(10) I found this DVD next to some Hello Kitty stationary

Story time! So, last summer I volunteered with my friend Erin in Brooklyn. We were supposed to be leading an English class with some adorable but whiny Russian old ladies, but we were habitually late and found ourselves at odds with the evil library staff. Suffice it to say, we didn’t win any “volunteer of the year” awards. Now, the area that we volunteered in wasn’t exactly the nicest neighborhood (it wasn’t the worst either…) but it did have one very important highlight: Marshalls, the mecca of discount shopping. Erin and I faced our extremely long commute knowing in the back of our minds that when it was all over we’d get to peruse the racks of Marshalls.

Marshalls is an evil genius. My favorite (or least favorite) part is that they lure you with all sorts of goods that you never thought you needed, in the ridiculously long line at the checkout. It’s basically begging you to pick up the Ped Egg or Hello Kitty stationary set sitting there in front of your eyes, and you start to create a need for these products in your mind, “Why yes, my feet are effing disgusting!” “Hmm… an imported Japanese kitten might liven up the home office!” But the worst for me comes in the final stretch: the 5 dollar movies section.

These movies range from decent to awesome, and even if you end up blowing like 30 bucks you feel like it’s this amazing deal because “OMG, 6 movies for 30 bucks!” Naturally, I quickly loaded my arms with picks like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and He’s Just Not That Into You (unfortunately failing to notice that it was some weird french version.) And then, I spotted The Outsiders–based on S.E. Hinton’s popular (required reading) book. I had always wanted to see it, but had safely stored it away in my mind with other movies that were “way too scary” for me to watch. I decided that since I had made significant progress with seven seasons of 24, Inglourious Basterds and Pulp Fiction (My suitemate got me on a Tarantino kick earlier that year)  it was probably safe. Besides, it was my absolute favorite book from the seventh grade (I totally aced that book report. I MISS THE DAYS OF BOOK REPORTS.) Plus, it was a total steal at the 5 dollar Marshalls going rate. I was so going to watch it as soon as I got home.

This evening I found it still wrapped in that oh so annoying DVD wrapping. It’s been a year, and I’ve never quite been in the mood for the movie. My standard movie mood generally ranges from Disney movies to Rom-Coms, I’m always the one to say “Well, I’m not really in the mood for something serious.” But, whenever I am forced to sit through something I might not quite be in the mood for I always end up enjoying it thoroughly and realizing that perhaps I should venture beyond the Disney channel. (Example: Seeing Jane Eyre with Kerry earlier this spring. And then I do this thing where I act all pretentious to people being all, “What? You saw Bridesmaids? Pshh, I was seeing Jane Eyre. Yeah, I’m all literary and shit.)

The point of this run on story is that tonight I was suddenly in the mood for The Outsiders. I was finally going to get my 5 dollars worth. And, it was great and very true to the book as far as I can remember. Plus, it features baby versions of Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe, Diane Lane and The Karate Kid (obviously I mean the original and not Jaden Smith who is still, in fact, a baby.) I also played my pathetic  new favorite game called: “One degree of Dawson’s Creek.” I managed to connect it twice: TomKat being the obvious one and then the awesome Emilio-Josh Jackson Mighty Ducks connection.

Bottom Line: The movie was fab, and I’m going to go try and dig up my old 7th Grade book report. I may also be inspired to write a story of my own. Damn, I wish I had some Hello Kitty paper. Next time, Marshalls. Next time.

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(9) My school never had a teacher who looked like Cameron Diaz…

…But then again I went to a modern-orthodox Jewish day school. Tonight I got to see Bad Teacher for free at an advance screening with Margaret. Bad Teacher was exactly the movie that we needed, and ended up being way funnier than I ever expected. I thought that all of the best jokes would be straight out of the trailer (and a few were…) but it was consistently funny, and delightfully raunchy, throughout. Plus it had JT, Jason Segel and Eric Stonestreet (Cam on Modern Family) in a small role. There was also a very quick cameo from the gravedigger from Bones, and she still gives me the creeps.

I won’t give away too much, but I think my favorite part is that the movie made no attempts to change the fact that Cameron Diaz’s character was a horrible person. She didn’t suddenly grow and become a wonderful teacher, as I would have expected. She was bad through and through, and it made it all the more hilarious. Between Bad Teacher and Bridesmaids, it seems like women are proving that they can hold their own in the raunchy comedy department. I’m excited to see what comes next. But until then, you should see this when it comes out next Friday.

 

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Super (8) is mint.

Uh, Super 8? More like super duper 8. But really, what was to be expected?….Spielberg and Abrams is a dream team.

At the heart of it was a cute friendship/young romance between 12-or-13 year old (but still perfectly adept at driving?) Joey and Alice.

Me mid-movie to my favorite movie buddy, Sara: “OMG THIS IS LIKE ROMEO AND JULIET…with Aliens.” I’ve decided to nickname it Rome-U.F.O and Juli-E.T (even though the only comparison is that their dads briefly forbid them to see each other … it’s like if Mr. Montague were a cop and Mr. Capulet were a raging alcoholic who very inadvertently led to Mrs. Montague’s death. And if neither Romeo or Juliet committed suicide, but were almost murdered by a misunderstood alien.)

It had all of my favorite movie elements: cute children, cute children having crushes on each other, cute children making movies, cute children with potty mouths, cute children with daddy issues and then working out those daddy issues, humor, mystery, DAVID GALLAGHER (aka Simon Camden) SMOKING WEED, Kyle Chandler and a Fanning sibling.

I don’t really want to get into plot points here because this is just something you should see. The freaking actors didn’t know the plot before they filmed it, so neither should you. It was simply a great film that felt like a breath of fresh air during this summer of inane sequels. It truly had a lot of heart, and it’s a movie that I know that I’ll revisit in the future.

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(7) Jake Gyllenhaal and Other Drugs

Last night I finally got around to watching a movie that I’ve been meaning to see since before it came out. In fact, the only reason I didn’t see it was that my best friend protested, declaring that, “Anne Hathaway has an annoying mouth.” (After watching the Oscars I definitely agree. Can you say train wreck?) So, when I got home from Pub Trivia [evidence that I do actually leave the home] I popped in my recently arrived Netflix DVD of Love and Other Drugs.

It is exactly the movie you would expect it to be, but that doesn’t make it any less charming. Some of the critics have been saying that the whole thing is practically porn and that it’s Anne and Jake naked for 2 hours. I definitely disagree, and maybe I just don’t really notice it any more, but the film didn’t seem any more raunchy or gratuitous than many other movies I’ve seen recently. And then again, who doesn’t want to see Jake Gyllenhaal naked for 2 hours? I am just saying…

The first "google image" that came up. Nakey Jakie.

Did I cry? Duh. It might be more productive to point out the movies that I haven’t cried during. It’s a sweet little movie about a womanizer who meets the “one girl who will change everything.” Been done before? Yep. But somehow it stayed just fresh enough for me to find it enjoyable.

 

(6) Betty White is the quintessential rom-com granny

Kristen Bell can do no wrong. Okay, that’s definitely not true. In fact, Kristen Bell can do a lot of wrong. Since the demise of my beloved series Veronica Mars, she hasn’t exactly been making the best movie choices (Forgetting Sarah Marshall being an exception.) However, the other fact is… I just don’t care. I love her, and somehow I always end up enjoying anything that she is in, even when I REALLY don’t want to.

I really did not want to enjoy You Again. As a rule I don’t like movies with cat fights, bridezilla shenanigans, or any sort of food being spilled on another person. I also don’t like movies with mean high school girls. Uh, but aren’t you like, freakishly obsessed with Mean Girls, Jen? Isn’t that about, well, mean….girls…. Yeah, but it’s different. The “meanness” in Mean Girls is comedic. In You Again it’s just downright horrific.

The movie did have a few things going for it… First off, it had my girl Kristen. Secondly, it had Hollywood’s most desired, wacky and off-color grandmother, Betty White. I adored her in this same role in the greatest romantic comedy ever The Proposal. Would that be enough?

Well it wasn’t my favorite movie ever. Far from it. But it did have its sweet moments. And I did tear up in the end. But I cried during Stuart Little and the Tony Awards the other night, so that may not be the best indicator…

(5) “There are no baby pigeons in the city…not one.”

The title of this post is a philosophical statement posed by a character in the film…How true is that? Have you ever seen a baby pigeon? Really, how does that work? I mean seriously, a romantic comedy that makes you think about important issues like baby pigeons? What more can you ask for?

Some movies simply never get old. Every time I watch Mean Girls (the first I mean, not this travesty…) I laugh like it is the first time. Today I watched Going the Distance for the fourth time now, and I still adore it. I think it’s one of the most underrated recent rom-coms.

If you didn’t see it because of this review, you should consider revisiting it: “What are we doing watching this manically dreary, physically nauseating date movie from hell?” Kelly Vance, East Bay Express.  Wait, seriously? Date movie from hell, Kelly Vance? This isn’t a horror movie, so why must we bring “hell” into the picture. I swear reviewers are getting pickier by the minute.

The first time I saw it, two of my roommates were in long distance relationships. It’s something that many people deal with, but still managed to be a breath of fresh air in the theaters. Meet Garrett and Erin. They bond over a shared love of arcade games, pub trivia and Shawshank Redemption in New York City. The catch? Erin is only in town for 6 weeks. So, once Erin leaves the Big Apple they try and make it work.

This film has so many great little comedic moments, many from Garrett’s best friend Dan. The best is when he DJS ERIN AND GARRETT’S HOOKUP. With “Take My Breath Away.” Classic.

[This reminds me of the time when I watched Top Gun for the first time, and tuned in about halfway through. We happened to turn it on while “Take My Breath Away” was playing. I was so excited, “What are the chances that we would turn it on for this most famous moment! It’s fate!” Fate for what? I don’t really know… I read a lot into things sometimes, like the fact that every time I try and watch That 70s Show (3 times…) it happens to be the SAME episode. Where they’re smuggling beer from Canada. So for my whole childhood I thought the show was about beer-smuggling. So yeah, I was freaking out and then I came to realize that “Take My Breath Away” plays THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE MOVIE. It was disappointing. But then it became a fun drinking game.]

The point is, this movie is freaking hilarious. Other best line: After Garrett and Erin have a fight, she tells her girlfriend because “That’s what girls do…” (It is.) Garrett says he understands because, “I know how it works…I’ve seen Moesha.” Genius.

The SOURCE for all girl-related problems.

(4) It’s Thors-day, Thors-day gotta get down on Thors-day

Partyin' Partyin' YEAH

…Everybody lookin’ forward to bein’ weakened, weakened. Because, ya know, Thor is a GOD and he loses his powers.

And, actually…it’s Tuesday. Practically Wednesday. But here’s the thing: you should see Thor. And, it’s probably almost outta theaters…but I just don’t care.  Because you should see it.

If you’re like me, you’re thinking, “uhhhh it’s called Thor. THOR. eff that shit. why would I watch this weird movie about demon vikings?” Yeah, I thought it was about a demonic viking, judging solely from its posters. Whoops. My B. It’s actually a pretty freaking entertaining Marvel flick. And, it’s a precursor to 2012’s THE AVENGERS. (nope, no relation to the Rescuers Down Under, like I thought. Omg, I have my moments sometimes. sue me.) Oh and Joss Whedon is directing that (squeeeee, syd.)

Thor stars Chris Hemsworth (brother of Last Song hottie Liam Hemsworth– a main mention in the Miley Cyrus salvia-vid-incident of 2010. uhhh, salvia is so last year, Miles…) and Natalie Portman. It also features Kat Denning in a refreshingly comedic role.

It’s a film that just works. Despite the fact that you might question how the HECK an asian male ended up being a Norse God (or not God? really I didn’t get that part so much? Are they gods? Are they super humans? I just don’t know.)

Skip the 3D though. Especially in the city. It cost me 17 buckaroos, and while I don’t regret it, I would have happily enjoyed it at matinee price.

[Edits: A) TELL ME THAT POSTER IS NOT A DEMONIC VIKING. Idareyou. B) I guess he is a God. Silly Jen.]

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(3) I just went with it…

I remember seeing trailers back in February for a new Adam Sandler flick, with Jennifer Aniston, called Just Go With It. The plot seemed mildly funny– guy pretends to be unhappily married to sleep with girls, no strings attached, but it backfires when he falls for a pair of boobs 23-year-old math teacher Brooklyn Decker. He must pretend that Aniston is his soon-to-be ex-wife, and that her cute kids are his bundles of joy.

I wasn’t sold, despite my soft spot for both leading actors. But, in its defense this film came out long before I was given THE GIFT OF TIME. No, it hit theaters while I still had shit to do, a thesis to write, grad school apps to complete and well, a life. So I decided to give it a shot after a ritual in my family I like to call “whine until Jen gets to watch the movie she wants. Yes, sometimes this involves Disney Channel Original Movies…” This week, my dad wasn’t having it. In his defense my three on demand choices were: You Again (silly little movie with cat fights and KRISTEN BELL), Life as we Know It (otherwise known as “Life With a Poopy Baby”) and The Switch (Mom: That Friends chick, again?)

Then we came across Just Go With It, and since my dad enjoys Adam Sandler we went with it. And it beyond exceeded my expectations. (Rotten Tomatoes, take your stupid 18% and shove it.) I thought it was hilarious, charming and refreshing. And, the soundtrack was BOMB and featured my most favorite-ist thing: mashups.

It also featured very important elements for romantic comedies: precocious children, a trip to hawaii, and Brooklyn Decker’s boobs. No actually, I am surprised that they did not have their own individual credits on imdb.

So if you’re deciding whether or not to waste an hour and a half on it, just go with it.

[Edit: It took 9 pages of Google Images for “Just Go With It” to find a movie poster. I kid you not, the first 8 were pictures of Brooklyn Decker.]

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(2): Things that are not sequels

2011 is the summer of sequels. And three-quels, and four-quels (Pirates of the Crappy-bean) and five-quels (Fast Five, anyone?) and probably 1,000,000-quels if yet another straight-to-dvd release of Bring it On is in the works…

I’ve recently seen two alleged sequels of two highly popular films: Mean Girls 2 and Hangover 2. They are very different movies, obviously (one went STAF–straight to abc family– and the other has grossed hundreds of millions o’ dollars.) They are also not sequels. But they are not sequels in two very different ways.

Mean Girls 2:

…In Mean Girls 2’s defense they had a totally original poster concept. I MEAN they used more purple and the one in jeans has a leather jacket. 

Firstly, I was a little disappointed by Mean Girls 2’s lack of a colon title. Examples of which could have been “Mean Girls 2: Tim Meadows is in this too” or “Mean Girls 2: Paying for Friends isn’t just for Sorority Girls.” Its main characters collective credits include: Camp Rock, Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam (an actual sequel, and admirable usage of a colon) AND CORY IN THE HOUSE (sucktastic spin-off of sucktastic that’s so sucking raven.)

WHY IT IS NOT A SEQUEL (Grease 2, style): Mean Girls 2 is not a sequel in the way that Grease 2 isn’t. Yes, it’s lovely to see that Frenchie has survived beauty school or whatever, and that Principal Duvall is still easily manipulated by 14 year old girls, but that does not mean it is any sort of continuation of the original story. Seeing new, less talented actors regurgitate a poorly written, loosely based on the original concept, screenplay is frankly disrespectful to the Mean Girls name.

The Hangover 2:

The Hangover 2 was funny. I also liked it when I saw it two summers ago and it was called The Hangover. Omg, relax I know I’m not the first to note the similarities. I just think that the creators played a good ole game of mad libs to create the second script:

“Alan, Phil, Stu and Doug go to _________ (place where mayhem ensues) because ________ (insert main character) is getting hitched. They get extremely fucked up and wake up the next morning to realize they don’t remember the night before. Stu _________’s (painful activity in the general facial vicinity). __________ (insert male character) gets lost and the others must find him. HILARITY ENSUES. Turns out _________ (same male character) was in the ___________ (extremely obvious, meant to invoke a “duhhhhhh”, location.) Oh wait, there’s a camera. Roll credits to __________ (Flo Rida ft. SOMEONE) and obscene photographs.”

WHY IT IS NOT A SEQUEL: It is not a sequel in the way that when I watched Easy A twice in a row I did not watch Easy A and Easy B. I watched the same movie twice, and laughed a lot. That is how I felt with the Hangover 2. Hangover 3 sounds promising though, and involves the wolfpack breaking Alan out of a psych ward (although I SWEAR Zach Galifinakis just made that movie and it was kinda a funny story (no really, that was what it was called.) That might just be a sequel.

The point of this run on tangent is that maybe movies should take a page from the Toy Story franchise, and make actual sequels. As long as there is no Judy Moody and the NOT Bummer Summer 2, I can deal. (But hey, maybe Heather Graham will be kicked out of that one too?)

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(1) I’m a lean, mean, movie machine… or something less weird.

I’ve noticed the following trend in my recent conversations:

Jen: Hey [insert friend’s name]! What are you up to today?

Friend A: Oh you know, relishing in my fabulous internship/traveling to amazing places/frolicking on the beach/curing cancer. And you?

Jen: Oh, well right now I’m watching a movie…and I might do some of those other things later….uhhh,kbye.

…Except the thing is, I don’t. Do any of those things, that is. I’m a recent college grad waiting to start graduate school and for someone to give me money this summer  to win the lottery  to fortuitously hail the cash cab, win tons of cash and simultaneously astound viewers with my trivia skills, garnering my own reality show.

But until Bravo picks it up, I have to fill my days somehow.  I see my friends, spend time with my family and often watch movies while doing one or the other.

This blog started mainly because I realized that I have been watching an inordinate amount of movies lately ranging from the inane (Mean Girls 2) to the phenomenal (A Few Good Men) and I wanted to document my summer through movies.  Caveat:  I don’t have the most discerning taste, and enjoy a WIDE selection of films.

I don’t have such a fantastic memory, so this blog will really pick up on June 21st (official first day of summer.) For now here’s a quick rundown of the ones I can remember.

In theaters: Bridesmaids, Thor, Hangover 2

Elsewhere: Killers, Just Go With It, Mean Girls 2, The Dilemma, The Romantics, A Few Good Men, Virgin Suicides, About A Boy, Conviction, I Love You Man.

So by that count I’m at 13. Oh and I watched 3 seasons of Veronica Mars. (I want a VM movie!) I guess that means I need 487 more to live up to this blog’s title. Hope you enjoy the ride.

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