6.22.2017

Summer Movies

It's summer movie time! Take a look at what I can't wait to see. (Hint: it's not the big budget blockbusters.)

The Big Sick
I love Kumail. I love Zoe. I'm so excited for this refreshing rom-com based on Kumail's real life.



The House
It'll be stupid, but I'll laugh a lot.



The Beguiled
I'm not usually one for period pieces, but this remake looks great. Nicole and Kirsten are my favorites!



Inconceivable
I'll probably wait to rent this one, but I love a psycho stalker movie!



A Ghost Story
I don't really know what's going on here, but I'm intrigued.



Dunkirk
This looks like it could be another great war movie, but with suspense rather than combat. I like that.



An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power
Just watching the trailer makes me irate.



Detroit
This is my most anticipated movie of the summer! I can't wait!



Wind River
I'm really curious about this one. It could be a solid thriller.



Ingrid Goes West
I love this cast and crazy plot, which you don't really get to see from this trailer. Ha!



The Glass Castle
I finally read this book last year and can't wait to see it come to life. Brie is amazing.



Who's Streets?
A must-see.


Polaroid
Creeepy!



It
Yesss!



Also playing this summer: Transformers: The Last Knight, The Bad Batch, Baby Driver, Amityville: The Awakening, The Little Hours, Despicable Me 3, Spider-Man: Homecoming, War for the Planet of the Apes, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Girls Trip, Atomic Blonde, The Emoji Movie, The Dark Tower, Annabelle: Creation, The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, The Hitman's Bodyguard, Logan Lucky, Patti Cake$, Tulip Fever, Unlocked, Renegades.

What are you excited to see?

6.16.2017

Entertainment in '97

I'm still having a hard time dealing with the fact that I graduated twenty years ago. Like, how did two decades just go by? It's especially strange because I still love the same movies, songs, and TV shows that I did back then. Let's take a look at the entertainment from that bygone era.

MOVIES

These were the ten highest-grossing films of 1997. Titanic made a record breaking $1.84 billion worldwide. The Lost World was the number two movie of the year and made $618 million, not even half of what Titanic brought in. Men In Black ended the year at $583 million. Tomorrow Never Dies, Air Force One, As Good as It Gets, and Liar Liar made about $300 million, while the rest came in between $250 and $299 million.


Besides my love for Titanic (which I've talked about here and here), My Best Friends Wedding, and the amazing song Men In Black brought us, I wasn't really feelin' most of those films at age 18. The following were my favorite movies from the year and when my crush on Ben Affleck started. He didn't reach leading man status until 1998's Armageddon, but he won my heart in Chasing Amy.



BOOKS

Full disclosure: I honestly can't remember picking up one book for pleasure in high school or college. There was too much to read for class and I would have rather hung out with friends after my homework was finished than read a book. I couldn't find a list of top ten best sellers in 1997, but these ones made a notable impact that year. Sadly, I've only read Tuesdays with Morrie (just last year), but most of them are on my TBR list. 



TELEVISION

I can't believe how many short-lived sitcoms were among the top-rated primetime shows this year. And A LOT of people watched them! ER had a 21.8 rating, Seinfeld had 20, and Friends had 16.8. The tenth most popular show that year (if we aren't counting football and shows like 60 Minutes and 20/20) was NYPD Blue at 12.5, which is barely under the top rated show last year, NCIS at 12.8. I have no idea how to convert the ratings to number of viewers or why they even still use this outdated system, but still, a lot of people were watching crappy sitcoms in 1997.


I watched NBC's Must-See-TV religiously, so ER, Seinfeld, and Friends were my favorite shows. I also watched Mad About You with my boyfriend because we thought we were basically Paul and Jamie and dreamed about moving to NYC to follow similar career paths. My dad was a big fan of The Drew Carey Show so we watched that as a family. Daria, South Park, and Ally McBeal were shows I also loved and couldn't miss because I didn't want to be left out of conversations at school the next day. The days before DVRs were tough, man.



MUSIC

Shania Twain sold 15.6 millions copies of Come on Over in 1997. The Titanic Soundtrack and Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love, both released on November 18, each sold 10 million. Biggie's Life After Death also sold 10 million, Big Willie Style sold 9.6 and Surfacing by Sarah McLachlan sold 8. Savage Garden, Sevens, and No Way Out sold around 7 million each, and Third Eye Blind rounded out the top ten with 6 million. To put these sales into perspective, the biggest albums of 2016 were Drake's Views and Beyonce's Lemonade, with 1.6 million and 1.59 million, respectively. 


I owned five out of ten of those albums. Can you guess which ones?

I was mostly into alternative music and was obsessed with Harvey Danger (Flagpole Sitta, Private Helicopter, Wooly Muffler, and Problems and Bigger Ones are still such great songs!) so Merrymakers was on repeat. I also still loved Oasis, though Be Here Now isn't my favorite album of theirs and I stopped listening to them afterward. The same thing happened with Foo Fighters. After The Colour and the Shape, I was over them. I started working at a day care center after graduation and the summer camp kids introduced me to the Backstreet Boys and I actually bought Backstreet's Back to listen to on my on time. And who could resist Barbie Girl? Aquarium was a super fun pop album!


If you're in the mood to take a stroll down memory lane, here's the 1997 playlist I've been listening to all week.

6.13.2017

What I Read In May



Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan I've heard great things about this middle grade book and it's true, it's a nice coming of age story, but it's really far-fetched. I was hoping for something more realistic with such serious topics (adoption, loss, foster care, being an outsider, etc.). It was sweet and hopeful and heartwarming with good writing though. 


Party of One by Dave Holmes I was sort of indifferent about Dave Holmes, but totally remember watching the Wanna Be A VJ contest and hoping he'd win. This book is such a great coming of age/coming out/cool career story and the nostalgia was a blast. It's funny and fun, and I related so much to his take on aging out of top 40 and pop culture in general. Loved it! 


Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han I love this dumb YA series so much. The books are all light and simple and a breath of fresh air when most teen protagonists these days are searching for their BFF's murderer or having an affair with their teacher. While some readers are annoyed by wholesome Lara Jean, I see some of my teen self in her innocence. This was a good conclusion to the series, but I still wish there'd be another book. 


The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis I'm not super into historical fiction, so this book had a strike against it right off the bat. I started it a few months ago, gave up, and forgot about it until I won it in a Goodreads giveaway and felt I had to finish it. It's a silly premise and neither of the stories (one from 1952 and one from 2016) are very interesting. 


Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard by Laura Bates Laura Bates taught Shakespeare to prisoners for ten years with the help of notorious inmate Larry Newton. Some claim the book is a little dry, but most non-fiction is if you aren't interested in the subject. I have such strong feelings about solitary confinement (and the prison system in general) and this book gave me hope that there are still people out there who care. I couldn't put it down! 

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay  I enjoyed every essays, but wish there was more conclusion to some of the questions she raised. I know, I know. That was the point. I admired and related to her confession of not knowing enough about the history of feminism, and not possessing all the opinions of mainstream feminism, but still calling herself a feminist while exploring racism and sexism in all facets of society. 


There Is No F*cking Secret: Letters from a Badass Bitch by Kelly Osbourne I've always liked Kelly and this little peek into her personal life was honest and interesting. She has great messages in this series of letters, especially for teen girls, and she seems to be in a great place. I was pleasantly surprised. 


Into the Water by Paula Hawkins I was looking forward to this highly anticipated read, but was it was a let down. There were way too many characters, all of them are unlikable, it wasn't suspenseful at all, and I honestly just didn't care about the plot by the end. Meh. 


The Kennedy Chronicles: The Golden Age of MTV Through Rose-Colored Glasses by Kennedy  It is TERRIBLY written, but I couldn't help but love the content. She was a VJ from 1992-1997, when I was 13-18, so MTV was a huge part of my life. It was a fun trip down memory lane. I wrote a longer review and some thoughts about MTV at that time right here


The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda This was a good, engaging story right off the bat and though I didn't really like any of the characters, it didn't turn me off. It had me questioning everyone and everything until the very end. 


Priestdaddy: A Memoir by Patricia Lockwood Very interesting memoir by a poet who returned to her childhood home/rectory with her husband after he suffered medical issues. Her father became a priest after he was married with children and she retells stories of her unorthodox childhood. I listened to this audiobook and loved it. She does a great job with narration and writes beautifully. I just wish there was more cohesion. 


Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell I love Rainbow! The Kindle edition of this short story is only $2.99 and all proceeds go to the ACLU, so I couldn't resist. It is very short, but sweet. And as always, I didn't want the story to end. 


One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter: Essays by Scaachi Koul I really loved this book of essays written by the daughter of Indian immigrants living in Canada. She covers things like ethnic stereotypes, gender roles, anxiety, sexual assault, body image, and the difference between Indian and western culture, among other things. I loved her voice and thought the essays were funny and reflective. 


North of Happy by Adi Alsaid Right off the bat, I was totally invested in this YA story about a privileged teen from Mexico City who runs away to a small island outside of Seattle to work in a restaurant after his brother's death. But it lost me a few chapters in. It could be because I'm not a foodie, or because the characters weren't very well developed, or because I'm an adult. It just didn't resonate with me. 

I'm linking up with Jana and Steph for Show Us Your Books!

Life According to Steph

6.08.2017

Live Musicals On TV

It all started with NBC's The Sound of Music Live! starring Carrie Underwood in 2013. I'm pretty sure we collectively hated it, so why did live musicals on TV keep happening? Oh, ratings. Hate watching brings in a lot of numbers! We were also blessed with the disaster that was Peter Pan Live!, followed by The Wiz Live!Grease: Live, and Hairspray Live! There are six more live events on the calendar. SIX.

NBC is doing a play for the first time on TV. Aaron Sorkin is on board to adapt and produce his original work, A Few Good Men, sometime later this year. Did you know it was a play before the Tom Cruise and Jack Nicholson movie? I didn't up until a few years ago! Plays are always sort of awkward for me to watch. They are so serious and quiet. I love Sorkin though so I'm interested for sure.


ABC is finally getting in the game and with The Wonderful World of Disney: The Little Mermaid Live! on October 3. It's going to be a hybrid live action/animation experience, so not exactly like a live musical. The cast includes the same stars that performed at the Hollywood Bowl last year: Sara Bareilles as Ariel, Rebel Wilson as Ursula, Darren Criss as Prince Eric, Tituss Burgess as Sebastian, and John Stamos as Chef Louis. I'm in!


FOX's next live musical is A Christmas Story, coming this December. Marc Platt, who worked on Grease: Live will executive produce and Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who wrote the music and lyrics for the show, will come up with a few new songs. (You may only know Pasek and Paul as the lyricists of the movie La La Land, but they've been writing things for Broadway for about ten years.) I don't like this movie and didn't care for the musical (which opened in Seattle) so I probably won't bother with this TV version. Most people love it though so I'm sure the ratings will be great.


NBC set the date for a live staging of the classic 1971 rock opera, Jesus Christ Superstar, for Easter 2018. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice are on board and casting has just begun. The chairman of NBC said they want to fill the show with as many recording artists as possible. I bought tickets to see it a few years ago on it's 50-city national tour starring Johnny Rotten, JC Chasez, Michelle Williams, and Brandon Boyd, but it was abruptly cancelled due to lack of interest. Hmm...


Sometime in 2018, NBC will also air Bye Bye BirdieHarvey Fierstein is setting it in present time, where Albert and Rosie are English and music school teachers instead of an agent and his secretary. Jennifer Lopez will star and executive produce and wants to highlight Rosie's struggles as a Puerto Rican woman in a relationship with a man afraid of commitment, as seen in the musical, but lost in the film. I've never seen either and I'm curious about J.Lo's performance so I'll definitely tune into this one.


FOX recently announced Rent, though there is no news about casting or a date. Marc Platt will produce this one too by working with the estate of writer/composer Jonathan Larson (how does that work?). Rent is my absolute favorite musical ever so part of me is really happy and excited, but the realistic side already knows it's going to be a catastrophe. The musical tells the story of starving, gay, trans, and AIDS infected artists living in NYC. It's heavy and it's explicit. They're gonna have to water it down so much, I can't see it being very good. 


As a lover of all things Broadway, I have mixed feelings about these live events. It's good to expose the masses to musicals and I will watch them all out of pure curiosity, but besides The Wiz, none of them have been very well done. Grease: Live and Hairspray Live! were pretty fun, but just sort of...off? I didn't like the audience as part of the stage or the commentary/behind the scenes stuff before and after commercial breaks. It makes the performance so uneven. I also think they need to cast Broadway actors, not celebrities. I wouldn't mind seeing A Chorus Line, The Music Man, Evita, and maybe even Cats in the future though!

What do you think about live TV musicals?
Will you be watching any of these announced shows? 

6.06.2017

Class of '97

Well, f*ck. In one week from today I will have graduated from high school TWENTY years ago. My class of 260 walked across the stage in our gym on Friday the 13th, 1997. I'm old and I hate it. Has anyone else gone to their reunion in the age of social media? Ours is in August and I think it'll be weird because we already know what we're all up to. It should be interesting. This little questionnaire was floating around on Facebook last month and I thought I'd do it here to mark the occasion.

The year: 1997

What kind of car did you drive? 1993 Ford Aerostar. My parents bought me a 1985 Honda Civic as an early graduation gift, but it was a stick and I didn't yet know how to drive it, so I was still cruisin' around in the family minivan.

It's Friday night football, were you there? Every single game, all through high school. I was a band geek! And even if I wasn't, I would have gone. They were fun and it was more of a social event than anything. Our team sucked.

Friday night basketball? Yes. And Tuesday and Thursday or any other day they played. We were required to play in the pep band for at least half of the home games as part of our grade. Boys basketball was the best team at our school and we went to state my senior year, so it was fun to get caught up in all the excitement. 

What kind of job did you have? I didn't. I watched my younger cousins in Colorado during the summers and stretched that money out over the school years. I also babysat about once a month. 

Were you a party animal? Not at all. I had only been to a handful of parties and probably drank five times by the time I graduated. That all changed a month after graduation though. Then I could call myself a party animal for the next five years. 

Were you in the band? Yep. I played mediocre Clarinet. It was fun up until it the last semester of senior year and that was mostly because I clashed with our teacher. But I had great friends, went on cool trips, and didn't have to take PE!

Were you a nerd? No. I wasn't the most popular, but I had friends from all groups. My best friend was a cheerleader, my boyfriend was a stoner/skater/drama kid, my group of girls were in leadership with me. I got along with just about everyone.

Can you sing the fight song? Of course. Little Miss School Spirit over here! Even though we played it in band a zillion times, we also had to sing it in front of the class by the second week of school. It's easy because it's set to the tune of Anchor's Away

How often were you in detention? I'd say six or seven times. It was always for dumb stuff like talking too much or being tardy. Once for kissing in the hallway. Oops.

What was your mascot? Knight.

If you could go back and do it again would you? That's a tough question, because if you say yes, you're pathetic and stuck in the past, right? But honestly, probably. I loved school. I had a blast, life was easy, and I think I really figured myself out my senior year. I would absolutely not want to be dropped in a current high school though. Yikes!

Are you still in contact with people? Yes. My group of girls split into smaller groups, but I'm still friends with most of them. Instead of partying at someone's house when their parents were away, we hang out at our kids' birthday parties. Facebook helps with everyone else.

Do you know where your high school sweetheart is? Vaguely. He's completely off the grid (like some kind of psycho) but lives in our hometown and works at the same place Jacob does (along with 10,000 other people so they don't see each other). I don't know anything about him though. 

What was your favorite class? Environmental Science with my favorite teacher, Mr. Green. I had him all three years of high school science. He wasn't cool or even all that happy, but I had a soft spot for him and was definitely teacher's pet.

What was your GPA? 3.4 I was thisclose to graduating with honors, but I screwed myself at the end of the year and got my first ever D! I was heartbroken over a break up and just stopped caring. 

Do you still have your class ring? I never got one. I thought they were cheesy and never would have worn it. What do people do with them after high school? I never got a letterman jacket either. 

Do you still have your yearbook? Yep!

I didn't have my picture in the senior year book because I didn't like my first shot and the day I was supposed to get my retake done, I was puffy and swollen from crying over said break up. I was called out of class to take it and found a friend in the hallway to talk to instead. I did have senior portraits taken, but they are somewhere at my parents' house. So this is me junior year. I looked the same, but with shoulder length hair and probably a lot more eyeliner.


I still can't believe it's been twenty years since high school.
Stay tuned for more posts about 1997.