I Couldn’t Help But Reminisce About Sex and the City

When people ask about my favorite television shows, I always seem to forget “Sex and the City”.   In the ten years since the show has gone off the air, I have to admit I had kind of forgotten about it.  I caught the movie on TV, but didn’t bother to see it in theaters.  I openly rolled my eyes when I saw the trailer of “Sex and the City 2”, a movie I knew immediately I never wanted to watch.

I am not sure what exactly happened along the trajectory from loving this show to openly mocking its movie sequel. In college I was rather fond of the show. My roommates and I would obtain VHS tapes with episodes from a family member wealthy enough to have HBO. We would laugh at the antics, though most of them seemed pretty outlandish, identifying with each of the characters (for those wondering, I am a Charlotte. Let’s be honest though…most girls say they are Charlotte).

As I got older and started to grow my list of favorite TV shows, this one slipped through the cracks. Given that I could only see a small sliver of myself in one of four ladies of the show, it felt farcical. It felt fluffy.

It also didn’t help that I genuinely hated the leading lady Carrie Bradshaw.  She was self-absorbed, she never asked questions about her friends, and she would instantly leave her gal pals at the curb if a guy came calling. Then there was the Aidan thing.  As a 20-year-old, I thought Aidan Shaw was the most perfectly-crafted male character in television history. He was rugged, yet sensitive. He designed and made gorgeous wood furniture. He had a dog named Pete. And he loved Carrie so much.  Carrie, on the other hand, was always kind of horrible to Aidan. No more so than when she cheated on him with the on-again-off-again troubled soul Mr. Big.

I hated Carrie SO much, flames…flames on the side of my face.

The other week, my friend Cory mentioned she was rewatching the show. We shared some laughs over how awkward the show was back in Season 1, where HBO still envisioned some sort of sexual and dating anthropology project more like the book.  I realized it had been many years since I had watched the show for more than just five minutes on the E Network.

I began with Season 2 and, after no more than five episodes, I realized this show was incredibly good.  Well-written, the themes of the episode structured perfectly, this show wasn’t just funny, it was a remarkably spot on story of single life with nearly every narrative bearing some resemblance to a story that had happened to me or one of my friends (except Samantha, whose life continues to bear no resemblance to any woman I have ever met).

I couldn’t help but wonder…did this show get better with age and perspective, or did I?

I think I was not the only one who became increasingly more down on the show the further removed I got from its initial airings.  As shows like The Wire and Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad came along, SATC was cast aside as insignificant.

Emily Nussbaum wrote a great essay last year explaining how much these shows owed a debt of gratitude to Carrie, for she, not Tony Soprano, was the first anti-hero of the so-called Golden Age of Television.

Nussbaum’s thoughts on Carrie sum up my new feelings on a character I thought I knew so well.  Don’t get me wrong, upon second viewing, I still have a long list of things I dislike about her.  The difference is, this time around, I don’t hate her for it.

In fact, this time around, Carrie scares me more than anything else. Some might say I am a Carrie. After all, I am a writer, I do love my footwear, and my hair will go from curly to stick straight in the blink of an eye.  Seeing this show again, I realized Carrie and I were much closer than I was comfortable with. What felt so light and fluffy at 20 felt like the humorous pathos of Mike Birbiglia at 30.  Funny not because it is outrageous, but funny because it is in that sweet spot of truth between laughing and crying.

In college, I felt like none of my romances compared to the show. In hindsight I realize I had a collegiate Mr. Big, he was just 19 and still a good decade away from growing up and manning up.  There was never going to be a Paris rescue for us. In my youth, I wanted to think my serious relationships were ahead of me.   I was a funny kid.

I watch Aidan and Carrie now and laugh that either of them ever thought this was a relationship that could work. I can see his part in this.  I can see how she did what she did.    

I can also see this show more clearly for what it is, which is a romantic drama, protecting itself from the painful stuff in a sheen of sarcasm, puns, and outrageous jokes.  Just like all the girls who rely on this show to learn lessons about the plain girls and the Katie girls, what happens to the last girls to leave the party, and how to have your pity party, because, yes, you have every right to be exhausted, but realize no one is picking you up except you, and, if you’re lucky, your best friends.

This show may not be the perfect friend. It may teach some life lessons, but way more dangerous than encouraging irresponsible spending and casual sex, it perpetuates the myth the guy who never quite wants you as much as you want him will one day wake up and realize you’re amazing. But even your best friends tell you little white lies sometime. The really good ones drift in and out of your life a bit too, but when you need them, there they are, growing up right there with you ready to help you whenever you need advice.


Guardians of the Comedic Comic Book Movie

It feels like I might be the only one out there these days, but I don’t like comic book movies. I don’t even much care for comics. As a kid I was more into books. The comics I do remember having were mostly Disney-related, Ducktales I think (a woo hoo). They were okay I suppose, but the budding snob in little me wrote it off as kid’s stuff.

As I grew older, I never got into super hero movies, with one exception. I loved Batman, namely the old episodes of the Burt Ward and Adam West show that would run on cable late at night.  It was at this point in my life that I discovered two words I would learn to love: camp and kitsch. The on-screen “Ka-Blams!” and “Pows!” were great. The movie, which assembled all of the villains of Gotham on a submarine (yes, a submarine), was the most outrageously campy thing I’d ever seen and I loved every minute of it, especially the Bat Shark Repellent.

It took me a while to get into the Tim Burton Batmans, but by the time Joel Schumacher got his hands on the franchise for Batman Forever, I had caught up to the Batman curve, and, even though most people hated it, my friends and I loved it. After all, Chris O’Donnell. But in addition to our crush du jour, the movie, which is best remembered for the villains The Riddler (Jim Carrey) and Two Face (Tommy Lee Jones) than Batman (Val Kilmer…yeah…).

Here’s where I’m going to lose you though. I would watch Batman Forever a hundred times over if offered the option between it and any of the Christopher Nolan movies, which I universally detest. They are just so damned serious.  Kids, he is a guy dressed up like a flying rodent. His peers include Bartok, Batty Koda, and Dracula. He’s not Hamlet. So why are we making these movies that are just so serious? Same goes for Daredevil, Superman, Spiderman, Captain America, X-Men, Thor, and the pensive Ang Lee-directed Incredible Hulk.

I just can’t take the severity. The fun of comic books to me has always been the camp and the irreverence, which is why The Avengers is just about the only super hero movie I’d abided by in the past five years—until Guardians of the Galaxy came around.  I had written off the move based on the trailer, telling my friends, “I just don’t think I can get behind a raccoon with a machine gun.”

I was wrong though. I fully support the machine gun, the raccoon, the talking tree, and every other absurd part of this movie. I don’t even care that the ending (mild spoiler alert) basically amounts to the Guardians linking arms and doing the Care Bear Stare.  Because this movie was what all the other comic book movies weren’t—It was a ton of fun.

Rather than blame the raccoon, he was really a great example of why this movie worked. The movie kind of openly acknowledges the story is stupid and doesn’t really matter. From the awesome title shot with a dancing Chris Pratt, you understand this is just supposed to be a romp that you don’t think too hard about.  In fact, if you start to think through some of the logic points, you’ll start getting annoyed cause some of them don’t make a ton of sense.

The only part of the movie that was a drag? All the stuff with Thanos, the villain of the next Avengers movie. Yes, the Marvel universe needs to keep raking in the millions, but this trans-film storytelling is effing obnoxious, especially if you are doing everything in your power to avoid it. 

So, if you’re on the fence about Guardians of the Galaxy, I encourage you to jump on over. As someone who hates comic book movies, and, as a result, hates most of the big blockbusters these days, I wasn’t just pleasantly surprised, I was genuinely giddy that finally these comic book movies are getting fun again.

Here’s hoping they keep it up…

Your Move, Chief

There is a moment in The Fisher King where Robin Williams’ character, Parry, a deeply disturbed homeless man, says goodnight to his love interest Lydia (Amanda Plummer) after a perfect first date. As he stands in front of her stoop, smiling about their first kiss, the filmic manifestation of his inner troubles, The Red Knight, appears down the street on horseback. Knowing this hallucination means a breakdown is imminent, Parry falls to his knees in the middle of the road and desperately begs for the demons to stop haunting him. “Please let me have this,” he cries. He does not get it though.

When I watched that scene last night, my eyes welled up as I realized how eerily fitting the moment was for the day.  I don’t often think about the aftermath of the date when I think about The Fisher King. I think about the moment immediately preceding it, where this nonsensical, crazy homeless man gives Lydia the kind of pep talk that only works in movies.  It is a speech about how incredible she is, delivered to her after she admits all her insecurities about dating and men, insecurities I think just about any girl can relate to. It is a speech I have spent the better part of 20 years returning to, cueing it up after a rough first date or a guy got my number and never called.

As a teenager, I had the words of this monologue Scotch-taped  to the wall of my bedroom.   Once I got into high school, the childhood posters, including the menacing hook from Hook, slowly came down, replaced by a massive collage of movie magazine pictures and typed-up versions of some of my favorite lines from my favorite movies.  There was The Fisher King, Ben Affleck’s monologue from Chasing Amy, the park bench opus from Good Will Hunting, the hellfires and holocausts speech from Jimmy Stewart in The Philadelphia Story, and more than one Keating speech from Dead Poets Society just posted up around the room. I thought it was arty. My mom thought I was using too much Scotch tape.

Eventually I gave up on the stuffed animal hammock in the corner of the room, which housed my Care Bears, Cabbage Patch Kids, and my darling Apu from Aladdin, just one of many pieces of merchandise from the film I watched relentlessly as my elementary school days came to a close. My obsession with movie materials shifted from toys to videos themselves, and I began to amass a collection of VHS tapes.  Early on, with minimal allowance money and the trips to Suncoast Video at the mall few and far between, I co-opted some of the family library, starting with Mrs. Doubtfire and Cool Runnings.

The toys went in the closet for a little while, but eventually ended up in storage to make room for a growing collection of vintage clothing. I raided my mom’s old belongings, taking her denim blazer, her vinyl jacket with butterflies stitched on the back, and an inexplicable amount of tapestry-like vests made of yarn.  Mom and Dad lived in Boulder for much of the 1970s, and, believe it or not, Dolores got kind of granola-y for a little while.  I fashioned myself Pam Dawber from Mork and Mindy, a 1970s gem also set in Colorado, that was part of the great Nick at Night era of my preteen days.  My best friend Lindsay and I would tape the marathon nights of our favorite shows when the channel ran Block Party Summer, then we’d watch the tapes over and over again, laughing at the humor, silently patting ourselves on the back for discovering entertainment our peers, who were more preoccupied with Chris Farley and Adam Sandler, naively thumbed their noses at, not realizing what they were missing.

As high school wound down, the colors of my wardrobe muted and I started shopping at Express more often than Gadzooks. I still brought my lunch to school in vintage tin TV lunchboxes, but it was time to grow up and look ahead to things like college. The application process was pretty daunting, as I picked too many schools to apply to, and many, including my dream school, USC, had a second application for the film program.  The application required two essays. The first, was a discussion of a movie that made you love movies. I chose Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, a movie at least five other kids accepted to the program chose as well. The second submission was supposed to be a film review. I chose Dead Poets Society, as I thought it reflected my serious side. I wrote as eloquently as a 17 year old could about the beautiful yet stark snowy landscapes, the subdued performance of Robin Williams, and how much of the important stuff in that movie happened offscreen, believing at the time that this was some sort of keen observation, the kind that could get a girl into film school.

I did get into film school. I even met a boy there, just days after beginning freshman year. We went on long walks and talked about movies, and moonily stared into each other’s eyes. I was too timid at the time to show him too many of my favorites, because I always liked the Classical Hollywood stuff my USC peers didn’t appreciate as much. I pretended to enjoy the Kubrick movies he made me watch. I suffered alongside him when he had to watch and critique the original The Wicker Man.

Then he showed me The World According to Garp, a small and peculiar little film from the 80s that captured my heart. It was John Lithgow as the pro footballer turned transvestite that steals the show, while it was a young Robin Williams who anchored the film as the titular Garp, stepping back to let Lithgow have the limelight. I showed him The Fisher King in return. He said he liked it. I think he was telling the truth.

Now, at 30, my room is devoid of the movie posters and the monologues. Just one stuffed animal remains, tucked away in the closet for no one to see. But when news of Robin Williams passing got to me, I immediately felt the pang of loss nonetheless. He had been there for all of it, my childhood and adolescence.  Not just there, a central figure. When I was a kid having a rough time grieving over her dad, he was there to make me laugh.  He solidified the relationship between me and the best friend I will ever have, as two girls who spent an hour freaking out at the realization that Mork from Ork first showed up on Happy Days before getting his own show. He was even around for my first big love, helping us find some common ground between two hugely different tastes.

No matter what age though, his sentimentality was always present, keeping me hopeful and my chin up. He played characters who suffered, but still found joy in the little things. He could deliver a big, arguably naively optimistc, monologue about seizing the day or the joys of a first kiss and I would buy every second of it, even though I knew this was just a fairy tale from the movies.

To watch a scene that has had as profound an impact on me as the first date of The Fisher King only to have it followed by the gutpunch of a man pleading on his knees to just have a little happiness before the sadness overwhelms him again was just too much to take. It was too poetic, too spot on, and just too sad.  This man never met me, but he was a massive part of the life of a girl obsessed with pop culture, who sought hope in long monologues and found it there.  To think a man who likely inspired that kind of hope and enthusiasm in most kids of my generation couldn’t inspire it in himself is devastating. As the tear rolled down my cheek, as Parry sprinted down the streets trying and failing to outrun his demons, I fell into a deep sadness, the kind I needed a Robin Williams monologue to snap out of.

So You Think You Know Feet

Last week on “So You Think You Can Dance”, I was wholly underwhelmed at the performances, then dealt a punishing blow as two of my favorites, Carly and Serge, were eliminated instead of Casey (whose existence on this show I still have to be reminded of each week) and Jessica (aka Muggylicious).

This week, the top ten performed, this time being paired with All Star members of past SYTYCD casts. Perhaps the influx of exceptional talent explains why four of these dances truly struck me and only a couple struck me as duds. Trying to pick one number proved impossible, but I did manage to narrow my favorites of the week down to two. The first one might surprise you…

Yup, that’s right, it’s Jessica. And she is still entirely too muggy for my tastes. Just watch her and you’ll notice that, unlike her partner, her expressions don’t really flow. It is literally like she choreographed her face. “On two I am gonna look tough, on four I am gonna pout my lips, and on six I am going to open my mouth as if I have surprised myself with my own adorableness.”

You can find an example of how to make your face work in these character-based routines in her partner, the greatest participant in SYTYCD history, tWitch, who manages to still be adorable and charming even though he has fake gray hair and a pillow stuffed in his stomach.  The precision of his moments is astounding, but even more impressive is how they can be so sharp and yet so fluid.  Jessica, who is a jazz dancer by trade, does a great job of keeping her moves crisp and clean, but up against a lifelong hiphopper like tWitch, you can’t help but notice his groove is just unparalleled.

Both do a great job, but most of the kudos go to the choreographers, marrid duo Tabitha and Napoleon aka NappyTabs.  These two are some of my favorites on the show, because they can take a genre like hip hop and put it to 1930s style music, turning into a character piece that has more in common with a Looney Tunes cartoon than a dance to a rap song.Props as well to the costume designers, who help these two really channel their characters with some solid styling.

The second number I want to talk about is about as polar opposite from this first one as is possible. Labeled a “contemporary ballet” piece, this duo with Chehon and Jacque (she is the contestant, while Chehon is the All Star) is stark, minimalistic, and just stunning to fans of ballet.

So, if you’re not too into dance, this is probably too inside baseball for you. This is for hardcore dance fans who appreciate lines, musicality, and just watching people with exceptional technique show off their exceptional technique.

Rather than try to win you over to the greatness of this piece, let me instead explain why it is a big deal this is happening on the show. As I mentioned a few weeks ago, tap and ballet are incredibly precise dance genres. It takes a lifetime to master them, and, unlike other, less technique-based genres, it simply isn’t fair to ask the contestants to try and pick them up in the span of a week.

You’ll notice Jacque is on pointe (ie wearing pointe shoes). Believe it or not, you can’t really ask some of these girls to put those on, even if they are accomplished dancers. The tapper Valerie, for example, would likely hurt herself if she tried to do that if she doesn’t have ballet training.  

When I was eight or so, my dance teacher told me I was ready to start training for pointe. I spent the entire summer between second and third grade training my ankles in preparation, taking strengthening classes twice a week for three months before I put on my first pair of shoes.

The name toe shoes is deceptive. Yes, you are on your toes, but your toes are jammed into a hard box that makes up the front of the shoe. Many girls stuff that box with lambs wool or cotton or gel pads to reduce the pain, but it isn’t so much because your toes are bearing your weight, but because the knuckles of your toes are rubbing up against a hard surface, causing blisters. I pause to offer my one tough girl brag: by the time I reached my peak ballet dancing, I would stick my bare foot in my pointe shoe and go, no padding at all. This is why I can clomp around in very high heels all day with no problem.

Point (no pun intended) I am trying to get to is this: your ankles do all the work when you’re on pointe, so unless they are exceptionally strong, it is legitimately dangerous to stick pointe shoes on a girl without proper training. With that in mind, watch this video, look at Jacque’s feet, and notice how she makes these shoes, which probably weigh at least a pound each, look weightless. Also notice that there are several sections where Chehon is dragging her and then she rolls up onto pointe, which requires more ankle strength than you or I will ever possess. Also note that she is always completely on top of the toe of her shoe, the sign of an accomplished ballerina. Girls who aren’t as experience stand at a bit of an angle with the front of their shoe not completely on the floor. Watch this seven year old and you can see what I mean.

This is what being a dance fan turns you into…a foot fetishist.

Won’t Look Down, Won’t Open My Eyes

I’ve mentioned before that I used to be a competition dancer. I put on more make-up than is probably socially acceptable for children in most of the United States, I put on an outfit with more sequins than your average stripper uniform, and I pranced about to pop songs, songs from musicals, and twee classical music.

I have somewhat mixed emotions about the experience in hindsight. When I was in it, it didn’t seem as pageant-like as it really was. I still can’t wear eyeliner as a result of it. I appreciate the love of dance it fostered in me, but it was only after I moved on from that type of dancing that I felt a sense of artistry really began to develop within me as a performer.

Perhaps that is why I am so fascinated with Sia’s video for her catchy song, “Chandelier”. The  vid features Maddie Ziegler of “Dance Moms” fame, an 11 year old girl who is constantly renowned on the show for her incredible dance abilities, but always seems to be a little too artificial when it comes to the emotion that is supposed to accompany her various performances. This artificiality is something that gets pointed out a lot in competition dance, so it isn’t surprising and it isn’t even Ziegler’s fault.  She was likely taught this is what it means to emotionally connect with music. Plus, she is 11, so come on, we’re obviously gonna cut the girl some slack.

But this video…this video struck me as really powerful. I think a lot of it is the song itself, while most of the credit goes to Ryan Heffington for his remarkable and striking choreography. Ziegler though deserves a lot of love here, because, I mean, just look at her: 

 Some people find the video creepy. Others suggest it sexualizes the girl, which, if you ask me, seems more like your problem than the video’s problem, not gonna lie.  Most people find themselves really struck at how this girl, to borrow a phrase from Center Stage, dances the shit out of it.  This is some really complicated and emotionally charged choreography and she handles it deftly. Personally, my favorite sequence is at the kitchen table, where she lifts herself up by her hair and offers a sideways, longing glance, propping her chin up on her hands.  The look is perfect, as anyone who has ever had a sense of longing will recognize it right away.

What I am wondering though, is how the heck this 11 year old knows about longing looks. Sure, at 11, I longed for Christian Slater or for my fifth grade crush Jacob to talk to me, but did I really understand the emotion enough to manufacture a look like that? When I was 11, I was dancing a duet to “Polka Dots, Checks, and Stripes”, which is not exactly a song that runs the gamut of intense emotions. Mostly we were instructed to “smile big” and the awards came rolling in.

Being the obsessive person that I am, I went on a search to learn more about this video and quickly learned that Ziegler basically got the same type of instruction. Instead of “smile big”, it sounds like the directors would tell her, “Great job, again, this time crazier eyes, mmkay?”

I’m not really sure what I was expecting. “Oh yes, the director and I sat and discussed my character for hours. I spent a couple of days living with young addicts and alcoholics, and, because I am a Method dancer, I even experimented with alcohol and cocaine.”

Yet, there was a part of me that was disappointed this gal wasn’t some sort of secret artistic genius. I think it might be for selfish reasons. After all, I watched two seasons of her “Dance Moms” performances and always felt like I saw right through her. Then, she duped me.

Dupe might be a strong word. There is still a piece of me that believes she is starting to channel that inner artist now that she is being exposed to new choreographers and more challenging choreography.  Or, that maybe she is downplaying the conversations between her and the director because they are probably a little uncomfortable and embarrassing that just saying “more crazy eyes” seemed like an easier response.

Mostly though, I try to put it out of my mind and not think too hard about it, perhaps because it is too disconcerting to believe an 11 year old can emotionally grasp that feeling us big girls have of trying to hold it together and fake it until we make it. Those dance competitions may not have taught me much about eyeliner application, but, like little Maddie Ziegler, they started to condition me at a very young age to always put on that “big smile” and convince people I am doing just fine, even though I may be on the verge of bursting, longing to swing on that chandelier.

How Will Boyhood Age?

To say Richard Linklater’s newest film “Boyhood” relies on a gimmick seems unfair, yet it seems to be the conclusion I keep returning to two days after watching the movie.

For those unfamiliar, “Boyhood” is a remarkable film because of the production process, which began in 2002 and filmed the same actors growing up over the course of a dozen years. The boy whose “hood” is in question is played by Ellar Coltrane, who was cast when he was in first grade and is now almost 20 years old. The stars aligned and this kid turned out to be a not half bad performer, nor did Linklater’s daughter, Lorelei, who plays the boy’s older sister. Their actors playing their parents are unsurprisingly good performers, as they are Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette.

Don’t get me wrong, the performances are great, the conceit is interesting, and the film’s episodes as the boy ages are often poignant, compelling, and beautifully shot. But when I think about the movie, trying to separate the conceit from the other elements of the film that I use to evaluate whether or not I like a movie proved basically impossible.

In fact, some of the most enjoyable parts of “Boyhood” for me came after the movie was over. The extratextual elements (read: things about the movie that aren’t in the movie, such as reviews, the poster, the trailer, interviews with cast and crew, etc) are fascinating, and I found myself reading tons of interviews with Linklater, learning about stories from the set, how the screenplay was crafted chunks at a time, changing based on Coltrane’s own experiences and what kind of kid he grew up to be, and how the little Linklater at one point wanted to quit the movie.

It is not unusual that these elements can enhance a film experience, but I am always one who likes to believe that a truly great movie does not need this boost from the outside to be worthwhile. As soon as the credits rolled on “Boyhood”, my friends and I immediately started to discuss questions we wanted answers to, articles we had read, and how it seemed like our movie viewing experience wouldn’t be finished without more info.

Being a purist, this is not something I champion as a good thing, necessarily. Sure, it isn’t a bad thing, but can you really say you’ve made a good movie if I need to know the production history in order to fully appreciate it?  If I walked in and didn’t know it was the same boy and girl and just assumed it was an instance of remarkably good work casting different actors, would I still like this movie as much as I do knowing it is the same people?

While I can’t answer a lot of my lingering questions about “Boyhood”, I can say the answer to that last question is a resounding no. This is a lovely coming of age story, but some of the plot developments are rather clunkily telegraphed (Arquette’s romantic conquests are a prime example). You can also tell Linklater was trying to leave things pretty open in the second act since he wasn’t quite sure what kind of teenager Coltrane would grow up to be, resulting in some scenes that feel a little too meandering for my tastes.

I think, for many devotees of Linklater, the mere act of pulling off this 12-year project makes this movie a masterpiece.  I will give him this: the movie is a unique experiment and deserves accolades for pulling it off at all, let alone pulling it off with a movie that works on many levels. 

But those of you who trumpet this thing as a masterpiece just because of the conceit are the same folks who won’t watch “Citizen Kane” because it is dated. Guess what though? This movie gets the accolades it does for many of the same reasons “Boyhood” does–because it did things first.  The cinematography of Kane remains influential fifty plus years later and the film deserves recognition for that. The overall impression of Kane as a film, independent of the extratextual elements, is slowly waning though. I’ll admit, it is kind of long and hits the same beats a lot. Kinda like “Boyhood”…

So, after all that, I still don’t really know how to evaluate how much “Boyhood” succeeds. Perhaps I am being a contrarian, but the universal acclaim for this movie surprises me a little. Richard Roeper claims it is one of the best film ever made, while The Guardian suggests it is one of the best movies of the decade.  Maybe I am missing something, but, other than the gimmick, there is nothing particularly exceptional about this movie. Yes, the gimmick is exceptional, but in 20 years, will this movie still be as Earth-shattering to critics as it is now? I don’t think so, but I do think it will hold a rightful place in film history as a movie that took an incredibly difficult concept and pulled it off, getting us to reconsider what exactly movies are capable of accomplishing. That is something that deserves recognition, but I don’t know if it deserves to give the movie instant classic status or not.

Take a Bite Out of Marquel Martin


So lady friends of mine—we have to talk. Today, I learned that any of you who watch The Bachelorette have been keeping something very important from me. His name is Marquel Martin. He is apparently a sports sponsorship salesman living in Las Vegas who loves to watch Netflix, drink wine, and eat cookies.

If you are single, I do not blame you for keeping this from me. It is a tough world for single gals and you have to hide the honey pot when you find it. To those of you happily married or in relationships, shame on you!


As I have said to anyone who will listen, chocolate chip cookies are truly the best dessert in the world unless you count cookie cake, which adds frosting to the otherwise flawless concoction.  The more I learned about this Bachelorette contestant, the more I wondered why you all dislike me so much that you would not fill me in on his existence.  Do you want me to die alone? Do I not deserve this happiness? Do any of you know me at all?

He is a former UNLV football player. He lives in the same town as me. And cookies! And wine! And look at his charming smile. We could spend our Friday night cruising Netflix, our Saturday catching all the college football games, and our Sundays with the NFL and planning our awesome wedding with cookie cake wedding cake.

I have no idea what crazy Bachelorette Andi was thinking sending this man home, but I will tell you this—I have two oaths I will swear here and now on this blog:

1. I will add Marquel to the list with Aaron Turner of Las Vegas-based reality contestants I will find if it is the last thing I do.

2. Yo, ABC, if you make this guy the next Bachelor, I will 100% watch the show even though I have never watched any of your previous 17 seasons.

If you’ll excuse me, I need to go get a cookie and see about a fella.

So You Think I’m Disappointed?

Last week, I told you all why Carly is going to win this season of So You Think You Can Dance. Spoiler alert: I was wrong. She was eliminated this week just shy of the top ten. How she fell to the bottom while others like Bridget advanced is surprising, but the fact the judges saved the obnoxious Jessica instead of Carly is not.

This is a recurring theme with the judges, who repeatedly save the unlikable blonde who is perpetually in the bottom three. America has said “no thank you” and the judges’ response is, “try again please.”

This happened a couple of seasons ago with not one but two boring blondes from Utah, Lindsay and Witney [sic]. Both these girls had the same ballroom skillset and both these girls were soundly rejected by America, sent to the bottom week after week.

Such is the case with Jessica, who has the very large problem of mugging too much. Case in point:

Note how she opens her mouth and closes her mouth with aplomb. See me? I’m e-mote-ing! I know some people find her slinky sex kitten schtick appealing (most notably, judge Nigel Lythgoe), but from a technical standpoint, she just doesn’t stand out to me compared to the likes of Carly and Tanisha. Moreover she lacks the personality of a less-talented dancer like Valerie.

But rather than harp on the negative, let’s look to the positive.  I wasn’t particularly impressed with any of the couples routines, but once again the two group numbers stole the show. While Travis Wall put together an impressive routine for the guys, I find myself watching the girls piece over and over thanks to the unexpected choreography of Mandy Moore.

Just watch and observe how visually catching it is to have one girl moving forward while the rest walk upstage. It is really striking. Plus, let’s be honest, girls’ bare backs are gorgeous.

While I would, once again, like to point out how eye catching Carly is (she is the one in the lightest lilac dress whose solo section comes around halfway through, but it is worth saying that all seven of these girls are completely committed to this routine. This is part of what I love most about SYTYCD. You can tell when the dancers are just head over heels for a piece and you can tell these gals are all thrilled to pieces to be dancing this thing.

Now we move to the top ten and the introduction of the All-Star component of the competition, where the noobs are paired with fan favorites of seasons past. In other words, things are about to get good, so stay tuned.