Wednesday, March 31, 2010

50 Word Review 17

Title: Wimbledon
Category: Romantic comedy/sports
Medium: Netflix
Rating: B-

This movie could have been so much better, except the chemistry between Paul Bettany and Kirsten Dunst seemed very forced. I just don't feel like Kirsten was really into this part. Luckily, the secondary characters redeemed the awkwardness of the stiff dialogue. Bettany's parents, brother, and agent were all scene-stealers. B-


So I had to write a quick post after watching the new episode of V tonight. The whole episode was really awesome until the very end. That part was just dumb and unnecessary. One of the things I loved about the first four episodes was that the "visitors" didn't look like or act like your typical aliens and monsters. And then the V queen had to go all Van Helsing vampiress and ruin it. The cheese factor and the creepy factor both went up. Also, the whole mating scene, to put it plainly, was unnecessary. The total lack of stuff like that in the previous episodes made me so happy, and then they had to spoil it again. Epic disappointment.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Another show canceled too soon

Title: Firefly
Format: DVD
Category: Science fiction/Western
Rating: A

Why, oh why, did they cancel this show after only one season? It had such a great concept and amazing cast. Definitely deserved another 2 or 4 seasons.

Description (from Barnes & Noble): Set 500 years in the future, Firefly falls in the category of sci-fi space adventure, yet its flavor is rooted in the Wild West. Earth is pretty much spent, and a totalitarian government known as the Alliance rules the planets where most of its earlier inhabitants have spread. Nathan Fillion stars as Malcolm "Mal" Reynolds, who fought for independence from the Alliance in a civil war, and now captains the Serenity, a ship of outcasts. His crew includes his second-in-command Zoe, a pilot named Wash, engineering maven Kaylee, and career soldier Jayne. Also aboard are Inara, a highly respected prostitute; a preacher known as Shepherd Book; and a mysterious pair of siblings -- Simon and River Tam.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ratings are a terrible thing. There are so many shows that are canceled before their time all because the network decides there aren't enough people watching. Huge mistake! Several movies and TV shows that weren't "popular enough" when they first aired have turned out to be sleeper hits and cult classics. Firefly is no exception.

The idea to combine the Wild West with a sci-fi world of the future is such an absolutely brilliant concept. I wish I'd thought of it. It provided an infinite number of plot devices and twists. And to make it even better, there's a great cast and amazing special effects. The characters are more than two-dimensional imitations of space cowboys; they're so real and well-developed. Their believability and overall down-to-earth manners make them relatable to their audience. My favorite characters were Kaylee and Shepherd. Kaylee's attempts to balance her femininity and her boyish love of machinery are endearing and humorous. And Shepherd provides the peace and stability to the otherwise hotheaded crew.

I also loved the show's ability to pull you into its vision of the future. Because of the Wild West element, it never feels so completely unreal or unattached to Earth. It doesn't require you to make huge stretches of the imagination or completely push the limits on plausibility. Those tasks are left to the futuristic elements, and the balance between old and new makes this alternate future seem familiar and strange at the same time.

Luckily for the fans of Firefly, some of the many unanswered questions from the TV show were resolved when they made the follow-up movie, Serenity. But I think I would have preferred a few more seasons. A

50 Word Review 16

Title: Castle, Season 1
Category: TV/Crime/Comedy
Medium: DVD
Rating: A

(Same thing I said about Lie to Me and Glee).

Finally, Nathan Fillion gets to star in a show that lasts more than one season. Castle is a humorous, fun take on crime fighting. A great cast, intricate plot twists, and amazing chemistry between the characters make this a great series, rightfully deserving of its approval for a third season. A

50 Word Review 15

Title: Lie to Me, Season 1
Category: TV/Crime/Drama
Medium: TV
Rating: A

(Another show I'd love to have done in more than 50 words).

This show is captivating because it seems so real; it isn't gimmicky or implausible. It's totally believable that someone can read your micro-expressions to figure out exactly what you're thinking. It's also real because the characters are realistic and practical, with only a little touch of the soap opera melodrama. A

Barely a review

Title: V, Season 1
Category: TV/Science fiction
Medium: TV
Rating: N/A

This really doesn't count as a real review, as there have only been four episodes so far, but I just had to give a shout-out to this show. They have mastered the art of the cliffhanger. At the end of every episode, I could not wait until the next Tuesday, and when they announced in November that they wouldn't return until March... I thought I was going to die. But I didn't, and the newest episode is on tonight! If you haven't seen the first few episodes, visit Hulu and catch up. If you've seen them already, it's worth watching again as a recap. And don't forget- ABC 10pm! YAY!

50 Word Review 14

Title: Glee, Season 1
Category: TV, musical, comedy
Medium: TV, Hulu, DVD
Rating: A

(I really want to say more than 50 words on this, but I don't have time with these challenges coming up. Maybe Season 2).

I love this show! The music, the characters, the overall fun. Some of the storylines were annoying, but that's to be expected. After all, nothing's perfect. Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch are spectacular as the feuding teachers, and the voices and performances are great. Finally, high-schoolers who can actually sing! A

50 Word Review 13

Title: Twelfth Night
Category: Shakespeare comedy
Medium: Netflix
Rating: A

Absolutely amazing! One of my favorite film adaptations of a Shakespearean comedy. The parts are brilliantly played and perfectly cast. Helena Bonham Carter is great, but Ben Kingsley and Nicholas Farrell steal every scene they're in. If you love Shakespeare and can understand Elizabethan English, you will love this movie. A

50 Word Review 12

Title: Extremely Dangerous
Category: Miniseries/Action drama
Medium: Netflix
Rating: C-/D+

I wish they'd given this a rating, because I would have avoided it had I known how much rated-R level violence and smut was going to be in this. The plot was exciting, but sometimes confusing. The secondary characters were stereotyped and stiff, but Sean Bean was, as always, awesome. C-/D+

50 Word Review 11

Title: The Fabulous Baker Boys
Category: Drama
Medium: Netflix
Rating: D

Crap. The movie was so slow, so boring, and so pointless. It tried at points to pretend that it had a plot, but failed epicly. A happy ending might have redeemed it a little, but it just barely hints at one. I just couldn't wait for it to be over. D

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cancelled too soon

Title: Pushing Daises, Seasons 1 & 2
Format: Netflix/Blu-Ray
Category: TV/Mystery/Quirky/Romantic Comedy
Rating: A

This show was canceled much too soon. Full of vibrant characters, exciting mysteries, and lots of great plot twists, Pushing Daisies deserved at least another one or two seasons, if only to resolve many of the unanswered questions and twisting plot lines.

Description (from Ned possesses the unique talent of being able to bring life to the dead merely by touching them. However, the person may remain alive only for one minute, or else someone else dies for them. A second touch will render the person dead again, unable to be revived. Through his connections with PI Emerson Cod, Ned revives his childhood sweetheart, Chuck. The trio, aided occasionally by Olive Snook, helps solve the mysteries of various murders, whose murderer is often surprising.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

That description barely does this series justice. Like many other shows that are canceled too soon, such as Firefly, this series' popularity came too late to save it, and now its fan-base must be satisfied with only two seasons (which is much better than Firefly, whose fans only have the first season). I am one of those fans who is guilty of getting into this show too late. When I first heard about it and saw the commercials, I thought it looked like a fun show, but it unfortunately interfered with another show I was watching. I became a fan after getting the first disc of Season 1 from Netflix. And then I was hooked.

What makes this series so wonderful is its characters. Each one is so different and so distinct that they stay with you, no matter how long their appearance in the show lasted. Ned the piemaker is by far my favorite character (and that's not just because it's the gorgeous Lee Pace), followed closely by his girlfriend Charlotte, a.k.a. Chuck. They're both such well-developed, interesting people who you can connect with on an emotional level. The other characters have varying levels of depth and connection, but each contributes a lot to the storyline. The two eccentric aunts, the singing waitress, and the gruff PI with a hidden heart of gold. All of these main characters, as well as the secondary characters, are the real attraction of this quirky mystery show.

The other two factors that drew me to this show were the dialogue and the setting. The conversations between Ned and Chuck were so deep, but they were also sweet and fun, so you were getting complex, meaningful, and sometimes philosophical ideas delivered in the form of flirting or pie metaphors. Also, I would give anything to live wherever this series took place. The bright and colorful people and houses, the pie-crust awning of The Pie Hole, the decorative shapes of the buildings, the old-fashioned mixed with the modern so perfectly. If only it really existed!

While this show is definitely not meant for kids (many of the corpses interviewed are rather gross and creepy), it is perfect for everyone else. A

50 Word Review 10

Title: Ballet Shoes
Category: Family film
Medium: Netflix
Rating: A

This was a sweet movie with a great plot, interesting characters and good acting. The story never slows, the characters are believable, and there is actually a happy ending. A great film for all the girls in the family- a little drama, a little romance, and a lot of laughter. A

50 Word Review 9

Title: House Bunny
Category: Comedy/Romantic Comedy
Medium: Netflix
Rating: D

Typical Happy Madison dumb comedy. Embarrassing situations, ridiculous relationships, and terrible actors. The movie celebrates superficial beauty over personality by saying the only way to happiness is to get makeovers and become tramps. They tried to add a "moral" but it was forced and fake. Wasn't even worth a picture. D


When I first posted this list of movies, in January, I thought I would have plenty of time to review these. But now that I'm about to do three months worth of challenges, this list seems very scary... especially since I've added more to it since January

The original list is in white; the movies I've watched since then are in red. Sadly I haven't read anything in the past few months so there are no books to review.
  1. The House Bunny
  2. Ballet Shoes
  3. Pushing Daisies Seasons 1 & 2
  4. The Fabulous Baker Boys
  5. Extremely Dangerous
  6. Twelfth Night
  7. Glee
  8. V
  9. Lie to Me
  10. Castle Season 1
  11. Firefly
  12. Wimbledon
  13. Julie & Julia
  14. Reign Of Fire
  15. 9
  16. Mesmer
  17. Die Hard
  18. Star Trek
  19. Serious Moonlight
  20. He's Just Not That Into You
  21. Die Hard 2: Die Harder
  22. Adam
  23. Last Holiday
  24. Mr. Wrong
  25. The Proposal
  26. How to Train Your Dragon
All of these are from my Netflix queue or TV, and one of them I actually saw in theaters this past Friday. There are possibly more movies to review that we recently bought or are from my parents' Netflix account, but I have to go home & look for them. So this list could be a lot longer, which is very scary, since I only have til Wednesday at midnight to review them. Because April 1st marks the beginning of challenge #1, and I'm not going to have any time for reviews after that.

Three Months, Three Challenges

For some fun and excitement, I have decided to participate in/make up some challenges for the next three months. I feel that these challenges will give me more motivation to blog as well as reconnect me with the literary world. Lately, I have been held captive by several addictive forms of electronic media- YouTube,, and Netflix. My to-be-read pile continues to be cast aside, and it has somehow managed to grow as well, despite my constant neglect. I must... must... get back to my reading and writing. And these challenges will help me do just that.

April - Challenge #1 - Script Frenzy

Script Frenzy starts in April. And for those of you who do not know what Script Frenzy is... Script Frenzy was started by the creators of NaNoWriMo (and if you don't know what that is, click here). Like NaNoWriMo, it is a month-long challenge; only this time, you have thirty days to write 100 pages of script. It could be a TV script, movie script, even a graphic novel. But you have only thirty days to complete it. Now I failed miserably at NaNoWriMo for various reasons, and I'm hoping to succeed at this, or at least get further with this project than I did last November.

May - Challenge #2 - Unplugged

My second challenge is pretty self-explanatory. For the entire merry, merry month of May, I will be unplugged. Which means, with a few exceptions, my electronic media usage will come to a halt. Of course, I have to use a computer at my job, and if I'm invited somewhere and they're watching TV, I'm not going to ask them to turn it off. But when I'm home, my TV and laptop will be turned off, my iPod will be placed in the care of my sister, and while I'm at work, I will avoid using the internet. In order to update my blog on my progress, the entries will be written by my family and/or friends.

This challenge will help me break my addiction to things like Netflix, and allow me to get back on track with more important things- reading, writing, spending time with my family, going outside once in a while. No electronic distractions allowed!

June - Challenge #3 - Thirty Books in 30 Days

Once again, the challenge name is self-explanatory. I am challenging myself to read a total of thirty books in one month. Like challenge #2, there will be rules, such as how long the books are and what age level they're at. It doesn't mean anything if you read thirty preschool books or books under 100 pages. And I will also set time limits, since I can't lose too much sleep doing this, or my family, friends, and coworkers will hate me for being a very tired grouch all the time. I will also have to set aside a time to review all of these books so that I'm not swamped in July. I haven't decided on the specifics yet; after all, I have two months to fine-tune the details. But the basic gist is thirty age-appropriate, moderately long books in June. Hopefully, my to-be-read list will have shrunken to a more manageable pile by the time July comes around. :)


And those are my three challenges. This means that the next couple of days will be intense, as I now have to post all of the reviews that I procrastinated on. Insanity! Even crazier- I'm thinking of vlogging the third challenge. If you have any ideas for other fun challenges, please leave a comment, and maybe I'll have the rest of the year set.

GRE Update

So I got my GRE scores last week, and... I'm 0.5 points under the required essay score! O.5!!! It's rather frustrating, especially since I scored over the required score for the verbal section. I know many colleges will overlook a marginal difference if the rest of your application components are amazing (which I hope mine are), but I don't know if the college I've applied for does. I really, really hope that they do.

P.S. Here are some awesome YouTube series/sensations that I'm hooked on:
  • Charlie McDonnell. Very funny, cute British musician and vlogger. Check out his YouTube page or his website.
  • The Vlog Brothers- John & Hank Green. They created a vlog on YouTube in order to communicate with one another, as they lived on the opposite ends of the country. Go to their YouTube channel for a fun watch.
  • Truth or Fail. An interactive quiz/game with a different theme every time. Created by the aforementioned VlogBrothers for fun. Test your knowledge on YouTube or at its own website.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Tomorrow I will be taking the GRE. AAAAAHH! I'm much more nervous about this test than I ever was for the SATs. For the SATs, I was up-to-date on all my math. But now... I haven't used anything beyond basic math in years. I didn't need to. I was a writing major in college, and every job I've had since graduating hasn't used any complex math. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. That's it. And now I'll be taking an exam with algebra and geometry. What was I thinking?! I should have signed up for the Millers Analogies Test. There wouldn't have been any math in that.

What I really don't understand is why the GRE is necessary. Shouldn't my bachelor's degree be enough? It would make sense to take it if I'd been out of school for years, but I only graduated in 2007. Also, I'll be attending grad school for writing. Why must they torture me with math?! How will getting a good score in math prove anything about my skill and knowledge of English and grammar? If I were going for a degree in a field of mathematics or science, then it would be absolutely necessary for me to take an exam with a math element. Of course, if I were studying math, I would feel that the verbal section was unnecessary.

Unfortunately for me, the school/English department requires that I take the general GRE, not the subject-based one. So tomorrow, please say lots of prayers and cross your fingers for me. And I will do my best to remember how to breathe and how to solve algebraic equations.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Nepotism time!

Time for a shout-out for my "big brother" Randy. He just started a new blog, and I hope he will be more faithful to his than I've been to mine. Check it out. Subscribe. Discuss.

Paper(less) Trail

Yay for blogs!

Halfway There

I did it. I have made it halfway through the application process for grad school. I have accomplished the following:
  1. Ordered my college transcripts from my 4-year college, not community college.
  2. Filled out the FAFSA
  3. Signed up to take the GRE.
  4. Sent in the application.
There's no turning back now. I still have some more steps to go:
  1. Order my community college transcripts.
  2. Actually take the GRE next Wednesday.
  3. Ask my professors who I haven't seen in over 2 years for letters of recommendation.
  4. Write a killer statement-of-purpose essay.
I now feel only partly sick to my stomach and partly at ease. It's remarkably scary, taking this step. I got my BA in 2007, and when I didn't immediately sign up for grad school afterward, I pretty much put the idea out of my head. And now, here I am-- ready to go back to school. Back to the exams and the papers and the reading. I guess it's a good thing I like all of that.

P.S. Scrapbooking get-together tonight!!