In discussing films, there might be spoilers. Sorry!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Beginning "500 Days of Summer ..." with musical fun ...

By the end of the week, I will have rewatched 500 Days of Summer and be ready to talk about it.

Such a chore, having to watch this kind of film again, just to make sure, ya know. :D

This music video, featuring JGL and "500 Days ... co-star, Zooey Deschanel with Deschanel providing the soundtrack, was a unique, musical promotion to the already great film.

Directed by "500 Days ..." director, Marc Webb, this is a few minutes piece of just fun that every Joe fan should see.


Friday, February 25, 2011

The Walking Dead with Norman Reedus ...

I said at the beginning of this blog, once an actor made the list -- and Reedus not only made the list, he led it as first actor to be reviewed -- I would always be willing to go back to and look at what he is doing now.

And Mr. Reedus' new project, it's damn amazing.
I have to admit up front though, when I first heard about this AMC TV series last summer, The Walking Dead, I was not all hot and bothered about it. I saw his posts on Twitter, saw his excitement. But to me, the concept of a zombie apocalypse just did not seem like a theme that could sustain itself. A two hour movie, yeah, no problem. I love Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland. But a series? With a long term commitment, no end in site, plot line? I didn't think it could be done.

I very seriously wasn't planning on ever watching it.
Until October 31st, when the show premiered. I thought "What the hell ..." and I gave it a try ... and I was sucked in so fast it wasn't funny. With suburb acting by Andrew Lincoln carrying practically the entire first episode? Zombie kids, zombies by the fence? Half a zombie compassionately put down in a heart stopping scene when you realize that this hero, Rick Grimes (Lincoln) has come to terms with the world changing while he was in a coma, that he is going to go on and he might be doing it without ever finding his family. He calmly, almost sweetly, looks at this creature that used to be a woman and he feels for her. You, the viewer, can feel it even as he raises the gun.

Mr. Reedus, as Daryl Dixon, is not introduced until the third episode, Tell It To the Frogs. Daryl walks into the frame, in a crowd of people wheeling from a zombie far to close to camp, and he commands the attention of everyone around. Daryl is not afraid to mix words, not afraid to stand up to people. He is not afraid of what people think of his backwards, usually annoying, more often then not, arrogant and bigoted ways. He loves one thing and one thing only -- his brother Merle -- and in this episode, Daryl finds out he has been robbed of Merle.

Daryl Dixon is my favorite character on The Walking Dead and yes, of course I have been accused of picking him only because he was portrayed by Mr. Reedus but the truth is I can defend my opinion and it had nothing to do to a summer long reviewing project. Because I like other characters in The Walking Dead almost as much -- and here will be some spoilers. I love Dale with his wise ways and all knowing eyes. I adored Jacqui and not just because she happened to spell her name really, really nice .... g ... Oh, she was kind and beautiful. Jim? Simple in his ways, but loyal to the end, he cared about the people enough to stand back and let them go on. I loved all these characters some who stayed, some who were part of the victims. I will miss seeing them when the show comes back on.

The Walking Dead has aired only six episodes so far. In those six episodes, Daryl Dixon has only appeared in four. And though he remained the bigoted, hot-head throughout, there is a rapid development of character. His big, overbearing brother is gone and as much as Daryl hates not knowing Merle's fate, now he has the chance to reach his full potential and that potential will include caring for people he didn't know he cared about.

He didn't have to go back for Glenn in Vatos. He didn't have to stand beside Rick and follow him into what looked like "a sure way to die" ambush. Almost immediately upon meeting Daryl we see him begin to evolve. It is at a lighting
speed, yet not one that is unbelievable under the circumstances they face.

He also has some of the quickest, philosophical lines of the show:
To Rick "That's funny coming from a man just put a gun to my head."

To Glenn: "Even I think it's a bad idea and I don't like you much."

Of the thirty-eight Norman Reedus productions I watched while reviewing his films for this project, I can honestly say that I never saw characters who remotely resembled each other. From Scud in Blade II to Jack in Sand to Mac in Red Canyon -- there was always such a vast difference in characters range and study. Voices were different, characters were different, There was one or two hand gestures and facial expressions that carried over, but even these movements were worked in with ease.

Murphy, from Boondock Saints, never stood still or merely walked. Murphy bounced. He was like an armed, Irish Tigger and it worked for him to adorable proportions ... but the actions were never repeated in any other Reedus characters making Murphy wonderfully unique.

Darly Dixon is much the same with his own special brand of uniqueness. From what we have seen in just four shows, we know there is more coming from him. By the last eppy, TS-19 he had already elevated himself from backwoods, bigoted, pain-in-the-ass to one of the
men we can count on. The members of our shrinking survival camp may not like Daryl Dixon, but they do trust him and know, even if he "don't like you much" Daryl will have your back and even die trying to save it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

JGL performs "Make 'Em Laugh" from "Singing in the Rain ...'

What does JGL performing the classic Donald O'Conner's Singing in the Rain routine, "Make 'Em Laugh" on SNL have to do with character development and story telling in fiction writing?

Not a damn thing ... but watch it anyway. It took me months to find it and when I did, it was so worth the wait. What a talented, talented actor. Like old school talent. Like the 40's and 50's talent. Like maybe the kind of talent a performer like Donald O'Conner would have been like.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Photo Titled: In bed with JGL ..."

I had a brand new post on "10 Things I Hate About You ..." just about ready to go out. It was beautiful, I swear. And then I accidentally hit highlight and before I could "No Don't!!! I hit delete. There was no Undo button I could find. I kid you not. So I leave you with this photo in hopes it will appease and I will type faster tomorrow!!

The photo, btw, was titled "In bed with JGL ..." Came with that. :)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"10 Things I Hate About You ..."

The very first thing to do on looking at 10 Things I Hate about You ... would be to state the obvious: this was a Heath Ledger/Julia Stiles movie with JGL/Larisa Uleynik (JGL's 3rd Rock girl friend) making up the second string romance. And that's cool and it does work. Everyone is cast in their place and does a fantastic job.

The plot of the story is fairly simple in a complicated sort of way. Two sisters: one popular in high school and one -- well -- a -- let's see -- A Shrew. Wait a minute. I've heard this before -- I've seen something similar. That might be because this fun, modern day love story-- that bares no resemblance to it's title about 10 things to hate -- is based on the William Shakespeare play, The Taming of the Shrew. They even manage to sneak some of the original dialogue in:

Cameron: "I burn. I pine. I perish."
Micheal: "Of course you do. You know, she's beautiful and deep, I'm sure."

and ...

Micheal: "Sweet love, renew thy force."
Patrick: "Hey! don't say shit like that to me. People might hear."

Shakespeare did have this thing about knowing plot and dialogue and characters. And in this modern twist version there are excellent actors added into the mix which it a great, fun film.

JGL, our underrated second string hero in this film, plays Cameron, a new student, on his ninth school in ten years. Immediately upon enrollment he is hopelessly in love with the hopelessly popular Bianca (Uleynik) Her sister, Kat (Stiles), uninterested in dating, makes most people miserable by her desire for self satisfaction. Daddy at home, first forbidding dating for either of his daughters, relents and allows Bianca to go out, but only if Kat will go first. Cameron and his best friend, screen stealing, Michael (David Krumholtz ) are on a mission to get Kat a date so Cameron's wish of true love can come true

Filmed in 1999, while 3rd Rock was at its peak, there is a touch of Tommy in this part while still standing alone. JGL is showing us a talented, fun and still relatively innocent actor in his part choice ... while making sure he can stand up and hold his own against his peers. The insecurity that Tommy would never have, the loss of the girl due to lack of self confidence or brains, Cameron is that kid in the back of the class watching the prettiest girl, hoping to be the one to get to take her out. He thinks, he plots, all the while the most popular boy in class does the same, using Cameron's own plan for his own evil ends. In the end, it is Patrick (Ledger) who puts Cameron straight:

Patrick to Cameron: "See, first of all, Joey is not half the man you are. Secondary, don't let anyone every make you feel as if you don't deserve what you want ..."

Special mention in this film, with respect to JGL and Mr. Ledger, has to go to Mr. Krumholtz for one of the greatest performances of a sidekick ever. He stole the scenes he was in, made us laugh and was sooo perfect for the part, delivering some of the best lines:

Joey (Andrew Keegan ) "I heard he ate a duck."
Micheal (Krumholtz ): "Everything but the beak and feet ..."

Because everyone knows if you leave the beak and feet, then that's okay. LOL

10 Things I Hate About You, a movie I did not see when it came out because the title put me off, but one I totally loved when I saw it on DVD. Highly recommended so that you, too, can see so many young actors doing so many great things.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Bucket List Posts ...

Out Bucket List Contest: Finding Out What People Want

If you voted, please post so I have your gontact information.

First Prize: "The Bucket List Kit"
Second Prize:"Book: 500 Things to Do ..."

Third Prize: DVD: "The Bucket List" with Jack and Morgan

And finally ....

GRAND PRIZE: I am in negotiations to get you fifteen more years on your life to make sure you get this the things you want done. This guys is tough, though. Will let you know how it goes ... :)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Norman vs. Joe vs. Reality ...

I have been accused of wanting to live my life in reality TV, of sharing all my problems for the world to see. I think the person who suggested it can think whatever they want. Really is no matter to me. What matters to me is that I do work in a profession that is fairly well lit and sometimes the reality of life slams into the fiction I want to write.

And for the last few months, I haven't even wanted to write fiction. Can you imagine what I thought about reality?

Why did I go from almost daily reviews of Norman Reedus films to only a couple Joesph Gordon-Levitt? Was it because I preferred Mr. Reedus's work? Hell, I love his work, but let's be real: hallway scene in zero gravity when taking out the bad guy with his bare hands? Not bad Mr. Gordon Levitt, no offense, of course, to Mr. Reedus. Going though a window himself, pretty damn impressive, too. :)

No, the reality of this writers' life is that life just got in the way and I have been muddling my way through numerous family crisis' all happening at once -- while my thirty year marriage exploded with the force of a nuclear bomb. No one was at fault and I will not lay blame. Sometimes, these things just happen. Nothing happening here is special -- I guarantee it is going on in 10,000 households right this minute.

But it is said that I want the attention. And as I pack my most special stuff to move across the country -- whether it is permanent or maybe things will work out and I will come home -- it is sad to see all these albums, all this photos, all these memories and try to think it through and remember more of the good than the bad -- cuz that is what I do. Think more good than bad.

What did happen? I will probably never know.

I do know I will be in Georgia soon with family and that is exciting. I am even going to visit New York for Valentine's Day to complete on item on my bucket list.

My books are packed. Got the disk with Davis' story on it. Have everything I need to bake my bread, go for my walks, add in some yoga, read like a mad woman. I will even take up studying french again.

And if admitting that the real life crap happens makes it sound like I want to live in reality TV, then I hope whoever thinks that realizes this is reality and it happens to us all and from sharing we can sometimes learn. Whether we withstand it or not is just dependent on who we call our friends, who we can look to for support and if we have the strength to stand alone when called for.

For me, the four miles escape walks are now what I do for exercise. It's time to get back to work. Defiantly back to the movies and back to the blog. Hope you guys still want to read.

"If you can't take me at my worst, then you don't deserve me at my best ..." Marilyn Monroe