Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dexter - Season 2


I caught the first season of Dexter last summer when it was released on DVD. It was so well-written, well-acted, and well-produced, and I just can't say enough good about it. After I watched Season 1, I read the three Dexter books by Jeff Lindsay, on which the series is loosely based. Also, Michael C. Hall is wonderful in this role. I first liked him as David Fischer in Six Feet Under, but I must say that Dexter is such a unique role and Hall absolutely nails it. Alright, enough going on and on... Here are my thoughts on Season 2 of Dexter:

1) I so enjoyed the Ice Truck Killer arc last season that I was worried the writers would not be able to come up with a story-line for this season that would be as engaging or that would make sense to last an entire season. So the discovery of dozens of bodies, murders amassed by the Bay Harbor Butcher (aka Dexter), certainly got the season off to a running start.

2) The entire story-line of untrusting and anti-feminist Lt. Pascal was just annoying. I thought, "Come on, is this all the writers could come up with?" The payoff that LaGuerta was sleeping with Pascal's fiance to drive her into losing her job was only moderately satisfying. LaGuerta's character was established as a "whatever it takes" pragmatist, but it was a less-enjoyable plot to get there.

3) Rita finally gave her prying, controlling mom the boot, and I couldn't have been happier. Instead of "helping" as she said she was doing, she only stirred up trouble and exacerbated the problems between Rita and Dexter. Sometimes for Rita's sake, I wish she could not be quite so clueless, but then I would be disappointed that she and Dexter weren't together.

4) We ARE supposed to root for Dexter, right? From the very beginning of Season 1, the viewer finds himself cheering on Dexter to kill those big bad guys and to get away with it. But as this season progressed, I found myself frustrated with the way Dexter was handling his "recovery" and the road it was leading him down. He was sloppy, he was mean, he was too impulsive. And I was more afraid of him that way (breaking into someone's house to have sex on the stranger's bed? Please!) than when he was killing people left and right! Also, I was only half-cheering for Dexter to get the better of Doakes, because I didn't like how Dexter was being toward him. His cunning was impressive, but at the same time, he didn't seem to be as sensible in his quick decisions.

5) Don't get me started on Lila. I knew from the preview of the season last year that Dex and Lyla would get involved, but I blocked it out for several episodes as he seemed to really be breaking through some of his old bondage and "healing." But let's not forget that Lila is also an addict and she admitted to burning down a house (with a person inside). She was not exactly sane, and probably not the best resource for our Dexter. Turns out, nothing could be truer as she turned out to be completely freaking insane. But she also saved our dear Dexter and allowed for old Doakes to take the blame, so i guess it is a good thing she was nuts.

6) There wasn't much as satisfying this season as Deb telling off Lila and telling off Dexter for sleeping with Lila and screwing things up with Rita. She smelled a rat from a mile away and wasn't ashamed to say so. I wasn't crazy about the Lundy relationship, mainly because it was so obvious she just needed someone acting as "dad" and then to get involved was odd. But not as bad as I thought it would be, and it helped Debra to grow up a good deal.

7) Dexter was THIS close to confessing. In what world did he think he would not get the death penalty. He actually said something about 20 to life. What? More like 40 life sentences if they didn't put him down completely! But it sure was amusing in those scenes where he imagined telling his sister the truth. I laughed till I cried (after I got over the initial shock, where I thought he had really told her).

8) I have never liked Doakes. I always thought he was a jerk, and Dexter saw the dark in him, too. However, once Dexter and Doakes; had their initial showdown on the dock, and Dexy locked him up, they had some pretty sincere conversations. I thought, perhaps, they were bonding over their dark secrets. It was sad Doakes had to die. I had decided Dexter couldn't kill him. It just seemed wrong (especially since "code" says not to kill an innocent man).

9) What was with Dexter's hair this season. Multiple times I thought it looked like a wig. And so many times it was completely messed up or huge like a helmet. Michael C. Hall is a good looking man. Let's fix that hair up a little better in the future...

I can NOT wait till Season 3. I don't know how I plan to watch it without Showtime (or if I am just going to have to wait for it on DVD... NO!), but the writers haven't let me down yet!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Summery Summary

With summer coming to an end (I gauge it based on the TV season, since I haven't got a job or school...), I was thinking back over my summer, and thought I would write up a post of my summer memories, 2008.

California - First and foremost, I moved to Los Angeles from the Dallas area in May. I grew up in Texas, lived in Kentucky for 4 years, Savannah, Georgia for 3 years, Texas again for 3 years, and then we made the move to the west coast. It is a different world out here, but we are settling in. The weather is wonderful, there are tons of things to do, and I am sure there are some really fun and cool people out here (I have yet to meet them, though...). It will be interesting to see where life takes us next.

Lost - Sean and I decided to watch the entire 4 seasons of Lost from beginning to the end of season 4. This was in preparation for the coming 5th season. In January. I swear, our original intention was to watch it over the 8 months before it started up. Instead, we couldn't help ourselves and watched the entire thing in a matter of months. See my opinions of Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, and Season 4.

Flavors of Entanglement by Alanis Morrissette - It is fitting that as I write this post, a song from this CD came up on my itunes rotation. I can specifically think of different times in my life when I think of Alanis albums (Jagged Little Pill = high school, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie = college, Under Rug Swept & So-Called Chaos = newlywed living in Georgia) so it is fitting that I add this album to my summer list. I have listened the heck out of this album. See my thoughts here.

Twilight series - I picked up Twilight at the library a bit ago, and a few weeks later, I had torn through the whole series. I can see why it has such a following, while I don't think it is the best writing I have seen, even in the "young adult" genre. But Stephenie Meyer sure knew how to suck a reader in. Here are my thoughts on Twilight and Breaking Dawn.

So You Think You Can Dance - I am huge fan of SYTYCD, and have watched loyally since the first season. This season I blogged intermittently about it (as well as I could without a DVR). I also guest-posted on Vance's blog. I was cheering for Joshua since his audition because he was from the DFW area where I am from. Plus, I liked his skill and his personality. I was proud of him and glad he won!

Musicals - Over the course of the summer, I went to Broadway, saw Wicked again, and got to see the Jersey Boys tour. Unfortunately, due to my move I had to miss Hairspray, for which I had tickets. But my friends Dawn and Cody went in my spot, so it was all good. Stay tuned for my thoughts on 9 to 5 next month.

Dr. Horrible
- This was the summer of Dr. Horrible, Joss Whedon, Neil Patrick Harris -- take your pick! I am a huge fan of all three, and I have given Dr. Horrible's Sing-along Blog a number of viewings. I have even learned the songs well enough to sing them on my own (which I enjoy doing often). It is goofy and backward. One should give it a try (it is not required for you to love it like I do)

The Dark Knight - I had been waiting for The Dark Knight to come out since the moment it was announced that there would be a sequel to Batman Begins. I am a HUGE Christian Bale fan, and have also enjoyed Christopher Nolan's movies in the past. I remember finding out that Heath Ledger would be our new Joker. I recall thinking it was strange casting. Well, it turns out the whole thing WAS strange, and the perfect call. I would be a horrible casting agent, I think. The film ended up being THE blockbuster of the summer, breaking all sorts of records. See my thoughts on the movie here.

Chipotle - Yeah, it turns out that Tex-Mex and Cal-Mex are very different. I can't find enough grease and cheese in any of the places here. So I bury my loneliness for good Tex-Mex at Chipotle. Don't get me wrong, it is no Moe's. But it is always satisfying. In the meantime, can someone point me to some good Tex-Mex!! I need to go back to Texas for a visit to Cristina's or Mi Cocina.

The Pool - The one constant here is that I spend a lot of time by the pool. More recently, I have gotten in. Perhaps the Olympics have spurred me on, but I have been doing laps and it feels mighty nice. I live in the perfect weather where it never rains, is rarely overcast, constantly 75 degrees, and the pool temp is regulated. Perfection!

Other TV Shows - I have also filled my time by catching up on some TV favorites and new shows. Here is what I have managed to watch: Veronica Mars (seasons 1-3), Moonlight (season 1 - gave it a try, but it just didn't do it for me), Skins (seasons 1-2), Dexter (season 2 - in progress).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Book: Breaking Dawn (Twilight Saga #4)

I have been putting this post off for a bit. Be forewarned that I am not holding back on SPOILERS and my personal OPINIONS on Book 4 of the Twilight Quadruplogy (I don't know that that is a real word, but I heard it from Ben Stiller...).

Poor Stephenie Meyer. There has been a heck of a lot of backlash after the release of Twilight book 4, Breaking Dawn. But I guess you don't feel that sorry for her when you realize that Breaking Dawn sold 1.3 million copies in its first day of release.

My problems with this book (and compared to the prior 3):

1) That anticipation of whether Bella would ever actually become a vampire is what carries the reader through the first 3 books. While I was curious about what she would be like, I think it would have made a lot of sense for her to be "changed" at the very end of this one, without a lot of detail.

2) Bella as a vampire was a little too tidy. She didn't have the usual blood-lust that a newborn vampire has. Her relationship with Edward was improved, even though she had been worried it would be affected negatively the entire time she considered it. She had a very convenient vampire power.

3) There was no real climax to the story. It builds and builds, and then there is a big collective "nevermind" and then "the end." Not that I wanted any of our beloved Cullens to die, but it would have made for a better ending. Since everyone likes to compare this series (inappropriately, in my opinion) to Harry Potter, I will mention one thing here. Remember the losses we have suffered in the final books, that were so very painful, but made the story more real? We needed those here.

4) I knew Jacob was going to imprint on that baby the moment she was pregnant. It was kind of obvious. In fact, from the very moment you discover that the wolves imprint, you wait for it to happen. And since it isn't Bella, it has to be someone important.

Basically, Stephenie Meyer couldn't bear to make it anything other than a truly happy ending. What part of it didn't end up tied up with a big bow on top?

There have been some complaints that I didn't really agree with:

1) Bella is a poor role model. I don't remember reading books for a role model. From what I can tell, teenage girls couldn't care any less about Bella. They are too busy lusting after Edward (and Jacob). She is rather annoying, and often self-centered. A little unrelatable, but I didn't really concern myself with whether she was a proper role model. (Also, I should note that everyone I know personally who reads this series is at least mid-20s).

2) Not enough sex. Really? This is a young adult series, not a Harlequin romance novel.

3) Too much sex. Nah. It was kind of too important in their relationship to include much less than they included. I thought it was fine.

I still wasn't bored reading the book and found it entertaining. Twilight is by far my favorite book in the series.

I look forward to seeing how Twilight is portrayed in the movie adaptation being released in November. I am satisfied with the casting and the director. I don't know that any of the following novels would need to be adapted to the big screen.

Lost: Season Four, Round Two

A couple of questions/thoughts raised by my second viewing of Lost, Season 4:

1) Did the writers originally intend that the captain of the freighter would be something horrible and scary? When he is first brought up, Desmond & Sayid are told something along the lines of "Oh, you don't want to mess with the Captain," but when we meet him, he is a sweet little puppy dog of a guy. Maybe the writers decided to transfer the scary part of his character to Keamy, who mercilessly kills a number of island-dwellers, including Alex, in one of the few moments where the viewer can actually feel bad for Ben.

2) I was thinking that a jump 3 years ahead before the Oceanic 6 feel the need to return to the island feels extremely long. Do you think that it would have taken that long before each of them felt compelled to go back and save their friends? My only thought is that Walt has to go back with them, and because the actor is 3 years older now, the time lapse had to take place.

3) Who all has to return to the island? Just the ones who were on the plane? I know that the O6 has to return, I would guess that Walt has to go, but what about Desmond and Frank Lapidis? Do they have to go back?

4) We know better than to think (my favorite Lost character) Desmond is finished. My guess is that Ben is able to find Penelope and steals her away. Desmond is therefore forced to follow, which in turn leads him back to the island (or something like that).

5) Often the island-whispering/dead-people bring coinciding points of view. Some are told they must return (Jack, Hurley). Some are told they can't return (Kate is told by Claire not to bring Aaron back). Sometimes these ghostly visions bring danger, sometimes safety. It kind of drives me nuts.

6) Sayid is angry at Michael for working for Ben in an episode that comes only a few after Sayid is working for Ben. Is it just Nadia's death that leads him to the quick change? Does something else happen? Which leads me to wonder if much else happens at all besides the Jeremy Bentham visits during this time that will prove important.

7) We spent all of our episodes this year focusing on the Oceanic 6's futures and the pasts of a few of those that didn't leave the island. What the heck has been going on on the island for the last 3 years? Are some of good friends (Sawyer, anyone?) just living on the island? Are they dead? Are they in hiding? Just dying to know.

8) Two of my top LOST episodes of all time (so far) occur in Season 4: The Constant (Desmond's time-traveling and Penny-calling episode) and The Shape of Things to Come (Ben's desert-appearing, Sayid-taming episode).

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Movie: 21

A friend recently told me that 21 was so slow and boring, he almost turned it off half-way through. So, while I had it from my online rental store, I waited almost 2 weeks to sit down and watch it. It turns out that he was wrong. No, not the most fast-paced movie I have ever seen, but certainly nothing like he explained it.

The first thing about this movie that caught my eye was that the lead character was played by Jim Sturgess, who I loved in Across the Universe. How would he pull off the non-singing, American-accented Ben? In addition, the movie was based on a book, which was based on real events (some of which have now been shown to have been fabricated).

21 is the story of a group of MIT students who find a successful method of card-counting and take their theories to Las Vegas, where they rake in loads of money. Needless to say, the repeated huge winnings catch the casino owners' notice, which leads to some pretty large bumps in the road.

All-in-all it was an entertaining films. It was a little slow-paced, but not any slower than most based-on-true-events movies. Jim Sturgess was likable as the main character, even if his American accent didn't stick too well. Also amusing was Aaron Yoo, playing a character that is the polar opposite of his character in Rocket Science. Also stars Kevin Spacey and Kate Bosworth.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Movie: Tropic Thunder

Tropic Thunder came highly recommended to me by my sister. Sean and I caught a Sunday afternoon showing in Culver City. The place was packed and, for a comedy like this one, that allowed for some amusing crowd reactions.

It has been hard to miss the recent calls to boycott this movie, as it is rather offensive to a number of people groups. I ignored those because I usually ignore that stuff. In fact, for most people, don't those people just make you want to see a movie to find out what the fuss is about? Anyway, I suppose I could see what they were offended by, but I wasn't. In fact, wasn't this the point of the movie?

Ben Stiller played Tugg Speedman, the washed up action star that is taking steps to prove himself as an actor. He was perfect as Tugg, but the character was not my favorite in the movie. In my opinion, it was Robert Downey, Jr, (of course!), playing Oscar-winning actor Kirk Lazarus, who was then playing African-American war vet Lincoln Osirus. Jay Baruchel was very likable as the most normal-seeming character in the entire cast. Jack Black's character was so over the top, and his portrayal of a person going through heroine withdrawal may not have been all that accurate (OK, who am I to know? I haven't witnessed it or experienced it myself... I wonder if you DO want to wear an animal stomach?), it was still amusing.

Ben Stiller co-wrote this with Justin Theroux. I was only familiar with him from his stint on Six Feet Under. The script makes this movie. Yes, the actors truly pull it off, but if it weren't for the ridiculous poke-fun-at-Hollywood storyline, and raunchy and seemingly off-the-cuff one-liners, this film just wouldn't be as funny as it was.

It was one of those movies where you bring up specific lines later in conversation, and then giggle about them like a child. If you are going to see this, be prepared for offensive ___, not just about race or persons with disabilities, but just raunchy talk. But I still found myself laughing out loud. A LOT.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

American Idol Auditions 2008 - Jacksonville

I got home the other day from Jacksonville, where I attended the American Idol auditions. I did not try out myself (it is devastating to say that I am just a few months too old...), but I went along for the ride anyway. I was curious about the process, and while my sister didn't make it past the first round, I got plenty of scoop on how things really go down.

1) Wrist bands. For two days prior to the auditions, contestants can go to the arena and pick up a wrist band and a ticket. This also decides the basic order of auditions because the tickets place you progressively further around the arena.

2) Morning wait. You are supposed to arrive at the arena at 5 am at the latest but people were lined up much earlier. We got there at 4:30 and had to walk a good ways down the line ( a very wide line, not just one person, but a crowd wide). Of course, after us, the line was probably stretched another quarter mile. Apparently there were tornado watches and a thunderstorm warning, and after standing in the rain for about an hour, we finally got in. Imagine all those girls with their hair all fixed up, standing in the rain. Even with umbrellas, people looked a mess.

It was so steamy in Jacksonville that my lens fogged up!

The umbrellas block the view to show how many people there were packed in this line, waiting to go in.

3) Arena. The contestants were filed into the arena, filling the entire bottom section of the place. There were supposedly 11,000-12,000 people there just to audition. If half the people brought someone with them that was not trying out, there just could not possibly have been that many. It wasn't full enough.

Ignore how gross I look. I was so sweaty from the humidity.

4) The show. For a good two hours before the auditions begin, the audience participates in filming, where you scream "Welcome to [enter town name here]" and sings a couple of obligatory songs. I got to partake and there was lots of energy (this was pre-dream-dashing) in the room. Ryan Seacrest came out, hyped everyone up, filmed some segments for the audition show. It was all very interesting.

Yeah, this is the best shot of Ryan I could get from so far away...

5) Auditions. A series of booths are set up across the arena floor, separated by a curtain. Probably 10 or 12. At each one, there are two judges. Contestants are filed down to the floor, set up in groups of 4, and queued into lines at the tables. Each group of four arrives at the front of the line. The first auditioner steps forward, lays their souls on the line by singing for up to 30 seconds, and then steps back. The other 3 follow suit, and then the judges confer. Those auditioning are called forward to all be dismissed for the most part, with the occasional person being asked questions, asked to sing something else, or given the coveted golden ticket. Those that receive this yellow sheet of paper are sent off into the unknown (but what I assume is another audition with producers, and a scheduling of the call-backs, which may (or may not) be Randy, Paula & Simon).

Here is a shot during the auditions of the arena floor. SO many people.

Overall, this was a fun and interesting experience. I don't think I need to do it again, but now my interest has been satisfied.

Book: Water for Elephants

I vaguely remember hearing of the book Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen a while back. Then I read a post about it on Hollie's blog, and it jogged my memory that I had been interested in giving it a read. There is something so intriguing about traveling circuses from the days of old. All the animals and performers, roadies and freaks riding into a town on a train and setting up.

So Water for Elephants introduces us to Jacob Jankowski, a now-elderly man in a nursing home. But as the circus comes to town, he reminisces about his days with the traveling circus, some 70 years prior. In his early 20s, Jacob runs away from the trials in his life, and happens upon a circus train. After a bit of a to-do, he is hired on to work for the circus, where he falls in love, works with the animals, befriends the performers, and does a heck of a lot of growing up.

The story jumps randomly back and forth between present time at the nursing home and the past at the circus. Based on some things said to the older character Jacob, I spent most of the book worrying/wondering if his memories were real, or the fabrication of an old dementia-affected mind. I won't mention the ending here.

Gruen certainly takes a setting that is not overused and makes it intriguing. I think I am about as interested in circuses as I am in vampires. I love seeing what stories a person can create using them as a background.

I have read SO many incredibly good books lately, that while this one didn't top my list, it was totally worth the read. If the subject matter isn't too weird for you, give it a try.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Smattering of Movies

I watched quite the collection of movies over the last couple of weeks while I was out of town. You will find that there are a number of musicals and a number of teen movies. Also, there is a bit of Zac Efron prominence, but it was just coincidence.

Hairspray - I had already watched this, but enjoyed re-watching it with my sister. I thought Adam Shankman did a good job with this one, and that it was well-cast. I was a bit annoyed with John Travolta as Edna Turnblad, but the casting of Tracie (Nikki Blonski), Penny (Amanda Bynes), and Seaweed (Elijah Kelley) was really good. I also adore James Marsden and love that he can sing and dance. If you keep your eyes peeled, you can see Twitch (runner up from this season's So You Think You Can Dance), as well as the uber-annoying Cassie S., contestant from MTV's Legally Blonde casting show for the new Elle Woods.

High School Musical - I had no major interest in any of the High School Musical movies, but my sister insisted I at least see the first one. So I watched it and here are my thoughts. It was awful, and I loved every minute of it. I can see the appeal of Zac Efron, and the acting wasn't quite as bad as I had expected (except Vanessa Hudgens...). Other stand outs here were Lucas Grabeel as Ryan and the adorable Olesya Rulin as Kelsie. Ahsley Tisdale was pretty good, too. I can't remember all the music from this one, but I liked Start of Something New and Getcha Head in the Game. Does Zac Efron not sing his own songs in this?

High School Musical 2 - I then borrowed HSM2 from a friend so my sister could see it (and I guess I could watch it, too...). I actually ended up watching it twice. So I remember more from HSM2 than HSM for the sake of this post. I loved the baseball-themed I Don't Dance. The choreography was very old-school and really fun. I even watched some extras on the practice for this scene. I just really liked it. It offset the very strange Humuhumu... that seemed SO campy (even more than the rest of the movie). I could have done without that. Also, Zac Efron's Troy has a solo Bet on It. The song was fine but the choreography (or lack of) was very awkward. The duet-turned-group songs Music in Me and Everyday are very catchy, starting off slow and turning into something you want to sing along with.

Overall, I can see why people can't sit through a HSM movie, but I could, and I enjoyed it, even though I know they aren't all that great. I would even watch HSM3, but probably not in the theater. If you keep an eye out, you will see lots of SYTYCD alum. After the first two, Ryan Evans/Lucas Grabeel comes out as my favorite character/performer.

Rent - I have seen Rent a number of times on stage, and everyone knows that the movie just didn't do it justice. But it is still fun to watch and sing along with (Kenzie taking Mimi and me doing Roger). So that is what we did. I also noticed Blake from SYTYCD. Is it required that SYTYCD contestants be in EVERY movie musical? I think so.

Penelope - I think I have almost seen EVERY movie that James McAvoy is in (and some TV), so this one was a requirement. For one, I am always disappointed when he doesn't have his Scottish accent. So in this one, he had an American one, but I forgive him. I wanted this movie to be great, because I really like the cast and the fact that this cast did this kind of movie. Unfortunately, the real-life fairy-tale thing has already been done, and done really well (see Enchanted!). I wasn't bored by this movie, or annoyed, or disgusted. It just didn't live up to what I wanted from it. That's all. It was still a feel-good one, and enjoyable to see.

John Tucker Must Die - This is my step-mom's favorite movie. I have actually avoided it like the plague up till now. I don't really care for Jessie Metcalf. I finally gave in and watched it. It really wasn't very good. The most amusing part was the appearance of some now-better-known faces, such as Taylor Kitsch (Riggins from Friday Night Lights) in a single less-than-stellar scene, a quick cameo from Nicki Clyne (the late Cally Tyrol from BSG), and a long-haired Penn Badgley, pre-heartthrob/Gossip Girl days. Unless you are 15, I say skip this one.

You can see why I combined this post. One, I watched a LOT of movies (including tidbits of Transformers, 21, and a few others). And, two, nothing was really worth an individual post.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Musical: Jersey Boys

I caught Jersey Boys on the the last week of the national tour's stop in Dallas last week. I actually planned my trip back to Texas at this specific time so I could go see the show (I have had tickets for months, way before I decided to up and move to Cali). I had heard great things about it, and therefore had really high hopes. It didn't let me down.

I didn't know any of the actual story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, but thanks to summer road trips growing up, I knew about half of the song lineup. I love songs from this era, and Frankie Valli's voice is so unique that their songs are easily recognizable. Plus, they are really catchy.

The actual storyline is a biographical account of how the Four Seasons came to be, told by the four different members. The group was started in New Jersey, hence the name. The quartet deals with members coming and going, difficulties of the business, life on the road, gambling debts, marriage failures. The story was interesting, but the music just absolutely carries the whole show. And the talent of the performers.

There is certainly a suspension of reality as the audience is transported back in time to the 1960's. Most of the theater-goers were older, and were probably fans when the Four Seasons were popular years ago (I went to the show with my father-in-law, after all). The beginning of this "magic" comes with a trio of songs a ways into the first act (Sherry, Big Girls Don't Cry & Walk Like a Man). I heard an interview with the touring cast regarding this portion of the show. Basically, they pointed out that the audience reaction to these songs is not so much for their acting/singing abilities, but for the songs themselves and the sound that the Four Seasons created with their music.

This touring cast was really good. Really good. Especially Frankie (Joseph Leo Bwarie, whose falsetto was like melted butter - yummy! His voice never faltered, not once) and Bob Gaudio (Andrew Rannells, who played his role in such a likable way, especially singing December 1963). I would catch this tour one more time if I could.

Some favorite tunes (but aren't they all pretty good??):
The aforementioned medley of Sherry, Big Girls, Walk Like a Man
December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)
My Eyes Adored You
Can't Take My Eyes Off You
Who Loves You

I guess those are just all the popular Four Seasons tunes, huh?

Oh, look, I have babbled on about this one a lot. I loved it! SEE IT!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I'm on vacation and have been since last week. But I have lots of fun stuff to blog about when I get home tomorrow! Check back for all the goodies.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance - Top 4 Perform

My post is not only really delayed, but will also be much shorter than normal. I am out of town and away from my laptop. I am forced to write this all from memory! Just a few quick thoughts.

The solos didn't add or take away from what I think of any of the final four contestants. So that is all I will say about them.

The routines dances that stood out for me the most were:

Twitch & Joshua's Russian Trepak - Lots of energy. Fun to watch. I still prefer the Tranji hip hop and the Neil/Danny contemporary, but interesting. And I liked the addition of the trepak, knowing that they needed two really strong dancers (like these) to pull it off.

Katee & Joshua's Contemporary - Beautiful. I love Wade. Bring him back full time! Please! Beautifully executed. Love these two together...

Katee, Courtney, Twitch & Joshua's Contemporary
- From what I could tell, this was one you either loved or hated. I loved it. Completely new. Mia is great at coming from a new angle every time.

Less interesting routines:

Courtney & Joshua's Jive - Lots of tricks but not that impressive, dancing-wise. I think Joshua was just too tired on this one.

Courtney & Katee's Broadway - Ugh... We need to re-think the Broadway routines (or Tyce choreographing them, anyway).

Middle of the road:

Katee & Twitch's Foxtrot - It was better than I thought as I realized how much it stinks for someone to have the foxtrot in the finale. It didn't gain them points, nor did it lose them.

Courtney & Twitch's Hip Hop - I was entertained, but not blown away. Again, Courtney is capable of showing the right street 'tude for harder hip hop.

I was not surprised that we were not informed which two dancers were taken to the hospital this weekend for exhaustion. Would anybody doubt that one of them was Joshua? I think of all the dancers, he seemed the most worn out. He also seemed to have the most demanding dance schedule for this week.

Even so, my guess is that Joshua will win.

In order that they will leave tonight, my guess is

Monday, August 04, 2008

Movie: Mamma Mia!

I saw Mamma Mia! with my step-mom and two sisters who were in town visiting. This just wasn't one I could drag my husband to. But I certainly enjoyed it to no end. Best movie musical ever? No... But super fun? YES!

I especially enjoyed Amanda Seyfried (Lily Kane from Veronica Mars) as Sophie and Meryl Streep as Donna. Most of the singing was really good, and what was poorly sung was made up for with acting chops. It was amusing to see the three actors who play the potential fathers (Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard). I wouldn't have really expected any of them to play such a role, and was surprised and amused.

I haven't seen Mamma Mia! live yet, but now I will add it to my list. I would imagine seeing it live would be much more energetic. The music was so fun, I danced in my seat a few times.

If you aren't a musical fan, you may not like this, but then again, you may anyway. All four of us really liked it, even though my 18 year old sister didn't know it was based on ABBA songs (nor did she know who ABBA even was!), except that she knew Dancing Queen (but I am pretty sure she only knew it from the A*Teens cover a few years back...).

Check it out! Even if it is just a renter. PS, Can I renew my vows in Greece, please??

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Saw Wicked again last night...

I think that makes four times. First, I saw it on Broadway about a year and a half ago. Then, it came through Dallas and I had tickets. And then someone canceled and gave me their ticket, so I saw it twice there. So, now that I have moved to Los Angeles and a few members of my family have come to visit, it was time for visit number 4. Wicked has been playing here for about a year and I half, I think.

At this point, there is not anything for me to say about the story. I already know it. I know all the songs. And instead of saying who I didn't like (there were a couple), I will just say that this was probably the best Galinda I have seen. Her name was Erin Mackey and she brought a little something new to the role. Of course her singing was spot on, she was hilarious, super cute.

Also, this Elphaba (Teal Wicks) and Fiyero (Derrick Williams) had the best chemistry I have seen.

I think Les Mis is the only other show I have seen this many times. But I would probably watch it more if it were touring. I guess Rent comes in third with 3 times. I need to broaden my musical theatre horizons, I guess.