The Red High School Musical

This was a wedding celebration, but she had never felt more weary.  She was satisfied with the peace she had brokered between the basketball team and the theater kids, but the merriment of the hall was lost on her.  Catelyn had been seated between Troy Bolton and Ser Wendel Manderly, the latter of whom still busied himself with a leg of lamb.

At least Robb* looks happy, looks his age a bit, she thought.  Her basketball king bounced in time to the quick beat of the drums.  She looked to the dancers and saw Edwyn Frey wrench his arm from Dacey Mormont’s grip.  “I’m done with dancing for the nonce,” said Edwyn, too loudly, “and you shouldn’t have done the jazz square.” He shoved Dacey aside and stalked toward the doors to the hall.

Dacey stared after him with a puzzled expression, and Catelyn heard her mutter, “everyone loves a good jazz square.”  Doubt gripped Catelyn’s heart where an instant before had been only weariness.  She grabbed Troy by the arm to turn him and went cold all over when she felt the leotard beneath his silken jersey.

The drums slowed their beat, echoing more loudly across the walls as if the stones themselves were playing.  No one sang the words, but Catelyn knew “Stick to the Status Quo” when she heard it.  In a coat of gold or a coat of red, a Wildcat still has claws.   And while your head might be in the game, my lord, your heart is in the song.

Robb bounced after Edwyn Frey, and Catelyn called out after him.  He turned, and a quarrel sprouted from beneath a black rib.  Another sprouted from the L in the Spalding logo, and Robb fell to the ground.  She watched her son’s orange, dimpled skin begin to deflate.

“Mother…what team?” hissed Robb as the air left him.

wildcats,” replied Catelyn.

The doors burst open in a cloud of sequins and spotlight, and Catelyn saw Ser Ryman Frey bury a set piece in Dacey’s stomach.  Ser Wendel’s mouth had dropped open at the bright display, and two Frey men-at-arms took advantage of his inaction and began applying his stage makeup.

Above it all, Ms. Darbus watched her chapel of the arts.

Heh,” she said, “seems we auditioned some of your men.  But they’ll get their heads in the game, that’ll mend them again.”

Catelyn grabbed a handful of Sharpay’s long hair and dragged her out of her hiding place.  “On my honor as a Tully,” “on my honor as a member of East High Class of 2008, I will trade your lady’s life for Robb’s.  A theater kid for a basketball.  Robb, run the give and go. GO!”

Ms. Darbus smiled.  “A player for a player, heh.  But that’s an understudy, and she’s going to get incredibly fucking annoying in the sequel.”

Troy Bolton, in dark armor and a bright red jersey stepped up to Robb.  “The Outside ‘J’ sends his regards.”  He thrust a Playbill through the center of the basketball, and twisted.

Catelyn stood motionless as the new cast of the ‘Twinkle Town Musicale’ grabbed her arms and legs, and forced her feet into character shoes.  It tickled, and she laughed until she screamed.  “Mad, she’s lost her wits, yikes” she heard, and felt someone grab her hair. No, don’t, don’t cut my hair, the state basketball championships are televised.   Then the microphone was at her throat, and they were all in this together.

 

*played here by an actual basketball**

**no, I don’t know what is wrong with me either

 

 

Romantic comedy review: “27 Dresses”

Hey, everyone!  Did you think I was joking? Because I was not joking even a little when I said I would start a series reviewing romantic comedies.  I’m more than happy to take requests, and I’m starting with one of my favorites.

27 Dresses (2008)

Twenty_seven_dresses

Rating: 8/10

Couple: James Marsden and Katherine Heigl

Best scene: Singing Benny and the Jets at the bar

Best line: “oh, do you also go around telling small children that Santa Claus doesn’t exist?  Because someone needs to blow that shit wide open.”

Romcom tropes: Judy Greer as the sassy best friend, gorgeous girl who is somehow alone, weddings

You wanna go, on this?  Let’s go.  This is a great movie and I will fight you on it.  Not joking even a tiny bit.

For those of you who aren’t In The Know, this movie is about Jane (Katherine Heigl), a woman who has been a bridesmaid in 27 weddings so far and pretty much takes care of everybody’s life.  She is crazy in love with her boss (Edward Burns) who has no idea, and the drama begins when her younger sister Tess (Malin Ackerman) comes to town and they of course start dating and then of course get engaged and of course Jane is maid of honor of COURSE.  James Marsden plays Kevin, the journalist covering Tess’ wedding.

There are a couple slight missteps in this movie, I’ll admit that.  When Jane finds out that Kevin is, in fact, her favorite wedding columnist, her response is “I feel like I just found out that my favorite love song was written about a sandwich.”  First of all: no. No, you don’t.  That’s a very specific emotion and I doubt you’ve had it before.  Secondly: no, that’s not how people talk.  Like what, you had that line prepared, in case…that happened?  Noooope.  It’s kind of a shame, because the rest of Jane’s lines are totally reasonable (she shoots down Kevin early on with a “oh, how refreshing! A man who doesn’t believe in marriage!” which like HELL YES good job lady).  Also, Judy Greer is a great Sassy Best Friend (SBF) but ugh I feel like this girl has a reasonable negligent infliction of emotional distress claim on all of Hollywood.  Let her be something else.  In addition, this is a White People Movie, and there are some actual racist jokes in this movie, including Jewish and Indian stereotypes in the opening scenes, and a moment in a Japanese wedding where lol Katherine Heigl has to lol kneel because she’s so tall and Asian women are lol short lol um no can u not.

Finally, can someone please explain to me the appeal of Edward Burns please and thank you.  I just Do Not Understand.  He is so generic that I regularly forget his name (I have called him “the dude who isn’t Matt Damon or the translator who inexplicably lives through Saving Private Ryan”), and every line he delivers makes me want to yell CAN YOU SPEAK UP PLEASE.  Like he could be “you know that guy Todd, from work” at every single workplace.  idk, sorry if he’s your thing, but he’s like every generic above-average white dude in a bar to me.  Wear those khakis, Ed.  BE the khakis.  You ARE the khakis.

ON TO THE GOOD STUFF

  • James Marsden

I will admit, part of this is because when I saw this movie, I was straight off the high that was Disney’s “Enchanted” where he plays the most perfect prince to ever prince so he could have phoned this in entirely and I still would have loved him.  HOWEVER HE DID NOT AND IT’S AMAZING.  He is a perfect romantic comedy lead: he has the good timing lines, he’s freaking adorable, and he’s like honestly not too much of a dick?  Yes yes yes I agree the newspaper column was some bullSHIT (homie you knew she was gonna publish that, you KNEW) and frankly do not write in a woman’s planner ever or she will justifiably murder you but STILL.  His divorce backstory is believable and delivered well by Marsden.  And finally, can I just…

  • Benny and the Jets

This scene is everything, my heartttttt.  I appreciate that the film recognizes that this song is a great way to get a bunch of strangers to sing together, and that no one has any idea what the fuck the lyrics are.  Heigl and Marsden are too adorable to function in this scene and I start giggling every time I hear this song and THIS SCENE IS THE FEEL-GOOD MOVIE OF THE YEAR OKAY FIGHT ME I LOVE IT

  • Katherine Heigl is likable in this movie

So many people walked out of the theater like “I do not like this woman but…ah, shit, she’s delightful here.”  Like, we buy that she looks like Katherine Heigl but is somehow the long-suffering uncool sister/friend.  Like HOW DID YOU PULL THAT OFF.  There were people ready to straight-up murder you for something related to Grey’s Anatomy (I don’t watch the show I’m assuming it was mafia-related) and you just showed up and SWING AND A HIT.  Not since Jaime Lannister have we had a redemption arc this impressive and then probably fucked up by some writers DID YOU MISS ME, GUYS

  • The dresses

I don’t know the team responsible but God bless you all.  They are beautifully over-the-top, the scene where she tries them on is a ridiculous and delightful montage, the shiny-ness of some formal fabrics is demonstrated To Great Effect, and man, weddings can be weird.  I have not been in a wedding or at a wedding where I was like “wut happened this bad” but man you get stories and pictures and weddings are WEIRD, yo.  Also has anyone actually been to a Gone With the Wind wedding because TELL ME EVERYTHING PLEASE I MUST KNOW.

  • The vague job

This is a silly thing for me to appreciate but this movie goes H.A.M. on the “what the fuck do they even do at this workplace” front and it’s just AMAZING.  I love it when romantic comedies give the heroine the vaguest job possible and this movie is just A+ and it makes me laugh every time I see it.  Like she could work for Subaru’s ad department or a trendy dentist I have no idea and it will never ever not be funny.

  • This movie is not terrible to women

You know the weird cattiness that surrounds a lot of these movies?  Like someone cooked down The Bachelor and Bride Wars meth-style and injected it into every female character and then yelled ACTION?  Could have been SO easy here, and it didn’t happen.  Jane saves all of her bridesmaid dresses, and when questioned by Kevin why she would do that, she says “I have a lot of friends and I like to keep them” and “I’ve had a lot of really good times in those dresses.”  Like, awwww.  Good job boo.

Additionally, Jane is Stressed Out because of her sister dating her crush, but she is genuinely not angry at her until her sister pulls the big no-no of both lying to the dude and cutting up their mom’s wedding dress for her dress.  The movie doesn’t treat Tess that well, but you know what? Jane actually does, and when Jane’s SBF says “you cannot plan your sister’s wedding to the man you are in love with, it’s sick,” Jane responds with “to be fair, she didn’t know I was in love with him when they got together.”  Oh my goodness, movie, you did good.  Jane struggles with her jealousy but isn’t like “bitch I saw him first” at ANY POINT and I’m just SO IMPRESSED.

Her giant moment of selling Tess out and calling her on all her lies is soooo uncomfortable that I have muted it and/or skipped past it while watching (I cannot cannot watch people embarrass themselves in front of other people not even in movies I cannot), and the movie actually lets you feel complicated emotion towards it.  On one hand you’re like OOOOH BURN GO JANE but when the SBF comes out and is like “if that were the right thing to do, wouldn’t you feel better about it?” Because yes, she probably did need to say something, but at a party in front of everyone who matters with a slideshow is not the time or place or fashion.

They also make Tess a Real Person with Real Stuff to deal with and you’re supposed to hate her a little bit but not a lot!  Which is remarkable!  She’s a gorgeous woman in fashion and she’s allowed to be a human!  With flaws!  Who is still worth loving!  Holy SHIT, movie!

I just appreciate in movies when women are nice to each other and do things for each other and while this is not a perfect representation and I could have done without the “lol she made them all wear their dresses at the end” bit it’s still really really adorable and she has her friends and she’s got her SBF and she’s got her sister and awwww.  I love it.  I love it I love it it was great and I will watch it at any time or place.

B-B-B-BENNY AND THE JETS

 

It’s 2016 and I’m back

Hey there everyone!  Welcome to my new online home.

A significant number of my old posts have been transferred over here, so if you’re looking to reread my Game of Thrones episode reviews from the beginning, go ahead and start here.

I’m hoping to wrap up some reviews of Season 5, possibly review Season 6, and start up a couple new projects.

My lack of hipness extends far and wide

Yes, a ton of my nerd stuff revolves around sci-fi and fantasy novels.  BUT, I am also a giant loser about many other things!  Here are some of my favorites, and this post is 6000% selfish because I just wanna talk about my feelings with people.   Feeeeeeelingsssssssss

Avatar: The Last Airbender
(apologies in advance because I am not caught up even a little bit on Korra)
(also no I don’t want to talk about M. Night’s movie do not even go there I will cry)

Iroh: “It is time for you to look inward and begin asking yourself the big questions: Who are you? And what do you want?”

Ohhhh yeah, American anime designed for kids.  Get at me. My lovely friend Adam introduced me to this show my sophomore year of college, and started the introduction of the show with “okay, this is going to sound kind of weird, but there’s this kids’ show, and it’s really good, so, um…would you want to see an episode?” And I did, and it was great.

The show’s introduction gives you a good idea of what it’s about, and what it’s about is EPIC: the world in which the show takes place has been experiencing a hundred years of war, caused by the Fire Nation.  The Fire Nation is made partially of firebenders: those with the ability to manipulate fire and (sometimes) lightning.  The Earth Kingdom, the Water Tribes, and the Air Nomads each have their own abilities in similar fashion.  The Avatar from the title cycles through the four nations, until the most recent Avatar died, and the Air Nomads were next.  The Fire Nation knew the Avatar was supposed to be reborn into the Air Nomads, so they killed them all.  Literally all of them.  Yep, this is a kids’ show.

The “for kids” aspect of this whole show just means they usually don’t show blood, they don’t swear, and death happens off screen, but that is where it stops and ends.  There’s war, and love, and serious amount of feelings, and the best redemption arc I’ve ever seen in a series (Jaime Lannister who?)  The art and the music is incredible, the voice acting is superb, and I can’t even say that there’s a weak episode in the whole thing.  The show also has a great sense of self-awareness, and skewers everything from American wrestling (Earthbending arena!) to itself.  Seriously, please, just give this show a shot.

The Discworld novels
“Of course someone would be that stupid.  Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it.  If you put a large switch in a cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End of the World Switch, PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH,’ the paint wouldn’t even have a time to dry.”- Thief of Time

Sir Terry Pratchett is the author of these books, may he rest in peace and entertain the afterlife with his wit, and I really don’t know what to say about them other than please read them and if you’ve already read them I need you to talk to me because oh my goodness they are the bestest.

My closest comparison to explaining these books is a sort of Douglas Adams is to sci-fi what Pratchett is to fantasy, but that is weak and doesn’t fully explain either writer to the best of their abilities.  Pratchett’s world, the Discworld, is first and foremost wonderful satire, but it’s so much more than that.  There are several major story arcs in the series, including witches, the Night Watch, the Wizards of Unseen University (“Now You See It, Now You Don’t”) and Death.  Death is a character who speaks in all capitals and really likes cats.  (If you’re a fan of the series, my favorite story arcs are the Night Watch and Death.)  There are also stand alone books that cover topics like Catholicism during the Spanish Inquisition and women joining the army disguised as men.

I have read most of the books more than once, and several I’ve read about a dozen times (Thief of Time and Night Watch).  Some of the books skewer things like Santa Claus and rock music, and some attempt some heavier stuff.  However, every single book will make you smile, and every single one will make you cry.  I really cannot explain how good these books are.

Starkid
“My name is Draco Malfoy.  I am a racist, I hate Muggles and Mudbloods, I despise Gryffindor House, and my parents work for the man who killed your parents.  Do you want to be my friend?”

This is the production company that originally got famous for “A Very Potter Musical,” which is goddamn amazing and probably the hardest I’ve laughed ever, but they are SO GOOD, YOU GUYS.  I went to one of their shows.  Alone.  I was the only one there who was not 15 or the parents of the 15-year-old.  I’M NOT SORRY THE SHOW WAS SO CUTE AND THEY DESERVE MONEY.

They have since done parody musicals for Batman and Aladdin, in addition to two Harry Potter sequels and you guys, I seriously cannot even explain how hard I laughed at this one.  The opening song for their Aladdin parody, Twisted, starts off with a song modeled after Beauty and the Beast’s opening song, except instead of “Bonjour!,” everyone is saying “f*** you” to Jafar.  In the Batman musical, the actor playing Batman does Christian Bale’s Batman voice the whole time.  I have seriously cried laughing during every single one of these musicals, and they are all on YouTube.  Go forth and laugh forever.

Mystery Science Theater 3000
“Put your helmet on, we’ll be reaching speeds of THREE!” – Space Mutiny

Confession: I am as old as this show.  Okay, my age is not the confession, but clearly I was not a fan of the show when it aired.  About 5 years ago I was working at CTY, and a staff movie night happened, and I did not understand what MST3K was, and my friend explained it as “it’s this guy, and he’s in a spaceship, and he has friends that are robots, and they make fun of movies.  …okay the plot doesn’t matter but it’s funny, it varies from ‘this is pretty funny’ to ‘I cannot breathe I am laughing so hard'” and he’s 100% correct on all fronts.

The show is great, and you should watch it.  They are going to make a new one and I am so goshdarn excited.  As to the old show, you can buy episodes, some are on Netflix, and you should also look up the stars of the show in general. They are still making hilarious stuff and they deserve money.

Jane Austen
“You know it, I’m not putting the quote here” – Me

I’m not sorry.  I really enjoy the novels (Persuasion in particular), and pretty much all of the adaptations I’ve seen.  I also love stuff based on her work, including Clueless, The Jane Austen Book Club, and Austenland.  I…just really like this stuff, guys.

Now, it’s totally cool if Austen isn’t your thing.  You don’t have to like all the things I like.  “I tried one of her books, and I just couldn’t get into it” is a totally valid thought.  “Ugh, dude, nothing happens, it’s not like Hemingway, all they do is talk and get married” is, frankly, not.  Austen touches a nerve for me, because she is the ultimate in the “men write for men and women, women write only for women” problem.  This is a very Katarina Stratford from 10 Things issue (up to and including the fact that Austen is sometimes thrown as a diversity bone to teachers wondering why the school board can’t buy a book written by a black man), but I’m still on Austen’s side.

Also, guys, the Sense and Sensibility adaptation is such a goshdarn gorgeous movie for every possible reason.  Watch that for me, at least, please.