Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Oh My God. What Did They Do To "Hot Tub Time Machine"?

I read "Hot Tub Time Machine" a while back in the glory days of Scriptshadow's site (when you could still read scripts) and really liked it. It's a ridiculous time-traveling comedy about a groom and his buds who, at a lame bachelor party, get into a hot tub that takes them back to 1987. So like "The Hangover", it's one of those "get the groom to the church on time" movies, except of course they're stuck in a whole different decade!

But the trailer for it they just released is terrible. Unfunny, cliche, visually bereft. I didn't laugh once and I'm not sure about the casting. The chemistry between this set feels quote the folks over at Vulture, in what universe would these four be friends?

Man, I'm worried for the movie, especially since it's already got the dubious job of proving it's not "The Hangover's" leftovers. I sincerely hope they just started shooting and had little to pull the trailer from because trailerworthy moments these are not.

Friday, July 24, 2009

An Open Letter to Netflix About Its Categorization of My Movie Tastes

Dear Netflix,
I understand you feel a desire to customize my movie offerings. You want me to feel that you care with your constant inquiries about when my movies arrive and invitations to sign up my friends. But really, is this how little you know me that you'd label your special selections of movies you think I'd like: "Critically Acclaimed Dark Movies Based on Real Life?"

Oh I see you there...offering in your defense the thumbnails of Michael Moore's "Sicko" and Louis Malle's "Au Revoir Les Enfants." I hear you trying to demonstrate how you arrived at this assessment. But that's just weak, yo. Have you ever even watched these movies? "Sicko" is a social issues documentary that's a passionate indictment of the US health system...but "Rosemary's Baby" it is not. And "Au Revoir Les Enfants?" Despite a tragic ending, there's humanity and bravery and hope for the future entwined in its unsentimental vision.

At any rate, Netflix, you got me thinking about what's considered a dark film and I ended up here at this M&M's game so not only do you hardly know me, you are responsible for robbing me for about half an hour of writing time. (I only got 20 out of 50 of the movie titles in the riddle painting so I think that proves that dark movies are so NOT my sweet spot.)

Listen, we don't have to be friends, Netflix. You don't have to "get" me. Just keep sending me my movies and taking my 12 bucks a month. Continue surprising me with stuff in my mailbox I didn't even know I had in my queue and no longer feel like watching because I added them on a whim.

I promise you, I'll still answer your e-mails.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

July 4th...The Chicklet's Lesson Goes Wrong

I've been reading "The Namesake" and remembering why I fell in love with Jhumpa Lahiri in the first place.

When I started out writing fiction, as a fresh off the boat landed in Washington D.C., my favorite theme was identity, the quest for belonging. But I've been in this country for a while and now it's no longer the thing that defines what I write about. In Lahiri's multi-generational coming of age story of a family's journey from India to the US, however, I'm thrown back into that old terrain, and forced to remember how much I still don't really belong.

Most resonant for me is the segment when the "first generationers" are forced into acculturation because of their children. The Ganguli parents learn to cook American meals, pizza, Hamburger Helper, mac and cheese. They celebrate American holidays, including Christmas, even though they're Hindus. And for me, there's been no quicker path to embracing things I was iffy about than wanting the Chicklet to understand and enjoy her world.

For Halloween, hubby carved her a Jack o' Lantern, and on Thanksgiving we have the turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce that's miles away from what we'd think of as a special feast. But I know things have changed when the holiday I've traditionally been most ambivalent about, July 4th, finds me thinking about where we can go to watch fireworks.

In the spirit of enhancing the Chicklet's appreciation of the holiday, I tried to explain to her that July 4th was America's birthday. (We are on the subject of birthdays because hubby celebrated his birthday this week.)

I say, "It's America, the country's birthday and everybody celebrates because everybody is happy to live in America..."
I find myself mumbling the addendum, "for the most part."

Later on in the day, I decide to reinforce as we're out running errands.
"Whose birthday is it July 4th?" I ask.

The Chicklet screws up her little face, trying to remember with every fiber of her being..."The President's?"

I grin. Impressed. Wanting to give her half points.
"Close...but it's America's..." I eventually concede.

However the Chicklet is still thinking about the President as I begin to harp on once more about America's birthday. "What kind of birthday cake does the President have?"
I tell her I don't know and decide that I need to pause this civics class.

Later on in the day, I'm serving up hubby's left-over cake from the festivities the day before: a delicious red velvet from our favorite sinful bakery. This cake has been promised her from the night before when she had only a little sliver because we got to the celebrations way late.

Chicklet takes a bite of the red velvet, savoring the cream cheese icing. I swear I can hear a cosmic sigh as the sugar hits and all is well in a three year old's world. And then, after what seems like an eternity, she asks, "Is this Obama's cake?"

Oh man. Maybe next year.