Showing posts from January, 2014

Graduate School is Crazy.

So, I woke up this morning with the clear, unalienable insight that my decision back in 2010 to go to graduate school was completely insane. I mean it, off the rockers nuts. No one with a smidgen of sanity and mental/emotional wherewithall would have attempted it. Heck, going through with it was even more so, born of the stubbornness that led my ancestors to fuck off from parts familiar to lands they knew not of -- better the devil you haven't met yet than the one at your heels.

So, yes. Crazy. Utterly bonkers. Still is. There is nothing sane about what I'm doing -- nothing. I'm doing it because it makes me happy and it's what I really want to do, but even within that, practicality would be far better served by me doing what my mom suggested and becoming a med tech somewhere. I am the most impractical of things, a scholar and teacher in an age that values neither; I am the misfit in Christmas Town.

That said... I think there's a risk in making sanity and practical…

Movie Review: August: Osage County

Movie: August: Osage County (John Wells, 2013)
Oscar Nominations: Best Actress (Meryl Streep), Best Supporting Actress (Julia Roberts) (2 nominations total)

August: Osage County (and that's pronounced "O-sāj," second syllable like the herb) is based on the play by Tracy Letts, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The synopsis of the plot is that a man dies and his children and widow come together in the family home in rural Oklahoma and confront some of the family demons.

This movie was filmed at least in part in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. I have never been to Pawhuska, but I've been to the area. There is nothing around there. The closest town that might be easily accessible is Vinita, which is right off I-40. It boasts two ATMs, only one of which was working on my last trip through. The turnpike gate for Vinita only accepts cash. There is a Braums which has a surprising variety of gluten free options in its mini grocery, but I purchased neither food nor ice cream fro…

Movie Review: Nebraska

Movie: Nebraska (Alexander Payne, 2013)
Oscar Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Bruce Dern), Best Supporting Actress (June Squibb), Cinematography, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay (6 nominations total)

Alexander Payne, who previously brought us About Schmidt (2002), Sideways (2004), and The Descendants (2011), is back on Academy radar with Nebraska, a story about an old man who wants desperately for one good thing to happen to him so he feels like he's got a purpose again, and the trials this unreasoning request puts his family through, his youngest son in particular. Bruce Dern does a really convincing turn as an alcoholic old man from Billings, Woody Grant, who gets one of those magazine contest announcements in the mail declaring that he might have won a million dollars, and he's determined to go to Nebraska (where he was from) to collect. Against the wishes of his wife and oldest son (and mostly just to stop his attempts to escape and walk there by himself), hi…

Movie Review: Despicable Me 2

Movie: Despicable Me 2 (Pierre Coffin, 2013)
Oscar Nominations: Best Animated Feature

So, if you've seen the first Despicable Me movie, you know it's an oddly charming film about a villain who ends up changing his ways due to three little orphan girls. They get a bizarre but well-meaning father, he gets a family that isn't a side effect of trying to steal bigger and better things, and everyone lives happily ever after, more or less. Also, there are small yellow pill-shaped minions with whom he has a surprisingly healthy employer/benevolent dictator relationship. He knows them all by name, gives them reasonable work benefits, and if they're all a bit silly -- well, Gru is too. The minions are an inspired creation, by the way, and while Steve Carell's voicework and the story itself is sweet and cute and smart enough to be worthwhile, the minions and the small touches they add are really the best and most memorable parts of the film.

Despicable Me 2 picks up not all th…

It's Oscar Season!

Okay, so Matt and I and friends are into Oscars. We watch all the nominated movies we can squeeze in between the announcement and the show, we plan a big dinner with one dish inspired by each of the Best Picture nominations -- it's a thing.

As a means of writing something on a semi-constant basis, I'm gonna review the Oscar nominated movies I see. The first one, for today, is American Hustle.

Film: American Hustle (David O. Russell, 2013)

Nominations: Best Picture, Best Actor (Christian Bale), Best Supporting Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best Actress (Amy Adams), Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence), Best Director (David O. Russell), Film Editing, Production Design, and Original Screenplay. 9 nominations total.

American Hustle is an amazing ensemble film, as evidenced by the list above. It's a hell of a costume piece, with the music, production, editing, and acting really coming together to tell a love story of broken people who somehow make each other a little better findi…

Movie Review: Frozen

So I went to see Frozen this weekend with my family. I enjoyed the movie more than I'd expected. Of course, it's hard not to enjoy something with Idina Menzel singing in it. I thought the voices and music were really well done. I liked that the relationships were complicated, and I appreciated that the snowman was linked to their past together as children, and not just something completely random. I also liked that the snowman Elsa made to act as her guard was very different from Olaf, but not so much so that you couldn't see a relationship between them.

That said, what was really a gorgeous story was, in my opinion, not helped by the addition of an entire song for Olaf -- one that I didn't didn't serve a sufficient role in the overall plot. I couldn't get past the feeling that Olaf was sort of leftover from a previous version of this movie that was a lot more cutesy than the finished product.

Snowmen aside, though, I felt that it was a really lovely movie. It…