Monday, November 17, 2014

The Controversial Biography

If you have read this blog for a while, you know I am a big Aaliyah fan. I always say she was like my Madonna - someone I looked up to greatly and was very sad when her life was cut so short. I have been waiting for a film of her life for a long time and was really excited when I heard that Lifetime was finally giving the public what we wanted. Then the drama started.

First, the family announced they did not support the movie and would not release Aaliyah's music collection for the movie. Okay, I thought - I know her music and if done well, the movie could do well without including shots of her singing on stage or in the studio. Then word got out that the movie would include the controversial relationship between her and R. Kelly and I tempered my expectations. Adding to the that the fact that Wendy Williams was a producer - someone who is obsessed with drama and exploiting it to increase her ratings - and I was a little scared what might come of the movie.

I saw Williams in an airplane in September and told her that the movie better be tasteful and honor Aaliyah's memory. She said it would - she lied.

The movie should have been titled "R. Kelly - The Early Years" since more than half of the two hour movie focused on Aaliyah's collaboration with R. Kelly and their controversial relationship. Aside from the fact that both parties have denied the relationship - Aaliyah had three major studio albums and worked on two major films. Why would you spend over an hour on one part of her life? And a part of her life that has remained undiscussed and shrouded in a lot of controversy. Yes I have seen the marriage license, but even if they did have a relationship her life was so much more than the time she spent with him. 

Also everything I have ever read about Aaliyah has been about how sweet and unassuming she was. She was all about her family and remaining humble. Shipp's portrayal was in direct contradiction to these statements. Shipp played Aaliyah like a spoiled brat, telling her family at one point that she hates them (coincidentally telling them this after they broke up her marriage to R. Kelly). Now I know that no one is perfect and that Aaliyah at some point was a teenager, but Shipp's portrayal just seemed to be so out of character. 

Lastly, the movie was just done poorly. If you do not have the rights to a subject's main musical pieces and you are making a biography of a singer, you are better left to just not include any of the music at all and focus more on her life off the stage. Unfortunately this is not what happened and what was left was a jumbled mess of a drama filled lifetime movie.

I would still love to one day see a major motion picture dedicated to Aaliyah's life - not the rumors or the drama of her life - but her actual life. Supported by the friends and family that knew her best. 

Sorry Lifetime - you failed. Big time.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Gone Girl: My Review

I am a little late to the party in terms of the review, but believe me - I was there for Gone Girl's opening weekend over a month ago. I burned through the book in about a week and even though I detested how it ended, I was still really excited to see how the book would be translated into film. It did not disappoint!

For the five of you who haven't heard - Gone Girl is based on a novel of the same name by author Gillian Flynn. The story dissects the marriage of Nick and Amy Dunne, a seemingly perfect couple until Amy goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. As you soon find out, nothing is ever as it appears and you are quickly sucked up into a world of mystery and drama that only the secrets of a marriage can provide. The movie does the novel justice - as it should, having been written by the author herself - and hooks you in just as quickly as the novel.

The Good:
Ben Affleck was a very believable Nick Dunne and he did an amazing job playing the awkward husband who doesn't quite know how to act as his wife is missing. But the acclaim really does belong to Rosamund Pike's portrayal of Amy Dunne. Right on point is the best way I can describe it without giving too much away. And them together as a married couple - priceless. 

The Not So Good:
It wasn't long enough?! Honestly other than the ending - which is not really changed from the novel, despite the rumors to the contrary - I loved everything about the movie and the novel. It was very well done - true to the book, yet made to work for the purposes of a movie. 

Overall Grade:
If you loved the novel, you are going to love the movie. Any changes that were made were minor and done to better the story, not take away from it. Affleck and Pike were perfect choices for their roles and I can't wait until the movie comes out on video. My grade? A-.

Have you seen Gone Girl? What did you think?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Godzilla: My Review

I remember reading about Godzilla before it came out and really liking the trailers that I saw online and on television. But somehow I never got to the theater to see what it was all about. Maybe because I am not that into science fiction? Who knows. But when the movie came out on DVD, I decided to give it a whirl and the hubs and I watched it over the weekend. I have to say - I was pleasantly surprised.

I have to preface this review by first admitting I know nothing of the Godzilla lore, history or enemies. I was first introduced to Godzilla in 1997 when Matthew Broderick played some sort of scientist. I didn't think that movie was terrible, but from what I remember true Godzilla fans hated it. That being said, I think this movie is worth a shot. I didn't read much about the story before watching this movie and I am glad I didn't. It allowed me to be surprised and really get into the story that I don't think I would have otherwise. I am not going to say much about the story - just in case you have managed to stay away from any plot points or story lines.

The Good:
The monster. Let's be honest, we do not really care about the people in the story, right?! I mean the writers did a decent job in trying to make you care about the different lives involved, but my main thrill was watching the beast on screen. The monster - when he makes his appearance - definitely has a retro look. He looks like the monster that your parents/grand parents know and remember. The graphics are top notch and really bring the movie to a whole different level. And the movie kept moving - even though it was two hours, I didn't feel like the story needed to end. 

The Not So Good:
As someone who was very ignorant about the history of the movie, I found myself confused. I definitely think this was a movie made with the fans in mind - which is a great thing - but as someone who is not really a "fan" I was confused for about twenty minutes in the film until my husband explained a little bit of cinematic history for me. It is a very minor critique, but one none the less.

Overall Grade:
I thought the movie was very well done and I am kind of surprised it wasn't a bigger hit. It was serious, but fun; based in reality yet tons of great CGI shots. Perhaps the marketing could have been redone because I think it should have done a lot better than it did at the box office. My grade? B+.

Have you seen Godzilla? What did you think?

Monday, November 3, 2014

... Hello?

It's been a while since I have logged into the 'ol blogger. I have still been reading my favorites, but have just not had the motivation to write any posts of my own. Let's see what's been going on since the last time I wrote..

I went to New York to watch Derek Jeter's final game at Yankee Stadium.

It was amazing, emotional and stressful all at once. I hope to do a post about the whole trip in the future but I think I am still mourning the fact that my favorite player won't be back next year.

I helped my friends run their very first half marathon, while completing my tenth.


To say this race was tiny would still not adequately describe just how small this race was. It was a Marathon/Half Marathon/10k Combo and I think maybe 100 runners were there. It.was.SMALL. And  hard - the last five miles were all hills. Gross!

And I got to see some movies including Gone Girl and Godzilla. Hopefully I will get to some reviews soon.

Happy November, everyone! What have you been up to? 

... Till next time!

Monday, September 29, 2014

End of an Era

**Author's Note: I wrote this while waiting for my flight home on Saturday morning. Even after watching Derek Jeter's last at bat, I am still pretty raw with emotion.**

I still can't believe it.

I'm sitting in the airport waiting to board my flight home, two days after Jeter topped off his career at yankee stadium in only the way jeter could. The entire game was one of anticipation- what spectacular play was he going to make? How was Girardi going to top the send off he have Mo? How was this game going to end? And how was Jeter going to be pulled?

I spent most of the game on the verge of tears. I was simultaneously happy and sad. Happy that I got to watch the greatest player of my generation play at home one final time and so very sad that it was going to end. The game flew by in what seemed like a blink of an eye. Before I knew it, the Yanks were up 5-3 and it looked like of Girardi was going to pull Jeter, it was going to be in the 9th. Then - Dave Robertson happened.

As a yankee fan it has been an adjustment to not having the greatest closer in baseball as your goodnight man. Robertson is good, don't get me wrong, but he is no Rivera. I know it's an unfair comparison, but unfortunately for him, it's one he is going to have to get used to if he wants to stay in pinstripes. Robertson allowed two homers and suddenly the game was tied and there was the real possibility that the send off we were all waiting for was going to be soured by a devastating loss. Sending into the 9th, fans all around we're saying "jete's gonna get the walk off." Jeter was due up third but with the way the season had been going, there was no way in hell he was going to get that fairy tale ending- or would he?

Pirela struck first, scoring a single and Girardi switched him out for a pinch runner in Antoan Richardson. After a bunt by Gardner to get into scoring position - it was time.
The stadium was roaring Jeter chants all night - everything from thank you captain, thank you Jeter and thank you Derek to your simple Der-ek Je-ter. But as he came to bat all forty thousand plus were on their feet and from the top of our lungs were screaming his name. We wished so much for him to get the big hit, the big win and have a moment on top. First pitch- and in true Jeter style- he smacked it between first and second and grabbed himself an RBI walk off single.

It was right there that the dams burst and tears flooded my eyes. I couldn't help myself. This player had been the most consistent thing in my life for 15+ years. He inspired me; he enriched my life and love of baseball. He was the perfect role model and I couldn't believe it was all over. I screamed at the top of my lungs and cheered until my voice disappeared. Then I looked at the screen to my right and saw them. The core four - Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Petite and Bernie Williams. Flanked by Joe Torre and Gerald Williams and even though I didn't think it was possible, I cried even harder. It was perfect. Jeter didn't see them right away, which made it all the better.

He kept his composure through the post game interview and thanked the fans and the fans responded with the ultimate response- throwing their caps onto the field in the ultimate cap tip. As Jeter did one final lap and stopped at his position at short stop I was flooded with all the memories- the flip, the dive, Mr. November, Mr. 3,000.... It was a beautiful moment and one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

People always asked me what I would do if Jeter were traded or when he retired. Would I still be a yankee fan. The answer is yes - I am still a yankee fan. I will always be a yankee fan. But a bit of my heart died on that field as I watched the end of an era. I am so, so fortunate to be a Jeter fan. He is the best baseball can ask for and has been more frequently more than it deserved.

I guess really there is only one thing left to say - thank you captain. Thank you.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Dumbo Double Dare Recap: The Main Event!

Sunday came and as soon as I woke up I was feeling tired. I was really glad I had decided ahead of time to have as much fun as possible during the half and run with my mom because there was no way my legs were going to carry my 13.1 miles with any sense of speed. I gathered my items for the run and started slowly putting my costume together. I decided to run as Daisy Duck to partner with my mom's Donald Duck.

My mom was very nervous - she was about to tackle her very first half! But I kept telling her it would be fine and that nerves were normal. We focused on getting some food in our system, took a few pictures and then we were off into the dark balmy night towards our corrals. When we got to the runner area we noticed that the Green Army Men from Toy Story were wandering around in the crowd and saying hi to the guests. We knew we had to get in on that action!

Knowing we had to make our way to corral H, we didn't spend too much time in the runner area and after a quick good bye to the hubs, we meandered what felt like forever to get into our corral. To say it was packed would be the understatement of the century. With 18,000 runners it was obvious that this was going to be a jam packed event. I have to give runDisney credit though - they moved those corrals rather quickly and within 30 minutes of the original gun time, we were off and running the streets of Anaheim. Mom and I decided pre-race that we would do splits of run/walk with a mile run and a .10 mile walk interval. This worked perfectly for me since my legs were killing me and the heat was killing any energy I thought I may have. After about a mile or so, we were making our way inside the parks through Disney California Adventure.

After we snapped a quick photo in front of Mickey's Fun Wheel we came to our 2nd character stop of the race - Cars! Since Mater and Lightening had a long line, we opted to jump into this line instead. After a quick photo, it was back to running! I thought we may see Mike and Sully from Monsters Inc by the Tower of Terror, but alas - there would be no Monsters for us to enjoy this time around. It was in the Hollywood area that we saw Jake the Pirate - my mom thought about stopping but decided against it - wanting to save her time for some classic characters we hoped were waiting for us in Disneyland. She definitely got her wish.

I guess my symbol of the weekend was the thumbs up, because it is in every picture! My mom got so excited to see her main duck waiting for us on Main Street so we paused and got in line. Mom was a little nervous about the time spent in line - not wanting to be swept for her first race - but I told assured her we were making good time and that if we didn't stop for the characters, we were missing the point of the runDisney experience. And once she hugged that duck she was rejuvenated. We crept along down Main Street toward Tomorrowland where we say the Storm Troopers from Star Wars. Neither my mom or myself are Star Wars fans so we bypassed the very very long line and made our way past Finding Nemo towards Fantasyland. It was as we passed the Matterhorn that I saw something I could not believe - two very distinct horns - peeking through the crowd of runners. As soon as the runners cleared I saw the best character ever. The one character who is my all time favorite, who is never available for character experiences and who can only be seen from afar during Fantasmic. The one, the only MALEFICENT!!!! I damn near cried. I have an obsession with the Mistress of All Evil and was a little bummed that I was Daisy instead of Maleficent for the half, but I knew regardless of the line it was picture time. I screamed and ran as fast as I could to get in the best line. Ever.

I do not stop for "face" characters. I am not about the princesses or Wendy or Peter Pan. But Maleficent?! Always. As you can tell from the above photo I was in hog heaven. I told her how awesome she was - I even bowed. It was epic. It was here we also saw Jafar, Cruella and other villains but I was happy with my Maleficent photo and mom does not care for the villains so we continued on. 

Of course after the parks it gets pretty boring so I told mom here is where we can plug in and just focus on finishing strong and healthy. Luckily the weather gods were on our side and we had cloud cover for the majority of the race which helped with both heat and eyes. At mile 5 I saw my personal race photographer - the hubs - who wanted to wish us luck since this was the last part of the race we would see him until the finish.

After a few miles of boring streets came the line of classic cars. There were so many! Mom and I were able to take a picture in front of the car styled after Lightening McQueen but I somehow missed the Batmobile! Oh well. After the cars came the Santa Ana trail - which should be retitled the Dust Bowl trail because there was nothing but dust the entire time we were running. My mom started to tire a bit at this point and we increased our walk/run intervals to .50 mile run and .10 walks. 


Angel Stadium was amazing! All the spectators cheering us on - thank you! It was definitely needed at that point. Once you are out of Angel Stadium there is only about 3 miles left and by that time the sun had come out and I knew it was going to be tough. Luckily though we stuck through it and though my legs felt like bricks towards that final mile I was able to cross the finish line and get my shiny new bling!

It was a great time... but definitely not one I would repeat. I hate running in the heat and Anaheim in August?! HOT. Also - Anaheim is just not a pretty city so the overall course was pretty boring outside from the parks and the stadium. Let us not forget the hefty price tag that comes along with Disney runs!

All in all though I had a great time - especially showing off my triple threat in the parks afterwards.

Anyone else out there complete the Dumbo Double Dare?! Or the Disneyland Half?! How did you do?

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Welcome back -BER months!

September marks the beginning of my favorite time of year - fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas! I call them the -BER months and I was so excited when I officially turned my calendar over to see September staring back at me!

Why do I love the BER months? Because fall is my time of year. The boots, the leaves, the rain. I love everything about fall. It is an excuse to get out the crock pot and the kitchenaid and see what I can get myself into. Pinterest, of course, has only added to my addiction and I am officially hosting my very first recipe swap! The theme?! Pumpkin of course!!

So what are some of my favorite things to do during the next four months?! Let me break it down.

Watch Movies

I watch horror movies all year long, but I go into basically marathon mood when the clock click towards September. I watch all of my classic favorites: Halloween, Halloween: H20, Friday the 13th as well as more recent hits like Paranormal Activinty and The Conjuring. I also watch my childhood favorites Hocus Pocus and Nightmare before Christmas. Hopefully the weather cooperates this year and we will have a few weekends filled with dark clouds and plenty of rain.

Bake. A Lot.

Between Halloween treats, Thanksgiving pies and my annual Christmas Cookie days I spend a lot of quality time with my kitchenaid between September and  December. Every year, I scour Pinterest to determine what new recipes I am going to try on top of the traditional favorites. I can't wait to book my baking day with the bestie!


I love to decorate the house in all of the different themes - Halloween, Fall, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I have boxes of stuff sitting and waiting for the months to turn over so that I can display all of my love. And even though my house is tiny and I should avoid it, I almost always buy new stuff every year. What can I say?! I am a seasonal fanatic.
It will be a great set of months and I can't wait for summer to die down and for fall to make its appearance. I am also super excited to try out all of the pumpkin recipes this weekend during my very first recipe swap!