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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 5: Best posts of 2011

I did this last year before the new year so I thought I'd do it again! Here are my most viewed/commented/or just my personal favorite posts of 2011. (Yes it says top 5, but I decided on 6 because I had a tie, haha.)

6. Movie/Book Review: The Lovely Bones

I was late to the party with this beautiful book, but it still hit me pretty hard. This is my review of a book that changed my perspective on many things while also bringing me a new favorite author to follow.

5. The Hunger Games Casting Reactions

In 2010 I speculated on who I thought would be great in the movies. In 2011 they actually cast for the film so I posted my reactions. Discussion ensued.

4. Movie Response: Harry Potter and the 
Deathly Hallows Part 2

After the ending of the Harry Potter movie series, I had a lot of feelings. I poured them all into this enormous post that's much longer than any true movie review should be. Not ashamed.

3. When To Get Worried: Is my TV show on its way out?

I had some epiphanies while watching a few of my shows change -in a bad way- this year. In this post, I catalogued all of the things I think lead to the untimely death of a show and signs to look out for if you're wondering about one of your shows.

2. Character Break-Down: A Defense of Snape

Before the last Harry Potter movie came out, there were a lot of mixed feelings about Snape as a character. Was he a selfless man or a bitter bully? I have always felt Snape was fantastic, so I laid out all my HP books  and started this Snape Defense essay. It's one of my most reblogged posts on Tumblr and one of my most viewed and discussed posts of last year on this blog. Whichever side you land on, this may be an interesting read.

1. Dallas Mavericks: World Champions

One of the high-lights of my year was absolutely the Dallas Mavericks winning the NBA championship. I was at he Mavs watching party at the AAC in Dallas when they clenched that title, and then I met the boys on the tarmac at Love Field the next morning to congratulate them. This post is all about that experience and what it meant to me for those boys to finally win.

Also, one thing happened this year that has changed my life very much. I lost my cousin, Chad, and I was blessed enough to be asked to speak at his funeral. Speaking in front of all those people terrified me because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep it together, but the fact is that it was very easy to talk about Chad because he is such a beautiful, amazing, and hilarious person. All that to say that I posted my Eulogy for Chad Linley here on this blog, and I wanted to leave 2011 giving you guys another chance to read about him.

Happy New Year! Reign in 2012 with class.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Movie Review: Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

I went into this movie having not read the book, and also being slightly uninterested in seeing it. However, I knew there was immeasurable hype surround both the book and the movie, so I knew I needed to see it. I was excited to see what all the fuss was about and went in with an open mind.

The movie begins with what may seem like incredibly odd opening credits. As someone who knew nothing of the story and barely anything about the characters I was about to meet, the oddness had no context and so it didn't really work. As I left the movie, I remembered the opening and chuckled to myself because, even after knowing everything, it still seemed out of place. It may have worked better as part of the closing credits instead... who knows?

Rooney Mara was awesome. For me, she was absolutely the best part of the entire movie. I read somewhere that she is "the next Kristen Stewart" which is too cruel a comparison to be real. Rooney is much more dynamic, talented, genuine, and explosive as an actress than Stewart could ever hope to be, but the hype that statement was meant to express is true. Rooney certainly proved that she should be the next big thing. 

I also enjoyed Daniel Craig in this movie. He portrayed Blomkvist as likable and down-to-Earth. He was another part of the movie I really liked, which helped pull me through some of the stuff I did not. However, I did not enjoy a lot of the movie and all the reasons have to do with the choices Fincher made as the director, not the story itself or the acting. The film was uneven, unbalanced, and I felt a lot of it was choppy. For viewers who have read the books, it may seem different to you because you know what's coming and you know all the stuff that was left out, therefore, it may flow more easily for you. But for a viewer who has not read the books, not only did the story not flow, but the big reveal of the mystery and events stemming from that seemed anti-climactic.

Basically, the rest of the film never lived up to the intensity of the rape scene, which happened in the first 30 minutes, was exposition, and had hardly anything to do with the main story lineI feel like Fincher paid too much attention to that scene and less to others he should have highlighted. That scene was so powerful, so meticulous, and so obviously choreographed to the finest detail/camera angle/sound effect that it made me wonder why Fincher didn't spend that amount of effort on other, much more important events in the story. 

I wanted the rest of the movie to be that meticulous. I wanted the film to show me that amount of intensity and focus, but no other scene ever really did that. When the most fierce scene has already happened in the first 30 minutes, the rest of the movie doesn't pack a punch. Many people have said to me "Well, the rape scene is that intense because it's like the book" but my issue is not about being faithful to the book. My issue is that the way Fincher dealt with that scene is what made the rest of the movie unbalanced, in my opinion. Why spend so much time highlighting a piece of exposition, then later skimming over actual important plot points and events? 

It raised questions in my mind of what Fincher was thinking when he was editing and why he didn't think to allude to more and show less of the rape scene, so that later he'd have time to pay more attention to things that mattered more to the story. The same things could have been achieved for Lisbeth's character had he edited that scene down; I am not saying it should have been cut altogether.

OR if the climactic moment of this movie had been done with as much care as the rape scene, I probably would have no issue with it at all. I would have felt that the ending was satisfying and the movie more balanced. Either way, in order to fix this problem, one of the two things I've mentioned needs to have been changed. 

Overall, I would say that there was too much hype around this movie and not enough delivery. I think if I had read the book I may have enjoyed it more, but as a neutral viewer, the story fell flat with the way Fincher presented it. If you love the book, see it! If you like action mysteries, you may enjoy this movie. If you are neutral and don't care one way or another, don't waste your time. If you can't handle rape scenes, run far, far, far away. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Movie Review: Sherlock 2 - A Game of Shadows

I have been waiting quite a while for this movie to come out. I loved the first Sherlock Holmes, and so I was eager to see what the second in the series would bring.

Going into this film, I understood the risks of it being a sequel, so I expected some "cheesy" moments like what we witnessed in the Pirates series, where the same joke was referenced in nearly the exact same way. Those things were abundant, but not overpowering in Game of Shadows. The movie, overall, was really enjoyable. After a while of thinking it may stay too close to repeating "safe" element of the first, it catches its own rhythm and momentum. Also, there were even some things I could have never expected. At the end of the movie, although I started out unsure, I decided that I enjoyed it and it was a good movie.

The only thing I was a little annoyed about was it felt like Ritchie relied far too much on the slow motion action sequences that made the first film so unique. Watching Sherlock's thought process as he decides in split seconds which strikes to make in a brawl was mesmerizing in the first, but in the second he does it again and again, and eventually it is beat to death. We get the shtick, let's see something new.

The chemistry between Jude Law and Robert Downey Jr is, once again, what carries the movie, even through some of the rough patches. Although she was around most of the film, Noomi Repace almost went unnoticed as her character was barely a plot device (and personally, I felt her purpose could have just as easily been served by Rachel McAdams' character), but Stephen Fry was a hilarious and brilliant addition to the cast.

This movie was fun, fast-paced for the most part, and enjoyable. If you want to have a good time, see it. If you love the first one, see it. If you love RDJ or Jude Law, see it... just... see it. It's fun.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nerd Christmas Gift Ideas

I thought, since I am such an enormous nerd, that I should share with my readers some fun Christmas gifts I have gotten from my friends in the past, just in case it helps anyone who might be having a hard time finding a great gift for one of their nerdy friends. These are great gift ideas if you are creative and artsy, but also there are some good ones even if you aren't. (They mostly surround Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, but you may be able personalize them and tweak them to fit other things, too!)

TOMs shoes:

This year one of my friends bought each of us a pair of TOMs shoes in the color she thought would be best for us and then painted them to fit our favorite things! They turned out beautifully, and it's a great way to incorporate the receiver's personal favorites into what you give them. Plus it means more because of the effort and work you put into them. Not to mention that when you buy a pair of these shoes, one pair goes to a child in need. Can't get better than that.

Lord of the Rings on one foot, Harry Potter on the other!

The ocean and mountains on one shoe, the forest on the other.
Melissa is a nature lover.

Lace was added to Ashlie's shoes, as were these beads. 


For those of you who aren't great with painting, but you are slightly crafty and have the ability to string some beads together, you might look into making meaningful pieces of jewelry for your nerd. These next few pictures are examples of how to bring out important things from your nerd's favorite movie or book series.

This is a gorgeous "Snape" themed necklace Rocky made. It says "Always"
with a Lily and a doe in a frame. Any Snape fan would love this. 

Another Harry Potter themed necklace. It says "expelliarmus" with
Harry's lightning scar framed, the Deathly Hallows symbol, and a phoenix feather. 
And simpler still are singular charms that represent their favorite stories:

A few beads create tiny "snitch" earrings and necklaces for Harry Potter. 
A leaf charm and a tree for Return of the King.

Or, if you really want to do something special or unique, you could use actual excerpts from the books or real movie images to make the jewelry like so:

An old calendar with a screen cap from a movie...

...turns into a really special charm with words from the story.

RECREATE important moments:

Most nerds enjoy fantasy/sci-fi stories, but there are elements of those things that will never happen in real life. We get it, we're not crazy, but that doesn't mean we don't secretly wish that it could happen. So, this next one is a simple gesture that shows your nerd that you may not "get" it, but you know how important those things are to them. 'How sweet,' they'll say. Check out what one of my best friends did for me this year at Christmas:

What, did I open a box and find that a tiny owl is
delivering my very own Hogwarts acceptance letter?
With the correct childhood address and EVERYTHING? (Yes.)

And inside... a real letter with correct fantasy font? AND worded just like the book?
Don't forget there's a supply list.

It's even signed by Professor McGonagall!

This is just Rocky being adorable with her owl. 

Ashlie did this for all three of us this year (us = Rocky, Melissa, and I) and she did it all on her own. She didn't have to buy much, just special paper to print on and whatever it cost to get the envelopes stamped with the Hogwarts crest and addresses. She also downloaded some special fonts and then typed the letters herself, using the books as a reference. Simple but SUPER special! Something that is completely doable and will blow your nerd's mind.


If your nerd has dreams of visiting their fantasy worlds, for some books and movies that is a possibility. Surprise your nerd with a trip to Universal, Disney World, or ... if you're really nerdy and rich, New Zealand!

A nerd in her heaven.

Another nerd visiting his childhood.
Or, if you aren't a bajillionaire (or have no desire to go into debt) and there is no way you can surprise your nerd with a trip for Christmas, you could do what my friends and I did. We have always wanted to visit New Zealand because we love Lord of the Rings and basically... NZ = Middle-Earth. However, that will cost approximately $05863957986724856, so instead of crying about the impossibility, we decorated jars to stash a "NZ-fund" in. That way, the idea is always out there and the hope that one day we will get to go isn't smashed. This could be a really cute way to bring a dream like this one more step into reality for a nerd yearning for a trip.

All the stuff on the outside of the jars are images that motivate us to save
because they make us WANT TO BE THERE.

Hopefully this list has been helpful in one or another. If it wasn't exactly what you had thought it would be, hopefully it had things you can tweak to fit your situation. And finally, if it wasn't helpful even in that last way, hopefully you got a great, big laugh out of just how ridiculous I am in all my nerdom. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Starkid Spacetour: Dallas House of Blues

Firstly, if you don't know who Starkid is... you MUST read this amazingly accurate article about them from the Chicago Tribune, RIGHT NOW.

I can hardly believe I never blogged about this. On November 13th I was lucky enough to get to go to the afternoon show of Starkid's Spacetour at the Dallas House of Blues. Charlene Kaye opened for them and it was just fabulous. Plus, I got to meet two of my favorite guys after the show.

The show at the Dallas House of Blues was SO amazing. Perhaps one of the most unique concert experiences of my life. It was like watching showtunes, but you could sing along, and it was a concert... but there were skits and a little stand up.... and... it was just GREAT.

About 30 minutes after the afternoon show, I walked back behind the venue in order to put more time on my parking meter and Dylan Saunders was standing back there chilling out with Clark from Jim and the Povolos. At first I kept going towards my car, but then I realized if I didn't stop and be a creeper and ask for a picture, I'd kick myself. So I went over to him and talked to him!

He was SO sweet and completely genuine. I got to talk to him for about 10 or 15 minutes. I told him how impressed I've always been with Starkid and how smart I thought they were for doing what they do. He was so thankful and gracious about everything I said and he hugged me about 3 times in the course of our conversation!

I asked him what they were thinking about doing after the tour and in the long term. He talked about how the tour is an experiment and they'd love to continue acting, since that's what they're all trained in first and foremost. He also mentioned they have 2 other shows written and that they may want to re-vamp Starship and hopefully, if they have a way to do this in the future, tour those shows!! It was so interesting! And I was so grateful that he was so easy to talk to -and willing to answer questions.

It was also really special to have an uninterrupted (and kind of intimate) opportunity to tell one of these Starkids, sincerely, how awesome I think they are. And I'm so glad it was Dylan. It was perfect.

So after that I was so happy, I didn't feel like it was necessary to linger and see if I could catch anyone else. I went back to put some more time on my parking spot so I could eat before I went home, and when I started walking back towards the venue, guess who I saw. Joey Richter!

I could not BELIEVE my luck. He must have just come out there and he only was able to stay out there a few minutes, but I was able to get a picture with him, too! I pointed out to him that I was wearing my Ron shirt because of him and he said "Well, I was gonna say!" Then he hugged me for the picture, which was ADORABLE.

Needless to say, my night was TOTALLY awesome!

I just know that these guys are going to BLOW UP one day, and people are going to be shocked that I was able to meet and chat with them like it was no big deal. Hah!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Short Movie Review: The Muppets

I loved "The Muppets" so much!
More specifically, the following:
  • The musical numbers
  • The dancing
  • The cameos
  • ”Rainbow Connection”
  • Jason Segel being awesome
  • The fact that I thought the lyrics of “Muppet or a Man” sounded like Flight of the Conchords lyrics, and then found out that Bret McKenzie wrote the songs for “The Muppets.” 
  • Amy Adams’ entire wardrobe
  • 80s Robot
  • The ever-growing need to see Amy Adams in a true, full-blown musical
  • Everything

It. Was. Precious. Jason Segel did a great job with this film! Go see it right now.