A blog about general entertainment, fashion, and movies. And some random stuff too.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Movie Review: Conan O'Brien Can't Stop

One of the first entries I ever made when I started this blog about a year and a half ago was a Hollywood wish list. On that list I talked about how badly I wanted to see Conan O'Brien's tour, but couldn't, and therefore I hoped a DVD of some sort would be created. You can imagine how excited I was to find out that this documentary, Conan O'Brien Can't Stop, was coming to the Magnolia in Dallas this weekend. I grabbed up my best friend, Ashlie, who adores Conan just as much as I do, and we got our butts in seats as soon as we could.

I had a few ideas of what to expect from this movie when I went into it, but what I saw was much better than anything I could have hoped for. I got to see a side of Conan I hadn't seen before. He was candid, he was vulnerable, he was frustrated, he was insecure, he was working through one of the hardest parts of his career, and he was letting us see what that meant. He was ok with just being human on screen, something a lot of celebrities, or at least people with his amount of success, are not usually comfortable with. That's something, as a fan, I really appreciate. It was just so honest.

Now, that's not to say with all that vulnerability the movie was not hilarious, because it absolutely was. I don't think Conan can help himself. Even in the hardest of times he's cracking jokes in most every sentence he speaks. It starts out by explaining the title of the documentary: Conan doesn't know how not to be on a stage with an audience and because he can't stop working, we begin to see the evolution of the tour. It didn't occur to me when I was scouring the internet for tickets, unable to attain any, what exactly I was trying to get tickets for. I just knew it was Conan, it was in a venue up the street, and I needed to be there. In the film, it seemed like the very same thing happened to Conan and his crew as they put tickets on sale. Conan knew he wanted to tour, he wanted to be on stage with an audience, tickets were sold -now what? 

The Legally Prohibited From Being Funny on TV Tour was a little bit of everything. Conan did stand up, he played music, he did skits and bits, he had special guest stars join him throughout the tour, and all the while he looked like he was having a blast on stage. (Since I didn't get to see the show live, I was glad to get to see chunks of it on screen.) Even though he was energetic during the shows, after the shows the camera zoomed in on a stoic O'Brien resting backstage, talking about what needed to be changed or tweaked to make the next show better. But, no matter how tired Conan seemed on this grueling schedule (a few times doing two shows a night!), he still went out to talk to fans lined up outside the venue, hoping for an autograph or picture.

For someone to go through something like what NBC unjustly did to Conan, it would be easy to become discouraged, to give up, and lash out. In order to find a way around that Conan, despite his pain, found a fantastic way to deal with the situation and to heal from it by going on tour. In the end, this film is surprisingly touching. Because it's so raw and I felt I was allowed to listen in on something truly personal, I was even more invested than I realized. When the tour ends in the last few minutes of the movie it was easy to feel emotional. This film doesn't paint the picture of a martyr or a saint, but of a regular guy who was trying to get through a rough patch with grace and humility. Such a great documentary! It made me laugh, it made me tear up, it made love Conan O'Brien all the more.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Live Blog: True Blood Premiere Season 4

I've been waiting for a year to see what craziness will happen next. In about 30 minutes, it will begin again! Let's do this!

Mmmm delicious.
8:00 - IT'S HERE! WOA! Oh goodness... we're in fairy land. It's horribly cheesy here... they're eating fruit with light coming out of it. Does anyone else feel it's ridiculously cheesy there? My

8:06 - Godmother? Like... for real?

8:08 - Well, I hope this gets much, much better. Godmothers and glowing fruit are not tough enough for the True Blood I fell in love with. 


8:13 - BAhhaah Sookie... they are ALL mind-readers. That was a TERRIBLE plan. OMG QUEEN MAAB? This is almost as annoying as Cassandra Clare's latest Mortal Instruments book.

8:15 - Wow... no they are running through Fairy Land. And the fairies are shooting electricity balls at them. WHY IS IS ALL SO CHEESY? This is kind of awful. Am I alone??

8:16 - Bahahah Sookie is back and she woke both Eric and Bill up. They love her. It's time for Eric and Sookie to get it on this season. Also, granddaddy is dying. Duh.
8:18 - Oh goodness... how long was Sookie gone?!

8:20 - JASON IS A POLICE OFFICER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And he looks might fine. Like usual.

8:23 - Awe Bill is back and is happy Sookie is back. This is special. He does love her. He was good. OMG THERE'S ERIC. Bahahaha they are fighting over her. Also Eric should win. 

8:25 - Wow, Andy is still crazy as ever. He needs to stop being a police officer. Bill and Sookie are still angsty, but apparently not angsty enough for Sookie. She is not happy that Bill has moved on enough not to fight her when she tells him to leave. WHAT DID YOU EXPECT, BOO?

8:27 - LAFAYETTE! He's so fabulous with his vest and mohawk. Here's a witch circle where Aunt Petunia from Harry Potter, THE SQUIB, is a witch. HAH!

8:30 - Awe Eddie!! I loved that story from the first season... Petunia you are one scary character. Not ok... NOT OK. CREEPFEST!!

 8:32 - Omg all the Barbies in pieces and the first thing I thought of was Dexter. Bahaha that baby is evil.

8:33 - OMG TARA KICKS ASS!!!!!! She's a cage fighter!!!!!! YOU COULD NOT BE COOLER.

8:35 - NO my favorite couple hates each other! Jessica and Hoyt! STOP IT! That crazy baby doll from the end of last season is making them MEAN. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.... 

8:37 - "People are far dumber than they realize."

8:38 - What... the... who is .... what is Bill doing? He's a politician?!?! AND HE'S DATING THE TRINITY'S (Dexter) DAUGHTER?!?!?!?

8:40 - Tara is my new hero. I love her being a cage fighter. And now she's a lesbian. With her cage fighter opponent.Oh and that's not her name!

8:41 - Sam is still running Merlott's. And he's still whiny. What about how he seemingly shot his brother at the end of last season?

8:44 - Andy is on CRACK. WTF is wrong with him? Jason is actually in charge and... like... having to do damage control for someone else for a change. UGH... OMG... I hate Hoyt's mother. I HATE HER... and WTF why is Sam's little brother with her? Oh this is... uncool. And weird.

8:48 - Wow, took about 45 minutes to see some nakedness.This may be a record for True Blood.

8:50 - Um... is this girl evil? I think she is. And she is after Bill so Sookie automatically hates her.

8:52 - Pam... what are you doing? You are so bad. And I love you.

8:53 - Ugh, Sam I don't care about you and your whiny problems. I... don't... care. Even in your club where you all turn into horses and frolic.

8:56 - Poor Jason... your life seems to kind of suck.AND OMG THE INBREDS ATTACKED HIM.

8:57 - I am not a fan of Petunia. She is CREEPY as HECK. And she is trying to bring her bird back to life. Also, Lafayette is HARD CORE wearing a Thriller jacket.

8:58 - So ... did Bill kill the Queen and that's how he became King of Louisiana? We must revisit this. Naked Sookie is happening also... and ERIC IS THERE! TIME TO GET IT ON!

9:00 - BAHAHA ERIC BOUGHT SOOKIE'S HOUSE. I LOVE IT. Sookie officially belongs to Eric and I AM ALL ABOUT IT. MAKE OUT! 

9:01 - YAY a full hour! That was good. Now for previews for net week! Woa! Lots of weird stuff coming up! GODRIC!!!!!! Also... is Jason going to turn into a panther?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dallas Mavericks: World Champions

Official Championship Shoot
Here it is, five days after the historic Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals, and I am sitting muddling through my thoughts, trying my hardest to figure out what to put in a blog post like this, and I have literally erased everything I've written in the last hour six times. It seems there are hardly any words in any arrangement that truly express what this fan feels right now. All I can say is that I have been a fan since I was 16 years old (that was nine years ago), and I have never doubted this team. Not once. Through all the ups and downs, hopes and disappointments, blood, sweat, and true tears, I have always believed that this team was capable of winning a championship. Which is what makes this championship win so sweet and personal for me, and I'm sure for thousands of other Dallas fans!

I can't explain  the pride I felt at the end of Thursday evening, looking back on this week. A Mavs championship, a humble MVP, a celebratory parade with 200,000 attending with not one major incident, and all the while the players of that team dedicating every moment to their fans, thanking them for supporting and sticking with them. The unity between the team and the fans, and between the fans and each other, was palpable. We all won something this week, and it's my belief that the fans are as equally thankful to the team and the MVP as they are to us. Which is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Another reason why this win was so sweet.

In a conversation I had with another Mavs devotee, she said "Finally, the good guys won!" I just sat back for a second, nodding, and said, "You're right! That is what it feels like!" I think many fans feel like that about this win. For so long we've seen arrogance and pride reign in the NBA. With the Heat, we saw three juggernaut players thrown together: they had swag, they had talent, and two of them specifically were completely sure of themselves and let it be known. But in the end, it was the stoic, quiet, humble Dirk Nowitzki that got that MVP trophy. It was the Mavericks, with not a "big three" but a solid team effort (especially from the bench), that rose to meet the challenge in the finals. It was team work, it was humility, it was thirteen years of focus, experience, and desire that brought the Mavs to this sweet win. There are no short cuts. Dirk proved that, and it couldn't have been a better lesson for a team like this Miami Heat, with their "King" James, to learn.

I was lucky enough to be at the AAC Game 6 Watch Party with about 18,000 other fans the night we clenched the championship. It was amazing, to say the least! People started lining up outside the doors of the AAC as early as noon (I know this for a fact because a friend of mine from high school did it and that's how I got to be at the front of the line to enter. Don't worry, no one was angry behind him; all the fans were surprisingly cool with it, covered for me, even!)! It was a sold out event, which is crazy if you think about it, because we all really just bought tickets to sit around together watching TV.

Really it was the energy and atmosphere of the crowd everyone was looking forward to when they purchased their ticket for the party. If we won the game that night, where else would you want to be rather than with a ton of fans to celebrate with? I wouldn't trade that experience for anything. The sense of community I felt with the fans around me was just brilliant. We were all there for the same reason, cheering for the same goal. We all understood without having to say anything to each other why it was important for us all to be together. I feel like that game meant more to us all than just winning.

The way I watch Mavs games is pretty intense. I am never comfortable, not even when we are a far ahead. I've learned after years of watching that anything can happen and not to take anything for granted. That's why I was completely tense the entire game. Even during the commercials. If something happened that was good I jumped up and screamed! If something happened that was bad I jumped up and screamed! Then in between I sat there kind of rocking back and forth, trying to keep my heart rate normal. I don't think it ever was, hah! No conversation was had. I couldn't focus on anything other than the game and my nerves. It wasn't until the last 4 minutes of the game, when everyone around me was standing and the Mavs were up by ten points, that I allowed myself to imagine that we could win the championship right there. Then, it wasn't until the last 56 seconds that I actually got excited and started jumping around. I collapsed in the arms of my husband, overwhelmed with excitement and emotions, and finally able to relax because I knew they had done it. I won't lie, there were tears.

As the the buzzer sounded, streamers and confetti shot out of the top of the arena, everyone was screaming and dancing around, and "We Are The Champions" started playing in the AAC (I also received twelve text messages from friends who were celebrating elsewhere). Everyone in the arena was cheering, high-fiving, hugging complete strangers, singing and swaying along with the song. It was the coolest thing I could have experienced. We watched the team celebrate on the jumbo-tron, and I couldn't even believe that it had finally happened. I was stunned! It was one of the best feelings in the entire world. Nine years of cheering on this team, nine years of wanting this so badly for Dirk, and it was finally here! Dirk's trophy presentation was drowned out by chants of "MVP! MVP!"

As we left the building it was like entering a sea of people all headed for Victory Plaza. Ever so often someone random would come up and high-five us or shout "GO MAVS!" and so everyone around would whoop and holler. Also there were bits of "Let's go Mavs!" chanting throughout the crowd in different patches. We went from the AAC straight to an Academy to get some championship gear around 11:30, but the line wrapped around two buildings, so we went to Cafe Brazil where tons of other Mavs fans were. You couldn't drive a mile in Dallas without hearing honks and seeing waves from fellow fans! The overall feeling is kind of hard to describe, but here is a the video I took of the celebration!

The next morning I dragged myself out of bed around 8 AM. I knew that the boys were arriving from Miami at Love Field around 11:30, and I wanted to be among the fans that met them at the gate. Since I couldn't calm my mind once I got in bed, I had only slept about three hours or so. I was dragging, but nothing was going to keep me from doing this. I wanted to come through for my team like they had come through for me! At least that's how I viewed it. Justin and I picked up my mom and headed out there. There were thousands of fans! We had to park far away, it was hot, we were getting sunburned, but no one had a negative word to say. We found a place against the fence across from where the plane would land and the group standing with us immediately welcomed us in, and we made friends. I was so impressed with the overall attitude of Mavs fans through this entire ride. No one was pushy, rude, or otherwise.

When the boys finally landed, about two hours after we had arrived at the air port, we were hoping they would make the long walk from the tarmac to the fence to say hello. As I understand it, not many teams have in the past, but the Mavs had mentioned the fans so often in their championship talk that we were confident. Of course they did come over after emerging from the plane holding up their trophy. Each player (most had a cigar hanging out of their mouths) came up and down the fence line, taking pictures, yelling, carrying the trophy, and showing their appreciation for us. On our end, we cheered, held up signs, took pictures, and (I for one) basically stood awe-struck. When Dirk came over we all chanted "Thank you Dirk! Thank you Dirk!" The following are all my personal pics!

Here's Mark Cuban cheering after a picture.
Jason Kidd carrying that trophy!
My favorite Puerto Rican taking pictures of the fans!
That beautiful GERMAN!
That's my boyfriend, Tyson Chandler.

Jet put the trophy up to the fence so we could touch it!
I came home after that with a lump in my throat. Seeing, right in front of my eyes, the joy the team felt, especially Dirk, and feeling the gratitude they had towards us was humbling and touching in a way I didn't expect. As I sat down to edit these pictures, scrolling through each of them, sharpening the images, tears formed in my eyes as it started to really sink in. The surreal fog began to lift and I started to get it, that we had won an NBA championship and all the struggles, frustration, heartache, and devotion from all sides of this franchise had been rewarded with this reality. What a beautiful thing!

Official image from parade Presentation
The next few days, anytime I saw clips from the game, it was hard not to get emotional. I couldn't believe how easy it was for me to get choked up, but seeing your MVP get as emotional as he did after the win makes you feel it, too. At the parade, which I wasn't able to attend but caught on TV, it was obvious how happy Dirk Nowitzki was. After an entire season -nay, a career- of pushing away the urge to celebrate before it was time, of sitting quietly in press conferences and answering harsh questions, of being berated unfairly, and being called names he didn't deserve or earn, he could FINALLY let loose and enjoy his success. The time IS now. He could stand tall with his hands in the air and a smile on his face knowing NO ONE cold take away or deny what he has achieved. I've never seen him so happy, and it was just wonderful!

This team pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps, won the old fashion way, with hard work, determination, loyalty, while supporting one another, and they did it with class and humility. Then, their fans mirrored that in the way they celebrated and responded to this epic event. I'm so proud to be a citizen of Dallas and to be a fan of the Mavericks.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Movie Review: X-Men: First Class

There were some pretty big statements made about this movie before it was released, and one of them was that it was going to rival The Dark Knight for best super hero movie. Anyone who knows me can guess my reaction to that statement. Yes, I did scoff at the idea. In fact, I shrugged it off completely because going into a movie like this with expectations like that would have been an utter disaster, not to mention horribly unfair to the film.

It's probably not surprising to anyone that I did not find this to be the best super hero movie, especially not better than The Dark Knight. But that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the heck out of this movie! It was very good. I felt the story was interesting and well balanced. There was just enough humor to counter-act the many, many people who are killed throughout the film. There were just enough allusions to the original series to remind us who these characters are and where they're going, without being cheesy and self-indulgent. The cast was well assembled, all fitting into their characters well, especially Kevin Bacon as the villain. Plus the effects were well-done and realistic enough that it didn't distract away from the plot. And let's not forget the score, which I thought was beautiful (if I can say that about an action film), particularly in the scene where Erik lifts the submarine. There were a few parts of exposition I felt were rushed, but nothing that mattered in the long run. All-around great job.

I was surprised at just how serious this movie got in some parts. We begin at a concentration camp where we learn that Erik's past is immeasurably tragic. It's truly heartbreaking. We begin to understand why Magneto becomes who he becomes throughout the movie, as he struggles with the difference between right, wrong, vengeance, peace, and retribution. There are also, as I have mentioned, tons of people who are killed in this movie, including a few characters we grow fond of. Then, they are quickly taken away. It is not as light-hearted as some of the other X-Men movies have been.

What truly anchors the entire movie is the chemistry between James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. The entire reason this movie is interesting to people is because we want to see how these enemies started out friends, and just what did happen to make them choose two totally different paths to walk on. Without these characters having an obvious connection and special bond, the story would have lost its power completely. Luckily Fassy and McAvoy were perfectly cast together. Both brought so much heart to the movie. The friendship and fallout these two men create for these characters is beautiful and tragic and wonderful and brutal all at once. The whole time I felt it was exactly what the fall-out between Anakin and Obi Wan should have been, had the Star Wars prequels not sucked so bad.

Overall, I LOVED this movie. It was so much fun, so enjoyable, but also left me feeling emotional in many scenes. I can't wait to see it a few more times this summer.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Top 5: Things to look forward to Summer of 2011

Summer is finally upon us and as a high school English teacher, I get to fully enjoy the benefits. And man do I need it! This year has been trying but fun, however I am glad to sit back, relax, and really anticipate one of the best thing summer has to offer: ENTERTAINMENT. Here are the top five things I am looking forward to this summer.

#5. True Blood

As the time for this show to begin again in its fourth season, I find myself getting more and more excited for its return! It would be easy to lose some interest in a show you have to wait for nine months in between seasons, but as I've rewatched season three I can't help but agree with the show's tag-line: "Waiting sucks." So far, this show has only gotten edgier, sexier, and crazier. It may get outrageous, but in all the best ways. Now I am rooting for Sookie to get with three different men? All of whom I adore for different reason? I can't even begin to handle waiting. Thank goodness it's summer and this series is coming back in just a few weeks!

#4. Game of Thrones

This show has completely blown my mind. Ever since it began I was just astounded at how beautiful this show is visually, and how captivating the story is. Since we've started watching eight weeks ago, my husband began reading the series. He's now on book three. Each book is about 1,000 pages long. Guys, it's GOOD STUFF. Watching Sean Bean in a role like this warms my heart every week (I heart Ned Stark!). I love so many characters, I hate so many others (but in the best ways), I need to know what is going to come of them all, and it won't be for another few weeks that I will find out! Come on summer, bring it on.

#3. Wilfred
Guys... I cannot even describe how excited I am for this series to begin. I've been such a huge Elijah Wood fan for so long, and all I've ever wanted to see him do was some form of comedy (to this day, I still hold the Elijah Wood episode in my top 5 favorite episodes of SNL)... and look! Look what he's doing! I am absolutely beside myself with anticipation. When I read in Entertainment Weekly last year that Elijah had signed on for this project, I leaned over to my husband and said "Justin, we're going to have to get DVR now." He did not object. Indeed, well before I knew anything about the show, I knew I'd need DVR to keep the show until it came to DVD. If Elijah Wood is a part of it and it's a comedy, I know it will be awesome.

The premise of this show seems unique, maybe even risky for a television show. I think it's a refreshing and bold notion, to dress a man in a dog costume and know that the show is going to be so good people will accept this and love it! And I've always loved Harvey, the movie this premise reminds me of with the precious Jimmy Stewart, where he sees a bunny no one else can. All the promos I've seen for Wilfred have had me laughing out loud. Not to mention, some of my favorite punchlines in any show are about animals who act like humans but sometimes can't help that they're still animals. It's why I love Brian the best on Family Guy and why I compulsively watch The Fantastic Mr. Fox, laughing over and over as I go. It's also probably why my favorite TV spot for Wilfred is where Wilfred is using an actual shovel to dig up the backyard, because he's anxious. Look it up on Youtube. I just... I CAN'T WAIT!

CONFESSION: My top two are tied. There's no official #2 because the next two things are equally #1 for me. 

#1. The Mavs in the Finals & Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
I never imagined that I would write a post where I would have to choose between the Mavericks and Harry Potter... so I wasn't prepared to rank either above the other. So I didn't. There really is no way for me to do that anyways. It would be like picking my favorite child. I've loved both for so long, they each have rooted themselves deep in my heart. 

The Mavs
I've been a huge Mavericks fan for about a decade now, and all I've ever wanted for them was to win that title. I've been unwaveringly faithful to this franchise, and to Dirk Nowitzki, never questioning them, never doubting them. Even when they've broken my heart, I've never turned away. I have always believed in them, through stress, through tears, through disappointments. I know that they will get their time one day, and that no one in the entire NBA deserves it more! And this, RIGHT NOW, is finally their time. They are in the finals, they are on their way, and I cannot wait to see the outcome. There is nothing I want more than for Dirk to get that ring, because no one has worked as hard as he has for so long with one team. How could I rank anything above that after so long? The time is now! Let's do this! 

Harry Potter
This isn't just something I've been waiting all year for, it's something that seems like I've been waiting all my life for! Ever since I started reading the series, I wanted to know how it was going to end, and then when the final book came out, it was all I could do to keep from wishing it could start over again. Since then all we had to look forward to was each movie installment, and with each film being released it seemed that it hadn't ended. We didn't have to say goodbye! Now, finally, the last movie is just on the horizon, and the Harry Potter series will officially be over. It's something I can't wait for while at the same time I want to prolong the wait. I want to see it, but I don't want it to ever end. It's a beautiful part of my life that has meant so much to me, my husband, and so many of my friends, and saying goodbye to it with all of them is the only way I want to spend opening night. I'm so thankful it's coming out in the summer so I can truly enjoy the midnight showing and say goodbye to such a wonderful part of my life!