Flirt Frown

I met up with a cousin-friend, her bf and some other people she knows in LA for drinks over the weekend.  Some of her friends also brought some strange company of their own.  One guy in particular beckoned me over and started weirdly interrogating me about my life status and goals.  Buddy, I don’t know, like or find you interesting enough to go deeply into my true life aspirations.  And your pervy stare-downs aren’t inspiring any change of heart.  Nonetheless, telling you that my dream to have my teen soap on tv (that’s a real dream, wouldn’t you watch it, my LR fans?) somehow wasn’t good enough for you.  I was in no mood to elaborate on its content or on any other possible goals I may have because it was simply none of your concern.  And if this was your attempt to lay on a sweet mack, and I’m pretty sure it was- though we all know about my debilitating inability to read social cues of the romantic flavor- you need some work.  Maybe you just wanted me to say that my real long-term goal was to just blow you in the corner.  Good day to you sir.

Posted in Grievances | Leave a comment

John Mayer’s My Body Is A Wasteland

No, this isn’t a cheeky song of the day.  It is an ode to my own physicality.  On a day of relaunching- primarily this here site- I also decided to re-commit to my fitness.  After two weeks in Toronto and a subsequent week in LA riddled with a Canadian plague I had only exercised twice (see below) in many moons.  I was simply having too much fun getting my TIFF and socializing on to deal with the gym.

But up until that point I was rocking thrice weekly spin, getting barked at by an intense trainer weekly and gazing at my at-home free weights on a regular basis.  I’m busting my hump on my crusade for cardiac health and my slow-burning quest for thindom.  My trainer even told me I had shockingly strong lower abs (this was the proudest moment of my entire life; suck it Phys Ed!).  So why, when I take a mere few days off, do I return to spin like a hobbled senior?  It took over half the class to stop feeling like I might puke and die in the corner.  Luckily I got a bike away from the other regulars so they couldn’t witness my low speed state.  Unluckily, as this was one of the last bikes taken, the seat was full of rips.  I’m sure you can imagine why this is not ideal.  Really?

Fine, I didn’t shave my legs for this capri pant wearing occasion.  Is that a crime?  If so, I’m way over the three strikes permitted by California state law.  Furthermore, I believe I was amply punished as what flew into my mouth could only be a non-head originating male hair from the bike’s previous rider.  This certainly did not help my nausea.  Maybe this is an overshare but I needed to talk about the violation in order to purge it from my memories.

You have to take the good with the bad.  At less than full capacity I was not the sweatiest person to leave the class.  First timers club.

And now onto my Toronto exercise.  First: I took a guest pass to a local gym where the bikes are much different (in look, feel, method etc) than the ones at my regular gym.  As such, I have not mastered the resistance levels and can’t be sure if I’m jacking it up too high or not nearly enough.  When the instructor came around mid-class, all his regular gals were rewarded with specific commentary, such as “you need to turn it up a gear” or “you’re right on”.  When he got to me I got a resounding “I love your intensity”.  Is this a participation ribbon of praise for simply showing up?  Or was I the best and therefore the winner of the class?  It’s been almost three weeks and I still clearly care.  I’m not proud.

Second: the LR writers compete on more issues than just “Who can name the most Julia Roberts movies” (ps: I can).  With that in mind, a physical competition was created.  Who could run up and down the stairs seven times at our mom’s building faster?  The rules: two up at a time, every step down, no handrail unless for necessary balance.  There are two sets of stairs so the runs were concurrent.  I’m sure it will be no surprise to those who are used to my general lack of physical skill that I lost.  But I think it will surprise you to learn that I didn’t lose by all that much.  When I return in December, round 2 is go time.  I’m coming for you bro.

Posted in Shameful Moments | 1 Comment

Perks Of Being A Wallflower

I went into this high school set film with a combination of heightened trepidation and secret excitement.  As a major fan of the novel on which it is set, I was worried the diary style format would lose its essence in translation.  Screen-written by the author himself, Perks succeeded in transposing the epistolary pages onto animated screen-time.  Fear not, readers of Stephen Chbosky’s moving tale; the film captures all the best moments.  And for the uninitiated, Perks is a coming-of-age yarn rich with the flinching pains and joys of high school.

Logan Lerman stars as a troubled teen just entering his first high school days.  Dampened by a legacy of an older all-star athlete brother and a pre-existing compulsion to fade into the scenery, Lerman’s Charlie aspires to finish high school as quickly and as painlessly as possible.  However, when he finds his niche with a group of outre high IQ and ambitious seniors- I praise Chbosky for allowing these so-called misfits to upend the tradition of outcasts portrayed as poor students and deadbeats- he enters into a new phase of experiences.  First dances, first crushes and first steps into manhood.  Yes.

Ezra Miller, whose breakthrough was as a sociopath in last year’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, gives a great nuanced performance as an outwardly carefree modern dandy masking the requisite amount of internal teenage angst.  Emma Watson sheds Hermione as a luminous reformed girl-with-a-reputation.  And as an aside, you just have to love a girl named Sam.  Right?

The unusual beauty of Perks is that there really isn’t a bad guy.  There’s just high school and all the punishment it inherently bestows.

My primary grievance is with the aunt Helen storyline.  Readers will know the prominence it ultimately has.  However, the movie fails to sufficiently foreshadow her import and there is no mystery that the audience grasps to discern.  I suggest that it should have been beefed up to showcase the significance or cut altogether.

We all know I have horrific taste in music.  That did not derail me from appreciating the 80′s set characters’ love affair with vinyl and old classics.  Can someone please make me a mix tape?  Those were the days.  Did I cry?  You know it.

On a scale of Ordinary People (7) and The Breakfast Club (9.5) I give this a sold 8.5.

Posted in Movies Rap | 2 Comments

Emmys 2012

We all know I consider this to be the third most vaunted day of the year.  Only second (and third) to the Golden Globes and Oscars, Emmy night is a true celebration of entertainment glory, particularly the television arts.  This lends itself to a terrible irony- as pointed out to me during an email exchange this morn, thanks Jer- which is that the television awards were broadcast as a television abomination.

While tv is surpassing movies as the best form of entertainment, both critically and enjoyably, the academy tarnished its small screen gem with a limp presentation filled with astonishing wins.  Several of my tv loving friends questioned whether the academy members actually watch tv.  The answer must simply be no.

First, the presentation.  Jimmy Kimmel was snooze-worthy, albeit thankfully brief, as the telecast host.  His bit with Tracy Morgan trying to bolster the ratings through twitter was an embarrassing dud.  I never thought I’d yearn for the other Jimmy (Fallon) so much.  Each presenter speech was worse than the last.  If I were as funny as Louis CK or as dapper as Kevin Costner, I would have simply thrown out the garbage provided and riffed free-style.  Gag.  When the only funny and noteworthy bit was a song dedicated to Kimmel sung by Josh Groban, you know you have problems.  Was anyone else wondering if Groban met up with ex January Jones backstage?  Just me?  That’s right.  I know and care a lot about Groban.  Deal with it.  It’s also very annoying to group the awards into genre categories.  Don’t front load with all the comedy people and leave the miniseries people for the back end.  Mix and match!  Even I haven’t seen all the mini/tv movies.

Winners?  In what universe can Jon Cryer win best comic lead against Louie, Baldwin, Larry and even Jim Parsons?  Sure, I think Duckie was screwed over by Blaine, but that is no excuse to award this low rent rubber faced Jim Carrey wannabe.  Sorry Jon.  It’s not your fault, but this is criminal.  And as much as I love Kevin Costner, and god knows I do, he was not deserving for Hatfields and McCoys.  I don’t think anyone voting actually watched the whole three nighter.  The previews were great but the real thing (yes, I watched dammit) was weird, confusing and ultimately disappointing.  And yet Berenger won as well.  You’ve seen Sherlock, right voters?  I don’t get it.  Lastly, Eric Stonestreet makes a fine Cam on Modern Family, and used to be my personal fav.  But his co-stars Ty Burrell (nothing short of genius) and Ed O’Neill (stoic perfection) were both more worthy.  I would even throw a bone to Max Greenfield of my beloved New Girl.  I wish he still taught spin classes in real life.

Winners.  I was personally rooting for Amy Poehler as she is great and Parks is the best.  Nonetheless, although I think Veep is uneven, Julia Louis Dreyfuss is comic gold, so I can live with it.  Plus her jaunty acceptance notes bit with Amy was one of few shining moments and demonstrated real class between the female nominees.  I think everyone was expecting Giancarlo “Gus Frings” Esposito of Breaking Bad to win, but Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman is one my top three tv characters of the current landscape so that was fine by me.  Plus his tearful and bromantic embrace with Giancarlo was magical.  I teared.  In case you care, the other two rounding up my top three are Ron Swanson and Don from Newsroom.  Special mentions for Eli and Diane of Good Wife, Opie on Sons of Anarchy, Crosby on Parenthood.  After a teenage obsession with her on MSCL, followed by a radical about face of hatred, I now consider Claire Danes to be once again on my pro-list.  She is amazing on Homeland and Homeland itself was one of the greatest seasonal marathons of my life.  Go to her.

Final thoughts, Springer style.  Jon Stewart is a funny gentleman.  Ricky Gervais is a funny boor.  I love both.

As an added bonus, I received a gift from an anonymous source of the seating chart of the Governor’s Ball and I will share a glimpse with you.  Seacrest In!

Posted in TV This Week | 4 Comments

Stanley Cup Final: Game #4

As the Kings try to complete the sweep and win their first ever (is it?) Stanley Cup, Brodeur and the Devils try to save face by winning a game on the road to stave off the inevitable.  Both of these teams (seeds 6 and 8 ) were unlikely finalists.  Although Jersey has danced this dance before, this is an odd year where there isn’t at least one juggernaut in the final series (Detroit, Pittsburgh, Vancouver).

For those of you still tuning into these games, good job.  I always find my attention to the NHL Playoffs wanes around the middle of round two.  I always enjoy the epic overtime games on the west coast in round one, but eventually I care less and less about the games, they are on too infrequently (sometimes two days off) and I find myself just wanting it to be over.

LA and New Jersey are both likable enough teams.  To the winner (LA), I say congrats.

Posted in Sports Happenings | Leave a comment

What To Expect When You’re Expecting: Just What You’d Expect

Greetings loyal readers and new explorers.  Back from an inexcusable hiatus, Let’s Rap is ready to rock the Summer movie season.  Why see this ensemble, predictable rom-com?  For the same reason I ran to Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve: because these star-studded Lifetime originals hit that sweet spot of inevitability, embarrassment and hopefully tears.  And it exists.

What to say that you don’t already know from the trailers?  In this yarn, an array a pre-baby women exult in and decry their experiences.  Each leading lady faces a particular element of potential pregnancy obstacles.  Jennifer Lopez worries about creating a forum for her adopted baby.  Throw in a dash of money woes and she and on-screen hubs Rodrigo Santoro make a surprisingly root-worthy pair.  Her hair stylings are particularly fascinating- she hasn’t looked so good in ages.  Elizabeth Banks, finally with child, groans at the hideous toll on her body.  It is her husband (played by Bridesmaids’ Ben Falcone) who delivers my favorite comic and heartbreaking moments.  Who knew?  Conversely, her step-mother-in-law (Brooklyn Decker) whose youthful character is married to Dennis Quaid (more on him shortly) glistens in endless pregnant glory.  Cameron Diaz is supposed to be a Jillian Michaels-esque tv fitness personality who insists she maintain her dedication to the show and her physique throughout.  Her controlling nature butts heads with baby-daddy Matthew Morrison.  I encountered this segment rife with disbelief: in the snippets of her fitness show, Diaz portrays the least motivational guru captured on film.  Moreover, I just couldn’t buy into the romance.

In a more youthful land, Anna Kendrick and Chace Crawford play long-lost high school chums.  I declare he looks much better here than on Gossip Girl.  Who’s with me?

For you bros out there wondering, what does this film have for me, I first say: nothing.  But I will go on to recount the daddies at the park tale which is strangely the most pervasive part of this film’s ad campaign.  Strolling through the grass like reservoir dogs, these pops are encumbered by diapers, babies and dashed dreams.  Chris Rock is more eye-bulging than ever.  I choose to believe it is the incredulity at appearing in this movie and being such a marginalized character.  There are a few chuckles but bored and watching TBS sit-com reruns level.

I promised more Quaid.  At a whopping 19 years his senior (thank you the Internet), Quaid plays demure Falcone’s NASCAR racing alpha father.  Trampling Falcone’s successes with his own ego-induced efforts, Quaid attempts to hijack his son’s moments.  I won’t spoil the scene, but let’s just say my cinematic companion and I turned to each other cackling loudly just to mask the deluge of tears that were approaching movie-floor territory.  Don’t judge me.

If you want to see something unfold exactly as you anticipate over a 2 hour period, you may receive a couple laughs and a couple tears.  You will not receive any surprises.

On a scale of Valentine’s Day (4) to Steel Magnolias (9), this may as well get a 6.

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Holiday Weekend Cinema

When I go home for holiday weekends, I must immediately schedule time to attend my places of worship.  These are solemn excursions; my time at various Torontonian movie theaters is precious.  With that in mind, I galvanized all strength and promised to hold out on seeing Wrath of the Titans by one week and save it for bro-time.  We also cleaved to the notion that viewing American Reunion was a necessary portion of the festivities.

We began with Wrath.  In the interest of integrity, I will note that this particular viewing occurred in Hamilton.  I know you are vastly curious about my travels.  3D glasses aloft and a slice of PizzaPizza by my side- I need to indulge in the local cuisine- we embarked on the sophomoric bastardization of Greek myth.  I use the term “myth” as only an indicator of the canon from which this story evolved.  My real fans know that I am a true believer.  If anyone wants to focus group my teen soap on the Greek gods, see me at my personal email.  For reals.  Back to Wrath.  Sam Worthington’s hair has grown significantly since Clash of the Titans.  His charisma has not.  Perseus is a laudable hero demi-god and should behave confidently and with leadership.  Worthington acts with one note and the note is off-key and devoid of personality.  And yet I love Avatar oh so much.  Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes, both revered stage and screen thespians, parade around the underworld as Zeus and Hades respectively.  I hope they are entertained by these ridiculous films and that they share port and cigars in their trailers and laugh about bringing home the bacon.

The film offers the implausible premise that Cronos, father of the Olympians, is draining the Gods’ powers in order to re-usurp his crown.  Without giving too much away, the only person/god available to stop him happens to be Perseus.  Other than its deepest inconsistency with real ancient stories, the implausibility stems from my incredulity that Apollo, Hercules, Athena, Hera and more, fail to show up in this.  No way.  Ares and Hephaestus pop up but are laughable caricatures.  The real Ares has more verve.  To save Zeus and the others, Perseus enlists a rag-tag group of fighters to wage against Cronos.  This is a vacuous, personally insulting action adventure.  The 3D does nothing to enhance the visual experience of Perseus’  descent into the underworld.  The love story is meager at best.  How then can I avow that I was more entertained by Wrath than by American Reunion?  I just did.  My bro will present his countervailing take on this issue in later rounds.  Let me just say that Liam/Ralph added some meaty, albeit melodramatic, flavor and the fight scenes were decent.

Next was Pie 4.  American Reunion was not terrible.  It even provided some laughs.  But it was excessively derivative of its origin trilogy.  I believe my brother will argue that mirroring the first is a well-skilled effort.  I argue that I was bored.  To put it clearly, Chris Klein’s Oz was my preferred character this time around.  Stiffler committed to his dick joke oeuvre zealously, but it was just more of the same perving and razzing.  Innocuous off-color jokes abounded and the bros lived it up like it was 1999.  The best gag related to the pre-cell phone era.  On a personal note, I shared in the gang’s high school nostalgia as we are meant to all be the same age.  Yes, I just publicly admitted my age on the internet.  Deal with  it.

Even the ostensibly shocking full frontal dick shot (Biggs’ anatomy if you must know) was diluted by a well-placed transparent kitchen apparatus.  The film meandered through grown up questions of marital woes and career blunders, peppered by the requisite curse words.  The only real questions were how fast would the couples unite and what was with the insane side-boob.  I have no regrets in seeing this and I enjoyed the outing.  But I stand by Wrath’s inherent entertainment value.

If you are looking to see a movie this week, check out Goon.  That is all.

Wrath:  On a scale of Clash of the Titans original (8) and Clash of the Titans next gen (4) I give this a 6.5.

American Reunion: On a scale of American Pie (7.5) and American Wedding (5) I give this a 6.

Posted in Movies Rap | 1 Comment

2012 Baseball Season!

For this Jew, Christmas lasts 6 months (April-September) and Easter (October Playoffs) directly follows.  This is code for, Baseball is my religion.  And, it is upon us.

This year, I have been particularly excited because I have had an opportunity to watch several spring training games.  As always, the YANKEES are my flavour of choice.  Unlike last year, though, I will make an effort to support the Blue Jays as well – could have a nice little team coming together – could have another Leafs debacle too.

The Yankees have a remarkably similar team make up as last year.  Notable losses are Posada and Burnett.  Notable arrivals are Ibanez, Kuroda and Pineda… and the return of Mr. Pettitte!  This is a team that won 97 games last year.  They are an old team that is obviously only getting older.  They have a lot of immovable pieces in their lineup and they are forced to rely on the fact that these veterans still have some juice left (the legal kind of juice that is).

There’s no doubt the Yankees (if they stay healthy) will be a dominant force.  The problem for them recently has been pitching in the playoffs.  If the youngsters (Hughes and Nova) put together strong seasons, this could be a great team.  That being said, the East has some giants and all the money in the world can’t get the Yankees into the playoffs every year (well, it kinda can.  2008 aside, it has been a ridiculous run).

Other teams to look out for are the revamped Miami Marlins, the improved Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (do we all agree this name is lame?) and the Detroit Tigers.

Teams who are still good are the Red Sox (but I don’t think their pitching is that great), the Rays, the Rangers and the Phillies.  Who the hell is going to win the NL Central and the West?  Could be open season.

The extra wildcard slots are good for fans of smaller market teams, but I don’t know if the way the League devised the new playoff system is that good.  As I understand it, there will be a one game playoff between the wild card teams in each league.  So what?  An extra game at the end of the season?  Pretty anti-climactic.

For all you baseball fans out there (are there any?), let me know who your teams are and which players you think will have breakout seasons.

Posted in Sports Happenings | 2 Comments

WORST SURVIVOR EVER

It pains me to my core, but I have to acknowledge that this season of Vivor is lacking in a big way.  Granted, some things have gone wrong that are out of the show’s control (Colton’s demise hurt), but the casting which is normally spot on, lost its groove with this bunch of rejects.

Survivor: One World

Pretty cool idea to have all of the players live at one camp.  This way, there were many opportunities for cross-tribe alliances and dealings.  Information could be a vital weapon.  Various items could be stolen.  Rumours could be started.  It could be the most complex game yet.  But – NONE OF THIS HAPPENED!  Oh, and it only lasted for about 4 idiotic tribal councils.  What the?

Man vs. Woman kind of bugs me because you know your classic stereotypical trash talking is going to ensue.  Challenges will not be aggressively physical for obvious reasons and there will be a lot of discussions about whether the men are being too macho and alpha-doggish or whether the women are being too catty or, alternatively, too nice and mothering.  I am bored writing this and I was bored watching this.  Although, if you’re gonna do it, FOUR WEEKS is ridiculous.  I suppose the game saw a sinking ship and had to abandon it.

Survivor: Not One World

After 4 short Tribals, the entire premise of the season is thrown asunder and we are left with a classic two tribe, two camp, inter-gendered game.  Fine.  Except, the tribes are glaringly uneven.  On one side, all of the attractive, strong, entertaining members.  On the other, Leif, Tarzan and Jonas (ahem).  Despite this accidental mishmash, the game gets more interesting.  Each tribe now has a 4-3 gender disparity, which could force people to start working the game a little more.

Sadly, these people have no game at all.  It’s remarkable how inept each player is at the game of Survivor.  I will say that Kim and Sandra have made solid efforts (even Alicia to a crazy extent), but everyone else has been coasting along as if this was summer camp.  My favourites (Troyzan and Jay) SUCK.

TWO TRIBALS (sort of)

So, the game shakes up the teams and then Colton (the only one with a high entertainment value/my hatred for him is immense) has to come out of the game due to being a bitch (and some appendix-related surgery).  This is unfortunate for the game, even though the players had been inexplicably following Colton like sheep.  Left without him, the rest of the bunch must find some semblance of a strategy.  Not gonna happen.

The show decides 2 episodes of the new tribes are enough for them.  Now, we are merged.  If I had previously turned a blind-eye to the behind-the-scenes manipulation of the game, this season I simply cannot.  I guess good for the show for trying to salvage the game, but it is too much back and forth.

Merge

Now that the teams are merged, it could be interesting to see if they revert back to man vs. woman or if they stick with their most current groupings.  Unfortunately, nobody really cares and the men decide it’s a good idea to get rid of Jonas and put their faith in the “new Salani” tribe.

Now we are left with the classic ‘can the woman stick together?’ plotline that has plagued Survivor since its inception.  Not once have a group of women bandied together successfully and made a run at the game.  EVEN in the man vs. woman season, where it was around 6 woman to Chris, Chris came out victorious.  That is all you need to know about this scenario.

With one episode under their belt, and the demise of Michael (random tool), we’ll see if this could be their season.  I believe Christina, Alicia and Kat may all be wildcards in this female alliance.  Credit where credit is due – the woman are better than the men by far.

***Giving up the Idol

This needs to be mentioned, but it may send me into a seizure reliving the tragedy that was the men’s team.  Bill and Leif (FOR NO REASON!) are on the chopping block.  The men win immunity.  Colton hates Bill (FOR NO REASON – maybe cause he’s a comedian?  Maybe cause he’s black?).  Colton, on a whim, tells the guys to give the idol to the women’s team and go to tribal.  For this to happen, ALL members (including the ones on the block) must agree.  With seemingly no hesitation (except for Jay – thank goodness), they all agree.  Not only is this insane for Bill and Leif, but the entire tribe could have been up by two players and decided it was a better idea to draw even.  The members not on the block thought it was a good idea to get rid of a member for free and then put themselves one step closer to being gone if they lost the next challenge or two.  AND, what’s more difficult to grasp, it seemed like the men weren’t even sure if they were doing this in order to get rid of Bill or if it was to re-Leif themselves of the tattletale.  Appalling.

Final Thoughts

This season is bananas.  Either the woman are now going to run the table (Kim will win) or the men will show some last minute game and flip the alliances around a little (Kim will still win).

Posted in TV This Week | 2 Comments

Oscar Pool

Though I claimed I wasn’t going to participate in my own pool and only administrate the contest, I secretly deployed my own ballot.  While I had all the major categories pegged (writing, acting, pic) those pesky shorts and animated whatnots ruined my big win.  This is true despite the fact that all signs pointed to Viola Davis for actress but in my heart I knew it would be Streep.  And to all those who championed a yankee heartthrob for best actor, it appears that Pitt and the Cloons split their own votes.  In beautiful and also tragic news, apparently the two dined together post-show at an intimate restaurant.  The tragic element of this tale is that the restaurant is a mere 5 blocks from my abode.  Sadly, I was sweat panted, Chinese take-awayed and make-up free.  In short, not fit for human eyes.

Onto the celebrations.  Kudos belong to big winner and incidentally, one of LR’s most prolific comment-ers, Ms. Sarah Peacock.  A Torontonian with as much encruiseiasm as me, she submitted a fine pool ballot.  It was truly a tight race for first, but Sarah nailed the categories big and small.  I should note that my pool works on a two tier system wherein major categories count for double points.  Congratulations Sarah!  May the Cruise be with you.

PS- I only played in the pool for kicks; I wasn’t considering myself a true entrant.  I am no contest rules turncoat.

Posted in Celeb Gossip | 1 Comment