With The Academy Awards beginning soon, many people realize that they have not even heard of some of these films that were nominated for Best Picture. In order to put it all into perspective, in case you did not have time to see the nine movies in the running, I compiled the titles here along with a short summary of why or why not said film will win or lose. Probably. After all the only way to find out is to tune in tonight!
1. Lincoln- This biopic is a favorite among history buffs and it is a model for great acting. Daniel Day Lewis’ portrayal of the United States’ 16th president is nothing short of standing ovation worthy. Lewis will most likely win Best Actor for this film. Other highlights included Sally Field as the First Lady, Mary Todd Lincoln, and Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens. Jones performed as he usually does…his wit and persona as the rowdy representative is what saved the film from being a historical bore. Lincoln appears to be a universal favorite and the costumes and performances alone will most likely win this film Best Picture.
2. Argo- In this CIA tale that was based on a true story, one brave agent named Tony Mendes, Ben Affleck, creates an elaborate fake movie production in order to rescue six Americans hiding out in Iran during the 1970s. A brilliantly done film, Argo manages to keep audiences on the edge of their seats the entire two hours of its duration. The producing and script of the film was amazing and this is number two to Lincoln for Best Picture predictions.
3. Silver Linings Playbook- While you can find a more in depth review of Silver Linings Playbook HERE, the best way to summarize this film would be by explaining the characters. Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and even Robert De Niro helped to bump this film up to the top three. Portraying mental illness and disorder is a difficult thing to do and in the film, based on a book of the same title, it is treated with sensitivity and sophistication. The relationship the audience develops with the characters throughout the film made it all the more impactful. Silver Linings Playbook deserves a Best Picture award, unfortunately it will likely win the bronze medal and not get an Oscar for that category.
4. Beasts of the Southern Wild- A fantastical insight to surviving through the eyes of a six- year-old, Beasts’ protagonist goes above and beyond. Quvenzhane Wallis, who plays Hushpuppy in the nominated movie proves that in order to be a great actor or actress, age is not a factor. Living in the swamp-like wonderland that Hushpuppy and her father reside in, she must adapt to the radically changing environment around her. The visual effects and the raw emotion this film had was fascinating, however this film did not rack up the media attention it deserved partially due to the intense themes. For this reason, the film is number 4 on the projected Best Picture list.
5. Amour- A foreign French film about an elderly couple and the trials in their love life. Emmanuelle Riva continues to ripen with age, as she is now in her 80s, and it shines through in this film. She is definitely a top three contender for Best Actress as her performance was riveting, even through the English subtitles. Amour has a decent chance of winning the prize of Best Picture and for this reason it is number 5.
6. Zero Dark Thirty- This compelling film starring Jessica Chastain as the CIA agent who helped find Osama Bin Laden is one of the most interesting films of the year. Even if you did not follow the controversy surrounding the movie, it is easy to tell how much caution the cast and crew took to make this a tastefully done work. The events in the film are all predictable of course, but that does not take away from the intense drama of them. This is an important film for Americans though because pre Zero Dark Thirty, most people only knew that Osama was captured and killed. For those of us who did not read the proper literature, a visual representation of the story was the way we learned how this important American event came to pass. Yes, it was dramatized and yes, it was uniquely patriotic, but aside from the patriotic element and Jessica Chastain’s performance, which was worthy of a Best Actress nomination, Zero Dark Thirty is not likely to win the Best Picture award.
7. Django Unchained- Quentin Tarantino has a way with movies. He has a certain way of knowing just the right amount of cringe-worthy violence an audience can handle. Tarantino also has a flair for niche audiences. Not everyone would be interested in watching Jamie Foxx, a freed slave named Django, and Christoph Waltz, the bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz who freed him, kill a bunch of people to save a damsel in distress (Kerry Washington as Broomhilda, Django’s wife.) However, that aside, the concept, the soundtrack, the directing and, dare I say, the heart in this movie had the power to earn itself a few nominations. Although Django Unchained is a favorite with some, others complained it was too long and had multiple points where it could have ended. For this reason, Django, while an exciting and fun film for the esoteric lovers of the cult classic Pulp Fiction, will probably not win Best Picture.
8. Life of Pi- Life of Pi, which is based on a novel, could win the award for a two reasons. One, the visual effects were spectacular. The animals looked real and the atmosphere was gorgeous. The second reason would be for the acting. Although many actors portrayed Pi Patel, the film’s main character, Suraj Sharma spent the most time on screen. What is particularly interesting about this film is that the entire time there was no Bengal tiger interacting with him. He simply had to imagine it. I certainly would not have been able to tell.
9. Les Miserables- As the only musical to be nominated for Best Picture this year, Les Miserables had to have been pretty good to be up there with the big boy dramas. Anyone who went to see the movie can attest to its greatness. Anne Hathaway, Russel Crowe and Hugh Jackman are the most notable stars in the show. You can read more about this adaptation of the Broadway musical in THIS review, however for Best Picture’s sake, the only thing that would make this worthy of the best movie in 2012 would be the three aforementioned actors and Anne Hathaway’s 15 minute scene in the beginning of the film. Although a depressing joy, you will not see this one holding the Oscar for Best Picture.
Eat, Drink and be Merry! There’s no better place to be suddenly transported to the Middle Ages than the Renaissance Festival. Open Saturdays and Sundays from Feb.9 – March 31st, the Renaissance Festival is celebrating its 25th season here in Arizona. Dress up as your favorite character, king, queen, jester, or damsel in distress and you’ll feel right at home among the many knights, lords, and ladies.
Enjoy a non-stop schedule of entertainment and fun activities for the entire family. Whether you’ve always wanted to know about the ancient art of falconry or just wanted to check out an authentic jousting tournament, a day at the Renaissance Festival is surely for you.
Lots of action and adventure abounds in the many theaters and on stages with live performances through out the day. Check out the artisan shops and live demonstrations such as glass blowing, black-smithing, archery, camel rides, climbing walls, belly dancing, sword swallowing and crazy village street shenanigans each and every day. There’s no getting bored or wanting to go home early, as there’s certainly something for everyone to enjoy at the Renaissance Festival.
“Over there. Under…wear,” is a saying that my dad often blurts out. Sometimes he does it multiple times in a row; it’s just the OCD in the Lunzer family. However, his little saying has me thinking about the state of women’s underwear. Yesterday I visited Victoria’s Secret and bought two bras and paid over $100. I know this is the norm at VS and despite believing with every fiber of my mammary glands that this is robbery, I still shop there.
I used to buy bras at Target, Kohl’s or Macy’s, but once I tried my first Victoria’s Secret bra I was hooked…pun intended. I think VS adds an addictive chemical to all of their merchandise, but mainly the bras. Never before had I felt so much comfort and just from their advertising alone, wearing a VS bra made me feel like more of a woman. Not fatter, but rather fancier. And they even fitted me for my correct size. The first 52 times they asked me if I’d like to be fitted for a bra, I bluntly said no. It seemed dirty and wrong. I’m a modest Minnesota gal who believes, the thicker the layers of clothing, the closer to God. However, I am not close-minded so 10 years later, I finally allowed myself to be fitted. I stood there awkwardly as this pretty, blonde, twenty-something named Casey pulled out her measuring tape. We were alone in a dressing room. My palms began to sweat and I wondered, “Am I gay?” I took off my scarf and started to unbutton my blouse when she said, “Oh you don’t need to do that. I can measure with your shirt on.” Denied. I then decided I’d be straight again. She measured me in three different directions. It was over in only a few seconds. “You have a small waist,” she said when she finished. That made me gay again.
When she told me my size, I was shocked. I won’t share it here for fear of losing my nice girl image, but let’s just say it’s how old I’m turning next year and has not one, but two D’s. It’s sad that for the entirety of my adulthood thus far, I had been wearing bras that were too small for me and then wondering why they hurt so badly. I just never thought I was past a C because I’ve always thought of myself as average. I just assumed that if I were a double D, I would have been more successful in life. I would be driving a convertible, have a sweet tan and an older man who was willing to pay for a lavish lifestyle full of trips to Miami and plates full of Paella. But I drive a Honda, am borderline Albino, and only date younger men who pay for a nice lifestyle of trips to the Ruby Tuesday salad bar. I get Ruby’s for my boobies and I had always been fine with that. However, now how was I supposed to go back to all-you-can-eat ham salad when Paella and Miami was an option? And just as I stood up straighter and thought of the new possibilities for my life, I heard another VS attendant tell a younger, tan and much skinnier woman standing a few feet from me that she had the same bra size. And right then I was jilted back to reality. I remembered that all the trophy wives and spoiled mistresses I had ever seen looked like this woman. I continued to stand up straighter as I thought, “I’ll just have to keep working with this sense of humor thing. And who am I kidding? I love ham salad!” I then looked at my pretty breast-mate and whispered, “Don’t forget you’re SPF when you’re in Miami.” She gave me a strange look. She didn’t get it. They never do.
I followed Casey to the section with the actual Victoria Secret brand bras. Not the Pink brand. The Pink brand is marketed to high school and college girls and is a lot cheaper, but when I tried to enter that section of the store, there seemed to be some kind of “No Women Over 30 Allowed” force field that I couldn’t break through. It was so strong that I just decided to forge ahead and into the adult bra section. The section that greets you by saying, “You’re going to need your credit card for this.”
Casey asked me if I wanted a push up, padded, full coverage or demi-type bra. I had no idea. I knew that I didn’t want padded because I’m the type of gal who likes to draw as little attention to my chest as possible. Before taking a plunge into the Victoria’s Secret life-style, I was a fan of the sports bra…when I wasn’t playing sports. My friends would make fun of me. “Oh we’re going to the club? Just let me go put on my fancy sports bra and then layer it with one tank top, two sweaters and a scarf. Sexy!” In college my best friend hid all my sports bras from me. This was my bra-intervention. I felt like a piece of me had died that day. I was being forced to say good-bye to a great, supportive friend who helped to create a really classy uniboob and was extremely helpful when I ran that one time. I decided on the demi-style bra because lately I’ve been very pro-Demi Moore. I think she’s getting a bad rap and I’m really pulling for her to get that Red Bull addiction in check and seek her revenge on Ashton Kutcher by blowing up the set of Two and a Half Men. Of course John Cryer will survive because he will always be “Duckie” to me (Pretty in Pink movie reference).
After deciding on a few demi-style bras, Casey showed me some “cute new underwear we just got in.” They are called, “Cheekies.” I was well aware of Cheekies. These have not only hit the underwear scene, but the swimsuit scene as well. As if wearing a swimsuit wasn’t bad enough, they now offered bottoms that bunched in the middle and left your butt cheeks hanging out, which creates what I like to call a quasi-wedgie. And for me, if you’re going to creep up the trail, don’t be coy, just do it. I kindly declined to step into the world of the Cheekie. I had just about enough with my new bra size. So I paid for my bras and thanked Casey for her help and she replied, “Of course. But we also have full-size briefs if you’d be more comfortable in those.” I smiled, walked out the door and was straight again.
A movie based on a man with bipolar disorder and basically Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from seeing his wife cheating on him does not sound like your typical romantic comedy. However in Silver Linings Playbook, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence help director David O. Russel to deliver such a poignant, witty, drama that it blurs the line between the two genres.
The plot revolves around Pat (Cooper) who just got released from a psychiatric hospital for an event that happened when he saw his wife cheating on him in his own home. At the beginning of the film the audience finds out that Pat had been living with bipolar disorder his entire life, undiagnosed. Viewers watched with broken hearts every time he had a breakdown. Cooper’s performance was spectacular. It was not overdone or too gimmicky. Watching the character struggle with his disorders was nerve wracking. As the protagonist, the audience wants Pat to succeed, but the man vs. himself conflict is often difficult to watch. That is, until Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) enters the picture with her own issues. Although Cooper did an amazing job with this film, Lawrence shone brighter than every other actor. Lawrence portrays a young widow who is greatly affected by the loss of her husband and uses dancing as a coping mechanism.
The chemistry between Lawrence and Cooper was phenomenal and the dialogue between the other characters also played off well.
The real treat about Playbook though, is the way it handles mental illness. The film is not solely about the ailments the two central individuals possess, instead it is a romantic twist on a recovery tale. Pat and Tiffany are dynamic characters and rather than watching them change, you feel as if you are encouraging them right along with the rest of the characters.
Another highlight of Silver Linings Playbook is Robert de Niro as Pat’s father. It is suggested throughout the film that, much like Cooper’s character, De Niro has an undiagnosed disorder. This makes for a fascinating familial relationship in the film and I found myself dying to see what was happening on the home front than simply focusing on Tiffany and Pat’s relationship.
Silver Linings Playbook deserves the nominations it earned, as does Jennifer Lawrence. This is a rare film that I would recommend for any occasion; date night, going out with the girls, or if you are simply in the mood for a great movie. The topics covered are thought provoking and will prove a great post film conversation. Playbook is a 10/10 movie and I will not be surprised if it is the Best Picture winner. Find out on February 24 who will win by watching the 85th annual Academy Awards.
Until then, check back with SmartFem to read about what other films are nominated for the coveted title of Best Picture!
I have been told that I’ve ruined every family vacation during my adolescent years. My dad and mom worked hard each year, saving their money so that they could take my brother and me on an adventure during the summers. My dad was a saver extraordinaire. He once saved up enough change to buy a Lund Pro-V boat, which at the time was the BMW of fishing boats. Every night for four years, my dad would empty the loose change from the pockets of his work pants and place it into an empty 5 gallon Culligan water jug. Four years later, he pulled up to our house with a boat on a trailer behind our family mini-van. After my dad purchased his boat, he was considered a “baller” in our Eastside of St. Paul, Minnesota neighborhood. I felt like a character on Beverly Hills 90210 as our family sped around Lake Phalen going 30 miles an hour. All eyes were on us as we cruised along. I gazed upon what I assumed to be a sea of jealous faces as I thought, “This is what Donna Martin must feel like.” As an adult I found out that people were looking at us because gas powered motors were not allowed on Lake Phalen, but at the time I basked in my assumption that everyone looking at us, wanted to be us.
In my teen years, I was what most would consider, unpleasant. I was narcissistic, selfish and moody. My moods were the worst. I could be laughing hysterically to the comedic styling of Beavis and Butthead one minute and then the next I was screaming and crying on the floor because one of the straps on my favorite Doc Marten sandals had broken. And these mood swings didn’t cease as my age increased. Finally, in my late twenties my behavior was given a name, Bipolar II.
At the time when I was ruining our family vacations it was no laughing matter, but as the years have passed it has become a family joke. “Remember when you ruined our trip to Glacier National Park,” my dad often reminds everyone during any and every family dinner. “That was money down the drain.” I do remember how I ruined that vacation. It was 1994, I was 14 years old and the last thing I wanted to do was spend fourteen days in an RV with my mom, dad and little brother. It wasn’t long into our ride before I was grumbling about my dad’s incessant playing of his Johnny Horton CD. “If I have to listen to ‘North to Alaska’ one more time, I’m going to die. I’m going to open the door of this RV and fall out and onto the freeway,” I screamed to my parents from the back of the RV. During my teenage years, this was an ongoing fantasy of mine. Every time I felt anxiety, depression or the slightest discomfort, I would imagine how peaceful it would be to just open the door of the vehicle I was driving in and simply fall out. Looking back I realize that there would be nothing peaceful about falling out onto the unforgiving ground of the freeway at a speed of 70 miles per hour, but at that time, it seemed like my only option.
During our drive from Minnesota to Montana, I begged my dad to play my “Live Through This” Hole CD, but he resisted. According to him, our music options were Johnny Horton, Roger Miller, John Prine or silence. And the silence option was not even silence. Instead it was listening as my mom hummed the chorus to Diana Ross and The Supremes’ “Love Child” over and over again while reaching over from the passenger seat and running her fingers through my dad’s non-existent hair. In the 70’s my dad had long wavy locks, but by the 90’s my dad had nothing but peach fuzz. My mom was clearly living in the past and nothing annoyed me more than when she pretended his 70’s hair had made it into the 90’s.
Before we left for our vacation I begged to stay home. At the time I could not imagine leaving my friends for two whole weeks. Plus I had already made plans that my parents didn’t even take into consideration. I was planning on spending every summer day at Prosperity Recreation Center where my friends and I would sit on the gymnasium floor and watch the boys we liked play basketball and then run away screaming when they tried to shoot snot rockets at us. I had been looking forward to this all school year and my parents were ruining it. How dare they take me to one of the most beautiful places on earth where I whitewater rafted, hiked glacial mountains, stayed at campgrounds with water slides, had nightly bonfires and ate endless s ’mores!?! I still blame my parents for why my summer crush, Dan, never asked me out when I got back. If it weren’t for our family vacation, I could have gotten to him before Tanya did. Then maybe I could have been the girl who ran into his arms (full of homemade tattoos) and kissed his mouth (missing many teeth) when he was released from prison in 2000 for carjacking he committed in 1996. Ugh, parents.
I continued to complain during our entire vacation. I thought the mountains were annoying; the glaciers were “just regular old snow;” the mountain air smelled like the pig barn at the Minnesota State Fair and around every corner I swore that I saw a grizzly bear just waiting to maul us all to death. Of course none of these things were true yet I spent each day with a permanent scowl on my face. And at night before we all fell asleep inside the RV, I would cry just loud enough so my parents could hear that they were ruining my life. That was the last time we took a family vacation. Sure, we went to a cabin or camped here and there throughout the years, but that was our last true family vacation.
When my parents told me we wouldn’t be taking another trip the following summer, I was ecstatic. Ironically, I’m now the only one who misses going on family vacations. “We should take another vacation. Just the four of us,” I’ve suggested every summer since I turned 25 years old. Each time I make the suggestion, I hope that my dad will say yes and then reveal a 5 gallon Culligan water jug full of coins that he’s been saving to fund our trip. Sadly, this has yet to happen. The past is impossible for them to forget as my suggestion is always met with, “Maybe next year.” I think my only chance of getting the four of us to go on another family vacation is if I pay for the entire trip and then let my parents sit in the backseat of the RV and ruin it for me. It’s only fair.
The annual Barrett-Jackson auto show in Scottsdale hosted its opening night gala Monday evening.
Last night’s event had something for everyone even if you aren’t a car buff, although I confess that I still love American muscle cars after all these years. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to attend a Barrett-Jackson event you know that aside from the amazing collection of automobiles, the people-watching is amazing.
The official Gala invitation suggested “cocktail attire” so it’s always interesting to see the variety of clothing is which is second only to the variety of antique and custom cars. It was extremely cold last night so there were many elegant women clad in furs and stylish coats. Diamonds and furs were a theme throughout the night with both the attendees and the runway models of the fashion show presented by Saks.
The cars, as always, were the centerpieces of the night and I find I still have the same love for the old Ford Mustangs, which are prevalent at Barrett-Jackson this week. Looking at the cars took me down memory lane. There was the original Batmobile from the TV series with Adam West and cars that my father and uncles had when I was growing up.
I have had the opportunity to go to Barrett-Jackson many times over the years but last night’s event was special as they paid tribute to one of my heroes and an American icon in the automotive industry, Carroll Shelby, who passed away last May. Carroll Shelby had been a racecar driver and also has helped to inspire and design some of the most beloved American muscle cars ever manufactured. Carroll has been a part of Barrett-Jackson for years and it was touching to see his amazing life highlighted.
The cars may have gone more high tech over the years but these cars are classics and are able to transport you back in time. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend the show, it’s worth the trip this week.
The Gala itself was an amazing night with fine food served by local restaurants and an open bar with admission. As the night wore on, the dance floor livened up and the band drew the crowd in. I always look forward to the Barrett-Jackson auto show coming to Scottsdale and with the announcement of a permanent facility to be built for next year’s show, we can be assured of many years to look forward to.
Disney has changed fairy tales The stories that we think we know are much more depressing and morbid than Walt and his gang have led us to believe. The Brothers Grimm’s original stories are dark and mysterious, however most children of the modern world have grown up hearing them diluted and optimistic. Despite the morose originals, for a long while filmmakers have been making the childhood legends much easier to swallow. From Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Mermaid tale, where our hybrid friend dies in the end, to Snow White, whose stepmother is forced to dance in shoes made of iron until she dies as punishment.
Although the original tales are whimsically abysmal, and the “classic” tales known today are delightfully watered down. The recent phenomena of dark (and most often violent) fairy tale action pieces are on the rise.
Here is a rundown of some really grim tales coming up this year:
Grimm, a show that airs on NBC, follows the story of a young detective who is a descendant of the Grimm family, who wrote the original tales…and surprise, they were all true, and all of the creatures are real. Each episode features more than the traditional stories, expect tales from frightening lesser-known folkloric beasts to a twist on classic villains, see wolfman, etc. The new season of this show begins on March 8th.
Oz: The Great and Powerful also brings an eerie take on The Wizard of Oz story. An adventurous origin tale from what the trailer depicts, James Franco and a mysterious circus play a role in this film. The Wicked Witch of the West is portrayed as more of a fairy tale monster than is depicted in the original Wizard of Oz. Creepy circus music and realistic flying monkeys in the trailer had me opted out from the beginning though. March 8th is when you can expect to see this one in theaters.
If I had to pick the most depressing movie of 2012 it would be Les Miserables. Anyone who has seen the theatrical version or read the epic tome can attest to that. The story follows an ex slave named Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) who runs away to try and rebuild his life as a good man after being permanently deemed a “dangerous” one. To make matters worse, the officer who granted him parole, Javert, (Russel Crowe) ceaselessly hunts him down.
On the surface it sounds like a B action movie. However when one remembers it is a musical set during France in the 1800s, among revolution and wide class disparity throughout the country, a little perspective can go a long way.
Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russel Crowe, and Amanda Seyfried star in the Tom Hooper directed release. The songs alone are enough to bring a sob to the back of your throat, but when Anne Hathaway belts out “I Dreamed a Dream” with almost no hair and tears streaming down her face, most find themselves making the most hideous faces in order to prevent complete loss of control of the tear ducts.
It takes a while to get used to dialogue that is completely spoken in song, but after about 15 minutes or so you discard your minor complaints about the film and become engulfed in Jean Valjean’s toiling to salvage what little dignity he has left.
Hugh Jackman’s voice was surprisingly not horrible to listen to. Again, as with most musicals, it takes a good while to put yourself in a
world where everyone sings in every situation. Jackman was authentic in this role and for a few hours he convinced everyone he was an impoverished Frenchman.
Russel Crowe proved to be the male star of the show, although Jackman was the protagonist. Crowe’s performance as the officer, Javert, who hunts down Valjean until his last breath is spectacular. His voice was the most difficult to become acquainted with despite his performance being heart breaking.
Anne Hathaway, for the mere half an hour she appeared in the movie, blew me away. I wept like a child throughout the telling of her story. She cut her hair into a pixie cut for this film and that dedication paid off. This is her best performance of the year. Her take on Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises was impressive, but as Fantine, a wounded mother in desperation attempting to pay for her only child, she kicked off the heart wrenching mood of Les Mis. I continued to remember how she struck me during the entire film.
Overall I would say the biggest joy in the film though, were Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the inn keeper and his wife. Comedic relief was necessary in a piece as dismal as this. Carter and Cohen are known for their over dramatized roles and the casting director struck gold with these two. The two were also in the movie musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street back in 2007 so the prior experience was advantageous. With impeccable chemistry and surprisingly impressive vocal abilities, the team made the audience laugh and delivered a much deserved break from the emotional trauma all were experiencing.
The actors and actresses were enough to make this film a success. Despite the embarrassing amount of water flowing from my eyes, I would see the film again. One must keep in mind that although I would recommend this film to anyone who asked, there is some heavy emotional weight presented in it. Do not go see it if you are looking for a feel good movie.
Les Miserables proved to be a 7/10 film fraught with 10/10 performances that may be potentially award winning. Overall the film earns a 9/10 though.
New Year’s Eve is just around the corner and if you haven’t already lost all of your friends and family due to passive-aggressive, political Facebook statuses or Twitter wars, you’ll likely be invited to a party.
New Year’s Eve parties are always the biggest parties of the year. They signify a magical time full of the belief that when the clock strikes midnight, we get to start fresh. We believe January 1st of any new year to be a giant eraser, which rids us of all that we’ve done for the last 365 days. Gone are all of the chemicals we’ve put into our bodies, all the lies we’ve told, all the pounds we have gained, all the child support we owe and all of the pets we’ve returned to the Humane Society for no good reason other than we like new stuff.
On New Year’s Eve, we fantasize about a new beginning despite the fact that we often spend this magical night with our old smelly significant others. As we count down the minutes to welcome what we hope will be an improved life, optimism rushes through our heads. We think, “Maybe this will be the year I finally realize that it’s not worth staying in a relationship just because I’m too lazy to find a new place to live and I’m afraid I’ll lose my favorite chaise lounge in the breakup. My body perfectly contours to that chair and that is often a once in a lifetime thing.”
For those of us who find ourselves single on New Year’s Eve, we imagine that the New Year will bring us new love. A love that won’t get drunk and erase all of the shows we’ve been excited to sit down and watch for weeks on our DVR. Instead, we’ll find a supportive partner who will remind us to take our birth control and feed the fish. **I know we all get busy, but the average Fantail Goldfish can only survive up to 8 days without food so it’s important that you designate one night a week to logout of Facebook for 5 minutes so that you can feed your pet.**
Therefore, on this special night, I hope that everyone reading this has party plans. Even if the party you are invited to will be full of people you do not like and you would much rather sit at home alone with one hand in a bag of salt and vinegar chips and the other in your pants while re-watching Season 2 of Dr. Who on Netflix because you still don’t get what all the hype is about. However, you’re not willing to give up on the show just yet because you want to be as cool as those people who “get it” think they are. None of this matters on New Year’s Eve though. All that matters is that you have a place to go where you can take pictures of yourself surrounded by other humans and then immediately post those pictures onto Instagram so that you do not look like a complete social media failure.
So in the spirit of starting over, I would like to share some tips on how to behave at a New Year’s Eve party. You may think you already know how to behave, but you also thought you could get an ACT score that would get you accepted into Notre Dame and look who ended up going the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. So I guess you really don’t know it all. Enjoy!
1. DON’T, I repeat DON’T show up to the party naked from the waist down. This will prove to your fellow party-goer that you are not only gross, but presumptuous. There’s no way to know whether you will find someone at the party who will appreciate your baby-making parts. Pre-party is just too soon to tell. Therefore, keep your bottom half covered until someone at the party at least makes eye contact with you.
2. Always bring a gift or something to share to the party. For example, your brother’s wife. Let’s face it; he hates her and so do you. Once at the party encourage her to take those shots of Everclear and eat those vodka-infused gummy bears and then stand back and film her making some very bad decisions, which will be the proof that’ll end her reign of terror on your family.
3. Hook up and flirt with EVERYBODY! Even the catering staff. You never know who has a great connection on LinkedIn, which can really jump start your career in the upcoming year. If you show the world love, it will love you back.
4. Make sure you share with everybody at the party your religious beliefs. And be very belligerent about it. Get up in people’s faces and say, “Shame on YOU!” Or “If you were a real (insert the name of the religion), you wouldn’t eat so much bread!” Also, blame them for causing horrible events such as the New Kids On The Block/Backstreet Boys Reunion Tour of 2011.
5. Eat off everyone’s plates…while they are eating off of it. This indicates your dominance over the party and shows everyone that you are top dawn. Then with your mouth full of other people’s food yell out, “On my momma nobody better step to this ‘cuz I’ll eat up all the figgy pudding in this house.”
6. Dance like everybody’s watching. Show that party what it looks like to be a winner on the Wii. You just spent every single day during the last year playing Just Dance 2 so that you could finally achieve the highest score ever recorded (16,369) for Technotronic’s “Pump Up the Jam” and everybody needs to know this.
7. Bring your kids to the party and leave them there. If you love them, let them go. If they come back to you then it was meant to be.
Happy New Year!
After 6 hours of waiting in a full theater at Tempe Marketplace’s Harkins Theaters, the lights dimmed. Even from the third row from the top I could still see the glowing white Legolas wig some elf-dressed fan donned all the way down in the front row.
I was yawning already and the film had not even begun yet. Around midnight the previews started. An ovation rang throughout the theater. The Lord of the Rings never appealed to me on a commercial level, but there I was with my 3D glasses resting on top of my prescription ones, wondering how many pain pills I had in my purse for the post movie 3D headache. I was prepared to meet this installment with some skepticism. After all, The Arizona Republic gave the movie 2.5 stars, so I was curious to see what I would think about the film.
Following applause directed at the title credits, the journey began.
Anyone who has seen the Lord of the Rings film adaptations can attest to them being particularly violent and dark. There is a misconception among many that The Hobbit is just as mysterious and bellicose as the previous Lord of the Rings movies. The Hobbit, although it has its moments, is not nearly as macabre as the previous related movies, rather, an attitude of courageous adventure dominate this release. There are sword fights and war flashbacks still, however nothing out of the ordinary for a fantasy film.
Despite the fact that I could comfortably take my 8 year old brother to see this film without hesitation, (maybe I would make him go to the bathroom during Gollum’s scenes…) at the midnight premier there were hardly any parents and children to be found. Granted, this may be due to the fact that it was a school night and they would not have arrived home until 4 am, but I recall quite clearly that during the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, there were countless children waving wands and wearing a scar on their forehead up past their bedtimes. Compared to Deathly Hallows, The Hobbit is practically a musical. I don’t mean that it is silly or extremely juvenile, but it is an easy watch for a child. PG-13 is the perfect rating for this film. Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey does an exceptional job of retaining the lighthearted, child friendly vibe the book portrayed, while simultaneously presenting long time Lord of the Rings/Tolkien fanatics the content they deserve.
In addition to the appealing mood The Hobbit put forth, the actors in the film were superb. Martin Freeman plays Bilbo Baggins, the hobbit which the film is centered around. Freeman, a BBC veteran who won his fame for his role on The Office (UK version), and as Sherlock Holmes’ sidekick, John Watson, in the show Sherlock, proves his talent as an actor in this film. From comedy to drama and now to a whimsical fantasy character, Freeman’s versatility is wide. And as always, Ian McKellen as Gandalf the Grey is always a pleasure, although many complain that there was not enough magic used by him in situations where magical assistance would have been greatly appreciated.
In addition to the acuity of the performing, I am sure it helped to have costumes and makeup transforming into true Middle Earthlings. For example the dwarves were almost cartoon like with all of the prosthetics and hair, however instead of seeming cheesy, it contributed to the mystical world that the audience travels to when watching the film.
Orcs, trolls, and other miscellaneous creatures that were created using CGI technology were commendable in regards to appearance and detail. However in the 3D, 48 fps (frame per second) version in theatres the disparity between the real and the animated was all too blatant. There were a few scenes in which I thought I was watching a Roger Rabbit-esque feature. The scenery of the various lands and kingdoms the dwarves and Bilbo traveled were executed beautifully though.
By the time the film had ended, I was willing to sit through another hour. The pacing was done well and three hours seemed to be nothing more than one and a half. Ending on a suspenseful note, moviegoers will be desperate to see what happens next in Jackson’s other upcoming Hobbit adaptations.
While discussing what had just been viewed with friends, no one had any complaints about the movie as a whole. Minor things such as Gandalf’s magic stinginess, the CGI creatures, and the occasional corny scenes seemed to be the only flaws. Overall, The Hobbit satisfied fans of all ages and was worth the money to see in the 48 fps and 3D. Jackson and the rest of the cast and crew earned an 7/10 in my book.