Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Worst of 2011

Oscar nominations were announced this morning and it has created a huge stir. I'm upset about certain snubs, but I'll leave that rant for the Oscar Predictions post to come later. Today in honor of the nominations, I will discuss the worst films of 2011. I managed to dodge most of the shitty flicks out there like these.

I did watch HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2, but I will leave it off this list. It's in a class all on its own. In all my movie going experiences, I have never witnessed a more polarized & vocal audience in a theater. For all the shit that spews (literally) from CENTIPEDE 2, it has character. I will say, I'd love to watch this again instead of some of the other Oscar nominated films like THE HELP, WARHORSE, BRIDESMAIDS, DESCENDANTS, or whatever else feel good movie bile you wanna toss my way. I also guarantee this film is far more enjoyable than the latest TWILIGHT bullshit.

Without further adieu:

This film got rave reviews by many credible people. I just thought it was really, really overrated. It was painfully slow to begin with and none of the characters really stood out. I'm not saying TROLLHUNTER was a bad movie, I just didn't enjoy it as much as everyone else did. It was definitely lacking something for me.

First of all, this is not a bad film. I just could not stop cringing at the sight of it! Here's the deal, I hate clowns! They scare me more than Republicans. This film was so scary I couldn't even enjoy it. There's a scene where one clown asks the other clown why he wanted to be a clown in the first place. He responds, "Because if I wasn't a clown, I'd be a murderer." What the fuck!? Terrifying!!!

I like Gosling, I think he's an underrated actor that's often overshadowed by his boyish good looks. He suffers from Leo DiCaprio syndrome. Anyhow, Gosling is good in this film, but not enough to carry it. I think the script was weak and the cast just didn't work. There's a couple graphic scenes in it that felt really misplaced and too ambitious. I actually said to myself during one particular scene, "this is such a Gaspar Noe ripoff." Later come to find out the director, Nicolas Winding Refn, sought advice from Gaspar NoƩ on how to make the scene brutal and realistic. Go figure.

The first HATCHET was slightly entertaining. There's some unique kills and absolutely no plot much like other classic slasher flicks. HATCHET 2 follows the same script as the first. I expected this one to be a little more enjoyable since Danielle Harris was starring and because of all the stir it caused by being pulled from theaters after two days (it was unrated). There was nothing redeeming about HATCHET 2; not even the kills were interesting. I actually began to doze off during the climax and I never fall asleep during movies. It was like watching that one douche bag at the bar trying really hard to pick up girls. The guy happens to be the director, Adam Green.

I have to say, I liked the arcade game Alamo set up in the lobby a lot more than the actual film. Is there such genre as Canadian-sploitation? If so, I'd like to avoid all films with this tag. I'm searching for words to describe this feature and the only thing that come to mind is "stupid." Don't get me wrong, I enjoy tongue in cheek horror films. This piece of crap fails to be funny, witty, entertaining, or even shocking. I did appreciate the brief cameo of Ricky from Trailer Park Boys.

Americans must be getting dumber because comedies are getting more and more moronic. Case in point, this trash! I hate Ed Helms and I hate The Office. This was like an Office feature film. Think of the worst jokes wrapped up in the most predictable script ever and there you have CEDAR RAPIDS. Not even John C. Reilly could save this sinking ship.

I swear I really wanted to like this film; I just couldn't. I loved MOON and still think Duncan Jones has great potential as a director, but this film was all wrong. SOURCE CODE was nothing more than a jazzed up version of GROUNDHOG DAY minus the ever hilarious Bill Murray. I think Gyllenhaal was a terrible choice for the lead. I really hope this is not the last we see of Duncan Jones.

Shame on me for letting my guard down and taking a chance on something. I couldn't even make it through the entire film; I watched maybe thirty minutes! I should have known this was going to be a huge turd since the only recognizable "star" was some bitch from TWILIGHT. I get the impression the director really wanted to capture the same essence of DAZED AND CONFUSED; coincidentally it was also filmed in Texas. I promptly shut off the DVD when some asshole Abercrombie & Fitch poster child started sarcastically reciting lines from ANNIE HALL. You only get to quote ANNIE HALL if your name is Blake Schwarzenbach.

Enough with the possession films! Seriously, I have yet to see any possession film that is remotely watchable. I really hope Sir Anthony Hopkins was possessed because I can't for the life of me understand why he didn't wipe his ass with this script. What was he thinking? I also couldn't be more sick of this whole "based on true events" crap. Bottom line, this movie sucks!

Dishonorable Mention
I'm not exactly certain if this came out in 2011, but I hated it so much I can't leave it off the list. Kiera Knightly is a terrible actress to begin with! I wanted to give it a chance because Mark Romanek is so revered for his other work. It dragged on for way too long, the cast had no chemistry, and the plot was way too compliant. I can't wait for this trend of distopian society films to end. Hollywood is really beating a dead horse with this genre. Maybe Romanek should stick with directing music videos.

Feel free to air you own grievances.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Best of 2011

I have been pining for weeks about what films I would choose for my best of list. We saw some really great films come out in 2011; it's really hard to choose. I actually like most of the critically acclaimed works like TREE OF LIFE, INTO THE ABYSS, GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, MIDNIGHT IN PARIS, CAVE OF FORGOTTEN DREAMS, and THE ARTIST. Instead I have decided to discuss some films that may have flown under the radar. Here goes:

This was a documentary that came out a couple months ago. It's about a woman who became a tabloid sensation after kidnapping a man she was in love with and holding him hostage for three days basically as a sex slave. And you though Chad had some crazy girlfriends! The story is told by all the key players except the poor stiff who got kidnapped. He declined participation for obvious reasons. The woman charged with the crime is a former beauty queen and speaks quit eloquently with a charming southern accent. It's just an insane story that you have to watch for yourself to believe.

This got quite a bit of buzz during Cannes, mostly because of Michael Fassbender's well endowed appendages. Yes, this is true but it's not the only reason to watch SHAME. People have so many presumptions about sex addiction and it has become something society tends to throw around as an excuse when things begin to spiral out of control. This film may not answer all the questions we have about this medically recognized affliction, but it does show us what it feels like to suffer from it. I can't remember the last time I saw a film that felt so isolating and forsaken. I left the theatre feeling very shaken and slightly depressed. Had Michael Fassbender's character been a woman, I would have thought Lars Von Trier directed this.

Speaking of Lars Von Trier, he really put his foot in his mouth at Cannes this year but I still love him. He caused quite a stir with some Nazi jokes and come Oscar time no one will remember. Von Trier's controversy created much buzz around this film. I couldn't wait until November to see it so I watched a screener at home in anticipation of seeing it on the big screen. Kirsten Dunst's depression made me extremely uncomfortable to the point where I never got around to seeing it in the theater. I think anyone who has even remotely dealt with depression will feel uneasy about this film. On the other hand, MELANCHOLIA is the most optimistic film Von Trier has ever directed. It is an incredibly beautiful and gut wrenching film wrapped up in madness.

I love Hunter S. Thompson and I love Johnny Depp. This partnership worked wonderfully with FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS. Most people thought this would work as well. I think it was a wonderful cast and a beautiful setting (Puerto Rico). However, the script fell a little short as well as the directing. Johnny Depp was ever so charming as was Aaron Eckhart. I have recently developed a bit of a crush on Amber Heard who is so delightful. However, I really think Giovanni Ribisi steals the show on this one. For all its weaknesses, I still think it was a good film and most likely better than the newest TWILIGHT bullshit.

Korea knows how to make a revenge film, plain and simple. A man puts his life on hold to seek revenge on a serial killer who murdered his pregnant wife. This was such an unbelievable film that it gives me anxiety every time I watch it. Without giving too much away, the lead is played by the handsome and charismatic Byung-hun Lee. The antagonist is Min-sik Choi who we know and love from the classic OLDBOY.

This film did not get great reviews. Here's the deal, the soundtrack kicks ass and I think JGL is a phenomenal actor. I will pretty much watch anything he's in. This film was unlike any other role he's ever played. It's really endearing, sad, and comical all at once. Give it a try, at least for Piper Laurie who’s wonderful as Grandma. You might actually like it. Also, the pre-show at the Alamo was scenes from HEAVY METAL PARKING LOT which you can never go wrong with.

Elizabeth Olsen (the younger sister of the Trollson Twins) has been praised endlessly for her performance in this film. It is definitely well deserved. I don't think John Hawkes has been given enough credit as his eerie portrayal of the cult leader/Manson figure he plays so well. Yes, the ending is kind of ambiguous but what do you expect from such a disturbing story? To be honest, this film actually gave me nightmares which is a really hard thing to do.

Never have I ever had a bigger "what the fuck" moment than when I saw the latest film from Pedro Almodovar. It’s stylish, disturbing, mind-blowing, and sexy all at the same time. I really admire Almodovar’s passion for strong female characters. I guarantee this film is not like any he’s done before. I can’t really say anything about this film without giving away major plot lines, but the music is great. I will tell you it was loosely based on an old French film called EYES WITHOUT A FACE.

I love Guillermo Del Toro; I think he has made some of the best Spanish horror films of our time. This film caught my attention because he produced it. I had never heard of the director (Guillem Morales), but after seeing JULIA’S EYES, I watched his first film THE UNINVITED GUEST and was pleasantly surprised by his work. The main actress, Belen Rueda, is just as amazing in this as she was in THE ORPHANAGE. I was shocked to find that I was one of three people at a screening of this during Fantastic Fest. The message board trolls criticized the plot, but I thought it was pretty unique. The story centers on a woman going blind so at times the audience experiences POV shots. The story plays on our continuing fear of the unknown and darkness. There’s hardly any gore in this film, yet it’s still frightening. I can’t recommend it enough!

I’m pretty sure Takashi Miike can do no wrong. This film is a colossal masterpiece.

Honorable Mentions
These are a couple films that were released prior to 2011, but not made available in the US until recently.

This is a wonderful documentary about art, life, perseverance, and the trash pickers in Brazil. This film really struck a chord in me no other on this list could.

This is another documentary about a man who builds models for a miniature town he made up called Marwenchol. This is a truly touching story about one man’s survival.

Did I miss any?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Breeders

I make no secrets of the fact that I am not akin to children. I was never one to slap my slogan on a button and parade it around. However, this topic has come to light so much recently that I feel I need to address it.

I know you're all thinking, "Well Priscilla, you were a kid once too." You're absolutely right! I was a kid who had a lovely childhood filled with comic books and R rated movies. I didn't have many friends because I will admit, I was a bit strange. I very much enjoyed being a loner. All I wanted to do was write stories about monsters and dogs. My mother was an only child so I never had any cousins or other children my age around. Both my siblings are more than a decade older than me and they never really treated me like a kid in the first place. I essentially grew up without any other children around me and I was perfectly content with it.

Come high school, it seemed babies just began popping out everywhere. The small town I grew up in has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the country. I wanted out of my small town so badly I refused to do anything that would prevent that. My strict Catholic mother never gave me the unwanted pregnancy talk; it just wasn't necessary. Most of my high school graduating class were squeezing out babies or were already moms by the time I was moving away to go to college. Thank goodness I dodged that bullet.

It's not that I hate children, they're just not for me. I have several friends (Chad, Dorothy, Ruth, Vince) with beautiful children who I know will grow to be pillars of the community. I'm very happy for them and enjoy being "Crazy Aunt Priscilla." My patience tends to run thin and that makes a terrible recipe for parenthood. I also enjoy traveling and that is nearly impossible to do with children. There's no way I would have been able to do half the things I've gotten to experience in my life had I been stuck at home with babies.

I decided I would give it ten years to see if that motherly instinct they refer to on Oprah would kick in. I told myself I would be open to the idea of bearing children within my ten year period. Well, my ten years have come & gone and I feel more strongly now than ever about being childless. I feel like I am at a point in my life where I have figured out where I want my career to go. For the first time, I feel like I can see clearly. I have so many ideas and goals and I feel really focused. I have worked so hard, I refuse to throw it all away for someone else.

The unfortunate thing about getting older is that your marital status and family planning decisions are constantly under scrutiny. On one occasion, an acquaintance was gushing about how she couldn't wait to have babies. She then asked me when I would have my own. I politely explained that it was not in my cards. Her response was, "Well, one day you'll meet someone and you'll want to have his babies." Not only is this remark completely degrading as a woman, but it also disregards my long term relationship. I feel like I am regularly defending my decisions to everyone except my family. Almost a year ago, I had a discussion with my family to tell them how I felt. My confession was not news to them and they fully support my decision not to have kids.

The whole point of this post is to discuss the behavior of breeders and the disrespect they impose on non-breeders. I'm not saying ALL breeders are guilty of poor behavior, but I've recently encountered some horrible ones. While working in my office last week, a recent breeder decided to parade her new offspring around the building to collect as many "oohs and ahhhs" as possible. The breeder then enters our office (the most unfriendly breeder office in the building) and begins jibber jabbering about said offspring. She then announces that she is going to change her baby on the table in our small dining corner where our lunch is kept. My office mate gives a firm, "DO NOT do that!" The breeder instead plops the baby on the floor in front of the mini fridge a mere inches from my frozen meal cooking in the microwave. She's changing away while the offspring is screaming for bloody murder. I then muster up my best death stare and say, "You're fucking disgusting." She raps it up and is out the door to another office. Later I notice the dirty discarded diaper is sitting in the trash can by the dining corner! Please tell me where someone gets the audacity to pull such shenanigans. I do not understand how someone can have no respect for anyone else.

I realize being a parent is fun, exciting, life changing, blah, blah, blah. Do you realize that those emotions only affect you as a parent. The rest of mankind is unfazed by your new bundle of joy. It appears to me that the second one becomes a parent all courtesy to the rest of the society is out the door. Example #2 of bad breeders: I was perusing the clearance aisle at Target recently and there's a woman fumbling with 75% off 2011 nutcrackers. Her whole cart is blocking the aisle so no one can pass and her toddler sitting in the cart is screaming at the top of her lungs. She is apparently demanding something that's totally inaudible, meanwhile the mother continues to browse as if the child does not exist. I understand you may be accustomed to this behavior, but it is not acceptable. Just because you can tune your kid out doesn't mean I can.

Don't get me started on the breastfeeding issue. I saw a poll today that asked if you thought public breastfeeding was OK. The results were 50/50. This whole breastfeeding issue is so bizarre to me. When did it become such a huge issue? I don't remember anyone in the 80s or 90s protesting because some mom whipped out a tit in the middle of the Target snack bar and someone wasn't stoked about it. It seems like the boob police are out in full force these days. I once saw a minor celebrity get attacked via social networking site because she expressed distaste for a mother at a nearby table in a public restaurant breastfeeding. The boob police wanted to burn her at the stake. Get real people! Your kid isn't the most important thing in the world! Part of the reason why I do not have Facebook is because I do not care about your mundane musings. I especially do not care for the half dozen pics you post a day of your baby that could be Benjamin Button's sister for all I can tell. Also, the "funny" things your toddler says are about as amusing as Dane Cook's stand-up routine. I hope you realize your asinine posts are fodder for my office mates and I to chuckle about over our morning coffee.

I'm fairly certain this post will draw a great deal of negative attention. A wise man once said, "Haters gonna hate." I'm tired of repressing my beliefs! I'm a non-breeder and I'm proud of it! I may be the minority, but from now on I will hang my head high. I raise my pint to Beth, Kenny, and all the other non-breeders out there. Call me a heartless bitch, godless commie scum, etc, I don't care. Just remember that when you are in the midst of your 18yr prison sentence, I will be travelling the world with my life partner and twelve dogs.

Monday, January 9, 2012

2011 Highlights

Now that I have recovered from the rager of a New Year's party at Kenny's house, let me share a few of my highlights of 2011.

NBA Lockout
Well, 2011 saw the infamous NBA lockout come and go. Thank goodness it only made a minor dent in our season and Fantasy Basketball League. We've got some new additions to the League this season and it looks to be a fun time. Speaking of the League, guess who got first round draft pick? Yours truly! That's right my friends, the Fantasy gods smiled down upon me and blessed Team Reservoir Pugs with Kevin Durant. See you in the playoffs!

I mentioned in my "Favorite Things" blog how much I love Battlepug. I discovered this little gem of a web comic early 2011. I am continually amazed at how great the story & art is. Battlepug is the best part of my Mondays now. I also look forward to the Friday Battlepuggage. This week's panel blew my fucking mind!

UT Basketball
I've never been to any kind of sporting event, not even when I was a student at UT. I don't care much for football or baseball, but I do enjoy basketball. I got to attend my first basketball game at Frank Erwin Center and it was a lot of fun. My goal is to attend an NBA game this year. I'd love more than anything to see the Celtics in action or even the Bulls.

The Turkey surprised me with a gift of the gopher! Now I have my very own little gopher who sings and dances along to the theme song of my favorite movie CADDYSHACK.

I got to see the beloved Morrissey this past year. Being of Hispanic origin, I am predisposed to LOVE all things Moz. I gotta say, the old goat has still got it. How many 52yr. old men do you know that can make boys/girls swoon while tossing his shirt into the audience?

WHAS is in my top 5 of all time funniest movies. I remember the first time I saw it with John T, I was in tears from laughing so hard. There are so many quotable lines from that film it's ridiculous. I had the opportunity to catch a screening of it at the Alamo Drafthouse with Joe Lo Truglio (Neil) in attendance. We even got to speak with Joe very briefly afterwards; he was incredibly funny & nice.

Chuck Palahniuk
I like to read, there I said it! When I'm not catching up on films, I'm usually reading. I'm not a very fast reader, but this year my goal is to read twice as many books as I read in 2011. I've read most of Palahniuk's books including his most recent Damned. I think he's a wonderful writer who only gets better and better. He was in town in October for the book festival. I got a signed copy of his book and got to see him do a reading at the Scoot Inn. He read a story he wrote for Playboy that was so absurd yet awesome.

In June we braved the summer heat to visit the house that Leatherface built. The Alamo had a rolling roadshow of the original CHAINSAW film with cast members/ crew in front of the house where the film was shot in Kingsland, TX. As a rabid horror fan, words cannot express what an experience this pilgrimage was for me.

Austin Comic Con
My Buffy fan flag was flying high when Comic Con came around. Not only did I get to see two panels of cast members, but I also went to the sing along with Spike in attendance. I got to hear my favorite vampire since Gary Oldman belt out a few tunes and it was magical. His voice was like a cross between Fergie and Jesus.

San Francisco
I used to travel a lot and it seems lately that has taken a backseat. I intend to change that immediately. I back to San Francisco in September and had the most amazing time. I got to see my favorite designer, Betsey Johnson! I got to visit The Rock! Most of all, I got to see Peter Hook of New Order (one of my all time favorite bands) play Closer! It was such an incredible trip that was only matched by the delicious food we ate. I can't wait to go back.

I gotta say that 2011 was a pri-tay, pri-tay, pri-tay good year for me. It definitely had it's ups and downs, but overall it was a good year. I can only hope that 2012 brings more triumphs for the both of us!