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This is the first time I've done that since Away We Go in 2009. Courtesy of a flyer in the mail informing us of a nearby theater that had recently lowered its matinee pricing to $5.50 and came with a coupon for a free popcorn in their largest (refillable) size with purchase of a ticket -- it turned out both of my parents were willing to come see Contagion with me. I know, it seems like the opposite of a movie that would whet your appetite, but my dad has an iron stomach and then we got a refill afterward to take home so Mom and I could enjoy it.


The main message I took away from the story was "idiots, stop traveling so much," but overall, I was very happy with my choice to see this in theaters. I just couldn't wait on a story promising me Matt Damon as a father amidst all the ~TRAGEDY/POTENTIAL TRAGEDY~.  And now I have scads and scads of scenarios to play with!

First of all, Matt Damon is hereby installed in my hall of Guys Who Should Play Everybody's Father. I was worried about how much screen time he was going to get, so I was really happy that became a central plot strand. By far my favorite part of the film. But I also got very attached to Kate Winslet's character...you know, I didn't learn a single character name, so I'm just going to call them all by their real names. Very attached to Kate Winslet, as well as Laurence Fishburne. By the way, I love how this movie has even more stars than you expect from the star-studded trailer. 'Sup, Unexpected Bryan Cranston!

I'm declaring it a good movie due to the fact that my eyes were wide as saucers for the first 3/4 of the film, staring in rapt attention, on the edge of my seat as the pace went flying by. It hit a severe stall during that blah "heartwarming" moment between the researcher and her father, and things thereafter wrapped up almost too quickly for me to follow, but most of it was a heartpounding adventure. Thumbs up!

And now, back to my warped fascination with tragedy. I'm unhealthily in love with pandemic stories, but it's so hard to find a good one that seems realistic and doesn't resort to either
a) "it's the future, crazy science stuff happens"
b) "the aliens did it!", or
c) OH NO, ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!

I was just really pleased that this one toed the line and gave me absolutely everything I wanted in a disaster movie and expected from the trailer.
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Community, 3x01

True story: I had so little interest in tracking down Community this week that I was actually about to announce I was dumping the show sight unseen, or relegating it to a show I only watched/wrote about if I happened to catch it live. But I made myself check it out, and...yeah. It took about ten seconds of that glorious surprise musical number for a glitter bomb to explode in my heart. I've watched it three times and show no sign of stopping. Woooooooooo! I can't even talk about the Jeff/Annie angle yet; the music/lyrics/dancing are everything right now.

Jeff then proceeded to spend the episode (up until the end, boo) being my sounding board of Pierce hate. It was even more glorious than the opening! And in general, so much made me laugh so hard that it put all the preceding comedies of the week to shame. I even watched it a second time so I could jot all the LOL moments down:

-"Can it, boobs."

-Jeff: We have parted ways with our closest, oldest, craziest, most racist, oldest, elderly crazy friend. And he's not coming back.

-Jeff's face when Pierce announces he is, in fact, back.

-Jeff echoing my "DAMN IT!" as the group welcomes Pierce back to the fold.

-Shirley: I see you've added a lizard to your special hat and sideburns. Am I missing anything?
Starburns: Yeah,the human being underneath it all. But no one's really interested in that, are they?
Shirley: No...

-Abed's high-pitched and endlss whine upon finding out Cougar Town has been kicked to midseason. From now on, whenever I tell you bad news about one of my shows getting canceled or an awesome pilot featuring Martin Henderson and Rachelle Lefevre not getting picked up, I want you to picture me emitting this noise. It will be entered as *Abed whine*.

-Jeff's face when Pierce gets his spot in Biology. Man, Jeff's Face should clearly be winning an award for this episode.

-Leonard: Alll haaaail Sir Eats Alone!
Jeff: Shut up, Leonard, I heard about your prescription socks.

-Cougarton Abbey! Inspector Spacetime! (E-rad-i-cate! E-rad-i-cate!)

-Also, Abed's reaction when Cougarton Abbey ends with everyone dying ater six episodes: A++++ skewering British TV in general, but Abed's reaction is priceless: "Um....UMMM...AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! *catatonic*"

-Chang's creepy voice: "I'm free, Jeff. Frrrree."

-Chang hurling a ham. Jeff slipping and falling on his ass while attempting to avoid it. When it doubt, go slapstick. Never fails.

-"SHUT THE F--" EXCELLENT. Normally, I do not notice the lack of swearing in TV shows, because whatever they replace it with sounds reasonably like what people might say. Not this time, though. In my canon, Jeff goes right ahead and explodes without reining himself in on time. These people need a good cursing out right about now.

-Jeff calmly walking out. And then running back in two seconds later with an axe and hatcheting the table to death. "AS LONG AS IT BREATHES, IT CONTROLS OUR LIVES!!!" Deranged!Jeff made my life.

-Jeff: As someone who's been on the other side, I can tell you: it is a scary, lonely, Chang-filled world out there.

In conclusion, never let me forget that this is the funniest thing since Scrubs, OK? Because I'll probably forget it a lot.


CSI: NY, 8x01, "Indelible"

[A digression before we begin: Flack has ditched the gel, embraced the gray, and blammo! We're back on rock-solid terms. See how easy that was?]

All of my fears that I wouldn't believe what's-her-face as the same Claire I've built a mental shrine to all these years were immediately put to rest. It helps that I don't know who this actress is, but from the opening seconds, I bought this marriage hook, line and sinker (hip check! the hip check sealed it). I was genuinely afraid of how they were going to manufacture instant domestic perfection, especially when Mac/Peyton already had such a successful run at it, but they nailed it. A lot of that was Mac -- it was wonderful to see him get to indulge in his lighter, unguarded side. The opera tickets gag worked like a charm. I got very starry-eyed and hand-claspy. But it was her doing too; I suspect based on a shallow judgment call of her appearance that she could have very easily been this side of annoying, but it was all very quiet and understated. Just a perfect partnership.

[edit: haha, okay, I only just now registered that N*Sync is playing in the background. I don't even know what to do with this greatness yet.]

I loved the bus ride, too. Admittedly, some of that got so cheesy that I'm not sure Mac wasn't just making up perfect last-morning memories as he went along. But I happily took it all, hungry for every scrap and doing head-nodding, "bravo" claps between the handhold and the kiss. In the new barren wasteland of romance that is my primetime lineup, I am going to be savoring this for a long time.

Surprisingly, where they lost me was in the attack itself, which I assumed would be the easy part to do well. To get as far as "I'm OK, I got out"? Oh, that is just CRUEL. I have always thought Claire was just lost -- no time to call, or he couldn't answer because he was already in the thick of it. I always envisioned a heavy end to the day, when all the hours spent hoping you were just too busy to connect finally give up the ghost, and she still isn't home. I could handle that. This is...so much worse, to have a moment of relief (although I did like that) and then a dead line. What even happened to her? Are we supposed to assume she got hit with flying shrapnel and just -- what, evaporated? I never researched 9/11 so I don't really know any of the detail about what happened once the towers collapsed. This is a failing on my part.

The closure-providing ending left me feeling hollow. I get the symbolic gesture they were going for, since Claire has always been a presence, but at the same time...I kind of feel like she's always going to be that kind of presence, that he'll continue moving on in stages like has from the beginning, not like a sharp corner was rounded. Yes, this is 100% due to fear of hypothetical Mac/Jo. Ignore me.

Other 9/11 Profiles
Jo: Sucky thing #23095820395 about Stella leaving -- we don't get to see her flashback. I have a feeling it would have been incredible. Much better than the ever-lame Danville.

Lindsey/Adam: could not care less. Is this what it's going to be like with Danny out in the field, these two spending gross amounts of screen time bantering/friendship bonding? Because if so, unfair. I'm so ship-starved I was considering obsessing about Danny/Lindsay again this year.

Sid/Hawkes: irrelevant, except for the part where Mac came in and said a prayer over the dead firefighter. That could so easily have been cringeworthy, but it came out solemn and moving.

Mac: there, that's what I signed up for -- Heroic Mac in the thick of it, grabbing and shielding random women out of the path of destruction. Is that really what it ws like when the buildings fell? Violent waves of smoke and ash?

Flack/Danny: mostly Flack. I definitely ESPECIALLY signed up for Heroic Flack, solo rescuing one woman with a head injury requiring support to walk and a clingy comfort embrace. Unexpected 2 for 1 shipping bonus!! (did I say the shipping had to be romantic or canon in nature? if so, scratch that; I merely need the behaviors on the Checklist of Tragic Scenarios. It's like the Checklist of Cute, but with more injuries instead of smiling).  

And I guess there was a thing where it was the first time he and Danny met. I'm not sure how that's relevant when there's a pretty girl with a bleeding head wound in the scene...no, give me a second to watch it again, and there. I'm amazed by Carmine's ability to do some solid emotional acting for the first time in years. Great stuff between them.

Side note: I am in love with the framing/lighting/art direction of this shot. Doesn't it just look like an iconic photograph of the times?



Present Day
Case: pointless, irrelevant, distracting, ignore it.  Except for Flack, unapologetic as always -- "Sorry, it'd be much more interesting if you guys used smaller words."

DNA lab: Awww, you didn't tell me Lab Girl was gonna have short ugly boy hair! Boo. I'm much less interested in her now.  That said, I enjoyed Mac getting short all of a sudden. "Claire. Her name is Claire. And the victims are not just DNA profiles, they have names."

Ending: Totally cried. I never cry at mere speeches. But there it was. This is also the first time I've heard of the memorial wall, so...

In conclusion: I thought it did exactly what it set out to do, and provided a beautiful, moving, fitting tribute episode in a way that really no other show on the air right now has the means or history to do*. Big opportunity, big responsibility, successful delivery. (*Law & Order: SVU has opportunity, but lacks the required, shall we say...soul)
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Sooo...right now I'm attempting to watch The Amazing Race (Ethan is not worth it. SO BORED), and watching Glee during the commercials. I feel it's important to update you that in the two point five minutes I have covered of Glee, I have so far felt bored, annoyed, disdainful, and just now started screaming "UNCLEAN! UNCLEAAAAAAAAAAAN!"  I could really use an It Gets Better video message, because right now, all hope seems lost.

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