Moonstruck-Everyone Cheats

I recently watched this 1987 classic and actually quite enjoyed it. Driven by Cher and Nicolas Cage (but carried by Cage entirely), the film tells the story of a woman complacent in life who comes to appreciate passion and joy through interesting circumstances. For once, there will be spoilers.

Let’s start with the casting choice. The producers cast Cher (at the time a 41-year old global pop icon) and Nicolas Cage (then a 23-year old semi-known actor) as the two romantic leads, and to my utter shock, they have amazing chemistry despite an 18-year age difference. A word on Cage: he is not “pretty” by aesthetic definition, but he is absolutely…. magnetizing in this role, similar to his turn in City of Angels. A large part of his appeal is due to his delivery of well-written monologues, but more is due to his raw emotion in this role. (Plus, he somehow makes flipping a table look good)

The movie’s supporting cast is rather weak, but a standout is Olympia Dukakis as Loretta’s (Cher) mother, dealing with age and her husband’s infidelity. (Her husband Cosmo is a snake 🐍). Another endearing supporting character is Cosmo’s father, simply named “Old Man”. His love of his 5 dogs and the moon is relatable and very endearing.

Overall I give this movie 10/10: 8 for Nicolas Cage, 1 for Cher, and 1 for Olympia Dukakis and the Old Man. (Seriously, Nic Cage was made for this role.) In conclusion, it’s a warm, funny, lovely movie and all hopeless romantics should watch it.

Deadpool 2: Marvel Gets Wasted and Introspective

If you took the zaniness of Guardians of the Galaxy, added more cuss words, and turned down the father issues, you’d get Deadpool 2. I skipped the first movie, but I caught up quickly. The title vigilante is a cross between “Weird Al” Yankovich and the basic “pervy uncle” trope.

The movie started out as expected, with a huge fight montage and a smartass narration. But eventually certain events transpire (spoiler-free review) and we see Wade’s pain. Sure, events cause him pain, but they also bring out the constant emotional pain just beneath that smug veneer. I was not expecting a comedic movie to bring out such emotion so early on. Eventually we meet Deadpool’s protege Russell, aka Firefist.

Firefist happens to be a survivor of physical and psychological abuse. I am not a part of the survivor community, but from my untrained eyes, I respected how Marvel handles his rage and pain, while keeping him a positive character. His redemption is never guaranteed, but our belief in him somehow never wavers.

Like many superheroes, Deadpool has a girlfriend. Her name is Vanessa and she’s played by Morena Baccarin. I appreciate how integral she is to the plot, but she doesn’t get to go through much character development. She simply shows up, gives some advice, and that’s it. There’s no real struggle for her.

Two standout side characters are Colossus and Teenage Negasonic Warhead. Colossus is a giant metallic man (basically if Iron Man was older and wiser and was actually made of iron). TNW can conjure fire/an electrical force field.

Overall I give it 8/10 for a complex hero, an equally interesting villain, and a hilarious post credits montage. Points lost for wasting Morena Baccarin and excessive gore.

Timeless-An Intriguing Soap Opera

The basic plot is as follows: three scientists in a time-travel ship attempt to destroy the Glitterati. Of course there are government conspiracies and an overly manipulated romance, but the various historical eras are rather fascinating.

Let me back up. Timeless just finished its second season on NBC. There are indeed three scientists and a time travel ship, but the secret cabal is not called the Glitterati, it is called Rittenhouse. The three scientists are Lucy Preston, the Athena of the group, Wyatt the muscle, and Rufus, the comic relief. Wyatt and Lucy are the obvious endgame, but Wyatt’s “dead” wife complicates things in season 2. Rufus starts out as pure comedy, but as he falls for tech assistant Jiya, his role is expanded and he is the most emotional character in the show at one point.

One semi-main character named Garcia Flynn catches my attention. He’s played by Goran Visnjic. He’s billed as the “antihero” of the show which is fairly accurate, although he ends up firmly on the hero side by the end of season 2. I don’t know much about Goran, but he apparently was on ER and my mom seems to know who he is. I think he’s gorgeous and the show takes too long to acknowledge this. He gets a quasi-romantic subplot with Lucy, but it’s gone as soon as it appears.

The show is pretty formulaic-one of each character and overly manipulated romances-but what sets it apart from train-wrecks like Stitchers is the variety of eras. Every episodes sees a new historical problem to solve, and a new era. While the main 3 are great characters, the cinematography, setting, and costumes usually steal the show.

In addition to the settings and costumes, many actors guest star as key historical figures and do their jobs excellently. One recent standout guest character was Harriet Tubman, portrayed by Christine Horn. She is shown with all of her grit, mysticism, and mercy. Another standout is Kamahl Naiqui’s portrayal of Don Johnson, the “King of the Delta Blues”.

Overall I give it 9/10 for strong leads, interesting cinematography and representation. Point lost because sometimes it goes off the rails

The Athlete Lab-Forging Elite Community

What comes to mind when you see the word “CrossFit”? Maybe a 20-something Norse bodybuilder or a group of rich health junkies. These stereotypes have shallow roots in truth, but CrossFit is so much more than that. At The Athlete Lab in Little Canada, it’s about taking ownership of the mind and body and optimizing holistic health.

The Athlete Lab was founded almost ten years ago by Kate Klaaers and is one of my favorite centers of community. Community and fitness may be a strange combination to some, but this community is driven by the fact that a majority of the members are high achievers who want to make and do the best they possibly can.

Friends-A Strangely Endearing Band of Losers

Hey! I made my second attempt to watch Friends starting in January and I finished them series last night. Now, I have a lot of thoughts on it. When I say “a lot”, I mean this is basically a 1000-word essay.

Seasons 1-2, 5-7, and 9 were awesome, but I’ve already forgotten seasons 3 and 8. I know season 10 has a nostalgia factor, but it just wasn’t the best. And don’t get me STARTED on “I got off the plane”, I’ll cover that in a second.

Ok. Whoever decided to put Ross and Rachel together as endgame, I have some WORDS for y’all. Ross has been married 3 times, with two different baby mamas. He also can’t work a damn spray tan machine despite having a PhD. In addition, he is overly proud of being a paleontologist despite never doing more than writing papers for obscure journals. And finally, even counting the argument that he suffers from depression, he is a narcissistic pessimist who has the most toxic masculinity I’ve ever seen on TV. (I watch mostly modern shows) The best possible example of this toxicity is the aforementioned series finale. I don’t care that “they love each other”, Ross is forcing her to choose love over her passion!! I do get that their daughter Emma (who should have been way more than a plot device) complicates things, but why not just bring them all? Seriously, get a grip. I’ll cover Rachel soon, but let’s go to my sweet soul sister Phoebe.

My dear sweet soul sister Phoebe Buffay has gone through so much trauma pre-show, and yet she is the funniest, kindest, weirdest Friend of them all. I strongly identify with her free spirit, her naïveté, her approach to her past and her future, and her creativity. Plus she’s the one who gets to marry Paul Rudd. 😊 And that brings me to her love life. While all of the Friends have numerous romances, Phoebe has the most intriguing escapades, namely with David the scientist (almost endgame!) and Paul Rudd. I guess his character is named Mike Hanigan, but it’s just Paul Rudd being the cutest cinnamon roll. He protects her, he supports her, he learns from her, and he proposes 3 times!! The only good episodes of season 10 were when they got engaged and then married. Anyway, Phoebe is my queen and I’m still looking for Paul Rudd. 😊

Despite the show being an ensemble cast, Rachel Karen Green is the closest to a sole protagonist. The series opens with her running into Central Perk coffee shop in a wedding dress, leaving Barry somebody at the altar. She starts off as the epitome of “poor little rich girl”, but she adjusts to NYC pretty quickly and eventually becomes almost likable. The one thing that stops me from rooting for her is her insistence on being tied to Ross chauvinist-insecure-Man-child Geller.

As horrible as Ross is, his younger sister Monica is the “mom friend” and the most sane of the bunch. Take a type A personality, give it some steroids, enlarge it by 1000% and you have a rough estimation of the force of Monica’s being. At times she’s overbearing for comedic effect, but there are worse addictions than cleaning and cooking. I realize in hindsight she sounds like a ’50s housewife, but she’s also a professional chef, which sort of helps. She marries Ross’s best friend Chandler, and they are the solid stable couple of the show. Their stability is the primary reason they are my favorite couple of the show.

I rather like Joey Tribbianni, but he’s the happy version of Ross. Both are womanizing man-children, but Ross is utterly devoid of innocence or charm, both of which Joey has in spades. His most powerful arc shows up in season 9 when he falls for Rachel, and they briefly date. I personally think Joey and Rachel should have been the endgame couple. They had much more chemistry, zero conflict, and an actual sense of fun and contentment in their relationship.

Chandler Bing, best friend of Ross and husband of Monica. He’s also “the gay character” despite being completely heterosexual. This running joke has flown over my head given the current social climate, but I suppose it was funny 20 years ago. Another running Chandler joke is the gag that no one has any clue what he does for a living. It has something to do with data processing, but the details are vague. Overall, his main purpose is comic relief and he executes it well.

That sums up this character review and analysis of the hit show Friends. Thanks for reading! I’ll be back with new content soon.

Avengers: Infinity War

Hello! I realize this post is at an alternate time, but I just saw Infinity War and…. “i-wha-who–wha-woahwoahwoah-NO!!!! What the fuck is happening/just happened??” That’s my live reaction when the credits rolled. This review will be more vague than usual to avoid spoilers. This movie is clearly the placeholder, setting up for “Untitled Avengers 4”, the grand finale. But it gets a decent amount done in two hours and 29 minutes. One of the best things about this movie is the cross-teamwork, the Guardians working with Stark and Strange being a prime example. Unlike some Marvel villains, Thanos has both the power and persona necessary to be worthy of such a big movie. His end goal is to acquire all six magical Infinity Stones and destroy half the universe, and Josh Brolin sinks his teeth into the role. Those are the only good things I can say without spoiling it, along with the geographical span of the movie. Oh, I was also pleased that Stan Lee made his required cameo early and assuaged everyone’s curiosity. However, the ending seems to come out of left field and leaves the viewer quite unsatisfied. Being the ending, it can also leave a bad impression on the viewer. Overall I give this movie 7/10 for lovable characters and emotion, an appropriate amount of humor, and the aforementioned cross-teamwork. I take off a full 3 points for the end, I hated it that much. Watch at your own risk.

Captain America Trilogy-A Perfect Man

*Note: this post is written by a hardcore Stucky shipper, so brave for fangirling. **additional note; “Hydra Cap” is complete and utter BS. That is all I have to say regarding the comics. :

Captain America: The First Avenger

The scene opens around 1941, with a tiny asthmatic ruby named Steve trying to get into the Army. Eventually he is given the serum that turns him into gorgeous specimen Captain America. The best thing is that the movie retains his humble, duty-oriented character in the midst of a huge transformation. Steve is chaperoned through the army by Peggy Carter, who should really just run the world at this point. They have some cute flirtation, but nothing much happens. The scene where Steve flies into the ocean is utterly heartbreaking…..

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

This stellar sequel focuses on Steve’s mission in the present day to take down “the Winter Soldier”, the deadly hit man who murders leader Nick Fury. Of course there are some shocking twists (one particular scene on a bridge comes to mind) and his childhood best friend Bucky Barnes shows up again. There’s some interesting power dynamics between Steve and Fury and Fury and villain Alexander Pierce, but overall this is not my favorite of the trilogy. Peggy Carter shows up, but she’s about 100 years old, and it’s a rather heartbreaking scene.

Captain America: Civil War

The grand finale of the trilogy isn’t actually all that grand. The whole plot of the movie depends on the bridge scene from Winter Soldier, so I can’t say much. 😊 This is my favorite only because Bucky Barnes has the most screen time. Basically what I can say is that Steve and Tony (Iron Man) butt heads over whether or not to follow a new law, and the rest of the team picks sides. Oh, and Peggy Carter’s niece kisses Steve, entirely uncalled for!

One of the standouts of movies 2 and 3 is Sam Wilson, also called Falcon. He’s mainly there for comic relief, but his heavy backstory adds depth and makes him a worthy addition to the team.

Overall Captain America is a fantastic series, a nice introduction to the MCU, and the character is easily the most moral of all the Avengers.

College Update

Hello! In August, I published a little blurb about starting college and how excited I was for it. I published that post during the first week of school and now I am in my second semester. I just finished my spring break. I still love it and I’m still excited to be here! I was fortunate to find a group of friends within the first two days and we still hang out in our regular lounge. I’ve taken a variety of classes from Art History to Politics, but most of my classes are geared toward my English Lit and Writing major. I’ve run the gamut of professors from fairy godfathers to goblins, but I manage to make it work. Overall, Bethel is an amazing school, and there’s nowhere else I’d rather be! 💜💜💜

Dr. Strange

Welcome back! You may be wondering why I’m reviewing a movie that’s six months old by now. With the impending release of Avengers: Infinity War, this post kicks off Marvel Month! This installment of the Marvel Plan for World Domination tells the story of famed neurosurgeon Stephen Strange, his fall from glory after losing the use of his hands, and his ascendence to Sorcerer Supreme of an entirely different kind of science.

One of the standouts of this movie is the stunning visual effects used to capture the effects of magic. From rotating buildings to teleportation to astral projection, the world of magic is brought to life with breathtaking accuracy and beauty.

When it comes to Stephen himself, his arrogance is strangely charming. This may have something to do with the fact that he is already known for playing the deduction wizard on BBC’s Sherlock, but in any case Benedict Cumberbatch is the darling of fangirls of multiple genres. In addition, watching Strange’s utter humiliation and insanity lends a bit more humanity to a godlike character. Lying in the hospital bed after an 11-hour operation, his paramour Christine tells him “No one could’ve done better.” In typical Strange fashion he replies “I could’ve done better”. His commitment to saving lives and trying to escape his new reality is endearing, if somewhat futile.

I’ve said it a million times and I will say it a million more: Rachel McAdams is a wasted actress in this movie. Her role as Christine Palmer, the paramour-turned-martyr-turned-something else feels sloppily written and is entirely unnecessary. They could have given her more screen time, cut the role entirely, or let a lesser-known actress take the role.

One of the more useful and complex characters is The Ancient One, also called the first Sorcerer Supreme. Played by Tilda Swinton, this guru has more to her than meets the eye but has a benevolent heart for her students, if protecting them by unconventional methods. One could compare her to Loki in some ways, both mysterious and somewhat mischievous. As the Ancient One says, “we never lose our demons. We only learn to live above them”.

The philosophy of the Ancient One provides a nice contest to Mordo, Strange’s colleague and sparring partner. Mordo follows the black-and-white approach to good and evil, and blindly trusts those he calls “good”. The shattering of Mordo’s world sets him up to be an excellent villain in future films. Unfortunately, this film has a laughably flat villain with zero personality or purpose other than engaging in excellently choreographed fights.

I confess I started watching this one evening and paused it halfway through when I realized I had reached the end of the actual plot. The second half of the film has a few surprisingly poignant scenes, but mainly the “grand finale fight” of every action movie. The time manipulation adds an interesting aspect, but overall it’s nothing totally different than any other Marvel movie.

Overall I give this movie 6/10 for stunning effects, a nice cast, and a decent setup for future movies. Points deducted for rambling plot and some useless characters. I would say this movie is not for viewers under age 15 due to some fictitious dark magic and slight gore, but Marvel fans and those interested in “mystic arts” will appreciate the film

Shark Tank-Educational Entertainment

Many aspire to be world-changing entrepreneurs, but few get the aid of moguls like Barbra Cochran, Lori Greiner or Mark Cuban. Enter Shark Tank, a unique show where up-and-coming executives pitch their ideas to these stellar magnates to win financial and educational aid. As the daughter of a business owner, I’ve learned to watch and analyze each contestant. One of the less enjoyable features of the show is Kevin O’Leary, nicknamed Mr. Wonderful of all things. He fills the role on Shark Tank that Simon Cowell filled on American Idol of the brutally honest and somewhat caustic judge. However O’Leary compliments far less than Cowell, and goes for cheap personal insults a bit more. Aside from that, two charming standouts are Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner, both experienced and compassionate entrepreneurs who offer wonderful advice whether or not they take up the client. Overall it’s a great show for those interested in business and entrepreneurship. 9/10 for making real impact, being educational, and having educated and objective judges. One point deficit because “Mr. Wonderful” is a thorn in the side of the show and the viewers.