Things I Love Thursday

milky way

Very long exposure shot of Milky Way from Chile by Nicholas Buer.

ALL HAIL THE GLOW CLOUD

ALL HAIL THE GLOW CLOUD

Anna and I went to Auckland Armageddon for Sunday afternoon. I had a lot of fun cosplaying with her as Cecil and Carlos from Welcome to Night Vale, and we were both very excited when people recognised who were being. I also had a lot of fun taking pictures of other cosplayers and perusing the booths, catching up with some of the Auckland people and so on. Plus, I got to see Richard Dean Anderson talk and that’s pretty magical.

Cat petting simulator of greatness. I mean, it’s really satisfying even though it’s just text.

Remembering xoxo

which links directly into….

Hank Green’s xoxo talk, Kill your dreams!! I know that doesn’t sound like a cheerful or inspiring talk but I found it incredibly cheerful and inspiring, give it a watch!

My car broke down this week, which isn’t at all a good thing but there are some good things I got from the whole experience. Such as, I learned more about how engines work, I discovered that there’s a number of people in Wellington on a Saturday night who are happy to offer to push your car if it breaks down, that my mechanic is pretty darn great and how to steer a car which is being towed. Thanks to Richard for the tow up the hill! It was terrifying XD

Also catching the bus means I’m noticing more flowers and blossoms and colour on the hillsides as I commute and that’s awesome.

I’ve been using ThinkUp which I learned about at xoxo. It harvests information from your social networking use and reports it back to you, such as highlighting if you’re swearing a lot, or talking about yourself all the time or not sending links out. It’s kind of a cute and limited way of being mindful about how you are presenting and what you want to be doing with your social networks. The creator of ThinkUp, Gina Trapani, suggested it was a way to make networking better and I think it is helping me with this.

Honourable Mentions: My mum is awesome and is making me a quilt, my dad is awesome and helped with the car engine, My darling girlfriend, snoozes, getting crafts done, sharing ice cream, good roleplaying experiences, cakes with friends in nice cafes, public holidays and making good decisions.

The Pierces’ new song ~ Creation

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Wall – E (2008)

Wall-E
Directed by Andrew Stanton
Written by Andrew Stanton, Pete Docker and Jim Reardon
(number 276)

When I first watched this movie not long after it had come out I was overwhelmed with sadness. I found it almost unbearably bleak – a future where there aren’t humans left because there’s literally too much garbage around, there’s a sole clean up robot still working who is acutely aware of his own loneliness and then when we finally see the humans they have become complacent consumers of whatever they’re told to consume without thinking at all.

It’s a horribly dark future! I find that really upsetting! And I still don’t really endorse this as a nice movie, because it’s so very bleak. Then EVE comes down to scan for life and for Wall-E it’s love at first sight, he follows her around, gazing at her as she flies and we’re encouraged to feel the same way he does. When EVE first gets a sign of Wall-E her first response is to blast at the source of the noise with her cannon.

The magic of this film is the way it makes you care for robots with minimal facial expressions and very limited dialogue. It uses familiar tropes to get audience buy in – the love sick boy, the fish out of water who doesn’t understand the world and has to be shown things, the humour that comes from the differences in their technologies and their jobs (directives). Because it’s impossible not to feel for Wall-E which is a pretty huge success for Pixar.

The people on the ship are fed constant adverts which are unsubtle in their message ‘EAT! SHOP! LIVE!’ which is all very predictable/Society going downhill/evolution of intrusive adverts in our everyday lives … it seems like it’s a possible outcome but I honestly don’t think things will ever be allowed to get that bad. There’s a line which advertisers are always pushing and I think there’s always points where people push back, or install ad blockers 🙂

Wall-E, much like the character in an anime (Tohru Honda) changes people’s lives by meeting them. Having caused a man to fall off his hover chair, he helps him up and introduces himself. Then he breaks into a woman’s communication and she gasps at loud because it’s the first time in who knows how long she’s looked past her personal screen. She even comments ‘I didn’t know we had a pool’, a sentiment repeated later when the captain is seeing previously classified videos. ‘I didn’t know we had a running track. He opens people’s eyes… and makes them start to question their way of life.

There are some cute sci fi references, with Sigourney Weaver as the voice of the ship’s computer and the 2001 music playing when the Captain takes his first steps to the evil autopilot having a red glowing light for an ‘eye’ like Hal. I’m sure there are more hat tips in there that I didn’t pick as well.

Does it make me love the people? It does, which is why the movie hurts so much to be honest. It makes me love humanity, and despair for the future that’s shown in the film. I feel I have too sensitive a soul for this film, maybe.

Bechdel test: No, the only two named female characters are Eve and Mary but they never speak to each other.

Best line:
Teacher Robot: A is for Axiom, your home sweet home. B is for Buy N Large, your very best friend.

State of Mind: Yeah… I think I don’t like this movie much. It still hits me emotionally in the ‘abandonment’ and ‘dark depressing future’ triggers, the horror is apparently quite high for me, and I can’t ignore the dark elements even though there are cute bits and a promising ending with the humans excited to rebuild their lives on Earth.

Watched movie count

Things I Love Thursday

Spring! Pretty blossoms and splashes of colour beside the road all over the place. And on the weekend I’m going to Auckland where it will be that times 100 because for whatever reason Auckland is covered in Magnolia trees.

NormandJenni

Birthday parties where I can use my hipster instax and weird Chinese film for hilarious effects. Seriously, you gotta love it. Also birthday parties people travel from other places for and some of them bring ice cream and pass the parcel for everyone to play and generally it was a success of a birthday party I have to say.

Road rage isn’t really something to celebrate, but I’ve been a bit on the grumpy side lately and that makes my commute and the encounters with all the geniuses who drive and cycle through Wellington that much more aggravating. BUT I have a new technique, which is when someone does something that pisses me off, I will complain about it like always and then I’ll do something nice for another motorist – usually slow down to let someone in from a side street or a driveway. So, doing good deeds or sort of paying bad behaviour forward as good?

Milo

Drexel’s now offers a bottomless milo. This changes everything. Or at least it means there’s a place I can go and get a bottomless hot drink as I don’t drink coffee.

Dinosaurs! Anna and I checked out the Tyrannasaurs exhibition at Te Papa on the weekend, and it’s very good! I made some kaiju friends.

Rawr

Rawr

I’m reading Wodehouse for the first time and it’s so much fun! I’m reading ‘Right ho, Jeeves’ which is one I’m familiar with from the old Jeeves and Wooster tv show, and it’s still incredibly funny and absolving.

Little Golden Books: My birthday present to myself was a set of ‘Golden book treasuries’ which we had when I was a kid (and may still be around, I have no idea) anyway, reading them again brought nostalgia to mind and also made me think that there’s some things to be said about the stories. I have constructed a template for Little Golden Book reviews, I hope you’re all excited 😉

this is so much better than it appears it should be…actual cannibal Shia LeBeouf

Honourable Mentions: pretty frozen bubbles, getting housework done, listening to an awesome song over and over again because it’s awesome, French films, snuggles, Monster Buster, workmates who bring me food or chocolate or hot chocolate, the Tim Minchin Jesus Christ Superstar, crafting, getting Christmas crafts and gifts sorted early, Monster High dolls, hot fudge sauce and ice cream and hot baths.

what a catch, Donnie ~ Fall Out Boy

Every Other Freckle ~ Alt-J

High Fidelity (2000)

High Fidelity
Directed by Stephen Frears
Written by John Cusack, D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink and Scott Rosenberg based on the book by Nick Hornby
(number 446)

The movie opens with John Cusack talking to the camera about being miserable because of pop music, and then he is immediately broken up with by Iben Hjejle’s Laura.

I’ve seen this film a few times, I like the wallowing in the past loves, I love the monologues to the camera, I love the music and the late nineties fashion. But it has been a while since I sat down and really watched it.

Watching it in the wake of the massive amounts of sexism and bullshit that’s been happening online lately I can’t help but notice all the judgements Rob makes on all women. All women are withholding their breasts/sex from men. They are tricking men by wearing their most fancy underwear on dates and then wear boring cotton underwear, etc. And I know that it’s just one broken hearted dude’s point of view but it still kind of sucks when you are a woman and watching this. Especially because we don’t get to see how much of a jerk he has been to Laura until 40 minutes into the film.

Joan Cusack of course turns up in this film because John always brings her along I guess. Very notable in this film is a young Jack Black, who had been in other stuff by this time but it’s the first time I remember noticing him. He’s a horrible elitist loudmouth, which…is pretty much the same character he always plays.

The other shop assistant Todd Louiso plays, Dick, is more endearing to me, a quiet, uncertain guy who plays Belle and Sebastian at the start of the film. And he has a cute, tender relationship with Darlene from Roseanne, or rather… Anna, and that’s very sweet.

I love the idea of organising things autobiographically… I’ve wanted to do that with my DVDs but I’ve never managed to actually do it. I fear never being able to find anything again so I always just default to rough alphabetical instead, a hangover from my library days.

Does it make me love the people? Yes and no. I kind of love these people despite myself, knowing that they’re being dicks a lot of the time and hating how hypocritical Rob is. I feel for Laura a lot, extreme empathy there. Ian is a caricature and therefore not set up to be at all likeable, and you do start to care about Dick and Barry kind of despite yourself.

Bechdel test: Laura talks to Liz for an entire scene it’s about how the relationship with Rob broke down, so I’m not convinced it counts. I mean the sentences are all about his actions towards her. The other women are mums and exes and sexy ex Cosby Lisa Bonet.

Jo and Liz also talk at the funeral about Laura but that’s pretty closely tied to Rob and he is standing there and butts into the conversation so… Not sure that counts.

Best line:
Rob: what should I do to make yourself happy?
Laura: nothing. Make yourself happy.

Rob: Should I bolt every time I get that feeling in my gut when I meet someone new? Well, I’ve been listening to my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I’ve come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains.

State of Mind: Didn’t enjoy that as much as I wanted to. I think it’s because… it just seems like such a familiar story… a straight white guy who manages to grow up in his late thirties and we’re meant to celebrate it. Like he super judged Laura for sleeping with Ian but the fact he slept with Marie is never even addressed in the context of Laura. I dunno. I was pretty grumpy when I watched this. Maybe I’d like it better on another day.

Watched movie count

The Hunt (2012)

The Hunt
Directed by Thomas Vinterberg
Written by Tobias Holm and Thomas Vinterberg
(number 471)

Okay for a start I watched this with I think fan made subtitles, so I think the delicacy of the dialogue was lost on me. But I was kind of okay with that because I knew a bit about the subject matter so it was a nice wee distancing tool.

The Hunt is about every parent’s and every teacher’s nightmare. Lukas, a kindly single man who teaches at the nursery school in a small town is accused by a little girl of indecent exposure. She says it because she’s annoyed he was playing with some other kids, and because she’d been shown a porno picture by her older brother and she wanted to see what happens.

Of course the other teachers at the school take this very seriously, there’s a meeting with all the parents and the police are called in. It brought up all the stuff I learned in developmental psychology about false testimony and asking little kids leading questions and they want to say yes because that’s what the questioner seems to want to hear. Lukas’s protestations of course are ignored and the town begins to shun and punish him.

It’s a very dark film, I wouldn’t recommend it to parents of young kids or any teachers – it’s all horribly plausible, a no win situation. That said, it’s a very good film and an interesting companion piece to The Woodsman which I saw when it came out and have never been brave enough to watch again.

The real heartbreak in this film is knowing that Lukas is innocent, and seeing how nasty other people get to him. Spoiler/Trigger warning: his dog is killed. Do not watch this film if animal death upsets you. The stuff with Marcus, his teenage son, was moving and painful to watch. Marcus knows that his father is innocent, but he still has to deal with the prejudices of the town.

The cinematography is stunning – the Danish countryside and the little old town they live in. It’s a cold, quiet movie, without invasive soundtrack – which means you’re left with the raw truth of the characters and their actions.

Does it make me love the people? Yes it does. Showing at the start how sweet and caring Lukas is with the kids makes it hard, and then the horrible horrible things that happen to him. I loved most of the characters actually because they all felt like real humans. It was all very real. Marcus was especially great, and I was so so grateful to Theo in the end.

Mads Mikkelsen gives an amazing performance as Lukas, his disbelief that this is happening, his general optimism slowly giving way to the hunted outsider of the town and to lashing out. It’s extraordinary and it carries the film. Annika Wedderkopp as little Klara is also amazingly good.

Bechdel test: Yes, Grethe the nursery school head teacher talks to Agnes about whether Klara has been sexually abused. There are several other instances of named women talking but it is usually about Lukas.

Best line:
Theo: The world is full of evil but if we hold on to each other, it goes away.

State of Mind: Fantastic film but holy crow. That was horribly depressing. I had to have a long bath with cheery music playing and read Wodehouse to feel like there was hope for humanity at all.

Watched movie count

Things I Love Thursday

Getting stuff done, such as sewing things and publishing games. On the weekend I published Spooky Four Things on the weekend for pay what you want, and at the time of writing this blog post 33 people have purchased it! Most of them got it free but I stand to make a total of .81 American cents! Haha its not about the money though, it’s about all these awesome 33 people who bought my game. Very exciting.

Birthday! I got presents, people said nice things to me, I got attack hugged in the workplace kitchen, I had an excellent lunch with some awesome people and an excellent dinner with a different group of awesome people and my girl organised a barbershop quartet happy birthday serenade down the phone. Lovely!

Books > I have a bit of a book addiction, I’m not going to sugar coat that. But on my birthday I dreamed about the Little Golden Book Library books that we had when I was a kid and I really missed them when I woke up. So I went on the amazing Trade Me and found three out of four of them. They arrived today, and I just read my way through the Bedtime stories one 🙂 So cute!

My girl, because we can be open about feeling crap, and we can tell each other anything and we share cool stuff like books and food and I can skype her and she’s totallllly adorable.

jennitalula log flume

Honourable Mentions: Chucking things out or donating them to people who will use them, facilitating Fiasco, trailers for awesome movies, getting close to the 100 movies blogged mark on my 500 movies list, pretty Monster High dolls and the Flight of the Blueberry cocktails at Hummingbird. Actually all the food at Hummingbird. It’s my favourite restaurant.

Gerard Way’s new song Millions

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)

Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Directed by Blake Edwards
Written by George Axelrod based on the novel by Truman Capote
(number 485)

I would really enjoy this movie so much more if it wasn’t for Mickey Rooney playing the grumpy Japanese landlord Mr Yunioshi. This blatant racist stereotype is jarring in an otherwise rather sweet film.

I sat down to watch it fully intending to hate it. I remember the last time I tried to watch it I thought it was boring and weird, I couldn’t understand why stealing things made a good date. However my tastes have changed and evolved and I found myself enjoying it this time through.

It’s a classic because of Audrey Hepburn playing a wonderfully whimsical gold digger Holly Golightly, a character who was already famous from the Truman Capote novel. The eponymous breakfast at Tiffany’s happens during the opening credits where it’s actually rather nice to see a classic film goddess eating a pastry and drinking coffee from a to go cup like a modern hipster.

There’s a lot of familiar tropes, the movie which inspired some other films such as Priceless, Love and Other Disasters, Moulin Rouge and many more films about girls who are setting their sites high in order to make a living and somehow ignoring the charming everyman who has fallen in love with them.

I understand that in the book Paul is gay, but in the movie he is most definitely straight, a ‘kept man’ for an older woman who has splashed out and is paying his rent. Paul is very uneasy with this situation and doesn’t like when it’s brought up, although Holly tries to bond with him over it.

Is Holly the original manic pixie dream girl? I don’t think so. The story is too much about her arc, her personal tribulations and what she learns for that. She doesn’t seem to teach Paul anything – although she does encourage his whimsy, but given he’s a writer I’d say there’s a lot of whimsy there to start with. Holly to me is a more three dimensional character than the traditional MPDG is – she looks like one though, because she is trying so hard to project the image of a fun, carefree girl. Plus we mostly see her through Paul’s eyes so there’s that.

Also kudos for the cat actor who plays Cat – there was some brilliant acting from that feline and I went ‘awwww’ out loud when they show him all bedraggled in the rain.

Does it make me love the people? It did actually, I felt a sort of begrudging affection for Paul, who I feel behaves well at the start and then gets more and more disagreeable as he tries to control Holly with his feelings for her.

It’s very hard not to love Holly, especially when you get the awkward – previously married – backstory and the concern she has for her slow witted brother. I feel that unlike a lot of other women characters in movies she shows a deep range of emotions too, when she gets upset she screams or cries, pushes people away and is unable to speak. Audrey did a wonderful, realistic job with the vulnerability of the character and I think that’s what makes this movie enduring. Well, that and the costume design of course.

Bechdel test: No, Holly talks to Mag Wildwood but it’s about Rusty – the wealthy bachelor Mag brought along who Holly has her eye on landing.

Best line:

Paul: I love you.
Holly: So what.
Paul: So what? So plenty! I love you, you belong to me!
Holly: [tearfully] No. People don’t belong to people.
Paul: Of course they do!
Holly: I’ll never let ANYBODY put me in a cage.
Paul: I don’t want to put you in a cage, I want to love you!
Holly: Same thing.

State of Mind: Priceless is a better movie…BUT I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. It’s pretty good fun and I maybe got a bit choked up at the end. Maybe. Poor old Cat.

Watched movie count

Interesting things you may not know about Breakfast at Tiffany’s