Posted in Books, Music

OMG This Song Book Tag: Round 2

I’ve done this tag before, but Emer tagged me a second time and I DON’T WANT TO WORK ON MY DRAFT. Continue reading “OMG This Song Book Tag: Round 2”

Posted in Movies, Uncategorized

Lauren’s Top 10 Most Soothing Movies

All I want is a pint of Chubby Hubby and a soothing movie…

…and for my neighbor to stop blasting Canadian news into the corridor. I KNOW WHO YOU ARE, YOU RAP-BLASTING DOUCHE.

Happy New Year, I suppose.

A friend and I have been discussing “serious” vs. “fun” writing. Even for something like fanfiction, which is “fun,” I want to create a perfect jewel of character development and canon agreement that wins people over to my one true ship. Essentially, I suck the “fun” out of fanfiction before I even start.

I have a pile of “serious” blog posts in various states of completion and a backlog of poetry that I’m not sure is good, but what I want is to write a dumb one-off post about movies for no reason at all.

…okay, partly to distract from the Canadian onslaught.

Like with my favorite books, others wouldn’t find these movies soothing; many qualify as tragic with plots that should stress me out, but I love them all.

After waking up to Canadian news, surviving a bad work day, coming home to Canadian news, etc., I turn to these films.

  1. The Last Five Years
    I shouldn’t like this movie as much as I do (or so someone has informed me), seeing as I hate both Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan. Also, the movie deals with the dissolution of their marriage, which isn’t calming movie fare.
    But I dig it. I love how Cathy and Jamie’s storylines play in reverse. It’s like “Memento: The Musical,” which I would totally see. The music reminds me of “Fun Home” and “Dear Evan Hansen,” two other musicals I love; the straightforward monologues convey heartbreak and frustration well. (“Still Hurting” is on my breakup playlist.)
    It would be easy to say I watch this when I need a good cry (which I do), but it’s incredibly cathartic to watch someone else’s marriage implode through song. It makes me feel a lot better about the JERK IN APARTMENT 516.
  2. Center Stage
    Many of these movies I associate with college. My roommate Hannah introduced me to “Center Stage” during one of many movie nights in our dorm room. We might even have been watching this the night I fought with my boyfriend and he never called me back. My roommate bought me junk food and turned on “Center Stage” to cheer me up. That was a great night!
    This…is not a good movie. It’s an edgy teen dance drama from 2000 featuring Mandela from “10 Things I Hate About You” and dancers as actors. Pinocchio from “Once Upon a Time” plays Mandela’s love interest!! Zoe Saldana is in it! SO IS THE SANDY COHEN FROM “THE O.C.!”Everything about it is campy and wrong and ridiculous, but enough compelling moments sneak in to make me cry. And it’s worth it to ride out the hilarious 10-minute dance finale with the most impossible costume change in movie history. Pro tip: Watch this movie with a parent. My mom not only cried throughout, but screamed, “HER CAREER IS OVER!” after seeing the lead perform ballet in her underwear in the finale.
  3. Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
    My best friend from grade school acted out this entire movie for me during a sleepover. We became obsessed with this movie for YEARS.I quote every line. I giggle when I see Orlando Bloom. The piratey soundtrack speaks to my soul.I conveniently forget about the rest of Johnny Depp’s career for 2 hours and it. Is. GLORIOUS.
  4. Sense and Sensibility
    I’m not sure when I first saw this; I only know I told myself this movie understood my teenage heartbreak. My friend Kristine and I would cry about wanting Colonel Brandon to carry us five miles through the rain.
    It’s a really good movie, though. It might have sparked my desire to adapt Austen’s works, even though EMMA THOMPSON DID IT PERFECTLY.
  5. She’s the Man
    During my sophomore year of college, I would go to my friend Sydnie’s apartment once a week and watch movies for hours. This was one of our favorites.
    Something about this absurd, clumsy reworking of Twelfth Night cheers me up like nothing else. You couldn’t make this movie today (even though some still think joking about gender identity is hilarious), but I appreciate its (limited) take on gender roles. Yay, girls can be pretty and strong!Also, Vinnie Jones is in it? All of the actors’ terror when he’s on screen is real.
  6. Legally Blonde
    This was another Sydnie pick. I didn’t like it my first time watching it, but a professor of mine defended it during speech class, so I gave it another shot. It’s weirdly feminist and uplifting and is one of very few movies from the 2000s I enjoy.
  7. He’s Just Not That Into You
    Ginnifer Goodwin does a really bad job in this movie, Jennifer Connelly is weird, all the guys are gross, everyone is WEIRDLY okay with infidelity… I still watch it. All the time. As cliched as it is, this movie doesn’t shy away from the crappy parts of being single. The parts where the characters overanalyze speak to me. DOES HE LIKE ME OR NOT? ARE JUSTIN LONG AND THE GUY FROM ENTOURAGE MY ONLY OPTIONS? Also, “Wait a minute, why am I alone? Why am I unhappy? Why have I gained twenty pounds?”
  8. Begin Again
    Tonally I think this movie is perfect. If we checked off things that I love in movies, a. it’s set in New York, b. it’s a musical(ish), c. it has a bittersweet yet hopeful ending. The cast is great, the soundtrack is awesome, I LOVED when (spoilers) Keira Knightley left Adam Levine for messing with her song.
    I’m almost positive CeeLo Green calls himself “a chocolate gummy bear” in the film, but that might be too many SNL skits talking.
  9. La La Land
    Among my friends, it’s best not to talk about this movie unless you’re going to trash it, for completely valid reasons.
    I still love it.The first musical number makes me cry WITHOUT FAIL. It exactly embodies how I used to feel around other musicians; there’s a particular energy when everyone’s jamming and excited and I MISS THAT.
    Also, Emma Stone’s monologues kills me. I don’t make a living off my art, but creating hurts. It doesn’t HAVE to, but it can. I’m still getting rid of the inner critic that speaks in the voice of my former writing partner. I get how much it sucks to work hard and hope for success and think that nothing will come of these creative desires.
    The ending is sad and all, but I would leave Ryan Gosling behind to follow my dreams. Sebastian deserves it.
  10. About Time
    Stupid Domhnall Gleeson and his perfect face.The main character’s mom has this perfect line late in the movie when asked how she’s feeling: “I am fucking furious. I am so uninterested in a life without your father.” Which pretty well sums up grief and life in general for me.This movie makes the mundane seem miraculous. Epic love is replaced with quiet intimacy between a well-matched couple and I’m so fine with it.
    Is it weird that I want Domhnall Gleeson as my baby daddy? Is it?
Posted in Entertainment, Music, Theater

MAKE-YOU-CRY MONDAY: What I Did For Love

I’ve written before about A Chorus Line, its tear-producing powers, and the excellent documentary Every Little Step which chronicles the audition process for the show. I loved today’s song before watching the documentary, but the explanation behind the song gave it new meaning for me.

Toward the end of the musical, one of the characters sustains a career-ending injury. Everything he’s worked for becomes nothing in one second–the thing he loves doing most, he’ll never be able to do again.

In Every Little Step, Charlotte d’Amboise’s father has severe arthritis as a result of his dancing career and was told by doctors that he had to stop dancing lest he destroy his body. He, too, had to give up his favorite thing on earth.

Some of this song’s greatest lyrics:

  • We did what we had to do
  • The gift was ours to borrow
  • It’s as if we always knew
  • Kiss today goodbye and point me toward tomorrow

Every line in this song kills me–it’s about leaving great things behind, but looking forward to even better. All the dancers–both in the show and outside of it–think the pain and the loss were worth it because for a brief time they got to do what they loved. I thought about this song a lot during my senior year because it felt like I was giving up so much. I like this song because while it acknowledges the pain of loss, it has hope for the future.

This is only part of the song, but I got to see this cast live and wouldn’t dream of posting another version:

You go, Morales.

Need cheering up?
Settle in, girls, it’s story time!:
This song was playing once when I gave my friend a ride home. Before getting out of the car, she told me, “I really like your Christmas CD,” forever giving me reason to play this at Christmas instead of Manheim Steamroller.

Posted in Entertainment

MAKE-YOU-CRY MONDAY: A Chorus Line

A Chorus Line is my mom’s favorite musical. Though it’s not my favorite musical, I have a soft spot for it because of her and because of its story.

If you’ve never seen A Chorus Line, go see it live or get your hands on a recorded performance. Don’t waste your time on the 1985 movie. “Let Me Dance for You” has nothing on “The Music and the Mirror” and never will.

If either of those options is hard to come by, the next best thing is 2008’s Every Little Step, a documentary chronicling the audition process for the musical’s 2006 revival. Viewers meet dancers across the country, experience the hope, despair, optimism, and determination of professional dancers, and get background information on the musical, its development, and its creator, Michael Bennett.

Though A Chorus Line  is a musical with plenty to cry about, Paul’s monologue tends to be the emotional zenith of the show. In Every Little Step, the director and others claimed Paul was the most difficult character to cast. Just before this clip, there was a montage of prospective Pauls who were all wrong for the part.

And then Jason Tam.

I watched this documentary with my parents in 2011. My mom went upstairs to do something and missed this scene. She came back to find my dad and I sobbing. In the tiniest voices you’ve ever heard, my dad and I told her, “You have to watch it.” We replayed the scene and my dad and I started crying again.

I hate you, Jason Tam. I love you, Jason Tam.

Need cheering up?
This clip is from a traveling production of A Chorus Line that I saw at the 5th Avenue Theater last September. “Dance Ten, Looks Three” is the musical’s funniest song, and Taryn Darr easily shows up Jessica Lee Goldyn. Yeah, I said it.

Fun fact: In Every Little Step, actress Chryssie Whitehead auditions for the role of Kristine. I saw her in last year’s production as Cassie. Watching her was the closest I’ve ever been to meeting a celebrity.