Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Guy Expo

When I first heard about The Guy Expo, coming next weekend to the St. Paul RiverCenter, I thought to myself “Oh great, either this is going to be a glorified home & garden show marketed for men only, or a bad episode of The Man Show right out of Bikini Night at the Hoggsbreath”. Then I thought to myself, ok, come on, was there ever really a “bad” episode of The Man Show? The only thing keeping me laughing now that it’s long gone is Chelsea Lately (Chelsea Handler’s late night talk show on E), and really, they both have midgets so we’re all good.

BTW- if you haven’t watched Chelsea Lately, or seen any of Handler’s stand-up, or read any of her hilarious books (my favorite being “Are you there Vodka, it’s me, Chelsea”), are you missing out! Seriously, if I were a super hero, and I had a cynical, half-Jewish, New Jersey native, promiscuous blonde sidekick it would be Chelsea. Instead of rescuing little old ladies from getting their purses snatched, every night you would find us slumped over a bar, dirty Grey Goose martinis spilled down our fronts, laughing till bladder loss ensues and we wet our tights/boots combos. I’m sure of it. Anyways, I digress, I know it’s way too early for a bunny trail.

Seriously though, after looking more into this Guy Expo, it seems to defy those far-end-of-the-spectrum stereotypes (either yawn or yell), and looks like it will be a wall-to-wall entertainment-fest of all things manly. Not quite boring enough for your dad, in his Tommy Bahama shirt and Stain-resistant Dockers, and not trashy enough for your creepy ex-boyfriend, with his greasy hair and random tattoos, the Guy Expo seems like the kind of event you’d want to bring your younger brother to. And know that he’s gonna owe you for a long, long time.

The lineup of booths, events, exhibits, and how-to clinics seems comprehensive and impressive. And even though the website is advertising cars and tools and golf, it’s not in the usual snooze-inducing manner that other shows have over-marketed in the past. This actually looks like an event that takes all that is wonderful about the opposite gender, and celebrates it in a fun and creative manner. Even their PR people are saying it should be “loud, entertaining, and slightly irresponsible”. Sounds like my cup of tea, urrr, beer.

With paintball, a rifle range, a beer garden, a tricked-out-garage, basketball and contests with prizes like free beer for a year, (but wait, there’s more), chicken wings and Elvis and a shwag sack full of free stuff, I really can’t think of one good and manly thing that the Guy Expo has left out. There will be thirteen different themed exhibit halls and a 2XL sized“Guy’d Book” to help you navigate your way through the carnival like maze of demonstrations and booths and just stuff.

There will be a contests, including “The King’s Wings” wing-eating contest, where participants need to wear their best Elvis costume to see who can eat the most chicken wings. In the Almost-Darwin Contest men can share their stories about the stupidest ways they almost died. And let’s not forget the Beer-A-Thon, where twelve different local pilsners, lagers & ales go back to back to try and win the title of “Minnesota’s Beer of the Year.” You can sample and judge them for $5 too. Did I mention the laser rifle range, the paintball pit, or the Free Throw & 3-point contests? Or the Most-Tricked-Out-Garage-Ever exhibit (aaah, if only it had been a man cave/basement, imagine the inspiration!)? Or all the free stuff? Or the chance to win free beer for a year? Or the 5,000 happy, placated, single men wandering around under one roof?

Without a doubt, the Guy Expo is going to kick some ass and take some names, and I plan to be first in line for that whoopin’. I am so excited to go, and have set up a Facebook Event, inviting all the guys I know, so if you’re reading this and you happen to be male (I can only think of two of you guys who actually do read my blog, J & R), or you know of a guy who would like to go, feel free to RSVP “Hells yeah” to me on Facebook or comment here. Heads up, I’ll be leaving bright and early Saturday morning (say at about 10:00 am – that’s bright and early enough for me). At least you know the traffic or the parking there won’t be too bad – all the women will be at home! (Insert cheap applause now). Hope to see you there.

P.S. Look for more on the Guy Expo next week, as the owner & creator Shawna Suckow answers some questions for me about how she came up with the idea, and whether or not her husband is one of the Elvis impersonators.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Random Smattering Of Amusement

So, in all honesty, this is going to be pretty random right now. There’s a lot that I want to say, and get out there, but no real rhyme or reason to it, and barely enough content to warrant each topic having it’s own blog post. So in the tradition of GCG (Good Corporate Girls, not your typical GCG Good Christian Girls), I tried to present you with Bullet Points, but sadly, they didn't work. So here you go - Rambling Randomness.

My new favorite quote is from Mad Men Season Two “My podiatrist went to Hazelton. He came back a new man with lots of funny stories. He only drinks beer now.”

You can learn a lot about a person from their Amazon Wish List. This morning I added a ton of stuff to mine, and anyone who were to glance at it could see what is preoccupying my mind these days. Namely Graphic Design, Grizzly Bear, Beer, Sex. Not exactly in that order.

I totally find it amusing that Amazon, in their tags for the book Sex God: Exploring the Endless Connections between Sexuality and Spirituality, by Rob Bell, lists the following in this order: Christian Spirituality, Emergent, Emerging Church, Bad Taste, Emergent Church. Hahah!

I am not a stalker. But I do often browse certain friend’s Amazon Wish Lists. For two reasons mainly. #1 I like to see if there’s anything cheap enough on there that I can get them. And #2, I trust their opinions and taste (I did say certain friend’s), and often find things I’d like to hear/read/try on their lists. Plus, I love my friends, and like to know what makes them tick, but that’s an unannounced #3. Sorry!

Back to randomness – I watched the Notebook last night. I don’t know what made me do this, really. I think it was something in a Facebook thread the other day, joking about watching this movie, and the fact that I’m bored out of my skull being home alone. And it’s not exactly a movie I’d sit down and watch amongst the company of roommates (plural), for two reasons. #1 Some highly suggestive scenes, and #2, I always end up bawling. Not crying, literally weeping, gnashing of teeth, tearing of garments, snot uncontrollably dripping down my nose, heaving for air bawling every time I watch it. Seriously, it wasn’t pretty last night, my eyes were puffy and red as I clutched my favorite blanket to my chest, rocking back and forth in a ball, tears streaming down my cheeks and staining my shirt, muttering the words “Noah and Allie” over and over again. Damn Notebook, curse you tearjerking love story!!

All that crying did inspire me to give myself a facial last night though. I think it was in an effort to reduce the swollen redness of my eyes so I wouldn’t look like I had been on all night bender today. But I had some great sit-around-the-house-with-chalky-white-out-all-over-my-face time, that I wouldn’t normally have or do. I even scared myself. Boredom and loneliness and neurotic weirdness aside, maybe there are perks to having the house to myself for a few days – my skin is glowing today.

Tonight, however, there will be no Romance movies at my house. No, tonight, I will be revelling in all that is wonderful and awesome in SciFi world. That is, the release on dvd (finally!) of Battlestar Galactica 4.5!!! Gaeta, Gaelin, Gay-lactica, it will all be there. YESSS!!!

Lastly, I finally got my MN Walk For Autism letters done, and am anxious to get them out. I have one person signed up on my team to come walk with me, and have handed out two letters so far. I’m nervous about asking people to join my team and walk with me, or for a donation, so if you think you might be interested in raising public awareness about Autism, or supporting me as I do, please let me know!

Well, that’s about it for Random Bullet Point time. I know there were other things I was writing about, but let’s just leave it at this. After all, if I were a Led Zeppelin song, I’m pretty sure I’d be Ramble On. Thanks for reading, Good luck and good night.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I, the ISFP, took the PPTI & am an ATPL. YUMM!

One of the things I miss most after being diagnosed with Celiac’s, is just good old pizza and beer night. And I’m not even talking about at home, $5 Little Caesars and Sriracha Sauce in one hand, Leinie in the other (of course this leaves the remote control firmly cemented between the knees).

I’m talking those nostalgic old times when some friends and we would get together and go grab a slice of pie on a Friday night. The question was never when we could find the time to do it, but always where we would go. For as many of us as there were, there were differing opinions on where to dine at. Me, I’m a fan of the Old Chicago Deep Dish Supreme, or anything from Pizza Luce downtown. Good beer selection, good pizza, good times. Even if we did all agree on a place to go, let’s say, for the sake of argument, Luce, trying to decide what we’ll have on the pizza once we get there is always a challenge. Macaroni & Cheese Pizza? No. Thai Chicken Pizza? Meh. I like a good, garlicky marinara, lots of Italian sausage and spicy pepperonis, oozing cheese, some bell peppers, onion and olives thrown in for texture and of course generous dashes of red pepper and parmesan cheese on top for good measure. Washed down with something really cold, in a big frosty mug preferably.

That’s why I was curiously intrigued when I read Minnesota Monthly’s article Pizza Perfect, touting the world’s first Pizza Personality Type Indicator. Like the article mentions it’s not the pizzas that are so different, really—it’s that the people eating them are.

And after taking the test, I learned I was an ATPL, or that is to say American/ Traditionalist/ Populist/ Luxurious. Eh? Here’s how MM described it: I’m a Lawn Chair Connoisseur (really, me? I’m not bookish or gourmet? Sad day.). Apparentely I “could spend a lot more money on luxuries if you chose to—but you don’t. It’s not that you don’t appreciate the good life, you just aren’t too interested in its trappings. Give you a warm coat, a working car, and a cookout, and you’re happy. Angst is for losers. Fire up the grill!” My pizza is Leonardo’s, in Mahtomedi. MM writes:

“Homesick Chicago transplants have been known to fly down to the Windy City for
a deep-dish pizza because Minnesota, for all its charms, tends to make deep-dish
pizzas that are either not deep enough, or, well, repulsive. It’s time for
homesick Chicago transplants to join hands, sing, and rejoice! There is, in
fact, one place in the Twin Cities that knows how to make a deep-dish pizza. The
place is called Leonardo’s, in Mahtomedi. Call ahead with your deep-dish
order because it will take Leonardo’s a good 40 minutes to cook their Chicago
stuffed pizza, as it should. When it’s done, though, you will have a heavy,
casserole-sized, well-cooked two-inch-deep pizza stuffed with Italian sausage,
Canadian bacon, pepperoni, mushrooms, black olives, provolone, mozzarella,
and—most important—a spicy, garlicky, thick, zesty, magnificent marinara sauce.
They don’t cut it for you—it would ooze everywhere—so don’t plan on sneaking a
slice in the car on the way home. But once you wrestle this thing into your
house, you’ll find it was well worth the trip to Mahtomedi. Put on your Cubs
hat, pop the top on a Goose Island beer, and dive into the best Chicago-style
pizza this side of Belmont Avenue.”

Ok, that makes perfect sense. And while I don’t put a lot of stock in little quizzes such as these, it did remind me of a few weeks ago, at camp, when I retook the Meyers-Briggs again, and saw how my personality & temperament had remained surprisingly constant in the few years since I took it in SHAPE class. Still an ISFP, the description of me as an “Idealist” seemed to fit well. “Idealists are enthusiastic, they trust their intuition, yearn for romance, seek their true self and prize meaningful relationships. Idealists pride themselves on being loving, kindhearted and authentic.” Yep, so far so good. “Idealists tend to be giving, trusting, spiritual, and they are focused on personal journeys and human potentials. Idealists make intense mates, nurturing parents, and inspirational leaders.” Okaaaay. I’m not so sure about the last part, I mean, I’m not yet anyone’s mate, parent, and as for leading, well I know a few under-10 year olds that let me rassle with them occasionally. If unambitious was a diagnosed four letter acronym, would it spell out S-L-A-C-K-E-R?

In any case, all this self reflection, at the prompting of just wanting to kill some time, has made crave pizza, a lot. It’s a good thing tonight I’ll be eschewing my introverted ways, and joining some friends for pizza before the last softball game of the season. Maybe if it doesn’t rain, we’ll have some F-U-N. Otherwise, tonight just might find me at home, with the sad consolation prize of Sriracha, Little Ceasers and a Leinies. S-A-D D-A-Y.


September 17th is set to be a big day at my house. That is the day that Kevin Smith will be speaking at the State Theater in all his baggy khaki short, tee shirted, overgrown facial hair glory. I’m so excited I could crap my pants, if it weren’t for that anal fissure.*

For those of you living in a cave, New Jersey native Kevin Smith is the acclaimed director of such movies as Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy (personal favorite), Dogma (the movie that introduced Buddy Jesus), Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, Jersey Girl, Zack & Miri Make A Porno, and the amazing man who relaunched the Green Lantern with DC, as well as made major contributions in resurging Daredevil back into popular culture (Comics people. Come on, keep up!). In addition he is also the host/speaker of the wildly entertaining, piss on the sofa funny An Evening With Kevin Smith lecture & dvd series, wherein he visits sundry campuses and fields sometimes serious, sometimes wacky fans in a Q&A format. Having been a fan of this series, I can also say that he does great big, robust justice to the term Bunny Trail, as well. Big old, hour long, rambling, entertaining bunny trails.

Anyways, because I’m a big fan, and because I’m totally broke (I’ve taken a lot of unpaid time off this summer, apparently), a few weeks ago I emailed his team at the View Askew Universe, offering my blogging services in exchange for a discounted, or dare I even dream, free ticket to the show. I basically said I’d blog about the upcoming show and my thoughts on his other lectures, in exchange for said ticket. But sadly, I never heard back. Not a “No thank you.”, not a “Hahah, whatever, media whore.”, nothing. And so I thought to myself, surely they must not have received my email. I’ll just offer again. And nothing. Yet again, nothing.
Now, even a girl like me has her pride. Yes, a girl like me. One, who I’m coming to realize, doesn’t always act her age, bounces around, has a happy dance, skips, and apparently needs a hockey helmet and a bib to go in public. But that’s another post for another day (and probably the reason I’m falling off friendship cliff with every guy I meet). Nobody likes to be snubbed.
And so, because I said I would, I’m going to make good, and blog about the upcoming show at the State Theater, and how excited I am about it. I’m also going to spew my askew views, and call this post Snubbed. Because that’s exactly what I am. Now I know that my blog, entitled A Woman’s Right To Shoes, may not be the coolest, or hippest one out there. Nor does it probably adhere to the demographic market of Mr. Smith’s target audience – aka adolescent boys and men who live at home in their mother’s basement. But, I like to think that I’m a funny woman. Though the primary subject of a lot of my posts is Jesus, and my personal relationship with Him, it is He Himself that in His wisdom and glory when dreaming me up gave me a wicked funny sense of humor. Yes, sometimes it’s sick, and mildly inappropriate, and as my friend Krista is always keen to point out, I do enjoy poop humor a bit more than the average woman (ever ask me to sing the Poop Song from the Sarah Silverman Show season 1? Well you should). But, to get to the jist of it all, I am funny, and I do believe that my blog would be a good PR tool for promoting this show. I may be deluding myself, but two lattes by 1:00 in the afternoon will do that to you.

So, get ready world, because in the next few days I plan on taking A Woman’s Right To Shoes down the testosterone alley, and blogging about Kevin Smith’s body of work (it, like the man himself, is shall we say, well-rounded). I plan to do a few movie reviews, and more importantly, comic book reviews, and who knows what else. And if you’re reading this, and have made it thus far without becoming grossly offended by anything I’ve said, then maybe you’d like to come with me on September 17th, to the State Theater, and we can see Kevin Smith yak at us live for a few hours. BTW – can you spot me a $20 for the ticket?

*For those of you who think I just copped to having an anal fissure online, I don’t. It’s an inside (Ooohheee, no pun intended) joke, for those in the know. And if you don’t get it, you don’t know. And if you do, then you know that there is nothing wrong with my bum. ‘Nuff said.

Monday, July 20, 2009

RomCom Roast!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m not a “Chick Flick” kinda girl. Matter of fact, I kind of detest them – feeling like they set up unrealistic and unattainable expectations of romance and relationships for women. Truth be told, in real life there are no magic moments of being swept off your feet by a prince on a white horse, and riding off into the sunset. If only there were. Movies aimed at a young, female demographic play ruthlessly and unabashedly on the voids that the fall of mankind has left in the male/female dynamic. Because they play so acutely to the warped sense of worth, value, adoration and longing in young women today, they can be addictive and deceptive. And frankly, I don’t need movies to play with my emotions, and create in me a sense of longing for something that no human man can ever fulfill. I can do that pretty well on my own, thank you.

That being said – there are a few movies in this genre that I actually do like. Just a few though. In a huge fit of irony, most of them fall under the category of “Worst Chick Flicks Ever” as rated by Entertainment Weekly magazine. A few, however have also fallen under their “25 Most Romantic Films of All Time”. For the most part though, any of the movies that I do like represent a more realistic view of love and relationship, or at least have some plot twists that accurately depict the realities of life and the human spectrum of emotion and relation to another person. I may pretend to be a hard-nosed cynic, but I think that deep inside resides some glimmer of hope for my own prince to come riding up on his horse. Even if said horse does end up crapping on my lawn during his “we should just be friends” speech.

My Top Five Favorite Romantic/Chick Flicks, and my justification for their very existence, in no particular order, are as follows:

The English Patient (1996) – Life never works out the way you want it to. That’s a given. And in this story, by the time Katherine Clifton and Count de Almasy, a Hungarian mapmaker working for the Royal Geographic Society, meet and fall passionately in love, life has already thrown them the curveball of her marriage to a friend, for the sake of companionship and convenience. Add on top of that the political stresses imposed by World War II, a jealousy-enraged, suicidal husband (played by RomCom staple Colin Firth), and the inevitable death and misery (including amnesia and disfigurement) that accompany their story, and here’s a tale that truly shows that sometimes, things just don’t pan out they way they should. The sparks of chemistry and romance that exist in the interim however are beautiful and haunting. Or maybe that’s just the exotic locale of North Africa. Anyway, in the end, one man’s relentless devotion to the woman he loves is masterfully portrayed through his painstaking and ultimately life-altering trek through the dessert in a vain attempt to save her life, and eventually collect her remains. The scenes of Katherine waiting for him in the cave, writing by a dying light amongst the swimming figures painted on the walls are unforgettable and poignant. And this doesn’t even touch on the charming story of French-Canadian Hannah (played sweetly by Juliette Binoche), his eventual nurse, and the strapping Sikh land-mine diffuser she falls for, as she nurses Count de Almasy through the end days of his life in a deserted Italian villa, drawing out his memories while trying to determine his identity. Even if I wasn’t a pushover for anything epic, dramatic or set in World War II, this movie would win my attention with the bathtub scenes, the Christmas dance scene (“Swoon, I’ll catch you.”) and Naveen Andrews floating in mid-air amongst the ruins of a muraled church.

The Painted Veil (2006) - Who doesn’t love Edward Norton? Yet, even for all his acting chops, it took this movie for me to ever see him as a credible romantic lead. And though he’s a stellar actor, it wasn’t his looks, or his performance even, that flipped that switch in my mind. It was the underlying emotion and smolder he subtly portrayed as a man in love, jilted but faithful, that changed my perception. Well that and the fact that this breathtaking, sumptuous movie was a labor of love for him that took him years to produce. The Painted Veil is the story (A W. Somerset Maugham adaptation) of Walter and Kitty Fane, newlyweds who married for convenience, and without strong knowledge of the hidden character (or lack thereof) of their mates. Shortly after being married and moving to Shanghai, Walter discovers that vain and shallow Kitty is carrying on an affair with a dashing and handsome diplomat. In an act of revenge and prevention, he accepts a job studying a deadly cholera outbreak in war-torn inland China. Dragging Kitty along with him only serves to further sever their precarious marriage bonds even more. But as each of them work through the cold, loveless partnership that they’ve found themselves in, amidst the hardships of pestilence and the complexities of cultural barriers, they find that the turbulent challenges they’re facing are enough to grow their love into something deep and meaningful, something it ought to have been in the first place. The Painted Veil, to me, is a story that shows that true love must be worked on, and can develop naturally within the confines of respect, care, intentionality and virtue. It’s about the truth that sometimes we choose to love as an action, rather than focus on whether or not we feel it as an emotion. Love, in this movie, is a virtue that must be cultivated and worked on, and the hardship that accompanies marriage prove a fertile ground for it to bloom. Virtue, in fact, is a theme in this film that is addressed in one of my favorite lines “As if a woman has ever loved a man for his virtue.” This line never fails to remind me of a nugget of truth that my old pastor, Pastor Steve, once pointed out. That is, that any two people, purposefully devoted to the Lord, and willing to work at love, can get married, and have a successful, and loving relationship. It’s exactly what Kitty’s mom tells her, at the beginning of the movie. Only Kitty, in her idealistic, romantic notions, fails to see the point, and replies “Please Mother. The idea that any women should marry any Tom, Dick or Harry, regardless of her own feelings is simply prehistoric.” No, not prehistoric, just self-sacrificing, which is exactly what the Painted Veil paints, in a large, complex and romantic way.

Say Anything (1989) - Maybe the reason I love this movie is that it was the film I saw on my very first date, back in 8th grade, with the rebel bad-ass pre-teen Neil. Nostalgia runs deep. I think there’s a lot more to it though, because at it’s core it’s a story of two slightly mismatched people discovering that adoration and commitment can transcend social boundaries and expectations. Let’s face it, Lloyd Dobler (played with such innocent naivete by a young John Cusack) is one of the greatest male romantic characters in all of film history. Really, if you ask me, this is one of the greatest romantic movies of all time. What’d I say about nostalgia? Lloyd is a lovestruck, yet deeply faithful, aspiring kick-boxer/high school grad, who doesn’t “want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career.” He also doesn’t “want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed.”. You know, as a career, he doesn't want to do that. Which makes him a very unlikely match for Valedictorian Diane Court (Ione Skye). Having fallen hard for her in high school, he pursues her the summer after their graduation, while she is trying to determine a path for her future life. His future life consists solely of just being there for her. As her tells her father, at one point “What I really want to do with my life - what I want to do for a living - is I want to be with your daughter. I'm good at it.” And throughout the movie, as she struggles with decisions and revelations, he does exactly that, proving that the most romantic thing a man can do for a woman is just pursue her. Couple that dedication with the iconic image of him making a stand for their love, boombox balanced overhead, blaring Peter Gabriel's ''In Your Eyes,'' outside her window in an attempt to win her back (I cry every time), and you’ve got the makings of a truly great, mildly realistic love story. To this day, it remains one of my all time favorites, and I guess I have 8th grader Neil to thank for that.

Out Of Africa (1985) - Taken from the diaries and writing of real-life Danish baroness Karen “Isak” Dinesen Blixen (Meryl Streep), this epic movie chronicles the years of her life spent in Africa, as a plantation owner. Much more than just a love story, Out Of Africa is the story of one woman’s growth and discovery, both of herself, and of the namesake continent. At the onset of the movie, Karen agrees to marry her dead lover’s brother, the Baron Von Blixen, since he needs money and she needs a title. With the money from their marriage, her philandering husband buys a plantation for them, in Kenya, where he intends to raise cattle. World War I breaks out and conflict comes to Africa shortly thereafter, tearing him away from the farm, and from the wife who his slowly growing to love him, despite his cheating and indifferent ways, and leaving her to fend for herself and the farm. Enter adventurer Denys Finch-Hatton (Robert Redford) with his Ralph Lauren wardrobe and his new-fangled Mozart playing gramophone. Above all, he cherishes his freedom and rugged independence while he vocally despises the cultivation of Africa’s natural beauty and wildness happening around him. A romance between the two ensues, as he slowly begins to find roots helping her on her farm, and she accompanies him on safari multiple times. The epic scenery, breathtaking shots of flying in a biplane over a flock of pink flamingos, and the enduring romance between the two lovers are part of what makes this story so memorable. But even more so, watching Blixen’s character develop strength, independence and fortitude as she negotiates and interacts with the Somali natives, learns the in’s & out’s of running a coffee plantation on her own and faces struggle after struggle (from her husband giving her Syphillis, to losing the people she loves to death) is what makes this movie stand out as something unique, and beautiful. With a haunting score and sweeping, incomparable scenery, this epic love story embodies all that’s truly great about grand romantic movies. Yet in the end, it is the romance with Africa that stays with you, just as Blixen’s words convey why: “If I know a song of Africa, of the giraffe and the African new moon lying on her back, of the plows in the fields and the sweaty faces of the coffee pickers, does Africa know a song of me? Will the air over the plain quiver with a color that I have had on, or the children invent a game in which my name is, or the full moon throw a shadow over the gravel of the drive that was like me, or will the eagles of the Ngong Hills look out for me?”

Return To Me – Yes, the premise is highly implausible. After losing his philanthropic wife in a car accident, Bob Rueland (David Duchovny) coincidentally falls in love with the anonymous recipient of her donated heart, only neither of them know it. Yet. And yes, Minnie Driver can be sometimes only mildly tolerable, whining and moping around with a distorted sense of her own looks (no one can see that scar anyways!). But what I really like about this movie is that it’s strongly intergenerational, and accurately depicts the nuances of the support system of varied friend/familial relationships in a person’s life. Very few romantic comedies ever do this. Grace Briggs (Driver) is a young woman who lives with her grandfather, and associates mainly with his slew of geriatric, yet oddly hormonally driven friends. Her best friend is a married with kids older woman, tied to the realistically brutish James Belushi. The dynamics of their own marital bliss (?) serve to reflect a true enough portrait of married life, including Bonnie Hunt’s believable human emotions (i.e., frustration and bitter loneliness) while still maintaining some sentimental romantic qualities of their own. All of these character’s manage to depict, with accuracy and depth, yet entertaining sentiment, the multitude of ways that people’s outside relationships bear weight on their romantic decisions and eventual consequences of those around them. Add to that the fact that this movie isn’t overly stylized or sexual, but gentle and gradual in developing the bonds between the two main characters, and it’s as wholesome and family friendly a RomCom as you can get.

And now, because all this foo-fooness has caused me to throw up in my mouth, here is my list of the all-time worst, misleading, incredibly fluffy, blonde and dumb romantic comedies of all time. I realize there might not be five on the list, I actually haven’t seen that many RomCom’s to begin with, so if my lists are short, maybe it’s a good thing. Oh, and be warned – some of these may be on your list of favorites, and I’m about to skewer them alive. So sue me.

P.S. I Love You – Really? After weeks of bitter mourning for your dead (albeit totally hot) husband, just a few letters are enough to snap you back to reality, hard enough to justify drunken karaoke and trips to Ireland?? This movie is completely inplausable. Hillary Swank is unsympathetic, which is tough for a young widow to pull off. And there’s not quite enough of Gerard Butler or Jeffery Dean Morgan to justify this piece of overly emoting fluff. One critic said it best when he wrote “PS I Love You is a teary, unabashedly sappy, romantic comedy with every element as purely calculated to appeal to a heterosexual woman's romantic fantasies as an episode of "All My Children."

Must Love Dogs – More of a bad sitcom, than a bad movie (though it was that enough as well) this overly wrought turn at depicting the search for love past your twenties seems contrived, underutilizes it’s talented cast, and has hardly a sympathetic moment.

That one with Jennifer Aniston where she plays tennis and is from Pasadena. AND I’m FROM PASADENA!! This one is so bad that I can’t even remember the name of it – I must have blocked it from my mind.

The Break-Up (2006) - It’s tough for me to knock this one, due to Vince Vaughn’s ever towering presence. Yet, instead of a emotionally detailed story of marital complications, this movie left me feeling sick to the stomach at the trite and catty ways that the characters use to make each other miserable. Specifically Jennifer Aniston. Call me old fashioned, but shouldn’t her character have worked just as hard at making their relationship work, as she did on ruining it or exacting payback on a vacant and non-present Vaughn? All this movie managed to do was show two people demonstrating the glaringly obvious ways that time and sin have driven men and women from their natural and God-given purposes in relation to one another. He was unconcerned and distant. She was naggy, catty and bitter. Watching their heartless bickering and incessant mind games for two hours was far from funny. It was downright depressing and cynical.

BTW - Do we see a Jennifer Aniston trend starting here?

Ok, for the sake of brevity, and because I desperately need a nap, here are my two last runners up:

Maid In Manhattan (2002) - Jennifer Lopez had more chemistry with a can of Pledge than with Ralph Fiennes in this flop. His take on a senator was like watching paint dry, and are we really supposed to believe that she would not get found out in vetting, for the poseur that she was.

How To Lose A Guy In Ten Days (2003) - Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson piddle their way through this RomCom that wasn’t particularly romantic or funny. Watching the movie made me cringe as I felt trapped in their farce of an irritating, cliché ridden relationship. And all the lies, in the end, made for a morally bankrupt show rather than a sympathetic plot twist.

So there you have it folks – my opinions loud & clear. Enjoy! And don’t forget to go see 500 Days of Summer, the anti RomCom romantic comedy starring Zoey Deschanel (who I want to be when I grow up) this weekend. J Shameless Plug!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Insomnia Makes You Write The Weirdest Things

So, lately, and I'm talking for like over a week, my Gmail status has been "Tell Him". For those who don't know, it's a Colbie Caillat song I happen to really like. But I feel like it's so much more than that. And that is all I'm saying about that. For now.

I guess I should have started this post with a great big old warning that this is going to be muy mucho aleatorio y loco!! Oh yeah, I have insomnia, and despite what that perky little pharmacist at Target told me today, Cough Syrup with Codeine is NOT making me sleepy, it's having quite the opposite effect. Affect. Effect. You get the picture.

So, here I lay, all cuddled up at the C's, housesitting, listening to some Marvin Gaye & Sublime (it is NOT true that I have total stoner taste in music, btw), and so many weird things are running through my head. Is my tummy ache actually from not eating? Should I be blogging right now? Who knows? I guess we'll find out, right?

So, like for the first part, how I've completely changed so much in the last few months. Chalk it up to growing, but I feel like a mellower, more at-peace-with-her-surroundings kind of Trin. I think a lot of it has to do with things I'm increasingly more grateful for. My flatmates. The way they all bring me joy, on a daily basis. That I feel served in the kindest, most thoughtful ways by my friends, and I feel totally loved by the people I know, and spend time with. I'm seeing God work in the life of a good friend, who I've been praying for for like 2 years now. I'm in community, and can see it all around me. Is community a matter of proximity, and does one feed the other? That's another post for another day, seriously.

Next on the list, I'm becoming a total hippie!! I ordered the stuff today to make my own rainwater barrel! How awesome is that. And I'm composting now. And not just that, but my roommate R (for Roommate of course) is composting too! I'm turning other people into hippies. I jest. I have been reading up on sustainable living, and I'm even organizing my very own backyard campout night (besides another one I'm attending next weekend). Last week I spent the entire week at camp, which was amazing, and I found myself using phrases like "nutrient rich soil" and "pesticide free produce" during the cooking classes I taught. The kids looked at me like I was smoking said nutrient rich soil, but I just smiled ignorantly and turned their attention back to the amazing chocolate dipped marshmallows we made.

Oh, and yeah, I think my maternal clock is boomboombooming me a wee bit too much these days, but it seems like everywhere I look there are adorable little baby boys running around with big goofy smiles, floppy hair and that drunken toddler walk that makes me laugh.

But enough of that.... I miss being at work. That in itself is almost a miracle statement. Who misses working? But I miss getting things done and being good at something. And let's face it, at work I have full confidence that I rule the roost of the Rimage lobby quite sufficiently. For the sake of my pour lungs, ribs and roommates (who are probably tired of hearing me hack all night), I hope this bronchitis goes away soon, so I can get back to the grind of things and stop wearing jeans and flip-flops and hippie chick shirts all day, and start looking like a proper Banana Republic wearing office girl again!

Ok, I said this was going to be random and rambling. And since it's almost 2, and I'm still fighting insomnia, this is nothing if not crrrazzy. I'm a sleep loving hippie.... I need to get me some bedtime!