the woes of it by instating pseudo-heroic bills that will only delay certain nefarious acts long enough for the public to find something new to protest against? Is the government involved in questionable relations with organized crime? Christopher Nolan nudges at these topics throughout the saga by illustrating the tale of Batman in stages that are the effects of injustices in politics, therefore shedding some light on the current issues that reflect our society. Quite a leap from the foolish glory celebrated in the previous comic-book Batman installments.

The Odd Couple - Who might they be? Why, none other than the hilarious duo of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Now, I've seen more than a few of their cinematic encounters, including the adorably delightful Out to Sea and the Grumpy Old Men sequential, so it is always a treat to see them on the screen together. This past weekend, I have seen two (nearly three) of their meetings, and they include The Front Page, about a newspaper man who is covering a hot murder case while attempting to abandon this career to get married to his girl; The Fortune Cookie, a timeless Billy Wilder classic about insurance fraud, which gave Walter Matthau his one and only Oscar, most-deservedly mind you; and The Odd Couple, which was supposed to be another classic considering this is one of the pair's most famous films. Of the latter film, the plot was so ideal, destined for my entertainment: two complete opposites who must share an apartment based on each circumstances. Jack Lemmon plays the finicky, stiff neat-freak who must move in with his nasty slob of a pal, played by Walter Matthau, after he gets separated from his wife. Absolutely ideal, especially knowing who's playing whom. (That's right, whom.) Sadly, it was not meant to be, for Neil Simon drafted a dull drag of a picture. All that hype for Neil Simon being some hot-shot screenwriter is baloney, utter baloney. My father and I wasted a good twenty-seven minutes on this production. A sad waste of time, and I regret calling it a waste. The other two films, that I finished from beginning to end, were a much better treat of the eyes. (Treat of the eyes?) Let's start with the first one mentioned, which was also directed by the great Billy Wilder. It portrays the dauntless conquest of Hildy Johnson, played by Jack Lemmon, as he writes the story of a lifetime while also escaping this life of journalism. Clearly, it was a conquest made in vain. His ruthless boss, played expertly by Walter Matthau, orchestrates the entire film as he lures Hildy into staying a newspaper man. Because once you're in that business, you're as sure as the ink in the paper. (Solid metaphor?) Hildy's girl is played by a young, beautiful Susan Sarandon, before she hit the big time, in a role that could be played by anyone. But I was sure glad it was her. It was an overall decent movie, though it went over and over the plot, giving off a repeated feeling to the audience, which indicates that it should have been made a whole lot shorter. Either way, it was a decent picture. As for the next Billy Wilder film, here we have an absolute cinematic gem. (I sure love that term, don't I?) This marks one of the first films depicting the deceit of victims of minor injuries who exaggerate their pain into a lawsuit. Here, however, it is the lawyer who is behind the scheme, and who better to portray a sly, deceitful criminal than Walter Matthau, with his deviously revolting bulldog grin. It is without a question that he received an Best Supporting Oscar for his performance, for he is truly a skilled actor worthy of such an honor. (Unlike that differently-disgusting Heath Ledger. The greatest Joker ever? Please.)
The film itself is yet another flawless production of the incredibly talented Billy Wilder, as well as his dictation of his fine actors. Watching this, it is no wonder that he and Jack Lemmon collaborated on so many pictures, for the two appear to complement one another gloriously. While Billy Wilder creates an additional seam in the fabric of cinematic genius (me and my metaphors), Jack Lemmon delivers wonderful performance after wonderful performance. Brilliant. Add Walter Matthau in the mix, alongside his real-life friend Jack Lemmon, and you have an even more precious film. Realizing what magic the three made together, as well as on their own, truly makes their absence devastating. Just now, I watched Walter Matthau's salute to Jack Lemmon at the American Film Institute's Lifetime Achievement Ceremony, witnessing the genuine friendship between the two actors. Watching those clips, Oscar acceptance speeches and all, as well as their films, truly brings tears to my eyes. I think to myself, "Boy, what would it be like to have dinner with one of them? That would sure be swell." I'll wrap this up right now and say that you wouldn't want to make the mistake of missing a film of the delightful Odd Couple.
"It's hard enough to write a good drama, it's much harder to write a good comedy, and it's hardest of all to write a drama with comedy. Which is what life is." --Jack Lemmon

I think that just about does it for now. I was going to elaborate into the various other movies I've watched these past few days, but then thought to myself, "No, Dallas is on at nine." Yes, I am victim to the soap opera full of backstabbing and where the dialogue is laced with the passionate "Now, listen to me, god-dammit", or a form of it. I decided to watch it because I was curious to see exactly what this huge phenomenon was all about. "Who Shot J.R.?" Even those who've never watched the show have heard of that! So, I decided to tune in every Wednesday night at nine to see what all the fuss is about. Turns out, it's all about financial conniving and trickery, though the corny pseudo-serious acting is there. Despite my lukewarm interest, I continue to watch it because I enjoy the idea of having a show to watch on-the-dot every week. It gives me a sexual thrill. What's wrong with me?

Here they are, in order:
Batman Begins
Mirror Mirror
The Front Page
Wild Hogs
The Dark Knight
Underworld: Awakening
Superman Returns
The Fortune Cookie
L.A. Confidential


  1. You are so good at writting i love your blog i just started reading it and its amaizing. Good work

  2. Dallas used give all of us, "Of a certain age," a Sexual thrill. JR was the first truly mean guy on TV, who was just mean because he was born selfish, and the show shot from the bad guy's point of view. Have fun waching Dallas, I know I have.

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