Netflix nightcap: Adaptation

Image via netflix.com

 Adaptation for me was always one of those movies you remember hearing about during some Oscar season a decade ago, but were too young to care about or to even understand.

The film takes you to Hollywood where an overweight, unhappy and absolutely self-conscious/insecure Charles Kaufman (played by Nicolas Cage) is a screenwriter struggling to adapt a book about a cray-cray orchid thief Floridian named John Laroche. Charles is having trouble adapting a book about flowers and one peculiar man into a Hollywood-type film, so he goes to New York to meet the writer of the book (played by Meryl Streep) who he’s been secretly obsessing over. He really doesn’t have a way with women, this one.

Charlie’s twin brother Donald, also played by Nicolas Cage (what CAN’T he do?!) is the sunnier side of the egg. He’s kind, sincere and also a screenwriter, except he writes action thrillers instead of deeper, emotional pieces. They end up in New York together to meet Streep, as a way to gain better insight into her character for the screenplay, and chaos ensues! Hint: They go to Florida and some crazy shit goes down. (When doesn’t crazy shit happen in Florida? Dexter, anyone?)

Chris Cooper is amazing in all his roles. Granted they are normally mean, scary or insanely creepy. Image via movies.zap2it.com

It’s refreshing to watch a movie with a interesting plot. Can you even remember a time? Now that they’re turning boardgames into movies (Ya, seriously?! Hollywood is SO coked out), it’s a real treat to watch something with an original thought somewhere in its midst.

Nicolas Cage is amazing in this movie. You may be used to seeing him in horrible trailers for those skull-fucking blockbuster movies he makes every couple of years, like National Treasure and Ghost RiderHowever, mixed in with his movies that make him shameless millions are little gems like Adaptation. Meryl Streep and Chris Cooper are fantastic in this film, as are Tilda Swinton. Maggie Gyllenhaal, although a small part, is in the flick too. AAAnd part of the movie is “behind the scenes” of the amazing movie Being John MalkovichYou have to watch that one too, because it is GENIUS and creative. Do it! Reruns of Parks and Rec can wait!!

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Music: Iconic ABBA forever

Fucking pop music ICONS. Image via billboard.com

ABBA. What an iconic, amazing and legendary band. I listen to ABBA’s album GOLD: Greatest Hits at least once a week. I love pop and disco, and ABBA is the quintessential representation of those two genres.

Their music is so good that it has been on Broadway in the musical Mamma Mia, a fictional tale sculpted from ABBA’s music. IT began in 1999 in London’s West End at the Prince Edward Theatre and still runs to this day. It’s definitely a show I and all ABBA lovers MUST see. The Meryl Streep movie is awesome, but live theater is the fucking shit, especially if there is song and dance.

Image via passportmagazine.com

I actually discovered ABBA through the A-Teens, a Swedish pop group formed in the late 90s that paid tribute to ABBA. Their first album titled The ABBA Generation consisted purely of ABBA covers. Their version of “Mamma Mia” was pretty huge for being a cover, but it’s such a good song that you’d have to be a complete idiot to fuck its cover up.

I can’t pick a favorite ABBA song, because it has changed so many times over the years. At first it was “Take a Chance on Me”, then it went to “Lay All Your Love on Me”. Next was the fight between “Money, Money, Money” for it’s theatrical, dramatic production and “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man After Midnight)” for it’s relatable subject. Right now, I’m jammin’ on “Fernando” and “One of Us”.

Their songs encapsulate an often cryptic tale of struggling relationships. The four members of the group, Agnetha Fältskog, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid Lyngstad comprised of two couples: Ulvaeus-Fältskog and Andersson-Lynstad. The couples eventually both divorced and now claim to never reunite again. You can tell in the lyrics of their songs that even at the height of their fame, the relationships were ripe with disconnect and pain.

Gimme gimme gimme those outfits! Image via broadwaysd.com

It’s also good to know that ABBA was not your modern day pop group. Benny and Björn played live instruments while the women sang live (what a shocker!). They worked on all of their songs obsessively until they sounded exactly right. The ladies, Anni-Frid and Agnetha would come in a make suggestions on the songs and ultimately had final say when it came to lyrics and lyrical melody.

I’ve come to realize that it’s pretty progressive to have a pop group with both men and women. They were all sexualized I’m sure, but it was the 70s so who wasn’t?! I like that the men and women are both showing skin, as opposed to just the women being made into sexual objects. Back then, everyone and everything was an equal sexual object. The only modern male-female pop group I can think of is the Black Eyed Peas, but I wouldn’t exactly call them progressive since I never see any of those men taking their clothes off with Fergie-ferg. Prudes!

Anyways, if you haven’t ever listened to much ABBA besides their karoake favorite “Dancing Queen”, you’re in for the treat of your life. Here are some videos of “Fernando” and a seriously awesome live clip of “Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)” from Wembley in 1979. Welcome to the best collective 8 minutes of your life.

Meryl Streep is the queen of cinema

Her third-THIRD!!!!- Oscar award for Best Actress. This lady is all over amazing. I dream of being half as good as she as at her profession and passion. So, 1.5 Oscars for me would do.

Seriously, she is a national treasure.

Image via guardian.co.uk

Movies: The OSCARS

Hello gorgeous! Photo via johnfarr.typepad.com
Hello gorgeous! Photo via johnfarr.typepad.com

I am a total Academy Awards slut. I LOVE the show. The outfits, the epicness of the whole night and watching actors win (and lose gracefully as they practiced in the mirror with their publicist) is highly entertaining. Can you believe this is Meryl Streep’s 17th nomination?! She is the fucking queen of cinema and acting. Amazing. Phenomenal. Best of all time.

I also have to admit that I’m a huge loser as I have only seen one of the best picture nominations, Midnight in Paris. Don’t worry, I’m judging myself too for not seeing “The Help” yet. I’m pretty much the worst person alive.

Le Queen du cinema. Photo via nndb.com
Le Queen du cinema. Photo via nndb.com

I’m SO happy for Brad Pitt. He deserves some recognition. I’m pretty sure Jean Dujardin is gonna win though. And Clooney! Who doesn’ love a Clooney nomination?! Jonah Hill and Melissa McCarthy are awesome nominations as well, just because I like them so much.

I really hope either Midnight in Paris or Bridesmaids wins for Best Original Screenplay. They were both amazing a refreshing films. Hollywood needs to stop being so lame about threequels and fourquels and invest in some great writing talent!

I put a star next to the person/movie/costume I’d like to win just because. Some I just can’t decide, so there are two… or three stars. Because choosing between favorites is just plain cruel.

And the nominees are…

Best Picture 

Señor Allen. Photo via Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis
Señor Allen. Photo via Michael Ochs Archives/Corbis

The Artist
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Hugo
Midnight in Paris *
The Help
Moneyball
War Horse
The Tree of Life

Best Actress

Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
Rooney Mara, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady *
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn * 

Best Actor

Demian Bachir, A Better Life
George Clooney, The Descendants *
Jean Dujardin, The Artist 
Gary Oldman, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy *
Brad Pitt, Moneyball *

Best Supporting Actor

Kenneth Branagh, My Week With Marilyn
Jonah Hill, Moneyball *
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Nick Nolte, Warrior
Max von Sydow, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

Best Supporting Actress 

What a fine wine. Photo via sodahead.com
What a fine wine. Photo via sodahead.com

Berenice Bejo, The Artist
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids *
Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer, The Help

Best Director

Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Terrence Malick, Tree of Life
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris *

Best Original Screenplay

The Artist
Bridesmaids
Margin Call
Midnight in Paris *
A Separation

Best Adapted Screenplay

The Descendants
Hugo *
The Ides of March
Moneyball
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Best Animated Feature

A Cat in Paris *
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots
Rango

Art Direction

The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -Part 2 *
(HP 4 EVA)
Hugo
War Horse

Costume Design

Anonymous
The Artist *
Hugo
Jane Eyre
W.E.

Original Song

“Man or Muppet” from The Muppets * (This HAS to win)
“Real in Rio” from Rio