Friday, August 05, 2011

what i did for a week in paris

If you had told me last year that my mother and I would go to Paris for a week, I would have told you that you were a frakking nut. I (and my mother) just don't do crazy, fun, amazing things like that. And then, something really funny happened. My mother and I started talking about how we should go to Paris.

If you have never been, I am totally sad for you. Paris is amazing. It is truly a special place...mostly known as the city of lovers...but as a single woman with a cat....I found it a special place to check-out with my 60+ mother. It just goes to show that even if you are the target demographic for the Lifetime channel, you can still have a nice time.

So, we bought our tickets, and my mother began a systematic study of maps and books about Paris. And then, there we were, climbing onto an airplane clutching our passports and phrase book ready to be those awful American tourists.

And awful American tourists we were! We took a boat tour, visited museums, walked around churches, ate our weight in butter, took in a ballet, conquered a cooking class, and ate more bread then Rome on Communion Sunday. We saw art that is featured in really good movies, and looked in the shops of windows that we could never afford. We bungled the language, and argued about which direction the theatre was from the train station. We sat in Notre Dame and listened to an organ concert, and judged everyone for their endless smoking. We laughed at ourselves as we tried to be the sophisticated types we're not, and swooned over omelets. We held hands as we prayed in 500 year-old churches, and wished that my dad was there to share everything with us. It was everything I had hoped the trip was and more. We spent an obscene amount of money on Business class plane tickets, and loved every second of travel.

When I imagined myself in Paris, it was never wandering about with my mother. I mean, who would imagine that? All I know, is that the trip was more special than I had ever imagined it could be, and you haven't lived until you are sitting across from someone you love at a little table in a bistro in Paris...ideally eating a baguette.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


There is so much right now that I am excited about.

First, there is a crazy amount of theatre that looks really cool. BOOK OF MORMON is on the top of my list. I actually have tickets for Memorial Day weekend, so now begins the endless waiting. (Le sigh.) To be honest, I suck at waiting. So, let the rage waiting begin.

Second, saw a preview for the new X-MEN movie today. It looks awesome. Sometimes all you want is to go to the movies, and watch people with superpowers beat on each other. What isn't there to like about that? Seriously? If you haven't seen the preview yet, here it is:

On a separate note, can you believe that it is already the end of March? Seriously. Before we know it, summer movies will be here, and then it will be time to Christmas shop. That is an alarming thought indeed.

priscilla queen of the desert

As a fan of the movie, I was very much looking forward to seeing the Broadway take on PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT. And, fortunately, it didn't disappoint....that much. I had a ton of fun watching the show - and the folks involved were definitely having a blast. I guess the issue is more that it just didn't really dig deep into the issues. There is some heavy stuff going on in the story, and it just felt glossed over. Moments that should have had gravity just carried no weight at all. It was an evening of pastel-colored cocktails....when there should have been a cup of Turkish coffee. Now, I am a total party pooper wanting moments of darkness in this disco ball of fun...andI own up to that. If you can move past wanting those dramatic moments, which you can, the show is good fun. With fantastic 70's numbers, and pretty much the most amazing costumes you will ever see on stage, you can't help but rock out to this show. The performers are all top notch, and this show is a spectacle in the very best sense of the word. Tony Sheldon is phenomenal as Bernadette. He has been with the show since the beginning, and his nuanced performance will stay with you long after the curtain has come down. Will Swenson is a fabulous leading man - funny, sweet, and has a yummy voice. Nick Adams just made me tired. He is such a physical presence....a real treat to watch. With show stopper after show stopper, your feet will be tapping as the cast rocks the house.

Final thoughts: Worth seeing just for the costumes......a fun night at the theatre.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

the other guys

I have to admit that I am not a huge Will Ferrell fan...I mean the guy is funny, and I enjoyed lots of his work on SNL, but overall, I don't go out of my way to see his stuff. I can't tell you how pleasantly surprised I was by THE OTHER GUYS. The movie got some great reviews, and I am strangely fascinated by Mark Wahlberg, so I went to the movie hoping for some giggles, and hopefully a half-naked Mark. This movie totally cracked me up. Mark and Will are partners, and either by choice or by mistake have become paper pushers, and basically the office jokes. After the office hotshots (played with much glee [not the show choir kind] by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Samuel Jackson) make a poor choice ending their career, office dominance is for the taking, and Mark wants him some of that. Hilarity ensues as he pushes Will to try and become the police heroes he is dying to become. They somewhat accidentally stumble into a major case featuring the always cool Steve Coogan, and the movie unfolds as they figure out the case and also really get to know one another. The movie totally works. I laughed out loud through most of it, and as always, totally dug seeing sights around the city. Love, love, love New York movies!

Final thoughts: A really funny movie that is so much better than you think it might be. Bonus: Michael Keaton is in this movie, and he is basically the coolest person ever.

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

bye bye birdie on broadway

Whether you know it or not, you have heard some of the music from BYE BYE BIRDIE before. It is a part of our culture, and the music from the show really is good fun. It is incredibly sad to me that the current revival on Broadway didn't come together. For the most part, it's not that it's terrible; instead, it is that the pieces don't add up.

John Stamos takes the lead as Albert Peterson. There is no denying that John Stamos (aka Uncle Jesse) is a gorgeous, suave guy....and that is why I don't understand why he tries to play Albert as geeky and awkward. Dick van Dyke is a goofy guy, and you totally bought his sweetness and awkwardness, and got why Rose loved him. Stamos isn't goofy, and it plays as just plain awkward, in a not endearing kind of way. I found myself saying that Rose is an idiot for waiting around for this guy. I will say that Stamos does have a nice voice, though. Gina Gershon plays Rose as a sexy thing, teetering about in spiky stilettos, and pining for a guy that she has been a secretary for for seven years. Although she has some great acting moments, the truth is, Gershon is not a singer. (This is a HUGE issue when her character sings some of the most recognizable songs in the show.) Allie Trimm plays Kim, our young (emphasis on the young) ingenue. Although Trimm has a nice voice, she is just too young for the part. Kim should be blossoming into womanhood, in essence, discovering her sexuality......Trimm looks about 13 (which I think is her real age), and just can't pull off the becoming a woman part of the role. (It doesn't help that Kim was played so memorably by Ann-Margaret in the film, and she pretty much oozes sensuality from every pore.) Jayne Houdyshell fares okay as Albert's needy mother, as does Matt Doyle as Hugo Peabody. Then there's Bill Irwin. I don't even know how to explain his performance. I don't know what show he was in, but it was not the same one as the rest of the cast. It's widely known that he got his start in clowning, and he pretty much clowns his way through the role, and in my opinion, lets down the show whilst doing it. His singing through "Kids" is cringe-worthy, and he just seems totally unconnected to the rest of the production.

There is nothing more disheartening for me than to leave a Broadway show totally disappointed by what I've seen, and that truly was the case here.

Final thoughts: The show just doesn't come together, however, it was an interesting learning experience. Sorry!
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the fantastic mr. fox

Every once in a while, you come across a movie that is just so unique, visionary, and different, you can't help but become engrossed and enthralled by it. This happened for me with THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX. Based on the book by Roald Dahl (which I have actually never read), director Wes Anderson has created an incredibly neat and funny universe that is, for lack of a better phrase, just fantastic. Using stop motion techniques with puppets, Anderson brings the world to life in unbelievable detail. The background is just as colorful and alive as the main action, helping to bring every scene to vivid life.

Mr. Fox, after a 12-year hiatus, decides to return to his life of crime, and hit three nearby farms. However, the human farmers decide to fight back, and suddenly Mr. Fox has to fight for his family's livelihood. Voices include George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, and Michael Gambon, and are all perfect.

Final thoughts: This movie had me laughing, and shaking my head in disbelief at the incredible artistry. This one is definitely a must-see.
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Sunday, June 28, 2009

things that make me happy

Happy summer! First, I can't freaking believe that it is already the summer. Life is going super fast, and that is slightly overwhelming. (That's a whole other blog, frankly.) However, the good news is that there is some cool stuff that makes me happy in my soul. So, some of this is people I dig, and some is cool stuff. You know, more random ramblings from my brain.

1. Edy's Low-Fat Cookies & Cream Ice Cream. Seriously, super yummy, and low-fat. What is better on a hot summer's night than sitting down to a super-delicious frozen treat?

2. PSYCH. I seriously love this show, and the 4th season is set to start on Friday, August 7th. I am so happy it is coming back, yet still slightly bummed that it's not for several more weeks. This weekend, I totally got sucked into watching both season one and two episodes that have the commentary. I am now excited (to an awkward extent) to buy the season 3 DVD which comes out the day before my birthday. I am thinking that will be a lovely gift for me.

3. Summer movies to look forward to: Between HARRY POTTER, THE UGLY TRUTH, and THE TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE, there is much to look forward to this summer. (And I love that there are several actors (Gerard Butler, Robert Pattinson, Rachel McAdams) I dig that are in NYC filming upcoming movies!

4. Going home! Much to my excitement, I am headed home for the Fourth o' July, which means that I get time with the parents, the bro and sis-in-law, and my super-awesome 3 year old nephew. Plus, that means I also get Bexley Pizza Plus which is so yummy in my tummy. :)

Oh, have to add one thing...I might have just watched, well watched while I worked on the blog, one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Seriously, just because John Krasinski is in it, doesn't mean that it's good, or worth it. Sadness.
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the proposal

Can I just go on record and say that Ryan Reynolds is now a star? Seriously, he is not someone that I really follow, although he was super cool/freaky in WOLVERINE, but with this flick, he is totally on my watch list. This movie actually surprised me in a lot of ways. I was looking forward to it, the preview looked funny, and who doesn't enjoy watching beautiful people fall in love? However, I found this movie laugh-out-loud funny. The two of them, Reynolds and Sandra Bullock have amazing chemistry - and I totally bought into the dynamic of their relationship. She is a kick-ass editor, and he her assistant. To avoid being deported (Canadian...), she tells her bosses that they are engaged. So, visits to INS ensue, as well as a trip to meet his family.

Final thoughts: Hi-larious, and I totally bought into the love story. A very cute rom-com that made me happy in my heart.

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less than meets the eye

Sometimes, movies are just fun. They are silly, summer popcorn movies, and you go and have a great time. Sometimes, movies are not that fun, and you are totally bummed as you sit there waiting to laugh. Sadly, the sequel to the very funny movie TRANSFORMERS is less funny, and more long. I totally love Shia LaBeouf, and sadly, he just doesn't have enough to do in this movie. Seriously, this flick is like 80% fighting/action, and only 20% dialogue, and it is only about 7% plot. Fortunately, within that 7%, Julie White is hilarious as hero Sam's mother. And, LaBeouf is kind of funny for a few moments which is nice.

I guess what is most depressing about this whole thing is that I totally loved the first one. I thought it was hilarious, the fight sequences were amazing, and I totally bought into the story. With this flick, the humor, aside from one or two scenes, just seems to be gone, and the battle scenes didn't have the clarity that they had in the first one. (I'm not sure if this is the right way to articulate this. The fights were just kind of machine blobs - I couldn't really tell the transformers apart from one another.)

Final thoughts: There are one or two funny moments, but overall, this movie just didn't live up to the first one. However, I still love Shia - and look forward to whatever he has coming up!

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Sunday, May 31, 2009

terminator salvation

I heart Anton Yelchin. Seriously, who is this kid? First in STAR TREK and now there he is being fabulous in TERMINATOR SALVATION....Yelchin plays Kyle Reese, teenage father-to-be of John Connor.

Leading up to seeing this flick, the roomie and I watched the first three films. This fourth film is truly a departure of tone from the previous ones. It feels much darker and moodier, most likely because we have finally had Judgement Day, and the world is now a dusty war zone. The Resistance is fighting SkyNet, and they believe they may have found a weapon to beat it.

The fight sequences in this film are fabulous, and there are some nifty new machines making chaos for the humans. Christian Bale makes a good John Connor, although in many ways, this film belongs to the very talented Sam Worthington. (It is such a bummer that they revealed in the trailer for the film that his character Marcus is part would have been so cool to have that revealed in the course of the film - instead, I was just waiting for that scene to happen.) Bale is not yet leading the resistance, instead more of a general in the army. He and his wife are working together, she as a doctor. One bummer of this movie is that they set up Kate in the 3rd movie to be a kick-*ss partner to John, and in the fourth film, although played by the lovely Bryce Dallas Howard, she doesn't do much of anything, and you don't really get to see that partnership, or her really being the leader that she is supposed to be.

Final thoughts: Cool action sequences, some very cool actors, a fun, summer movie. The real question is, during what scene did Bale have the very famous freak-out?

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star trek

Every once in a while, you see a movie that just rocks. STAR TREK could have been a terrible movie - I mean, with highly mockable source material, a huge amount of complex special effects, and a relatively unknown cast, there was HUGE potential that it would be awful. Instead, it was fun, funny, moving (I totally cried), stressful, exciting, exhilarating, and fantastic! The story is a bit far-fetched, with time travel and vengeance, and perhaps that is the weakest part of the film. However, watching the crew of the Enterprise assemble is just so satisfying that any leaps of logic you have to take putting the plot together, you just don't mind. JJ Abrams has found an unbelievable cast. Chris Pine is the right combo of cocky and self-sacrificing to bring Captain Kirk to life. His love/hate relationship with Quinto's Spock is a pleasure to watch. Add in John Cho kicking *ss as Sulu, Anton Yelchin (my new fave) as the brainy Chekov, and the brilliant laugh-out-loud Simon Pegg as Scotty, and you can't help but root for the Enterprise. Zoe Saldana brings some nice girl power as Uhura, and Eric Bana makes a groovy villain. I guess what I'm saying is that the cast is just perfect.

I liked STAR TREK, I thought it was a fun show, and my favorite cast member was always Bones. (By the by, Karl Urban is amazing in this movie as Bones. The vocal inflection, the spiciness....loved it!) However, my mother and godmother are totally trekkies, and I knew that their reaction would truly be the way to judge this movie. To be blunt, they loved this movie. My mom seriously cried for like 20 minutes after it was over, being so profoundly moved by the film, their journey, and the overall experience.

Final thoughts: I am sure die-hard Trek fans found lots of things to hate about this movie - but I thought it was brilliant! It paid homage to the show while infusing it with a fresh energy, and was super fun to watch to boot. What a fantastic way to kick off the summer movie season!

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Sunday, May 24, 2009


I've said this before, and I will say it again - NYC streets are so fabulous - you can always find something amazing to make you smile. The other day, it had to be the swedish fish truck. I couldn't help but smile as I walked by.....have you ever seen a swedish fish truck? Seriously?


As Slackapalooza 2009 continues, I have so enjoyed playing tourist with the 'rents, and taking a look at the city outside of my normal everyday fumblings. Yesterday afternoon, we headed down to the pier on 42nd street, and took a circle line cruise, the liberty route. It took us down to Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, and around the Southernmost tip of Manhattan. It was absolutely lovely.

For dinner tonight, we headed to the very fancy, and unbelievably yummy Blue Hill Farm. Featured on some sort of cooking show, both my godmother and mother were very eager to check it out. The space itself was nothing but class, with low lights, and crisp linens. The bread, hot from the oven, set the tone for a fantastic meal. I started with the spring vegetable salad, followed by the lamb, and ended with a strawberry dessert. It was all truly divine.

Final thought: Did I mention how depressed I am going to be when I have to go back to my "real" life? Seriously.