Ahhh. One large bowl of Japanese pan noodles from Noodles & Co., complete with several fat, juicy shrimp: 100% birthday free. DELICIOUS.
While enjoying that, I finally got around to watching "In The Land of Women."
I hesitated on checking it out; I had this idea in my head that I'd looked up something that made me not want to watch it. In retrospect I'm assuming that thing was either the main character's job as a softcore porn writer (not an issue at all), or Kristen Stewart being involved. (I seriously need to know why people hire her, because she has the most vacant/dead eyes I've ever seen, and she only has one facial expression even when she's smiling. It says 'I have no emotions and this is dull.')
But the first two minutes featured this adorably heartbroken sniffling, and told me I had made a good decision in overriding my vague warning light.
Relevant: this is saved under the name "puppybro."
In other words, if you ever watched The O.C. and went 'god, I wish there was a whole movie starring Seth Cohen at post-college age,' or maybe 'The O.C. is so stupid; I wish that hot Adam Brody dude would act in something worthwhile,' this is your ticket! He is charming and perfect throughout. At one point his mother says 'women have always been drawn to you,' and that's basically the plot of the movie.
Specifically, the mother and daughter across the street both making him their confidant (kissing may be an occupational hazard), plus his batty grandma hanging around the edges while he ostensibly serves as temporary housekeeper/caretaker. Also! There is a ridiculously cute bulldog in multiple scenes that he gets to pet and play with. And a younger sister across the street being the most perfectly precocious and charming 10-year-old a person could ask for. Not a whole lot happens, plot-wise, but it's a nice portrait of Midwest suburbia and all of the non-Stewart people are really wonderful.
Seriously, she's like a meme.
P.S. I don't know who any of these girls are, but they were all a) better actresses than Stewart*, and b) so realistic as typical teenagers that I rewound their single quick fangirl scene like 5 times because I was so impressed with all of their faces/enthusiasm/inflection.
Honestly, they also had more on-screen charisma than the girl playing his ex.
*I can hear you squinting "not sure if movie review or Kristen-bashing session," but honestly, the more I think about how many freaking movies she's been the star of in a few short years, the angrier I get. At least when I couldn't stand Dunst or ScarJo when they were making All The Movies, it was just because I didn't like how their faces. They could still emote.
How do we all feel about Anywhere But Here, by the way?While we're on the topic of old movies. I watched it with my mom when I was like 14 shortly after it came out - I'm pretty sure it was her idea - but I think I liked it then even though it wasn't something I would have picked out. The one thing I never forgot was when they nab furniture from the trash curb in a rich neighborhood. I like to think it was a precursor to my future garage-salin' ways. Upon a rewatch, it still holds up pretty well as a mother/daughter film, but did it do well critically/at the box office/in the popular vote? Because I'm pretty sure it's the best movie Natalie Portman ever did.
Meanwhile, turns out the soundtrack is basically perfect RS music circa mid/late 90s, which incidentally is right around the time I was establishing the boundaries of my musical kingdom. I am in ecstasy. [edit: so of course the libraries have no copies and YouTube is like 'what are half these songs of which you speak.']
OK! Television! Is a thing I am going to make progress on if it kills me.
OK, so I still haven't seen the episode of The Middle that aired on my birthday, but like a month ago I finally caught up on all the ones before that, which would be, let's see...4x13-17. So here are just a bunch of jumbled observations, because Future Me enjoys reading about this show.
* One of the few times I've really enjoyed Brick was while he was patiently explaining to everybody's favorite (especially as a psychologist), Dave Foley, why he shouldn't need to bother interacting with people his own age.
* The Wrestlerettes vs. Cheerleaders dance-off was kind of amazing.
* Sue looked so PRETTY at the Valentine's Day dance! It's the first time she's picked out her own style and looked amazing in it.
* Not sure how I feel about Sue/Dumbo. Icky, but kind of cute at the same time? They were so lame and dorky about it at the post-dance cleanup that I couldn't help giggling. I love a show willing to embrace the fact that just because you are 16 doesn't mean you have literally any idea how dating and/or boyfriends are supposed to work, or that your attempts will be any different than what they were at 13, even if you technically have previous experience. A lot of shows get praise for "realistic" teenagers, and a lot of them are valid/well deserved and a lot of them are heartwrenching in their realisism, but honestly, I marvel every single episode at how Sue defines a whole new plane of "realistic teenager."
* Frankie's "Oscar party" preparations cracked me up.
* "The Wheel of Pain" is my favorite episode title ever, and even the memory of Frankie standing there ready to spin it is making me laugh. Loved her scrambling attempts to throw Sue a party anyway while appearing not to have caved.
COME ON, SELF, THAT'S REALLY ALL YOU CAN REMEMBER? For shame.
Other shows I am one million billion years behind on: The Office, where I remind you that I am 100% out of the loop, and will therefore be merrily plugging along like nothing past these episodes has happened or even been spoiled by official spoiler sources.
[edit: I actually watched these a few weeks ago, but the ending on the second one threw me for another loop so I had to call retreat.]
9x13, "Junior Salesman"
Ooh, sneaky "accidentally left on?" spy cam antics at the beginning. I'd say that's good follow-up to the meltdown/Boom Guy interference. May have watched the teaser like six times.
That was really funny! I LOVED all of Dwight's weirdo friends, especially Certifiable Rolf. Mose's weird running makes me laugh every time. And I can never take Agent Dornegan seriously on NCIS again now that I have seen him as one of Dwight's Weird Bearded Cousins ("everyone was in the shower. it's a cow shower." Duh.)
...wait, now they're only going to pay Jim for the days he's actually here? You're saying that up til now, David Wallace actually agreed to pay Jim the same salary for only working half as many days? That seems entirely crazy. Are we sure he is of sound mind? But I loved Dwight's unholy joy in antagonizing Jim throughout that call and then laughing in his face.
Also Dwight hissing "turn around!" (Jim: "Man, I love staring off in one direction") followed by "covertly" dragging his chair back into the office ("just act natural!") while Jim casually waves." It's always fun to see them reluctantly team up, especially if the reluctance is Dwight's. It's almost as much fun to watch him team up with Pam. SURPRISE PLASTIC WRAP SUFFOCATION PRANK!
Aw for Jim's vehement TH: "No, it does matter who ends up sitting next to Pam when I'm gone. The people around you are basically who you end up spending your life with. Because of where my desk was, I spent all those years looking at Pam. And I fell in love, so...that stuff matters. It definitely does."
2 seconds later: "Oh. Ugh. *whines* Man, Brian, I thought we were cool! Be cool, Brian!"
Overall: I was curious what kind of Jim/Pam resolution we'd see, and I like what we got -- the real resolution off-camera, as it should be, but with hints of lingering tension. As it should be. I enjoyed seeing Pam keep herself stiff and closed off, and Jim respecting that space while doing what he does best to apologize when words aren't enough: running around behind the scenes to make things better for her. Yup, that's the Jim I need.
P.S. Oh, and apparently this episode could have somehow been even BETTER, as an entire subplot got deleted:
Erin tries to find her birth parents with Pete's help.
FLIST I NEED YOUR HELP. The one major drawback to not keeping up with this show is I miss the insta-access to the deleted scenes that OfficeTally links you to and I don't know where to find them. I fear they may be gone since they're usually hosted on the NBC site and nothing stays long there. Anyone know where I might find backups? Can you maybe use your Tumblr-savvy powers? I only know how to find Glee and Castle stuff on there. I was really looking forward to this. :(
DID NOT EXPECT THAT ENDING.
But tabling that issue for now, let's talk about other things:
* OK, fine, the friendly boom mic tap was really cute.
But they're right. I now officially don't like how they're showing me this weird fourth wall breakage. Put it away, please. I guess I've always operated under the assumption that they hire student crews each year, basically (hence the lack of filming over summer), and I am not prepared to know the same people have been listening to them for almost a decade.
* I hate Oscar. I hate him so much. I want him to die miserably. Preferably strangled. The only thing I liked about the entire lame "Phillip's birthday" storyline was Kevin being all, "Thanks for the food! Except you suck and you're a terrible person. Again, great food, thanks!"
* The Jim/Darryl/apartment storyline was...my notes say "Oh good. Jim acting like a childish idiot. THAT'S fun." Also, I thought Pam was the messy one? How bad does their house look? Messy Jim is not the impression I got from "E-mail Surveillance" and I do not want it.
* I am actually really, really sad and kind of upset about the destruction of her mural, because it is (was) really cute and really basically impossible to fix without starting over. :(
But Pam yelling "Are those butts??" in her very best Mom Tone made me laugh in spite of myself. Random note: her hair looks so cute up in that clip! It's the perfect length for that hairstyle.
* I'm glad it turned out to be someone from the warehouse, because I thought it was odd how aggressively she was interrogating everyone with no proof it wasn't an outside source. Not that I don't love Investigative Team Pam/Nellie, but I was 100% ready to blame teenage hooligans.
* I did not love her rather gross form of revenge, but I'm glad to see that Pam has learned how hurting others can make you feel good. I was always so disappointed that slapping Michael didn't bring her the natural joy it should have. Plus, she's right -- "I got back at Frank in the most fitting way possible: with my art." And then she's quick to babble about how it's not permanent or anything and it's easy to get rid of, because she's adorable and perfect.
I guess that segues to the ending
As we recently learned on Glee, dudes slugging other dudes in defense of women is pretty hot, but it's way hotter when it's actually in the name of physical defense and not her hypothetical honor. I don't know if Angry Guy actually would have attacked her when it came down to it, but I didn't expect him to come charging at her like a rabid bear, either, so WHO KNOWS. But that is maybe the coolest thing I've seen this show do in a while.
[hang on, about to allude to quasi-spoilers][edit: I just stupidly googled basic keywords trying to remember the name of a season 2 episode (BECAUSE LOOKING AT MY DVD IS APPARENTLY TOO HARD), and I saw some really scary looking Jim/Pam headlines circa mid-February. Are you saying it gets worse? Can the fact that they're from mid-February mean it gets better after that? Update: probably not, since I forgot the show went on a 1-month hiatus at that point and its most recent episode was "The Farm," so I feel like a lot of Jim/Pam forward motion did not happen in that one. *curls up in the fetal position and rocks* I am pretty much terrified to look at the next two upcoming eps...]