Tag Archives: movies

Must-See Movies for Winter…Kind Of

Back in September I introduced you to eight “new” movies that I felt you should be watching that fall. (I hear “It’s the Great Pumpkin Spice Latte, Charlie Brown,” was a big hit among the 18-34 crowd.)

Well, now that we’re well into a bitter cold winter, it’s time once again to remember that among the new releases with attractive people doing unrealistic things in situations that are resolved in two hours topping the charts, there are some other films being shown this winter that if given a chance, I’m sure would be a great hit.

Unbroken 2

No, this isn’t the epic tale of the Olympic track star who survived a plane crash in World War II, only to fight for his life against nature and eventually as a prisoner of war. 

This film instead follows a woman who unknowingly keeps several impressive streaks unbroken as she goes through her everyday life, such as picking out the grocery cart with the wonky wheel that will inevitably veer into a display of Triscuits, having the keys in the opposite pocket of the hand she has free and spilling something on the white shirt she attempted to wear.

streak

Will she eventually pick out a functional cart? Hit all the green lights while driving home with a full bladder? Join her for her epic adventures and see how she deals with adversity.

Why Waldo?

In this philosophical film, “Waldo” battles his social anxiety disorder and tries to find a reason for his existence.

In search of this answer, he makes public appearances, but only discreetly surfaces in large crowds of people and insists on wearing the same clothes each day—thick, black-framed glasses, red and white striped shirt, red and white cap. Eventually he becomes paranoid that people are constantly looking for him and wonders, “Why am I here? Why are they here? Why does low-fat peanut butter exist?”

The Belle Jar

In this dark Plath-meets-Disney film, Belle, a girl who is dissatisfied with life in a small provincial French town, becomes mentally unstable and develops delusional tendencies and troubling urges towards bestiality after her father is imprisoned.

Some of her best friends are household appliances that spend a majority of their time singing and dancing, and she is faced with the internal struggle of if she should marry and live a conventional domestic life or attempt to satisfy her ambition with a man under a spell because he couldn’t love.

Will she regain a tenuous grasp on sanity or will the “Belle” jar of her madness descend again at any time?

The Hundred Food Journey

While “The Hundred Foot Journey,” showcased the family of a talented cook who has a life filled with both culinary delights and profound loss, this tale is about a mediocre cook who has a life filled with hundreds of foods to help cope with her own journey of loss.

In order to procure said culinary delights, she must brave the grocery store multiple times a week, perfect her “serious” face when trying to sneak an expired coupon past the cashier and avoid the checkout line with the customer who insists on using every single square inch of personal space past the plastic divider, creeping up closer to her with their cart and sighing so heavily at the apparent lack of cashier expediency that it blows her coupons off the checkout stand.

After checking out, will she make the journey home without bruising her bananas? It’s a culinary “Choose Your Own Adventure” for the whole family.

Mild

In the sequel to “Wild,” in which Cheryl Strayed hiked the 1,100-mile Pacific Crest Trail by herself in an effort to recover from a recent life crisis, a 33-year-old unemployed writer trying to recover from her own life crisis faces a series of her own challenges.

While Strayed dealt with creating fire for meals and wild animals popping out unexpectedly, our protagonist risks life and limb to reignite the pilot light on her stove, the expected yet jolting release of the toast from the toaster, accidentally hitting the switch for the garbage disposal instead of the light and getting stuck in the neck of her sweatshirt.

 This inspiring tale proves we all have our own battles to fight.

Gone Girl

This is just me walking away really quickly any time someone calls my name out in public. It’s going straight to DVD.

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zazzle

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Eight New Fall Movies You Won’t See (but should)

Given the high cost of admission, the fact that most theaters require real pants and an attention span that lasts all of an hour, I haven’t been to an actual movie in years.

Yes, I said years.

However, I am not completely disconnected from what all the cool kids are hitting the cinemas to go and check out (although I just called them “cinemas,” so there’s that.)

What you might not realize is that among the new releases with attractive people doing unrealistic things in situations that are resolved in two hours topping the charts, is that there are some other films being shown this fall that if given a chance, I’m sure would be a great hit.

pumpkin_img2

In this film sure to appeal to women everywhere, a confused young Charlie Brown and his sister Sally—who is adorned in yoga pants and Uggs—sit around and wait for Starbucks to release the elusive Pumpkin Spice Latte. Much to the chagrin of young Sally, Charlie learns that he much prefers actual Halloween candy to overpriced sugary coffee and turns as bitter as her drink.

50 Shades of Seasonal Affective Disorder

In this modern day meteorological mystery, viewers are taken from the sunny warm days of the summer into the dark freezing days of the harsh winter months. Will the residents survive on only eight possible hours of sunlight a day? Scrape inches of ice off their cars? Choose to hibernate and bond with their couch?

Frozen: Pizza

A gripping tale of love and survival, the female protagonist vows that if she burns her mouth on an Amy’s organic vegan pizza one more time, she will continue to eat pizza because it’s delicious and she can’t hold both a grudge and her fork. Although scorned by a lover yet again, she will never “let it go” and bravely moves on through the world.

The Negotiator 2

A young-ish writer is kidnapped in this action comedy, but the criminals are the ones who pay the price as they’re unaware of how often she has to pee and how cranky she gets when she’s hungry. Using her artistic OCD skills to cut out all the letters from magazines for her ransom note—if her name is on it, it has to look good—she hopes the news description of what she was wearing when gone missing doesn’t cause her family to pretend they don’t know who she is.

The Transformers

In this documentary, a film crew follows Internet commenters as they transform seemingly harmless statements read online into personal attacks they feel they simply must justify. This true-to-life account proves that for every reaction, there is an equal and opposite overreaction by someone on the Internet.

The Little Engine That Can’t Even

Tween audiences will love this relatable tale of how a car full of teenage girls drive to the mall, but choosing to spend their money on Starbucks instead of gas, end up stuck on the side of the road. Seriously. The Little Engine literally “could not even.” Find out how they get out of this bind and what hashtags will they choose for their Instagram posts.

Silence of the Birds

In this psychological thriller, Clarice is pulled from her training at the FBI Academy to investigate what’s being dubbed as “Flight Club,” a group of loud ass birds that meets outside bedroom windows to screech in the early hours of every morning. The first rule of Flight Club is that you don’t talk about Flight Club, but that doesn’t deter tired Clarice.

Still Single White Female

She’s 33. She’s independent. She sometimes lights so many scented candles in her house, it would appear that she’s trying to seduce herself. And despite the fact that she wears her “good” T-shirts to Target (sometimes), she’s still single. Follow this lovable loner as she navigates through life—and the path from her couch to the fridge—one day at a time.

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Be Kind, Rewind

I actually rented a movie a couple weeks ago. This is news because I have the attention span of a manic gnat with ADD and prefer just to watch TV shows that max out at an hour.

And going to a movie? It’s been years.

I judge a movie by whether it’s better than spending two hours watching a squirrel perform Cirque du Soleil moves on the feeder, a ballgame or a “Chopped” marathon on Food Network, and you have to admit that’s pretty hard to beat.

Plus, it doesn’t cost $10 or force you to deal with strangers loudly slurping their pop.

At any rate, because I’m old I can also say that I remember VHS tapes—those things that came before DVDs. When I was younger, my favorites to watch were classics like all the Rocky movies (I still know every word,) Troop Beverly Hills, Camp Cucamonga and Mariah Carey Live.

They were often for research purposes, as I would give elaborate concerts on the front lawn before organizing cut-throat games of the home-version “Double Dare” game show complete with plastic helmets with sticks to throw wet sponge hoops at.

I was a recreational pioneer, people.  

The first time I watched a DVD I remember being amazed that I didn’t have to “be kind and rewind.” Brilliant!

But I soon learned that while DVDs are convenient, there are certain things about them I detest. For one, they don’t always let you fast forward through the FBI warnings anymore, and second, they can skip.

There’s nothing worse than getting into a movie and having the damn thing just stop and the timer vacillate between two numbers before skipping 20 minutes ahead and ruining the flow of the show.

You can bet that after staring at the frozen screen, trying to “scan” back and forth and yelling a stream of words that would earn an “R” rating, I march back to the video store and get a credit on my account (for the $1 movie I rented for five days a year after it was popular.)

Wait.

There is something worse—if it’s an exercise DVD and Jillian Michaels suddenly sounds like she developed a stutter and you end up doing squat jumps for 3 minutes straight before realizing the DVD is just skipping.

Anyway, all of this is to say that I watched a couple movies that didn’t stink and avoided throwing my remote at the DVD player while cursing modern technology.

leyland

And considering baseball season is here, I’m good until October.

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What are the movies you always watched as a kid? I have a bunch, but I’ve already shared too much.

What I learned from zombies

I know I’m late to the game, but I finally saw Zombieland this weekend (and just for the record, thoroughly enjoyed it). At any rate, if you haven’t seen it, you are dropped right into Zombieland as Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) begins listing his rules to survive living among the zombies (trust me, it’s not as cheesy as it sounds.)

Zombieland-PosterOne of his opening lines is, “I survived because I followed the rules, my rules.” 

Hmmm…call me crazy, but this really struck a chord with me (and not because the undead were lurking around my neighborhood.) For me, I pretty much developed these maladaptive behaviors years ago as a way to survive, a way to cope with my situation and the world around me.

Things chaotic? I defer to overexercising, restricting or obsessing about food/numbers/etc. so I can’t focus on anything else. Making myself comfortably numb was the only way I felt (and still feel) like I can handle both the outside world and the inside turmoil. I feel like in order to just make it through, to survive, I can’t have it both ways—it’s either/or.

I survive because I follow the rules, my rules.

I have ridiculous rules about everything—if I worked out for 30 minutes last night, it can’t be 29 minutes today; I put limits on pieces of gum and tea that have nothing to do with calories; my meal rules are ridiculous and I won’t even touch on them (work in progress, most certainly.)

But how much are these rules really helping? Unless you’re new here, you’re probably thinking, “How’s that working out for ya, Abby?” and understandably rolling your eyes. My rules give me a false sense of safety, but they don’t keep me healthy in both body and mind.

So, I have decided to amuse myself by adapting a few of the rules of survival from Zombieland to my own situation, adding my own “healthy” twist to things. Once again, I feel like I have to do everything “opposite” of what we are traditionally told to do (“eat less, exercise more,” for example), but rules are made to be broken—or at least twisted to fit my purpose.

RULES FOR SURVIVAL

(Disclaimer: This is not a complete list of Zombieland Rules for Survival. If you are in need of those guidelines, I suggest you log off and report your suspicions to the authorities.)

Cardio—This one comes up a lot in Zombieland, and it makes sense. You want to be in good physical condition to outrun the undead. However, if you are trying to gain healthy weight, cardio makes no sense—especially when it becomes obsessive. You want to be in good physical condition and not look like the undead, so cardio is basically out of the picture…unless being chased by zombies, of course.

cardioBeware of Bathrooms—In the movie, the bathroom is the perfect place to corner yourself and negate any hope of escape. Similarly, the bathroom for someone in recovery can be just as unpleasant for a variety of reasons. (1) There is the shower, where one is forced to get naked in front of (2) the mirrors. There might be a (3) scale, possibly a (4) hair-clogged sink or drain and (5) the inevitable medicine cabinet that may contain laxatives, stimulants, sleeping pills or any other artificial form of “alternation” (or maybe just floss…floss is harmless). At the very least, there is (6) the toilet—a vehicle for evacuation, or countless hours spent wishing for such a, ahem…movement.

However, one must regard the bathroom as a place of comfort and not of temptation to nit-pick or obsesses over physical…stuff. We’ll move on.  

No Attachments—In the movie, it is advised not to get too attached to other people or things, as they are likely to slow you down. Similarly, with recovery from anything, you cannot be so attached to your routine and addictions that they slow you down and impede your recovery. In order for things to improve, you have to be willing to let go of the habits that grounded you where you are.

The Buddy System—But that doesn’t mean you can’t be attached to people. In the movie, you want someone watching your back, always on alert for the next attack. Similarly, those in recovery need to have someone they can talk and be accountable to. Going at it solo, listening only to what’s going on in your own head, is no smarter than trying to take on a mob of the undead alone.

When in doubt, know your way out—With zombies, nothing is worse than a poorly planned escape. Similarly, when you find yourself slipping back into unhealthy behaviors or questioning your motivations, know what you can do to find a way out. Nothing is worse than a poorly planned escape. 

Be Ruthless—Just as the weak and compassionate will not survive in the world of the undead, one cannot expect to make progress in recovery by giving in and giving up when things get tough. Things will be hard, things will be uncomfortable, things will suck. Be ruthless; show no mercy.

Enjoy the little things—Self explanatory in both Zombieland and Abbyland. Life is short—take time to appreciate the small things that make your heart happy. In actuality, they are in fact the big things.

What “rules” can you break for yourself?

and/or

What rules should you follow that you don’t?