Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's Complicated, a Review

Let's cut to the chase: Meryl Streep is a National Treasure, and when she dies she will have to be stuffed and displayed in the Smithsonian. If James Cameron would "performance capture" Meryl Streep, she could play ALL the roles in ALL American movies over the next 50 years, and they would ALL be better for it.

Alec Baldwin is riding a second wave of success, fueled by "30 Rock" and you can see him determined to just love what he is doing. Since Streep famously enjoys acting, this is a great match up--a rom-com for the menopausal. Which is about all it is--light on actual human emotion but as glossy as a Crate and Barrel catalogue. It's fun, it's frothy, it's like merangue or pop rocks--glitters for a few moments but has no real substance.

You probably know the set up: Baldwin and Streep play Jake and Jane Adler, married for 20 years, divorced for 10. Jake married his much younger mistress and is taking a second trip through the hell years of young children and fertility treatments. The last of their three children has finally moved out of Jane's house, and the 22 year old youngest is graduating from college. While in New York for the graduation, Jake and Jane have dinner, drink too much, and end up in bed together. Jake thinks it's great, and Jane goes to throw up.

Back home in Santa Barbara, Jake keeps coming around, bullying his way back into Jane's life as much as back into her bed. Jane starts out conflicted, then decides to enjoy it, then changes her mind, then changes it back again, and yadda yadda comedy conventions.


(I don't know why I do that--because I always talk about the ending of everything. Anyway--)

In the end, however, Jane decides Jake isn't her future, and he takes that pretty well. She gets a second chance at the shy and nebbishy Steve Martin (?!?!?), a relationship that was all but scuttled by Jake's reappearance in her life.

And it was fun, and it was frothy, but. . . .

And there is always a "but."

"It's Complicated" straddles so many lines so awkwardly, that I am inclined to believe that the movie might have been scripted as one thing, and edited as another. In the end, it's not a bad movie, but it's not really a rom-com, and it has the tantilizing sense of having been this close! to being something truly original. Something that explored the fall-out of a mid-life crisis ten years later, on the occasion of a second mid-life crisis. And oddly, it looks like Nancy Meyers might actually have had more insight into Jake's situation than Jane's.

From the bits of information dropped throughout the movie, we discover that while in his late 40s, Jake had an affair with a woman half his age, divorced his wife and married the mistress. After about four years, the new wife ("Agness," played by Lake Bell) ran off with another man, had a baby with him, then came back to Jake with the "hell child" Pedro. Now she wants another baby, this time with Jake, but he's got fertility issues and so his life has gotten dreary and stressful. Pedro is an unpleasant child, and neither Agness nor Jake seem to have much time for him. Jake is a partner in his law firm, and is ready to slow down his work life, but can't because Agnes thinks they need a bigger house and another baby.

In contrast, Jane's life looks pretty charmed. The kids are great and well launched. She owns a restaurant that is apparently doing incredibly well--so much so that she is building a huge addition so she can have her dream kitchen. And a really big bedroom that brings in the morning sun. And only one sink in the bathroom. Sure, Jake's still got more money than Jane does, but she's not poor by any stretch, and the rest of her life looks fabulous. She's past the years of raising small kids, she's past worrying about her career. Jake has all the problems of a young man with a young family, but he's too old to work that hard any more.

But wait! you say. This is a Nancy Meyers movie! This is supposed to be a movie about Jane! So you would think. But really, how complicated is Jane's life? She's divorced. Her kids are all out of the house. If she gets back together with her ex-husband, it's really her own choice. On the other hand, Jake's the one with the compelling story. Why did he cheat? Why did he pick Agness anyway--she's pretty harsh, demanding, and generally unpleasant. Why did he take her back and why is he raising this other man's child?

What seems to have happened is that he tried to cheat age by marrying a younger woman, but now sees the benefits of life he left behind. So, like any spoiled man-child, he tries to escape his current unhappy life for the fantasy of a different one. Toward the end of the movie, he claims he's left Agness for Jane. What Meyers shows us is Jane's reaction. The real drama is in the scenes we don't see--how Agness discovered the affair, their confrontation, Jake's decision to leave, etc. etc. That is where the heart of the drama lives.

But wait! There's more! Early in the film, Meyers has two scenes where Jane hangs out with her three best friends. In the first one, the talk is all that Jane needs to start having sex and dating (in that order apparently). In the second scene, she confesses having an affair with Jake, which is treated like karmic payback for Agness. The friends then disappear entirely, and when Jane wants any further relationship advice, she goes to see her therapist.

Again, this choice cheats the audience out of the real drama of the situation. These women have been her friends since before the divorce, so they clearly have feelings about the wisdom of her "taking back" the guy who cheated on her, and who is currently cheating on his wife with her. There is some snappy dialogue about how they all still hate Agness, so Jane gets a pass for stealing her husband, but really? Why would these alleged friends want to see Jane go backwards like that? None of them points out that this is a bad idea? That Jake is a manipulative bastard and she'd be better off without him?

Instead, Meyers gives us a sort of generic "you go girl, you deserve this" support group, when real female friendships of that length of time would surely be less superficial. Wouldn't they? I mean, schadenfreude is all very well and fun, but Jane is their friend, and they wouldn't want to see her get hurt again would they?

There is a great deal that is unsavory about the relationship between Jane and Jake. I can suspend disbelief, and possibly even believe, that the two of them might end up in bed together at their youngest child's college graduation weekend. But while Jake is exulting in his virility, Jane is busy throwing up and deeply regretting what she's done. Back in California, Jake pushes himself past her reservations, and again she's unhappy and appalled by what she's done. In fact, it's not clear what, if anything, she is getting out of this relationship. He pushes her around, eats her good cooking, guilts her into taking care of him, manipulates the kids into making her give him what he wants--has she learned nothing in the 10 years she's been mercifully free of him? Like what it feels like to NOT be pushed around like that?

The movie I would have liked to see would have actually been about adults in this situation. Alex Baldwin jealously peeking into her windows while she's having dinner with Steve Martin? It's not funny, and it's especially not funny for characters in their 50s. I wanted to see Meryl Streep confront this emotional leech of an ex-husband and give him the benefit of her decade of life without him. That would have been satisfying!

A word about the kids as well. In the movie's present, they are 22, 25 and 27, and the oldest is planning her wedding. Which means at the time of the divorce, they were 12, 15 and 17. They claim to be damaged by the divorce, they claim to be surprised to see their parents behaving amicably after "10 years of not being able to be in the same room." But Meyers utter fails to show us any damage. The daughter planning her wedding has no qualms or fears about marriage, despite the fact that her parents apparently had an acrimonious divorce. The youngest keeps asking if Dad can't stay over, "he can stay in my room" when Mom doesn't want him around--and then they all turn against Jane when it seems like the two of them might get back together. There's no emotional sense to the way these kids act: they are more or less merely plot devices.

And poor John Krasinski--in one extended sequence of TMI, he spots his future mother-in-law and father-in-law sneaking into a hotel, kissing in the elevator, and his first reaction is to hide it all from his fiancee. Why? Why is this a secret he has to keep, and why does he have to be "comical" in his clumsy attempts to keep her from finding out what is going on? If I were in her shoes, and I discovered my fiance had deliberately kept me in the dark about something like that--something where he had NO reason to be involved, and I had EVERY reason to know about it--I'd be questioning whether I was marrying a carbon copy of my manipulative and bullying father.

It's a sign of the charm of these actors that they can act like such unbelievable idiots, and we continue to like them. And the movie is lovely to look at. And there is a rather clever bit where Jake decides to pose himself suggestively on Jane's bed, with only her laptop to screen his man bits. Brilliantly, Jane has been using that computer to video message with her architect, and the three way screaming is truly humorous.

Baldwin is to be commended on his bravery: with his meaty man boobs and solid round belly, swathed in salt-and-pepper body hair, he is far from the Hollywood ideal of a sexy man. And yet, there is not a hint of self-consciousness in his performance. After the "nekkid in my ex-wife's bed" stunt goes horribly wrong, he confesses "I thought you would find me irresistible. It never even occurred to me that you wouldn't." And we believe him.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dream Machine.

As a book lover, I have dreamed about having a library in my house. In my dreams, it has always looked something like this:

As of today, it might just look like this:

MUCH more cost effective. Let's change the name, though, shall we?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nagging Questions About James Cameron’s Avatar

I saw Avatar about two weeks ago, and I fully intended to blog a review. However, the damn computer ate my meticulously assembled and snarkily crafted masterpiece, and after that, it just had been Too Long to Bother reconstructing it. However—James Cameron just won TWO Golden Globes for the thing, and once again his tone-deafness to human social interaction was thrust upon my consciousness. The man makes terrible acceptance speeches, which shouldn't be a surprise, since he writes terrible scripts.

He also makes terrible faces--this one makes me just want to smack him. He also has terrible hair.

So, with a nod of acknowledgment to MovieLine's own wonderful article, here are my own Nagging Questions about Avatar.

1. Does the DNA really matter?

There is much technical babble in the movie about how the ten foot tall blue cat people bodies inhabited by the humans were created by mixing human and Na'vi DNA, which meant that when one of the scientists was no longer able to participate in the program (what happened to him, anyway?) they imported his identical twin brother to operate the avatar. This is why crippled Marine Jake Sully ends up on a planet he has no information about: his DNA is the key to keeping an expensive avatar available.

But is it really about the DNA? After all, in order to drive the avatar, Sully climbs into a modified tanning bed/sensory deprivation tank and closes the lid. From then on, it's pure virtual reality video game. There is no physical contact between the two bodies, and no reason to believe that consciousness is somehow free to move across space—but only if there are trace amounts of DNA on the other end. This is clunky plot cooking—Cameron thinks he needs a newbie on the planet in order to show us the world through the experiences of someone who hasn't seen it before. This is the same hamfisted storytelling that sent Billy Zane chasing Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet through all the decks of the sinking Titanic with a gun! Why tell a story that is simple, understandable, and affecting when
you can amp up the melodrama instead?

Would a blood transfusion have given a REAL scientist enough compatible DNA, maybe?

2. Why aren't the Pandora Helicopters Powered by Dyson fans?

It's 2010, and we have a fan with no blades—in the 22nd century, a bladeless helicopter would be AWESOME.

3. How do alien predators get enought to eat to stay alive?

One of the persistent problems with Avatar is the piling on of movie clichés—Pandora might look like nothing you've ever seen before, but the rest of the movie is the equivalent of the turkey tetrazzini you are still eating a week after Thanksgiving. You've seen it before, and it was better before it was rewarmed. (Or, as Shakespeare would put it, we're tired of the baked funeral meets which coldly furnish the wedding feast.) One of the worst instances of this is the behavior of the giant predator that chases Sully on his first day in the field.

The predator sneaks up behind Sully as he's facing down a herd of large, meaty, dumb hammer-head dinosaurites. So, once he's got Sully, Sigourney Weaver, and a third scientist within reach, as well as a herd of large, meaty, slow moving dinosaurs, does the predator grab dinner and run? Of course not! That wouldn't be sufficiently clichéd, so it has to stand stock still and scream. Same evolutionarily successful behavior as the ice monster from JJ Abrams' Star Trek too—what are the odds? So, does it tenderize the meat? Is that why they do it?

Then, rather than go after the LARGE, MEATY, SLOW MOVING HERD of meat snacks, or grabbing the two IMMOBILE scientists—the monster takes off after the Marine—the one guy who has any hope of out running the monster. Not that Sully has a realistic chance of outrunning a giant predator, but movie predators all seem to be victims of Zeno's Paradox¸ unable to ever actually close the distance.

4. Why does Cameron think the Na'vi live in harmony with nature when they brainwash it?

Or as MovieLine so delightfully puts it—isn't it kind of rapey? I mean, how do you tame a Pandoran horse? Do you approach it with gentleness and kindness, teach it to trust you, work with it daily over weeks and months, until the two of you learn to respect each other? Or do you take your USB ponytail, plug it into the animal's brain and violently override its will with your own? Oh, yeah, kind of rapey.

Then—in the case of the banshees—the poor animal has only one rider its entire life. Offensively patriarchal and violent. Oh yeah, that's right. We're talking about James Cameron again.

5. Why spell Na'vi with the extraneous apostrophe anyway?

This also appears to be one of those stupid conventions to signal "non-English" and "alien." It's not like the Na'vi have a written language that we ever see, and it's not like the apostrophe stands in for a tongue click, or an inhalation, or some other verbal interruption. Just spell the damn word "Navi," or even "Nahvi." Or for laughs, make them a race of grocers and sign makers, who are famous for their liberal use of extraneous apostrophes. "Banana's $.69/lb"—I know you've seen those signs.

6. How terrible a Marine is Sully—did the guy get ANY training in tactics and strategy?

So Sully decides to take a stand against the humans and he gathers 2000 warriors, a number that ridiculously worries the humans inside the compound. All the Na'vi warriors have is body paint and spears. Meanwhile, the (presumably) outnumbered humans have battle helicopters, ambulatory armor, and automatic weapons—just for starters. So, when you are badly outgunned, out armored, and generally more vulnerable than your enemy, the logical thing to do is—FULL FRONTAL ATTACK! Of course! Because as you ride over the fallen bodies of the numerous dead, it gives you the advantage of. . .the leverage of. . .Oh. Wait. It gives you EXACTLY NOTHING. Dumbass.

Now I'm no Marine, and I've never studied military strategy, but even I'm thinking "why don't you round up a herd of those hammer-head things with the skin that is impervious to bullets. Those ones that can knock over giant trees with their skulls. Then drive them in front of you and let them trample down the walls, smash the armor, and then you can take on the puny humans mano a mano." I mean, say what you want about George Lucas, but even the frickin' EWOKS had more sophisticated military strategies than Cameron's alleged Marine.

7. Did Sully HAVE to be the guy to ride the dragon?

This one is just offensive. Only 5 Na'vi in the history of the planet have ever raped ridden the leonopteryx—why did Jake Sully have to be the sixth one? Wouldn't that have been a great opportunity for one of the other stock red shirt Na'vi to have a moment of heroism? Someone who knew the risks, but was willing to sacrifice himself to save his people? Oh, wait—my mistake. That would have been good storytelling, and we're talking about James Cameron.

8. Does Cameron think that just because they won this battle the mining companies won't be back?

In the end of the movie, the puny humans are sent packing off-planet, under the watchful eyes of ten foot tall blue cat people carrying automatic weapons. "Only a few were allowed to remain" exposits Jake Sully in voice-over. And then the Na'vi go off and celebrate under their fiber optic Grandmother Willow. But the Native Americans didn't get to keep their land or way of life after the Battle of Little Bighorn, and the Empire Struck Back, so don't go thinking that this is Happily Ever After.

Oh, wait—this is MY mistake. This is just the set up for Avatar Part Deux; The Electric Boogaloo, and an endless series of video game spin offs and paperback series novelizations. Cameron learned SOMETHING from George Lucas in addition to "Awkward Dialogue 101."

9. Is Colonel Quaritch really JJ Jameson?

Separated at birth?

10. Where did Sully get his lighter?

After Sully outruns the stupid (and very very hungry--see #3 above) predator, he's stuck in the jungle at night at the mercy of advancing leopard/wolf/dogs. We see him dunking a branch into a convenient tree hollow full of kerosene and lighting the resulting torch. The guy just ran through the jungle and lost his gun, his pack, all his equipment—where did he get a Bic lighter from? Let's not even talk about why anything is flammable on a planet that is entirely bio-luminscent and where the Na'vi never build fires.

Worse to my mind is the scene at the end where Neytiri manages to struggle free from a fallen animal that had pinned her legs and kept her from saving Jake from Colonel Quaritch until she is able to shoot him in the chest with a HUGE arrow. And he still won't die! So she shoots him a second time, and the second arrow is the one that finally does the Bad Guy in. But where did that second arrow come from? The Na'vi are usually mostly nude, and while they carry honking big bows, I never saw a quiver.

Where did Neytiri store that second arrow? From the same place Bugs Bunny is always able to pull lighted sticks of dynamite? (Cartoon Law Amendment E)

11. Why do the alien Na'vi have human fingernails?

We already know why the females have breasts, but fingernails are not accounted for.

12. Did James Cameron give proper credit to the screenwriters of Fern Gully?

FernGully: the 1992 movie in which a non-human female teaches a jarhead about the importance of environmentalism, and then the bulldozers come and knock down the trees.

13. Is the Ambulatory Armor really just Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots?

Separated at birth--again?

14. Where is the Air Bender?

I'm certain there are more nagging questions—feel free to post them below

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

True Confessions: I Am a Dangerous Geek

I finished Jasper Fforde's newest book, Shades of Grey, yesterday and promptly went to his website to enhance my experience.

In a short article on "The Big Idea" and his own preference for taking unusual paths in his writing, Fforde mentions that this particular dystopic post-apocalyptic fiction is set 700 years after the apocalpyse and explains why none of his characters discusses the "Something That Happened" in any detail:

So I chose my idea - Post Apocalyptic Dystopia - and then noted the well trodden path: The immediate aftermath of a global upheaval. The population in disarray, citizens fighting for survival in a new world order. Too obvious. How about seven hundred years afterwards, when the fall of mankind has no more relevance than the Dark Ages has to us today? I don't know about you, but I rarely talk about Edward III's scandalous claim to the French throne in 1337, but it's all people talked about then.

And of course, I immediately thought "Edward III had a scandalous claim to the French throne? Really? I mean, it was a claim through his mother, who was herself a scandal, but was Edward III's claim all that odd?"

I have managed to restrain myself from researching this issue. So far.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Golden Globes Red Carpet

This is an experiment in live blogging the Red Carpet for the Golden Globes on E! Let's see how it goes.

Jane Lynch—Ryan Seacrest just showed Jane Lynch a clip of her on a previous interview when a bird pooped on her forehead. She's a good sport and an absolute Amazon. I'd love to see her crush seacrest between her eyebrows. She is awesome, and he remains a tool.

Ricky Gervais is looking good, and saiys it's because he only eats lettuce. How is somebody who has been doing interviews as long as Seacrest has still so bad? He's managed to make Gervaise un-funny.

Sophia Vergara has a great grey and red strapless which is great colors but is so architectural that she needs to be wheeled around on a dolly.

Mickey Rourke is looking pretty good with a pretty girl on his arm. Her English isn't really good enough to talk to Seacrest.

Maggie Gyylenhal looks fab in pink.

Peggy Olson/ Elizabeth Moss—looks exactly as awkward as her character would look. She looks like she's wearing her mom's dress. But nice to have her talk about her new marriage to Fred Armistad of SNL.

Ginnifer Godwin and Jeanne Tripplehorn. The Trip looks about a million years old, very matronly and mom-like. Ginnifer is so cute—love her short hair. They're plying up the sister-wife thing.

OMG, Toni Collette is looking GLAM in gold sequins.

Mr. Jay is manning the "Glamcam360", which is pointless, but better than the head to foot thing they used to do.

Trivia crawl is hard to keep track of. Neil Patrick Harris is being charming, and so did I really see that Gerard Butler used to be lawyer and was fired from a Scottish law firm for being late and hungover?

Sandra Bullock

Christina Hendricks in peach, shows off her gorgeous read hair and her curves.

Emily Blunt—the hair has definitely been in the rain. The pink dress is a little lighter than her skin, which I'm not loving, but I love Emily so I'll give her a pass.

On a break—there is still a lot of strapless mermaid going on, and lots of jewels, but no one is asking about the jewels—perhaps as a nod to Haiti? They're all borrowed anyway.

Adrian Grenier, who famously doesn't bathe. He's got a Haiti ribbon on his lapel.

Quentin Tarentino and two actors from Inglorious Basterds. He's wearing an American tuxedo and a Japanese tuxedo, telling a story about getting drunk with Brad Pitt.

Jennifer Morrison in a bdress that is a bunch of shreds. Not loving it.

Giuliana has Lea Michele, in a black de la Renta strapless. Kristen Bell in the background in a knee length dress. Lea is talking about singing Madonna songs for Glee. Gabourey Sidibe with long hair and great necklace. Patricia Arquette is looking a bit ravaged and not just the dress.

Giuliana got cut off mid interview so Seacrest can get on air with Sandra Bullock. Sandy in deep purple which is lovely, and an odd hairdo but lovely long earrings. She's so gracious about her role in Blind Side. Seacrest tells us she donated a million dollars to Haiti. Cool

Chace Crawford is such a pretty boy—he looks like a young Rob Lowe in many ways.

Fergie and Josh Duhamel are well turned out. Lilac on Fergie is so not a hip hop color. But the bling works.

Vera Farmiga, looking very JLH, and mercifully freed from that "Captain and Tenille" haircut from Up in the Air. She's lovely. Vera had a baby 14 days before she started shooting Up in the Air, and wearing a lovely black strapless mermaid dress.

Seacrest to Josh Duhumel: why did you renew your vows? Like we don't know Josh has been caught cheaten;.

January Jones with an odd headband, and trying not to do 60s.

George Clooney and his girlfriend Elisabetta Canalis. He's got a great beard—does he do anything badly? Telethon for Haiti—Cloons is such a nice human being. There will be music that will be buyable on iTunes the next day. "It's a hard time for people to be giving." No questions about who they were wearing—maybe Seacrest can be salvaged. Elisabetta is in something very complicated and snaky looking.

Could the ad for "Extrodinary measures" be any more manipulative looking? Since when is there audience demand for Brendan Frasier and Harrison Ford in something "heartwarming" rather than something fun like Indiana Jones meets the Mummy?

Marion Cotillard in lack Christian Dior—her accent is soo cute.b

Purple seems to be the color—Leona Lewis in lilack. Diane Kruger in something horribly pink/red ombre.

Anna Paquin and her co-star fiancé. Are not answering prying questions about their relationship.

Drew Barrymore in beige looks sleek, even with the glittery hedgehog on her shoulder.

Mariah carey looks personally affronted that it dares to rain on her.

Steve Carell—the perennial candidate. He looks genuinely delighted to have Gervais host tonight and is looking forward to it.

Amy Poehler and Will Arnett—she's in red which is a great contrast with her blond hair.

Tina Fey in houndstooth? At least it's not black. The skirt is the same shape as her umbrella, and tea length.

Julianna Margulies in black and red—for vanity's sake she skipped the red carpet.

It's the Sev in ruffles that stay up magically. The hair is terribly severe, but the overall look isn't weird.

Tina Fey with Seacrest—she's saying "I feel like it's someone elses turn." Alec Baldwin will be hosting the Oscars? How did I miss this? With Steve Martin? This could be awesome, squared. Tina "It keeps raining, and I'm worried my tattoos will start showing."

Mr. Jay shoing Chace Crawford in Dolce & Gabbana in the GlamCam 360—it is a nice tux. Mr. Jay is wearing a HUGE Camilla.

Heather Graham in a tight ponytail and a black sequined dress. Elie Saab, very nice. Giulliana can drop the "your body is rockin'" line.

Penelope Cruz with soft long hair and willing to hold her own umbrella. Too bad she's so homely, right? Anna Kendrick coming up! She's darling and very poised for being so young. Back after break with Penelope Cruz to talk about Haiti—Artists for Peace and Justice website and telethon on Friday.

Kristen Bell in the shorter dress—"I needed to move like a tiger: I swam here. Zoe Saldana in a fabulous red dress. Taylor Lautner, soaking up the.

Maria Carey's boobs are now talking to Seacrest. She's such a mess. Even with slicked back hair and a non-frilly dress, she's still too much. Does she have the dress on backwards? Is she getting ready to breastfeed the room?

Robert Downey Jr. and wife. He's great and complaining about how hard it is to keep

I can't keep up. Calista Flockhart is actually wearing a raincoat. Amy Adams showing off a baby bump in a dark green dress. Jon Hamm in a beard?

Toni Collette in GlamCam360—fabulous. Emily Blunt as well—the edges are rough and messy to my eye, but Mr. Jay likes it.

Maybe Ryan is finally getting good at this? He's smooth about greeting Harvey Weinstein while throwing to commercial. Mayabe I can stop hating him—as long as he stops being a tool.

I started blogging on Blogger, and two sentences inlost it all, so I switched to Word in order to have a post byt eh end of the evening. And what happens? Of course—Word stops working and eats a bunch of my entry. Damn. I am now saving during ad breaks.

Seal and Heidi Klum—she's in gray Atalier Versace and delightfully bossy, complaining about the stairs.

NPH pwns the GlamCam360—spewing a liquid spray that is captured and displayed in the round!

Mark Wahlberg talking about his fourth child and his wife who is home with the kids: "she's a machine." He's talking about an Entourage movie while Paul McCartney walks the red carpet.

Mr. Jay with Sandra Bullock is one of the "shades of the night—purple" which has a sheer panel in the back that looks like a corset or something.

Tobey Maguire for "Brothers" which Seacrest doesn't even say the name of it. "That movie"—neither one of them mentions the name. Good thing I know so much, huh? At the end, Seacrest finally says it.

Giuliana and Anna Kendrick. She's in white with silver detailing—a huge ruffle around her bust which I don't like. Giuliana has lost her mind over George Clooney and has totally punted on her interview with Anna. "So, were you concentrating on your lines, or were you thinking 'I want him.'" To her credit, Kendrick doesn't say "But he's so ooooooold! Yuck!" She clearly could have.

E! is bringing Joan Rivers back for Fashion Police. It's probably the right move—who watched Kimora Lee Simmons? And now they are trying to fill the last 10 minutes without

Christina Hendricks is wearing Christian Siriano. Her hair is down, she looks very young that way.

Amy Adams stumping Seacrest about what trimester is halfway through pregnancy; Jane Krakawski in purple, also newly engaged to the designer of "Psycho Bunny"?. Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson on the carpet.

Mr. Jay "Mariah Carey brings her own Golden Globes to the GlamCam. . ." He claims that the shoulder detail on her dress balances. . .her figure. He also loves Fergie's Grecian gown, which does look good on her.

Okay, now we're switching to NBC for the actual show!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Father Daughter Dialogue

On the first day back to school after a lovely and relaxing Winter Break, things were running a bit behind schedule. I had to preserve this, because it so perfectly captures how things go these days. This is from an email that Captain Sweetie sent to me about his morning with Sursels:

She, as we headed out the door, sarcastically: "Daddy, I'm hoping that we can hold off on any snow shoveling or any other kind of distraction this morning." (I swear, she sounded EXACTLY like me, down to the one of voice.)

Then later, clearly not being able to let go of this, she said, "Why exactly were you running late this morning?"

Me: "I had to iron a shirt".

She: "Wouldn't it have been better to iron it last night?"

Me: "Yes, honey, but I was busy last night paying bills, and didn't check my shirt until this morning. Sorry we're running late, we'll still get there on time"

She: "Well, couldn't you.... oh never mind."

Quietly fuming about the delay

Me: "I think we're going to get there by 7:57. Not great, but not late"

She: "They have this middle school gathering thing on Monday. To sort of 'bring the school together'. It's kind of annoying."

Me: "Here we are, 7:56, not too bad!"

She: "We got lucky."

Who's kid is she, hunh?

The same sarcasm, the same inability to let things go.


Oh yeah, un hunh, I know how to press her buttons because I INSTALLED THEM. Snap!

I love my family.

Snow Days The New Standards 2008

I am totally addicted to this song. I wonder why--waking up to sub-zero temps, icy cold blue skies and blazing white snow piles. The roads have been scraped, but it's actually too cold for salt to melt the ice. We are driving on Braille roads until the sun comes out and the temperatures rise.

Yes, this is a song about how Minnesota winters feel, except that I don't think there is actually much looting by vagabonds--it's too dang cold even for them!

I love Chan Poling's ruined beauty--he's weathered a lot of hard life, actually, yet he still plays and sings as gorgeously as ever, and shows that music doesn't have to be only a young man's game. John Munson has such a rough voice--straining and then hitting those notes that brings such power to the lyrics.

And I want to take Steve Roehm home in my pocket and put him up on my mantle like an "Elf on the Shelf."