Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Top 5 Movies I Have Never Cried During, Surprisingly Enough...

In a follow up to my previous blog, which discusses five movies I was ashamed of crying during, here is the list of my Top 5 Movies I Have Never Cried During, Surprisingly Enough...Here be a list of films that merit my tears, a list that perhaps I would enjoy giving my tears too. But for whatever reason, water has never sprung out of my eyeballs while watching any of these movies.

Rank: 5
Title: Romeo and Juliet
Year: 1968 and 1996 versions

My excuse: As a movie romantic, it would make perfect sense for me to shed some tears for the tragic young lovers, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet. But for some reason, whether it be Franco Zefferelli's classic take or Baz Luhrman's ultra-modern adaptation, neither make me cry. I've come close, while watching both versions, at the same part...the end. But not even Olivia Hussey's heart wrenching sobs or Leonardo DiCaprio's final words can squeeze teardrops from my eyes. I blame my lack of weeping on pop culture. From a very young age, we are exposed to Romeo and Juliet and are fully aware of its tragic end. We are desensitized. The shock value is gone and unfortunately, we are so expectant of the end, that the play fails to fully get its point across.


Title: Wuthering Heights
Year: 1939, 1970, 1992, and 1998 versions

My excuse: I love Wuthering Heights. It's one of my favorite books. It's one of my favorite movies (the '92 adaptation). And it's the inspiration behind one of my favorite songs. The tragic tale of Heathcliff and Cathy is classic and has been adapted for the screen several times, all portraying the lovers in their historical circumstances. (WARNING! HISTORICAL INACCURACY COMPLAINT: Actually, the 1939 version, starring Laurence Olivier and Merle Oberon appears to be set in the 1840's, judging by the costumes. The novel, while written and published in the 1840's, is actually set between the years of 1771 and 1803). Sorry...had to get that out of my system. Anyway...you would expect a history buff such as myself to fully appreciate the historical setting. But the only rendition of Wuthering Heights to make me cry is the 2003 MTV musical version, which updates the story to modern day California. I honestly considered putting it on my "tears of shame" list, because it is really bad and I have no excuse. I can't really tell you why haven't cried during the traditional depictions of this movie...I am clueless.

Rank: 3
Title: Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Year: 2001, 2002, and 2003

My excuse: Lord of the Rings is great. I love it. I can't say that I'm one of those people. I can't tell you the name of Gimli's ax or anything. But I fully enjoy the Middle Earth experience. So much in fact, that I have devoted a whole day to watching all three extended versions of the trilogy. For those who don't know...that's 11 hours and 22 minutes of fantasy/adventure action. Considering that I spent 11 hours and 22 minutes with the same characters, watching them on an arduous life changing journey, some almost dying even, and then finally seeing their goal accomplished, you might think I'd cry, right? Wrong. Okay, how about when they all must say goodbye to each other and Frodo has to ride into the west with the elves, meaning him and Sam will never see each other again? How about then? Not. One. Tear. I'm kind of pissed about it, actually. I wanted to cry. I still want to cry. I think a big sob fest with this trilogy is in the future, perhaps the next time I watch them.


Title: The Karen Carpenter Story
Year: 1989

My excuse: This isn't the one with the Barbie dolls. This is the other one. The made-for-TV biopic, movie of the week. The Carpenters is my favorite band, and I actually have this movie to thank for introducing them to me. I saw it for the first time in the summer of 1998 on Lifetime. (Where else, right?) Karen Carpenter's life was tragic, to say the least. She suffered from Anorexia Nervosa and died at the age of 32 due to complications associated with the disease. I have read the biography about the band which fully details the intricacies of her life. This movie is like a power point presentation, hitting all the major points, but missing the important details. I can safely say, with an unwavering certainty that I would ball my eyes out if a decent film version of Karen Carpenter's life was made. Something in the same vein as Ray or Walk the Line. But to be perfectly honest, this movie sucks and blames most of her unhappiness on her mother's smothering qualities, while in actuality, it was the lack of a steady romantic relationship. Sadly, this and the 45 minute Barbie doll art film are all we Carpenters fans have. Hopefully that will change.

Rank: 1
Title: Moulin Rouge!
Year: 2001

My excuse: Moulin Rouge is easily in my top 20 films. Everything about it is wonderful. The story. The acting. The singing. The song choices (other than "Like a Virgin"). The sets, costumes, and make up. It's almost a perfect film. It makes me feel for everyone in it. However, the first time I saw it, I hated it, just like so many misguided souls. One song got stuck in my head (El Tango de Roxanne) and I ended up rewatching it and falling in love. But I didn't cry. I never have. The first time I probably resented it too much to let it touch me. And the other times, I knew what was going to happen so I had the added pressure of crying. It truly is tragic...two people finally overcome their external obstacles. The show is a hit. The Duke leaves. Everything is hunky-dory. But then Satine ends up having one of her "consumption attacks" and dies in Christian's arms, while the audience on the other side of the red velvet curtain cheers for more. The most heartbreaking moment is Christian's gut wrenching sob. You rarely see men cry in movies over romantic relationships, let alone let out an echoing sob. I kind of makes me feel like a heartless shell of a person, but then I remember how easily Deuce Bigalow made me cry...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Top 10 Cinematic Slow Dance Scenes

I’m a movie romantic. I’ll tear up at the slightest glance from a leading man to the leading lady. Stifle my sobbing as they run towards each other to the swelling of a cheesy 80’s ballad. And then enter a state of full on weeping as the two enter their “seal-the-deal” kiss. But if I ever see “real” romance in front of me, get me a barf bag. It’s an interesting conundrum how easily I’m disgusted by a real person’s proof of affection for another, but how I celebrate fictional character’s with blogs. 

This has been a rather long winded introduction to my next post which describes my Top 10 Cinematic Slow Dance Scenes. Slow dance scenes are always effective. They show the couple in an intimate situation which often forces them to realize their true emotions for each other. Let's begin, shall we?

#10: Love Actually
Characters: Sarah (Laura Linney) and Karl (Rodrigo Santoro)
Song: “Turn Me On” – Norah Jones 

Why it's Awesome: This dance scene is the definition of “short and sweet.” For the last three years, Sarah has had a secret crush on Karl. It isn’t until the annual Christmas party when he “notices” her. This dance scene is very reminiscent of junior high. In true after school special form, he asks her to dance during a fast song. As the two begin awkwardly fast dancing, suddenly Norah Jones’s soothing, soulful voice forces them into each other’s arms. He softly touches her hair and we see that the attraction is mutual. Sarah rejoices in her long awaited moment.

#9: My Boyfriend's Back
Characters: Johnny Dingle (Andrew Lowery) and Missy McCloud (Traci Lind)
Song: “Holding On for Dear Life” – MMC 

Why it's Awesome: My Boyfriend's Back is probably a movie you've never heard of. And probably for good reason. It's about a lovestruck teen who gets shot in a convenient store robbery and comes back from the dead to take his long time crush, Missy, to the prom. It's from the early 90's and of the same quality as the "Buffy" movie. Being a zombie, Johnny must consume human flesh to sustain himself for the big night. Zany mishaps ensue, and by the time the prom arrives, a weakened Johnny has to lean on Missy as they enter the ornate tin-foiled pearly gates of the appropriately "heaven" themed dance. The two finally share the dance Johnny has been waiting for since first grade, but of course, it's been too long since he's had a cannibal sandwich and he collapses, in the center of the gym, with dry ice surrounding him, but not before the couple exchange the token "please don't go" and "I love you." It's a touching moment for an early 90's pseudo-paranormal teen comedy. I cried the first time I saw it. Granted, I was 13.

#8: Witness
Characters: John Book (Harrison Ford) and Rachel Lapp (Kelly McGillis)
Song: “What a Wonderful World” – Greg Chapman 

Why it's Awesome: To classify this scene as "slow dancing" may be a bit of a stretch. But this is my blog and I make the rules. The scene I'm referring to is the one in the barn where John is trying to repair his car and Rachel is watching him like a curious child. John turns on the radio to an oldies station where "What a Wonderful World" is playing and he playfully asks her to dance. He begins awkwardly swinging her around and she complies, replete with school girl giggling. But of course, the heat is turned up when the pair realizes their close proximity. John continues treating this possible sexy moment as a joke. But it's too late. The sexual tension as been created. And it won't be easy to get rid of.

#7: Enchanted
Characters: Giselle (Amy Adams) and Robert (Patrick Dempsey)
Song: “So Close” – Jon McLaughlin 

Why it's awesome: At first, I didn't think the dance scene from Enchanted was anything special. After all, it was just a combination of every dance scene from any Disney movie ever made. But I love Disney, so with repeated viewings, it grew on me. The scene takes place at a ball (of course) where the master of ceremonies instructs every gentleman to ask a lady he didn't come with to dance. Giselle's Prince Edward, being the well-mannered royal that he is, asks Robert's fiancee Nancy to dance, leaving Giselle in Robert's care. The two begin dancing, and through it, allow themselves to admit their forbidden feelings for one another. The sweetest moment is when Robert begins singing along, after he previously nixed such a frivolity. Towards the end of the dance, Nancy cuts in and the four are split into their respective couples. Giselle watches as Nancy kisses Robert, and accepts her fate with Edward.

#6: Spider-Man 3
Characters: Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) and Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst)
Song: “Love Theme from Spider-Man” – Instrumental 

Why it's awesome: Okay, go ahead and judge me. I was among the precious few that actually enjoyed Spider-Man 3. (Well, most of it.) I had hopes after watching the "I-always-imagined-you-getting-married-on-a-hilltop" scene from Spider-Man 2, that this movie, being the last in the series, would end with such a scene. But it became exceedingly clear to me with the Gwen Stacy kiss, the cheating with Harry, the forced "there's someone else" scene, the crazy dancing emo revenge, and most definitely the slap, that there wasn't going to be a hilltop wedding scene. The very last scene of the movie has M.J. singing in the jazz club where the shit previously hit the fan. Suddenly, Peter comes in. Although there is much to say between them, he opts for silence. He extends his hand with an apologetic look and she takes it. They hug and then begin swaying, both happy to have each other once again. Everyone, including the characters in question, have no idea what the future will bring. Hard to believe this is where the original franchise ends.

#5: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part 1
Characters: Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe)
Song: “O' Children” – Nick Cave 

Why it's Awesome: No, I am not one of those Harry-Hermione shippers! However, I loved this scene from the latest Harry Potter flick. Ron has run off due to the evil locket horcrux, leaving Hermione and Harry alone. As Hermione sadly listens to the death reports on the radio (Ron's favorite past time on the horcrux hunt), Harry changes it to actual music. Without words, he asks her to dance and begrudgingly, she does. The two end up having fun, but at the end of the song, Hermione still misses Ron and Harry's attempt to lift her spirits has failed. This isn't your atypical slow dance scene. And I don't think Harry was trying to make his move. It was an act of friendship. P.S. I know a lot of people luuurrrvvve the angstiness of the song, but yuck.

#4: Peter Pan
Characters: Peter Pan (Jeremy Sumpter) and Wendy Darling (Rachel Hurd-Wood)
Song: “Fairy Dance” – Instrumental 

Why it's awesome: Peter Pan (the non Mary Martin live action version) is one of the most underrated films of all time. It was released in the winter of 2003, which was ruled by another fantasy film, Return of the King, and so it's unlikely that you saw it. The Disney version of Peter Pan was one of my favorite early childhood movies, but I was always disappointed at the lack of romance between Peter and Wendy, when clearly, there was something there. This version fully takes advantage of it. The slow dance scene in question does not exist in the book or stage play. After the rescue of Tiger Lily and battle with Hook, the Lost Boys and company are celebrating. Peter sneaks off and invites Wendy along. He shows her a hollowed tree where two fairies are dancing. With sweet awkwardness, Peter and Wendy begin mimicking the fairies, and they share an airborne dance in the Technicolored Neverland jungle. Yes, it is corny. And yes, it is laughable. But I imagine if I was a child when this movie came out, I would think it was the most romantic scene in the history of cinema.

#3: Beauty and the Beast
Characters: Belle (Paige O'Hara) and The Beast (Robby Benson)
Song: “Beauty and the Beast” – Angela Lansbury

Why it's awesome: There's no way you can make a list of the greatest slow dance scenes and not include Beauty and the Beast. It's beautiful. And epic. But for me, it's the little parts. When Belle drags him into the ballroom and she puts his hand on her waist and moves closer to him. She looks at him with pure love and trust. The Beast doesn't quite know how to handle it and allows his shock to be shown. And later when she rests her head on his shoulder and he grins at Lumiere and Cogsworth . And, of course, how can I not mention the shot coming down from the ceiling? It's sure to be shown in Disney montages until the end of time. This scene has probably single-handedly effected the romantic needs of the female population of my generation.

#2: Casper
Characters: Casper (Devon Sawa) and Kat Harvey (Christina Ricci)
Song: “Remember Me This Way” – Jordan Hill 

Why it's awesome: Any average girl knows the agonizing hell of being at a junior high dance without a date. Whatever the cause of your single-ness, you put on a brave face and probably dance with your circle of friends until a slow piano intro blasts out of the speakers and you must make your way to the dozen chairs set up by the food table. You know that no one is going to ask you to dance, but in the back of your mind you imagine some hunk making his way through the crowd, ignoring all the other girls and extending his hand to you. This is exactly what happens in 1995's Casper. Based on the comic/T.V. show about the friendly ghost, Casper is given the gift of life for a couple hours. Kat is the only one dateless at her own Halloween party. Soon, in human form, Casper descends the stairs, parts the crowd and escorts Kat to the dance floor. Unaware of who he is, she goes along with him. And when we finally see his face, we understand why. It belongs to 90's preteen dream Devon Sawa, for cripes sakes! Finally, she realizes that it's Casper after they begin floating in the air. The scene ends with the clock striking 10, and before he turns back into a ghost, Casper kisses Kat and then scares the shit out of all the party guests by turning transparent again.

#1: My Best Friend's Wedding
Characters: Julianne Potter (Julia Roberts) and Michael O'Neal (Dermot Mulroney)
Song: “The Way You Look Tonight” – Dermot Mulroney 

Why it's awesome: And here we are. At my number one. It's probably not what you expected. To be perfectly honest, it's not what I expected either. When I was ranking my list, I rewatched all the scenes and was surprised to find that this one touched me the most. Julianne and Michael are best friends. They previously had a brief relationship in college, but it has long been over. However, Julianne's feelings for Michael resurface when she learns that he is marrying someone else. She tries to split them up any way she can, but fails every time. Just before this dancing scene, Michael and Julianne are spending some alone time together and Julianne has the perfect opportunity to tell him how she feels, but she chokes. Michael mentions how he and his fiancee don't have a song and then begins singing his and Julianne's, "The Way You Look Tonight". He asks her to dance and she accepts, holding him close and silently crying because she knows that she ruined any chance of ever being with him long ago. Later on, at the end of the film, Julianne "gives" Michael and his wife the song and they dance to it at their wedding.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Top 10 Hottest Movie Characters

I am a chick. A chick who likes dudes. Unfortunately most of the dudes that I fancy are fictional. Therefore, in the following blog, I will write about my ten hottest movie characters in the history of cinema. If you are not fully introduced to my “she-nerdiness” yet, you will be after you check out my list. My apologies to those looking for the screen personas of Matthew McConaughey.

10. Luke Skywalker

Portrayed by Mark Hamill in The Empire Strikes Back.

I know what you’re thinking. Luke? Really? Seriously? That whiny kid from Star Wars? Wouldn’t you prefer Han? Or Obi-Wan? Or…Anakin? At least Hayden Christiansen is “dreamy.” Well, if you care to keep reading, you will see that both Han and Obi-Wan make the cut. (Sorry, Ani!) But I must explain my reasoning for putting Luke on the list at all. As you can see, Luke only makes the list in Empire. He’s too young and immature in A New Hope and he’s too steady and dignified in Return of the Jedi. But he’s just right in Empire. The mix of his of hot-headed childish impatience and his driving will to prove himself as a man manage to snare me. Instead of looking at Luke as a little brother (like in Episode IV), he suddenly seems man enough to be a romantic possibility.

Hottest Scene – Luke’s training scenes on Dagobah, when he’s sweaty and covered in mud, with Yoda strapped to his back, doing back flips and lifting rocks…oh, baby…he would never have to use the force on me.
9. Marty McFly

Portrayed by Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future, Back to the Future-Part II, and Back to the Future-Part III.

He was the first man I ever loved. Okay…“loved” isn’t exactly accurate, but he was the first man I was ever attracted to in a romantic way. Thus, my state as a heterosexual female was cemented. My attraction to Marty McFly is deeply rooted in my childhood and therefore I will probably always have love for him. I think much of his appeal comes from his time travel experiences, something that I have long desired for myself. Most of my prepubescent fantasies involved us in the 50’s. In reality, Marty McFly is too “normal” to go for someone like me. But obviously I’m not that concerned with reality.

Hottest Scene – Playing “Johnny B. Goode” at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance...or channeling Travis Bickle in long underwear.

8. Obi-Wan Kenobi

Portrayed by Ewan McGregor in The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith.

Now this is more like it. Now my list seems more like the average girl’s…well, kind of. My attraction to Obi-Wan (only in the prequel trilogy…sorry Sir Alec Guinness) is the opposite of my attraction to Luke. Obi-Wan is dignified and steady and mature. His calmness is soothing. He’s confident and in control without ever being cocky. I love Obi-Wan because he knows exactly who he is and what his duties are. It is kind of a shame that we don’t get to see him grow. I mean, there are differences between Menace and Clones, but most of his changes take an unfortunate backseat to Anakin’s. It’s also unfortunate (at least to me) that we never see him in a romance situation. (Apparently, he did have a forbidden romance with fellow Padawan Siri Tachi, but both decided to suppress their feelings to stay on the Jedi track). Obi-Wan’s stability and dedication to being a Jedi is something that I would never want to jeopardize, but I can’t help but feel that I could ease some of those lonely years while was on Tatooine.

Hottest Scene – Obi-Wan holding baby Luke…sorry, that scene just makes my uterus jump and I don't even want kids.

7. Indiana Jones a.k.a. Dr. Henry Jones, Jr.

Portrayed by Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Indiana Jones, to inadvertently quote Hannah Montana, is the best of both worlds. On one side, he’s a super intelligent nerd. He can romance you in ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Hindustani, if you so please and discuss the real reasons behind the fall of the Roman Empire as he spoons you. On the other hand, he can save your life with crack of a whip and roguishly swing you to safety and with his shirt strategically ripped open, pull you into a kiss that would put a romance novel cover to shame. He’s a nerd, but a nerd who holds his own. I seriously doubt that he was in danger of being a victim of wedgies and “kick me” signs.

Hottest Scene – I’m tragically torn between his lecture scenes where he dons a bow tie and glasses…and ANY OTHER SCENE IN THE TRILOGY!

6. Han Solo

Portrayed by Harrison Ford in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi.

I have to be perfectly honest. Han Solo is not really my type…and if he were a real person, I would hide my attraction for him and be ashamed that I desired someone so arrogant. But after my many viewings of the Star Wars trilogy, his cockiness and skeptical dry wit has managed to get under my skin. You’re probably wondering why exactly I ranked Han higher than Indy. Honestly, it’s because Han sticks with the same romantic interest through all three movies, where Indiana goes through Marion, Willie, Elsa and God knows how many others. I’m not an idiot. I know that Han has probably tapped ass all across the galaxy. But not after meeting Leia. The scene that seals it for me is when Han is being putting into carbon freeze. His last request is about Leia. And you can see that hint of a tear as he never breaks eye contact with her until he’s frozen. He allows his inner emotions to show, even if he doesn’t speak them aloud.

Hottest Scene – “You like me because I’m a scoundrel.”

5. Matthew Kidman

Portrayed by Emile Hirsch in The Girl Next Door.

The Girl Next Door was my first introduction to Emile Hirsch. In this 2004 teen sex comedy, he plays a hard-working, driven high school senior who meets an ex-porn star who turns his world upside down. Matthew is the class president, a good student and a decent fellow who (eventually) sees past Danielle’s porn history. Matthew is endearing and a little unsure of himself, especially since he lacks experiences with girls. Yet again, it’s the “nice” factor that draws me to this character.

Hottest Scene – The sex scene…if you’ve seen it, you know why.

4. Flynn Rider a.k.a. Eugene Fitzherbert
Voiced by Zachary Levi in Tangled.

As attracted as I am to "nice nerdy guys" I obviously have a weakness for cocky assholes...especially when they've had a tender side all along. Enter Flynn Rider, Disney's latest animated hero and a character hot enough to make me revise this list that I posted about three years ago. Flynn starts out as a overly confident mercenary who gains a conscious and falls for the princess. Sound like Han? Yeah. But his dashing 'n' daring facade eventually slips away and he is revealed to be an orphan named Eugene Fitzherbert who changed his name to emulate his favorite storybook swashbuckler. Eugene Fitzherbert. Is that not the nerdiest name you've ever heard? And after he's opened his heart to Rapunzel, he doesn't mind going back to his old moniker.

Hottest Scene – Back story. Sigh.

3. David Wagner

Portrayed by Tobey Maguire in Pleasantville.

David Wagner is my soulmate. I remember the first time I saw Pleasantville. I was 10, at my secret crush’s girlfriend’s birthday party. I was feeling very down in the dumps, as you can imagine any 10-year-old girl in that situation would feel. I can’t remember why exactly Pleasantville was the movie of choice, but I do remember the first time I saw Tobey Maguire. He was goofy, endearing, and obsessed with the fake, saccharine T.V. version of the 50’s, the very same one I had spent my youth fantasizing about. It was meant to be. It was that movie that made me realize that there had to be men in the world who were as equally pathetic as me.

Hottest Scene – Spouting off trivia in preparation for the Pleasantville marathon.

2. Jack Dawson
Portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic.

Jack Dawson is the perfect man. He’s everything any woman could ever want. He’s kind, caring, chivalrous, funny, romantic…[enter other likable quality here]. In fact, the only thing “wrong” with him is his “limited means.” For some women, that’s an issue, but for me it’s not. Yes, Jack Dawson is perfect, but we as an audience have to remember that the whole film is from Rose’s perspective. And she’s a 101 years old. Perhaps some of Jack’s less than admirable qualities were lost over the years. And, we only know him for four days and then he freezes to death. Maybe Jack Dawson is too good to be true, but luckily, none of us will ever know the truth.

Hottest Scene – “Put your hands on me, Jack.”

1. Peter Parker/Spider-Man

Portrayed by Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2 and the non-emo scenes of Spider-Man 3.

And here we are at the end. Anyone who knows me will not be surprised at my number 1. By day, he’s Peter Parker, good-natured, tragically love sick nerd who’s sweet to his aunt, good to his friends, and able to spout off facts about microscopes and the defense mechanisms of arachnids. But night, he’s the web-slinging, crime fighting, smart mouthed superhero. Again, going back to Hannah Montana, he’s the best of both worlds. He can save your life and help you with your chemistry homework. Plus, he is disgustingly and adorably hooked on Mary Jane. (Who, in my opinion, is not nearly good enough for him). His loyalty to her is astounding. (If you ignore his Gwen Stacy scenes in Spider-Man 3, which I, like all self-respecting Spider-Man fans, do). I honestly feel that one of the reasons nerds get such bad reps is because women don’t think they can protect them if danger presents itself. With Spider-Man, one always feel safe and with Peter, I imagine the same thing.

Hottest Scene – Any scene where he’s in his Spidey suit without the mask.