Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thursday Talk: 'tis the Season!

M: Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season for me. What are your favorite holiday season indulgences (movie/book/tv/music)?

Mira: Little Women
is one of my favorite holiday movies of all time. And I've always thought it was weird that I associate it as being a holiday season movie because the core of the movie is not about the holidays at all but a group of sisters and Jo's quest to be a grand writer. But I love it. And I love it most during the holiday season. Two other more obvious favorites are Love Actually, which takes place entirely in the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year's and a new add to my list: The Holiday, which I just find really cute and enjoyable for whatever reason.

Jennifer: I really enjoyed all the The OC's Chrismukkah episodes, especially the one from season 2 with since-forgotten Lindsay and her "yamaclaus." In movies, I actually watched White Christmas for the first time last year and I was surprised how much I loved it. All I had known about was the song and cheesy poster with the people in those Santa outfits, but that's a very small part of the movie...the rest of it is really funny and smart and the singing and dancing is superb. Vera-Ellen (with the shockingly small waist) is so fantastic in all the dance numbers. I think I'm going to start making it my own holiday tradition! Mira, I also associate Little Women with the holidays even though it's not really a Christmas movie. I sometimes do the same thing with Harry Potter because there are so many memorable Christmas scenes...Hogwarts certainly knows how to decorate!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Skating with the Stars: First Impressions

Well, I'm sure Jenn will have much more to add, especially given that she has been following the Canadian versions on the internet to some extent (and what sounds like a much better potential version in Canada called Battle of the Blades)... but here are some of my first impressions on Skating with the Stars...

- The host, Vernon Kay -- he keeps widening his eyes when he talks. It's kinda scary!! You can see whites all around his pupils and he does it A LOT!
- I think I've heard of ONE of the stars, and that's a barely knowing who she is. Bethany Frankel? Is she one of the real housewives of some city? Oh, it's spelled Bethenny. That's still sad that the only star I heard of is a reality tv star and not really a star... Sigh.
- I know zero of the pros...
- I've heard of all the JUDGES, though. I'd rather they be the stars or pros! But I do like the mix and it makes me happy that they have Dick Button. :)
- I've even heard of the commentator!!! (Well I followed the last winter Olympics pretty closely on the figure skating/ice skating side.)
- The rink is so tiny that it looks like jumps won't be possible ever. Admittedly I wasn't expecting jumps from any of the stars, but when the 6 pros were dancing together... Well it's too small for 6 pros to do anything really cool other than spin around and really just do dance moves... Just kidding -- Johnny Weir did do a jump. :)
- I like that each episode looks to have required elements and they sound reasonable...
- Johnny Weir kind of looks like Jennifer Connelly. And of course he would skate to Lady Gaga in a Lady Gaga-esque costume.
- I really commend the stars for attempting this; I cannot even regular ice skate. But I dunno if even my love for figure skating/ice skating will keep me tuning in every week. Only when I remember.
- This stuff looks ridiculously easy and boring for the pros. At least Dancing with the Stars, the pros get to look like pros...
- Best line of the night: "The fact that you're not gay may be kind of alarming to my husband so we'll just have to pretend that you are." (Bethenny, who's freaky skinny.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday Talk: Sports, Part 2

J: Earlier this year, Mira asked about favorite sporting events. This time around, what are your favorite sports-themed movies, TV shows, books, etc?

Jennifer: I'm definitely not a sports person but I enjoy my fair share of sports-themed fictional entertainment. Of course there's The Cutting Edge...I've watched that movie countless times and can probably quote most of it. I also like various other girly sports movies like Bend it like Beckham, Stick it, A League of their Own, Bring it On, etc. On TV, obviously Friday Night Lights (I actually finally learned the rules of football because of this show) and Make it or Break it (although it got really bad at the end of last season). I can't think of any books...unless you count Quidditch through the Ages?

Mira: Ooh, I like this question and it's funny because Burkie and I were just talking about this the other day. I love most football movies -- Remember the Titans, Little Giants, Varsity Blue, Jerry Maguire, The Blind Side, and I remember enjoying Friday Night Lights (movie version; but tv show is great, too!)... Um, I also loved other sports movies in general: Rookie of the Year, Angels in the Outfield, The Sandlot, Cool Runnings, Cutting Edge, MIGHTY DUCKS!!! Um, okay, so I like movies about sports. But yes, I pick Mighty Ducks (1, 2, 3) as my pick for this week's Thursday Talk. And ahem, Jenn, I think that I'd like to take credit for teaching you the rules of football!!! The TV show just reinforced what I told you. :P

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday Talk: Fairy Tales

M: What's your favorite fairy tale? (Original or reloaded.)

Mira: I think I'd have to go with Enchanted and Beauty and the Beast. I think the latter counts as a fairytale, right? I like the first because it takes a typical fairytale story of a princess, prince, evil stepmom/future mother-in-law, talking animals... Well it was kinda Snow White with Cinderella's animals or something... Anyway it takes all that and throws the story into modern day New York. Fun! Perfect! And now I want to rewatch. Haha. And Beauty and the Beast us simply my favorite Disney movie, period. :)

Jennifer: Hm, interesting question. I remember I had a book of fairy tales when I was younger that I read over and over but I don't know if I had a favorite back then. So I'll just pick one now: The Ugly Duckling. In general I think I prefer Hans Christian Andersen to the Brothers Grimm. I do also really like Ever After...

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Being Erica: Time travel therapy

I've actually been watching Being Erica, a Canadian show, since it first started early in 2009 but apparently I've never blogged about it, possibly because it's just so completely off the radar. In the US it airs on SOAPnet and I mean, nobody knows that they air anything besides the daytime soaps and reruns of the original 90210 and the OC. Even worse, the entire network is actually going to be taken off the air completely in 2012 (they have already committed to airing season 3 of Being Erica, which just started this fall in Canada).

And you know, that's a shame, because I think it's actually a really great show. It's kind of chick-flick-y (probably not for the guys out there) but with this time travel element. I know, it sounds weird, right? The Erica of the title is Erica Strange (played by Erin Karpluk who I now love), a thirty-something woman who at the beginning of the series feels like her life is a mess. She's still single and has no real career despite a master's degree in English and thinks it's all because she's made bad choices throughout her life. She meets a mysterious therapist, Dr. Tom, who invites her to become his patient and she soon finds out that his method of therapy is sending her back in time to relive, and, to a certain extent, redo her regrets. 

Wonky, right? But really fun! Just the fashions alone are great, and the cast does an amazing job playing different ages. In the first season, each episode has Erica returning to a certain regret and generally she learns that the things that happened were inevitable and there's some lesson to take back to her present life, which starts to improve as she gains success in a publishing job and embarks on a relationship with Ethan, her long time best friend. The second season changes things up a little bit, introducing Kai, a character that turns out to be going through the same kind of therapy as Erica with a different doctor. Now in the third season, Erica finds herself almost "reset," having been fired from her job and broken up with Ethan, but is informed that she's now in "phase two" of the therapy: group. (Phase three is apparently becoming a doctor herself?)

The reason I really like this show is that Erica is such a relatable and honest character. Her relationships with her family and friends are complicated and she messes up all the time but she doesn't give up. She wants to help people but doesn't always know the best ways, and she does things she's afraid of, even if they make her look stupid.  It's odd, even with the crazy time traveling and bursting through doors that lead to the past or the present or Dr. Tom's office, this show is actually very...real. It can be funny and sad and dramatic and moving, and I think a lot of that has to do with Erin Karpluk, who's basically in every scene and does a fantastic job carrying the show. 

I just discovered that all of seasons 1 and 2 are on Hulu! If you're at all interested in a fun relationship drama with a little light sci-fi thrown in, definitely check it out! 

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Thursday Talk: Spies!

J: Hollywood (and American culture in general it seems) has a pretty big fascination with spies. Who are some of your favorite fictional spies?

Jennifer: I think I have to go with Sydney Bristow from Alias. Probably everyone knows how disappointed I was with the later seasons but she was such a great and instantly memorable character. Obviously kick-ass but also just a really good person who cared deeply for her family and friends. I also really like Chuck, but more the character than the actual show, which has become more of a catch-up-when-I'm-bored show than required weekly viewing. They do use the word "spy" on that show probably more than in anything else I've ever seen...

Mira: Sydney was one of the best, I have to agree. Actually, I still wanna grow up to be her: she was so good! Haha, actually the skill I'd really like to learn is running down the stairs silently with HEELS on. :) Two more I'll name are James Bond, because well he's James Bond, and Jack Bauer from 24 because he's pretty badass.