American Idiot

“Prolly shoulda written this last week, cause we all know how the content of my write ups tends to decrease with time. But then again, I think Im just enough over the high of the show that this wont be all OMG’s and excess exclamation points. Also, I wasnt sure if I really would do this, but I’ve got some time to kill now. 30 min til DWTS, and with mom having invaded my room, there’s no space to D on my own like I usually do right after work. No I wont explain that.

First, some Dawn Dawn backstory. I wont go too far back, except to say that the short version of the far back is that punk rock is what helped me survive high school. The \m/ you rebellious attitude kept me going until I could get outta there. While Blink 182 was the band that actually got me into punk, Green Day wasn’t too far behind. Fast foward a bit to 2004. I’d heard rumors of Green Day putting out a Tommy-like concept album. This being the time I was heavy into musical theater one of my first thoughts was how \m/ awesome it’d be if that album made it to the stage.

Some time passed and I hadnt heard much else about this mysterious album. Then American Idiot came out. I think I tried downloading it at first, but that five songs in one thing confused me, and I figured what the hell and went and bought it. Keep in mind, at this point in time, I legally bought maaaaybe one album a year. I think I listened to it a few times through before realizing “”holy shit this is that concept album””. I devoured it at that point.

That entire fall, everywhere I went, American Idiot was with me. Now this was a few months before I got my first ipod. So I was carrying around a walkman all over MIT and Boston. And this was also when I’d busted my knee, so I was hobbling around on crutches. I’d specifically carry around my little black and blue Superman satchel so it would hold my walkman, with just one cd on me. I studied the lyric book like whoa. I even went so far as to write out all the lyrics on my wall–no easy feat when my uber knee brace limited my range of motion.

Obsess much? Yeah. But I loved it. I connected with it on so many levels–the rebellion, the desire to get out, the angst and insecurity, the outcast-ness (?).

Fast foward a bit more, and I hear that the stage show has finally happened. I dont wanna say I’d given up hope on it, but it wasnt something that’d crossed my mind in a while. From hearing about it in December, I was on edge until finally getting to see it last week.

Woke up at 4 AM to catch the 6:30 bus to NYC. Got in around 11 and had a solo lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Wandered around a bit til I ended up at the St Jimmy (okay so its officially the St James) theater. They let us in through this side hallway with red and black walls. On the ledges were silver and black sharpies, and the walls were covered in graffitti. I ran to a wall and tried to find a spot to squeeze in a signature. I got in a better one on the way out, but my flashless camera phone couldnt get a good shot. Walked to the merch table and blew my budget before settling into my seat.

Was it all worth it? FUCK YEAH! We weren’t even through the first verse of the title song when I was already screaming “”Again! Again again!”” in my head. I fear the people next to and behind me musta been really annoyed cause I was rocking out, mouthing every lyric. That opening number in particular was just phenomenal. Really intense and physical choreo (<3!), bright set, tv screens with assorted Americana images, string players on fire escape type platforms, actors suspended from the air, costumes I want in my closet, energetic cast. Love all around. Now I will admit there were points that weren't perfect. The minimal book is a bit questionable. At times they explained too much, and at others not enough. And most of that limited dialogue did seem a bit forced. There were some images, especially in a lot of the middle songs, that I didnt quite understand. Although when listening to the original album on loop on the bus ride back, I got to process them a bit and they did make more sense. In particular, Im thinking of some of the more symbolic imagery, especially with the whole soldier storyline. But that's about all of the negative for me. I'd had almost a week to chew on the tasty soundtrack, which the wonderful Nikki had procured for me. And the unthinkably impossible happened. They actually made the original songs sound even better! Was really interested in how they characterized it. As much as I absorbed the album, I'd pieced together a different story in my head. Same basic concept, but different details. The one I'd particularly not seen coming was the aforementioned soldier subplot, which was for (semi)new character Tunny. Also thought that newbie character Will staying behind in the ficticious Jingletown while Jesus of Suburbia and Tunny ventured into the city was an interesting touch. Took me a while to get which St Jimmy interpertation they were going with: alter ego or bad influence. Im not sure how apparent the alter ego thing would be for someone not familiar with it (hell, it took me a while to catch onto that interpertation of the album, even with the line ""The St Jimmy is a figment of your father's rage and your mother's love). Loved the cast. Such a great and energetic bunch, and all so perfect for their roles. The ensemble worked incredibly well. It seemed like one of those shows where its almost more fun to be in the ensemble than a lead. That always gets points from me. I dont think its possible for me to gush anymore. So we'll move on. On the way out, I saw people lining up behind barricades by the stage door--something I always forget about on the few occassions when Ive been to b'way. So I grabbed one of the extra Playbills I'd stolen and a sharpie from my bag and waited with the rest of 'em. By the end, my Playbill was full of signatures. Missed out on John Gallagher Jr (Jesus of Suburbia) and Tony Vincent (St Jimmy) but I got all the other major players and a good chunk of the ensemble. Even took a pic (which ya'll see on my facebook profile) with Michael Esper (Will). Wrapping up cause its almost DWTS and my hands are dying, but all I got left to say is I cant \m/ wait to see this again and again and again. Anyone up for a trip to NYC?"

The French Connection (AFI #93)

“Happy mothers day, to any mommies who might be reading this. I actually just got back from taking mine (who’s visting me in Beantown for two weeks) to NYC for the weekend. Her Mom’s day present was that I took her to Phantom of the Opera, which she thoroughly enjoyed. I got no complaints about it, but woulda preferred to be at American Idiot (which was just across the street). Thats not a statement about Phantom, thats a statement about Idiot.

BTW, as we were leaving NYC, I saw a guy outside a sandwich shop on 44th that I thought was Michael Esper (Idiot’s Will). Just as I convince myself that it couldnt be him, John Gallagher Jr (Idiot’s Jesus of Suburbia) walks right by me. He was jabbering away on his cell so I doubt my existence even registered on his radar, but it totally made my day.

Right, movie, that’s why we’re here on this blog. I’d realized in the past few days that even though much of my time has been spent entertaining mom, we usually do manage to sit down at the end of the day for a movie. So I thought I’d be able to manage an AFI. Well…

I did manage to sit down for it, but mom was puttering around unpacking and distracting me. Then we ordered some Chinese food that distracted me even more. By the time I finally sat down to watch, I had no clue what was going on.

That said, that whole subway chase thing was really cool. Didnt need to know any of the players or details to appreciate that bit.

Might give the AFI thing another go later this week, just need to think it thru a wee bit more”

ET (AFI #24)

“This movie deserves such a better and more thoughtful write up than Im ’bout to give it. For that matter, it deserved a much more attentive watch than I gave it yesterday. I thought if I went with something familiar while puttering around I wouldnt miss too much. That was a fail.

But I really do love this movie. I remember watching it over and over when I was little, although I couldnt really handle the end-ish when ET and Elliot get sick. I also remember one Christmas when they had an ET photo set up thing at Montgomery Wards. You’d sit on a bike with a little ET in the basket, and there was a starry background. And since my parents never believed in me taking any sorta “”good”” pictures in anything but my nicest clothes, I wore my green velveteen Christmas dress from that year. Also, one of the few memories I have from Disneyworld in first grade was the ET ride. I was in the middle seat, so I had the ET basket.

They rereleased it in theaters when I was in high school. That was during hte point in time when me and my so called friends would loiter at IHOP, making Rorschach tests out of syrup and napkins, and artwork sculptures out of silverware. Some “”ET phone home”” reference led to us deciding to check out the movie the next day. I wasn’t too impressed with the revamp, but the movie itself still inspired warm fuzzies.

I love how I still laugh with every scene Drew Barrymore steals, and how adorably and perfectly puppeted ET was, and how sweet and innocent Elliot is. I was paying enough attention to pause what I was doing just in time to catch some of my fave parts–alligators in the sewers, Elliot faking sick, ET playing dress up. So good.

Momentarily entertained the thought of getting in one of the uber short AFI’s in tonight after DWTS. But I had to take care of paying mom’s bills for this month and helping her get some of that shit settled, which is another thing that postponed this write up”

Bridge on the River Kwai (AFI #36)

“This is gonna be short. Im on a roll in my room cleanup, and I dont wanna interrupt it for too long.

Back when I started this list, I wouldnt have dared put on a movie unless I was sitting in front of it, giving it my undivided. Now Im so desperate to finish up that I’ve got it in on the background while doing housework. Oh wells.

What I did find interesting was that while this was a dramatic film, it felt very light without venturing into comic. Kinda interesting for a WWII flick. Or maybe I was just paying most attention at all the wrong places.”

Dr Strangelove: Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (AFI #39)

“First off, I saw American Idiot yesterday and OMG it was awesome. I’ll prolly post an “”Expletive Dleted Special Edition”” write up on it later on today or tomorrow.

But for now, my goal today is to get thru 3 AFI movies and somehow fit in laundry, groceries, and cleaning up my room. My mom’s gonna be here for two weeks starting Wed so Im thinking that’s gonna put a hold on most of my movie watching. I swear, I’ll get thru it all one day.

Jumped right into the movies this morning with Dr Strangelove. When first looking at the somewhat intimidating list of 100 movies I was gonna be watching during the next few months, there were the ones I was excited about and the ones I was concerned about. The most disconcerting ones, however, were the few that I had seen before and didnt enjoy. Dr Strangelove is one of those. Blasphemy, I know. Bite me.

I’d always heard what an amazing and hysterical film this was, so a couple years ago, I put it on my X-mas list. I think it took me about 4 or 5 tries to get thru it, cause I kept falling asleep (bear in mind, its only a 90 min movie). I gave it a second chance about a year or so ago, and still couldnt get into it. I just never found it funny.

Watching it today, I could kinda see where the humor was coming from, and I think a big problem was my expectations. Its not the sort of thing Im used to, mostly cause it aint the sorta thing I go for. But at least this time around, I was at least able to understand that a bit.

One of the biggest points of the movie is that its a great showcase of Peter Sellers’ acting talents, in the many roles he plays. And I will definitely give him that win. Granted, the two previous times I watched I wasn’t paying much attention (and I’ll admit to the same for this morning’s viewing) but today I still had some “”hey that’s him again!”” moments.

Anyways, at least I got one of my big hurdles crossed off.”

West Side Story (AFI #51)

“Movie’s still goin’ but its sleepy time as soon as its over, and its not like I dont know how it ends. Most of you know Im very much into musical theater, so it should come as no surprise to the few of you who didnt already know that yes I have been involved in a production of West Side Story. Just an ensemble bit. Mostly stood around in the background. But suffice it to say I know the show pretty damn well. As far as the movie, I have very conflicted feelings.

On the one hand, its got the same fantastic music, and the dancing even more so. Back when I took a musical theater workshop class junior year, we learned the same Jerome Robbins choreo for “”Cool””, which is some of the most fun dancing I’ve ever done. And we’ve established Im a dancer, so I know what Im talkin’ bout there. Then on the other hand, the film has some serious miscasts and a little too much cheese in some places. Although would I feel the same way about the cast if I wasnt so attached to my cast of Jets, some of whom are still some of my best friends in the world? I dont know. But I do know that Natalie Wood’s godawful accent will forever be \m/ nails on chalkboard to me.

Yeah, so more than anything else, this movie is just all about theater nostalgia for me. I could go into that further, and start saying things like “”…the audience for actually caring about the love story”” or “”Is the mirror gonna stay black?”” or go really old school (and before my time) with “”We all shot Chino…shit…Tony”” but there’s only a handful of you who’d appreciate that. And its not entirely movie relevant.”

Intolerance (AFI #49)

So it turns out, when they call this one a silent movie, they literally mean that. Not even a musical score. I tried so hard, but Im not built to handle three hours of that. -3 movie lover badass points.

The African Queen (AFI #65)

“Given that I tweeted last night that I was gonna watch this movie, combined with my usual track record, but my write up is just now being posted, I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out what happened.

Interesting scenario, but seemed kinda slow. Although I was very much amused by how overly formal the character’s interactions were. Then again, that’s something that’s stood out to me with all the older AFI films. I just cant get my head around calling a peer “”Mr”” or “”Miss””, even if we did just meet.

Non-sequeter comment. I think this is the first time I’ve seen Bogie in color. I find him more charming in B & W.

Im anxious to run out on a movie aquisition expedition. Best Buy Fenway was sold out of Minority Report on Blu-Ray so Im walking over to the Back Bay location, and will likely swing by Newbury while Im there. So cutting this write up short. I know, my AFI ones have gotten worse and worse as far as content. To be honest, I really just wanna be done with the damn project. Its gone on way too long. I’ve enjoyed it, but its feeling more and more like a chore with each movie I watch. Thats not supposta happen.”

The Losers

“Funny how staying out until nearly 3 AM, pushes back the start of your day until noon. Any other Saturday, and I woulda managed an AFI in the morning. Whoops.

Still managed to drag my lazy ass over to The Losers, for the last matinee show of the day. Its not so much the three bucks I save that motivates me, its knowing I’m have a personal bubble of empty seats next to me and in front of me (Im a feet putter upper).

Did very much enjoy the movie, although there wasnt anything particularly special about it. No complaints, but no major commendations either. Pretty standard plot. Good characters, that I very much loved. Decent action scenes. But nothing that’s gonna result in me telling everyone I meet that they need to see this one.

The one semi-complaint is that while it tried to partly pass as an action comedy, the comedy wasn’t very comedic. That made so sense cause I was trying to sound clever. Fail. There were definitely some one liners and gags here and there that were supposta get a laugh. Few did. But, at the same time, they were successful in establishing a lighter vibe than if this were going for a hardcore action film (which it would have failed at miserably). There was actually something kinda charming about that element.

I do think the movie was pretty well cast. Im not sure how I feel about Zoe Saldana appearing in EVERYTHING lately, but I was def happy with the boys. In particular, LOVE Chris Evans. And the nerdy edge he got from the goatee and glasses was _really_ working for me. Really liked Óscar Jaenada, as well, who I dont think I’ve previously encountered. His shy yet suave combination was actually distracting me from Evans–no small feat. Jeffrey Dean Morgan seemed very much in his element, and I also came to love Columbus Short.

Yeah so kinda drawing a blank on what else to say. Again, nothing in particular really stood out too far on either end of the spectrum. Enjoyable if this sorta movie is your thing, but not something you’d need to prioritize.

The Losers – \m/ \m/ \m/

Date Night

“Since we last spoke…

Really wanted to get an AFI in after Dragon. But I was falling asleep while I was doing my dance thing (as in I was moving, yet my eyes were closing) and I figured it wouldnt even be worth attempting. So what happens? I end up staying awake thru both Shorts and An Education. Go figure.

Monday was DWTS, and they had a movie night thing. Fave dances featured Pulp Fiction, Risky Business, and Pretty Woman

Tuesday, I saw 30 Seconds to Mars which was oh my God one of my all time best concert experiences ever. Those of you who have me on FB got some of the details from my giddy status update afterwards. Besides them being a rocking band with a damn good live show, Jared Leto (*swoon* like whoa) was great with the audience interaction thing. While the rest of the band distracted during an instrumental bit, he snuck his way to the back of the crowd for a song or two. Then went thru the crowd to get back to the front, hanging out for more than half of “”The Kill””. I pawed at him as much as I could. Then the band actually hung around to sign shit afterwards. No headlining band at that size venue ever does that. Granted, it was kinda rushed thru. One item, no pictures, minimal interaction, but still awesome of them. I managed a two sentance interaction with Jared as he signed my shirt “”I love you movies too”” “”thank you”” and I’ve been on a high ever since. Once I sort thru my low quality pix and video I may post some here.

Yesterday had to take care of some apartment stuff. Watched The Invention of Lying and The Informant! in the background.

Tonight was Date Night, as in the movie, not an actual date night for me. Even though I rarely go to AMC theaters anymore, I’d managed to rack up 100 points on my card last January and got a “”free night at the movies”” freebie which is a movie ticket, popcorn, and soda. Even though I dont care much for the Common (will spare that rant, although add “”the bathrooms reek of piss”” to my long list of complaints cause ew they were gross tonight) the location is much more conveniant than the Harvard theater. So that’s where I went. And of course, no one could figure out how to ring up my ticket, and I had to argue with 3 people that I was supposta get snacks too. The third person finally understood, but was almost too lazy to go get the coupon for me. She finally did and its a little certificate thingy with a tear off for each of those items. And she gave that to me after I’d gotten my ticket. And it doesnt expire until January. That means I essentially got a second free movie (which I feel no remorse about cause I’ve defintely let AMC free tickets expire before), I have months to use it, and I figured I didnt need the snacks tonight so I got that saved for later to. Go me.

And of course, I’ve wasted all this time typing out backstory before I even get into the movie and my wrists are starting to bother me. Crap. Might need to keep this short. Sorry peeps.

Date Night was very much a win in my book. Comedy, action, all around top notch. Love Tina Fey. Can I be her when I grow up? And pairing her with Steve Carel. was genius. The two of them make a believable and utterly hilarious couple. Fantastic performances from the two of them, as should be expected.

While on the subject of the cast, lots of great appearances from other faves. Hadnt known Mark Wahlberg was in this, and there was quite a lot of him (with not a lot of clothing! *grin*). Absolutely no complaints from me there. James Franco and Mila Kunis, two others who are high on my approval list, also making small yet fantastically fun appearances. Ray Liotta playing Ray Liotta, err I mean, playing a gangster. Prison Break’s William Fichtner was there too, as was Taraji P Henson, Mark Ruffalo, and Kristin Wiig (seriously, is she in _every_ comedy released this year?)

The story was simple, but effective. I cared enough about the characters that I was feeling the suspense right with him. The structure was very streamlined, yet satisfying–a difficult feat for a comedy or an action film, even though this qualifies waaay more for the former than the latter. There were only two bits I felt might’ve gone on a bit long (the car crash and the dancing) but thats just me being picky cause the rest of the crowd was in stitches.

Im actually very surprised, and frankly quite happy, that the more recent April flicks have been very good. If April is when you release the movies that dont quite make the cut for summer, that does give me some high hopes for my favorite movie season of the year. There’s definitely some shit Im really looking forward to, so here’s hoping the summer doesnt disappoint.

Date Night – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/