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Some Movies I’ve Watched Lately

And by lately, I meanin the last six months.

Cabin in the Woods

First and foremost – be warned that I am a HUUUUUUGE fan of scary movies. Scary, gory movies. I actually love gore, so there is no too much in my book. But I also love scary movies that are a mind-trap; I will openly admit that I saw Blair Witch Project in the theatre and didn’t think twice about it .. until it was dark later that night and I couldn’t stop wondering WHAT IN THE WORLD I JUST SAW. Cabin in the Woods was THAT good. Produced by cinematic demigod Joss Whedon, it carries his normal humor in places you’d least expect it. I loved this movie so much that I watched it initially by myself and then I made Bryan watch it so I could compare the mental notes I’d racked up. GREAT flick.. probably one of the best I’ve seen in years. In fact, I could happily sit down right now and watch it again.

Prometheus

I wanted this to be more than it was. But really, here’s all I could think through the entire thing: WHY IS THAT OLD-MAN MAKEUP SO BAD? I’m not even giving you a spoiler here, because he’s in the beginning, but I kept waiting for a plot twist to reveal that he was an aged version of another cast member. Otherwise: WHY WOULDN’T YOU JUST CAST AN OLD MAN? I know Christopher Plummer doesn’t have anything going on! Okay, now, the rest of the movie – answers no questions, confuses the hell out of you, and has your stereotypical characters. The special effects were very good, admittedly. (WHICH FURTHER INCENSES ME ABOUT THE OLD-AGE MAKEUP.) Also: it drives home the fact that you should never trust an Android.

The Green Lantern

WHAT IN THE BLOODY HELL IS THIS MESS?

I can’t even, y’all. Can’t even.

Despicable Me

I was strictly forbidden to watch this movie but one day Tony was in the living room by himself watching something and so I came in to see what he was watching and BOOM. Instant tears. Okay, this is a sweet, cute, funny movie. But you’ll cry. A lot. The kitten story? OHMYGOD. I’m crying just thinking about it. It’s not quite Toy Story 3 ugly-cry, but there’s definitely moments that “Momma just needed a minute”. What I really appreciated about this movie was that I had trouble guessing the vocal actors because they were so far off their norm. Obviously, Steve Carrell I got, and Julie Andrews, but I had NO IDEA it was Russell Brandt or Kristen Wiig. I always love surprises like that.

So. As you can see, I’ve not seen anything recent because, um, I’m old and tired.

Anything I should make a point of seeing soon?

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The Only Non-School Book I’ve Read in Months.

I have a list of books that I want to read. I want to read them based on y’all, because y’all are a literary kind of people who actually read books and then remark about how awesome they are. Books like Gone Girl and In the Woods and the sequels to Graceling. (I actually read¬†Graceling! While stuck in Austin airport.) I want to read all of these books, and actually even have most of them in my Kindle queue.

But .. time, it is a rarity.

For my birthday, Bryan and I took a roadtrip for an evening and while we were strolling in a Barnes & Noble (waiting for Cheesecake Factory to open, honestly), and I noticed a book. It would be far more notable if I hadn’t have noticed this book, as the title is clearly meant to catch attention.

(To be fair, my copy was in neon pink and neon green, so I was doubly entranced by it.)

Now, in most cases, I pick up a book like this, crack it open, and the first few paragraphs clues me in as to what the book is really about. (I really have read far too many diet books.) So I glanced at the back cover, prepared myself to write it off as an Atkins Diet knock-off, and then cracked it open.

What I opened it to was something I’d never, ever heard before. So I was intrigued. And it was my birthday and I had successfully avoided buying anything in the Lululemon store, so I thought I deserved this book. I picked it up and poured through it on the way home.

Now. This book? Is pretty poorly written. I found myself cringing at the lack of editing and writing style quite often. It is also, at times, entirely sexist. Which I thought was interesting, and I wondered if maybe the author’s first language was not english. Sadly, I really did think these things.

But there were a couple of things in this book that I’ve adapted since reading it that .. are .. kind of working for me? Oddly enough? I know. Bear with me.

Don’t eat breakfast. This was groundbreaking for me. I have never, ever been a breakfast person. The occasional big breakfast on a weekend morning? Sure, okay. But in general, I hate eating before noon. I just don’t feel like I need to. This book advocates what my body was already telling me. Breakfast is for the expressed purpose of breaking your fast (overnight, right?), and why do that? Your body is already in a prime position to burn fat! Let it run! So that was nice.

In fact, the author suggests just having a cup of black coffee. Admittedly, I am not a coffee fan. ESPECIALLY black coffee. But I’ve managed. I take a travel mug of black coffee to work and sip on it until it’s gone. (To take it a step further, I’ve taken to putting a small spoonful of coconut oil in there.. this both takes the edge off the coffee and gives me a bit of caloric umph.)(Also, coconut oil is crazy good for you.)

Take a cold bath or shower. This was actually what I opened the book to at the bookstore and I had never, ever heard of such. The author outlines the process to do this safely, and those without bathtubs (MOI!) are not exempt. He claims that this gets your metabolism revved up for the day. I don’t know if there’s any science behind that, but you know? I’ve pretty much just started making the last three minutes of my normal shower time devoid of any warm water. It takes some getting used to, but .. I like it. I really do feel energized and ready to go.

These changes, obviously, are not quite dietary. Or exercise-driven. Which is why I think they’ve been easier to stick to. In a coincidence, the author also advocates cleansing your diet of any artificial sweetners, which I had decided to do anyway. For the most part, I’ve stuck to that – having the occasional diet drink when we’re out at dinner. (Although I’m more than likely to just have unsweet tea and leave it unsweet.)

The rest of the book is an interesting read, as it dances between being Atkins-like and South Beach-like, with a dose of Paleo thrown in there. There’s definitely some unique ideas in there, and while I can’t say that I’m now a Size 6 — let’s be realistic here; I’d look REALLY WEIRD as a Size 6 — I can say that I haven’t gained any weight since I stopped running. In fact, I’ve lost weight. (To be fair, I’ve probably lost strength and endurance as well, but again, it’s a TIME issue.)

So if you’re looking for a unique viewpoint in the often-repetitive diet market, this isn’t a bad read.

(And if you already like black coffee? You’re GOLDEN.)

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Standby for the Mary Poppins Drop

Can we just talk about the Opening Ceremonies for a minute? Now, I know that Beijing spoiled us last time with an AMAZING, GORGEOUS show – and of course, we all know that all performers were spot-on because they probably faced flogging or execution or something – but .. Friday night’s ceremonies were just .. weird. I am no anglophile, but .. I am fairly well-read or whatever, and I was just .. it was SO WEIRD.

I likened it to finding one YouTube video that you intentionally wanted to watch and then clicking the top Related Video for the next two-hour wormhole. IT MADE NO SENSE. The giant Voldemort! The big baby head! Kenneth Brannaugh, the tallest hobbit of them all! Cruella DeVille! What in the holy hell, London?

So I was trying to convince a four year old and a twelve year old that No! This is really cool! Just .. hang on, it should get better if only .. no, really, wait just a minute and THANK GOD, Rowan Atkinson was there. Mr. Bean saved the night, in my opinion. And then I hop on Twitter to proclaim that this man might just salvage the ENTIRE Olympics, and I noticed no less than five people remarking on how terrible PeeWee Herman looked at the Olympics.

I GIVE UP, HUMANITY. YOU WIN.

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And Then I Wrote a Post Just as Guilty

I was in a funk last week – one of my previously discussed “blue periods” – and instead of waiting for me to come around, Bryan took charge and promptly got a babysitter.

Not only that, but he asked someone that we’ve known forever, someone who is spunky and lively and theatrical and who actually has stage combat experience, so she didn’t balk when Tony handed her a sword and called out stances to her. Which is to say – I WANT HER TO LIVE WITH US FOREVER.

Now, granted, a date night is not a guarantee that I’ll “come around” or “snap out of it” or any number of cliches regarding the end of a blue period. But having a couple minutes where I don’t feel like I have to be happy? Dude, that goes a loooooong way.

We went and had sushi and martinis, because although that’s what we ALWAYS do on date night (I wouldn’t have minded some greek fare or something the kids won’t do), there’s just something healing about miso soup. I don’t know. But there is. Also martinis: totally restorative. Hand me a lotus blossom martini and watch me come back to life, like a withering plant that just got some water.

Also, in a funny turn of events, I got to face the tv in the restaurant. There is no offense greater to me than sitting across the table from someone who is obviously more interested in the news ticker of Fox News than what I’m forming my words around. And Bryan is a repeat offender of said offense. But! He couldn’t see the tv; it was directly over his shoulder. I FELT LIKE FATE WAS ON MY SIDE.

Happy and full and slightly tipsy, we decided to go see a movie.

Bryan wanted to see The Avengers. “Why?” I asked. “No one said it was any good or anything.”

Well, FATE WAS ONCE AGAIN MY MISTRESS, and we missed the only showing that would fit into Babysitting Window of Time. But my pick, The Chernobyl Diaries, was very much dead-center of the window. YES. I WON I WON I WON.

I’m waffling between telling you Spoiler Alert! here and just plunging forward feet first because OH Y’ALL THAT MOVIE WAS AWFUL. Truly truly terrible. And I think how terrible it was can be summed up in this: I CANNOT EVEN SPOIL IT, AS THERE WAS NO CLIMAX AND/OR ENDING.

Now, I know some people did what I did initially: recoil in discomfort at the idea of monetizing the tragedy that was Chernobyl. Bryan and I both remember the event and .. yeah, not exactly pleasant memories. And is it okay to base a horror film on something that perhaps defines the word? I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW, SO QUIT ASKING ME.

To their credit, they did not exploit or poke fun at or even really explain at all. They referenced the nuclear plant as almost a distant cousin, twice removed, where you’re not even sure you got her name right when you’re addressing the invite for the family reunion. The number of visible reactors even varied as the movie went on. So worry not; survivors may as well be watching a movie based in Wisconsin, is what I’m saying here.

About thirty minutes into the movie, I settled into the very routine and predictable premise, but hoped that there was still room for redemption. Aaaaaaand about that point, the movie assumes everyone watching it is stupid. Very, very stupid, but perhaps high or drunk so they won’t leave. (We were the latter.)

Bryan and I were so upset at this movie that we were ANGRY when we left. We sat through the credits, disbelieving that 1) we paid for this crap and 2) that was Jessie McCartney?! We wrote no less than four better endings as we stomped out of the theater and directly to Bruster’s for ice cream.

(Yes, tally-makers, I am still dairy-free. BUT IT WAS DATE NIGHT.)

(Also, I totally paid for it later.)

We stayed up late, way late, discussing how incredibly awful the movie was, and researching everything we could about the production aspect of it. We anticipated the MST3K viewing of the movie. We hated it. HATED IT, THREE SNAPS IN A Z FORMATION. I love horror movies like no one else I know – I LOVE them, seriously – and this made me angry. ANGRY.

It was an awesome date.

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Some Stuff I’ve Watched Lately

This is totally not as fun as buying stuff, but you know? I can’t REMEMBER the last time I stayed still long enough to watch ONE movie, much less several in a row. Even I was impressed.

You know that episode of Friends where they realize they’ve been throwing a ball without stopping, and then it becomes A Thing? Like, they would forgo eating so that the game wouldn’t be stopped? Yes. That’s very much how I was about the ending of the second movie, when I realized that HOLY SHIT, I JUST WATCHED TWO MOVIES IN A ROW. MUST CONTINUE.

So most of these are old and y’all have already seen them, but. Here.

Drive

While this was, hands down, my favorite movie of the day, I do have a caveat about a later movie that makes me wonder if it was actually the best movie I watched. So, full disclosure: I didn’t get the Ryan Gosling thing. I just didn’t. I thought, Okay, pretty face, probably as much fun to watch as Channing Tatum. Which is to say: none at all unless he’s only semi-clothed, and even THAT can get old. But then Dude lent me Crazy Stupid Love and I was like, WHOAAA. THIS KID CAN ACTUALLY ACT.

And he was AMAZING in this movie. I had to text an old friend of mine and tell him that HEY, YOU REMIND ME OF RYAN GOSLING IN DRIVE EXCEPT YOU TALK MORE and he admitted that he had a man crush on him too and that was “high praise”. (I put that in quotes not because he said it, because he didn’t, but because in my house, we say that as an homage to Andy Samburg’s Nicholas Cage impression. We .. are diverse and complicated.) Anyway, I so ADORED Ryan Gosling in this movie and he was totally believable in the beginning and in the middle which is quite the feat because the two are almost disconnected entirely. I just .. the music was great, the cinematography was amazing, IT WAS GORY AS HELL (5 stars!), and my Lord. That boy can ACT. Also, having dated a street racer for a bit of my youth, I thought the racing in this movie was SICK.

(Also, I spent a good chunk of time coveting Carey Mulligan’s hair and debating cutting mine off again.)

(Also, I spent a lot of the movie trying to convince myself that it wasn’t Marlin from Finding Nemo that was a bad guy.)

Melancholia

I am a person who tends to internalize things that touch me, and as such, people tend to warn me about what movies I should and shouldn’t see. Shouldn’t See: Pretty Much Anything Pixar. Because I will fall into a deep depression. I SHIT YOU NOT, I WAS INCONSOLABLE FOR A WEEK AFTER MONSTERS, INC. And that was when it first came out and of COURSE Tony went through a phase where it was all Sully, all the time, and I STILL WEEP AND SOB AT THE END.

Melancholia was never mentioned to me as a Shouldn’t See. So, I figured I was in the clear.

Also, I kind of despise Kirsten Dunst. Like, a lot. So I figured I’d hate the movie because she was in it and then I’d ignore the rest of the movie and maybe hopefully fall asleep.

Not only did I not fall asleep, The Ugly Cry made a grand appearance.

Days later, I’m STILL thinking about this movie. A lot. It’s kind of consuming me, which is WHY SOMEONE SHOULD’VE WARNED ME. Melancholia was written and directed by Lars von Trier, which might mean something to some of you, but all I remembered was his weird Hitler comments at some film festival while promoting this film. He wrote this piece as a tribute to his bouts with depression, and anyone who has ever had any fling with depression .. why I said “fling”, like it’s a happy memory, I don’t know, but go with me here .. should find a strong resonance with this movie.

I hate to go into the plot to entirely much because it’s much better if go in a little blind, but the movie feels long, but not draggy. You feel overwhelmed, but not able to give up. You’ll cry, you’ll smile, and you’ll get distracted. In short, he’s put to film what depression feels like. You’ll see so many echoes of it in there. It’s actually quite astounding.

And it’s gorgeous. A lush setting, with AMAZING, GORGEOUS special effects that are both poetic and dynamic and ultimately tragic based on the plotline. You’ll kind of have no idea what the hell you’re watching, feeling confused and angry that no one is helping you understand, and then it will be over.

I will tell you – AGAIN – that this was a hard movie for a mom to watch. But man. What a mental roller coaster.

Following

I’m not sure how I ended up watching Following; I think it was a kind of Netflixy rabbit hole that I fell into. Christopher Nolan made his full-length debut with this weird mocumentary drama thingie, which takes a strong influence from David Lynch. But I actually really enjoyed it; you can see his early talents for camera angles and shadows taking root.

It follows a writer turned voyeur who stumbles upon a burglar in a cafe, and then accompanies him on several robberies.¬† Of course, there’s a million plot twists, but it was short and quick and once you got used to the accents (they have heavy, HEAVY english accents), it kind of moved on its own. Clearly not his best work, but very cool to watch.

Young Adult

I was so stoked to see this available on Amazon Prime, because it’s one of those movies that Bryan would never want to watch. HUZZAH TO THE LONE WOLF! Aaaaaaand .. I hated it.

I didn’t hate ALL of it, but it felt very contrived. And self-pitying. And never resolved anything. It’s written by Diablo Cody, which made me hope for snappy dialogue and a sharp glance into the mentality of a Success Story Who Goes Home Again, but it wasn’t sharp or witty or snappy. It just felt .. I don’t know.

Charlize Theron plays a ghost writer who pens a young adult series (very Sweet Valley High-ish), proud that she’s left her small town behind for the big city of Minneapolis. (I got so excited because when they first showed the skyline, I thought, Man, that looks like Minneapolis, but Sarah, that’s the only big city you’ve ever been to, so OF COURSE it does, Country Mouse. Ha, take THAT, self conscious!) She finds out, via email, that her high school boyfriend has had a baby, so she does the next plausible thing and returns home to win him back.

Patton Oswalt was the only thing even SLIGHTLY redeeming about this film and even he is kept at an arm’s length from making something real. Also, I’m not sure that I liked him being played as “the hate crime guy”, although they tried to drive the seriousness home later – to no avail, because like I said, there is no resolution. Overall, I just kind of wish Charlize’s character bit it HARD toward the end. Also, I wish someone would’ve taken away her dog, because that’s ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT. SHE LEFT THAT POOR DOG ALONE 99% OF THE TIME. IN A HOTEL ROOM.

Okay, I still have one night left: what should I watch next?

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