Movies


Top o’ the morning to ya! I love St. Patrick’s Day so much that this is already my second day of the year spent celebrating. My first was March 6th up in Hoboken, NJ, and it was intense. I have work today, which means this I will be going straight to an Irish pub when the clock strikes 6:00PM, and then back to my house, where I have some leftover Guinness cupcakes, Irish Soda Bread, and a 6-pack of Killian’s Red waiting for me.  Now THAT is the luck of the Irish.

For this post, I decided to compile a fairly random collection of some of my favorite Irish things.

To begin, my favorite Irish Movie, “In America
Care of Wikipedia
Anyone who has not seen this movie should do themselves a favor and rent it as soon as you can. It is the story of an Irish family who immigrates (illegally, via Canada) to New York City. Their story is, in a lot of ways, fundamentally American. It’s all about a family’s quest to find a better life for themselves that they feel only Manhattan can deliver. But it is also a wonderful Irish story, with fantastic characters who struggle to fit into their new home while maintaining their customs and keeping their family structure as it was in Ireland. Plus, the little girls and their accents are absolutely adorable.

Favorite Irish Drinking Song: “Wild Rover
Simply put, this song makes me want to drink. I first became acquainted with it while on a pub crawl with my dad and big sister (I have a cool family). We had a two-piece Irish band, complete with a fiddle, that followed us from bar to bar (I think it was a way of announcing that the ‘drunks had arrived’ to the locals). They were wise enough to save “Wild Rover” until bar number three, when we all felt comfortable throwing our arms around each other and singing in unison. If you’ve ever been at an Irish bar when this song came on, I am sure you know what I’m talking about. If not, listen to the Dropkick Murphies cover below, throw back a Smittwick’s or two, and pretend to know what I’m talking about.

Most Underrated Irish Drink: Magner’s Irish Cider

We all know about Jameson Irish Whiskey and Guinness Stout, unless we’ve been living in a cave (or convent). But while living abroad, I was introduced to Magner’s Irish Cider (called Bulmer’s in Ireland) and fell in love. It’s a sweet drink, and you might be tempted to call it girly, but you would be mistaken. Until you have sat in a pub in Cork, Ireland and watched 200 pound men get sloshed off of it, I recommend reserving judgment.

Care of Wikipedia

My first experience with Magner’s came when I ordered it from an Irish bartender in Belgium. When it arrived, I noticed there was no foam at the top of my glass. “Sir,” I called to him, “my beer is flat.” He stared at me, then broke his silence with “no, it isn’t.” I looked at the beer, looked at him, and smirked. He grabbed the beer from me, and while maintaining eye contact, took a gulp. He then loudly told me (and, in effect, the entire bar), “that’s damn good Irish cider, love!” I was schooled that day.

Favorite Irish Friend: Finn!
Pintje followers who read my Oscar blog post are familiar with my snarky and fabulous friend, Finn. The girl is as Irish as the day is long, so I’m happy to go on the record saying she is my favorite Irish friend. She visited me in college for St. Patrick’s Day and brought with her a shirt with my name ironed on the back and “Lush O’ The Irish” on the front. Now that is a good friend. Finally, in case you needed more convincing, please note that she began Hoboken St. Patty’s Day like this:

Photo care of Finn

That’s it! I hope everyone has a fantastic, fun, and safe St. Patrick’s Day. Please feel free to leave your celebration plans or personal picks of all things Irish in the comments below. I’ll leave you with one of my favorite Irish proverbs:

May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you’re dead.

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Avid readers of this blog (hello? any of you out there?) may have noticed that someone by the name of Finn is a hilariously snarky and frequent commenter. What they may not know is that she is also a dear friend of mine, and that our conversations are often the inspiration for my blog entries. It seemed fitting, then, to call in her help to tackle his year’s Academy Awards! I’ll let Finn start things off with her feelings about George Clooney and his date.

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Finn: During Alex Baldwin and Steve Martin’s opening segment, the camera flashed to an angry George Clooney. The joke was about Toyotas, and he didn’t seem to think it was particularly funny. Maybe he’s a stockholder? Scratch that, he seems not amused by any jokes. Seriously, I think the bitchy Italian on his arm has killed his sense of humor. He usually eats these kinds of events up and usually has a few solid one liners, but instead he sat there looking sullen as she sat next to him looking bored and above it all. Newsflash, bella: you are the Italian equivalent of Carson Daly. Even Carson would crack a smile and even be slightly engaged (albeit in his own toolish way), if he were invited to the Oscars. (Note: it ought to go without saying, but he NEVER will be. Ryan Seacrest would throw such a fit if Daly tried to crouch in on his red carpet territory.)

Pintje: Clearly, both Finn and I have strong feelings on George Clooney and the women he brings into his life. Man oh man, do I love George Clooney. And I agree with my friend in that Elizabetta Canalis rubs me the wrong way. When you are dating a man who is known across the globe by his first name (or, when people are being formal, “Gorgeous George”), you should smile a little. Life is not so bad for you.  As for why George himself was grumpy, I did a little internet research. He was nominated for Best Actor but said openly that not only did he not think he would win, he had actually, as a Member of the Academy, voted against himself and for Jeff Bridges. Keeping all of that in mind, George took the Oscars for for it it ultimately is; a big party. So, he goes into Party George mode.  He threw on a tux, brought his hot date and his sense of humor, and the dude got drunk. Obviously, this makes all of the weird faces he was making all night make a lot more sense. I mean, I’m sure the red carpet was a lot more bearable with his flask tucked away in his inner pocket. But boy, does my heart go out to him for the next five hours he spent sitting drunk in the front row of an Awards Ceremony. That sounds considerably less fun.

Pintje: Now, on to a woman we all love. My favorite dress for the night was Sandra Bullock’s Marchesa frock, pictured above.. While I think Carey Mulligan of ‘An Education’ had the stand-out female performance of the year, Sandy is so damn likable that I found myself smiling from the second her name got called until I was wiping tears away during her acceptance speech. While I also liked Kate, Rachel, and Meryl, to name a few, Sandra’s was the look that blew me away when I first saw it on the red carpet. I loved the old school feel the dress itself had, and how she paired that with her modern hot pink lips and simple hair. Most importantly, I guess, she looked comfortable and happy. She was able to move around freely, since the dress wasn’t so tight that it forced her into bad posture (I’m looking at you, Miley). So I’m going to be bold here, apparently, and put Sandra Bullock as my best dressed of the night.

Finn: Speaking of Sandra Bullock, she has helped me decided on my new path in life. When I grow up I want to Kate Winslet in my 30’s, Sandra Bullock in my 40’s, Meryl Streep in my 50’s and Helen Mirren in my 60’s. And I could not have been happier when Sandra Bullock won for Best Actress because I agree, this chick is so incredibly likable. She has played the rom-com genre for, possibly, all it’s worth and obviously those characters were never going to get her to Oscar night. But it’s awesome that she got the perfect role for her down home Texas personality. This was probably her one and only chance to get attention as an individual actress (because let’s not forget she was in the ensemble of Crash … I love love love that movie). I also could not be more obsessed with her happy little life with her bad boy biker husband Jesse James (who, judging from the tears of pride in his eyes last night while she was accepting her award, is more of a softie when it comes to her than he lets on). Shortly after accepting her little gold man, Sandra said to reporters about the hubs: “”Did he cry? He doesn’t cry. He had something in his eye. It’s very dusty from the dance music. I’d never divulge what Jesse says unless he divulges it first. It’s between me and the man.” That is the cutest thing you have ever read, until you read what he said about her: He admitted he was “feeling everything” and was incredibly proud of his wife of five years. “It’s 10 [p.m.] now, we usually go to bed around 9, so we’re partying,” he added. “She looks amazing. I like her like this or first thing in the morning, equally as well.” Seriously, if getting married later in life means that? Wow. Clearly they have figured out something that the rest of Hollywood just can’t seem to get, because they are the greatest couple in that town, hands down.

Pintje: Now, it wouldn’t be Pintje’s Picks without at least one downer. For my bad moment of the night, I choose Elinor Burkett running on stage to accept the Oscar for Best Documentary Short. If you are wondering why this qualifies as a downer, it’s because she wasn’t supposed to accept the award at all. While she was a producer on the award-winning film, she has had both legal and creative differences with the movie, and so Roger Ross Williams was to accept this Oscar. Yikes! I guess the biggest issue I have with this whole situation is, have we learned nothing at all from Kanye West? Nothing!? In her defense, she might have literally not known about the Kanye West / Taylor Swift feud. If that’s the case, I like to imagine that the post-Award Show conversation with her agent went something like this:

Elinor: “Hey! People have been saying that I really ‘pulled a Kanye’ up there! That’s good, right?”
Agent: “Ummm, well, do you know who he is?”
Elinor: “Actually, I didn’t, but someone Googled him for me, and it turns out he’s a really popular singer of some sort.  And I’m the new him! People have also been throwing around the name Taylor Swift, but I doubt anyone has ever heard of her.”

Finn: Well, I’ll end us on a high note (pun intended). Woody Harrelson, you have come leaps and bounds from Cheers. Also his suit is by Burberry and made of hemp – of course it is.

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Well, that’s it folks! As always, I look forward to some discuss in the comments section. Finn and I had too many thoughts to cover by ourselves, and look forward to any help you can offer. :)

I love the Oscars. I love the stars, the dresses (both good and bad), the thank you’s to Mom and Dad, the timid but funny jokes the hosts make: I love it all! This year, the Oscar Committee has decided to extend the field of nominees for Best Picture from 5 to 10. Accordingly, I have not seen all of the nominated movies so I don’t feel that I can make an educated decision about which movie is most deserving of being named alongside such great cinematic feats as Bridge Over the River Kwai and Braveheart. I can, however, say with great confidence which movie belongs nowhere near Mr. Oscar: Avatar. As such, I have decided to dedicate this post to the reasons that Avatar should not win.

First off, I saw this movie in 3D with my boyfriend on opening night and must say that I really did enjoy myself. I also enjoyed How To Lose A Guy in 10 Days. Enjoyment is not the issue. My concern is that this movie lacks that je ne sais quoi that a Best Picture ought to have, and fills that hole with predictable dialogue and one dimensional characters. My second disclaimer, although I think this should go without saying, is that since I am going to mock this movie,  you may want to refrain from reading any further if you have not seen the movie yet and really want to enjoy it. That is not to say there any spoilers, since the predictable plot precludes spoilers from being possible. Anyway, enjoy!

1.) The ingredient that the humans are trying to obtain on the planet Pandora, but cannot, is called unobtainium. Could you imagine if, back when Superman was created, his writers decided that he could only be destroyed by the element known as ThisThingKillsSuperman? Nope! Not quite as special!

2.) I am not the PC police, nor am I someone who thinks that thematic elements of Avatar were overtly or subtly racist. I think people that saw this film through that lens are giving Cameron more credit than he deserves. Despite the fact that this movie took him ten years to create, I hypothesize that he is, in a word, lazy. Probably what I had the most trouble accepting was that this visionary director could create an entire new species of 10 feet tall blue aliens who connect their tails to other creatures in order to communicate, but he still needed to give them loin cloths? And face paint? And dreadlocks with feathers and beads, for God’s sake? If your film is about your creative vision, James, you should probably not have an end result that looks like Pocahontas mated with a smurf.

3.) For those of you who think I just created libel in claiming that James Cameron is unimaginative and, in a sense, lazy, please take the following into consideration. The Na’vi people of Avatar communicate and reproduce based on their tails, and yet Neytiri (played by the gorgeous actress Zoe Saldana and thus the “hot alien”) has breasts. Why? Well, rather than be crass, I will allow Mr. Cameron to explain it himself.

4.) I am all for art imitating life. I think it’s really special when a movie can narrow in on something marked happening in that time and place and represent it metaphorically. Avatar, in case you were wondering, is not an example of this. The references to the Iraq War are so overt it is as if James Cameron was concerned that the American people were quite literally unaware that their country is at war. Try and imagine, for a second, if Arthur Miller had inserted a line into The Crucible so that Abigail Williams accuses a woman in Salem of being a witch, and, on top of that, probably a communist! Take that, House Un-American Activities Committee! That is how I felt when a character in Avatar remarked that in order to “fight terror with terror,” they would deliver some “serious shock and awe.” Then again, with a bad guy that looks like this, I should have known subtlety was not Mr. Cameron’s key objective.

5.) Finally, since I think I have nerded out enough with reasons 1 – 4, James Cameron does not give a good acceptance speech. I held a small Golden Globes watching party this year, and we voted on “Best Acceptance Speech” as a category (don’t judge, it was incorporated into a drinking game). Cameron was not even nominated! After the “I’m King of the World” speech he delivered after winning Best Director for Titanic, my only hope is that if he does by some miracle with Best Picture this year, he will not deliver the speech in the Na’avi language. Unfortunately, I can’t put it past him.

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Finally, some points have been made better elsewhere, and StuffWeLike.com did an excellent and very funny comparison among Avatar and a few other movies.

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That’s it! As is always the case, whether you strongly agree, or disagree, or if you want to opine on who might come best dressed this year, I would love for you to leave it in the comment. I know I ripped on this movie, but come on, it’s what I do.