Time To Blog…

Posted in Movies, TV Shows on September 28th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

I think I could use a Tivo.  That way, I could Tivo Dr. Phil and watch it when I fold laundry – that would certainly be better on my ears and more entertaining than the screaming parrot.  Well, actually, I don’t know how Tivo works – I could probably only watch what I tape record (I grew up in the 80’s – we “taped” our movies and our music) on the tv that has the Tivo, right?  But anyway, I could pause it when someone needed a diaper change or help with something or a snack or a drink to be able to watch more tv instead of just never getting to commit to watching shows (except really good ones like The Office) because of my lack of time and my lack of Tivo.  I wonder how much they cost; I have no idea.  It occurred to me that I don’t watch much tv anymore; a hobby I really liked as a kid.  It’s not a bad thing, really, I’m busy doing other more worthwhile things.  But I do miss getting to watch Dr. Phil – my tv has been hijacked by the likes of Dora, Diego, and Max and Ruby in the morning when it’s on, and I don’t like not being able to watch the Office until it’s available online.  We try to watch The Office when it airs on Thursday night and without fail, all hell always breaks loose with the kids even though it’s on at 9 and they should be in bed.

I got the movie Mr. Mom from the library for the kids to  watch.  I figured since my husband and I liked the movie as kids, we should show it to our kids – after all, they loved Annie (the 1982 version, the update is awful).  But apparently Mr. Mom came out before the MPAA came up with the PG-13 rating – there were a few scenes (funny how neither one of us remembered they were in the movie) I would rather not be in the type of movies my children enjoy.  At least we were able to skip over the strip club scene without them even noticing, yikes.  I surely don’t remember that from watching that movie as a kid.  Maybe there was an edited-for-television version…  Anyway, all this got me to thinking that they should have a function for dvd players where you can edit the movie to play while skipping certain parts of your choosing.  Maybe this already exists, but I don’t know a lot about the latest gadgets and such.

Well, anyway…  sorry for the randomness, just had a little time to blog for a change, so I just wrote what was on my mind at the moment!  Maybe I’ll check into that Tivo…

The Unborn Gran Torino

Posted in Everyday Life, Movies on January 15th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Luckily for us, Tuesday’s date night was not hindered by the recent barrage of snow in any way.  We ventured to the larger town nearby to see what all the Golden Globe fuss was about Clint Eastwood’s latest movie, Gran Torino (they didn’t have Slumdog Millionaire).  But after the previews and especially when the movie started, it became painfully obvious that there was something wrong with the theater’s sound – you couldn’t hear the dialogue.  My husband went to report it, and all that did was cause several loud popping noises and lengthy annoying electronic burps while they tried to fix it.  There were 3 other people in the theater with us, and we all left – seemed like a movie where you really need to hear what the characters are saying.  They offered our money back, but that wasn’t really enough because we had spent $7 on pop and popcorn that we wouldn’t have bought if we weren’t going to a movie.  The incredibly flustered but sensible kid working the counter saw our point, and apparently his manager agreed, so they let us go into another movie AND get a refund – COOL!  Earlier in the day, we had been up in the air trying to decide between seeing Gran Torino and The Unborn anyway, so I guess the choice was made for us – We only had 20 minutes to kill before a showing of The Unborn.

The Unborn was just as I expected – a PG13-rated supernatural horror movie, not quite as good as others in the genre like The Ring, Shutter, or One Missed Call.  There were some jump-out-of-your-seat moments in The Unborn, but it was obvious when they were coming, at least to me.  I don’t want to give away too much like an article did that I read in the newspaper, so I’ll just say that if you like the supernatural horror genre, check out The Unborn because it’s entertaining.  Back to the newspaper article I read…  seems the little boy who plays a scary kid in the movie is from the area where I grew up, so they featured him in the suburban Chicago newspaper I sometimes like to read online – but they spilled a major spoiler about the movie at the end of the article!  But anyway, that’s another thing I enjoyed about The Unborn – it is set in Chicagoland, so I enjoyed the sweeping overhead views of the city and some of the familiar sites in suburbia.  Apparently the screenwriter of The Unborn, David Goyer, has a fancy for Chicago since he also wrote The Dark Knight which was filmed in Chicago, although set in Gotham City.  But anyway, enjoyable movie for what it was – I might have liked Gran Torino better, but I guess I’ll have to see that one another time.

And that brings me to the Applebee’s saga.  We don’t really like Applebee’s.  They try to tell us we belong there, but I don’t buy it.  Their food seems pricey for what it is, and we stopped going there when the kids are with us because their food takes forever to come out (that and the small fortune it would cost our family of 6 to eat there).  My husband was given an Applebee’s gift card for serving on the board of a local non-profit agency (no, I am not talking about the community theater – did you really have to ask?), which is really nice of the agency of course.  We got the same gift card last year, and so back then we decided to give Applebee’s another chance.  Last year, we got some sort of bland pasta dish and an appetizer sampler and shared everything, but we left there hungry AND having to add money to our gift card in order to cover the check.  Flash forward to now, and we find ourselves with another gift card.  Time to give Applebee’s another try, we decided; after all, how bad can it be?  They have lots of corporate suits overseeing those kinds of places, so maybe they’ve implemented lots of changes in the past year to make it a better establishment.  Not the case.  First, our food took forever to come out.  I had gotten a soup-and-sandwich combo, and the waitress came to tell me they burnt the soup and it would be a few minutes while they made a new one.  My husband wondered if that meant his food was sitting under a warmer while mine was re-prepared, and his concerns were legit because when he got his food, the shrimp was cold.  Not only that, but they had given him the wrong kind of buffalo wings.  So they apologized, and that’s another thing about places like Applebee’s that really bug me – the pesty fake gushy niceness.  I do appreciate a friendly server, but the people who work at these places are way over the top…  I will cite an example in the hilarious movie Office Space – there’s a character in the movie who is Jennifer Aniston’s coworker at a TGIFriday’s type of place who acts just like these people…  annoyingly and unrealistically enthusiastic about his job – funny stuff, but only in the movies.

So anyway, we’re waiting for my husband’s new wings when the manager comes out to say that they have now put the wrong sauce on them, and they’d have to make him yet another order.  Honestly, what is the cook doing back there?  Again, for the second time this day (see my Dawn’s Great Idea post), my fears of starring in a hidden camera show run rampant…  And what has happened to all the food that they’ve messed up?  From just our party of 2, they must have had 2 orders of wings and a bowl of soup all go to waste.  I’ve often thought that restaurants should have a deal with local homeless shelters, giving them their leftovers and food mistakes, but I guess that wouldn’t be considered sanitary.  I wish they’d change this; something tells me that food is food and many people would be very grateful for restaurant “leftovers”…

We calculated our bill correctly this time, and we were about to rid ourselves of the entire giftcard, when the waitress showed up to tell us that because of all the errors, they were going to give us the employee discount on the bill.  That was really really nice of them, but that means we STILL HAVE $ LEFT ON THE GIFTCARD for another trip to Applebee’s!  I told my husband, maybe we’ll just stop in for a couple drinks sometime, but of course, you can’t use a giftcard on drinks, at least on alcoholic ones, and after trying their flavored tea yesterday, I won’t be stopping in for any more of that – yuck!  And in case you’re wondering, both my sandwich and my soup were virtually tasteless, save for the cheese on top of the soup – that was really good!

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The Dark Knight

Posted in Movies on July 21st, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

We ventured out to see the midnight showing of The Dark Knight last week, and I haven’t written about it until now because I’ve been so busy, but I figured I better make some time for it before I forget, so here it goes…

It all began when we found out our little local theater would be showing it at midnight, and since we’re usually up with the new baby at that time, we figured why not be in a movie feeding the baby instead of at home?  So we got together a group who wanted to see it, and that’s when we found out the movie was 2 hours and 40 minutes!  Oops, the baby is never up THAT long but too late to back out now!  Besides, after all the hype involved, I was actually looking forward to it.

Since almost a week has passed and I’m on little sleep, some of my memory of the details have faded, so this will be a very vague reveiw.  I’d have to say the movie was exactly what I was expecting.  I was hoping it would be a little better, especially after all the media hype, but it was exactly what I thought it would be – and that’s not anywhere NEAR the 9.6 people gave it on imdb.com.  Since I’m not a huge fan of superhero / comic book movies (yet I keep going to see them; not sure what’s up with that), I really wasn’t expecting this to be one of my favorite movies ever.   Heath Ledger did have a VERY good performance as the Joker, but was it Oscar-worthy?  I personally don’t think so.  I do think he will win it though, but let’s just wait and see if he is nominated and who he is up against.  And it’s not like I ever agree with who wins those things anyway; for me it’s just a good excuse to throw a fun party 🙂

But back to the movie…  there was a lot of violence.  I can’t believe what they’re allowed to call PG-13 these days.  Although I suppose it wasn’t really anything short of what you’d see on tv, and there was actually little to no blood and gore, so maybe that explains it.  The children I saw in the theater were all asleep by the time the movie was over anyway.  And yes, I did think the movie went on too long – it wasn’t a short 2 hours and 40 minutes, and it didn’t really fly by.  As my husband pointed out, way too much dialogue for a superhero movie; friends agreed and added that the Batman movies are like that.  I’ve only seen the Tim Burton Batman from 1989, which I’m told is just a different take on the whole thing and doesn’t really fit into the timeline anywhere, and I’ve also seen Batman Forever, which I really enjoy.  So that brings me to my 2nd favorite villian next to the Joker – Harvey “Two-Face” Dent.  I just love what Tommy Lee Jones did with the character in Batman Forever, and I was pleased when I realized that Harvey Dent was going to turn into Two-Face in The Dark Knight, but overall I was disappointed because Aaron Eckhart’s  Two-Face was pretty lame compared to Jones’.  The makeup was pretty good, although I actually enjoy the more comic book look that they gave Tommy Lee Jones versus the scary look they gave Eckhart for the newest film.

Christian Bale’s Batman was alright, though I couldn’t stand his gravelly Batman voice – it reminded me of the Friends episode where Joey is selling cologne at a department store…  If you’re a fan of the show and you know what episode I’m talking about, find it and listen to his cologne adversary say “Hombre?” – sounds just like Christian Bale’s Batman and every time he spoke in the movie I was tempted to giggle as I thought of that hillarious Friends episode.  Maggie Gyllenhaal was pretty good too; although in scenes with both her and Heath Ledger’s Joker, it was weird for me to think that he played her brother’s gay lover in Brokeback Mountain, but that’s Hollywood for you, it’s cyclical.

And since we’re on the subject of Heath Ledger’s Joker, it was very impressive.  Not the kind of movie or role I’d pick for being Oscar-worthy, but that’s my personal opinion and like I said, we’ll just see happens as Oscar time draws near.  He was pretty scary, and I’d have to say Hollywood can mourn him as a good actor because when I was in the hospital less than a week ago, I watched 10 Things I Hate About You (the hospital’s limited cable selections + baby up at night = what else do I watch but this bad movie?).  Ledger was in that movie, and he couldn’t even shed his Australian accent back then!  Seeing where he was in that movie versus the Joker did give me appreciation for his work (as the Joker, not in 10 Things…).

And another reason I was excited to see this movie was that I had heard that 80% of it was shot in my former hometown (well, sort of, I grew up in the suburbs), Chicago.  It was neat to see all the familiar landmarks, although they did try to anonymize the city so it could be recognized as Gotham City instead of Chicago.  I was especially looking forward to the special effects involved in the Gotham City Hospital scene since I read an article about it ahead of time, but I have to say I was a little disappointed in how it actually looked on screen.  I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t seen this movie yet, but I will say that the vacant Brach’s Candy Factory on Chicago’s west side doubled for the Gotham City Hospital.  And seeing the Joker in a nurse’s dress was pretty funny in itself…

Overall, I had a lot of fun seeing this movie.  I think much of it had to do with the midnight showing and attending with a large group of friends.  The movie was exactly what I expected, although I can say I was hoping for better…  but again, I’m not a fan of comic books, and I’ve never read one in my life.

Parenthood

Posted in Movies on April 25th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

After all this piñata talk (found the ñ symbol!), we had to pop in the movie Parenthood the other night.  Along with the hilarious piñata scene (ok, now I am over-using the ñ a little bit), I had actually forgotten how entertaining this movie really is.  It’s a really good blend of comedy and drama, and it’s not just another silly comedy – it actually has a valuable life lesson.  I highly recommend it to anyone who has kids, but I do not recommend it for the whole family since it’s rated PG13 and can actually be somewhat crude at points.  It has great directing and acting and 2 academy award nominations to boot.

The movie revolves around the Buckman family – elderly, empty-nesters (sort-of) and their 4 grown children and their families who are all facing regular life problems of their own.  Steve Martin plays Gil, a man whose own overused stress responses to everyday life are mirrored in his son, and that situation only stresses him out further!  He is such a worry-wart that he has lost all ability to enjoy regular life and its trials and tribulations, and my favorite part of the movie is when he realizes this; thanks to the wise, if confused, words of his very elderly grandmother.  This scene is hilarious and heartwarming at the same time, and if you’re anything like me (someone who tends to be a worrywart, sweats the small things), a movie like this really helps to keep the small bumps of life in perspective.

Watching this movie again as a parent made me appreciate it so much more than I appreciated seeing it as a teenager.  Again, I’d really recommend it to any parent, and if you’ve seen it already, I’d say try it again if it’s been awhile.  That’s what I did, and I would have to say that it’s now one of my favorite movies!

Betcha I’ve Seen Shutter More Than You!

Posted in Movies on March 23rd, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Not that it’s anything to brag about, but I saw the new movie Shutter not once, but twice this weekend!  It was pretty good, if you like movies like The Ring and The Grudge.  There are a few other movies people say Shutter is like, but I haven’t seen them.  It did remind me a lot of The Ring – they were both super-natural ghost stories.  I should have known I’d like it, at least that I’d like it better than Doomsday, because the guy who gave Doomsday an “A” rating on movies.com gave Shutter a “D”!  I’m starting to think he’s a moron.  I gave you the quote he made about Doomsday in a previous post of mine; he talked about how great all the violence was, yada, yada, so just to prove his idiocy, here is a snippet of what he thought of Shutter:

“As unfrightening PG-13 horror films go, this unfrightening PG-13 horror film is the most unfrightening of the year. It’s even more unfrightening than The Eye, which featured such unfrightening scenes as Jessica Alba yelling into an oven. This one has unfrightening scenes of Joshua Jackson sitting in a chair. Okay, there is one jumpy moment. That happens when Joshua Jackson turns around really fast in that chair. All the 11 year-olds in the audience went, “AUUGGH!” when that part happened. So if you’re 11, then that part is really going to freak you out.”

So according to the movies.com review guy, a movie is not good or scary if it doesn’t have at least 3 decapitations, exploding animals, and some cannibalism.  Whatever.  He does have a point though – the 11-year-old in the theater with us was scared silly – which brings me to the reason we saw it twice in one day…

Grandma was in town for a visit.  Despite the impending snow storm (again), she was able to travel the 200+ miles to see her grandchildren, thank goodness.  Who would have believed that we’d have to deal with Grandma almost having to cancel her spring break trip to Ohio because of still more SNOW!  Thank you, Grandma, for taking the time and energy it took to come early to ensure the special time you were able to spend with the girls wasn’t ruined by yet another snow storm.  So anyway, with Grandma being in town, that left Hubby and I with a whole afternoon and evening to ourselves!  Snowstorm or not, we were going to make the most of it…  So we saw a matinee of Shutter, which we enjoyed.  It wasn’t scary, comes no where close to the creepiness of The Ring, but it was entertaining, and it saved itself from getting unbearably cheesy several times…  A lot of the reviewers didn’t like it, but I think they’re just sick of the whole PG13-Asian-horror-movie-remake genre.  As a side effect of the PG13 rating, during our matinee, there were obnoxious teenagers in the theater.  Their laughing and running up and down the aisles wasn’t totally obscene, but it did take away from some of the enjoyment of a horror movie.  When they left the movie at the end, they had a younger boy with them who looked scared beyond belief.  I think maybe all the laughing and whatnot was because they were actually really nervous and scared.  So, when we explained their antics to the movie theater manager, they were completely understanding and told us we could go ahead and see it again.  I didn’t really catch anything that I missed the first time (except for one itty bitty scene where I dozed yet again), but it was fun to watch a horror movie again that no one else in the theater had seen yet because it was its first day out in the theaters – you knew when the scary parts were coming and could watch the whole theater jump and gasp.

If you are a fan of the PG13-Asian-horror-movie-remake genre, I think you’ll like Shutter.  If not, it might not be what you’re looking for in a movie, unless you’re between the ages of 14-23.

Snow Day #11,572

Posted in Movies, Uncategorized on March 5th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ok, I’m exaggerating just a tad on the number of snow days we’ve had, but that’s what it feels like by now!  I suppose with the new dog in the house, today was as good a day as any to have yet another snow day, but my poor husband is going to go crazy from shoveling all this snow!  It’s become almost a daily chore – just what he needed!  And, the weather guys are saying that they’re tracking ANOTHER system due here on Friday!  They won’t use the dreaded 4-letter “s” word though, it’s kinda funny.  They’ll just call it a “weather system” and “let’s see what it drops on us” – as if there’s any chance it will bring something other than snow (that dreaded 4-letter word!), yeah right.

Hubby and I braved the weather last night to venture out to a movie for date night.  Our date night is once a week on Tuesdays, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s snowed for the last like, 5 Tuesdays in a row, no exaggerating this time!  Last week,  our movie theater was CLOSED because of the snow – that stank.  Instead of having a nice dinner, we got snacks at KFC cuz we were running late for the movie, and then we got there, and they were closed!  So sick of this weather already!  What did that groundhog say again?!?  So anyway, we ventured to a neighboring town with a movie theater that’s a little bigger; that way we could be assured it would be open.  We saw Vantage Point, an action movie with Dennis Quaid, Forrest Whittaker, and Matthew Fox.  And speaking of Groundhog Day, if you’ve seen that movie, even though it’s a comedy, Vantage Point actually had something in common with it in that they kept showing the same scene over and over.  The point of the movie was to take the audience through an incident of terrorism, one persepective at a time.  Dennis Quaid and Matthew Fox played secret service agents, and Forrest Whittaker was a tourist bystander who happened to catch everything on video.  It was a satisfying action movie – MUCH better than Gone Baby Gone…  I might actually say it was kinda like Groundhog Day meets In the Line of Fire, if you’ve seen that movie, since Dennis Quaid’s character had been through an assassination attempt on the President before and was jumpy – just like Clint Eastwood’s character in In the Line of Fire.  If you like action movies, this one won’t disappoint.  I was actually surprised there wasn’t a little more to the plot, and I can’t believe the constant violence earned it only a PG13 rating.  But when I think about it, I suppose you could see the same type of violence on tv any given night or even on cable during the day – it’s just what has happened to entertainment these days, I guess.  Vantage Point has constant action, the movie is never slow, and seeing the action from the different people’s perspectives (vantage points 🙂  get it?) was interesting and not at all confusing like I was concerned about.  I found something at the end of the movie incredibly hokey, but then again, that’s common in action movies, you gotta appreciate them for what they are.