A Long Time Ago...In A Galaxy Far, Far Away....

A long time ago...35 years last Thursday to be exact... a movie came out that would change the world....nay dare I say it...the entire UNIVERSE!!! Okay maybe that's a little dramatic and its effect hasn't been that it changed everything in existence, but it certainly changed the world of filmmaking and has had a great impact on many people (myself included.) Well, I'll cut to the obvious chase since the title of the blog and the pictures contained therein gives it away. I realize that I have gotten into a habit of writing my intro paragraphs of my  posts in a movie trailer style, where I just reveal the title at the end after much suspense. Or maybe it's because of the college style thesis that is etched into my brain.. Oh great. Now I've done it again...left you hanging.. so... back to the point at hand, let's just say I'm talking about 1977's originally titled Star Wars (now known in the series as Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.)

Watching it now it's hard to truly grasp or appreciate how different and mind blowing this movie must have been when it was released....this is BECAUSE of the impact it has had on every action or fantasy film made since. People are constantly trying to achieve its exact formula. So much of what we see today originated from Star Wars. It was really one of the first movies I can ever remember that truly had its own UNIVERSE. It was its own world and it was lived in, yet the possibilities were endless. After Star Wars, filmmakers understood this and audiences started to crave it. It had everything: Action, adventure, whimsy, great characters, cool gadgets, romance, robots, spaceships... I could go on and on. After Star Wars, the landscape film really changed. Anything could happen. Many franchises that have come since owe their success to Star Wars for paving the way in many different ways. Not only was the possibilities of storytelling in film changed but HOW you could tell a story and WHAT you could be able to show on the screen. With George Lucas, his imagination was the limit! Good or bad though some may say. But I will always thank him for giving me Star Wars. That's right. This post  is kind of like a little love letter to ole George. So maybe we should start from the beginning and flash forward twenty years after A New Hope was released..

In 1997, ten and a half-year-old Emily was invited by her brothers and older sister to go with them to see the re-release of Star Wars (the special edition) in the theaters. This wasn't the first time they tried to get little Emily to watch those movies and if they would have known what ended up happening they probably would have wished they never asked...I was always skeptical (even then I was incredibly opinionated,) but mostly because Laurie never liked them and I was into copying Laurie at the time. (Hilarious example: she was really into the Beatles and since I didn't want to DIRECTLY copy her I started claiming the Monkees as my favorite band.) But as soon as the offer was on the table to see the movie in a THEATER I was sold. How bad could it be? Well, as soon as I saw that movie up on the screen...I was in love....in love with a world inside a movie. And so it began. GEEK ALERT!! But hey it's for the love of film! All for the love of film!!

Now, storywise A New Hope has never really been my favorite of the series. It is very expository and there's not as much going on here as the other movies. It's just very straightforward and simple, whereas the story just gets so much richer and complex in the sequels. That said, I gained a much deeper love for it after the release of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. I mean, obviously I already loved it since it did its job of drawing me into the series initially...but it had always been one of the most difficult for me to rewatch. Once all the puzzle pieces were in place though this installment became even more fascinating to me. Annnnd after the crazy fast pacing of Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope is kind of a welcome change...a nice spot to catch your breath before the craziness that ensues again storywise. Also, I know the world is full of prequel haters, but I think (and I know people will disagree..) that knowing fully the story of these characters and where they've been and what they've been through only gives the latter movies even more depth and awesomeness. So many scenes are turned on their heads as I just can't stop thinking "what must these characters be thinking??" Particularly Obi-wan. He's never been like an ultimate favorite of mine, but Episode III really makes me feel for him and as a result he just fascinates me now in A New Hope.

I haven't finished my saga rewatch yet, so unfortunately my Star Wars gushing isn't over quite yet. Still Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi to go...two of my absolute favorites. But I gotta say after watching Episode III again...I still just love it. The scene where the helmet finally gets placed on his head is absolutely iconic. There are a few lines that um....could be improved for sure. But to me, Palpatine's luring of Anakin....was just beautifully done. I was reading some facts on the IMDb and the first cut was 4 hours. Man, I would have killed to see that.  I love it. Just love it. And it, along with the rest of the movies in the series, was important to me in the time of life I saw it. I looked forward to it for years. Truly one of the first movies that got me interested in filmmaking and if it weren't for it and the others, I wouldn't be working at the job(s) I am...and this blog might not even exist! I understand the gripes, and I too wish the prequels (in general...as I said I still think ROTS is very satisfying) could be straight up masterpieces like the older films are...but they're not. That said, I still love them for what they are and as a part of the world of Star Wars they're like family! Anywho, that oughta do it for now. More Star Wars thoughts to be continued as I have the rest of the series to rewatch, but hopefully in between I will write up that 2011 list finally so we can have a bit of variety. Anyway uh....may the force be with you and Happy 35th to Star Wars!!!!


Battleship, Drive-ins and Dives

Tiny post because I plan on giving the exact amount of effort in writing this post as the filmmakers used in making this movie.

Watching Battleship =  

Absolutely terrible in a completely non-entertaining way. No redeemable qualities whatsoever. Stupid. Boring. Humorless. Lame characters.There are few movies that I feel like REALLY wasted my time...but this was one of them. I basically checked out halfway through and I constantly wanted to tear my face off. Seriously a horrible movie. Barely even fun to make fun of (even that got boring). Do not see it in the dollar theater, do not rent it, don't even watch it on t.v. This movie will bore you to tears. I will admit I wasn't expecting much, but apparently it was too much to ask that a movie actually be entertaining. That's what you get watching a movie based on a board game I guess. You know it's a bad thing when this movie makes Transformers 2 look like a masterpiece.

The only good thing about the movie? Watching it at the drive-in. Drive-ins are fun and cheap and oh so summery. We had fun...too bad the movie sucked and gave me a massive stupid producing headache. That's right I said it. I'm a hater and I'm gonna hate. You would too if you subjected yourself to it...so do yourself a favor and don't ever!


New Blood Please

Okay, I have a lot of blogging to do. Finally watched Melancholia so I feel good about making a Top Ten list for 2011 finally. I watched Star Wars Episode III: Revenge Of The Sith as a part of my Star Wars marathon and have thoughts on that as well as the fact that Friday marks the 35th anniversary of the release of A New Hope. But while it's still relevant and fresh in my mind I think I need to give my review of Dark Shadows first.

Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. I'm really sad to say it, but I think these two are stuck in a bit of a rut. I really REALLY wanted to like Dark Shadows (actually scratch that..I wanted to LOVE it), and I guess a part of me did enjoy it. After all, like most Tim Burton movies it was certainly a beautiful movie to look at right from the opening shot. The sets, costumes and cinematography were all certainly top notch. The movie was perfectly entertaining all the way through and to its credit there were many scenes that REALLY worked for me (for one, I could NOT stop laughing throughout the entire scene of Depp's vampire Barnabus chilling with the hippies.)

So what was wrong with it then? I think one word describes it perfectly: MESS. This movie could maybe have worked if ole Tim knew exactly what he wanted it to be and, as a result, it was more focused. What exactly is this films focus? Is it the mystery behind Victoria? Or is it the humor that comes from Barnabus adjusting to a wacky decade in a different century? Is it the tension between Barnabus and Angelique? Is this movie a comedy or a thriller or a mystery? Pick one and have the other elements support it instead of changing the genre every five minutes. Not that that necessarily couldn't have worked...but it didn't. Also make use of your fresh cast! Michelle Pfeiffer and Chloe Moretz were pretty much wasted, but I did love Eva Green.

Another problem with the movie was that it was unnecessarily trashy...and that's coming from me. The trash seemed cheap and out of place with the genuinely funny humor that came from Barnabus' interaction in a new century. Additionally, one reviewer wrote that one of the biggest problems is that it was a "better setup than payoff." I think that's especially true as the first half WAS much stronger than the crazy and unsatisfying (and often times ridiculous) finale that came after. It almost feels like they either ran out of ideas (and just started making crap up) or had too many ideas and threw everything in the kitchen sink in the end.

Like I said, It's very unfortunate because I do consider myself a Burton fan and there WAS a lot of potential with this one. It came close to hitting the mark, (because some of it truly DID work for me...) but in the end was more of a miss. Entertaining but incredibly flawed. This leads me to think that Johnny and Tim need to take a break from one another. In the last decade, they did do amazingly with Sweeney Todd....but they did "eh" with Alice and Wonderland, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and now Dark Shadows. Aside from Sweeney Todd (the exception that always makes me hope they'll get it right each time they try again) each of them had their best work in the last decade when they were apart from each other. Tim Burton with Big Fish and Johnny Depp with Finding Neverland. Unfortunately, it's been almost ten years since both of those...so seriously guys take a break and artistically reinvent yourselves! Thennnnn you can go back to your weird collaborations! Something tells me they won't, so here's hoping the next one doesn't miss the mark.


Save Our Show!!

Okay, I know I don't usually write about t.v. shows very often. I keep it mostly to films and the occasional post about some wacky traveling adventure (hey...I guess I never wrote about my New Zealand/Tahiti trip. Whoops.) But after a few current events, I feel compelled to write this post.

Once upon a time there was a t.v. show, a show very different from all the other shows......this show could talk to the animals. Okay not really, I was quoting (well kind of quoting,) a movie (anyone know?) But seriously... the show was so different, clever, intelligent, witty and amazingly wonderful. Every episode I watched was a pure comedy gem and I came to absolutely adore it (and even found new jokes to love upon rewatching). But tragically, this story does not have a happy ending, not yet at least... I mean I suppose it was satisfying that this show never dragged on the way The Simpsons or The Office have and destroyed themselves, (still love the glory day reruns of The Simpsons though.) and there WAS closure and all. But to be cut down in its prime when you know that there was just sooo much goodness left in store? To not get to see it potentially bloom in the way that Seinfeld exploded and left on IT'S high after ten years? Heartbreaking. What's even worse was that by the time I fell in love with the show there was nothing I could do about it. The damage was already done. Canceled. If only I had seen it sooner and rallied people and helped raise its ratings. If only I had spread the word!! If only. Surely you know of which show I speak. My beloved Arrested Development.

Sure I've since done my part and made my fair share of AD converts by introducing them to the series.. and as we WILL see next year....these fan efforts have not all been in vain. The show IS reported to be coming back and a movie shortly to follow, but not all shows can be so lucky. For now I see history repeating itself again and it is, for this reason, that I must write this post. Why must the truly witty television shows find it so hard to gain a following? Is Two and a Half Men really that satisfying? Don't you want MORE in your shows? The more that Arrested Development was. I finally found a fraction of that magic again last summer when I discovered the glory of Community. Now I'm not saying that the writing in this show is better or even on par to the standard that Arrested Development set....after all that is a pretty high feat to match. But honestly? It's the funniest and  cleverest show I'm seeing on television right now and it DESERVES to be preserved. There are so many gems in each of its 3 seasons thus far, but there's so much more new territory to explore!! These characters are just too good to abandon and their adventures are so much FUN. How can Ted Mosby be given 8 years (and possibly more) to find his wife but the friends of Community might just be left hanging at any moment by the call of an exec who is disappointed it is not getting higher ratings.

 PLEASE WATCH THIS SHOW!!! Rent the seasons this summer, watch the episodes and get into it. You won't regret it. The show does spoofs like no other. From gangster films, to astronaut films, Nintendo games, heist movies, horror movies, and glee episodes.....every single trope you can possibly think of is poked fun at in a hilarious way in some form or another at some point. (Not to mention it features one of the greatest bromances of all time.) I don't know who is reading this, but if you loved Arrested Development and agree with my taste in most other things...give it a chance I'm telling you. Maybe we can prevent history from repeating itself again. And maybe just maybe, if I help this new show....it'd be like I was helping out that other one too. (Same reference as earlier? Does anyone get it? ha) NBC/Sony might have already made this impossible by firing their showrunner, moving the show to Fridays (airing after Whitney are you kidding?) and only ordering a half season....but there's still time to save this show! So please. Do your part too..... or else I'll have to do THIS:


Top Ten Unwatchables of 2011

See that picture of Ariel? That was probably my reaction when I saw the trailer for each film on this list. Unlike the list in my previous blog post, not only would I never go out of my way to see any of these movies in the theater, I would not even rent them from red box (even if someone else was paying!) In fact, if I can help it I will go my whole lifetime without seeing any of the following movies....

10. Mr. Popper's Penguins - Ugh. Jim Carrey in a family-friendly tale about a man who inherits penguins? How delightful.... sarcasm. I wouldn't go near this movie with a ten-foot pole. Even when I did happen to be in Hollywood at the same time of its premier!

9. Mars Needs Moms. Who in the heck came up with this premise? Probably some mom who hopes someday her kids will appreciate her. Well, if you wrote this movie they probably won't.

8. Tyler Perry presents "Fill in the blank here"Basically, you put that name in any title and I will swear on my life never to watch it. I don't even know what his 2011 movie was that made this list. I don't need to.

7. Zookeeper. This movie basically looks like Dr. Doolittle Night at the Museum + Mall Cop = likely a crapfest.

6. Country Strong. The title alone is enough to deter me from this one, but add the plot of anything to do with country singers? Count me out.

5. Abduction. Taylor Lautner action flick? That can't be good.

4. Transformers 3. After Transformers 2 I don't think I would ever want to watch anything this franchise has to offer up again.

3. Season of the Witch. Starring Nicolas Cage. That's all you need to say really. That and witches? Nosiree, not for me!

2. Jack & Jill. What could be more promising than the average Adam Sandler movie nowadays? Why...put him in drag and have him play two characters. This looks like possibly one of the worst movies of all time...but would I be more willing (I honestly don't know the answer) to sit through it than...

1. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1. Okay, I have heard this one is watchable for the fact that it is laughably bad but for the mere principle I don't think I could ever watch this. I stand proudly by the fact that I have never watched or read a single Twilight. Does that make me an ignorant hater? Well yes....and haters gonna hate! :)

The End :) Hopefully, I'll get my other list of the ones WORTH seeing soon! But while we're on the topic of bad movies, I'll leave you with this. I can only relate too well!


Top Ten Worst of 2011

CAUTION!! Extremely long blog post follows. It's mostly in list form so that makes it okay right?

Okay, I knowwwwwwww I need to come out with my Top Ten of 2011 already. But I still just want to watch Melancholia and My Week With Marilyn (because seriously, 2011 is sparse enough as it is,) but I just haven't gotten around to it yet. Until then.... I have decided it is time to post the Top Ten Worst of 2011 annnnnnnnnnd in another (shorter) blog post incredibly soon to follow: the Top Ten Unwatchables of 2011. Enjoy!! We'll start with the worst ones that I saw.

THE WORST (Get off the stage and never show yourselves again, you movies are THE WORST!!)                        

10. The Beaver. Read my original review HERE. This movie was just toooooooo weird for me to get behind. When I can't suspend my belief for a film with a pretty crazy premise, it's realllllly hard to take it seriously. As a result, this movie was too melodramatic and painful for me to watch.

9. The Roommate. Okay, this movie clearly knows it is dumb, but at the same time that doesn't really change how dumb it is. You know what you're getting into putting this one on, but it still isn't even really the kitschy dumb fun you'd hope for....just predictably dumb.

8. Red Riding Hood. Ditto to what I said about The Roommate, but this one is even worse. It could have reveled in the soap opera drama/horror and embraced it, instead it was pretty boring for as entertaining as it could have been. I wanted it to be laughably bad, but it was more boring bad. Shame. So much potential.

7. One Day. Original review HERE.  I wanted to like this movie so badly. The preview looked promising and I liked the storytelling concept. When the highly mediocre reviews came out, I was still determined to see it and keep an open mind and maybe just maybe I would still like it. While I was in the theater, I noticed even in the beginning there was always something off about it. Throughout the whole thing, something was just missing....but even still it wasn't THAT bad....or so I thought. Then it reaches this point....this anti-climactic point where it keeps going and you KNOW that is never a good thing because it means a dumb twist is around the corner to ruin the whole already mediocre movie. So then once it is finished, you feel that not only was the movie dumb, but it cheated you as the audience and there's really nothing worse than that.....oh except that there's still 6 movies that ranked higher (or is it lower haha) than this one left on the list!

6. Crazy Stupid Love.  Original review HERE. Most people will think I'm pretty harsh for ranking this movie so high, let alone putting it on my list at all. I'll admit, the movie isn't THAT bad....but yet it is. This movie ranks up here purely for principle because I HATE so much hearing the words "Well it's better than most other chick flicks." Just because it was a piece of poo that maybe looks a little bit nicer than most other poo does not mean that it is a masterpiece or worthy of recognition! It is still poo!!! (Sorry, movies of this caliber don't even deserve the food analogy.) Obviously looking at this list and seeing how many of the movies on here were made with women in mind it IS disappointing that there really are so few quality films of this genre made these day. But that doesn't mean we have to lower our standards and accept something that is just a little less mediocre than the rest, let alone PRAISE it (because the really good ones DO still exist.) This movie has so many unnecessary plotlines and some frankly cringeworthy moments that fit right in with the formula of the genre and these flaws must be recognized (I am totally Elaine Benes on this one). Ugh! That said, as I have said before the movie isn't ALL bad. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are pretty much the only people who keep it from being unwatchable. It's a shame the movie wasn't more focused because if it were more about them and less about other people I would have really liked it.

5. Apollo 18. Original review HERE. I'm not going to lie. It probably would be more entertaining watching paint dry than watching this movie. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

4. What's Your Number? Yeah....another bad chick flick. This one had such potential too. I really like Anna Faris, and I just looooove Chris Evans, but this movie was just awful....painfully awful. There came a point in this movie where it literally was giving me pain to try and finish it. It was soooo dumb. Every stupid trope from a romantic comedy was there to a tee. I'm thinking maybe I should make a BINGO card for romantic comedy tropes you can play with anytime you put on the latest Hollywood clunker rom-com. This one would give you a blackout for sure. I don't think I laughed once during the whole movie. Just remembering it right now makes me angry, so I'm not going to dwell on it anymore. Just take my word for it, it was baaaaaad.

3. New Year's Eve. Original review HERE. You would do pretty well with that BINGO card I previously mentioned here as well. It was really a toss-up which was worse between this and What's Your Number because I have similar complaints with each. However, I would say this one edges it out because it's even MORE formulaic annnnnnnnd with so many characters there's even less care spent and hardly any depth or character development. Also, you just KNOW that this film is a cash in and you can tell because there is hardly anyone who is giving this movie anything other than a phoned-in performance. Also, prettty much all of the plotlines are awful. I really could go on and on, but I already did in the blog post I originally wrote for it! Haha!

2. Waiting For Forever. Original review HERE. This movie is creepy as heck. It's like a bad train wreck that you just can't turn away from but you really REALLY should. Stalker with clear mental problems and no personal responsibility is the main love interest and protagonist? You know that's gotta be good right? But still not as bad as..........

1. Something Borrowed.  Original review HERE. Yep this one has got to be the worst. It has everything those other movies have and more (formula, awfulness, etc.) excepppppppppppt for the fact that it not only sqaunders the only likable person in the cast, but it craps all over him after setting him up as the only person you care what happens to. Bad movies are one thing, but bad movies where you detest everrrrry character except for one that they happen to treat like crap? Unbearable. I wanted to screaaaaaaaaam during this movie. Not unlike this:

Dishonorable Mentions: Cowboys & Aliens - soooooo much wasted potential and absolutely forgettable. I hardly remember a dang thing about the movie. Water For Elephants - boring, manipulative and hardly any romantic chemistry between Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson.


Simply Marvelous

Sorry, I've been slacking again! I'm not sure why because I know I have at least a couple good blog posts in me but for some reason I just haven't been able to crank one out ha. But I figured I probably need to give a review of Marvel's The Avengers while it is still relevant! So here we are, in one of my favorite months of the year, May. This is the small window when all the t.v. shows and movies offer up their would be bests. As we've seen in years past (2007 with Shrek 3 and Pirates 3 anyone?), they aren't all winners but this year summer reallllly started off with a bang.

This movie has been years in the making...and you can definitely tell. All these other franchises were made purely for this movie to exist (well that and the fact that movie studio people love new franchises.. so win-win for everyone I suppose.) And the movie really benefits from these established, lived in characters. They've all had lives before this film--- we've seen them and we have seen just how well they can do in a pinch. But when you throw them all together, THAT'S what makes the movie. Seeing them interact with each other is without a doubt one of the coolest things in this film. Well, that and the plentiful stock of breathtaking action sequences.  If I had to pick one word to describe The Avengers it would be "rollercoaster" Pure fun and absolutely thrilling from start to finish. (And Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth sharing the screen....notttttt going to complain about that one.)

While other superhero films due to come out this summer captured more of my fancy and attention, (I can hardly wait for The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-man for different reasons and sensibilities than what I loved about The Avengers) that said, The Avengers is everything a summer popcorn flick SHOULD be. While I expect the other two films to be fantastic FILMS, The Avengers is a good MOVIE if that makes sense. It's fun without being dumb, exciting and the characters are all incredibly likable. Most importantly, for a movie that doesn't feature romance it's nice that all of the characters have a nice chemistry between one another. Now if I were to make any complaint is that it would have been nice for Thor and Captain America make more references to their love interests, but there really wasn't time. Or for Black Widow to have more of a flirtation with someone because I do love my cheesy romances and did miss that a little. But I did appreciate Gwyneth's appearance once again as Pepper Potts and her interaction with RDJ's Tony Stark. Also, gotta say, I never saw Edward Norton's take on the Incredible Hulk, but I just loved Mark Ruffalo's characterization!

So while The Avengers doesn't really have the gritty realism and sophistication as Nolan's previous films The Dark Knight and Inception, which is also sure to be prevalent in The Dark Knight Rises-- Whedon's The Avengers is just a different breed: fun and incredibly well made. A blockbuster not to be ashamed of, like say...*cough Transformers cough or even better...Avatar cough* I'm going to give it a 9.5/10!

And finally, speaking of May blockbusters, Happy Ten Year Anniversary to the original Spider-Man annnnnnnnnnd Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, which I did watch on Star Wars day AKA May 4th. (Get it? May the Fourth be with you?) Haha oh, AOTC. What would we do without all the Anakin tantrum scenes to lovingly poke fun at? I'll admit, I did remember the movie a tadddd bit differently and there's a lot that could have been edited and directed differently and more naturally (oh and let's not forget that cheesy writing too)....but it's still a fun movie with characters I love in a universe I adore...like I said in the last blog post about Episode I basically. :)

Anyway, we have a fantastic summer and year ahead of us with a lot of great films to come....so buckle up!