Friday, April 30, 2010

An Overactive Imagination

I think I watched too much Matilda as a child. I loved the movie. I recall it being one of the ones I'd rent over and over again. I haven't watched it in full in a number of years, and wouldn't mind revisiting it one day.

Anyways, in the movie, the title character, Matilda, develops telekinetic powers to combat her mean parents and evil principal. I have a strange irrational fear that stems from my painfully overactive imagination: I am afraid that anything I imagine or think about will come true. I also immediately envision anything anyone tells me. I often get myself very worked up after I have nightmares involving something happening to someone I care about.

But in many ways, this overactive imagination of mine is a good thing. I tend to live in the clouds a little bit. I've always been like that. When I was 13, and really starting to get into movies, I fantasized about being "discovered", and becoming a famous Hollywood actress. I would star in the Pirates of the Caribbean sequel as Johnny Depp's sidekick. Depp would take me under his wing, and I'd spend vacations in France going to the beach with him and his family. I'd win an Oscar for my amazing performance, and I'd tearfully thank Depp for being my role model and my inspiration. I even had the entire plot line for the sequel plotted out. In my version, Mel Gibson played Bootstrap Bill. This was before his anti-semitic rant. As you all notice, I say nothing about a romantic relationship with Mr. Depp. I never really fantasized about that. Again, due to my overactive imagination, I thought that if I fantasized about that, something would happen between him and Vanessa Paradis, and he seemed like a pretty happy guy to me. I was perfectly happy being his sidekick.

As you all know, the sequels came and went. I did not star in them. I didn't even cameo in them. So...if my imagination is so powerful...why am I not in France right now drinking expensive wine with Johnny Depp?

Monday, April 26, 2010


I watched Downfall this afternoon. It is a German film about the last days of Hitler and the Third Reich. I'd been wanting to watch the movie for a number of years, and when I saw that it was on TV last night, I decided to tape it. I figured taping it was best, since it was three and a half hours on TV, and I just don't have that great an attention span. Since the movie was subtitled, paying attention was necessary.

Despite having it on tape, where I could fast forward through commercials, I still had difficulty paying attention. It's not because I disliked the film (in fact, I loved it!), but it was because of the subject matter. I'm a huge history nerd. In University, I took a number of European history courses, primarily because I love World War II history. I find it fascinating. The film uses actual footage from an interview with Traudl Junge, one of Hitler's secretaries, and a main character in the film. Of course, I had to look her up. I read a number of Wikipedia pages pertaining to historical figures from the film, and events that occurred within the film.

I was watching the movie upstairs, so I had to pause the movie and get my lap top when I realized that I just had to read about Bruno Ganz, who plays Hitler in the movie. Then I realized that reading Wikipedia while watching a subtitled movie just didn't work well. So I kept having to pause the movie. That's alright, because I learned a lot from Wikipedia, and I had nothing else to do this afternoon anyway, so I could take my time watching the movie.

Yes, the movie was a long one, but it didn't feel long. As I've emphasized, the subject matter is fascinating to me, and it is presented well. The acting is fantastic. I'd actually been reading about the film a few days before during a spare moment at school, so I'm really glad it was on TV this weekend. I'd actually planned on adding it to my list of 200 movies to watch, but I'm just as happy to have gotten the opportunity to watch it earlier. The only issue I had was with the number of characters. I had trouble keeping track of the names of most of them, so I had to identify them by their faces and actions. But that wasn't a big deal at all.

If you haven't seen Downfall yet, check it out. It's excellent.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Summertime in the Theatre

Okay, so it's not quite summer yet, but it sure feels like it. On Friday night, I met up with some friends to go see Kick-Ass. It was fairly quiet in the theatre, which was surprising, since I thought it'd be packed.

This semester, I haven't gone to see many movies. I've missed it. It was strange entering Silvercity Polo Park for the first time in at least three months. For one, I noticed that they'd raised the prices since I'd last been there. Secondly, they got rid of New York Fries, and replaced it with Pizza Pizza, and some other chain I'd never heard of. I wasn't impressed. I generally got a poutine and a drink, especially when I went to movies around dinner time. My joke was that without my weekly business, New York Fries went under. I'll need to make a note to see more movies.

Kick-Ass was an alright movie. It was quite hilarious at times, and often very shocking and disturbing. Chloe Moretz, who played Hit-Girl, really stole the show. Hard to believe she's only 13 years old with that kind of talent. She looks very young, however. I wouldn't have put her older than 10 or 11 in the movie.

I feel very out of the loop when it comes to the movies being released. I don't really know what's coming out this summer. I've been so busy that I haven't really had the time to keep on top of it. But now that school is over, I'll be able to really follow that, and hopefully I'll get out to see more movies!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Music Videos

After posting my montage, I've found myself thinking about music videos lately. I'm not a big music person (lack of musical education, I don't know what's "good"), but I do often find myself opening up YouTube in search of a song or two to play while I do my homework. Sometimes I end up watching the music videos.

Music videos are like a little movie. They often tell a story, related to the "story" within a song. These are the ones I like the best. My favourite songs are sad songs, so adding sad imagery that follows the story of the song is very moving to me. While studying today, I started playing my current favourite song "Sometime Around Midnight" by the Airborne Toxic Event. This song has two music videos: the older one directed by Jason Wishnow. The second one was filmed after the song gained popularity, and was directed by D.J. Caruso. He's known for directing the movies Disturbia and Eagle Eye.

I just had a very bizarre experience. I'd planned to write about how the first video is miles above the second one, in terms of emotion and power, but I watched both videos...and the first one didn't quite move me. Sure, I felt something, but there were no tears. I watched the second one, and it moved me much more than the first. Maybe it's because I've played the song about six times in a row by now. Or maybe it's because of the awesome story behind the song. Video #1 tells the story of the song. Video #2 tells the story of how the song was written.

Since I have a tendency to write when I am hurting - poetry, fiction, diary entries, et cetera, maybe video #2 resonates with me more now that I'm not "living" the song in a way I once was. Here's both of them:

Video #1:

Which one do you prefer? Which one do you feel best captures the "tone" of the song. I still think I prefer the first video.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

I've Made my First Film

Well, montage to be exact about it. For TV class, we were given an assignment to shoot and edit a montage set to music. I picked music from my favourite movie, Edward Scissorhands, "Ice Dance" by composer Danny Elfman.

I had it easy because from the moment I'd heard about the project, I'd decided that was the music I was going to use. I was going to shoot it in the Winter, and there was going to be a scene of the "lovers" dancing in the snow. Now, when I shot my footage, the snow was melting, but I still got my little dance bit in at the climax of the music. I have to give my most sincere thanks to my amazing actors, Tammy, and her husband, Murray. They really made it great.

I recognize that I am not strong at shooting or editing. It's because I'm not a particularly visual person. I like to think that I am a pretty good writer; give me a keyboard or a pen and paper, and I'll write and write, but if I have to make an image look clear, focused and "artistic", then I struggle. I've accepted that I'll never be a great visual artist, and that I will always have to work harder at InDesign/Photoshop and Final Cut Pro than others may have to. Doing this montage was very difficult for me. It doesn't help that I am also not great at mastering programs like Final Cut Pro. But ultimately, I did the best I could, and I am really proud of my work.

I think I'll leave the filmmaking to the masters, like Tim Burton. As a child, I always wished I was able to draw, or do anything similar, but as an adult, I am so proud of my writing ability, and wouldn't trade it for anything.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I Like Superhero Movies

And I'm proud to admit it. One of my most anticipated movies of the year is Iron Man 2. I saw Iron Man in theatres opening weekend, and immediately wanted to watch it again. I saw it twice in theatres. Later that summer, The Dark Knight came out in theatres, and it was the best superhero movie I'd ever seen. It was dark, depressing, and the final monologue had me in tears. As the lights came up, and my cousin and brother saw me weeping, they both shouted "You're crying?!", and a number of people turned around to watch me sob into my napkins. It was embarrassing. But that was in Calgary, so no harm done.

The Dark Knight was an exception to my general belief that superhero films are a sort of escapism. You sit back, don't think about realism, and watch the good guys beat the bad guys. They're fun. Generally, I trust that when I am watching a superhero movie, I'll leave the theatre all "pumped up" with a smile on my face.

I remember when Spider-Man came out. I never watched the cartoons growing up, since I thought they were "dumb" and "boring", so my Dad had to drag me to the movie. "You'll like it!", he said. I watched it, and had a good time with it...but I couldn't ADMIT that I liked it! So it was a few years before I could admit to myself that I enjoyed the superhero genre. This was after buying the first two X-Men movies on DVD (I told myself it was just because I liked Hugh Jackman). But when you start watching all of them in theatres, even the really bad ones, it's time to admit you have a problem.

But it's not really a problem, because superhero movies are lots of fun. I like to fantasize about a world where I'd have some sort of neat super power. Yes, people who have powers are always persecuted it seems, but that's because society is afraid of people who are different, and are afraid of people with cooler powers than them. I'd love to be able to fly or teleport, or shape shift.

But even if I couldn't have special powers, I'd settle for a really awesome suit made of metal.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Aggie was kind enough to lend me her copy of Kids, and I got around to watching it last night. I was particularly curious about it, because I recall a friend on a forum I post at writing about their hatred for this movie. I'd looked it up back then and it sounded interesting to me.

As I watched it, I braced myself for something tragic and depressing. And on one had, I did get that. The movie is shot documentary-style, and looks at the lives of the characters over the course of a single day in New York. The characters are all young teenagers, 15, 16, even 13 years old. They experiment with drugs, talk frankly about sex, and drink, among other things. I often have a difficult time relating to films where the young characters are so out of control. My teenage years were very different. They were by no means easy years (in fact, they were probably the hardest of my short life), but I never drank or did drugs or behaved the way these characters did in the film. So I wonder just how accurate the picture painted was. Do teenagers really act like this? Maybe because I was so innocent in that way, it just felt very over the top to me.

One issue I did have with the film is the fact that I couldn't feel anything for any of the characters. It was very sad and shocking subject matter, but I didn't feel emotionally attached to a single character. It was very strange to watch a film so tragic, but feel nothing. At the end of it, I thought the feeling was similar to watching a car accident: you know it's terrible, but sometimes you have a hard time feeling anything, especially if you don't see anyone who is injured. But at the same time, you can't look away.

I thought it was an interesting film, though. I did like the documentary-style of it, and I like that it portrayed a single day in the life of all of the characters. Thanks Aggie!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Collect Things

I like to collect things. I chalk it up to being a naturally sentimental person, and many of the things I collect have strong memories attached to them. I took some pictures of the things I collect, and thought I'd share them.

Beanie Babies
(my shelf is so big, I had to do it in two photos!)

I haven't added to this collection in a number of years, but I like to keep them on display. As a child, I spent about six years collecting Beanie Babies with the help of my Mom. She'd go out and buy a bunch of them whenever new ones came out, and I'd pay her back or she'd give them to me as gifts. I'm not sure which, if any are worth anything anymore, but I don't know if I'd sell them anyway. They are such a big part of my childhood, so there's that nostalgia value to them.

Ticket Stubs

These are just a few of the ticket stubs I have. I keep them all in a photo album, mostly because I don't have anywhere better to keep them. The album is getting full though, so I'll need to buy another soon. I started collecting them when I was first because I was too lazy to throw out my stubs, but then I realized I was getting a sizable collection, and decided to stick with it. Since then, I've saved almost every stub, from movies, concerts, sporting events, plays, etc. Usually I'll group them together in no particular order, but the really "special" ones, from events I want to remember get their own sleeve, along with any other stubs that I feel are relevant.


Some of those are video games, but most of them are my DVDs. I remember receiving my very first DVD on my 14th birthday: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. Since then, I've built up a collection of about 120 DVDs - mostly movies, but there is also some TV on DVD in there. I used to buy a movie or two a month, but since CreComm that habit has stopped.


Most of these are mine, but a few belong to my Dad. These are only a few of the books I own: I have many more up in my room. In fact, this shelf used to be for my Dad's books, but I've since taken it over. I started buying books after I graduated high school, since I found that I no longer had easy access to books. Yes, there's a library near my house, but I've found that I really like owning books. It feels good to go into a book store, spend two hours looking around, and drop $150 on a bunch of different books. But I don't do that anymore, again, because of CreComm. I don't really have time to read, so I've got a bunch of unread books sitting in my room.

What do you collect? Post pictures!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

Y'know, those movies you know you shouldn't love, but love anyway. The ones you feel you have to "make excuses for". I've got a couple of them, and I'm not going to feel guilty about them! I'm here to confess some of my favourite "guilty pleasures".

Van Helsing

I don't like Stephen Sommers as a director. I haven't liked anything else he's done, but I adored Van Helsing. I saw it in theatres when I was 14, and just starting to get into posting on forums online. I remember proudly proclaiming my love for the movie, and having a well respected poster respond with something like "well, you like what you like. We all have different tastes." Hey, at least I wasn't flamed, right?

I love this movie so much, I bought the "Ultimate Edition" of the DVD. It came with a bunch of extra features, and some of the classic monster movies the film is based on (I haven't watched the other movies yet! I will though!). I still watch it at least once a year. I justify my love for it because it's just such a fun popcorn movie, plus Hugh Jackman and David Wenham seem to have a lot of fun with it. I was always disappointed they never did a sequel to it.

Happy Gilmore

This is one of the movies I have to watch anytime I see it on TV. Adam Sandler is not great, but he does have his bright moments, and this is one of them (Punch-Drunk Love and 50 First Dates are other bright moments). The premise is just so...ridiculous but it works for me. A wannabe hockey player realizing he can play golf? It just works. Plus any movie with a Bob Barker cameo has to be fun.

When I was 16 and in Drama class in high school, I performed the opening monologue from this movie for my final monologue (equivalent to a final exam). I think I walked onstage with a little hockey stick, and pretended to skate around while I did the monologue. Surprisingly, I got a good grade on it.

The Astronaut's Wife

I fully recognize that this is not a great movie. It's not even a "fun" movie. I watched this movie a few years ago, because I really love Johnny Depp, and was curious about it. I was fully aware of how bad it was supposed to be, but justified it by thinking that at the very least, there'd be a bit of eye candy. Yes, it's far from Depp's best performance. The script is terrible. But I still really enjoyed it, and will catch bits of it on the odd time it is on TV.

I'm not sure how widely seen this movie even is. Has anyone else seen it? It's not one I recommend to people, but I am curious about how many people have seen it.


Okay, so I confessed. Now it's your turn. What are some of your "guilty pleasures"?

Friday, April 2, 2010

"Yes, Yes...I'll Get to it One Day..."

This will be an entry full of confessions.

Confession #1: Before today, I had never seen Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

But I did watch it tonight, and I enjoyed it! I was in the mood for something light and fun, and I sat there the whole time with a big smile on my face. It was a really fun movie, and it has gotten me excited about the Chicago trip next month. I tend to have a bit of a preoccupation with tragic or serious films, so I've missed a lot of the more light-hearted films out there.

When it finished, it left me wondering..."why had I waited 20 years to watch this movie?"

This brings me to confession #2: This is the first John Hughes film I've seen.

I was going through his filmography just now, and I have seen a few that he'd produced and written, but none that he'd directed. I fully realize just how shameful this is. I never watched them as a kid. I saw a lot of movies in the theatre as a kid, and only seemed to want to watch "new" movies when we went to the video store. So as a result, I missed out on a lot of the classics. Even now, I tend to go to the theatre a whole lot, except I haven't been in several weeks. This is probably the longest I've ever gone without seeing a movie in the theatre.

But I've been wanting to check out several of John Hughes' films for a long time. I remember being 15 years old, and sitting in drama class with several of my classmates, who were all talking about The Breakfast Club. We were beginning to write the skit we'd perform on our drama night, and my classmates wanted to include references to it. Since I'd never seen it, I was rather quiet during that time (which was not hard for me, since I was known as the "shy, goody-goody girl" in that class). Even at 15, I knew it was terrible that I hadn't seen it. So why have I gone another five years without seeing it? My only explanation is that there have been so many movies I've wanted to see, that it just got put on the back burner, along with many others.

Another very notable one I haven't seen is The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I just remembered this, because in the climax of that skit, we dance to The Time Warp. Yes, there is a tape somewhere of me dancing. I hope it never gets out, because it would be painful to watch. For this one, the timing has never seemed right. I guess it is a movie I'd want to watch with a group of people, or at least one other person, anyway.

So I guess this is where I ask: does anyone want to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show with me?