Things I Love Thursday

I had some really good news today, which is that my young adult novel has been chosen for a manuscript assessment through the NZ society of authors. I very nearly didn’t send it it (there’s a blog post coming about that) but then at the very last moment I did and now it’s been selected! What this means is it will be looked through by a professional and I’ll get a bunch of feedback and generally it will be one step closer to being published! It’s super exciting and a nice ego boost to me, since I’m constantly feeling I’m not a ‘real’ writer.

Find Momo is a really fun game. And cute 🙂

Fancy new Field Notes turning up in my mail box…

jennitalula field notes

Lunch with Steve and Marguerite. I’ve really missed these two! I must try and visit Christchurch, although that will have to wait because…

I got accepted to XOXO again! Sophie and I have both reserved tickets, now we’re just trying to work out finances, etc. Watch this space, but I may be returning to Portland come September.

Honourable Mentions: Google sheep view, Late night shopping at St Luke’s, swimming and the steam room and spa after, limited edition rocky road snickers bars, warm socks, electric blanket, sleep, making lunches for Anna, Anna, Anna trying on ball gowns and getting craft done.

Kid Theatre presents Magic Mike: Warning! The Magic Bird song may get stuck in your head…

(Jimmy Fallon cannot handle the smoulder)

Cecilia and the Satellite ~ Andre McMahon in the Wilderness

Cabaret (1972)

Cabaret
Directed by Bob Fosse
Written by Jay Presson Allen based on the stage musical by John Van Druten based on the book by
Joe Masteroff
(number 375)

I’ve never seen a Bob Fosse movie before! How excite. I only knew a couple of things about this story: that it was set in Berlin just before World War 2, and that it was at a Cabaret. I knew nothing of the actual storyline and where it would go, but I did know a couple of the songs.

What I was most excited about in the early stages of the film was the possibility of Brian the Englishman being gay, there’s a whole conversation about it with Sally, and then he says he’s been with girls before but it’s not long before he’s kissing and sleeping with Sally so I was pretty sad. Imagine my glee when later there’s all these sparks between him and Max and then finally the reveal that yes, Sally has been sleeping with Max… and so has Brian! It was glorious. Also feels pretty massive for 1972, but of course we never see even a kiss between the two men. It was great though, to have a bi character who isn’t killed off or anything. It’s lovely. It’s very rare on this list of mine.

Liza Minelli is the star of the show, of course. With her massive eyelashes, massive mouth and impressive pipes. Watching this I was reminded of several other movies, which I suspect means it’s the forerunner of those films. Particularly Moulin Rouge, it felt a lot like that movie. She is funny and quirky, Brian is rather uptight and British but ultimately a lot of fun. I found Max a little bit creepy.

I found the setting, with the rise of the Nazi party edging in around the story very jarring. Obviously it has an impact on the story but it doesn’t have a big one… it just seems like shocking imagery thrown in there to show that the life of the Cabaret is a fantasy escape. It feels horrible when then the acts start to be anti-semetic as well, and the lead characters are all anti-Nazi… but I’m not sure it really came across as a particularly interesting message.

Does it make me love the people? I think so. I really liked Brian and wanted him to be gay an awful lot. Sally really reminded me of Holly Golightly, or any recent manic pixie dream girl you can imagine. The difference here is that it’s her story though. It’s not about how she changes a man it’s about how her life is impacted by a man and how she is unable to let go of her dream to become an actress. Also daddy issues, there are lots of those.

Bechdel test: Natalia talks to Sally, there’s small talk and there’s also talk about men but I think it passes.
Natalia: I am sorry to bother you, but I could not tell no one else. I do not know no other woman who gives her body so frequently… Oh! I am sorry, my English. Have I offended you?
Sally: Oh no, not at all.

Best Lines:
Brian: Screw Maximilian!
Sally: I do.
Brian: So do I.
Sally: You two bastards!
Brian: Two? Two? Shouldn’t that be three?

State of Mind: Yes, it was great fun. Anna liked singing along with ‘maybe this time’ a lot, and we had to watch a couple of other renditions on youtube afterwards. Lea Michele’s was the best.

Watched movie count

Danger: Diabolik (1968)

Danger: Diabolik
Directed by Mario Bava
Screenplay by Arduino Maiuri, Brian Degas, Tudor Gates & Mario Bava based on a story by Angela and Luciana Giussani
(number 429)

Diabolik is what James Bond wishes he was. It’s a submersion into a trippy, cartoony psychedelic sixties dream of Italy where master criminal Diabolik steals jewels and gold and the police can’t catch him and the mafia are afraid of him. Then he retires to an amazing underground retro-future lair and has sex with his girlfriend on a pile of cash while the bed revolves.

I am so in love with that lair though. I mean look at this beast:

(Image from this article about Danger: Diabolik and it’s very… feminine imagery, which I think is excellent reading and definitely a theme I picked up on.)

Austin Powers never got this ridiculous. I tweeted while I was watching that it felt like if you made a movie about The Joker from the 60s Adam West Batman series and he was the hero. It had all that same jazzy music and camp costumes and weird crimes. I think it was really cemented when Diabolik and Eva used ‘Exhilaration gas’ on a press conference, and carefully took ‘anti-exhilaration gas’ capsules so they wouldn’t be effected. For those curious, exhilaration gas makes people laugh a lot.

Does it make me love the people? Eh. The characters are all so shallow and stylised that it’s hard to think of them as people rather than characters. John Phillip Law and Marisa Mell are very attractive though, so I think they’re achieving what they were meant to do. I did read that this is all based on a popular Italian comic strip, so it’s really a comic book popcorn movie rather than an in depth examination on the human condition. It does well at what it’s mean to do.

Although, thinking of the strength of the relationship between Eva and Diabolik made me like them a lot more. It’s so nice to have a lead couple that just are strong and together and that’s never challenged. Plus the whole plot of the movie is pretty much him getting her a birthday present, heheh.

Bechdel test: No, sadly. There’s Mrs Clark who talks a lot to her husband and the police, Eva who talks to Diabolik and a doctor, and Rose who talks to all the criminals. There’s another prostitute who isn’t named. Sadly Rose and Eva do talk but it’s off screen, they both relate the conversation to other people. So, it’s a no but it’s almost sort of close to passing.

Best line:
Diabolik: and the police chief?
Eva: I didn’t see him
Diabolik: If you didn’t see him… he’s there.

State of Mind: Slick design, slick soundtrack, slick acting. It was a lot of fun, although I got a bit bored in the middle. Would watch again, and made me miss flatting with Ellen and Blair as I think they both would have had a lot of fun watching this and expressing loud confusion at various points.

Watched movie count

Things I Love Thursday

I made pizzas the other day. I made two smallish ones for dinner, and then I still had half the dough so I made 4 small lunch box pizzas, two cheese and garlic and two with pizza toppings. made packing lunch the next day so easy! Plus they were really tasty (wholemeal base, salami, smoked chicken, mushrooms, courgette and garlic toppings)

jennitalula lunchbox

Anna, she is lovely, funny, adorable, smart and doing really well at her job right now. She’s my favourite.

The Monsterhearts game I’m running is going really well, it’s starting to ramp up to the end of the season with the characters almost ready to take growing up moves.

Honourable Mentions: Velociprincesses, going swimming, enjoying the steam room after swimming, my best friend, a tidy and clean house, dinner out on a weeknight, new dolls, assembling Lego and a car full of petrol.

I watched some TED talks this week through Netflix and these two really struck a chord with me and I think as many people as possible should watch them. They’re life hacky useful and entertaining and fascinating, so… watch!

Jerry Maguire (1996)

Jerry Maguire
Directed and written by Cameron Crowe.
(number 422)

Watching American Psycho has given me a very different lens for this movie. I’m sure I’ve kind of sort of seen it once before, when someone else was watching it in the room and I was doing something else. Having watched American Psycho I now see this kind of film, lionizing this kind of successful white American heterosexual businessman as a lot more ominous. Jerry is a bit more down on his luck than Christian Grey or Patrick Bateman but he’s in the same ballpark as them. It’s a bit more interesting than the men in Glengarry Glen Ross (which I will keep coming back to because it really was a milestone picture in my 500 list watching for understanding movies about businesses.)

But maybe I’m being a bit harsh on poor old Jerry. This movie has a softer heart than the ones I’m comparing it to and it definitely has an interesting examination of emotional unavailability for the title character.

It’s all very soft focus, portraying sports as the one true religion of the States, bringing people together and galvanising men into Real Men. There’s a lot of talk about love vs money but ultimately the goal of the characters is to have both, of course. It’s hard to imagine a happy ending for Jerry where he loves his new wife but has failed at his job of getting contracts for Rod. I feel very cynical writing about this movie but I guess it’s the mood I was in as we watched.

To be fair, I did watch this with Anna as we built Lego Arkham Asylum so it’s fair to say it didn’t get my full and undivided attention. That said, I did find myself forgetting about the Lego and gazing at the screen at several moments, so I was somewhat enchanted.

My favourite Cameron Crowe film is Almost Famous, and I want to say there’s not too much in common with it except for a certain golden saturated love for the scenery and a fascination with golden haired women who are a bit messy and not quite together.

Does it make me love the people? I guess it does. I was pretty teary at the end so I definitely liked Rod Tidwell and his family. Jerry it’s a little harder to love but the movie just sort of assumes you will, since it shows him ‘growing a conscience’ and losing his job over the revolutionary mission statement he writes and sends out. Knowing what we know about Tom Cruise now, it’s hard to separate his characters from his weird behaviour outside

Bechdel test: Dorothy talks to her sister Laurel about how bad Dorothy’s decision to quit her job and work with Jerry. Like its sort of halfway about him but mostly it’s about Dorothy’s choices and how little she likes the unnamed women ranting about their divorces in the next room. It’s a pass, I’d say.

That said there’s an uncomfortable commentary on women – the fiance Jerry has at the start of the movie is a classic, cartoonish stereotypical career woman, totally not vulnerable or sensitive. By contrast Renee Zelwegger’s Dorothy is shown as soft spoken, entranced by romance and almost always shown mothering her little boy.

Best line: Obviously the classic line is ‘show me the money’ right? Or maybe it’s the ‘you complete me’ bit or ‘you had me at hello’, all of which are a bit cliche now, since this movie did so well.

State of Mind: It lost me in the middle, but I do like the ending. Even got a little bit teary. Anna liked it, so generally it’s a success. I can’t get the American Psycho comparison out of my head though, heh.

Watched movie count

Things I Love Thursday

My amazing Anna who gets me better than almost anyone else I’ve ever known, who listens and understands and is kind, clever, caring, gorgeous and sweet and I adore her.

Created with Nokia Smart Cam]

Staying in a haunted hotel last week was pretty brill, as was seeing the glow worm caves at Waitomo. it’s pretty breathtaking down there…

jennitalula

Remembering that I have a whole tonne of minutes on my phone plan and my phone is actually capable of making calls and talking with my mum 🙂

I found lots of neat videos on the interwebs this week, such as:

The coming out song!

or stuff like this guy dancing all over Chicago (really love that song)

Or my workmate trying to organise a robot sumo league, inspired by this video:

Mindfulness lesson from Daily Zen

Eat My Lunch has been getting a lot of press this week, and rightfully so. A brand new venture where you can order a packed lunch for yourself, and on the day they deliver it they also deliver one to a child who has turned up to school without a lunch. Brilliant stuff. Our free lunch this week at work was this, and it was really tasty, so I’ve signed up to get a delivered lunch every Friday from now on, meaning every Friday there’s one kid who won’t go hungry because of me. It’s a good feeling 🙂

Honourable Mentions: Monster High (tv show and dolls), snuggles, Moustache cookies, slowly getting the hang of spotify, sleeping through a day to keep off a head cold, soft pjs and laughing.

Good Will Hunting (1997)

Good Will Hunting
Directed by Gus Van Sant
Written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck
(number 433)

I have seen this movie once before and I think it was a very long time ago. I couldn’t remember much beyond what was parodied in Community.

I have a massive soft spot for these soft focus movies about fancy colleges/schools and the clean and tidy people who go to them. However this one is a weird examination of class and how important it is to subscribe to this idea that smart people are better and deserve to be more successful than the plain ordinary blue collar workers. It’s a little uncomfortable… especially when they’re talking about the honour in doing jobs like fixing cars and cleaning the university. It’s uncomfortable for me because to buy that point of view you have to think that some people are just better and more deserving than others, that the ones who are more deserving are smarter (by that I mean, academically smarter, because that’s what this movie is about), and I just don’t think that’s true. I don’t think being able to solve a mathematical equation makes you a better person.

Besides that there’s also the incredible whiteness of the movie. Which, you know, its not surprising but it’s uncomfortable when the whole ‘better and more deserving’ comes into it.

Matt’s Boston accent is come and go, we hear it on ‘a’s and not at any other time. He does well though, at playing this intelligent kid with insecurities. He’s eclipsed by Robin Williams as a broken psychology teacher/therapist. He has this beautiful line where he says “I know who I am, and I’m proud of what I do. It was a conscious choice, I didn’t fuck up! And you and your cronies think I’m some sort of pity case.” I really like that bit because it calls out one of the big issues I have with the movie, that you have to be in the accepted academic life to be a good person or successful or whatever.

Does it make me love the people? Yeah, this whole movie is about making you love everyone, especially Will and Sean. When they start to really connect it’s genuinely heartwarming, you are rooting for these characters and for them to overcome their personal demons which are stopping them making choices that may benefit them.

I have been complaining about the movie, but I do genuinely like it. It’s like easy listening music, you can put it on and watch or half watch and it’s just kind of relaxing and nice. It makes me want to watch School Ties and Dead Poet’s Society and maybe a Beautiful Mind as well.

Bechdel test: No, we have Skylar and another woman student called Cathy but they never speak. There’s an awful lot of men talking about women, Will about Skylar, Sean about his dead wife. But this is a very much male dominated movie.

Best line:
Sean: I’d ask you about love, you’d probably quote me a sonnet. But you’ve never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn’t know what it’s like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn’t know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms “visiting hours” don’t apply to you. You don’t know about real loss, ’cause it only occurs when you’ve loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.

State of Mind: Way more Meeeeeehhhhh than I expected. Anna enjoyed it, though, and it is just a really good solid movie.

Watched movie count