Five Genre-Defining Action Flicks

What defines genre? With film being taken to new innovative levels and multi-layered story-telling as we get deeper into modern movie-making, genres these days are mere round holes for us to squeeze in some square pegs. The term “dramedy” was created especially for this predicament, because if a serious family drama also makes you laugh, why should it be pidgeonholed? However, in spite of all the crossover potential, there are some movies that were made to fit within their standards to a clean-cut T. So I decided to take a look at some of my favorite films that perfectly define ACTION.

5. The Avengers (2012)

The_Avengers_Assembled

The Avengers immediately came to mind as one of the best action flicks I’ve seen in a good long while, mostly because I finally succumbed to the Marvel frenzy after this 2012 summer blockbuster knocked my socks off. Having literally no knowledge of the characters and never having seen a Marvel superhero movie before, I was dragged to the theater by a friend who swore I wouldn’t be disappointed. She was right. I ended up seeing it again and then promptly began Netflix-ing/RedBox-ing the rest, starting with my now favorite Thor. The movie evolved into a juggernaut, blasting a worldwide total of $1.518 billion at the box office and amping up the excitement for its eventual sequel. The best surprise was its deliciously layered villain, rather than the usual “bad guy bad, good guys good” routine. Loki was downright delightful in his self-righteous anger as he exploded all over Manhattan. Continue reading

2014 Fall TV Premieres

I’m like a kid on Christmas morning when fall sweeps rolls around. I giddily set my TiVo to record all my favorite shows and mark dates on my calendar for season premieres. My schedule is jam-packed with medical drama, singing students, Russian spies, and zombies (sorry, walkers). I come home from work, eat dinner, shower, and settle in with my remote for a good two to three hours. I’m a total couch potato—no shame! Release dates for the 2014 season have recently been announced and I’m already counting down the days to when I get to see my favorite characters on the small screen once again. My schedule looks a little something like this:

SPOILER ALERTS!

SUNDAYS

Sunday

The Walking Dead—Season 5 premieres 10/12 @ 9 p.m.

I was late to the Apocalypse, but once I got into this AMC mega-hit (touted the most-watched cable drama in history), I became hungrily obsessed. With the exception of season two, every new adventure in the lives of our ragtag survivors has been explosive. Season 4 closed on one hell of a cliffhanger and many comic readers are speculating that the new turf in Terminus is cannibal land. Showrunners have promised that we won’t have to wait long to see how Rick I’ll-Eat-Your-Throat-Out Grimes and Co. escape from that train car. The trailer for the season was released at Comic-Con and provides a heart-pounding look at what we have to look forward to; a must-see for Dead fans. Check it out: Continue reading

Robin Williams Scene Countdown

Because I’m still remembering him.

10. Flubber (1997)
“IT WORKED!”

FlubberFlubber was certainly made for kids. It has plenty of cheap gags and overplayed action to elicit easy laughs from young boys—which makes Williams the perfect protagonist, because even as an adult, he was a young boy. There are special effects at work here of course, but perhaps some of this scene was filmed on some sort of super strength trampoline. Whatever the case may be, it’s fun simply because it looks like he’s having just as much fun doing it as we are watching it. Continue reading

Remembering Robin | 1951-2014

Robin

It’s been exactly one week since the world learned of Robin Williams’ tragic death. The news hit me like a ton of bricks. Celebrity accidents and overdoses come and go so commonly these days, it feels natural to shake your head and think, what a shame. But this one hurts.

There is no denying that Robin Williams was a one-of-a-kind comedic genius. He had a brilliant mind that ran a mile a minute and a mouth that could just barely keep up with the speed of his humor. His talent was immense, and it’s easy to feel like his death is a “waste” of that gift. The surrounding circumstances paint an ugly picture of the mental health stigma we have in today’s society, and in the months that follow, it is my hope that people use Robin as a reason to explore their own contributions to this devastating affliction. But that’s still not why it hurts. Continue reading

Favorite Funny YouTube Channels

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I was vegging in bed one day after work last week, holding my phone and hysterically laughing. My sister came in and gave me a weird look. “What are you doing?” she asked. “Watching YouTube,” I replied. It was then that I realized—I do that a lot. Launched in 2005, YouTube started slowly before exploding into the video-sharing platform that showcases people’s tendency to overshare. But it’s that sharing and re-sharing that has propelled some anonymous faces to household names and others into accidental comedians with a million internet fans. Think of it as “America’s Funniest Home Videos” on steroids. I myself subscribe to nearly 100 channels. Most of them are television networks, so I never miss a single preview of next week’s episode of “New Girl” or the behind-the-scenes fun on “The Walking Dead.” Others are the aforementioned YouTube superstars, some of whom even get paid by YouTube for driving such high volume to the site with their highly clickable clips. So if you’re new to the ‘Tube or just looking for recommendations, here are six channels worth checking out.

1. Bad Lip Reading

Bad Lip Reading“I put words into other people’s mouths.” The minds behind Bad Lip Reading must have a lot of time on their hands. It’s amazing how accurately the most outlandish sentences end up matching well-known scripts and songs. Launched in March of 2011, they have over 3,659,400 subscribers. Their videos are hit or miss in my opinion, as their subject focuses vary greatly and they don’t upload new ones very often. The best are the Twilight movies. It’s my new favorite way to watch that garbage, and oh, so much funnier.

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Five Favorite Comedians

Love to laugh? So do I. Unfortunately, I don’t know a whole lot of stand-ups, so these aren’t my favorites so much as they are the only five that came to mind right away. Eh, regardless, they’re fun.

1. Ellen DeGeneres

180484I’ve openly gushed about my affection for Ellen many times, so it should come as no surprise that she’s my #1 comedienne. She barely has to try to make people laugh, just her vocal inflections and facial expressions are enough to make you grin along with her, as if she just winked at you and you love being in on the joke. She doesn’t have to stoop to being offensive or crude and her language is perfectly PG. Her monologues on her show qualify as mini-stand-up routines, but I’ve only ever seen her legitimate stand-up once, in her second HBO special entitled, “Here And Now” from 2003. It’s one hour of Ellen pointing out life’s strange quirks, like store packaging techniques (“You need scissors to get into scissors!”), movie theater etiquette (“Is the popcorn really that delicious we must shovel handfuls of it into our mouth?”), and cell phone reception (“Are the bangs shorter? THE BANGS!”), to name a few. We own the DVD and it’s memorable enough that my sister and I still quote it to this day. Random words like “peas” and the name Nancy always make me think of America’s favorite talk show host. Continue reading

Five Favorite Summer Things

1. Snorkeling

Snorkeling

In my junior year of college, I took a creative nonfiction course. I figured it would be fun to write about my own experiences in a way that made them sound like someone else’s. I was right and wrong. Right in that it was fun to revisit old memories, wrong in the sense that it was a headache to make each one drip with sensory imagery to the point where they started to sound corny. But there was one that I didn’t mind as much, and that was the one in which I wrote about my experience snorkeling with wild dolphins off the Big Island of Hawaii entitled “Open My Eyes.” A quick snippet reads: I became addicted to the sound of my breath blowing in and out of a snorkel. We floated lazily over stunning coral and watched multi-colored fish dart in and out. Colors always seem brighter underwater; the yellows and pinks and turquoises of the fish looked so much more vibrant than they would if they were viewed on land. [...] My face hit the water and I was home. That was the way I always felt when attached to a mask and snorkel [...]“ The rest, if you’re interested, can be read here. But yeah, it’s safe to say snorkeling is one of the great loves of my life. In a couple weeks, I hope to try SNUBA and also possibly take a diving class while vacationing in the Caribbean. (And yes, that’s me to the right, being a waterbug in Hawaii.) Continue reading