Friday, November 16, 2012

Hostess Movie Culture

The news is out... Hostess bakeries are closing for good. The variety of sweet snacks we have known to love is coming to an end (at least for now, since companies will be buying the recipes from Hostess as soon as they become available).

Thanks to social media, I have had a slew of friends and acquaintances contribute their own stories, pictures, and ideas of doing a shopping spree to horde as many of the delicious snack cakes as possible. One of my good friends commented on renting a particular film that featured one of the Hostess products. This led to a pop culture conversation.... and inspired me to blog for the first time since New Years.

Product placement and marketing is one of the many things thrown into movies. Sometimes they are put there with the intention that if a movie watcher were to see it, they would want said product and go buy it. Other times, a product is discussed by one or more characters and develop its own following by the audience (think about Reese's Pieces in ET... a lot were sold that year because of the film). Now, Hostess products have made appearances in both ways and I would like to demonstrate that to you. Bring on the movie culture of Hostess products!!!


I'm with Tallahassee... find a Hostess truck abandoned on the side of the road, invade and find something you love. While it didn't work out for him at this point of the film, it made my taste buds water for Sno Balls.

True words Tallahassee, and we don't have a Zombie Apocalypse (yet).


Ah, the infamous scene where Egon uses Twinkies as an example on how to explain energy. This got a second wind of pop culturedom when these scene made an appearance in Zombieland in Bill Murray's house. It also got me wanting Twinkies. **Drool**

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Some of you may not realize that Wonder Bread is a product of Hostess Bakeries Inc. This is really going to hit a lot of people when all the grocery stores have empty spaces in the bread aisle. Product placement was used in a ridiculous manner in this film, as it is somewhat comical as to how many products are promoted on Nascar vehicles (for a movie that makes fun of product placement and subliminal messages, please watch Josie and the Pussycats).


I know it doesn't show it in the scene, but right after the clip cuts off Wall-E gives the cockroach a Twinkie. It was meant as an inside joke for adults about the correlation of a post-apocalyptic world and the shelf life of the yellow snack cake.

Weird Al Yankovic "Fat" Music Video

Okay, I know this isn't a movie clip, per se, but it represents Hostess through Ding-Dongs. :-)

As I was doing research on this blog, I was reminded (thanks to Wikipedia) that Hostess Brands was a Kansas City based company. Being a lifelong Kansas City girl, I take pride in anything that is from my hometown. I haven't watched any of the local news yet, but I am banking that someone is going reflect on that as they report the end of Hostess Bakeries Inc.

On a final note, as we say goodbye to the company I hope that whoever purchases the recipes for our favorite snack cakes is someone who is as passionate as Tallahassee in Zombieland, who simply wants a taste of a snack cake that reminds them of happiness.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Movie Monday: Looking Forward to A Lot of Movies This Year

One of the first things that I realize after celebrating a new year is that movies I have been looking forward to "suddenly" got closer to the release date. And, wow, I have a shitload of movies that I am really excited to see within the next 12 months.

Without further delay (and in order of release date), I will showcase several films that have caught my interest the past few months... and maybe get many of my friends and readers to get excited for what will be future blockbusters! :-D

Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (February 17th)

I had no idea that a sequel was in the works, let alone about to be released in theaters. Maybe it's just me, but it seems as if Nicholas Cage is in a comfort zone in which all he wants to do is create sequels. However, I enjoyed the first Ghost Rider film so I am interested in watching this.

This Means War (February 17th)

Cute concept... also very possible that this will be watched by many couples following Valentine's Day.

Act of Valor (February 17th)

This will be seen by millions... especially those who have connections (or serve) in the armed forces. Kind of appropriate to release this film the same year as a presidential election.

The Raven (March 9th)

Murders based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe.... yes, please!!!!

The Hunger Games (March 23rd)

Out of all the movies I have included in this blog, this film is the movie I am looking forward to the more. I knew that the three book series was going to be adapted to four films as I read them all over the summer. If you have not read these books, I strongly suggest doing so before March 23rd. You will not be disappointed.

American Reunion (April 6th)

I find it highly amusing (and awesome) that the movie that was basically my coming-of-age film has a new chapter 10 years after I graduated high school. Talk about perfect timing. I am very excited to see the gang I grew up watching onscreen since I was fifteen years old. I expect to laugh my ass off, especially after this amazing teaser trailer.

The Five-Year Engagement (April 27th)

It's amazing, how in just a movie trailer, you can wholeheartedly understand what a couple is going through. I will definitely be seeing this, especially since Jason Segel is in it... rawr!!! ;-)

The Avengers (May 4th)

Nothing says awesome like an ultimate geek film of this magnitude. I absolutely love how several different  movies based on Marvel comics have collaborated with the same actors to form The Avengers (which was also a Marvel comic). There are a couple of this films that I need to watch (Thor, Captain America) before going to see this... most likely at the midnight showing. What? I am a geek, after all! :-P

Men in Black 3 (May 25th)

I have noticed a recent trend of creating a sequel several years after the last installment (see Scream 4, Toy Story 3, American Reunion). The formula seems to work very well, at least on my experience in film watching. I really like the concept of this new MIB film... and am excited to see it in 3D. What a way to begin Memorial Day weekend!

Rock of Ages (June 1st)

Everything I love about the 80's plus my favorite classic rock songs... one badass Broadway show. I am hoping the movie adaptation will encompass what made me fall in love with this musical last Spring. There are already plans for a group outing to see this movie, either at the midnight showing or anytime on opening weekend.

"Don't stop believing...."

Snow White and the Huntsmen (June 1st)

I like how Hollywood has taken the fairy tales I grew up watching and have given them a dark, epic setting. More like how the Grimm brothers had created these stories centuries ago. This telling of Snow White looks pretty badass to me and I love that Charlize Theron is the Queen.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (June 8th)

In the world of Dreamworks versus Pixar, I am more of a Pixar person. I do love a lot of Dreamworks films but I see that they are getting to the point where they are making just as many sequels as original films. I am not sure if I will go see this in theaters, but I know at some point this will be watched. I am a parent, after all...

Brave (June 22nd)

Oh, Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, how I love you so for going Scottish. I will see this movie whether my son want to go or not. Hehehe... and yes, I am serious about that.

The Amazing Spider-Man (July 3rd)

I was very skeptical about a reboot of the Spiderman franchise, especially within 10 years of the series that starred Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Watching this trailer proved any doubts that I had out of the water. 4th of July week will be exciting for this future summer blockbuster.

The Dark Knight Rises (July 20th)

And, for the final chapter in Christopher Nolen's Batman franchise. I am curious to see if this will break the box office records that The Dark Knight did, or if it will not live up to the previous film. Either way, I will be there. I am ready to see how Anne Hathaway plays her role... since what I saw in this preview got me very excited.
The Hobbit (December 14th)

Ah, a J.R.R. Tolkein book that I was actually familiar with before the Lord of the Rings trilogy was in theaters. I am looking forward to seeing this movie as soon as it hits theaters (and then the second part in December 2013). What an epic film to wrap up the year!!!

As I said last year... who is ready to invest some money at the box office with me?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2011 And All It's New Experiences

Another year has come and gone... and 2011 had a lot in store for me. I had a lot of new things that I did over the past 365 days. Compared to the blog I wrote back in 2010, I did a lot more new things... and opened up to a lot of new experiences, socially. I hope you enjoy reading what I have done over the past year, because I certainly did!
-Purchased a lottery ticket (I couldn't resist trying to win $355 million, even if I didn't win anything that night)
-Drank Irish Ale (Boulevard) in an Irish Pub (Kelly's in Westport)... my ancestors would be so proud of me!
-Wore a corset. It was black and hot pink, from Torrid (hotness) and I showed it off at the Rocky Horror Picture Show (with a lot of good reaction, hehe) :-)

-Ate prime rib (courtesy of a coworker that mixed up 2 rib dinners with prime rib)

-Had an article published by a Kansas City newspaper (It was for The Pitch and it was on their Wayward music blog)
-Ate gumbo (on Fat Tuesday... how appropriate, hehe)
-Attended a movie pre-screening (Kevin Smith's Red State- followed by a Q&A session)
-Went to a convention (Planet Comicon) featuring comic books, Star Wars, and other various geek stuff :-)
-Had a published article that included quotes from a local celebrity (radio personality Kelly Urich, for the Kansas City Pitch)

-Witnessed a coworker get fired (yeah, that sucked)
-Performed in the shadow cast for the Fishnets and Floorshows production of the Rocky Horror Picture Show (as Magenta)

-Visited an erotica house (I thought I was going to a birthday party for a friend, who did not specify to me what kind of house it was. For the record, this particular place wasn't actually that bad, meaning that it was very clean and comfortable- not dirty)

-Started couponing when grocery shopping (I'm not talking about a coupon here or there, I mean combining sales and coupons to get mega deals with a small budget)
-Learned how to dance on a stripper pole (at Club Monaco for a friend's birthday party- with another friend teaching me some simple tricks)

-Pushed for a promotion and earned it (from EXPO/food runner to server at a grill and bar)

-Became a director (co-director) of a show/production- Kansas City's Fishnets and Floorshows (Rocky Horror Picture Show)

-Attended a divorce party
-Had a (recent) ex-boyfriend become obsessive/stalker-like after a breakup, which led me to having to remove him from all social networking connections

-Participated in a walk in support of a good cause- Zombie Walk for Hunger. Dressed as a zombie fairy.

-Purchased tickets for a concert just hours before the event began (Yo Gabba Gabba! Live for my son and myself)
-Considered poly amorous relationships
-Gave a guy my phone number without having to be asked for it beforehand. :-)
-Ate Korean food (and it was on my birthday!)
-Bought a case of beer for myself (New Belgium Snow Day Ale... best winter/seasonal drink, in my opinion)

-Fell in love with someone in less than two months (although we had been friends for over 14 years)

And... that pretty much sums up my year of new things. Happy New Year everyone!!!! I plan on having a great 2012 and I hope you guys look forward to a great year to come. :-D

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Music Tuesday: A Little Pop, A Little Rock, and A Little Breaking Dawn Soundtrack

I am a bad blogger. Writing approximately 10 blogs since summer is out of character for me (and those that have followed me for the past year and a half have noticed my lack of posts. I mean, my horror themed movie blog is still not finished! It will get posted soon, I promise!

Anyway, I do have several videos to share with you today... so let's get to listening!

Christina Perri "A Thousand Years"

I fell in love with Christina Perri's voice when I first heard her single "Jar of Hearts." I have since heard two other songs, but they did not get the radio play. Then, this song showed up in the past few weeks. It is a beautiful song and I'm glad it is featured on the Twilight: Breaking Dawn soundtrack. This song deserves to be heard by many people. :-)

Bruno Mars "It Will Rain"

For a minute, I thought "Yes! No Twilight images in this video." Then I saw it at the 1:26 mark. Bruno Mars on a Twilight soundtrack stands out, but then again, this is a more romantic film in the saga... with the wedding and honeymoon.

This is one of those songs that I fell in love with the first time I heard it. It harnesses on my hopeless romantic side. I cannot get enough of this song right now (which is why I made the impulse purchase to buy the soundtrack last week, lol).

Katy Perry "The One That Got Away"

It's amazing when you can get emotionally invested in a video that lasts less than 5 minutes. That is what happened to me when I first watched this video. The song is beautiful, but the video helps make it unforgettable. I loved seeing the "present day" and past that tell the entire story. I especially loved that Katy Perry added snippets of Johnny Cash music to the video.

Kelly Clarkson "Mr. Know It All"

It took me a couple weeks (after hearing it on the radio dozens of times) to realize this was Kelly Clarkson. For a second, I thought it was Jessie J. Anyway, our original American Idol is back with another powerful single on a new album. I am looking forward to listening to the rest of the album. :-)

Britney Spears "Criminal"

I have owned Britney's Femme Fatale album for a while, but I just haven't been able to get into it like her other albums. When "Criminal" was released, I first heard it when watching this video for the first time. If this song came out when I was dating my ex-husband, it would have been "my song," sadly... lol. I enjoyed that Britney went darker for the video concept. Very entertaining.

Daughtry "Crawling Back to You"

I can still remember how upset I was when Chris Daughtry was voted off American Idol. A friend of mine told me not to worry... he was going to be fine. Daughtry continues to prove that true. I sing along to this song every time it comes on the radio, as I do with every other Daughtry song. I love how they kept the video simple... just the band and the song. Doesn't get better than that!
David Cook "Fade Into Me"

As much as I love David Cook, you would assume that I have had his sophomore album by now. Nope. That is sad, based on my standards. I do love this song and need to listen to it more. Like with Daughtry's video, I love that this went for simplicity... images of recording the album, walking around some city, and performing at various venues. I'm curious to see if any Kansas City concerts were included.

Nickelback "When We Stand Together"

Whatever little rock edge Nickelback had is now gone. This is a pop song. Enough said.

I hope to see you guys next time... hopefully next week! There are a few music videos that I'm waiting to be released... and you will see those videos soon!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Movie Monday: Films For Fall and Winter

Good evening, everyone! I had a busy weekend so sleep was a priority over writing (and publishing) my blog earlier today.

This week, I'm going to showcase several movie trailers that will be coming to theaters in the remaining weeks of 2011 (Yes, we are down to the final 10 weeks of the year. Scary.). I am looking forward to watching many of these films (and will likely have to treat my child to a couple as well). I have these trailers in order of release date, so get ready to mark down some of these in your calenders!

The Human Centipede 2: Full Sequence (Limited Release- currently in theaters)

Oh yes, there is a sequel to last year's gross-out film. Having watched the first film recently (the review will be part of my Horror themed blog next week), I am interested in seeing how things will be elevated for the 12 person human centipede (last movie was just 3). The new "villain" Martin is so disturbing in the trailer that I know I'm going to love to hate him. I tentatively have plans to see this on Friday night, so you might get a double dose of Human Centipede reviews.... if you can handle it.

Being Elmo (October 21st)

Aww... a documentary about Kevin Clash's journey as the man behind Elmo. I have to see this!!! :-D

Paranormal Activity 3 (October 21st)

Another sequel of a movie I watched recently. I haven't seen the second one, so I will skip this one for now. I have heard that they get scarier so here's hoping!

In Time (October 28th)

Intriguing concept. I might have to shell out some money to check this out.

Puss N Boots (October 28th)

A spin off of the Shrek films. It looks cute. Based on the preview, I expect to see a lot of references to Zorro and Desperado. Gotta love adult humor in kid's films! :-)

Tower Heist (November 4th)

First thoughts: this looks Oceans Eleven meets Beverly Hills Cop. I doubt it will be as badass as either of those films, but it looks entertaining enough.

A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas (November 4th)

Bring on the stoners, Neil Patrick Harris, and lots of laughs... in 3D! I hope there's a Midnight showing :-D

Melancholia (November 11th)

Well, that was interesting. It certainly got me curious about seeing this movie...

Jack and Jill (November 11th)

Now I will know what it's like to see Adam Sandler dressed in drag... and act in drag. I can wait to see it when it comes out on DVD.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part I (November 18th)

I hate to admit this.... I'm probably going to see this in theaters. I mean, I have to see how they will portray Bella's pregnancy and the VERY graphic birth of the half-vampire baby. Considering it is rated PG-13, the birthing scene won't do justice to the book.

The Muppets (November 23rd)

I grew up watching the Muppets. Now it's my turn to show another generation (my child) why I love Kermit and Company so much.

Oh, and stare at my "future husband" Jason Segel. Yum. ;-)

My Week with Marilyn (November 23rd)

Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. I wouldn't imagine her but now that I've seen the trailer, I think she can pull it off wonderfully. This looks really good.

Arthur Christmas (November 23rd)

I can wait until it comes out on DVD. It looks cute though.

New Years Eve (December 9th)

I think I just experienced deja vu. Take the plot (and some of the actors) from Valentine's Day, change the holiday, and you get this movie. If the next film is Cinco de Mayo, I might have to shoot myself.

Young Adult (December 9th)

This could become a guilty pleasure movie for me. I love the plot and that the main character immediately has the "popular bitch" label she gained back in high school. This is a movie that I can see as part of many Girls Night Out endeavors.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked (December 16th)

Another Chipmunk sequel. Lots of pop culture references. And Lady Gaga music is included. Dammit... this will likely be the first Chipmunk film I will see in theaters. The joys of parenting...

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (December 23rd)

Note to self: read the book before going to see this movie.

I see some Box Office hits in here. I also see a couple possible Academy Award winners. Now, to wait for some of these films to make it to the theater...

*Plays Jeopardy theme*

Monday, October 10, 2011

Movie Monday: GeneCo, 90's Oliver Stone, The Worst Play Ever, and the LA Version of Coyote Ugly

I have been delaying this blog for several weeks now, because of YouTube.

I have been following this recent copyright bill/law that affects how users can add videos to sites like YouTube. Videos that are not their own (like movie clips, music videos, etc.). I had a video on my account of a performance from Lilith Fair last year that Sony had contacted me about, since it was of an artist under their record company. They did not ask me to remove it, but to credit them and to not allow others to share or embed the video. I went ahead and deleted it.

How does this relate to today's blog? Well, this new bill/law has made it more difficult to add movie clips to the movies I review. I have spent random evenings trying to find anything I can use and almost resorted to using the movie trailers instead. It's been frustrating for me. So, if you notice more trailers and less movie clips included in my future Movie Monday blogs, you will understand why.

Now... review time!

Repo the Genetic Opera

In the not too distant future, there was mass hysteria over failed organs. Out of this crisis came GeneCo, a company that helps finance body organs to those in need. However, if you cannot pay for the organs, the Repo Man comes to repossess them. In the midst of this "revolution," a young woman named Shilo (Alexa Vega) discovers the truth behind her family and the rare disorder that's kept her sheltered her entire life.

Yes, this is a musical. A CULT musical... meaning you are either going to love it or hate it. For this girl, I have actually watched it several times now. Some of the musical talents of the actors are not the best, and some of them (Hello, Sarah Brightman) are some of the best in the business. I love how it's dark, gory, and came from Darren Lynn Bousman (who did the Saw movie series). I really liked seeing the mix of comic book animation and colorful live action sequences. My personal favorite number: Zydrate Anatomy (which I have found Rocky Horror pre-show numbers to this song... from many casts). If you can handle a rock opera styled musical with lots of dark and twisted elements, then I suggest giving this movie a try. Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Natural Born Killers

Mickey (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory Knox (Juliette Lewis) met one fateful day that forever changed the course of their lives. They fell in love and went on a cross-country murder spree along Route 666, until poisonous snakes led them to law enforcement. As they spent time in prison, media journalist Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr.) wants to glorify their "legendary" status to the masses... which leads to an unpredictable series of events.

This is one of those movies I have missed watching over the years. If I had any idea that Quentin Tarantino was the writer, I would have made an effort to watch it sooner than I did. It does feel like one of his films, but it wouldn't have been as good if not for Oliver Stone. The duo created a masterful movie that encompasses a lot of the "feel" of the early to mid-1990's, especially with the use of color. I loved how well Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey Jr. and Tommy Lee Jones did with their characters. I recommend that this movie be put on everyone's Bucket List. Rating 5 out of 5 stars

The Producers

Max Bialystock (Nathan Lane) has found himself with another flop on Broadway. As he tries to sort his affairs with his accountant, Leo Bloom (Matthew Broderick), an ingenious idea comes to mind. There is a way to create a flop and make more money than investing in what could be a hit. Max and Leo decide to produce the worst play possible... Springtime for Hitler. However, while coming up with a great scheme, unpredictable things happen... all the way to showtime.

I have not seen the original play or 1968 film (or maybe I have but was too young to remember) but Mel Brooks did well. To poke fun of the workings of a stage musical, then to get major success off of The Producers was absolutely brilliant. The musical is funny, has excellent comedic timing, and is extremely entertaining. For Matthew Broderick and Nathan Lane to partner up in the remake (onstage and on film) was absolutely perfect. I cannot think of anyone else to play opposite each other than those two. I was also impressed with Will Ferrell and how he stepped out of typecasting to play Franz Liebkind. This is a musical that any theater person, or musical lover, needs to watch. Rating 4 1/2 out of 5 stars


Ali (Christina Aguilera) is a farm town Iowa girl who moves to Los Angeles to live the dream life. She is hired at a burlesque lounge as a waitress. Ali soon falls in love with the art of burlesque and aspires to become one of the dancers. When one of the dancers leaves, Ali gets an audition... and a spot in the show. While Ali adapts to her new position at the lounge, club owner Tess (Cher) is trying to figure out how to keep her business afloat, between a wealthy businessman (Eric Dane) trying to buy the property and foreclosure notices. Tess finds hope in Ali, when she surprises everyone with her standout voice.

When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I immediately thought "This is going to be the L.A. version of Coyote Ugly." Turns out I was right. This is one of those movies that is so predictable but you cannot help adding it to you "guilty pleasure" list. I think Christina did very well for her feature film debut... it's showing that she has talent in other things besides singing. I did think it was cheesy for Cher to have musical number in the middle of the movie, but it didn't surprise me. Stanley Tucci, just like in The Devil Wears Prada, does awesome as the gay assistant/buddy... and has some of the best comeback lines.

Now, the title Burlesque is misleading. Those who have been to actual burlesque shows know what I'm talking about. Burlesque is more seductive and has partial nudity. This movie is basically about Cabaret dancing. I still liked it. Rating 3.5 out of 5 stars

Next week's Movie Monday blog (or in 2 weeks... depends on how many movies I watch) will be a themed blog. I have to pay respects to horror movies in October... it just goes hand in hand. Anyway... be prepared for some horror movie goodness!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New Music Tuesday: Speedo Fun, Love Cookies, Overcoming Bullies, and More!

Wow... have I found some great songs and... interesting.... videos recently. I hope you guys are ready for what's to come in this weeks New Music Tuesday blog!

*** Warning **** The first video has been labeled by YouTube for "mature audiences only." You'll see why...

LMFAO "Sexy and I Know It"

Right about the one minute mark is when I realized why this video has an 18 and over age restriction on it... and I liked it!!! Hehe. The song is catchy and fun, and I loved that LMFAO had a lot of fun making the video. I will not look at a Speedo on a guy the same way again ;-)

Timbaland feat. Pitbull "Pass At Me (Explicit Version)"

Timbaland bringing some Latino spice to his addictive beats... impressive! The video is just okay to me... I'm starting to get tired of seeing the same "remote island/boat/dancing with the natives" concept. If this is the beginning of a new Timbaland album, I cannot wait to hear the rest!

Sean Paul feat. Alexis Jordan "Got 2 Luv U"

I didn't like the song right away... it seemed too busy. But as the song went on, it started to grow on me. It's not my favorite of Sean Paul's (I really loved his Dutty Rock album). The video is okay... just another one of those fabulous looking clubs with attractive people dancing in it. Oh, and what's with his Mohawk... definitely different than dreadlocks.

Jennifer Lopez "Papi"

I am hit or miss when it comes to Jennifer Lopez's music. This one is a hit for me. Not only is the song fun and danceable but the video is hilarious!!! I loved the concept :-)

Jessie J "Who's Laughing Now"

Well, well, well... Jessie J gets a little personal with her latest single. It doesn't surprise me that a lot of celebrities were bullied as kids (then adored by those who bullied them when they reached fame), but I applaud Jessie J for making a song about it... especially since it will reach out to those who are bullied themselves. I enjoyed the video and how the "kid Jessie" dealt with her bullies. Bravo Jessie J!!!

Musiq Soulchild "Yes"

Did anyone else noticed the dedication at the beginning of the video? I actually got excited over it, just because Musiq created this beautiful video to make people realize that breast cancer isn't a deal breaker in relationships. If you are suffering from any form of cancer and there is someone who wants to be with you and to be support, then that's real, deep love. I highly respect Musiq for doing this. The song is just as beautiful as the video. :-)

Patrick Stump feat. Lupe Fiasco "This City"

I downloaded this song several weeks ago on ITunes... it was one of their free songs. I loved it! I was excited to hear it on the radio soon after. Now... a video. It is visually stimulating. The views of the city in black and white, the multi colored backgrounds, and the 3D projections... all very pleasing.

With that said... while looking at Patrick's suit jacket, I couldn't help but compare his look to Riff Raff in The Rocky Horror Picture Show... something about the shoulder pads....
Blink 182 "Up All Night"

Yay! Blink 182 has returned!!! It was a long time coming, especially after the deadly airplane accident that almost took Travis Barker's life. I love that their music has matured over the years (much like their fans... or so I assume). The song has a great message to it... just listen to the lyrics. I enjoy seeing this adolescent party evolving around the band. I never went to any of those kind of parties as a teen (and didn't feel like I missed out, either) but I was certainly entertained.

Until next time....

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Literary Thursday: Carrie Bradshaw Begins Life in New York City

As I was ready to write this blog in the afternoon, I came across some technical issues. Since Facebook has been making a lot of changes to their site, it somehow affected the speed and functionality of my Internet. I got frustrated since I was ready to spend some time writing today. Needless to say, I did not get the chance until I got home from working tonight. Since it's not Midnight yet (as I am typing this), I am still able to publish a Literary Thursday blog for you this week. :-)

"Summer in the City" by Candace Bushnell

In the sequel to The Carrie Diaries, we reunite with Carrie Bradshaw just hours after arriving in New York City, in which she was robbed and had one phone number to call for help... Samantha Jones. As Carrie and Samantha begin their longtime friendship, Carrie falls in love with living in the big city. She attends her writing seminar, experiments with fashion, goes to parties with celebrities, and begins a relationship with Bernard- who is a well known playwright and is recently divorced. Carrie also meets a young, red headed woman named Miranda Hobbes, who found her stolen purse in the garbage. It becomes very clear to Carrie that she was meant to be a New York City girl, but can her writing abilities keep her in the city?

When I read The Carrie Diaries last year, I loved reading about Carrie from her high school days. When I noticed there was a sequel, I bought it immediately. I liked this book so much more than the original, mostly because you see more of the Carrie Bradshaw that we all know from the Sex and the City novel/tv show, especially her sense of humor, her unique fashion style, and how she questions relationships of all kinds.

Samantha is already the sexually charged, strong, work oriented woman that we already know. However, it surprised me to see that she was in a long term relationship in the book. Miranda, upon meeting her, was involved in a protest. That does not surprise me that she would be the type to protest over things she believed in at a young age (you know, before diving into a career in law that consumes a lot of her time). She was very much an independent woman from the start, and it was very evident in the book.

I loved how Candace Bushnell incorporated some minor characters from the series/book into this novel. For instance, Capote Duncan. I recall that he was known as a toxic bachelor from Sex and the City. He was one of the bigger characters in this novel, and it brought some interesting insight to Carrie's lifestyle and to how she interpreted relationships.

For anyone that is a fan of Sex and the City, I highly recommend reading both of the prequel books. They are light reads, very entertaining, and you get to see the naive sides to the women that we fell in love with 10 years ago. Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Monday, September 19, 2011

Movie Monday: Zombies, Bridesmaids, Competitive Teachers, Death Traps, and Sex!!!

I have a confession to make. I have not been watching any new movies the past few weeks. For one, I have been reliving my pre-adolescent days by watching The 90's are All That, a TV block on the TeenNick channel dedicated to the Nickelodeon television shows of the 90's. I also had been investing my time (and some money) at Borders (R.I.P.). Between those things, my child, and work, I have just not been into watching new movies lately.

Then, my friend Aggy posted a website link to my Facebook about a website she's been using to watch television shows that are on cable. I told her I would check it out. As soon as I got on the page, I realized that it wasn't just for television. I found a website to watch movies that are currently in theaters. After the initial feeling of guilt for gaining access to these films, I have enjoyed movies that I have debated on seeing at the theaters.

Get ready for some reviews on a lot of recent movies in the foreseeable future... including today!

Shaun of the Dead

Shaun (Simon Pegg) is at a crossroads in life. He is working at a mediocre job, his roommate Ed (Nick Frost) does not contribute toward rent or bills, and his girlfriend Liz (Kate Ashfield) dumped him over the dismal efforts he made toward their anniversary dinner. As he devises a plan to win Liz back, the townspeople have turned into zombies. Shaun and Ed find themselves finding refuge from the zombies while protecting their friends (and Shaun's family) from the same fate.

As a fan of horror movies, I have been recommended to watch this movie from several people over the past couple years. I knew it had a cult following. This is one of those movies that I fell in love with in the first five minutes. I loved the characters, the plot, and the fact that it was a comedy. I cannot find anything that I hate about this movie. Watching Shaun go to the store for a few things- while being completely oblivious to the zombie invasion- was absolute perfection. When Shaun and Ed are sifting through vinyl albums to throw at one of the zombies, I was cracking up. To think of trivial things like that while under a distressing situation is pure comical goodness. I highly recommend this movie! Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Annie (Kristen Wiig) has reached a low point in her life when her best friend Lillian (Maya Rudolph) chooses her to be her maid of honor. Annie soon realizes that Lillian's friend Helen (Rose Byrne) is trying to destroy and upstage her wedding responsibilities. As planning for the big day goes forward, Annie tries to prove to Lillian that she can handle things, despite being broke.

Hollywood is an industry where comedies are normally male driven (or features just the main character as a woman). This movie is one of the few standouts for women in comedy. I have not enjoyed a comedy like this since The Sweetest Thing (with Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, and Selma Blair). This is also the first time that I have really enjoyed a character played by Kristen Wiig. I got a lot of laughs from the bridal shop scene and the opening scene (can you say most awkward sex ever???). This movie was more entertaining than I expected. Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Bad Teacher

Elizabeth Halsey (Cameron Diaz) had her dream lifestyle with her fiance/sugar daddy. But when he suddenly dumps her, she ends up with nothing. When the school year starts up at the junior high, she meets a new substitute teacher, Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake). In order to impress him, she decides to get breast implants. To afford the surgery, Elizabeth gets involved in as many fundraisers as she can, which includes attempting to get the teacher's bonus for having the class with the highest state test scores. However, fellow teacher Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch) is onto her game and will stop at nothing to prove that Elizabeth is deceiving everyone.

When this movie was announced, I was in love with the concept. I also loved that I would get to see Cameron Diaz and Justin Timberlake together in a movie (that wasn't about ogres). Oh, and Jason Segel... RAWR!! This movie was exactly as I expected from this kind of raunchy comedy. It was interesting to see Justin Timberlake play a more timid, straight-laced guy but it worked well for him. It was pretty predictable, but I enjoyed the little twist at the ending... I didn't expect it, which made it more enjoyable to me. If you want a movie with some good laughs and a few one liners worth repeating, check this out! Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Final Destination 5

While leaving for a work retreat, a group of coworkers find themselves escaping from a suspension-bridge collapse after Sam (Nicholas D'Agosto) has a premonition of their brutal deaths. Over the following weeks, each of the survivors are dying off in freak accidents. Sam realizes that there is a design and death is after them, unless they succeed in the loophole that allows them to cheat death.

Final Destination 4, in 3D, was a success... so it's not surprising that they made another sequel aimed for the extra dimension. Now, I didn't see this film in 3D but I assume it would have been very interesting to watch. It was obvious that the deaths were intensified compared to the first three films (I mean, it has to in order to keep audiences coming back). I wasn't as fond of this one but the eye surgery scene is one of the few (out of all the films) that actually creeped me out. I'm a little trepidatious about having that procedure done to me someday because of this movie. The ending was the best part, and for me to reveal why would be a major spoiler alert. You'll just have to watch it to see what I mean. Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Friends With Benefits

Dylan (Justin Timberlake) is a workaholic. So is Jamie (Mila Kunis). Both of them get dumped by their significant others. While Dylan makes a business trip to New York City to meet Jamie for a business proposal, he decides to take the job and move across the country. Dylan and Jamie become friends and enjoy the city life together. One night, they decide to avoid all the Hollywood movie cliches and have a sex-only relationship. They both realize that even with the simplest of ideas, things become complicated and threaten their friendship.

I had made a prediction that Friends with Benefits would be better than No Strings Attached. While I enjoyed both movies, it became clear that my prediction was accurate. The jokes were funnier, the supporting cast were more entertaining (thank you Jenna Elfman, Woody Harrelson and Patricia Clarkson!), and overall this movie felt like it had more life in it. I loved how flash mobs were incorporated in several parts of the film (I have a fondness for them). I also got to see Justin Timberlake's ass... and it was very nice! Yes, the plot was predictable but I don't care... all that matters is that I was entertained. Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5 stars

Oh, how good it feels to write about movies again! I apologize for having several weeks go by without a Movie Monday blog, but I promise that you will have another blog to look forward to next week! See you then! :-)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Literary Thursday: Stephen King Discusses Writing

I am sad.

When I was a senior in high school, a new shopping center opened. In the shopping center was a bookstore, Borders. That store became my "spot," a place where I could spend hours browsing the aisles in peace. It was somewhere I would go when I wanted to enjoy moments of solitude. That store closed its doors for good this week. I will miss it dearly, especially since it was only a few minutes away from my house.

With that said, I have invested in a lot of books. I think I lost count around 60 (if you think I'm kidding, come to my house and look at my bookshelf- and the pile of receipts from the past two months). What does that mean for you? A lot of Literary Thursday blogs in the foreseeable future. I already have six or seven books ready to review, but to not overwhelm my readers, I will post each review one at at time (since I tend to be more descriptive when reviewing books). Enjoy the first of many reviews coming in the next several weeks!

"On Writing" by Stephen King

Stephen King has written a part-biography/ part resourceful novel that explores the art of writing. He divides the novel into many parts: his childhood/early start in writing, struggling to establish himself as a writer, advice/useful tips for any aspiring writer, and how he was able to pick himself back up from a near-fatal car accident in 1999.

Well, I am 27 years old and have never read a novel by Stephen King... until now. I'd say I picked the perfect first novel for me to read. Yes, I am aware that this is not one of his infamous fiction stories, but it was exactly what I needed to read several weeks ago. I became a fan of his writing when I read his columns in Entertainment Weekly. They were funny, well written, and made me realize that I am as much of a pop culture geek as him. I also realized that one of my top 10 favorite movies is based on one of his short stories (The Shawshank Redemption). Anyway, about the novel...

I loved how Mr. King explained certain aspects of his adolescence and how they contributed to his writing (and to future characters). While reading it, I caught myself reminiscing about how my passion for writing developed over the years. Then, when he explained the struggles of raising a family while struggling as a writer, I was able to relate what he went through.

My favorite part of the book (which also had a huge impact on me) was his section about the art of writing. I took so many things he discussed to heart and have already applied them toward my writing/lifestyle. The most important thing he said was that if you do not have time to read, then you do not have time to write. Reading is a key element to writing because you constantly see how sentences are structured, how conversations between characters are executed, and it helps with your imagination when it's time to write something. Adverbs will never look the same after reading this book. I promise.

I recommend this book for any writer out there. He has a lot of good advice and he makes it entertaining, unlike reading a textbook on writing skills. It's personal and educational... the best of both worlds. Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

See you guys next week!