Friday, November 26, 2010

What a waste of time, money and resources!

So I am going to jump on the massive bandwagon and say that M. Night Shyamalan's live action version of the beloved cartoon, The Last Airbender, was crap. I knew what to expect going in (it has 6% on Rotten Tomatoes and has been lambasted by every major critic) but I guess I was hoping for some redeeming features.

I started watching the original animated series some weeks ago. Not being a fan of anime in general, I was skeptical. All it takes is a few episodes and you're hooked. The show offers lovable characters, an engaging plot and valuable philosophical insights. It's action-packed, humorous and dramatic at all the appropriate times. The voice actors are perfectly cast and bring to life characters you feel like you've known personally for years. I know I'm raving but I haven't gotten involved in a plot that has made me this excited in a long time.

The series won accolades and has a very strong fan-base. This is why I wonder why the powers that be would want to remake it into a live action film. The series ended not too long ago so this isn't a long awaited thing. Who were they trying to reach by remaking the cartoon? Were they trying to expose it to a more "grown up" demographic? If so, they failed. It is not only not an adult movie; it is not a movie for anyone. I would not even insult a kid with that trite dribble.

I'll tell you what they did wrong:

They mispronounced the names of almost all the main characters. I know it doesn't sound like that big of a deal but it gets annoying fast. The original creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender created their own world in which the characters exist. They made up the names and dictate how they are pronounced. It isn't up to interpretation like in real life. The title character is named Aang, like Ang Lee the director, not Ah-ng. The character Sokka's name is pronounced Sock-a not Soo-ka like SoCal.

The acting was bad. The kids kept to one emotion through most of the entire movie and lines were delivered weakly like they weren't sure of themselves. I love Aasif Mandvi but him as a sinister, power hungry admiral? Come on! He is too cuddly to be a bad ass. The casting of Uncle Iroh was just bad. The character was supposed to be fat and jolly and they cast this gaunt, serious man. Dev Patel worked with what he got as Prince Zuko but it is hard to be good in a really, really bad film.

The special effects were weak. The earth bending looked like tossing dirt around. When the earthbenders hurled rocks, it looked like a pebble traveling in slow motion. No need to block it, just step aside– you have time. The airbending looked like a gust of wind, not something that could toss people off of their feet.

They changed the nature of the characters. Aang may be the avatar but he is a goofy kid with a smile constantly on his face. In the movie, he looks confused the entire time with a furrowed brow. They also made Sokka brooding and humorless. What the heck? Sokka is quintessentially funny. Every other thing out of his mouth is some kind of wisecrack. Katara is the show's inspirational character. She keeps Aang and Sokka on their mission with her passion for helping others. This can make her preachy at times and sidetracks them from their mission to help villages in need. In the movie, she barely says anything and it is Aang who is the inspirational one. They also did a weird thing by adding tracking shots of the Fire Lord having conversations with Admiral Zhao. The Fire Lord barely even talks until the last book (a.k.a season) of the story. When he is seen, he is sitting on a throne surrounded by fire in a dark, barren room. By making him walk around chatting with people, it takes away from how imposing he is and makes him seem more like a guy and less like a threat.

There's also a scene where some earthbenders are imprisoned by the fire nation and the prison is in a dirt quarry. Does anyone see why this oversight is completely retarded? They are earthbenders surrounded by dirt on their own turf. They could take the fire guards at any time. In the cartoon, they are deliberately imprisoned on a metal island so that they do not have any weapons to fight their captors.

Shymalan is the director, writer and producer of the movie. What was he thinking, really? The cartoon offers so much to draw from and he chose only the basic things and left the more interesting stuff on the cutting room floor. Instead, he added things that just didn't fit. He has shown talent in the past. What has happened to him? It takes arrogance or slovenliness to put something so shoddy together and release it. At this point, I don't think he will film the other two books of the series. I hope he doesn't and takes the budget for them and donate it to something.

If you've seen Avatar: The Last Airbender, you know what I'm talking about.

Monday, November 22, 2010

"Allow myself to introduce myself"

I realize this is a little late in the blogging process and probably should have been my first post. I guess I never really thought of introducing myself. I try to write about relatively interesting things and talking about myself doesn't make the cut. However, Geoffrey started his blog with an intro which inspired me to do the same. I may not be interesting to myself but maybe one of the few people that stumble across this blog want to know a little about the writer behind all the rants.

In the most basic of descriptions I am a female human. I've been on this earth for thirty years and counting. Turning thirty happened pretty recently and it was a harsh reality to face. I feel obligated to "grow up" a bit, whatever that means. This poses a problem because I like running around like I just got to college.

I come from one of those meshugeneh, dysfunctional families that you read about in David Sedaris or Augusten Burroughs but I haven't the talent or the drive to spin my memoirs into a book. We are Southern though, so I guess we're more Tennessee Williams. My dad grew up with big money. He's the kind of guy that would light a cigarette with a twenty dollar bill and not see the significance of that. Money and his plasma television are all that matters to him. My mother is possibly one of the most intelligent people alive and one of the hardest working. She is a self-hating Jew. This has caused tension between us because I chose to practice Judaism and she hates me reminding her where she came from.

I have the horrible habit of getting involved with severely emotionally disturbed people. I naively think that I can help them but I never can. They just latch onto me and become obsessed, weighing me down in the process. Being emotionally damaged, I feel more of a kinship to other disturbed people. Friends urge me to push these people out of my life, which I should probably do. It's a horrible habit.

I haven't had to work most of my life because of my family's money. I thought not doing anything is what I wanted but it is overrated. Nothing day after day starts to make you stir crazy. I've been trying to get into nursing school four semesters and have had no luck so far. Applying to the nursing schools I am applying to is a lottery. People are put into a pool and picked randomly by a computer into the seventy spots. How messed up is that?

Right now, I am not in any classes. My days consist of game show network. I really enjoy the show Baggage and dislike Family Feud. That doesn't stop me from watching it sometimes. Pathetic, I know. I have been challenged to write in my blog everyday until I get back into classes next semester. I don't know if I can write entries everyday but I will try to be more frequent.

I guess I just need to learn that blog entries don't have to be interesting. They can be inane dribble and often are. "Today, I ate cereal but the milk was bad." Seriously? Who cares. In this internet age, we can all be stars with our own blogs. We can feel important casting out thoughts into the void and hope that they will be read.

Friday, November 19, 2010

the movie ratings book

As long as my dear grandmother was alive, she was notorious for giving horrible Christmas gifts. She always gave at least twenty presents to any one person but it was all cheap mail order garbage. A broken pedometer, a chia pet, anything along those lines were common gifts.

One year when I was eleven or so, she struck gold with one of my gifts. She got me Videohound's Golden Movie Retriever. It is a huge volume of movie knowledge. It lists the vast majority of films ever made (I think I only found one or two titles missing from it) and rates them from zero to four bones. It also has other useful information like what movies or actors won what awards and who else was nominated each year.

This became my bible. This is before there was imdb or rotten tomatoes. It was my main source for movie information. I went through the awards section and made it my mission to watch all the nominated films. I voraciously rented movies from the fifties to current times. I evaluated what movies had unjustly won and what actors had been slighted.

I have grown into what my friends call a "walking imdb". I've seen movies most people my age haven't even heard of. Keep in mind, I have this movie knowledge at the cost of a social life growing up. Sometimes, I miss what I may have given up but I am mostly content. It's fun to introduce people to obscure films and I come in very handy on pub trivia nights. With netflix, I am still constantly building my knowledge base with new release, cult horror, foreign, classics, comedy and drama flicks.

I thought the Videohound Golden Movie Retriever and movie ratings books had gone the way of the dinosaur until I saw one of them at Blockbuster yesterday. I was filled with a warm feeling like I was seeing a long lost friend. Is imdb more knowledgeable and easy to use? Yes, most likely. Is it inconvenient to lug out a giant book and thumb through until you find a title? Definitely. Does it get expensive buying the new book every year so the current movies are in it? Sure. I mean, imdb is free and unbeatably up to date.

That wasn't always the case, though. We have not always had the access to information that we do now. My Golden Movie Retriever opened up a world of knowledge that I am grateful for. I hope they still make them as the years go by.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Relationship protocol

So I was hanging out with our resident couple friends recently. The female referred to a man as being "cute" and her boyfriend got bent out of shape. I said half joking that I point out cute guys all the time. He said something along the lines that it wasn't right of me to do so. When I pointed out that my boyfriend does and that I condone it, he said that he wasn't even getting into it.

Is it wrong to acknowledge attractive people around your significant other? What are you supposed to do? Bottle it up and tell only your friends that are separate from your boyfriend? Guys do the same but I have been there when one let things like that slip in front of their girlfriend and it wasn't pretty. The girl threw a tantrum.

Is keeping secrets the answer? Are we supposed to act like our boyfriends or girlfriends are the only attractive people on the planet. That is deceptive. Do I love my boyfriend? Yes. Is he attractive? Yes. Is he the only attractive male? Hell no.

I encourage honesty. If he thinks some girl is hot, I want to know. I want to scrutinize it and analyze what he likes/dislikes about her. I want a greater understanding of what his type is. And I want the freedom to do the same.

I would refrain if it bothered him but it doesn't.

This old fashioned protocol of never letting your s.o. know you find anyone else desirable but them is secretive and just a plain lie.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Proust Questionnaire

So I am one who is often bored. I am totally addicted to answering all those questionnaires on facebook. It isn't really an egotistical thing. It encourages me to think about all kinds of aspects of myself. Sometimes I learn new stuff and other times I don't.

I found the Proust (I still need to read up more on him) Questionnaire and I was reminded when I was a little kid and I would read them in my mother's Vanity Fair magazines. I would take turns asking friends and answering. I don't remember what I said then, so I am doing it now.

Your favorite virtue- Punctuality.

Your favorite qualities in a man- Adoring me.

Your favorite qualities in a woman- Not being catty or competitive.

Your chief characteristic- Intelligence.

What you appreciate the most in your friends- Being genuine and always frank with me.

Your main fault- Very low self esteem that cripples me in daily life.

Your favourite occupation- Acting.

Your idea of happiness- Feeling settled in life.

Your idea of misery- Being stuck in a Lowe's and not being allowed to play with the doorbells.

If not yourself, who would you be- Megan Fox. I want to be hot and stupid.

Where would you like to live- New York City, Tokyo or Paris.

Your favourite colour and flower- Green and iris.

My favorite bird- McCaw parrots.

Your favorite prose authors- Milan Kundera, J.D. Salinger, Leo Tolstoy and Jack Kerouac.

Your favorite poets- e.e. cummings, Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman

Your favorite heroes in fiction- George from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Seymour Glass, Porfiry Petrovich

Your favorite heroines in fiction- Anna Karenina, Mrs. Robinson

Your favorite painters and composers- Georges Seurat, Vincent Van Gogh and Renior. Chopin, Verdi and Beethoven.

Your heroes in real life- Toby, Eddie Izzard, Hugh Hefner and Carl Samek. Woody Allen and Ingmar Bergman (intellectually speaking)

Your favorite heroines in real life- My great grandmother and aunt.

What characters in history do you most dislike- Stalin and Hitler are obvious but true.

Your heroines in World history- Rosa Parks and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Your favorite food and drink- Sushi, hot wings and baked potatoes, a good veggie burger... Long Island Iced tea, Cranberry juice and, of course, water.

What is your greatest fear- Getting mauled by a bear or being completely alone in the world.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse- "Wow."

What do you dislike most about your appearance- Umm, Everything

Which living person do you most despise- Will Darsey or my 5th grade English teacher, Mrs. Owens.

What or who is the greatest love of your life- Toby.

If you could change one thing about your family, what would it be- We are all brilliant and quirky in our way which I admire. I guess I would like to have a dad that liked me more.

What is your most treasured possession- My memories.

Your favorite names- Alexander and Natalya.

What I hate the most- Qualities I hate in myself reflected in others.

What is bad about me- Extreme competitiveness rooted from extreme insecurity.

The military event I admire the most- I don't think I am qualified to answer. Although, the sit-ins in the 1960s were amazing demonstrations in passive resistance.

The natural talent I'd like to be gifted with- Does beauty count? No, probably playing the piano exceedingly well.

How I wish to die- Painless and happy with at least one person grieving me.

What is your present state of mind- Scattered and vulnerable.

For what fault have you most toleration- Imperfections of most kinds.

Your favorite motto- Listen: there is something to learn from everyone and every situation.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

I hate cats.

I always have. I guess it started because my father had an intense dislike of them. He was one of those silver spoon kids that always had really nice furniture and he was afraid that a cat would claw it to bits.

More than disliking them, I feared them. Their almost devious eyes... The way they take delight in torturing smaller things... The way they move... It is like something between a saunter and a very purposeful flow of limbs shifting.. The noises they make... A purr sounds like some broken machine. Their meow is demanding. That "hmm" sound they make conveys exactly what they want you to feel, animosity. The way they flick their tails.

Cats know when you don't like them. They find it fascinating and like you all the more. It is a very common thing for a cat to zone in on me among a group of people to pester. Some do it because they can't fathom why I wouldn't like them. Some do it to torture me, show their power over me.

I got literally chased by a cat for something like eight blocks. This guy I vaguely knew had a big gnarly manx that always looked terrifying. He encouraged me to pet the cat and, as I reached my arm out to pet it, it took a hunk out of my ankle. My first instinct was to run. I turned back and saw the cat pursuing me. I had a friend who lived nearby. I figured the cat would lose interest by the time I made it to her house. I scaled the fence to her backyard and landed flat on the ground. I sighed, thinking it was all over and then the cat jumped on top of the fence. I scrambled to my feet and ran into the house through the sliding glass backdoor. My friend's mother looked at me, astonished, and said she didn't think I was coming over. I told her a cat was chasing me and I needed to get away from it.

"Cats don't go around chasing people." Her brow furrowed.

I pointed to the glass door where the manx was watching me. I think that blew her mind.

People who like cats are strange to me. I mean, I understand sort of. They are more independent than dogs. Often, they need less from you. They exercise themselves and they are relatively clean. On the other hand, I can't imagine wanting something that claws you and is basically a sponge. They take what they want from you: the occasional pet, food, attention. But it is all on their terms. I don't like that.

That is what I like about dogs. They are completely in love with you. If I devote time, money, love and effort into something it better damn well love me back.

There are only two cats that have broken through my hard wall of prejudice. One was a stray that started hanging around my house. I deemed him "Little Bob" because he naturally had a bobtail. He was easily the cutest cat I have ever seen with his gray and black marbling and sweet face. He was a rambunctious rascal, always running and hopping around. He disappeared one day. I hoped that he was not a casualty to the dangerous street I lived on.

The other cat I like belongs to a friend of mine. Her name is Lilly. Lilly is not what you would call "cute". She is more elegant looking . I couldn't stand her when we first met. She was feral at first, which was a good thing. I liked her not attempting to engage me in any way. After a while, though, she began to realize big old me was terrified of little old her and she decided to fuck with me. Every time I would sit down, she would be on my lap, digging into my clothes. I would try to stand and she would just dig her claws in deeper, petrifying me. I was far too scared to remove her from my lap. My friend had to constantly take her of my lap, sometimes once immediately after the next.

I grew to care for her because she meant everything to my friend even though she enjoyed messing with me more than I would have liked. We finally bonded one day when I was catsitting her and she and I were locked out of the apartment. Lilly was my friend's world and if anything happened to her on my watch I would not have been able to have lived with myself. I sats with her and told her how sorry I was about the whole thing. In a way, she seemed to understand my emotions and be affected by them.

After that, she no longer tormented me. She accepted me and I her. She even got to the point where she could be my lap cat and not claw me. In a messed up way, I was her "mom" and she was my pet.

I miss her sometimes.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What I like about you...

Apparently my boyfriend doesn't think I am too positive about him on this little blog that nobody reads. So I will say some nice things...

I like that you're really smart but you don't going around flaunting it with those $3 words. You sit back and let people underestimate you which may make the the smartest one of all.

I like it when I get excited about something, you do too.

I like how you call it like you see it. You see the situation for what it is and make those around you see the obviousness of it all.

I like that you have no atrocious habits: picking your nose, not showering regularly, sticking your fingers in your ears.

I like how you really notice things, be it the sky on a pleasant day or whether I moved the incense burner.

I like how you go above and beyond the call of duty not to kill spiders.

I like how you don't baby talk to anything.

I like that you are handy and can fix things.

I like how you know exactly what I am thinking most of the time and know me so well that you predict my reactions.

I like that you don't hold my weaknesses against me or- even worse- play upon them.

I like the way your face looks in the bed at night where you are looking to the side and your eyes are partly open.

I like your chubby, soft cheeks.

I like the way you cook.

I like how you are always thinking about something off the wall when I think you are thinking about something obvious.

I like that when we travel you will do anything no matter how inane.

I like that when you try, you give bad presents and when you don't you give great ones.

I like how when you find something funny you let out a loud laugh and clap your hands loudly.

I like that you are utterly lacking in pretension.

I like that you have stretchy elbow skin that I can pull like taffy.

I like that you somewhat get into the terrible television I watch even though I know you would rather be watching Mythbusters.

I like that you look like a Mexican and are in denial about it.

I like that you aren't obsessed with me.

I like your hair and body.

I like that I can go on about having crushes on people and you don't get offended at all.

I like that I can be completely honest with you even when it is blatantly painful to hear.

I like that you get me breakfast on important days where I am dreading getting up.

I like that you drink liquids slower than I thought humanly possible.

I like when you watch horror movies with me, even though you detest them.

I like how you give me trust and freedom.

I like how your smile brightens up my life.

I like how you genuinely want to help people and often do.

I like that you never lost your vivid imagination that all kids have.

I like that although you are an optimist, you thoroughly understand cynicism.

There are more things I like about you and more that I don't. That's how relationships are and, providing they are healthy, there are more likes than dislikes. That, or the dislikes are minutia.

The thing I like about you the most is that you are in love with me and I am in love with you. Almost six years and no change...