The Fast and the Furious

While watching The Fast and the Furious and drinking tea together may sound a little odd, it is actually a pretty decent combination.  Obviously this movie really calls for pizza and beer, but it’s been a long week and I need tea and Brian O’Connor to soothe my soul.  Let me preface by saying this franchise is my second favorite movie franchise in the entire history of film.  I will space out the reviews (so not consistently for the next six weeks), it would be too simple to do them back to back to back.

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First of all, HOW DANGEROUS IS IT TO ATTACK A SEMI-TRUCK ON THE HIGHWAY?  Is that very real risk to your lives worth the money you get for the cargo???  Way to start the movie off with a bang.  There is no mistaking that this movie is centered around cars.  Enter Brian Spilner (aka Brian O’Connor).  HELLO GORGEOUS.  But you really need to handle that vehicle a little better.  Keep practicing, baby.  CONFLICT.  Mia Toretto.  Vince.  Brian.  Drama.  First of all, Vince, Mia is not your property so get that through your thick skull.  But their fight gives us the first glimpse into what Dominic Toretto is prepared to do for his family.  Good thing he can be calmed down easily, because otherwise this movie would not have gone any further.

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POP THE HOOD.  The first race.  I’m really feeling Brian’s car and every time I see Ja Rule’s character I can’t help but laugh.  I’m pretty sure the purpose of this scene is to show how Dom owns street racing and how Letty owns Dom.  A little advice for Brian, don’t ask for respect.  Demand it, prove it.  And then don’t get cocky about “almost” winning.  Just don’t.  The look on his face after he realizes he lost says “Dammit, did I just screw everything up?”.  But he saves it all by rescuing Dom from the cops.

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“Two years in Lompoc, I’ll die before I go back.”  MAJOR FORESHADOWING.  Then when Dom brings Brian back to his house for a beer, we are all Mia – scrambling to get ready because a beautiful guy is about to walk into your home.  At least, I would.  Then she breaks up a potential tiff between Brian and Vince.  WAY TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE SITUATION.  She really knows how to handle a man.

PLOT TWIST.  Undercover.  Also, iced cappuccinos?  Especially in those glass mugs?  Could you be any more pretentious?

So they have three family businesses?  The sandwich place, racing, AND a garage?  I absolutely LOVE the character of Jesse.  A genius with ADHD makes for good drama.  Then we can see something that really ages this movie – FLOPPY DISKS.  Who here remembers those?  Love it.  Then Vince has to ruin my nostalgia moment by being a little bitch about Brian eating family dinner with them.  No sweat off Dom’s back though, he knows Vince will be back.  Besides, he’s too busy watching out for who needs to say grace.  Priorities.  Also, Jesse’s prayer is perfect.  Way to come back and pretend you still have your dignity, Vince.

I’m pretty sure Mia is the lynchpin of this franchise.  Yes, Dom and Brian have the most dynamic relationship, but Mia is the glue and the one person all of the main characters would go to the ends of the earth for.  How would they say no to her?  Her and Letty are all about female empowerment.  They should really be characters that get more attention, if only for the younger generation of girls.  I’m not saying they’re perfect, but they don’t ever play the victim – they take control and don’t let stereotypes bring them down.

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How cliche is it to have a bar called El Gato Negro in this movie?  Also, BRIAN’S COVER IS ALMOST BLOWN.  Thanks a lot, Vince.  I blame pretty much everything on Vince, because he is one giant baby.  Despite him being a perceptive baby.  My least favorite scene directly follows, the one where Johnny Tran and his posse torture that guy.  Even after watching this movie countless times, I still have to look away.

Then we have some character development and relationship building – yada yada yada.  Just kidding.  I love these parts of the movies.  THAT CAR DOM BUILT WITH HIS FATHER.  So much symbolism, I can barely process it.  The car that never dies, it’s basically Kenny from South Park.  Also, HOW DARE THE COPS THINK DOM IS AN OUT OF CONTROL CRIMINAL.  He obviously shows remorse, and Brian’s not wrong when he says that Dom is controlled.  Losing a father would be enough to cause anyone to lose control once.

RACE WARS.  Time for shit to hit the fan.  Now we see that Brian really cares about everyone, trying to talk sense into Jesse before he bets his pink slip.  DON’T DO IT JESSE.  Nuts.  Also, don’t ever call Dom a narc.  Not safe for your health.  Neither is walking up to Letty all intimidating – girl will knock you out.  Then we have the cliche “I was undercover, but my feelings were real”.  That brings Paul Walker’s count of movie with that component to two.  Speaking of, maybe I’ll review She’s All That soon.

SURPRISE, there are four family businesses.  Bad things are about to happen.  Oh, and they are just outside Coachella?  Why do I not see any girls with high-waisted shorts and flower crowns?  A bit early for that, I suppose.  Well, I may not be Vince’s number one fan, but it pains me to see him in danger like this.  Okay, maybe Jesse was the lynchpin of this particular movie in the franchise, because without him, everyone seems to be screwed.  I mean, Leon just disappears never to be mentioned again.  Whoops, spoiler alert.  But not really because his character is pretty inconsequential.  Oh my gosh, THERE IS SUCH FORESHADOWING WHEN LETTY CRASHES AND CRAWLS OUT OF HER CAR.  I will say no more about that, though.  For now.

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Dun-dun-dun.  Dom finds out that Brian is actually Brian O’Connor.  He just saved Vince’s life, but at a price of the rest of Dom’s family.  THEN BRIAN DECIDES TO GO NATIVE AND STEP TO THE OTHER SIDE OF THE LAW.  What a depressing way to end a film, but a great way to set up a sequel.  Man I love this franchise.  Don’t worry, I will continue with all of the others that have been released so far, but you might have to *pause for dramatic affect* wait.

 

~Tales

 

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Failure to Launch

Because my last review was of a very dramatic film today I chose to watch a light romantic-comedy, Failure to Launch, while drinking some Earl Grey tea.  The movie stars Sarah Jessica Parker, Matthew McConaughey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, Justin Bartha, Terry Bradshaw, and Kathy Bates.  For those of you who have not seen the film, it is about a mid-thirties man, Tripp (McConaughey), that is still living with his parents (Bradshaw/Bates).  His parents hire a woman, Paula (Parker) to simulate a relationship with their son so that he gains the confidence to move out of their home.  Crazy friends mean antics will ensue.  Shall we?

*Basically all of my reviews will have SPOILER ALERTS*

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(ALMOST) SNEAK ATTACK.  I like how the movie begins, it takes the sneak attack approach of letting the audience know the main character is still living with his parents.  I mean, obviously most people know that going into the movie, but still, it would be a nice surprise for those who have no clue what they’re about to watch.  The cherry on top is when Terry Bradshaw is just walks in on Tripp and his special-lady-friend.

THE SUPER MEET-CUTE.  What woman on earth brings coffee to random furniture store employees just so they let her nap in a leather recliner???  That’s the first tip off that this is a complete set-up.  Or else, those would be really expensive naps.

ZOOEY DESCHANEL’S CHARACTER IS EVERYTHING I WANT TO BE IN THIS WORLD.  First of all, Champagne Thursday…  and Friday.  Usually not a week goes by that I can’t think of a situation in which I could quote her character.  She is very antisocial and she just calls it like she sees it.  Everybody should have a friend like that.

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TRIPP’S RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS NEPHEW IS THE MOST ADORABLE THING.  Those two playing videogames with Tripp’s friends is probably one of my favorite scenes.  Then when Tripp’s mom comes in… What son refers to his mom as “baby”?  Even with that southern charm???  Bradley Cooper has the best line in the scene after Tripp’s mom gives him… chores *shudders*: “Something’s wrong with your mom”.  Cue Aretha Franklin’s RESPECT.

PAULA IS PERFECT AT THEIR FIRST DATE.  “I assume this technique has worked in the past?”  And she actually WANTS to eat food.  Then she turns around to save Tripp’s career, “She certainly is yar”.  She continuously puts Tripp in his place when he tries to impress her.  Tripp never stood a chance.

FIRST YOGA, THEN MOUNTAIN BIKING?  Thank you for not classifying gender-specific activities.  Also, perfect settings to see friendship interactions and help discuss the plot and what is happening.  Tripp and Demo are like a James Potter and Sirius Black pairing.  Ace is definitely their Remus Lupin, always more cautious and sensible.  Demo is the traveling risk-taker, at one with nature.  But when it really matters, they both do whatever they have to for their friend.  Maybe they don’t give the best advice, but if they did this movie would probably lose the comedy.

THE METAPHOR OF NATURE REBELLING AGAINST TRIPP.  Tripp kept pushing and pushing to give that chipmunk some chocolate, just like he keeps pushing and pushing his relationships to only have fun and shy away from the seriousness.  Then you also have Kit’s rivalry with the mockingbird.  Is it meant to represent her unwillingness to interact with the human population?  She is psycho about this bird and I love it.  I hate birds too.

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THE COUPLE BOAT SHOPPING.  “You’re a ‘power guy’? Guys who drink Kahlua and cream are not ‘power guys’, honey.”  I think that’s really all that needs to be said about them.

PAINTBALL AS A CURE FOR SADNESS.  It just shows how so awesome the three guys are, they bring a girl who’s never played paintball before on their team to cheer her up.  And it’s not just a friendly match, they are up against paintballing champions, ones that are jerks who think girls can’t win in paintball.  “WHO’S LAUGHING NOW? *finger roll*”  Do they seriously think she’d rather be shopping than playing?  Also, did they have to give her the pink gun?  Not going to lie, I would probably be Paula in this situation: just running and hiding behind every available obstacle, “You will not have died in vain”.

KIT AND ACE’S RELATIONSHIP.  It is a perfect example of men wanting women who are indifferent/don’t want them.  In this situation it is adorable, but in real life it is pathetic.  Why would you want to waste your time trying to change a person’s mind and make them think you’re good enough?  To someone else, you already are good enough.  But Kit is perfect, so I have a hard time being disappointed in Ace.

SERIOUSLY TRIPP?  SHE LOOKS AT YOU DIFFERENTLY AND YOU RUN FOR THE HILLS?  Although I love how Paula thinks she’s got the relationship under control and Tripp is like NOPE.  Tripp seriously has problems, because he looks at her like “You’re the best thing that’s happened to me, but you looked at me with emotion so it’s over”.  Paula has the most awkward recovery when Tripp introduces her to his parents.  Aaaaaand now if he wants to dump Paula, he’s going to have to man up.  Taking your girlfriends home to see that you live with your parents so they break up with you is a cowardly way out.

SERIOUSLY PAULA?  SEX TO KEEP A MAN INTERESTED?  A. Prostitution in this case.  B. That’s almost as bad as telling a man you’re pregnant to keep him around.  Totally not okay with this situation.  Way to stick to your morals and rules, Paula.  And then Kit is the voice of reason when she and Paula are in the sporting goods store.  Sidenote: the gun salesman is my least favorite kind of person.  He laughs at Kit when she calls the shotgun shells “bullets”.  NOT COOL.  Plus he’s a know-it-all.  Okay I lied, Kit is not perfect – she didn’t know that To Kill a Mockingbird was a classic American novel.

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APPARENTLY ACE HAS NO DIGNITY.  Blackmailing Paula to get a date with Kit?  No.  His date plan was good, though – going to the aquarium.  Points for originality.  I don’t really like how she doesn’t really give Ace a chance until she finds out he can help her.  Way to take advantage of a situation.  But apparently almost killing a mockingbird and having a moral crisis really bonds people.  And I do love the characters together, just not the circumstances that puts them there.  Good thing that this is only a movie and not real life.

WHEN PAULA FINDS OUT WHY TRIPP IS THE WAY HE IS…  Cue slap to the forehead.  I love how Demo is so chill as he confronts Paula.  It is a much better way to play it, especially because Demo is actually supportive of the situation.  Placing the scene at a baseball game was brilliant.  The excitement in the setting was a good counterbalance to the depressing story about Tripp’s past.  But then again, he turns around and tells Tripp everything.  Basically defeating the purpose of helping Trip.  Sidenote: who does Jeffery actually live with?!?!?!?  Why does Tripp only see him on Saturdays?  These are the questions that I need answered!!!  Also, I relate to Jeffery on a spiritual level, he eats and eats and eats.  My kind of guy.

THE PG-13 MOVIE’S ONE F-BOMB.  The writer’s couldn’t have placed it in a better spot.  It really spoke to the gravity of the betrayal Tripp felt from everyone around him.  I can also appreciate how he makes Paula and his parents squirm before he tells them that he knows everything.  Serves them right for not being straight with him.  Then again, Tripp and Paula never would have meet had that been the case.  And then the movie would be nothing.

THE NAKED ROOM.  Super awkward.  This former NFL star walking around naked…  I really don’t know how I’m supposed to feel about this.  And then Sue’s (Kathy Bate) fears about the strength of her relationship to Al, that took a turn real fast.  So she was focusing her energies on trying to fix Tripp to avoid thinking about her marriage?  PLOT TWIST.

THE CLICHE CONFRONTATION.  Almost all romantic comedies follow a set pattern, and Failure to Launch is no different.  Paula and Tripp’s family and friends all come together to force them to talk it out.  Communication is key to relationships, people!  Quesiton: how did Demo and Ace catch, tie-up, and imprision Tripp?  I would’ve loved to have seen that.  And the fact that Ace has all those cameras in his room… Creepy.  Anyway, why must Tripp be such a douche-bag?  Like, I know that she hurt you, but that’s no reason to act like a 5 year-old.  Then, when Ace hooks up his feed to the restaurant’s TV screens?  GREAT friends there…  And finally, the movie wraps up the nature vs Tripp metaphor.  At least they didn’t leave me with that loose end.

 

Basically, this movie never gets old… So long as you don’t watch it every week.  Yes, it has it’s issues and I have my complaints, but I genuinely enjoy watching it.  All the sass.  For my next movie review, I will probably choose something action/adventure or thriller.  Gotta mix it up.

~Tales

 

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Jersey Boys

A little housekeeping first… If the film I choose to watch is a new release, like this one, then I will write my review after the fact.  But with the older movies that are on DVD and Netflix (or even VHS), I have the ability to write my thoughts down AS I watch them.  Which is what I plan on doing.  That way I won’t forget a particularly witty thought that I am sure to have.  Obviously after watching the older movies I will go back through my initial post and edit- My thoughts may not make complete sense to others the first time around.

My latest movie theater excursion found me in the Jersey Boys showing. Now, I’ve never had the chance to witness what I hear is the brilliance of the Broadway show, but I must say that the film was FANTASTIC.  Unfortunately, I could not drink tea in the theater, so instead I’m drinking tea as I write this.  As a frame of reference, I absolutely love older music, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons included.  I have not done much research into the history of the band, but I am curious as to how much of the film/Broadway show are true.  Like, did they really get the band name from an old bowling alley?  I also have enjoyed the Clint Eastwood films that I have previously seen, so I went into this with high expectations.  Thankfully, I was not disappointed.

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Obviously the film is set back in the 50s and 60s, and they did a fantastic job of not going over the top with the sets and costumes.  Is it odd to admit one of my favorite aspects was seeing the progression of the microphones used in their shows?  No shame.  The sepia tinting to everything made sure the audience always knew what era it was supposed to be.  I was grateful that the film did not just turn into another Goodfellas, even with all of the mob histories.

The time jumping did get a little confusing at times, but the director made sure to explain the time jumps or go back and clear a couple things up.  It was especially helpful when the characters would break down the fourth wall and talk to the audience.  I love when that happens in movies and television!  The acting was also great, they didn’t lay it on thick and tailored it to an actual movie performance instead of a Broadway show.  (I heard that the actor playing Frankie Valli, John Lloyd Young, tried out for the Broadway show and didn’t get the part – their loss)

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It was actually a very powerful movie, showing the ugly side of fame as well as loss and heartbreak.  The Clint Eastwood made no effort to gloss over anything, it was pretty raw.  Was it supposed to feel like a documentary?  If so, then they succeeded.  The song choices were perfect, as well.  Although, if I could change anything, I would’ve added in Frankie Valli singing “Grease” at some point.  I’m a cliche because one of my all-time favorite songs is “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You”, so when they FINALLY got to that point in Frankie’s career, I was beyond excited and it was almost overwhelming.  It was shown as what really saved Frankie’s life, after living through a terrible tragedy.  I can only hope that it’s true.

Do I have any complaints about Jersey Boys?  Well, I will answer that question with another question – What normal person wouldn’t?  That’s like asking a reader if they like the movie better than the book.  Blasphemy.  Anyway… Most of my complaints are more about the life choices the band members made, and the screenwriters couldn’t really do much to fix that.  I would’ve like to have explored Bobby’s motivations more.  Or even Nicky’s.  Things were said when the band finally broke up, but they didn’t explain everything.

Overall, I loved Jersey Boys and I will totally watch it again.  It is definitely an interesting comparison, going from watching this and then listening to the actual songs after.  Even now as I listen to the music while pondering my thoughts on the film.

Stay tuned for my next review!  As an FYI, I don’t go to the movie theater as often as I would like, but I will do my best to make the extra effort!

~Tales

 

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It’s About (Tea) Time

Hello Internet, welcome to this new blog of mine.

When I want to take time for myself, one of my favorite activities is to make a cup (or two) of tea and curl up with a good novel or film. Genre and length don’t really matter to me.  While I am watching a movie or reading a book, I am able to escape my monotonous daily life and enter new worlds and adventures.   Sometimes my beverage of choice may change, but tea is clearly the best option when you just want to cuddle up – even in the dead of summer.

I have always been vocal about my opinions on movies, books, television, etc. so I finally decided to make a blog dedicated to my reviews of all things entertainment.  My main goal is to entertain my readers, but second only to that is to not let this blog become an “occasional thing”.  I would very much like to be consistent with my review postings.  After all, I have no problem finding the time to tell others what I think, so hopefully I can make the time to write about what I think.

You may wonder who I am, where I am from, or how my upbringing influenced my opinions; but for the time being I would like to stay anonymous.  Eventually, I may change my mind but for the time being I would like the focus to be on the films and novels (maybe television shows) themselves.  Until then, you may refer to me as…

 

~Tales