Melissa Runs

Sometimes, Melissa runs her legs. Sometimes, she runs her mouth.

Category: movies (page 1 of 2)

Oscar Predictions

I love movies. I don’t watch as many as I want but I do love them. Once upon a time before the Best Picture nominees were 10, I used to watch all of the nominees. So I’ve got a knack about this sort of thing.

I haven’t seen that many of them this year and I admit it which will make this more fun. 😀

Original Screenplay

My prediction: Moonrise Kingdom Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola.

Why: For whatever reason, this is the category of the Academy awards that likes to encourage the young. You will remember that this is the category that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won in the the 90s for Good Will Hunting. Also, there’s a Coppola. This was a movie that created its own very particular world and its own particular world view. It has witty dialogue and is more than it appears on first blush. (Hi I’ve actually seen this movie)

Why not Tarantino? Well. I might get punked on this. I would love to see the Tarantino acceptance speech. Strangely enough both Tarantino and Anderson have very strong “views” and heavily borrow from pop culture and other film genres. It’s fascinating to see how they come up with such vastly different products.

Adapted Screenplay

Written by Tony Kushner

This is the big epic movie nominated. This will be the one that gets it.

in a Supporting Role

Anne Hathaway in Les Misérables


Oscar loves to award women who play prostitutes. Oscar also loves to award women who die. Oscar loves to award beautiful women who go through a massive physical change for the role. Seriously. She has this one. She also has won virtually all the awards leading

in a Supporting Role

Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln

Remember when he got nominated against Daniel Day Lewis for No Country for Old Men and lost. Yeah, this is makeup award. I’m rooting for Robert De Niro and he might get it as a pseudo-Lifetime Achievement Award but Lincoln is the more grandiose of the movies. Oscar likes grandiose.

in a Leading Role

Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

Why? This is the yeah you should have won for Winter’s Bone and here you go again award. Also, Oscar loves crazy.

in a Leading Role

Daniel Day Lewis in Lincoln

Why? Okay I really want Hugh Jackman to win but it is not to be. Daniel Day Lewis is an amazing actor and he has won this award two times before. The Academy already likes him. He managed to pull out a performance of a person who could have very easily been a Caricature and it’s President Lincoln. Dissing on President Lincoln is kicking puppies. I don’t think the Academy will do it.

Best Director in a Motion Picture

Feh. I have no idea. NO really. I think it’s between Ang Lee and Spielburg.

Best Picture


Why? The torture controversy in Zero Dark Thirty will knock it out. It’s part of history and I think enough people will be “BEN AFFLECK WAS ROBBED” for not being nominated.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

I am not going to lie. Ever since I saw the trailer for this particular movie, I have been waiting to see this movie.

Yes this trailer.

I devoured the first two books about a month before the final book came out and read the final one pretty much around the time it went on sale. I haven’t read them since. Yes, I have sweet the entire Swedish trilogy released about two years ago. As a result, I didn’t go into this movie completely blind or without some expectations.

I was afraid that Hollywood was going to fetishize the violence towards women in this movie and turn it into torture porn. Considering that Fincher is also responsible for the movie Se7en, this concern isn’t hysterical. The original title of the book in Sweden (it is a Swedish book that was translated to English) is, when translated to English, “Men who Hate Women” and it is very clear that the violence towards female characters in the book is not something to be glorified. This is a hard line to do when the basis of your movie is entertainment. It’s not as stark as it was in the Swedish movies and there are fancy tricks with camera angles but Fincher managed to not over do it.

Okay, this is Rooney Mara’s movie. She managed to get the slightness of Lisbeth Salander as well as the “weirdness.” Lisbeth Salander may or may not have Asperger’s. She managed to capture the “offness” while still conveying emotion at the appropriate times. She managed to be weird when needed and fierce when also needed. The viewer needs to believe that she can be crazy violent when pushed too far and Mara managed it.

The opening credits are a slick music video utilizing animation and Trent Reznor and Karen O’s cover of the Immigrant Song. It’s an over the top visual extravaganza that only a Hollywood film can pull off.

The movie manages to follow the book fairly closely although there is a big change in plot point at the very, very end. Both the Swedish version as well as this version manage to gloss over the fact that women keep throwing themselves at Blomkvist, streamlining the plot point with Blomkvist only being involved with Salander and the editor of the magazine.

I liked it. Go see it.

R.I.P. Elizabeth Taylor

George: You’re a monster – You are.
Martha: I’m loud and I’m vulgar, and I wear the pants in the house because somebody’s got to, but I am not a monster. I’m not.
George: You’re a spoiled, self-indulgent, willful, dirty-minded, liquor-ridden…
Martha: SNAP! It went SNAP! I’m not gonna try to get through to you any more. There was a second back there, yeah, there was a second, just a second when I could have gotten through to you, when maybe we could have cut through all this, this CRAP. But it’s past, and I’m not gonna try.

from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
I learned this morning that Elizabeth Taylor died. While at the age of 79, she was old enough to go and with her myriad of health problems, she was definitely sick enough to go. It still took my breath away.

She was stunning and had hypnotic violet eyes. She was incredibly brave. She was brave enough to get married eight times, able to pick herself up after each heartbreak to try again. She had a myriad of health problems and yet kept going out to keep acting and raising money for AIDS research. She managed to amass an amazing amount of wealth and yet spent her time tirelessly raising money for AIDS research instead of fading into the life of a socialite.

She looked like an angel but could drink and curse like a devil. She was thin. She gained weight and she lost it again. She did so many things. She will be missed.

(small thanks to Bellesouth for finding this video first)

No Strings Attached

Yes I admit I paid money to watch this movie in a theater. I could watch Natalie Portman read a phone book but seriously, it was all about movie screen sized naked Ashton Kutcher. Yeah I could have waited for video but MOVIE SCREEN SIZED NAKED ASHTON KUTCHER. Yes. Yesh indeed.

err. okay. Back to the movie.

Natalie Portman plays Emma who is a doctor going through her residency. Ashton Kutcher plays Adam, the son of a famous comedian who is a writer. They meet at summer camp when they are in their teens. Then they meet again at a college party in Michigan. Then they meet again at a farmer’s market and discover they live in the same town.

They have sex. They decide to have sex in a fuck buddy arrangement. Can they stay fuck buddies or will they fall in love? Duh, we all know the answer to this question and the movie doesn’t try to play a “will they or won’t they” scenario. The movie just tells the story of how these two characters became a couple.

This movie reverses the cliche with Emma having the commitment issues.

The assortment of friends and relatives are quite entertaining and charming. The women are portrayed as smart and sex isn’t seen as something completely dirty. For a movie about fuck buddies, there’s hardly any raunch at all. Okay there’s little to no raunch. This movie isn’t in the vein of American Pie. It’s more in the vein of when Harry Met Sally. The entire time I was wondering where I had seen Emma’s sister. You’ve seen her in Juno.

It’s entertaining. IT’s not epic and probably won’t be a classic. It does give you the chance to see Wesley from THe Princess Bride. He plays a doctor at the hospital.

Oh and the commitment issues presented in the movie opened up the Pandora’s box of my own commitment issues. I’m a closed off woman, folks. My heart has been embedded in ice for years. This movie made me cry about it for a second. DAMN YOU NAKED ASHTON!

ahem.. but that’s not so much the movie as me being a crazy person. 3 stars.

Black Swan

No one does crazy better than Darren Aronofsky. I saw the director’s cut of Requiem for a Dream and was in a funk for a week. I also threw up due to the sheer turmoil of it all. It’s pretty gore free. But it is an extremely well made film telling a very ugly tale.

So when I saw the trailer for Black Swan, I knew I had to see it. Of course, it wasn’t coming to my little town. (The lesbian scene would upset the Bible Belters).

Finally on the first day of 2011, I saw it.

The plot is fairly simple: Nina Sayers, an overprotected, innocent, fragile woman obsessed with ballet, is selected to be the Swan Queen in her ballet company’s production of Swan Lake. The Swan Queen is a role where the dancer plays two parts, the White Swan and her evil twin the Black Swan. The dirty old man director thinks she is innocent and controlled enough to be the White Swan but doesn’t have the sexuality and looseness to be the Black Swan. He attempts to remedy this situation by sexually harassing Nina.

Of course, Nina has issues and an uber controlling mother. She may or may not have a grip on reality. She is also the narrator of this tale. This is where the fun begins for Aronofsky and the viewer.

So while watching, the viewer has to wonder, “what is real? is she making this up? What was that?”

This movie uses a lot of mirrors and there the use of color with characters wearing black representing “bad” and characters wearing white representing “good.” The whole thing reminded me of the Jungian concept of the “Shadow self” from my psychology classes in college. In fact, after getting back and googling the thing, I was reminded that the shadow is considered the “seat of creativity.” Also, someone else has already addressed the shadow as presented in Black Swan.

So how much is intended to be merely a visual metaphor for the internal struggle between facets of Nina’s personality and how much is in Nina’s mind in the way of her having hallucinations and how much is reality? That’s the sixty four thousand dollar question folks.

I was fascinated by this film and I enjoyed it quite a bit. It isn’t nearly as dark and depressing as Requiem for a Dream. The part of Nina is a “role of a lifetime” for an actress and Natalie Portman pulls it off masterfully. She is phenomenal and the Oscar talk is not hype. I will be stunned and disappointed if she is not nominated. I was pleasantly surprised to see Winona Ryder acting again even if her part consisted solely of having a nervous breakdown. The dirty old man director was good but I’m not sure he was “old” enough. Without the old, you might just think he’s just stupid enough to think harassing the girl would bring the desired result. Mila Kunis can act. She can definitely act better than Ashton Kulcher so there you go.

I am glad I saw this movie and give it a thumbs up.

Holidailies 2010 Badge

True Grit:

I saw True Grit

True Grit was written by Arkansan Charles Portis and takes place in Arkansas in the late 1800s. Mattie Ross is a farm girl from Dardenelle whose father is killed in Fort Smith by a man named Tom Chaney. Well Dardanelle and Fort Smith are real places. Fort Smith was the city at the border of Indian territory. As an Arkansan myself, I pay particular attention to how the media and the arts portrays Arkansas. Usually people get the accent wrong for one thing.

Having read the book before seeing the movie, I can attest that this version does follow the book more closely than the famous John Wayne version. The Coen brothers keep the narrator from the book, the much older Mattie Ross retelling her childhood tale of vengeance against the man who shot her father, and keep much of the snappy dialogue in the original Portis tale. Of course, these two elements are close to the Coen aesthetic of snappy dialogue and an “original” voice being the center of its tales. It is also superbly cast and even though there are some big names in this movie, the actors manage to blend into their characters and their celebrity vanishes.

This was definitely one of the best movies I saw in 2010.

Holidailies 2010 Badge

The 2010 highlights and lowlights

Yeah this is my round up of the best and worst of the year 2010. This is not an objective list. This is entirely my opinion and consists of the things I personally experienced which means there are movies that I have not seen and books that I have not read that probably would affect this list if I had seen or read them. Also, this means that some of these things were created in other years.

Favorite song of 2010

Fuck You by CEE LO GREEN

Come on. You know me. YOU KNOW ME. Left to my own devices, I’m a potty mouth and a half. It’s only respect for my elders and the desire to be professional that keeps me from cursing like a sailor all the damn time. So of course, this catchy doo woppy old school sounding song with the F-bomb in the title was DESTINED to be my favorite song. Add on top of that it’s dedicated to an ex who did the singer wrong and I’m on that song like white on rice.

Favorite book

I found the Swedish “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” trilogy all kinds of riveting. I read the first two in the span of three days. For favorite of the year, I am going to have to go with True Grit by Charles Portis. It’s written by an Arkansan and takes place in Arkansas. Besides that, it is written in a voice that is both smart and sassy. Mattie Ross is a 14 year old girl who goes to Fort Smith to avenge the murder of her father. She solicits the aide of the mean, drunk Rooster Cogburn. Hilarity ensues. There’s a certain witty repartee combined with religion that is so quintessentially Arkansas I had to chuckle in recognition.

People who don’t like Arkansas can go to the devil! — Mattie Ross


Favorite cultural trend

Using the internet for good. Earlier this year, there was a rash of suicides by gay teens who were bullied. This, of course, was very bad. Then some people got together and created the “It Gets Better” project. People from all walks of life made videos telling people to hold on and that no matter how shitty things seem right now, it does get better. Many of these videos had the person telling of a time where they felt down and depressed. Some relayed stories of the time they were so down they tried to kill themselves. It was touching.

My favorite though is the snarky calling out of Clint McCance, the Arkansan who wrote that he hoped gay kids kill themselves on his facebook page, by George Takei: “You are a douchebag”

A close second was the seven year old Katie, the girl who with the Star Wars water bottle, and the solidarity of girl geeks everywhere to tell her not to let those pesky boys bully her into putting down her bottle and that Star Wars does indeed rule.

Worst personal moment

This would be my friend Angela going into a coma and dying out of the blue last May. I didn’t even know she was that sick. She had MS but was more or less fine. Then BAM. The aftermath involving the crazy child custody brouhaha and whatnot was completely horrible and still hasn’t ended. Being a lawyer, I got put in the very uncomfortable position of explaining to folks that “no I can’t do anything about it. I’m a witness. The rules of professional responsibility means i can’t do lawyering on this case. I’m a witness.” Lord have mercy.

Of course, watching a trainwreck from a distance and knowing there is nothing you can do is always a lesson.

I still miss my friend. Sometimes I will see something on television or read about some local brouhaha in the newspaper and want to call her to discuss it.

Best Moment

Conan playing that guitar

The Conan O’Brien tour. Oh yes. This came about two weeks after my friend died so it was even more awesome.

Favorite movie

I didn’t see as many movies as I would have liked this year. Partially because most of the movies I want to see never make it to the local theater. I saw some pretty gosh darn good films. I’m going to pick The Social Network.

The Aaron Sorkin/David Fincher chatfest about the creation of Facebook managed to make computer programming and lawsuits interesting. Go figure. True Grit is a close second and I have not seen Black Swan yet.

Best Comeback


Holidailies 2010 Badge

RIP Patrick Swayze

He died yesterday. aww man. *sniff*

I grew up on Patrick Swayze movies. I remember playing Dirty Dancing songs and trying to mimic the movements in my room when I was in the ninth grade. I saw Ghost with my boyfriend at the time my senior year of high school.

9 Songs

Michael Winterbottom noticed that there were works in classic literature that were extremely erotic and graphic. Yet, these books are still considered literature as opposed to porn. So Winterbottom makes a movie using unsimulated sex (that’s fancy words for the folks really are doing it).

It’s about an English guy who studies glaciers who meets an American girl at a rock concert. They have sex. They go to more concerts and have more sex. That’s pretty much the entire plot.

Winterbottom intentionally wanted to tell a story of a relationship solely through the partners sexual acts. And what we have is beautiful filmed erotica. Some critics have called it soft core porn. It doesn’t really feel like porn but it doesn’t feel like a good movie either.

It did get me to thinking. Winterbottom’s premise was to show a relationship solely through sex. That premise lends itself to the question: What exactly does sex reveal about a person? Most people would say that you learn things by having sex with someone that you wouldn’t learn any other way. Many religions say it is powerful and should only be done within the confines of marriage.

I really wanted to see the concert footage. The Dandy Warhols are one of my favorite bands. Alas, the concert footage in the trailer is much better than the movie. The movie footage feels like Winterbottom bought some bootlegs.

But like a relationship where you find that great chemistry is not enough to sustain it for the long term, this movie is not enough to well…. keep to me interested. I didn’t know enough about the characters to care if they broke up or not.

Julie and Julia

Julie and Julia is based on two true stories: Julie Powell writing a blog, which later became the book Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously
, chronicling her year long quest to cook every single recipe in Child’s The Art of French Cooking and the story of how Julia Child discovered cooking and came to write Mastering The Art of French Cooking
in the book My Life in France This movie is directed by Nora Ephron.

I have to wonder if Ephron either wanted to just do a movie of “My Life in France” or met Julie Powell and hated her because she managed to make New York and Amy Adams ugly and downright boring. Now I know that Amy Adams and New York city aren’t boring and ugly so I have to come to the conclusion that Ms. Ephron did this on purpose.

In contrast, Julia Child’s France is a beautiful adventure land where everything is absolutely beautiful.

This might be used to reflect Julie Powell’s lost attitude but really? did you have to bore us.

Somehow they made Meryl Streep look six foot two. Julia Child was really six foot two. I have no idea. They must have found every petite actor and actress in Hollywood but they did it. Streep herself acted the hell out of this part and managed to pull of the very public and well known Child in a way that was realistic and not ridiculing. Given Child’s high pitched voice and mannerisms, she would be very easy to caricature. Instead, she turned out to be charming and fun. I had to find the book to discover that the postcards made in the film were actual postcards made by Julia and Paul (Sorry you have to see the film).

The food itself was featured but not in a food porn way such as Big Night or Eat, Drink, Man, Woman. I did, however, become fascinated with the first fish dish in the film and will eventually find the recipe and make it myself. Foodies will like that the author (via an actress playing her) of Joy of Cooking makes an appearance and makes a references to the changes made to the book over time.

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