Archive for the ‘movies’ Category

XGames 3D: The Movie

August 26, 2009

Due to my ever increasing anxiety about my graduate career, I took sometime out last night to go see this movie. I have got to tell you, I watched XGames 14. The Summer Games, the Winter Games, it doesn’t matter when it comes to Action Sports, I’m stuck to the television. When I knew that this movie would only be in theatres for a week, I made it an imperative to go see it.

Shocked I was that I was the only one in the movie theater. Yes folks, I was it. I was also running about 10 minutes late, so missed the first part of the movie, which although I was slightly upset about, the rest of the movie did justice to me missing a small part of it. For the few steady readers I have of this blog, ya’ll know that I’ve been on crutches for a long time and the reason why I titled this blog what I did was largely because it’s the one place where I can sit down and be the skater, snowboarder, and surfer…even though I can’t do any of those things.

The clip expresses a good point that I think is imperative as to why the movie had such an impact on me despite seeing the footage already. These guys, from Travis Pastrana to Tony Hawk, Ryan Loza, Danny Way, Bob Bernquist, they all do the same thing, they say, “What if” the right way. What if you land it, do it, accomplish it. That failure isn’t a terrible thing. You get hurt, fine…get hurt. You get up, you brush yourself off, get the elbow, back, leg fixed and go back the next day and are ready for more.

I think in this graduate school journey, I’ve lost some of that. I have lost some of my don’t give a shit attitude. That failure is just an opportunity to learn more. I think what was so exciting about watching Ricky Carmichael in MotoX Step Up, was one thing that both him and Bob Bernquist said, “If you want something, and love it, there’s a push to go after it. Try it, practice it, there’s no can’t. Do it over and over and work damn hard at it. Don’t just expect it to come to you.”

I wonder so often if I am so used to having stuff just come to me. I did it through college, through high school. Now I’ve been presented with a challenge that I have never faced before, that no one I know in the true sense of knowing has ever experienced. I have allowed part of myself to be lost. I hate that. I get so frustrated that I have let one man control my entire existence. It’s annoying, not to mention stupid from someone who is far more hard headed than that.

Now all I have to do is figure out how to get back to where I was before I failed that test. Before I expected it to just “happen” and for the etherial “them” to just give me the PhD.

I want it back dammit.

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Empire Records ~ Perfect Cure for the Angsty Wannabe Graduate Student

August 14, 2009

Had to add this in tonight because after having a terribly angsty day it was a great time to know that I could just sit back and watch Empire Records on Fuse. I will admit that I’m paying the extra $3 a month but still. I’ve been so out of it recently with things going wrong at work, trying to plan a wedding, etc.

I will never forget feeling like I was Renee Zellweger in that movie (one of her first!) or Liv Tyler, or the chickie that played Debra. I will never forget thinking at how great it would be to work in a record store, and how interesting it was to listen to music all day long. This movie for me made it okay to listen to Lush, Elastica, Blur, and the Cure. My friends on #altmusic knew that. I would have never sought them out had it not been movies like this, and Heathers. When somehow it was acceptable to not be in a group and know a lot of people with a few really close friends as opposed to liking “everyone”. It was interesting, tonight I realized that “Joe” in the movie is probably my age…

So, go check it out. Empire Records.

Bueller? Bueller? Rest In Peace John Hughes

August 7, 2009

After reading We’ll Know When We Get There this morning my heart and eyeballs filled with tears again with the loss of John Hughes yesterday.

Now, I know that my blog isn’t followed extensively, part of which I’m fairly grateful for. No one understands sometimes that a part of the reason why science is so exciting is that it’s such a good thing to hide behind. The knowledge of chemistry, physics, and biology is something that such a select few have that it’s one of those things that if you don’t want to tell people something…just tell them what you do.

The movies that John Hughes made are the type that you will sit and watch whether it’s 3am or 11 in the morning. Some Kind of Wonderful, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller, Weird Science, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Mr. Mom, She’s Having a Baby, I could go on and on. Those places, the feelings, the actions, it made you almost want to move to Chicago because at least it wouldn’t suck as bad as your home life did. He was the first of a long line of writers and producers that instead of curtailing the line between adults and teens and instead…merging it.

They keep saying in the news reports that he spoke for the “generation of teen angst” in a way that no one else ever did. I have always considered that I act younger than I am. I’ll admit that, it’s a factor of me being in school in my early 30’s, being sick so often throughout my childhood and teen years, and being sick again in college. However, with that being said, it’s interesting how so often my counterparts often miss the true meaning of what it was like to grow up in the late 80s and early 90s. They don’t know what it was like watching Voltron till you were in your teens and having it adulterated into the craptastic Power Rangers. Not even my fiancee who is 4 years my junior quite gets it.

My heart sunk and ached and still does for the loss of a brilliant writer, director, actor and producer. More than it ever did for Paul Newman, because it wasn’t like he was so detached. You felt like you were a part of John Hughes life. His family, his ideas, his home.

He will be terribly missed, by the people that knew him, loved him, and cherished his work.

I could ramble on and on…

March 30, 2009

So, it’s been about two or some odd weeks before I had a chance to sit down and throw some info down here about what’s been going on. I’ve been super busy and it doesn’t look to finish anytime soon, but I figured that I would throw some information up and let the cards fall where they may.
Speaking of cards…X-Men Origins: Wolverine is due out May 1st, and although I have always been a fan of the X-Men series, I’m SUPER excited that my favorite mutant, Gambit is coming out to play for the 1st time in the X-Men movies. It actually is going to be good next couple weeks for movies. The original cast is back for Fast and Furious and from what I’ve heard of the soundtrack I’m blissfully happy about it. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, the cars…man the cars alone would have me waiting for tickets for this movie. State of Play also looks like it’s going to be a thrilling movie. Of course this summer we’re also waiting on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince for which of course I’m grateful and can’t WAIT to see. I saw Watchmen when I was in Chicago for my conference and I’ve got to say that seeing things in the IMAX is the way to see a movie, ESPECIALLY a movie like that. It was good but if you’re anticipating a movie that is a normal super hero movie, you will be grossly disappointed.

Life as a graduate student will hopefully mellow out slightly in June. So, when I initially took my comprehensive exam in August last year, I didn’t pass all of the exam. I passed some but not all. So, I have taken WAY too long to deal with this, and now I have one more exam to take, as I took my 4th (out of 5) on Friday. So, if the exam I took on Friday comes out, I’ll take this last exam. To say I’m nervous is an understatement. I’m tired of doing these tests though. It will be nice one way to come out in the wash.

I have had a hard time with people as of recent. I think it’s hard for me to read people, and I try really hard not to let people hurt my feelings, and in the meantime, hurt others. I don’t like that. I don’t like thinking that about people. But, here’s the thing. If I’m calling you on something, one of two things is happening. Either 1. You did it, and you don’t like being called out. or 2. I genuinely hurt your feelings. But, I’ve got to ask the few readers I have out there…if I legit apologize, isn’t that enough? I figure that I’m not the type to hold grudges, I have a tendency to either forget about it, or just to write you off. I will admit it, it’s either one or the other for me. But, if you legit apologize, that I’ll take what you said, say okay we’re cool and move on.

Why is it that no one thinks the way I do? *sigh* Maybe it’s just me.

Oh, and a last bit news bit here. The Mt. Dew Action Sports Tour announced their new dates for the 2009 tour, and I just have to air my disappointment here. As a skateboarding fan, I was blissfully happy that the Dew Tour will make a stop in Grant Park in Chicago…conveniently to boyfriend’s house right? Too bad it’s not going to be the skateboarders!!! It’s not going to be any skateboarding in the 2nd city…no no…they’re going to Boston.

What’s going on people???? I recognize that the boarding community got screwed here in Baltimore for the beloved Orioles that haven’t gotten out of the basement of the AL east in a long time, but I mean hey…at least if you’re going to build a park, you’re going to build a half-pipe, throw the event all at the same time please????

Do You Speak Prada? Confessions of a Shopaholic Movie Review

February 11, 2009

My name is Melinda, and I’m well, I’m…a shopaholic.

Yes folks, when I went to New York, people want to see the sites: Ground Zero, Radio City, Rockefeller Plaza…me…I wanted to see Baby Phat, Betsey Johnson, Ralph Lauren, and Calvin Klein. While others go to Paris to see the Orsay, I went to Paris to see the Champs Elysees. I didn’t care that the Louvre was closed I saw Saint Honoré. So, when Confessions of a Shopaholic was coming out in the theaters, I was first in line.

Now wait, I know what you’re thinking: It’s not out till Friday, what’s going on? I stopped into my favorite boutique here in Baltimore, the Funky Beehive and low and behold they were giving away passes to a sneak preview and had 15% off EVERYTHING in the store! Score! So off we went last night to see it a couple days early to boot!

I remember my first realization I was a shopaholic. As I was watching Rebecca go through the motions of being the daughter of a thrift store lover, I must admit that it brought me back to the day of being in Crate and Barrel with my sister. I had fluffed off home furnishing for close to 24 years, and now I had been faced by the cutest dang on dishes that had ever graced the shelves in 30 states. Not unlike Rebecca with her “magic cards” it was a must have purchase. It didn’t matter whether I had the money or not. I knew enough to know that they would cancel the pattern and needed to strike while the iron was hot.

I can feel for Rebecca, sometimes your eyes just glaze over, and you shop. She shopped herself to a $9,000 credit card bill. In a fit of tequila flavored frenzy, her and her best pal Suze, decide that they are going to send the albeit attractive editor of Successful Saving a $20 to get new clothes, and the editor of Allete Magazine a sample of her writing because Rebecca is destined to write for the elite fashion magazine. Well, one thing leads to another and Successful Saving is where Rebecca ends up.

As she progresses through her writing for the magazine under a pseudonym, the magazine flourishes. Her debt collectors don’t quite disappear into the dust though. As her shopping addiction increases, so do the phone calls finally leading to a climax. That’s about all I can give you from here. Based on the best selling books, Confessions of a Shopaholic and Shopaholic Takes Manhattan this movie stars: Isla Fisher as Rebecca Bloomwood, Hugh Dancy as the attractive editor Luke Brandon, and Krysten Ritter as Suze.

There are some very successful cameo appearances including Joan Cusack as Rebecca’s mom, and John Goodman as Rebecca’s dad. John Lithgow shows up as the owner of Dante West, and Lynn Redgrave even shows her face in a comedic performance that I haven’t seen in a while from her. This movie is light hearted, funny, endearing, and speaks Prada, Versace, and Gucci. For the Shopaholic readers, I must admit there are huge parts of the book that are missing, but will leave it up to you to go see it.

I firmly rate this: Full ticket price.

I Watch so you don’t have to ~ A Frost/Nixon Review

January 27, 2009

This movie starred Frank Langella, Michael Sheen, Sam Rockwell (one of my favorites btw), Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon. It was directed by Ron Howard. It is apparently based off a stage play of the same name that had actually won a Tony Award.

Peter Morgan who also wrote the play paints the picture of the legendary battle between David Frost, a defunct Australian TV show host looking to get back to London and get back to working in the US. It was interesting, after 3 years of staying silent, the president decides that he needs to finally get it all straight to the American public as to what really happened in his time in office. Frost offers the right price ($600,000) and in an effort not to do a “fluff” piece he hires a staff of crack researchers and journalists including Bob Zelnick (Platt) and James Reston Jr (Rockwell). Don’t fool yourself into thinking that Nixon didn’t do the same thing…he had Diane Sawyer and Frank Gannon.

I can tell why Langella is up for Best Actor. He portrays the president as a man who’s lost in retirement. You feel as if he’s only a step away from falling into alcoholism, depression, a combination of both. Sheen did a fantastic job as well showing how lost Frost was in trying to challenge the mundane activities of the everyday journalist to make an exciting and worthwhile interview. Howard puts together a picture that goes along with a great story. It’s a picture portrait of Nixon as a frail man and a damaged man that was a bit too paranoid for the presidency.

Let it be said I was really excited for this movie.

And nearly fell asleep in it. This movie is really slow. It also didn’t help that imagine yourself getting to the point…Nixon is going to admit wrong doing in the coverup of the Watergate scandal…and the lights come up in the theater and the strobe lights start going. Yes, we got caught in a fire alarm at the movie theater. Just say no to burnt popcorn.

This movie was well done, well written, and well directed. Do I think that it will win Best Picture? I don’t think so. But, I’ve been wrong a lot. I think that Slumdog Millionaire is well on it’s way. But, that’s just me. I think that Howard had it right though, releasing it to the rest of the country when he did. Right after the inauguration it showed people that it was about maybe this is correlated to Bush, maybe not. It showed a lot of correlation that made Nixon and Bush look like the same guy. Howard said that he didn’t do it on purpose…but you’re supposed to say that in public right?

In my growing scale of popcorn, I’d give it a matinee price. It’s worth the matinee, but that’s about it. Oh, and bring your own candy.

Shielding a Daughter, and a Cause of Death

February 7, 2008

As aggravated as I was after the death of Heath Ledger, I must admit that there was an interesting situation with his tox report. Yes, doctors from the New York Medical Examiners office came out yesterday and said that Heath passed away from an acute overdose of oxycodone (oxycontin), hydrocodone (percocet), diazepam (valium), temazepam (anti-anxiety), and alprazolam (xanax), and doxylamine. Essentially let’s spell this out for you guys that might not understand the pharmaceutical jargon.

He was found face down on his bed. He took enough medication that his brain didn’t tell his lungs to take in air. Along with that, there was also the fact that the friction between him and his pillow, he was done for. The doctors that gave him those medications, should be ashamed of themselves. It wasn’t about drug abuse folks. It was that he was sick, had a respiratory infection, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t relax, and was in an enormous amount of pain. I guess relaxation after making it as big as he was, didn’t really come into play. Who knows, what do I know. Maybe it was an addiction that he was battling, but I find that hard to believe. Apparently, Michelle Williams (of Dawson’s Creek fame) has told their daughter that Daddy went away.

My heart hurts for her. My heart hurts for the knowledge that little girl won’t have a father due to the ignorance of doctors that won’t pay enough attention to know not to diagnose all of those drugs together. *ugh* We don’t know. As patients we have blind allegiance to making sure that we take what the doctor says and do it at a certain time to make sure that we know. ALWAYS ASK IF DRUGS SHOULD BE COMBINED!!!!! The DEA is investigating the death. Apparently it’s fairly routine.  I’ll be interested in finding out what they find.

It’s sad.

Thoughts, My Sister, and the Runaway Bride

January 21, 2008

You know, I will admit that there are times that my sister,Kara that I often wonder about her and I.  I had one of those thoughts tonight as I was sitting there watching the two sisters Maggie and Peggy talking in the runaway bride. “Like those married women that have lost all their mystery.” “You have a lot of mystery.” “I’m not mysterious, I’m weird, weird is different than mysterious.” “Well, I’m weird,” “Maggie, you are not weird, you’re quirky.”

There were times that I missed those talks. It’s as if sometimes I’m running one way, and she’s running the other. Often times, when we get together, I do spend a good amount of time running after her two boys. And, you know gods honest truth, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  However, I must admit a bit of sadness does hit when  I get home and I realize that I didn’t say much more to her than hi. Now, she’s never been as vocal as I am, and she’s always been a lot more private than I ever have been (perhaps that’s my problem more than hers 🙂 that sometimes I just get upset that I hope that it isn’t that there’s nothing to say.

I will say though it has gotten a bit more interesting. As things have gotten a bit more stressful in their home lives, Kara has been more prone to call me, and  let me know what’s going on with her.  I think that her in-laws put a lot of strain on her and her husband’s relationship,  unfortunately so.  But, I hope that she knows that it’s just her and me.

That through hardships in marriages, through wondering if marriage will ever come (for me, not her), my struggle with wanting children, my struggles through my health, even though we rarely talk about it…it’s just me and her.

I feel bad sometimes for bf. He is such a wonderful man, and I truly believe that his sister has lost out. Lost out on knowing him, lost out on knowing how much fun he truly can be. How he makes me laugh, and how he truly cares, she doesn’t know, because neither of them like each other. Although, prejudicially speaking I must admit that I don’t care for her either.  It’s not that they don’t like each other, I think they do, I just think they don’t care, and for me that’s worse.

One last note, you can tell that I’m getting knee deep in graduate work, because I’m going in tomorrow, on a national holiday.  *urgh*

Dogtown and the Z-Boys~ A Movie Review

January 17, 2008

Have you ever wondered where that front side air came from? Why people went from the surf to the land? Then “Dogtown and the Z-Boys” is a movie that should be added to your must see list. Directed by Stacy Peralta, one of the original Z-Boys, the chronology of the section of South Santa Monica, bordering Venice, named Dogtown; it is one step from the Jeff Ho/Zephyr shop to professional skate teams like the Bones Brigade.
Guys like Stacy Peralta, Tony Alva, and Jay Adams were the guys that brought us the front slide and the front side air, the nosegrab, and would lend their talents to the beginning of vertical skating.

Peralta takes you from the days of Pacific Ocean Park Pier, where the true amusement started, and when it was closed, it was interesting to watch through how he talked to the entire team, not just Adams, Cullen, Peralta, and Alva, the guys that made the script for the “Lords of Dogtown”. What is interesting about this documentary is that he offers a true look into the change of skateboarding being a novelty thing, and ending into the culture that it now is today. The reason why guys like Ryan Scheckler, Rob Dyrdek, and Bob Berquist are stars in their sport is because Alva, Peralta, and Adams were sneaking into Bel Air pools in the drought of 1975.

It was the incorporation of why and how skateboarding emerged from the “Bert” created for the fantastic moves that Larry Bertlemann made in the ocean, these boys made on land. These boys were skating down asphalt and concrete alleys that were behind schools that were banked into canyons, just seeing stuff that no one would have ever seen before. The relative change between urethane wheels and the piece of crap clay ones, revolutionized things, and allowed the Z-Boys and girls to surf during the morning and skateboard for the rest of the day.

What Jeff Ho, Craig Stecyk, and Skip Englebom opened their shop, it allowed these kids, often from broken homes, to really have a home. Skip Englebom and Jeff Ho were more like fathers to kids that never knew what and often who their fathers were. When Skateboarder Magazine brought forth their second issue, Craig Stecyk’s Dogtown articles spun the skateboarding community on their heels.

This documentary also shows how quickly the success of the Zephyr competition team, was also their downfall. Various different Z-Boys went on to have extremely successful competitive careers with G & S, Element, and starting their own skateboard companies. By the time that Peralta was in his late teens, he had already seen the world a couple of times. Meanwhile, Tony Alva, definitely the Superman of the Z-Boys, gave it all up at 19 and started his own company, Alva Skates. Walking away from major marketing and sponsorship deals, Tony Alva still works and operates Alva Skates to this day. He can still be seen skating behind some shops, if given the right opportunity. He has appeared in countless movies, including the movie that came out of this documentary, the Lords of Dogtown. He was also featured in Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland. Tony Alva will soon turn 50…if you can believe it.

Stacy Peralta is a filmmaker, and still skates to this day. He was the originator of the Bones Brigade, which competed under the Powell Peralta banner. The Bones brought us skaters such as Bucky Lasek (a local favorite from here in Baltimore), Steve Caballero, Colin McKay, Ray Rodriguez, Mike Vallely, and perhaps the most famous, Tony Hawk himself. This was the group that brought vert skating to the forefront, the ones that took what the Z-Boys did, and brought it to a new height…literally.

Jay Adams, who was considered by Stecyk as the “natural seed”, is now serving time in a Hawaii state penitentiary for drug and alcohol charges. His regrets include leaving school…and perhaps not taking the skateboarding as seriously as he should have. The character of Iggy Van Zant in Tony Hawk’s American Wasteland was fashioned after Adams. Jim Muir, Wes Humpston, and Bob Biniak now run Dogtown Skateboards, keeping the dream of Dogtown alive. Peggy Oki, the first Z-girl, the first Women’s Champion at the Del Mar Nationals, is now an artist and can be seen at www.peggy-oki.com. She still surfs and skates.

Skip Englebom, the co-founder of Jeff Ho and the Zephyr productions, can be found in Hawaii, still surfing and now fashions custom skate and surf boards. Glen Friedman and Craig Stecyk can still be found in Southern California, often making films just like Stacy Peralta.

This movie gives a brief step, a brief glimpse into the history that brought skateboarding from a landlocked novelty act, and moved it into the counter culture artistry icon that it is today. There is a reason why skateboarding is a multi-million dollar industry, and it started in Southern California…and part of that start…was the Zephyr Competition Team. This is a documentary that shows from one end to the other, the true meaning and history that is skateboarding.

Special thanks to Thrasher Magazine, Juice Magazine, IMDB, Dogtown Skateboards, and Wikipedia for research for writing this article.

They can found at:

Thrasher Magazine
Juice Magazine
Dogtown Skateboards

I figure those of you that read this can find IMDB and Wikipedia on your own. 🙂