vampire movies!

images9 images24 I’m not a vampire person per se. Don’t get me wrong — I love vampires and all, due to my tremendous nerd-love for all things supernatural and sci-fi, but they don’t resonate with me the way zombies do, you feel me? (Why? Because of my zombie heritage?) But in any case, this year, I got to see two wildly different vampire flicks — “Let the Right One In” and “Twilight.”

First off, do you ever notice that vampire movies usually involve a romance? Is that b/c this is a Hollywood thing or are vampire innately romance-inspiring creatures? If you really think about it, isn’t making out with a vampire like inter-species hooking up akin to bestiality? Anyway, I digress.

“Twilight,” of course, is the pre-teen fantasy where the new girl falls for the good-looking vampire kid. The books were like crack — poor in quality and addictive. It’s a fun read, but you’re super aware of how bad the writing is, and dude, the film might be WORSE. The vampires are all played by cute actors who are not even remotely threatening — no grrr in their voices, no weird transformation when they suck blood. Edward, the lead character, has skin that looks like it’s covered in Cover Girl gold sparkly eye shadow when he’s in sunlight, thus cursing him to a lonely life in the shadows. There were two scenes I loved — when he saves her from a car and when they walk into the school parking lot as a couple for the first time, but the rest is ridiculous. And I don’t know why — but the clothes really bugged me. (That trash-talking said, I would totally see it again. WOW.)

“Let the Right One In” is a Swedish flick about a child vampire and this 12-year-old chick bites, growls, and shows all kinds of violence. My friend Alex’s husband described it as “an adorable vampire story,” but then again, he’s a horror film maker. Aside from feeling confused, I thought it was a “realistic” tale of vampirism? Like what happens when you get hungry, how often you have to move, when murders go wrong. Whatever. There is a romance, but the picture is a little freaky with its violence, so I don’t know that I’d describe it as heart-warming. Every time something perplexing happened, my friend Nancy said “That’s so Swedish.”

Bride Wars

32267_p_m Is it bad that I kind of want to see this? No, that’s okay, you don’t have to answer. It is bad. I’m getting sucked into “chick lit flicks” b/c of Anne Hathaway — I 180’d on her after her SNL hosting (we keep replaying the Lawrence Welk skit where Kristin Wiig plays Bernice, the special sister) and “Rachel’s Getting Married.” True, it was kind of one big, long improv, but whatevs, I loved the acting and diversity of the family without comment.

cate blanchett

images8 This is so petty and a tad sacrilegious, I’m bothering, but I’m sick of Cate Blanchett. Yes, she was awesome when she first got on the scene, but now I feel like we’re always seeing a dialed-up or dialed-down Queen Elizabeth when she comes on the screen. We saw “Benjamin Button” this month, which she was fine in — but again it’s like the same, totally competent, professional, polished performance.

I could only be thinking this b/c I’m heavily influenced by peers. When my friend Marla saw Cate B. in “Hedda Gabler” at BAM, she thought “okay, nothing spectacular,” and for some reason, since hearing that assessment, the Cate B. spell has been broken for me.

Maybe this is just Philip Seymour Hoffman Syndrome, where yeah, he’s rad, but it’s like give someone else a chance already. Does he really need to get cast in every part for white guys in their 40s? Maybe movie stars are like pecorino cheese sandwiches. At first, it’s really delicious, but after a while, you need variety.

Whatevs. My all-time Cate Blanchett part is the fairy queen in “Lord of the Rings.”

charlie and the chocolate factory

wonka1 wonka015 Best Willy Wonka ever — Gene Wilder in the 1971 version. I saw this at a very impressionable age and love the film, in part, of course, because of my tremendous love of candy. The scene where the kids are unleashed into a candy landscape made my eyes bug out as a child — edible trees, grass, chocolate river, etc. Another scene in the Wonka factory tour, the kids visit a room with flavored wallpaper — the blueberry pattern tastes like blueberries, apples like apples, etc. That scene had me licking strangers’ walls (a little embarrassing for Mom). I mean, what a marvelous idea! Candy on the wall? The whole discovering the golden ticket part of the story influenced how I opened Kit Kat bars for years.

I did catch the newer Tim Burton version, and as much as I dig Johnny Depp, that picture didn’t do it for me. The interpretation revolved around a Michael Jackson-like freak with vivid dentist memories and repressed candy lust. Yuck.

You know why liked the old version? It was a great children’s movie, an awesome fantasy. There’s no guilt, and candy rules. Gene Wilder’s Wonka was eccentric and insulting, but also warm and kind to the (good) children. The bad kids, of course, get punished severely, and so you get the satisfaction of seeing the good people getting what they deserve and the bad getting the shaft, which is just like my office. Ha.

favorite xmas moment

05504l1457exercise_ball_blue For me, it’s a toss-up between the Trader Joe’s chocolate covered raisins or the Bally’s exercise ball my mom got as a favorite.

After Mom knocked over a gigantic container of raisins, she and Dad spent twenty minutes picking them off the floor. We watched Dad put them right back in the container and eat them. Mom put hers in a napkin and kind of rubbed them around before returning them into the container.

But the best was when Husband tricked me into thinking I had one more gift to open. He said, “it’s under the couch” and I got excited and got down on the floor and saw about 10 renegade raisins the folks missed.

The other fun part of the night was Mom’s exercise ball — given to her by Husband for her back. Everyone took a turn on it to do abs, and everyone wiped off right off the ball. Hee hee.

P.S. I can’t wait for “Medium” to come back.

P.P.S. This was the first year my father bought us xmas gifts. He got us all book marks, including one for Mom, which featured the first letter of her name in bedazzled glory. I wonder what happened that changed his mind.

Inside the hard exterior of the U.S. economy…

is a gooey, caramel center…at least I hope so.

Have you read this Paul Krugman editorial on the Madoff effect? In short, he talks about the overinflation of the finance industry’s role in our economy and society, how we kind of have had this blind faith in finance to bring us value — but I think the most original idea in this piece is how finance has been a big talent drain; our best and brightest are drawn to the high salaraies of investment firms, instead of going into the science and art. Instead a ruling class of finance geniuses, maybe we could have had the cure for cancer, more alternative-energy vehicles, more art, more scientific discoveries if these kids went else where.

No doubt, money is a driving factor in our country, beyond taking care of basic living costs. One of my relatives said his friends passed on med school because you could no longer make big bucks as a doctor. And I was like really? Isn’t a doctor supposed to help people? But I thought it was positive, hoping that the doctor salary sea change might lead to having doctors who, I don’t know, live to make you feel better rather than send you a bill.

Similarly, with the spectacular collapse (b/c really, it is spectacular) of the finance industry, I hope we can look forward to some cool changes.

P.S. None of the above is my original thought. My friend Becca forwarded me the Krugman piece, and my other friend Angela posted the gooey-center of the economy on her FB status. Both ideas I thought were cool enough to steal.

sarah connor chronicles

This is one of Husband’s favorite shows and it has slowly sucked me into its vortex. Last episode featured an Asian Australian babe who’s trying to infiltrate John Connor and his non-human bodyguard. This woman had to motivate this young woman, a faltering pawn in the plot, having second thoughts on betraying John Connor. You know what she did? She slapped the young woman’s face and said very coolly in a crazy, Australian accent: “I’m not your friend. I’m not your mother. You’re here to do a job, now go do it.”

Is that not cool? I made Husband act it out with me a few times before I tired of it.

beauty regimen

As I age, I’m trying to put a little bit more effort into my appearance. Now, like I actually brush my hair, or I’ll iron a wrinkled shirt. This week, I just dyed my hair to erase the grays and the chemical smell was awful but reminds me of my mother, b/c she’s been dying her hair for years. At one point, she attempted to grow out her whites, and she had this like lead-singer-of-Berlin look where her was stark white and then black from the ear down. She got a lot of compliments, which made us both laugh, but soon gave up. Regarding the smell of hair dye, it’s a tad weird that I smell like my mom right now. (I don’t want to analyze this too closely.)

When I was a little kid, Mom did a lot of natural home beauty treatment stuff. She would mix raw egg yolks and let them dry on her face, or put cucumber slices on her eyelids, soak her hair in mayo. (I think an episode of “Facts of Life” had Charlotte Rae teach the girls about grocery store items as affordable beauty.) Mom would lie down in bed so the egg yoke would stay on her face, mayo combed all over her hair. I run up and stand next to her as she read the paper and I would sniff her hair and say “Mom, you smell like a ham sandwich.” This is one of my favorite memories.

But I strongly doubt I’ll ever put may in my hair. The odor wouldn’t form good memories for Husband. It would probably make Husband throw up.

Mad Men

I know this is a popular show, and I love the opening credits and theme song, and I love Jon Hamm. (Did you see his “Jon Hamm’s John Ham” on SNL?) He’s so undeniably masculine and believeable as a 1950s ladies man, but that show…I just find it boring. I’ve tried to watch but then I just get absorbed in folding laundry and usually when a show is good, I stop doing my chores. Thoughts? Is this sacrilege toyou? I have friends I wouldn’t say this too, so I can duck their fury.