Thursday, April 29, 2010

Greenberg quotes that made me cry laughing...

Sure, I haven't been blogging for a looooong time. I know. I'm sorry. I'm raising two kids under 5 and trying to stay sane. Writing usually does the trick, but lately, I'm trying to write things of meaning. That's not panning out so well, so I will go back to my fun stuff. Commentary. Today, specifically, I want to applaud the genius of Noah Baumbach's direction and writing, as well as Ben Stiller. His portrayal in GREENBERG was shockingly deep and perfect.

The movie is about a New-Yorker, recently out of the hospital after a nervous breakdown. He house sits in LA and finds himself in a desperate but very honest display of the human need to connect and not feel alone with his brother's 25 year old assistant. The plot is somewhat relevant, but way more interesting is all the beautiful awkward, and all too common moments of life that, well, just happen. Stiller has a haunting way of being neurotic and self-consumed, yet thoughtful and full of heightened awareness. I laughed literally every five minutes. Some times it was how biting his tongue was, others were the strange irony and weirdness of over communication or lack there of. Most of the time it was at the attempt of apathy in the face of his true disappointment and how brooding and deflecting is not really funny, but somehow Ben Stiller finds away to translate the dark into humorous and smart.

Some of my favorite quotes (rough, since from memory) from Greenberg:

Roger Greenberg: "This is why I don't f'ing go out....I can't find ONE movie I like at a multiplex, or I go to a Starbucks and I LIKE the music they're playing..."

Roger Greenberg: "Why are all the grown men dressed like kids, and the kids are dressed like super heros?"

Roger Greenberg: "No! No! No! See!? This is why I should be dating a 38 year old divorcee with teen kids and low expectations!"

This movie is clearly not for everybody. A good friend told me I'm either very observant or a little more warped then most for laughing as hard as I did, as frequently as I did. It was sincere to me. I honestly, believe Stiller's character, yet because the dialogue was so smart and so TRUE, it met in a perfect place of levity. It feels a bit like Woody Allen, but so contemporary and wistful of the past.

Stiller is notable for showing true discontentment with how things have turned out. Great music references, movie references (Wall Street- Charlie Sheen moment of hilarity), and he oscillates between being proud of his indifference, to being truly embarrassed. His letters of complaints merely scratch the surface of how disgruntled he has become, yet Ben Stiller plays the role so well you want to hug him or smack him on the back of the head and hand him a beer. There is a little bit of him in all of us. Some are just more comfortable admitting it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Conan quits "The Tonight Show" if it slots for 12:05.

AND SO HE SHOULD!!!! What a joke. Conan O'brien has been screwed by the NBC boomer-pleasing executives. Since this has all played out as such, I will no longer pretend that "The Office" hasn't gotten painfully boring and I will only watch the genius of "30 Rock" online or at Hulu.

Conan speaks to a different generation, yes. He is goofy, but I am tired of the noise about how he is too slap-stick or vulgar. He is warm hearted, intelligently funny with a strong pulse on the modern masses of generations, still having an old-TV feel about him. I am disproportionally angry that he moved his life and family and had a pure excitement about the honor of hosting the Tonight Show. Now, its all dispensable? Unbelievable. Think what you want of him, say what you will, but he is innovative, hilarious, and reminds so many of my generation that you can be silly, stupid (even) and still care about politics and the world and the state of affairs in America. It's despicable how so many people who don't bother to watch him, and jump on the band-wagon to say he is "obnoxious" seem to have any valid right to speak about what his show does or does not do.

*sigh* Rant concluded. I will follow you wherever I can Conan. You will be missed if you don't pop up somewhere else wit your lanky limbs and floppy hair. More missed, will be your keen self-awareness when delivering a less-than-par punch line or your honest to goodness conversational gift with the star and starlets of Hollywood. Your famously forward taste in music,Your infectious giggle, and your reactions to a cut from a wacky animal or a swear word slipped in by a guest is reflective of our own geeky prude and acknowledgment in one. You made me laugh so many nights (and mornings- when DVR'd) that I'm not quite sure what to do with myself. Go on you for not being pushed around!

To read Conan's full statement Click Here

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

"Up in the Air" is heavy hearted food for thought

I have seen (on average) a movie a week this year. I go alone, I review to no one in particular and I enjoy the journey, good or bad of escapism in the form of an empty, dark theatre. Lately, I've watched "Avatar", "Precious", "It's Complicated", "Boys are back", "Twilight", "Every body's Fine" and on and on. I can not compare any of them to "Up in the Air". Jason Reitman (director of Juno) has done it again.

I must say off the bat, it is a sad movie. It is not going to send you bouncing out of the theatre, give you a new lease on life, or make you want to run out and kiss someone. The simple premise is in and of itself depressing: A man travels 320 days a year as a hired-third party that restructures companies and fires people. What makes this movie a gem to me is all the captured emotions, and opposing views on life. Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) the young girl (someone I totally would have recognized in the mirror when I was 22- No joke her wardrobe was created from my closet in 2000-2002) over-confident in the idealism of life plans, love and the pursuit of success coupled with Ryan Bignham( George Clooney's character) unimpressed by companionship and love, make for some huge laughs. So much is spoken between them circumstantially, and in the facial expressions.

What I find even more moving about this movie is the honesty with which the lives are portrayed. The loneliness, and absolute confusion and second-guessing with which we all live our lives. Overall disappointment and the beautiful freedom found when letting go of expectations... Expectations of what we think we need, want and even our expectations of what we think others should want. It is heavy. The side story of Ryan (Clooney) and Alex (Vera Farmiga) starts off sweet and endearing with all the beaming qualities of mature adults choosing singledom over commitment, and ends a little more murky than expected.

It is a little dreary at times, but with every moment you feel sadness creeping over you like a deep fog, something charming happens. Young, Anna Kendrick calls Clooney out as "building a cocoon of self-alienation." Going on to tell him that he builds his life in such a way that makes it impossible for him to ever really get close to anyone, yet when he finds a women insane enough to run the gauntlet of his obnoxious world, and make it to the other side smiling, he doesn't even have the decency to label the relationship as anything better than "casual." "You re a teenager!" She yells.

Even better are the profoundly poignant moments between the college grad and Clooney's love interest. (Farmiga) Youth has a way of being so ignorant and bold at the same time, yet the female-protector comes out and instead of berating Anna on her naivete, she encourages her with honest interpretations of a woman in her mid-30's and the difference between "settling" and choosing what matters more. The screen ruminates with a maternal and compassionate quality from Farmiga. Without it, the movie might not have soared so well.

I'm not even touching base on Clooney's family, the hardship and pain of the people getting fired (which some were cast/edited from a documentary of REAL people recently let go), and the humor that Jason Bateman brings to each scene he is in. Overall the movie isn't a feel good show, but it reminds us of our innate drive to connect with people. It leaves you wistful of the bliss of having so much time ahead of you to waste on pretentious self-goals, and keeps you focused on making the most of what you have and could have now. Clooney's lone-wolf life has some redeeming points...avoiding all the "arguments, negotiations, and endless compromise" of relationships, and the his simple view of "I don't see the value" in marriage and having kids. But, somehow, as self-sufficient and free his life seems, he is underwhelmed. Perhaps, no more than a happily married couple who finds themselves married for 10 years, which is what makes this movie so great and relatable.

Here is the trailer:

See it. ( I did twice.) Its remarkably touching, beautifully written dialogue, giggle worthy, and sure to leave you contemplating what love, life, connection, coupling off and human nature means to you.

PS: Great song from the movie: "Help Yourself" by Sad Brad Smith.

2010 starts with sex, mediocrity and good intentions.

Happy New Year to the three people still reading this blog!!! First off, I need to say a few things: I DID NOT sleep with Tiger Woods, I do, however, know what happened on Thanksgiving day at his house, and where and why he was in Arizona. I would tell you, but IMG would have me shot.

I also want to throw my little specs of disdain at Warren Beatty for admitting to having slept with 14,000 plus women. Nasty. Sanford, Leanne Rimes,David Letterman, (who somehow is totally forgivable to me), and in general, I am tired of hearing about all these people and their "transgressions." With so many more important things to talk about, it seems silly fodder.

So...Let's talk about the Bachelor! Holy hell what is happening to TV, dating and the demise of the sanctity of that silly ideal called "love" in general? Every single woman that popped a heel out of the limo had a gimmick. Either she tried to walk like a feline and tripped onto him, brought a basket of "sweets" as parting gifts, a love-o-meter, a pair aviator glasses...etc. I was walking in circles in my living room at the sheer awkwardness of it all.

I am willing a new year of more meaning and less marginal integrity. I am hoping that we stop keeping track of people's personal mistakes and focus on one's that actually effect the rest of the world. Until then, I plan to review every movie I see, I tend to write more, listen all the time, meditate on good things for people I love, try harder to communicate with my voice and touch, instead of text and messenger before I lose the art of reading faces, perfect-timed pauses, and correct use of the English language. And most importantly, I will deliver my skewed, cynical view on the smut and jokes we call current events.

Stay tuned it, I'm warming up and will be in full form soon enough.