I'm not a fan of Spike Lee so I'm quite relieved I didn't know he was the director of this film. I would've ignored it. Either that or when the movie came out in 2008, I didn't see it then for that reason and simply forgot about that by 2013. But I am a big fan of Michael Ealy, Derek Luke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and during the increasing popularity of "Scandal," Kerry Washington. I'd only seen Omar Benson Miller in "8 Mile" so I wasn't sure about him yet. However, I got the movie after seeing "Don Jon" because I wanted to see what other projects Joseph Gordon-Levitt was involved in. Michael Ealy always picks the best movies (and television shows) to be in so I was pretty sure the film wouldn't disappoint. And it didn't. When it comes to historical films he does his research and provides lessons learned unlike that pitiful "Django" film that I agreed with Spike Lee for criticizing.
I've gotta admit it. I usually think it's annoying when people stalk celebrities on Twitter and ask them a bunch of questions or harass them for a follow. I do none of the above unless I'm on a Twitter rant about something they've said in an interview. (I'll admit I really had to play it cool during my entertainment reporting days because I met a bunch of great people.) But it is pretty exciting when a celebrity pays attention to your tweet. Even better when they'll answer your question. I was already happy to see "Arsenio" back on the air and have watched his show loyally this season as much as I watched every single episode in the late '80s to early '90s when I was in elementary school.
And I love that show "Scandal." I didn't get into it until people kept tweeting about it during Season 2. I watched a few episodes in the middle and was completely confused. Finally I rented Season 1 on Netflix, was hooked in like a fish and bought Season 1 to rewatch it again. I put a reminder on my calendar when Season 2 was up for sale.
So I was awfully happy to come home from my first day of vacation and see a tweet from Arsenio Hall saying he was going to ask my question during his interview with Tony Goldwyn. Check it out below!
I made the mistake of getting Angela Davis' autobiography at the library. Don't do it. There is entirely too much material in the book to try to read in three weeks, and you'll end up renewing the book over and over again. Just buy it. This movie, however, is a great way to get the cliffnotes version of some of the battles she's had. I was already a big fan of "The Black Power Mixtape," so this was a fascinating look at her story.
1. Hyde Park Jazz Fest 2013: A couple spots were cut and the stages by Midway Plaisance were different than previous years, but I still had a fabulous time. I usually volunteer (2009 coverage and 2010 coverage), but I haven't been in a few years and decided to go on a leisurely visit this year. My mother had never been so I invited her along, and she had a good time although I dragged her to four different spots instead of letting her sit still for hour-long performances. I'm too hyper and I wanted to see as much as possible since I work Sundays so I can't return. And I absolutely adore hanging out with her whenever possible!
Inside jokes: I'll never tell a soul, but if/when you read this Mom, I'm still laughing about: 1) Human flashlight 2) "Did he buy that outfit at the Halloween store?"
The downside of watching interviews with an actor talking about an upcoming movie is you see entirely too many previews. So while watching the first half of this film, I was pretty unethused and it was a bit irritating. I can't decide whether I was just so annoyed by Jon's (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) girlfriend Barbara (played by Scarlett Johansson), her chewing that gum nonstop, that Jersey accent (I have yet to watch a full episode of "Jersey Shore") or her trying to erase Jon's entire personality and replace it with hers. Probably the last one, but the rest didn't help. And I was completely done with this chick telling Jon not to talk about cleaning his own place. Never in my life have I met a woman who didn't love a neat guy.
Every woman in the movie, including his loud dramatic mother Angela (played by Glenne Headly) drove me nuts. Fellow student Esther (played by Julianne Moore) talked too much and was nosey. The movie was going downhill for me at this point, and I kept thinking, "Somebody smack everyone with a vagina who is in this film. They are the worst! And start with dumping Barbara."
But after a discussion with my mother, she pointed out something I hadn't thought of. Barbara gave Jon an ultimatum to stop watching porn (in an incredibly melodramatic way) and not to clean his own home or even talk about cleaning his own home. But when many women have their mind set on the perfect guy, they'll nitpick on every small thing he does whether it even matters to the relationship or not. If it wasn't porn or cleaning, it'd be something else, because some of us really think we can change someone as opposed to just dating a guy already like that. I kinda thought this whole movie was going to be Mars vs. Venus and wanted a refund.
Ironically all the fellas seemed all right. I'm elated to see Tony Danza in anything so I couldn't stop grinning at how great (and muscular) he looks playing Jon's father, Jon Sr. Bobby (played by Rob Brown) and Danny (played by Jeremy Luke) were entertaining friends.
But do men really think women are this dreadful?
I don't think I've ever seen a movie that was this unpredictable. I never knew how things would end, begin, connect and "disconnect." What I did know is every story had a helluva lot of technology and at some point the movie felt like watching a movie with subtitles. If someone would've told me the amount of reading I'd have to do to follow this film, I probably wouldn't have rented it. Ironically I text, read e-mails and read news online all day. It's funny how much people will read certain types of technology and not others.
There are three stories in the film: A mother named Cindy Hull (played by Paula Patton) has lost her son, and her husband Derek Hull (played by Alexander Skarsgard) refuses to talk about their son's death. She finds solace in a chatroom talking to Stephen Schumacher (played by Michael Nyqvist). Things spiral even more out of control when her husband, who enjoys online gambling sites, finds outrageous charges on his credit cards. The risk of identity theft to the couple is the last straw.
A teenage boy Ben Boyd (played by Jonah Bobo) is an outcast at school but finds a friend on Facebook through a "girl" named Jessica. Little does he know he's being Catfished by two other teenage boys Jason Dixon (played by Colin Ford) and Frye (played by Aviad Bernstein). When a revealing photo surfaces around school, he takes drastic measures.
A reporter Nina Dunham (played by Andrea Riseborough) is trying to get her big break with a broadcasting company. When she lucks up on a chatty young man Kyle (played by Max Thieriot) who does online porn along with some underaged friends, she wants to cover this story.
Outside of action movies with a lot of fast cars ("Fast and the Furious" series) and science fiction action ("Transformers" and "Iron Man" series), action flicks have never been my thing. I usually don't enjoy them because I'm counting down the number of times the main character should've died. This is the reason why I didn't see "Olympus Has Fallen" in a movie theater, but by the time it hit Netflix, I wanted to watch this movie. And even though every Secret Service Agent and some other members of various services were dropping like flies, of course the heroine manages to walk around without needing so much as a band-aid. Machine guns going off. Bombs being set up. Knife fights. And he's walking around handsome as ever looking like he may have just left the gym. Doesn't matter. I've still got to hand it to Gerard Butler (who played lead character Mike Banning) for an incredible job, along with two actors I knew would impress me -- Angela Bassett (who played Secret Service Director Lynn Jacobs) and Morgan Freeman (who played Speaker of the House Trumbull).
I saw the film so I could check out Matthew McConaughey's latest project. Without spoiling the movie, the problem is that when I got to the ending the movie seemed pretty pointless and like this scene had played out over and over again. I became less interested in the adults in the film and more interested in Ellis (played by Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (played by Jacob Lofland). A kid's curiosity and willingness to rebel can either make a situation really dangerous or really fun. In this case, it was a bit of both, but that ending made me think this simply wasn't worth all of that. I liked the film. I just didn't love it. Mud was definitely one very manipulative -- but oddly caring -- individual. I wish Neckbone's character could've been explored a bit more. His older brother being crude to the girl who proclaimed she was a "lady" was more interesting than Neckbone.
But what I did like most about the film was Ellis had to decide his own teenage interpretation when it came to love: His parents were about to separate; a neighbor dealt with a spouse's death; Mud was dealing with his obsessive issues over Juniper (played by Reese Witherspoon) all while he'd started a new relationship with an older girl named May Pearl (played by Bonnie Sturdivant). About 95 percent of my interest was in Ellis' decisions with all of these people versus those characters.
Spoiler Alert: While it's obvious to anyone why a pistol would be protection, I never did find out why that shirt mattered to him so much. What I will say is McConaughey, like Halle Berry, still is very attractive no matter how much he looks like he smells in this movie. But that shirt had to smell absolutely awful considering how long he'd been there.
1. Chicago VeganMania 2013: I haven't gone since their first festival, and I really don't have a good reason why. I enjoyed it very much and it got plenty of clicks when I wrote about it on ChicagoNow. I think I either worked or was just too busy to go, but I made sure to drop by and say hello to the owners. After a bit of memory dusting, they remembered who I was and one co-owner proudly flashed the cover of the Chicago Tribune to show me how they got coverage on the front page. Sweet! When I go to work on Sunday, I'll make sure to pick up a copy of the article, too. Here are a few photos from the event below.
Highlights from the event:
1. CaveChick's cookies: I couldn't decide which one I wanted to try so she gave me a handful of all of them. Delicious.
2. Free food at the Chef Demos: I am not a foodie and couldn't care less about cookie shows, but giving me free food while you're preparing meals and being a great host? That'll keep me sitting in one spot. Native Foods Cafe host Kendall Huff was so enthusiastic about cooking that I stayed there until the Q&A. That's a major accomplishment for someone who fast forwards through any kind of cooking segment on talk shows and has never watched the Food Channel at all.
3. If I didn't want to spend all day apologizing to my elders, I'd have bought the "It's OK to give a fuck" T-shirt. Knowing me I'll probably buy it anyway and just cover the bottom when I'm around someone who I think I should apologize to. The back of the shirt says something about being a vegan though so it makes sense. Love the shirt though and my free button from Compassion Co.
4. Cobra Corn popcorn is really good, too. I like Himalayan Mountain Salt and Mumbai Musala.
5. Tofurky Choriza style is really good. I'd use it for tacos.
2. The Presidents' Gatekeepers: I watched this two-part special several times because I enjoyed it so much and learned a lot about presidents I wasn't familiar with. These are shows that clearly prove history is not as boring to learn as it is in some schools (and I still believe most schools could do a better job with incorporating black history). I would've certainly been wide awake had schools given me history lessons going this route instead of the dry information that is in textbooks. I strongly recommend watching the show. I didn't know a thing about it until it was mentioned on "Windy City Live."
3. Egypt in Crisis (Frontline): Clearly I'm not giving a head nod of approval to the disaster in Egypt. But I think Frontline (always) did a great job of summarizing what the issues were. News channels and reports also kept tabs, but it's just not quite the same as the way Frontline goes about summarizing worldwide news. I recommend this show for this special and all others, specifically "Secret History of the Credit Card."
Last week sometime I was in the newsroom and felt ticking in my eye. I thought it was a bit strange but when you've been wearing glasses since third grade and contacts since the age of 15, you get used to your eyes wilding out for no reason, especially if you have seasonal allergies. But by the second day I could visibly see my eye doing a weird ticking like a frog was breathing in my eye. By the third day I went to see my Catfish-twin doctor. His response? He said this happens all the time for folks who don't get enough sleep, are under stress or are on the computer too often. I sat in the doctor's office pondering. I get eight hours of sleep, but by me working nights, it's just a different set of eight hours when most folks are waking up for work and going to lunch. I'm rarely tired. But more importantly was the stress question. I couldn't think of one thing that was bothering me. Not one.
And that felt great. I can't remember the last time somebody or something wasn't bugging the hell out of me or I felt like there weren't enough hours in the day to get all tasks done. I'm outspoken when someone irritates me, but a co-worker even told me, "You're just not the complaining type." I thought I had a little bit of that in me, but I'm not one to keep complaining about the same thing if I don't see any results. My grandfather and another co-worker suggested my body may be going through relapse like: "What? Nothing to stress about? Aw, we've GOT to do something to keep her on he toes." Ha, ha, ha. However, for the past two weeks, life has not only been good but super good. I relax as much as possible. I've even done the cucumber relaxation tip. I'm not rich but I'm not poor. I enjoy my job. I've had plenty of fun memories this summer. And the people I surround myself with all give me positive energy. And for the folks who don't, I don't give them enough minutes in my day to even humor the bull. I'll change my phone number and social circle quicker than a Mayweather punch (I hear he's fast after the recent win but I don't watch boxing).