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Monthly Archives: May 2012

Regrets & Bad Decisions: “One For the Money”

Tonight is May 25th.  Apparently, 35 years ago today, Star Wars premiered, making this day in history known forever as “Geek Pride Day.”  Also apparently, when you add up the numbers in today’s date (5 + 25 + 12) you get 42, which is the meaning of life, which means it’s also Towel Day (don’t panic!).

But in my life, today will always be known as the day I made my friends cry.

Jess N. wanted to go see Newsies: The Musical. And everyone started texting each other about Newsies: The Movie.  And then this happened:

Sarah: I daresay all of us involved in this conversation love Newsies.
Emily: ALMOST all.
Alaina: I’ve never seen Newsies.
Sarah: And further — wait.  Alaina … what?
Alaina: I’ve … never seen Newsies.  *tosses phone like a grenade and runs away*
Jessica: That’s a criminal offense with this crowd.
Sarah: Dude! Christian Bale!
Alaina: Christian Bale’s in Newsies?
Sarah: *shakes head* Other people’s kids.  YES.
Alaina: FINE.  I’ll add it to my list.  Just be prepared I’m probably going to make fun of it rather than fall instantly in love with it.

So yeah — at some point, I’ll watch Newsies.  Because yes, I’ve updated my list to include it.  But I’m not watching it tonight.

Here’s what’s on the docket:  I’ve got the apartment to myself this weekend, which means I could knock off a couple of movies on the TiVo in another round of Insomniac Theatre, but a) of all, it’s 9:41 p.m., and b) of all, all I’ve got are dramas, and I’m more in the mood to make fun of shit tonight.  (As evidenced by me making my friends’s heads explode via text message.)

Hey, Friend in the Army: is that a thing?  Making someone’s head explode via text message?  That seems like it’d be a cool weapon.  Let’s get Tony Stark on it.

Oh, and (obliquely) speaking of Tony Stark: so online, there’s this thing going around about Avengers-Inspired Cocktails, and I realized that I have everything required to make the Agent Coulson (COULSON!):

So clearly, I needed something to drink to that would be awful.  Like, if I was going to watch something like Death of a Ghost Hunter again; that awful.  And while our TiVo list is up to 78% capacity, with such classics as The V.I.P.s (with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton), The Stunt Man (with drop-dead gorgeous Peter O’Toole) and A Streetcar Named Desire (with Vivien Leigh and Marlon Brando) on that list, those are not movies which one should become drunk while watching.

The other half of the story: a month ago, I had reserved a couple of movies on Redbox.  But I accidentally reserved them at the wrong Hannaford.  And since Redbox can’t cancel online reservations yet (whaaaaat?), I got two promo codes for free movies to make up for the charges.  And so tonight, I went to Hannaford to redeem them.

And this is what I found:

And here’s the story behind this:

I love the Stephanie Plum novels.  Love them.  I’ve read almost all of them, I love her, I love Ranger, I love Joe Morelli.  Mmm… Joe Morelli.  Can I have a Joe Morelli?  Please?  Because that would be awesome. 

Anyway.  Love the books.  But I hate Katherine Heigl.  Hate.  Haaaaaaaaate.  I don’t think I have the words appropriate enough to describe how much I hate her.  I would compare it to the classic Mrs. White speech from Clue, and compare my hatred of Katherine Heigl to Mrs. White’s hatred of Yvette, hated her so, much, with flames — on the side of my face –, but that would be insulting to Mrs. White and that scene.  She’s just … awful.

And she ruins everything.  Like, she ruined Grey’s Anatomy with her stupid ghost sex, she’s a bitch, she ruined Knocked Up because she’s a bitch, and I know — I just know — she’s going to ruin this.

But then, they cast Jason O’Mara as Morelli.  And I love Jason O’Mara, and when I read that they cast him for Morelli, I was like, “That makes perfect sense.”  It was like I had a picture of Morelli in my head, and I didn’t really have a person to attribute it to, but once someone said “Jason O’Mara will be playing Joe Morelli,” I went, “Of course!”  Plus, Jason O’Mara’s really hot.  I almost miss Life on Mars.

But … Katherine Heigl.  She ruins everything.  EVERYTHING!  That was my catchphrase for a while! 

So while I’ve always wanted to see a movie version of One For the Money (and for a while was imagining Reese Witherspoon gone brunette to play Stephanie), once Katherine Heigl was attached, I decided that I wasn’t going to spend a cent on it.  Even when my mother said that she wanted to see it; I refused. 

But now that I have the option to see it for free, and to truly see how bad it ended up?  Yeah sure, why not.  Hence, tonight’s entry into what is another long list I could type up at some point: Things Alaina Reads/Watches So You Don’t Have To.  I consider it charity, to be honest.

Shit.  I should actually start this movie; otherwise, I’m either never going to watch it, or it is going to be an entry in Insomniac Theatre.

OH SHIT ANCHORMAN’S ON TBS there goes that plan.

Forty minutes later …
Okay, now that Brick has killed a guy with a trident and Ron has told the San Diegoites — San Diegoans?  San Diegons?  San Diego-uns — to go fuck themselves, I can push play. 

And we’ve started with a stupid opening sequence, like Stephanie Plum is supposed to be the girl James Bond.  I’m sorry, the girl James Bond is Lisbeth Salander in last year’s Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.  Did you see that opening sequence?!  Also-also, the music under this shittastic thing samples Bitter:Sweet’s “The Mating Game,” which I believe was used in Grey’s Anatomy.

Oh god … the bad Jersey accent.  Holy shit, my ears.  And I’m sorry, I always pictured Grandma Mazur as more of a Sophia from Golden Girls than Debbie Reynolds.  I always saw Grandma Mazur as being more … frail.  Which is why it’s hilarious when she shoots the turkey — she needs to have more trouble lifting the gun.

I also pictured Big Blue as … bigger and rounder.  And I get why they had to tame down Vinny’s sexual proclivities, but … making out with Stephanie at her wedding and liking dominatrices just doesn’t have the same ring as … was it a goat or a duck?  I remember it was a barnyard animal of some sort …

Oh my god, there is absolutely no chemistry between Heigl and O’Mara.  I mean, zippo.  Don’t get me wrong, O’Mara’s trying, but my god … it’s like trying to make eyes at a … I don’t know … at a thing that has absolutely no redeeming value.

How the hell does this Stephanie Plum get so damn professional at this bounty hunter stuff so quickly?  This is the stupidest … goddamn.  I am so glad I didn’t pay a dime for this.

This is not funny.  Not in the least.  Whoever wrote this — and I firmly believe that it was Katherine Heigl, because it makes sense in my head — took all the humor out of the book and — WHAT THE FUCK Grandma Mazur just shot the turkey with Stephanie’s gun, and NO ONE REACTED?! 

Is that naked guy the same guy the doctor gave a rectal exam to in The Hangover?  Yes, that is what I think about when THIS MOVIE SUCKS.  Jesus, if I wasn’t such a masochist I’d stop watching this movie and put Anchorman back on.  I mean, seriously, LULA’S NOT FUNNY IN THIS MOVIE.  HOW DID SOMEONE TAKE THE FUNNY OUT OF LULA?!

Oh… she’s taking a shower.  I’m jealous.  All I want to do is take a nice, hot, steamy shower, but I CAN’T, because apparently my shower is LEAKING into my downstair’s neighbor’s closet, or whatever.  So tomorrow, before I go to work, I have to go to the gym to take a freaking shower.  BECAUSE GOD HATES ME, THAT’S WHY.

Meanwhile, I think I figured out what happened with this movie.  It’s like they’re trying so hard to be a dark, mystery thriller with some patches of sarcastic, Jersey-esque one-liner humor, that they forgot that parts of the book are actually laugh-out-loud funny.  Unfortunately, my sister has the family copy of One For the Money; otherwise, I’d be quoting my favorite parts to prove to y’all that you gotta read the book because the book is OH MY GOD SO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS PIECE OF SHIT.

Hold up — why haven’t I been drinking?!  Agent Coulson!

And all of a sudden she’s going to the range and being a cracker-jack shot?  I CALL SHENANIGANS. 

Okay, I gotta go check something on Wikipedia.  Because Morelli just made Stephanie an omelet, and then offered to band together to draw out Benito Ramirez by pretty much using Stephanie as bait.  And I’m 99% sure that that NEVER HAPPENED.  Er, the bait part.  I’m sure he did make her an omelet. 

Um, hold on one more second: before I go check this Wikipedia thing, can I please have a shirtless Jason O’Mara deliver me coffee in bed?  Please?  (Christ, I could do laundry on his abs.  I … I could do a lot of things on his … okay moving on!)

Jesus, they didn’t even make a big deal of Morelli’s truck blowing up!  The fuck is wrong with this movie?

Okay, I can’t find what I’m looking for.  But I guarantee that there is no way Morelli would EVER use Stephanie Plum as bait, regardless of where their relationship is.

Wow.  What … what the hell was I thinking, all those hours ago when I picked this up from Redbox?  Why did I think it would be fun for me to make fun of it?  I mean, look, I didn’t like Death of a Ghost Hunter, but I had tons of fun making fun of it!  I thought this would be the same, but —

Oh wait.  I know.

DAMN YOU, KATHERINE HEIGL!  YOU RUIN EVERYTHING.  YOU EVEN RUIN PEOPLE MAKING FUN OF YOU.

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Posted by on May 26, 2012 in Regrets & Bad Decisions

 

Star Wars: A New Hope

And here we go.

Although, I haven’t even gotten to the menu and I’m already pissed at George Lucas.  I was so happy to see that Netflix had the Original Theatrical Version available for rental.  Oh, right, that was a point I was going to make!

So I had dinner with my sister tonight, and she mentioned that she thought that I had watched Star Wars by now.  I told her that that was my plan for after dinner – to go home and watch A New Hope.

Missy: Did I ever tell you what Dad said when I told him you’d never seen Star Wars?
Alaina: No — what’d he say?
Missy: He said that I was lying.  And I was like, “No, Dad — Alaina’s never seen Star Wars.”  And then there was this pause, and then he said: “But — she lived here.  In this house.  With me.  How did she never see Star Wars?”
Alaina: But I have seen it!  Just —
Missy: Not in chronological order or in one sitting, yeah, we know.  But the point is, why have you waited so long to watch it?

Well — because around the time I thought to myself, “Hey, I should probably sit down and watch this at some point,” at the same time, George Lucas was going in and fucking things up.  And while I may not have seen the majority of the movies, there were two things I did know: that Han shot first, and that Jabba the Hut was not in A New Hope.

So I didn’t go see them in theatres when they were re-released, because they were wrong.  And I didn’t buy them on DVD because, again, they were wrong.  And everywhere I looked, all I could find were the fucked-up versions.  (Nowhere — and by no one– did I hear that the additions made the movies better.)  And if my only option to watch the original trilogy was to dig through the shit in the attic to try and find the VHS copies that my dad … uh, “bought legally through a PBS pledge drive,” knowing that his copy of The Empire Strikes Back was nearly falling apart as it was, if I could even find them?  I decided to wait.

Which is why I was ecstatic when I learned that Netflix had the Original Theatrical Releases available on DVD!  That would make my life so much easier!  I could watch the original movie, be able to confer with friends who may have seen Star Wars in the theater when they were younger and be able to truly share that experience with them, and not be the idiot going around saying, “Wait — I thought Greedo shot first?”

So why am I pissed now?  Because when I opened the special red envelope tonight, I learned that the Original Theatrical Release was actually the “Bonus Disc” in some set that was released recently.  Seriously, George Lucas?  Go fuck yourself.

Also, before I (finally) push play: I am going to try as hard as I can to not mock this movie.  Hopefully, this entry will have less vitriol and confusion as some of my other ramblings.  I really, really hope I like it.  But we’ll see.

10:19 p.m., in an apartment in Maine
Alaina pushes play and embarks on an epic journey of geekdom discovery.

It is a period of civil war.  Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden base, have won their first victory against the evil Galactic Empire.

During the battle, rebel spies managed to steal secret plans to the Empire’s ultimate weapon, the DEATH STAR, an armored space station with enough power to destroy an entire planet.

Pursued by the Empire’s sinister agents, Princess Leia races home aboard her starship, custodian of the stolen plans that can save her people and restore freedom to the galaxy …

RIGHT!  THAT’S why Darth Vader captured Leia in the first place!  It was the blueprints to the Death Star that she stole during battle!  Dammit – I can’t believe I forgot that…

Yeah, big ol’ spaceship.  Glad to see I wasn’t making that up.  And if that doesn’t look like a shark chasing a guppy in an ocean, I don’t know what does.

C-3P0!  And R2-D2!  And actual humans playing actual humans!  Damn, I forgot what real movies looked like without all the special effects.  I mean, yeah, sure, green screen is awesome and way cost-effective, but to quote one of the heroes in this very movie, “Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.”

Hm.  I think my metaphor got lost in there somewhere.  Oh well.  Oh hai, Anakin!

Already this movie is tons better than Phantom Menace.  HE SHOT THE PRINCESS!

Here’s a question that I have, now that I have seen the prequels: did the memory wipe of C-3P0 that Senator Jimmy Smits ordered make him prissier?  Because you know what?  I like this C-3P0 way better than the other one.

This is where the Jawas get him, right?  The Jawas?  That’s what they are, right?  Yeah, here’s the ambush where Luke finds R2 and somehow C-3P0 gets back here, and then they watch the video of “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.”

Okay, seriously?  I kind of love R2-D2.  And the scene where he gets captured by the Jawas is really cute.  I especially like the scream that the robot emits when he gets stunned.  Because robots can’t scream!  

Wait — what?   Okay, funniest scene so far — the Storm Trooper poking his head up into the frame, holding a metal ring and saying, “Look, sir — droids!”  That was so random — I mean, HOW CAN HE TELL IT WAS DROIDS?  Does the ring have the word “DROID” etched in it?  How does he know it’s not debris from the crash site?  Is he the Storm Trooper who rode the short bus to school?

Luke!!  Yay! 

Oh shit — oh right!  That’s right!  I’m sorry, I totally flaked out for a second.  Uncle Owen smarmed up to C-3P0 and said that he’s probably been programmed as an etiquette and protocol droid, and it took me about a minute to remember the joke I had written in an unpublished pilot where I compared a character to C-3P0 being a protocol droid!  Damn — I completely forgot about that joke!  I really need to rewrite that pilot.

Wow, Luke’s kind of whiny at first, isn’t he?  “But I wanted to go to Toby’s garage and play with power converters!”  Yikes.

It’s weird — this version of C-3P0?  I’m not sure what it is, if it’s the cadence of his accent, the prissiness of his manner, or just the uptight Britishness of him, but — I’m getting a very Giles vibe from him.  What did I say — Buffy the Vampire Slayer is my Star Wars.

Luke: Who’s she?  She’s beautiful.
Alaina: SHE’S YOUR SISTER

Ol’ Ben Kenobi!  See?  I knew that! 

Wait, are those things the Jawas?  Or are they just the Sand People?  Are they the same thing?  I know they’re not Ewoks.  Ewoks are cute.

Holy shit … that is some class-A fighting.  Way more realistic than anything I saw in Attack of the Clones.  And look at Luke play dead!  Very effective tactic.  Oh, he’s not playing, he’s unconscious?  My bad.

I’m sorry – I said I wouldn’t mock.  I don’t think I’m mocking.  I’m trying not to. 

Ben!  Obi-Wan!  Uh, Ben?  You were Obi-Wan up until Luke was born.  I’m not mocking this movie, by the way — I’m mocking the prequels for having shoddy continuity.  Did Lucas not go back and watch A New Hope before writing Revenge of the Sith?

Duct tape is like The Force: it has a light side, and a dark side, and it holds the universe together.

Obi-Wan, are you getting too old for this shit?  But, much like Murtaugh, you keep getting up and doing more shit.  Good on you, Obi-Wan.

“I find your lack of faith disturbing.”  I know that line!

I was right!  They were Jawas!  I can tell them apart from Sand People!  Wait, he’s just going to leave them there?  I mean, it’s heartbreaking to see the farm burnt to the ground, but — he’s going to have to go all the way back for 3P0 and R2 and Obi-Wan now, right?

DARK HELMET and “Nobody knows…. the trouble I’ve seen … nobody knows … but Jesus…”  Oh, man — I totally need to watch Spaceballs at some point.

Now we get to meet Han Solo?  We can has Han Solo now?  (Sue me — I like Han Solo.)  And wow, this scene also looks like Cairo in Raiders.  Marion!!

Chewie!  Is that a werewolf?  Nice!  You go, Obi-Wan!

NICE.  Han Solo is the man!  In other news, I’m going to have to work in the phrase “Sorry about the mess” into more conversations.  Y’know, after I go vigilante on their asses.

“Besides, I know a few maneuvers.”  That’s another line I’ve got to say more often.  Hopefully, followed by a wink and a saucy smile.

HOLY SHIT THEY JUST BLEW UP ALDERAAN

“I feel a great disturbance in the Force.  As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and suddenly silenced.”  Poor Obi-Wan.  Poor Alderaan.  Alderaanians?  Alderaaniuns?

Sorry.  I was too busy watching the movie to talk about it.  That’s a good sign.  Luke and Han have broken into the Death Star and are rescuing Leia.  Hooray!

I think I figured out another reason why I detested the prequels so much: everything was so pristine.  Between the green screen backgrounds, the crappy dialogue, and the digital effects, there was no dirt, or grease, or gunpowder or anything else.  The grit and disgusting aspects of a war weren’t there – they were Photoshopped out.  It’s like George Lucas became a germophobe in the intermittent twenty years and directed the prequels from inside a hyperbaric bubble.

See?  That happy laughter at not being compacted into trash?  THAT was what was missing from the prequels!  No one rejoiced, no one was happy!  Everything was “all in a day’s work” for Obi-Wan and Amidala that I don’t think anyone even smiled at all.  I should have taken a shot for every smile that happened.  I didn’t think about it at the time.

Because, seriously – this movie is so much happier than the prequels, I can barely stand it.

HOLY SHIT LUKE HAS A BATARANG

Oh.  There goes my happiness.  Rest in Peace, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

(Wait – at this point in writing the movie, Darth was Darth Vader’s first name?  So, George Lucas decided later to make it a title, not a name?  Fuck you, George Lucas.)

Okay, again, sorry.  It’s a good sign when I’m not talking about the movie.

And in the end, R2 was okay too!

 

I HAVE NOW SEEN STAR WARS.

Grade for Star Wars: A New Hope: Duh-doi: AWESOME.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2012 in Star Wars

 

Star Wars: A New Hope: The Alaina Version

Before I begin, I just have to extend thanks to a dear friend. 

Sarah: I know these movies have had a large impact on you.  The only comparison I can rightly make, in my mind, is that Star Wars is to you as Buffy the Vampire Slayer is to me.  In fact, I can loop the two together and say that, in my mind, your love of Star Wars is akin to Spike’s greeting to Angel in “School Hard”: “You were my sire, man!  You were my … my Yoda!”  That if they were to ever betray you, you would curse them with the same venom with which Spike curses Angel. 

So, for all that, I was very careful for a very long time to make sure you never found out that I’d never seen Star Wars.  The last thing I wanted was to receive a ration of shit from you, because I felt that you might take it as a personal affront.

And when I finally ‘came out,’ so to speak, in the absolute loosest of terms, and admitted that I’d never seen the classic trilogy … you said nothing.  And that means more to me than I can ever say.  So thank you.

Brad and John, on the other hand …

John: YOU’VE NEVER SEEN STAR WARS?
Alaina: Johnny …
John: I had a heart attack last year, Weevil! 
Alaina: Johnny!
John: I do not need another one!
Alaina: Hey!
Brad: What’s going on?
Alaina: Nothing!
Johnny: Weevil’s never seen Star Wars!
Brad: WHAT?
Alaina: Okay, seriously?  I have too!  Just not in one sitting, or in chronological order!
Brad: You’re dead to me for the rest of the day.
Alaina: Oh, come on!

Tomorrow is May Fourth.  For those not in the know (people would say that should be me, but I’m savvy to the ways of geekdom), this date is also known as Star Wars Day: “May the Fourth be with you!”

Tomorrow night, after work, I plan on coming home, cleaning the living room a bit, pouring some pre-Cinco de Mayo margaritas, and watching Star Wars: A New Hope.

But before I do, here’s the moment where I prove, once and for all, that I am familiar with A New Hope and that I am only really watching it for a sense of finality.  Much like when I finally watched Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade four years ago: similar to theStar Wars situation, I had seen the whole movie, just not in chronological order, or in one sitting.

And so, without further ado, here’s the plot.  And I know that someone’s probably going to ask if I Wikipedia’d any of this, and the answer is no.  I don’t Wikipedia anything until after the fact.  The following is all from my memory, spotty though it may be.  Go ahead, tell me if I’m wrong.  (But not for 24 hours.)

It begins with a shot of a big spaceship (like in Spaceballs!  Gee, I wonder if that’s a coincidence!).  And then there are people walking down a corridor, and it may or may not be Darth Vader immediately, but anyway, it ends with a meeting between Darth and Princess Leia.  He wants her to surrender her realm to the empire, but she refuses, so he sends her back to the brig.  She creates a video message in her handy R2-D2 unit, and tells him to find Obi-Wan Kenobi, as he is her only hope.

We side-wipe to Tatooine, and a disgruntled young man named Luke Skywalker is pensive about his life.  He has a fight with his uncle and then goes upstairs and stares at the two setting suns.  At some point, he gets directed to go to town and pick up a couple of droids, or get C3P-0 fixed or something, but ANYWAY, he finds R2-D2 wandering the desert, like a robotic Jesus without the followers (or was it Moses who wandered the desert?  Both of them had wanderings in deserts, I think.  DON’T TELL ME, it’s not that important), and on the way back to the farm he gets attacked by Jawas and R2 and C3P-0 save him.  A button gets hit and the video of Princess Leia asking “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you’re my only hope” plays, and Luke thinks, “Hey — I wonder if that’s Old Ben Kenobi?”

So he finds Ben, somewhere, and shows him the video, and Obi-Wan agrees to help Luke help rescue Princess Leia.  But they’re going to need a pilot.  So they end up in this bar on the other side of the planet and run into Han Solo, who is the best pilot in the galaxy (but also the most reckless).  As they’re trying to convince Han to join their ragtag band of rebels, this asshat Greedo comes over and tries to pick a fight with Han Solo but HAN SHOOTS FIRST and Greedo dies.

Somehow, they figure out that Luke is powerful with the Force, and Obi-Wan agrees to train him in the ways of the Jedi, and there’s the scene on the Millenium Falcon where Luke is blindfolded and trying to light-saber the ball using the Force, and someone’s playing a game with Chewbacca and C3P-0 tells him to let the Wookiee win, and also, Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke that he knew his father, Anakin, and that they were good friends.

When they get to the spaceship, they dress up as Storm Troopers to go and rescue the Princess.  When they find her, Han realizes that she’s not a simpering idiot, because she calls him a scruffy nerf herder.  On the way out, trying to escape, they almost get stuck in a garbage chute, but somehow they escape. 

Then they learn that Darth Vader has this amazing weapon, called the Death Star.  And it’s possible that, maybe, Darth Vader blew up Tatooine?  Or maybe Leia’s home planet?  I haven’t seen that scene in a while, I can’t remember.  ANYWAY, somehow, the find out about the Death Star, and they start researching ways on how to blow it up.

They join with the Rebel Alliance, and they find that there’s this little, tiny corridor in the Death Star that a TIE-Fighter can fly through and then it explodes it from within, so they decide to do that!  And Luke is decided to be the pilot while Han becomes the squad leader, and Leia is there, too. 

Meanwhile, Obi-Wan goes off to attack Darth Vader and restore balance to the Force, but Darth Vader kills him, after strangling General Needo.  (Or is it Nado?  I can’t remember.)

But in the end, Darth Vader and his Evil Empire escapes to fight another day, while Luke, Han and Leia celebrate, in the wake of mourning Obi-Wan Kenobi.  And at the end, there’s a parade and Leia gives the boys medals, and there’s waving and happiness and they live happily ever after until the Empire Strikes Back.

And look, as I said up there: if I’m wrong, please don’t ruin it for me.  I’ll ruin it myself tomorrow night.

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2012 in Star Wars