Friday, February 25, 2011

Road to the Oscars Part 1

Taking a pause from our regularly scheduled programming, I would like to talk about film for a moment.  I enjoy movies almost as much as books, and I want to fling them across rooms significantly less often.  On Saturday, I started my quest toward watching all 10 Oscar Nominated films.  Armed with popcorn, caffeinated large soda, and a friend for whispered commentary, I settled into my mildly uncomfortable (kept me awake!) AMC Theater seat for the next 11 hours.

Toy Story 3

The Good: Is it just me, or do these movies keep getting better?  The characters continue to grow, as do their relationships.  The voices, as always, are phenomenal and the addition of Barbie (a very likeable portrait) and Ken (More amusing than likeable) are genius.  The development of the story is logical and heartbreaking.

The bad: nada

Final thoughts: This movie made me tear up the first time I saw it.  The second, I still had to fight back emotions.  Toy Story has grown up with us (well, okay, me).  This story rounded out the trilogy nicely.  It's something special that does not come around often.

127 hours

The good: I felt like I was trapped under a rock for 94 minutes trapped under a rock (granted, better than 127 hours).  The directions was intense, beautiful and clasutrophobic.  James Franco's performance was masterful.  He was this film and he lived up to all of his massive potential. 

The bad: There was very little that was enjoyable about this movie.  The cinematography was beautiful when it spanned away from Franco's character.  Otherwise, it was incredibly difficult to watch (Though it is an inspiring example of the indomitable nature of the human spirit).

Final thoughts:  I had mixed feelings after watching this movie.  The tone told me that I was watching something important, but upon further thought, it seemed like something I did not need to see.  Don't get me wrong, Aron Ralston story is incredible.  Maybe the ending was a bit much for me.

The Kids are All Right

The Good: The acting is what made this movie for me.  The cast was extremely strong (but you didn't need me to tell you that) and the performances were memorable.  The LA setting was beautiful and the depiction of a family led by homosexual females was encouraging and had some funny moments.

The bad:  The relationship we are supposed to be rooting for held very little for me to sympathize with.  There are almost no sparks of love or tenderness portrayed.  Annette Benning is domineering and shrill and Julianne Moore is beaten-down and timid.  It seems like the writers/director wanted to show the slow breakdown of the family, but they did it too well, leaving me not wanting to see it repaired.

True Grit 

The Good: I love this movie.  It gets so many things right.  The tone drew me in, the cinematography is beautiful.  The acting is pitch perfect.  I love well done westerns and this is one of the best recent attempts!

The bad:  (spoiler(ish)) I'm not a big fan of the ending.  It pulls me out of the story and shatters my connection with the characters.  This may have been the point with the commentary of time passing.  However, even if this is the case, it feels abrupt and tacked on.

The Fighter

The good:  Christian Bale was insanely good in this movie.  He was almost unrecognizable in the face of the character he created.  The story was also fun and somewhat inspiring.

The bad:  While it was a nice story (based on real events), it was cliche.  Also, few of the characters are sympathetic at all.  Mark Wahlberg's central character felt weak (Or maybe it was his acting weighing in next to Bale's...he was just fine.

Friday, February 18, 2011

*Smack* Went the Light Bulb

I've had a few breakthroughs this week and I thought I would share them with you, as they were brought about by the lovely blogging universe (You guys rock!).

First, I was getting intensely frustrated by my quickly growing blog lineup.  It's hard to keep track of 50 (as of right now) blogs!  Granted, about 10 of them are either personal or fashion blogs (just for fun).

Rach, over at Rach Writes, wrote about organizing your blogs Using Google Reader.  After years of denying myself a Gmail account (how long has Gmail been around), I signed up; just so I could gain access to this sacred program.  You can skim unread posts quickly, star what you want to go back to, sort by type of blog, link to actual blog pages (to comment).  It cut down my blogging time by at least an hour.  If you haven't created an account, do it (seriously).  Also, check out Rach's blog (linked above).  It's great!

Second, I was an English Lit major in college and yet I didn't take a single writing class (I am so smrt!).  I've always known that I would love to write, but never thought I would be able to do it (lacking talent or determination maybe?).  I never took the time to actually sit down (or stand up...?) and consider the option.  Also, because of my debilitating fear of failure (I know, failure only occurs when you stop trying.  Try convincing my 20 year old brain of this fact), I was afraid of being told my writing sucked.  It's no fun to have even only half recognized dreams squashed.

All that to say; I didn't take a writing class in college.  So, I go into this journey with what little I've gathered from my writer friends and the petrifying feeling of becoming quickly overwhelmed.  So, then I read This blog post by Melissa West at M.B. Writes and the light bulb hit me in the face.  I realized that A) a first draft does not have to be as in-depth and scary as I was making it in my head (or on paper).  B) I need to focus more on my main plot. C) I am not alone!  I can look in books and ask for assistance.  These were things I'm pretty sure were rattling around in my brain, but had not fully sunk in yet.

Thank you Rach and Melissa!

This week in review

Good things:
  • What I said in my blog above.
  • I organized email this week.  I am email Martha Stewart (Is there someone better I could compare myself to
  • I at two yummy pieces of pizza for lunch.
  • I'm happy
  • I'm going swing dancing tonight.
  • I'm getting internet tomorrow
  • It's Friday!
  • Tomorrow is Saturday!
  • I get to see the first five Oscar nominated films tomorrow (Next five = next week).
  • I watched Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog again this week
  • I am cleaning my apartment tonight after shower/before swing dancing
Bad things
  • From my seat I can smell all cooking that goes on in the breakroom.  Someone just burned popcorn.
  • I have a giant pimple on my chin.
  • I didn't shower this morning (eeeeeeeew).
  • I've gone back on the soda this week.
  • I ate two calorie ridden pieces of pizza for lunch.
  • I'm tired from not sleeping enough all week.
  • My hands smell like garlic.
  • I haven't written much this week.
  • My shoes are giving me blisters (although they are very cute).
  • It will be a stretch making it to a gas station after work.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Woohoo! I'm Stylish!

This is my official thank you blog!

First order of the day: happy Valentine's Day!  Despite the rain, I am cheerful.  I got a rose from a work friend and many mass sent Valentine's Day best wishes texts.

Second, thank you to Hannah over at Musings of a Palindrome.  She mentioned me in her hottest bloggers under 25 [followers] post and quickly made it so that I would no longer qualify for the honor (woooo 32!).  Check out her blog, it's fantastic!

Third - me...stylish?  Awwwww, thanks!  Big thank yous to Carrie at Kiwi's Life, Heather at Pen, Paper, Lots of Coffee, and Lindsey at The Write Words.  I'm thrilled that you thought of me!

Here are the rules:

1.) Thank and link back to the person who gave the award
2.) State 7 things about myself
3.) Pass the award to 15 recently discovered bloggers  

Things about me

1.  I dance quite a lot.  I've had training in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, some salsa, and swing.  Right now my biggest obsession is swing.  I go dancing at least twice a week and I'm taking private lessons, trying desperately not to suck.

2.  I am obsessive with a one track mind.  I have a very hard time letting things go.  Often, when I'm having a conversation with someone, they have to catch my eye and firmly inform me that a conversation has ended and I should move on to something else.

3.  When I was in highschool I could not elaborate on writing.  This was a consistent conversation I had with my mother:
     Mom: No honey, you need a whole paragraph.
     Krista: But I answered the question.
     Mom: You need to elaborate on your answer.
     Krista: But I ANSWERED the question!
     Mom: You need more.  You can write more about your answer.

4.  I don't realllly like talking about myself (except with certain people who can't get me to shut up).

5.  My favorite candy is Swedish Fish.  This changes. Often.

6.  I've recently started a quote list.  Beware if you say something I find funny.  You may end up immortalized one day.

7.  I am deathly afraid of open water and space.  I hate the idea of the vast unknown.

Blogger Peeps

I have spotty internet access at the moment, so I don't have a ton of time for researching newly discovered bloggers who haven't received this award yet.  So, here are 5 of my required 15.  I will hand out the other half at an undisclosed future time!

Melissa at M.B. West

Demitria at Demitria Lunetta

Nicole at My Writing Blog

Gryphon Fledgling at Opening the Vein

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

[First Ever] Road Trip Wednesday!

In honor of Valentine's Day (which I usually choose not to celebrate, despite my love of chocolate and stuffed creatures), I post some of my favorite literary romantic relationships.  Check out YA Highway!

Marcus Flutie and Jessica Darling - Jessica Darling Series (Megan McCafferty)

Beatrice and Benedick - Much Ado About Nothing (William Shakespeare)
Or Maybe I just love Emma Thompson and Kenneth Brannagh

I love Pride and Prejudice as much as the next girl.  And Mr. Darcy makes me happy all over.  However, I must say, I prefer the heart aching lost/regained love of Persuasion.  Both the book and movie (1995 please!) make me cry whenever I experience them (no matter how many times). Persuasion (Jane Austin)

And then there is the fierce passion of Mr Rochester and Jane Eyre.  Doesn't get any better than this (And who else is psyched for the movie!?) - Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

Monday, February 7, 2011 we not bleed?

This was one of those mornings when you wake up (after three hours of sleep) and stare at your closet for ten minutes, then put on yesterday's clothes.  Then you find your windshield is spotted generously with bird poop and you're out of windshield cleaner.  Then it sprinkles a touch, not enough to get rid of the poop, but just enough that if you use the wipers, the poop will spread into a huge smudge across the window.

I hate Mondays.

It's been awhile since I've updated this blog (more than a week...oh no...bad habits forming!).  It's been a crazy week, but here's something small, so I can feel productive.

We all have someone in our lives that we love to hate.  We adore them, find them amusing or fascinating, or just plain care about them.  We can't flush them out of our lives because they live, breathe, and we can touch them.  We don't want to.

Some of the most interesting characters in fiction are the ones we revile.  I'm pulled back time and time again to study Charlotte Martin, who I equally would like to strangle.  There are few characters more interesting  than Humbert Humbert.  And of course, there is nothing quite like diving into the mind of Dostoyevsky's Raskolnikov.  Twisted characters are the ones we are drawn to and are some of the most memorable in fiction.  Real people are flawed.  These characters threaten to inhabit the dark recesses our minds that we fear to confront.

How do you find the line between unreadable evil and intriguing and disturbing character sketches?  Have you wrestled with any characters like this in your writing and who are you favorite controversial characters in literature?