Friday, November 28, 2008

Twilight: The Movie

Every so often there appears a teen-trend that becomes so wide-spread that it infuses itself into mainstream culture. These trends are not necessarily high-quality, but something in them is so compelling that it moves past the screaming 13-18 year old set into my quiet circle of 25-32 year olds.

The books are easy to get obsessed with- even though I'm well out of my teens, I can clearly remember the feelings that Stephanie Meyers espouses in the series- each furtive glance, accidental touch and over-analyzed moment is a bit like being transported back to your biggest high school crush; where in the end you get the guy-- and he's a vampire (spoiler alert). Even though they're far from literary works of art... or even good books... they're a fun way to spend a few weeks.

So it's easy to see why, after spending 3 (I haven't borrowed the 4th yet) books debating the pros and cons of vampire over werewolf, it's tempting to go see the film adaptation of these books, with their scrumptious sounding creatures dazzling us with their beyond human good looks and deep insights into our souls. If reading about Edward and Bella sitting next to each other in Science class, the air between them fraught with sexual tension and heavy breathing is enough to get my hardened heart beating a little faster, then seeing it on screen could only add to the mistique, right?


Twilight, the movie has none of the pizazz of the books, though it brings at least 30x the comedy factor. Elisa, Sabrina, Brianna, Kajal and myself walked into the film with all the giggly, girly, vamipre-lovin' mojo you could imagine. We had popcorn, candy and soda. We had had embarrassingly long discussions about whether or not Bella was a step backwards for feminism, the virtues of Edward over Jake and speculation about the role of Mormanism in the books (see Brianna's genius essay on the lack of sex in the Twilight series). We thought we were as prepared as any self respecting 16 year old to moon over the hot vampires and relive our youths. Little did we know that the Twilight movie thwarted us all...

First... the good.

Kristen Stewart is very good as Bella. She trips and falls with ease. She takes herself a bit too seriously, but in the same way she does in the book. She's pretty but looks like she doesn't realize it.

Ashley Greene is adorable as Alice Cullen. She's cute, giggly and just the right amount odd. She's surprisingly kick ass in the end scene where she breaks James' neck in one smooth movement. She's a decent actress.

Kellan Lutz is hot. Emmet is supposed to be hot. Good job Kellan.

Cam Gigandet is hot and delightfully evil. He was a great James.

Billy Burke did a great job as Bella's slightly awkward father, Charlie. The laughs during those scenes were purposeful and a really true-to-life example of a father and daughter who aren't used to each other yet, and don't quite know how to relate to each other.

Taylor Lautner. I am really looking forward to seeing more of him in the next movie. Total werewolf hotness- he might be enough to get people to switch over from the vampire-love.

Jose Zuniga as Mr. Molina. I got way too much of a kick out of the goofy-teacher scenes. Probably because I'm a goofy teacher.

Secondly... the bad.

Robert Pattinson looked like he was constipated nearly the whole time. This wouldn't have been so bad if he wasn't the romantic lead. Each time he moved his face, it was quite obvious that he used his extensive training from Joey Tribbiani's "Smell the Fart" school of acting. Sometimes he looked like he wanted to puke. Every serious moment in this movie made us burst out into quite undignified laughter because he looked so... uncomfortably... intense.

Jackson Rathbone as Jasper. Jasper is supposed to be brooding, dark, and about to suck everyone's blood due to his severe lack of the self control that the Cullen's take immense pride in. Jackson played him with crazy wacky hair and a shell shocked expression. He walked around the whole movie looking like he just shoved his finger in a live outlet. Every time the camera panned to him, the five of us tried unsuccessfully to stifle our giggles.

So, the good may seem to outweigh the bad, but the bad is much worse than I could possibly explain in this blog. However, the bad is hiliarous, making the movie a fun way to spend a few hours, even if it doesn't have the emotional pull of the books. Girls, do you have anything to add that I forgot?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Random Observations

1. I sometimes evaluate my life on whether or not it would be a good
facebook status. Thank goodness I don't twitter, or else I would worry
about that more often.

2. Justin Timberlake seems like a genuinely funny person. I was
watching SNL this evening and during his sketches, I was thinking it
would be nice if he wasn't famous, but instead was my friend and
watching TV with us. I bet he snarks well, and would be as amusing to
watch Gossip Girls with as Brianna.

3. Why doesn't Beyonce (and her backup dancers) wear pants?

4. It kind of scares me that grunge is back. I used to laugh at my
mother when she told me that fashion was cyclical. I kind of didn't
believe her. Now I see the same fashions that I stopped wearing not too
long ago. I am my mother.

5. Dogs are really funny. They're these fuzzy things that wander around your apartment and just want to be pet and play. Bad part: having to wake up early on the weekends to take them outside. Good part: you can go back to sleep when they're done. Dogs are sort of like children-lite, and cats are like dogs-lite. I don't even know what fish are (though I have one).

6. I love fall. Mainly for the food- pumpkin, squash... christmas
cookies! I have to start soon! Tonight I made butternut squash pasta
(another butternut squash recipe for my arsenal)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Wine x3

I've missed a few months of wine club review, so here they are... Please forgive the brevity of my tasting notes!

First is a wine that I got for my husband as an anniversary gift.

Orin Swift The Prisoner, 2006
I really liked this wine. With notes of cinnamon and wood, this wine has a lightly oak-y taste
with hints of blueberry and cherry. The ending is dry, and the color is
a beautiful, deep, ruby red.

For Cristina's wine club, the theme was sparkling reds.

Mine was the 2007 Banfi Rosa Regale Brachetto from the Francis Coppola Winery. I gave it 2.5/5 on Snooth. It was a very fizzy sparkling wine, but the bubbles faded quickly. It had strong rose petal flavors.

San Giuseppe Lambrusco, 2006
I don't have access to a picture of this. It was fruity and tasted of strawberries with light bubbles. It was very drinkable, though a bit forgetful as a wine.

Paringa Vineyards Shiraz, 2004
This wine tasted very "special occasion", and was one of the most
interesting sparkling wines I've tried. It smells like a very typical
shiraz with peppery notes. The initial flavors surprised me by being
very sweet, like drinking burned sugar. I liked it, but it is not a
wine to drink every day.

We then had a Napa Valley theme.

Relativity Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2005
This wine has a peppery smell that I usually associate with shriazes.
The flavor was good, and it had the "typical" dusty flavors usually
seen in Cab Savs from Napa.

Fleur de Mer Rose, 2006
This wine was light and crisp, though it had a slightly metallic taste.

Sterling Napa Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005
It took me a few sips to get used to this wine, but after I did, I liked it. It had a very smokey taste.

Hayman & Hill Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Reserve, 2006
This was the favorite of our group. We picked up a lot of chocolate,
tobacco and leathery flavors, in addition to the "dusty" taste of most
napa cabs.

Meridian Cabernet Sauvignon, 2004
Tastes of leather, smoke, berry and maple, there was also a hint of
spice and pepper. It was an inexpensive wine, and pairs well with food.

We then had a club focused on wines from the US, with the exception of Napa Valley.

Cooper Mountain Vineyards Pinot Noir Cooper Hill, 2006
Described in our group as the Gap to Cooper Mountains' Banana Republic brand, this wine is made from organic grapes. It is very light for a Pinot Noir, and would probably pair well with poultry and
work well as a Thanksgiving wine. It has heavy berry flavors and some
found it metallic in flavor. It mellowed over time.

Hedges CMS Red, 2006
This wine had a very pretty color with a rich and dense mouth feel. We felt it would be a good fall wine.

Red Diamond Merlot, 2005

I didn't take any notes on this, save "liked it". Make of that what you will.

Raphael Cabernet Franc, 2006
An earthy, almost dirt like nose. Strong mineral flavors, along with green peppers and grass. Dry but not tannic.

Montebruno Gewurztraminer, 2007
A perfumey example of a Gewurztraminer, this light, citrus wine was a
beautiful pale golden color.

The final wine of the evening was from Liz's wedding, and I couldn't find any mentions of it on Snooth, where I try to record all my wine-exploits. However, they did have several other wines from the King Family Vineyard in Virginia.

Liz's wine was the 2005 Chardonnay. It had an almost creamy, round mouth feel with flavors of citrus, lemongrass and smoke. It has a long finish in the back of the mouth.

Hopefully I'll update next wine club sooner!

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