“She’s so refined. I think I’ll kill myself.”

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Last night, my friend Liz and I went to the Comcast Outdoor Film Festival and saw Singin’ in the Rain. Outside. On a giant, inflatable screen. It was awesome.

We’d talked about going to one of the many summer outdoor film festivals in DC, but none were showing anything we wanted to see. (Well, anything I wanted to see, anyway.) Until now.

Singin’ in the Rain is my all-time favorite movie. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know the film and love it. My sister and I grew up watching Gene Kelly dance and fall in love with Debbie Reynolds. I know the film cold. I can recite all the dialogue. I know every beat of every dance.

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So you know, I like it just a little bit.  

If you ever get a chance to see your favorite movie outdoors on a huge screen, do it. Of course, I’ve seen Singin’ in the Rain a million times. (No exaggeration.) But to see it on a huge screen with a captive audience was something else. We applauded after every number. We laughed when RF yanked Lena’s mic chord and she fell over screaming. We sat in awe at Cyd Charisse’s legs. (Okay, maybe that last one was just me. But seriously, the legs on that woman!)

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One of my favorite parts of the evening was observing the two boys who sat in front of us. They couldn’t have been more than 12, and arrived just before the film started. Once they set up camp, I thought, “Oh, no. This is going to be bad.” But they sat, enchanted, throughout the whole film. It was adorable.

In case you haven’t gotten it by now, let me say again how cool it was to see Don Lockwood and Cosmo Brown on the big screen. The best part was watching the dance numbers all blown up. These two, in particular, were amazing to see.

 

“It’s gotta be a rose, cause it rhymes with Mose.”

 

When we were walking home, I said to Liz, “I could go watch that again right now. I love it that much.”

In the words of Barney Stinson: “De…wait for it….lightful! Delightful!”

And with that, I say goodbye for a few weeks. I’m going on vacation tomorrow, and will be back in September. I’ll leave you with what was undoubtedly the audience’s  favorite from last night: Ladies and gentleman, Mr. Donald O’Conner.

(500) Thoughts later…

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… I am still not sure about (500) Days of Summer. I really, really wanted to like it. It’s got a drop dead gorgeous leading man and leading lady (Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) It’s hip. It’s a contemporary film about single people my age. And, unlike a lot of romantic comedies out there (even though it is NOT A ROMANTIC COMEDY) it’s quirky, fresh, and something different.

There’s just one problem: I hated Summer.

I know that’s kind of the point of the film. (Or is it?) She’s supposed to be someone unattainable, someone that all the guys love and all the girls secretly hate. Someone with an ephemeral quality that cute, hipster boys seem to love so much. It’s not a love story; it’s a story about love. 

But I couldn’t help it. Summer is an amalgam of all the girls I’ve ever known and secretly hated. (And not just because she’s the kind of girl boys go for. It’s because she’s so…transparently fake.  I mean, really, who runs around IKEA pretending to be married? I bet she doesn’t watch TV either, because she thinks it’s a waste of time. Get the fuck over yourself, fictional character!)

Some background:

After I graduated college and moved to Chicago, my first job was crewing on a documentary about vampires. (No, really.) I was thrilled. The guy making the documentary was cool, and I was actually going to get paid to work on a film.  But all that changed after I met the other crew member. She was my very own version of Summer. My Summer dressed all hipstery, wore too much lip balm, and had that “I cut my hair at home because it’s too expensive to go to a salon, that’s why it’s all uneven, doesn’t it look GREAT?” ‘doo. My Summer had scrabble nights at her apartment. She didn’t DARE watch TV. And, to top it all off, she turned my cool, funny director into a total douche bag.

In short, I hated her.

So maybe this movie hit a little too close to home for me. Maybe I didn’t give Movie Summer a fair shot. After all, she does love The Boy With the Arab Strap, and so do I.

After the movie I was in a foul mood. It put a bad taste in my brain. So my immediate reaction was to not like (500) Days of Summer.

However, it’s 5 days later and I’m still thinking about the film. So, what does that mean? Was it just so unpleasant that it’s still there, lingering like bad Mexican food? Or did I secretly love it, and my brain is trying to process this surprise?

My immediate thought walking out of the theater was that I wouldn’t see the movie again. Once was enough. But now I’m thinking I need to revisit Tom and Summer’s relationship. I need to go in with a clean slate, and not equate Summer to the annoying girls in college and my post-college nemesis. Maybe I should watch the film and try to see things from her perspective.

Damn. Don’t you hate it when a film makes you think?

Video of the Day: Whether or not I end up liking (500) Days of Summer, I already know I love this. The song is called “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here” by She and Him – the “She” being Zooey Deschanel. The duo has one album thus far (Volume I),  and it’s delightful. If you haven’t gotten it yet, check it out here.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Blog potpourri

* I’m putting together a Michael Jackson mix, and in doing so, stumbled across some long forgotten, but great, songs. Like “Childhood,” which, apparently, is from the Free Willy 2 soundtrack. Do y’all remember Free Willy 2? Yeah, me neither. I know I saw it, because I LOVED the first movie. Cried my eyes out . Also, fun fact: I went to see Free Willy on my first ever date, in sixth grade. My date cried, too, but tried to hide it. Anyway, check it out. Doesn’t this song break you heart a little? I’m sure he wrote it with that intention, but still – he’s so earnest. Plus, there are strings.

Other gems include “Ben”, “She’s Out of My Life”, “Dirty Diana” and a breathtaking “Ain’t No Sunshine.” I’d kind of forgotten how much I liked the King of Pop back in the day.

* Also being played on my iPod lately: The cast recording for Curtains. Freaking brilliant, people. I now totally regret never seeing this show when it was on Broadway. And I knew about it, too! I distinctly remember talking to my dad about the new Kander and Ebb murder mystery musical. Anyway, a friend gave me the cast recording several months ago, and I only recently started listening to it. It took a few listens, but now I can’t get enough. It’s funny, it’s catchy, it’s romantic, it’s sad. And, sure, it’s no Cabaret, but what is? I love David Hyde Pierce’s wistful song, “Coffee Shop Nights,” but the real gem on this album is “I Miss the Music”, a song about writing a song without a partner. Written by John Kander after Fred Ebb’s death. I can’t listen to it without tearing up. But, there’s also some hilarious numbers, and some that are pure joy, such as “Show People.”

Wasn’t that fun?

*I finished the Great Frasier Rewatch much, much faster than the Great Cheers Rewatch. I actually am not going to say how quick it took me to finish 11 seasons of TV, but needless to say…it was quick. Totally enjoyable from start to finish. I don’t remember the last time I laughed out loud at a show so consistently. Yesterday, I started listing my favorite episodes, for a top 10 countdown, and ended up with, uh, 42. No, I’m not kidding. Obviously I’ll have to trim the list down. I almost feel like there should be two different lists: 1.) Favorite episodes, 2.) Niles. Though, as I said before, Jane Leeves is totally under-appreciated. Or at least, I didn’t appreciate her when the show was on. My god, she’s funny. OnceI can narrow down the list, I’ll do a post on my favorite episodes. In the meantime, here’s a video someone made highlighting the hilarious Daphne Moon.

* Lauren Graham’s new movie, The Answer Man, comes out in DC next week. Who’s coming with me? Anyone? Anyone?

*On that topic, I still haven’t seen 500 Days of Summer. Or The Hangover. Or any new movie since Away We Go. P.S. John Krasinski + beard + glasses = HOT. I finally get the attraction.

* I need a good book. I’m currently very uninspired by my collection. I keep on starting one book and stopping it a few days later. I think this is because a few months ago, I read Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo. It was wonderful, and set the bar very high for my next Great Read. So far, nothing has measured up. I hope I find one by this time next month – I need some beach reading.

* I have no desire to see the Harry Potter movie. But I do think Daniel Radcliffe has gotten kind of cute as he’s gotten older. (Even though I can’t see him without remembering him flinging a condom, ala Extras.) Which is worse?

*Found out today the new season of Dexter starts September 27th. Bring it!

* How did I find that out? By reading about the Dexter panel at Comic Con. Yep, it’s that time of year again. And yes, once again, I failed to make it to the Fandom Mecca. Someday, dear readers. Some day…

My summer picks

I’m not really into the Harry Potter, but here are two movies I’m all about this summer.

They had me at Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He’s certainly grown up to be a handsome fellow, hasn’t he?

And

I’d go see this even if Lauren Graham wasn’t in it, because I like Jeff Daniels and Lou Taylor Pucci, and it looks like an interesting script. The inclusion of Ms. Graham is just icing on the cake for me.

(In semi-related news, I caught the last half of a Gilmore Girls episode this weekend. Despite owning the series on DVD, I haven’t actually watched an episode in well over a year. It was “The Inns and Outs of Inns” from season 2, and, while not one of my favorites, seeing Stars Hollow in all its glory felt like coming home. I miss you, Gilmore.)

As soon as I can get my pictures to cooperate, I’ll tell you all about my trip to New York last month. Here’s a teaser: Go see Next to Normal. It’s incredible.

Pretend catch up

So, I can pretend this post is going to be about all the things I’ve been promising to write about: The Ben Folds a cappella CD, (Still good – only 2 real duds – one of which is, surprisingly, “Brick.” Best tracks hands down are “You Don’t Know Me” and “Magic.” See this post to hear the erm, magic that is “Magic.”) a review of Grey Gardens (Loved it so much, and not just because Broadway Boyfriend Malcolm plays piano – though it doesn’t hurt.), my new media obsession (It’s Dan Savage, and his Savage Love Podcast. I recently started working out on a [semi] regular basis, and I find his podcast is perfect for those 30-40 minutes – not serious, entertaining, and doesn’t require all of my attention.)

I could also write about the fact that yesterday, I received two CDs in the mail – the Broadway cast recording of The Story of My Life (*sigh* I’m still not over it being closed so soon), and The Journey Home, which is the first solo CD from my Broadway love, Malcolm Gets. (Yes, that’s right – TWO Malcolm Gets CDs in one day! I know! This is very exciting if you are me.) Get yours here and here.

But what I really want to talk about is this show I can’t seem to stop watching. I’m so six years behind on this, but uh, Queer as Folk – the American version? Oh my god, you guys. WHY did no one tell me about this show? And why one earth did no one tell me about Brian Kinney? Huh? Huh, Internets? I had no idea what I was missing!

Okay, so the show isn’t perfect. In fact, there are times when it’s downright cringe-worthy. (And no, I’m not talking about the love scenes, unless you’re talking about Dr. Dave and Michael. In which case, yeah, gross. Cause Dr. Dave SUCKED.)

But, the thing is, when it’s good? It’s really good. I feel kind of weird saying that, because I think for the most part, it’s thought of as a guilty pleasure show, and maybe even…dare I say it…network approved gay porn? (Maybe? Maybe not. I don’t know.) That’s not why I like it. (Though, it certainly doesn’t hurt that there are pretty boys making out with each other. I mean, I’m only human.)

When I first started watching, I thought, “Okay, so this is kind of like a gay male Sex and the City.” And it is, to an extent. The show follows the lives of five gay men living in Pittsburgh. Their friends are their family. Instead of meeting at a coffee shop every morning, it’s the Liberty Diner. They don’t go to every hot club in town, just one, Babylon. But that’s not why I like it, either.

So, why do I like the show? (Besides getting to stare at Gale Harold and Robert Gant for an hour?) I think it’s the relationships. I care about Brian and Michael’s lifelong friendship. I want things to work out between Justin and Brian. I kind of love Professor Ben, and think he’s such a better match than stupid Dr. Dave. (Have I mentioned how much I hated him?) I was happy for Michael when he got the comic book shop. Heck, even Brian’s Lesbians (TM TWoP) grew on me after awhile.

Oh, and Emmet Honeycutt. Anything with Emmett Honeycutt. More Emmett, please!  Particularly if  he’s in drag. I almost died when he dressed up like Jackie O.

Things I could do without?
– Michael’s mother. This mostly has to do with the actress. I like the idea of her character, but Sharon Gless is just terrible in the role. (Please don’t throw garbage at me, Cagney and Lacy fans!)
– Uncle Vic. Again, I like the idea of him, and don’t even mind the actor. But they give him the worst story lines and dialogue.
– Ted being a douche. I like Ted, but he has a big d-bag quality that makes me hate him half the time. Also, I don’t care what anyone says, running a porn site is just creepy. *shudder*
– Stilted dialogue. The show has good ideas, but sometimes the execution is less than stellar. And sometimes the dialogue is really bad.

But then sometimes, it’s awesome. Like when Brian’s father died:

Tears, folks. There were tears. Also, props to the QAF team for playing a Badly Drawn Boy song in 2000, when he was still relatively unknown (at least in the US). Also, if you’re going to use a Badly Drawn Boy song, that’s the one to use. It’s the best song he’s ever written.

Also, this scene, which is amazing. I know it’s nothing new to old QAF fans, but I rewound it about five times when I saw this episode. (We won’t talk about what happened after.)

Other observations. (Note: I’m only on season 2, so no spoilers, please!)
– Bring back Daphne, please!
– Seriously, more Emmett Honeycutt. I seriously underestimated Peter Paige when I first started watching, and now, he’s one of my favorites. He can go from cracking me up to making me cry in the blink of an eye.

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– Brian Kinney. Seriously. OMG. Love him. So much that I am now totally bummed that it seems like Jackson’s storyline is done on Desperate Housewives. I watched all season and didn’t know! I didn’t know he was so fabulous! Dear World, Please cast Gale Harold in more things.
– I like Justin’s mother, but she needs to grow some more balls. She’s improved this season, but still has more growing to do. Which is fine – I like seeing character growth over several seasons. Just…keep it up.
– I read that Emmett and Ted are a THING in season 3. Ted is at his best when he’s with Emmett, but I’m still unsure about this whole thing. They’re so good as friends. Plus, Emmett is too good for Ted. (I don’t hate Ted; he just needs to grow, too.)
– I am so glad they gave Michael a decent boyfriend in season two. Also, Robert Gant is sort of impossibly good looking. Especially when he’s wearing glasses. So, good on you, writers. So why Dr. Dave in season 1? Was this supposed to help Michael grow, somehow? To have him love someone other than Brian? If so, you all failed. But then you brought in Professor Ben, so all is forgiven.

And um, thus ends my probably incoherent fangirl rant about Queer as Folk. Sorry. I just…had to get that out.