Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bad Blogger! Bad Blogger!

Yes, I've been a bad little blogger, not updating in oh so long. What can I say, summer sucks.

And speaking of summer....why is it still OVER 90 DEGREES?!?!? It's freaking SEPTEMBER, people! Did I offend Mother Nature or something, that petty little bitch?

Health update: still having trouble with nausea. I had to go into the doctor's office again for a shot...only this time, just Phenergan and no pain meds. It worked like a charm! From now on, I am going to try just nausea meds first to see if that takes care of the problem without the need for opiates. My right leg is also a big issue lately, and the pain and spasms are much worse than they ever have been before. I am having a great deal of difficulty walking. My muscles have spasmed so very much, they are actually swollen in places, making my legs look lumpy and misshappen. Not a pretty sight.

I have, however, managed to get out and see three movies in the past few months. The first was "The Simpsons." This was Eden's first movie, and she behaved extremely well. She was completely mesmerized. At one point, she said to me, "That a big TV!" Otherwise, she was totally silent. Who knew? As for the movie itself, I enjoyed it. It is like a longer episode, with some liberties taken insofar as censoring goes. I would definately recommend it. Stay for the credits...you won't be disappointed.

The second film was "Hairspray." Now, I am a big John Waters fan. I loved the original, and while I have not yet seen the musical stage version, I do have the cast recording and enjoy it. My view? It was an enjoyable movie, but there were things that I definately didn't like about it.

The cons: first and foremost, John Travolta. Wow, is he one hideous woman. I never noticed that he had such beady little eyes before. I thought his attempt to play it "straight" rather than campy was ill-advised for this material, and I absolutely did not believe that "she" was in love with her husband, nor he with her, not for one moment. Zero chemistry between Travolta and Christopher Walken. This is unfortunate, as this movie seemed to be the "Edna Turnblad story" rather than the "Tracy Turnblad story," my biggest gripe about the film. And the moments when Travolta's well-padded ass was either shaking or being slapped was stomach-turningly bad. I was also disappointed by how little the Corny Collins show and cast mattered in this film, especially as compared to the original. Three big changes from either the film or stage version to this one were especially bothersome: one, the idea that Link was more concerned with his showbiz career than with civil rights; two, that Tracy ran from the police rather than standing firm and getting arrested for her beliefs; and three, the practically non-existant "nicest kids in town," the Corny Collins Council. I also found it incredible that Velma went from being a pushy stage mom in the original to a station manager in this version. I'm sorry, but this was the early 60's. How many women were station managers or show producers at that time? There aren't nearly enough NOW. That change is just unnecessary for me...Travolta could've done quite well as Divine did, playing both Edna and the station manager as needed. Now, I'm a fan of the late Divine and did mourn her loss in this film...so maybe I am judging Travolta harshly. Nah. Amanda Bynes did a lukewarm (at best) job of the "checkerboard chick," Penny, and Christopher Walken's dancing and singing was almost visibly painful at times. I also think Velma was better off with a husband, as in the original...I mean, come on...not only is she a single mother but she's a powerful tv executive...in the pre-Beatles sixties? Exactly how realistic is THAT? But the aspect I probably missed most was the camp of the original, the comedy of it mixed in with a serious message. This movie focused way too much on the marriage of Edna and Wilbur, and not enough by far on Tracy, the Corny Collins show and the issue of civil rights....and the DANCING!

The pros: I just LOVED seeing John Waters as the flasher in the opening scene, "Good Morning Baltimore." A great way to kick off the movie for those of us who are fans of the original. Queen Latifah did another great turn in this film, after having impressed me as Mama Morton in "Chicago" a few years back. And she had some big shoes to fill, as the original was the late, great Ruth Brown. I think she did Ruth proud. I was also impressed by Elijah Kelley, who did a fantastic job with Seaweed. And while Nikki Blonsky was no Marissa Janet Winokur, she more than held her own and did a good job of portraying Tracy's confidence in both her size and her beliefs. And kudos all around for Taylor Parks, the most adorable L'il Inez imaginable. I hope casting directors are paying attention, because this girl has potential. The sets on this film were terrific, probably outdoing the original in this aspect. You really got a feel for the early-60's Baltimore. The costume designers and make-up artists also did a great job. Here's hoping they are rewarded with a nomination when Oscar comes calling.

The third film I have seen recently is "Superbad." Now, this movie is probably not going to beckon to Oscar. But it is absolutely HILARIOUS. It definately has the feel of 80's-era teen films like "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "Fast Times At Ridgemont High." It's not arty or cerebral in any sense of the word, but it's so much fun that I am not surprised at the critics who are calling it a guilty pleasure. Don't feel guilty, guys. Just embrace your inner McLovin. This is another film you are going to want to stay in your seats for the credits, by the way, so don't be in a rush for the exit signs. My only gripe is that the ending felt a little contrived...sort of like you can almost hear the producers saying, "Crap, the original ending didn't test well...how quick can we slap on a feel-good, everything-is-great moment on the end of this?" But otherwise, this is a great film. I've even seen it twice (once on opening night, in a full house), as I rarely do with a movie. I might even see it a third time. ;-)

Anyhoo, that's about all that's going on for now. I am hoping this heat wave will break soon and I will be posting more in the near future, here and on "Bad Baby Names." TTFN.