Thursday, August 31, 2006
This week's episode was bizarre. I mean, designing for yourself is fine and all, but the "jetsetter" angle was so incredibly vague and obviously made up for the sole purpose of getting them all to Paris. I was suprised that the designers didn't ask more questions about what the heck it all meant, especially Angela. If I were her, I would have been all like, "uh, I'm the farthest thing from a jetsetter and I don't know what a jetsetter would dress like so how the heck am I supposed to design for myself as a jetsetter?" All of the outfits were so completely different that you never would have guessed they were all responses to the same challenge.
Above all though, this challenge just proved to me that Michael Knight better win this competition or else. I have to give Jeffrey credit because I actually did like his outfit, but Michael has been so consistently good. Plus his modeling skills made me love him even more than I already do (if that's possible). Everyone else was pretty meh. Glad that Angela was kicked off, it was inevitable. Vincent and his basic basic basic pants and pullover were lucky Angela's outfit was so crazy. Laura's dress was beautiful and it traveled well but I kind of hated the color and it was sort of boring the way all of her clothes are. Kayne was tacky, and Uli was Uli. I thought it was odd that they praised Jeffrey for being himself whereas they slammed Uli for being herself...
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Uli was robbed. Seriously. She's very much about the prints and flowy fabrics which led to some thought that she was a one-trick pony, but the past two weeks have definitely disproved that. Last week her silver-and-white braided skirt was amazing and I'm sad it didn't get more recognition, and this week, she translated her signature style masterfully for Kayne's mom. I thought the outfit was quite slimming and just fashion-forward enough while still remaining classy. I find it strange that during the judges' discussion, Uli was the first to come to everyone's lips when Heidi asked who they loved but then they decided to go with Vincent instead! Don't get me wrong, Vincent's dress did look a lot better than some of the other stuff that came down the runway, but honestly, I thought it was pretty simple and Uli's mom isn't that far off from being model-sized. I did like Vincent's attitude toward the whole idea of the challenge, but he didn't really have to design for the average American woman, so...shut up, Vincent.
The other contender for the win was Michael. He already had immunity, which I forgot about, but I love that he didn't slack off because of it. He did get to choose first, and he did choose the most model-sized woman, but he went for a great concept and as usual produced great results.
As for the rest...I'm sad that Robert got kicked off, but it was going to happen sooner or later. His designs have been, more often than not, basic and boring. And the past couple of weeks, he's seemed almost resigned to that fact, which couldn't have helped. At least his client liked what he did for her. I still loved loved loved that dress he did for the first challenge and I think he has talent, but somehow the show's environment just didn't work for him.
Jeffrey and Angela's mom. Yes, Jeffrey was being an ass, but I feel like Angela's mom wasn't really helping the whole situation either. She seemed to be feeling sorry for herself from the very beginning, which is kind of understandable, but I don't know, she could have been a little more cooperative and Jeffrey might have responded better.
There have been some comments that this season has been a lot more about the drama than last, and I have to agree. Yeah, there was drama last year too but then there was all of the funny Santino Tim Gunn impersonations and Andrae being Andrae and even just normal conversation in the workroom. There's some funny stuff happening this season too, evidenced by some hilarious bonus clips on bravotv.com, but they're just not showing it! Come on, producers, give a little fun. "Lighten up, it's just fashion!"
Odds and ends: Laura being pregnant with her 6th child?? Yiiikes. The "throw it in a pile with the others" comment made me both crack up and cringe at the same time. Kayne as a "fat funny kid" and the "fat funny pictures"? So cute! Michael Kors and his mom? They look almost scarily alike. And wouldn't Stacey and Clinton from What Not to Wear have been perfect judges for this episode? They're ALWAYS harping about fit, they totally would have attacked some of the designs. I was browsing through their book in the store a couple of weeks ago and they really do know what they're talking about.
I haven't been watching from the very beginning so I can't really speak for who's been the best throughout, but I'm really loving Ryan. Last week he did In the Air Tonight (Phil Collins) and it was just AWESOME. And this week he did one of his own songs and I kind of loved it. I almost want to download it! (Performance songs are $0.99 at rockstar.msn.com.) I also like Magni although he's been in the bottom three a couple of times. Lukas I'm not so sure about. Supernova seems to like him, but he's a little weird for my taste. He did pretty well this week with the Killers song though. Toby isn't memorable to me for some reason, though he got to perform with Supernova this week so obviously the band likes him too.
As for the girls, Dilana was a favorite for awhile, but her ego is coming out and it's not pretty. I can't believe she had the audacity to chant her own name during a song. Storm has also been good but I don't know, I'm still skeptical of whether a woman can front a band like this.
Oh, and a random thought, but Chris Daughtry from this season of American Idol? Should have been on this show. He would have sounded so much better with a real band backing him up.
On a similar subject, this week's Laguna Beach featured a longer performance by Chase and Kelan's band Open Air Stereo, and you know, I kind of liked them. (I'm a lot less picky when it comes to music from TV though...obviously, since I still watch AI.) They were tons better than the previous musical aspirers that have been on the show (Christina, Alex M, Talan). Chase seems very serious about his music so out of curiosity I looked them up, and found their myspace. (They also have a website but it appears to be down. Listen to more tracks at purevolume.) And you know, they are pretty serious. They've done some big gigs, are recording their second album, and even have their songs for sale on iTunes. And being on Laguna Beach should give them a lot more visibility.
Anyway, Chase and Tessa are so cute but I doubt they're going to end up together. Chase seems like a good guy so hopefully we won't see him hooking up with any of the mean girls. Although band guys are hot (it was totally my high school fantasy to date a guy in a band) so it could happen...
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Was in NYC this weekend and there was a Project Runway ad playing on one of the big screens at Macy's on 34th St. and it hit me! I could go look at the Project Runway window with the winning designs!
Picture didn't come out that great but it was super cool to see the actual garments up close. Both of Michael's designs were impeccable, and I especially loved seeing the recyclables challenge one because you could really see what it was made of. Kayne's Miss USA dress was gorgeous, and Uli's crazy patterned dog outfit definitely was crazy! And even though I'm not really a fan of Angela, I have to admit that her three-piece outfit for I.N.C was pretty cute. We just stopped for a minute so I didn't get to look at them all for too long, but yay Project Runway!
Friday, August 18, 2006
Happy that Michael won because he is so ridiculously awesome in so many ways but oddly enough I kind of thought Jeffrey should have won instead. I can't really stand him in general but dammit if his dress was amazing. The colors were kind of out there so no, it's not as wearable in terms of look as Michael's, but I'll bet it was more wearable in terms of fit and comfort, and it was just...stunning! Haha, I'm starting to talk like Tim Gunn. But maybe it's better that he didn't win, because his ego probably would have gotten even bigger than it already is.
As for Laura...she's getting kind of tiresome, in both design and personality. Her dress was cute, and the whole "for nuts only" thing added a little interest, but honestly I'm getting bored. And she really needs to keep her mouth shut, even if what she says is valid.
A plug for Blogging Project Runway, an amazingly comprehensive blog. And you must go watch the bonus video clips on bravotv.com. I especially like the clips of everyone back in the apartments reflecting on the challenges because it's just a more relaxed enviroment. We also get to see things like Jeffrey and Laura actually kind of getting along, and more of Kayne and Robert's antics. Plus there are more clips of the designers working (which I feel must be chosen to air based on who ends up winning and losing that particular challenge).
Thursday, August 17, 2006
First of all, the chick lit thing. What this book initially reminded me of was, well, Melissa Bank. The author of the book that Sittenfeld kind of blasted in a New York Times review. The book follows its main character, Hannah, from teenager to late twenties, in a series of stories. A lot like both of Bank's books. And the subject matter isn't that different. Hannah's trying to figure out her relationships, with her family, with men. The similarities kind of end there, but honestly, if Sittenfeld wants to call the Wonder Spot chick lit, then this is too.
Speaking of the Wonder Spot, what I didn't like about that book was that I couldn't relate to Sophie. In this case, it's the opposite. I relate almost a little too much to Hannah. She's an unusual main character, because she's kind of not all that likable. She's somewhat antisocial, she doesn't do things that are "normal" for her age, she makes tons of observations and judgments but only rarely experiences anything and almost feels like she's not supposed to. There were just so many parts of the book where I was like, damn, THIS IS ME. Like how she made all these seemingly trivial decisions when she started college like not joining clubs but that all added up to not having friends. How she's almost always an outsider, but instead of having other outsider friends, she has selected friends "on the inside" that just make her feel like she's even more of an outsider. I could keep going but really, it was almost a little scary and honestly, a little disturbing. Reading this book was one of the strangest things ever, instead of losing myself in it like some great books I've read, I became more and more aware of myself.
Okay, let's stop talking about me now. The book itself is very well written, and I really like Sittenfeld's "voice." I liked the supporting characters, who are aren't just stereotypes. Allison, Hannah's older sister, could easily have be the irritatingly perfect older sister, but the problem is that she's just really genuinely nice. Her cousin, Fig, is kind wild and crazy, but she doesn't get tired of Hannah's oddities. Her parents' divorce starts off the book, and her complex relationship with her father pops up every now, and it's compelling without being overdramatic. Actually nothing in this book is terribly dramatic, especially not the ending, which, if you consider the title of the book, is not very happy.
Final verdict? Even though Hannah is the most I've related to a character, probably EVER, and it's very well written, the book as a whole was strangely not that satisfying. Maybe it's because Prep was so effective, that we were kind of expecting something more? Not much really happens, and I don't know that Hannah has really changed all that much by the end. I didn't like her first person narration in the last story (in a letter, the rest of the book is in third person) and I don't know, I related to Hannah, but I didn't sympathize with her. And that kind of made for a slightly uncomfortable reading experience. I'd definitely recommend it but overall I'd say that it wasn't quite as good as Prep.
Also in the interview, he reveals that he and Emily Van Camp are dating! I find this to be extremely cute, even though the fact that they did play brother and sister is a little weird. I remember when Jason Behr and Katherine Heigl were dating while playing Max and Isabel on Roswell and I thought that was gross but that's because I sort of felt like their off-screen relationship was sort of affecting their on-screen relationship, making it pretty uncomfortable in spots. Anyway, haha, that's all.
Oh, and this appeared in the news awhile ago, but Chris Lowell, who was one of the life as we know it boys (um, Jonathan?), is going to be on Veronica Mars this season as Wallace's roommate and a possible "love interest" for Veronica. Ordinarily I would be angry at the casting of a love interest but he's so goofy I think it'll be great.
The new guys are Chase, Kelan, and Cameron. Chase and Kelan are in a rock band, which is kind of hot, but is it just me or do they look way too old to be in high school? Maybe it's the facial hair or something, but especially Chase looks like he could be my age or older (I'm 22). Anyway, Cameron, the last guy, just looks like a dumb jock. He's definitely a jock, and judging by the fact that he's dating Jessica, the dumbest girl on the planet, there's a good chance he's got the dumb part down too.
So yeah, Jessica's back and being just as pathetic and wet-blanket-y as ever. Alex H., Alex M., and Taylor make appearances as well, and you know, they actually do seem older. The rumors I heard were confirmed: Alex H. and Alex M. are friends, and Alex H couldn't take living with Kristin and doesn't talk to her anymore. I also love how Jason was bashed by pretty much everyone on the show.
On a side note, Jessica kept using the phrase "butt hurt" as in "Kyndra was butt hurt that Cameron is hanging out with me." I had never heard of this before in my life, but someone on a message board linked to the definition from urbandictionary. Just in case you guys had never heard of it either.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Both hilarity and tragedy ensue on this trip, and while it's the type of stuff that only happens in indie movies, it's all strangely kind of believable. The happy and the sad are mixed expertly and it's a lot like real life, just...quirkier. I liked the characters and actors quite a bit. Olive is cute but not overly precocious. Steve Carrell takes on a serious role and is surprisingly good not being silly (I think the facial hair helped). The grandfather is a hoot and Dwayne is antisocial and sullen but not psychotic. It's funny, he doesn't have an expressive face at all but his silent performance is actually quite good. His angry head shake made me crack up.
The pageant itself is quirky to the extreme, but the outcome is perfectly matched to the tone of the movie. Overall, a good time. Go see it!
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
It is very rare that I read a book that truly inspires me. It’s weird, too, because it took me a while to really get into the book, but then once I picked it up, and started to really read it, I was drawn in. What book am I talking about? The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards.
The book weaves the perspective of four people whose lives are tied together by events that occur on one snowy winter night in 1964. The secret of the events that occur on that night changes the paths their lives go down and culminates in an understanding between the characters for each other 25 years later. Amidst this, the author explores the prejudices and hardships children with Downs Syndrome and their families have to face, and she also explores the sanctuary one man finds in documenting life through photography – two topics very close to my heart. The first made me think back to the days of working in my college laboratory, looking to find interventions to allow children with DS to achieve more normal lifestyles. The latter reminded me of how much I miss working in a darkroom and made me wish to have one of my own.
In any case, Kim Edwards was able to take on and demonstrate so true to life each character and truly make them human. Give it a read when you have time. It’s touching in a way that’s not forced but natural. (I cried on the PLANE reading it. How embarrassing.)
Sunday, August 13, 2006
John Tucker Must Die was absolutely fantastic. Poo to all you people who are above watching silly teen flicks, this was not only pleasing to the eyes (I mean Miguel from Passions / the gardener from Desperate Housewives, Brittany Snow, Brooke from One Tree Hill, Lindsey from Gilmore Girls, Ashanti, and Owen from The Bedford Diaries!), but so much fun to watch. Lines that easily could be cheesed up were delivered perfectly by the actors. Situations that could be regarded as completely over the top made believable (almost). My only complaints were that Sophia Bush did not make a believable “vegan slut,” though the second half was well performed by her. Also, Brittany Snow is way too pretty to have ever been “invisible.” And also that NO high school has that many good looking people in it. (At least mine didn’t! If yours did, lucky you!)
In any case, with a very original premise, a very good-looking and talented cast, and zero cheesiness (as I am apt to hate), John Tucker Must Die was not only pleasing to the eye, but kept me happy and laughing the entire time. So get your butt to the theater and watch it! (Or wait for it to come out on DVD and borrow it from me, cuz I for sure want to own this one!)
Friday, August 11, 2006
Anyway, after 6 years, Bank finally wrote another book, The Wonder Spot. It's been out for quite some time now, but I hadn't gotten around to it until now. I was at Borders the other day, on impulse I decided to buy it. I was thinking I would love it, but I don't know, I kind of didn't. It's almost too similar to the Girl's Guide, with the novel sectioned off into short stories the same way, starting off with the main character as a teenager and spanning twenty years or so. But somehow it didn't quite work as well for me. The main character, Sophie, is supposed to represent the average woman, I guess, but I found her underachiever-ness to just be unrelatable. Not to say that I'm super ambitious and know exactly what I want, but to me Sophie was just hapless. She seemed to only be half-heartedly trying to find her career and love and all that. (Bridget Jones was hapless too, but what was endearing about her was that she was sincere and always trying.) By the end of this book, there was still no hint of what Sophie really wanted.
The subject matter of the stories was sometimes kind of off as well. There's this one story where she's graduated college and is basically just staying with various relatives in New York City teaching herself to type so she can get a job. I found this to be kind of strange basis for a story. I mean, there was other stuff going on, but I really just wanted to yell at her to take a typing class. Sophie also has a different boyfriend in every story, none of which I'm sure we're supposed to really care about, and by the end of the book we still don't know if she's found more than just another fling.
Don't get me wrong, there were still a ton of great things about the book, they were just the same things that were great about the Girl's Guide and I guess I was sort of looking for something new to go along with those things.
There's apparently a slight controversy surrounding this book and a somewhat scathing review Curtis Sittenfeld (author of Prep) wrote for the New York Times. Sittenfeld starts off the article saying that calling a book "chick lit" is sort of like calling another woman a slut but that she can't help but call The Wonder Spot chick lit. Ouch! I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with chick lit, but I also don't think this book really falls under that label. Chick Lit is like...Meg Cabot. The Wonder Spot is a lot less silly. And no, maybe it's not as "intellectual" as Prep, but it has its own merits, and in my opinion, its own problems that don't really have anything to do with it being chick lit.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
And this week's fashion icon challenge was so much fun because most of the models/designers/icons were so well matched up. Well, maybe I do have a favorite after this week. Michael Knight! He's sort of been in the background up until now and every week I'd been a little surprised/disappointed that he hadn't been in the top three. But then suddenly he's all over this weekís episode and at first I was a little worried that the reason he was getting so much airtime was because he was going to be kicked off. But I mean, come on, Michael+Nazri+Pam Grier, how could he lose?? I just LOVE that he had the smarts and skills and level-headedness to rework his design halfway through and still come back to win. Plus his construction is always impeccable, and he seems like a really sweet and funny guy. ("Captain Save-a-ho"?!?) Gooo Michael!
On my good side also are Kayne, Alison, Laura, Uli, and Robert (though he really needs to step it up). Angela I still find kind of annoying but she's kind of impressed the past two weeks, so who knows. Vincent is hanging on by the skin of his teeth. And Jeffrey? With all his talk I still haven't been impressed by anything he's done so far.
So You Think You Can Dance - I feel like this show has been going on forever. I haven't been keeping up very well, mostly because up until like last week I felt like there were too many dancers to keep up. Plus I get really bored watching the traditional ballroom routines. I like the hip-hop and contemporary best I think. Anyway, the finale is next week, and of the final four, I think that the only one I don't like all that much is Heidi. She's just a little scary to me for some reason. But Travis and Benji and Donyelle are all super and I'd be okay with any of them winning. Though Travis might won me over a little because he did his solo to Konstantine by Sometihing Corporate (one of my favorite songs ever) last night...
Rock Star Supernova - I think I tried to watch an episode or two of Rock Star INXS last year but for some reason I never really got into it. It's a bit strange because I've totally been a fan of American Idol (I even voted a bunch of times) even though I'm not at all into pop or country, which is generally what's represented on that show. I guess I'm not really that into the greasy rock that's on Rock Star either but it's definitely closer to my tastes. Anyway, I've watched a couple of episodes this season and I was surprised by how much I liked it. The look of the show kind of cracks me up: whereas AI is very bright and perky, Rock Star is kind of dark and grungy and ostentatous. The judges sit in this little balcony area in tacky chairs and they're a lot more easygoing than Simon & Co. on AI. And the music is actually pretty great, and I like their elimination format as well: America votes to detemine the bottom three, and then Supernova decides who goes home. That makes sense, these are the guys that are putting their careers in the hands of the winners, they gotta have some say in who stays or goes. Of course the question is, will I listen to Supernova's music after the show's over? Uhhhh probably not.
Fresh Meat (Real World/Road Rules Challenge Man do I hate Wes and Casey. I wasn't a fan of Wes on his Real World season and he's only gotten worse. The first couple of episodes of this challenge were almost unbearably unwatchable because of the whole Austin gang. Things got a little better once Danny and Melinda and Johanna were kicked off, but this week my hatred for Wes and Casey kind of bubbled up again, not because of Wes so much but because of Casey! At the beginning I kind of just felt bad for her because her partner sucked and he was always saying horrible things about her, but she's gotten really annoying herself. Refusing to do the jump because you're afraid is one thing, but spewing that it's crazy is just stupid because uh, yeah, everyone else did it. Plus her smack talking after winning the Exile was irritating as well. I guess I do have to give them credit for winning all those Exiles though I don't understand why the heck they never bother to do the puzzle. Last week both teams solved the puzzles and the whole thing seemed a whole lot easier. But I guess as long as they don't face a smarter team or a team that has even less luggage than they do, they're going to keep winning those dang Exiles. People I'm rooting for to win: Derrick, because he tries so frickin hard but never wins, or Darrell, because he's funny.
The Hills - LC and Jason broke up! Well not on the show, unfortunately. Lauren made what was one of the dumbest decisions I've ever heard of: to spend the summer with Jason in Malibu instead of doing a Vogue internship in Paris. PARIS!!! These shows are so manipulative that I wonder if there was something they weren't telling us, like her not actually getting the internship in the end or something. Oh well, she's young and naive (haha, actually she's only like 3 years younger than me and I'm the one still watching teen reality shows, so maybe I'm not one to talk). Second season is already a go, I hope Whitney's going to be back! And Heidi totally grew on me throughout the season, which is funny because I thought she was an incurable idiot in the first few episodes.
Tristan + Isolde: This got pretty mixed reviews but I'm a sucker for period films and you know, I really liked it. I wasn't very familiar with the story of Tristan and Isolde besides the fact that it's an opera, but it's basically a forbidden lovers story on a pretty grand scale. Tristan is a great knight and adopted son of the to-be king of a united England, and Isolde is the daughter of the Irish king who intends to take over England. Tristan lands in Ireland after being presumed dead and is secretly nursed back to health by Isolde. He later returns to England, where he takes on the challenge of winning a wife for his adopted father, Marke. He wins, of course, only to find out that the wife he won is none other than Isolde. You can guess where this is all going. I liked the love triangle, because there was really no evil party and all three held respect for the others. Sophia Myles was excellent as Isolde, and James Franco didn't say much but they definitely had a lot of chemistry. I'm also a fan of Rufus Sewell and he was great as Marke. The look of the film and all the battle scenes were nicely done too. I really don't know why so many critics didn't like this. I mean, it wasn't extraordinary filmmaking or anything but the story is classic and I thought it was pretty engrossing and believable. I've seen a lot worse...