Gone Girl

2015 Golden Globe Predictions — Film

Awards season is really one of the best times of the year. I try to stay as up-to-date with seeing buzzworthy films as possible, but it’s been a bit more difficult this year. Anyway, I’m going to give a quick rundown of how I imagine (or hope) things will turn out this Sunday night.

Best Motion Picture – Drama

  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything

I’m assuming that this category will undoubtedly go to Boyhood, for good reason. I’ve only seen two films on this list (Boyhood and Foxcatcher), but Boyhood has been one of the most talked-about films since premiering almost a year ago at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy

  • Birdman
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Into The Woods
  • Pride
  • St. Vincent

This isn’t even really a question: Birdman will and should win. Into The Woods was plenty of fun, as was The Grand Budapest Hotel (though I can’t speak to the others), I don’t think there’s much of a contest in this category, even if Birdman isn’t entirely a comedy.

Best Director

  • Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Ava DuVernay, Selma
  • David Fincher, Gone Girl
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman
  • Richard Linklater, Boyhood

I’m sure this is a competition between Linklater and Iñárritu, but I’m not sure who is most likely to win. I’d have to say I’d give the edge to Richard Linklater here because of the breadth of Boyhood that is rather astounding.

Best Actress – Drama

  • Jennifer Aniston, Cake
  • Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
  • Julianne Moore, Still Alice
  • Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
  • Reese Witherspoon, Wild

Personally, I see this as one of the more interesting categories this year. Since “Friends” is my favorite TV show of all time, I’d love to see Jennifer Aniston win. Rosamund Pike and Reese Witherspoon both gave great performances, but between them, I’d prefer to see Pike win in this role that is undoubtedly going to change her career. Despite all that, I assume Julianne Moore will win, and though I’ve not seen the movie, I don’t doubt that she’s deserving. Moore has been around and nominated a million times, but rarely wins, so I’d be happy for her.

Best Actor – Drama

  • Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
  • Jake Gyllenhaal, Nightcrawler
  • David Oyelowo, Selma
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything

Another difficult category. Since the only movie I’ve seen from this list is Foxcatcher, I’m rather ill-informed. While I think Carell was a frontrunner in the past, I’m sad that that fact doesn’t seem as true anymore. Eddie Redmayne has had tons of praise for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking, and Selma has certainly risen in the ranks, so right now, I think either Eddie Redmayne or David Oyelowo is mostly likely to win.

Best Actress – Musical or Comedy

  • Amy Adams, Big Eyes
  • Emily Blunt, Into The Woods
  • Helen Mirren, The Hundred Foot Journey
  • Julianne Moore, Maps to the Stars
  • Quvenzhane Wallis, Annie

Again, I’ve only seen one performance from this category, but I really hope it’s the winning one. Since Big Eyes was a bit of a flop, I think Emily Blunt is probably the (deserved) frontrunner here. She’s great in Into The Woods and I’d love to see her win. (Side note: the fact that Quvenzhane Wallis is even nominated is a joke. Could they seriously not think of a fifth person?)

Best Actor – Musical or Comedy

  • Ralph Fiennes, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Michael Keaton, Birdman
  • Bill Murray, St. Vincent
  • Joaquin Phoenix, Inherent Vice
  • Christoph Waltz, Big Eyes

I think of all the film categories at the Golden Globes, the predicted winner here is most obvious. Though Birdman isn’t a conventional comedy (though I don’t think it’s really alone in that sense), Michael Keaton gives a fantastic performance that deserves to be rewarded.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
  • Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
  • Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
  • Emma Stone, Birdman
  • Meryl Streep, Into The Woods

I really like the people in this category! I’ve seen three of these performances, but I’m still really unsure of who will win. I know Jessica Chastain has received lots of buzz for this performance, but it’s also the only thing I’ve heard about this movie, so I don’t know that she’ll win. Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke gave the best acting performances in Boyhood, so her nomination is deserved. Keira Knightley is lovely, and though I’ve not seen The Imitation Game, I’m sure she’s wonderful. Emma Stone is great in Birdman, though her role isn’t giant. and Meryl Streep can do anything, so of course she’s nominated. Right now, my hunch is that either Patricia Arquette or Emma Stone will win, but I could be totally wrong. We’ll see.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Robert Duvall, The Judge
  • Ethan Hawke, Boyhood
  • Edward Norton, Birdman
  • Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher
  • J. K. Simmons, Whiplash

Finally, a category about which I feel informed! The only performance I haven’t seen from this category is Robert Duvall’s, but there’s no way he’ll win, so I feel fine about that. Mark Ruffalo is great in Foxcatcher (because he’s great in everything), but the bulk of the movie relies on Steve Carell and Channing Tatum, so I don’t think he’s likely to win. Ethan Hawke was my favorite part of Boyhood and a viable candidate. Edward Norton is fantastically obnoxious in Birdman, but my heart and soul pines for J.K. Simmons to win. I saw Whiplash almost a year ago and have been hoping for the movie to win awards since then, and I think he’s the most likely candidate to win.

Best Screenplay

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Birdman
  • Gone Girl
  • Boyhood
  • The Imitation Game

Since the Golden Globes don’t separate adapted and original screenplays, this category seems a bit odd. As far as I’m concerned, Gone Girl and Birdman will take those respective categories at the Oscars, but when in competition with each other, I’d give Birdman the edge here.

 

Advertisements

November.

IMG_0686

IMG_0665

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Though November is pretty much my favorite month of the year, it’s also an undoubtedly busy time. I’m eleven weeks into the semester, which means that things are generally winding down, but also that finals and exams and presentations and papers are all happening. This is really the first time I’ve been behind in any classes, which is a pretty good accomplishment (and probably a reason why I shouldn’t be sitting here writing this instead of reading Hamlet). Sometimes you just need a break.

 

TV  — Thankfully, I’ve still managed to keep up with my pop culture fun to a certain extent. On Monday, I finished my viewing of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” because Netflix was kind enough to add the ninth season just a few days after I finished season 8. I thoroughly enjoyed myself watching thisshow, and I’m very excited FX is already showing a preview for next season.

korWcu_8uzM.market_maxres

MV5BNjMwOTM5OTgzMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNTQ4OTM1MjE@._V1_SX214_AL_

As for my other TV viewing habits, I’m just trying to keep up with the influx of fall shows. I’ve only added two new shows to my schedule this season: ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder” and The CW’s “Jane the Virgin.” “How to Get Away with Murder” provides the same melodramatic fun that I love about “Scandal,” and “Jane the Virgin” is adorable and funny and totally worth watching. I’m also keeping up with returning shows like “American Horror Story: Freak Show,” “Scandal,” “Bob’s Burgers,” “Reign,” and “America’s Next Top Model.” I’m waiting until Thanksgiving/Christmas break to binge the new season of “Homeland” with my mom. We’ve seen the first two episodes, but decided it would be easier to wait than to try to catch up little by little, so don’t spoil things, please!

Movies — As of yesterday, I’ve completed my goal of watching 125 new movies in 2014! I haven’t seen many in theaters recently, apart from Gone Girlwhich you really all should have seen by now because it’s wonderful. I’m definitely looking forward to the onslaught of awards season movies that are starting to roll out now; I’m specifically excited for Birdman, Nightcrawler, The Imitation Game, Foxcatcher, Wild, Into the Woods, and seeing Whiplash again. As for the movies I have seen recently, some favorites have included Obvious Child, In A World…, and Scream 1, 2, and 3. Netflix doesn’t have Scream 4 right now, which is fairly frustrating. I also had the distinct pleasure of watching the notoriously bad Showgirls recently which was certainly an experience.

Books — Most of my reading has been focused on completing my reading assignments for class, which is pretty understandable considering I’m in an English Master’s program. My biggest projects there have been Hamlet (which I’m behind on) and Antony and Cleopatra (which our professor removed from the reading list, but since I’m already three acts in, I want to finish it). I’m also working away at reading lots of Edgar Allan Poe short stories since I have a class specifically dedicated to Poe. For my final class, most of my reading has been from a very helpful book called Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide that goes in-depth on various critical theories used to analyze literature. It’s great for lit nerds, not so great for the casual reader.

For my own funIMG_0667.JPG reading, I’ve only done three noteworthy reading projects of late, but all of them are worth mentioning. Early in October I bought and read Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, which I enjoyed (if you’re interested, I’m on Dunham’s side in this “sexual abuse” situation, but I also don’t want to start a debate). Though it wasn’t my favorite read ever, there were many laugh-out-loud moments and I thought it was a very true representation of what Dunham has always claimed to be. I also read Samuel Beckett’s Waiting For Godot in October in my quest to read all the important drama literature. The play is frustrating and sad, like lots of those written in the absurd style. Currently, I’m reading Amy Poehler’s Yes Pleasewhich is of course entertaining and funny. I expect to finish it this weekend, so look out for a post with my review.IMG_0683.JPG

And to cap it all off, Taylor Swift’s newest album, 1989, was released last week, meaning that I won’t really be listening to any other music until at least January. My favorite songs at the moment are “Blank Space,” “Style,” and “I Wish You Would.” But I basically adore the entire album because Taylor is a goddess and I’ve worshiped her for six years.

Now, back to the real world. It’s the weekend and after spending the afternoon at our homecoming football game, I know I should be thinking about completing the homework that’s been accumulating on my to do list. Right now, though, the idea of curling up in a blanket on the couch watching movies for the rest of the night sounds so, so much better. A girl can dream, I guess.

 

 

 

 

 

Homework and pumpkin candles — I guess that means it’s fall

It’s a bit hard to believe we’re already nearing the end of September. Unfortunately, this time of year is when homework and classes always seem to shift into high gear, a truth that is taking shape in my life these days. In fact, writing this is my reward for power reading through a big chunk of Moby-Dick, half of which I have to have read by tomorrow evening. Let’s just say that there are several more hours of reading ahead of me before that’s crossed off my to do list.

My life generally has been pretty good, as of late; for the most part, I’m staying on top of my homework and work load, and I still have some time to do fun things. The first hints of fall are in the air, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve been burning fall-scented candles all weekend, and I bought my first Reese’s pumpkins on Friday. Tis the season, and all that jazz.

Here’s a quick overview of what I’ve been reading and watching lately. If fall isn’t the best time to cuddle up to watch movies and read, then I don’t know what is (just kidding, I do this all year).

TV — Despite having lots of homework this weekend, I managed to squeeze in some quality TV-aydnwatching time. Friday night, I watched the first season of “A Young Doctor’s Notebook,” a quirky dark comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe and Jon Hamm as the titular Young Doctor (Radcliffe plays the younger version. Hamm the older) in early 20th century Russia. It’s a very strange little show, but highly entertaining, and sometimes sad. The first season is on Netflix for anyone who’s interested, and it only lasts about 80 minutes in total, so give it a watch! I’m waiting to start season 2 until I can watch it with my mom, but I’m excited to see what the new season brings.

Sunny

I’ve also started watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” a show that comes highly recommended from several of my friends. As I write, I’m just starting season 2, so I feel like I’m accomplishing a lot (even though I’m really only on the eighth episode). I’m excited to get into season 2 since Danny Devito joins the cast. My goal is to finish season 2 by the end of this week, so I’m hoping I can find some moments of free time to devote to watching TV, rather than reading about whales.

OutlanderLast on my TV radar is “Outlander,” which I’ve been thoroughly enjoying since it premiered last month. The fact that there’s only one episode left before the midseason hiatus begins is very upsetting to me and I don’t want to talk about it. Last night’s episode (“The Wedding”) provided the long anticipated marriage between Claire and Jamie, and let’s just say that I was more than happy with the outcome. In fact, I don’t really see why Claire is still so conflicted over her time travel problem; as far as I’m concerned, the choice between staying with Jamie or trying to get back to Frank is a no brainer (I mean, have you seen Sam Heughan?). I don’t think many people are watching “Outlander,” but I am happy to recommend it to anyone looking for a new TV project. Plus, I like having people to talk about TV with, so join me!

Books — Like I mentioned, I’m spending lots of time reading Moby-Dick these days. I’ve got about 120 pages to make it through before my class tomorrow night, so hopefully I’ll make a big dent in that before the end of the day. The second half of the book (which thankfully is a slightly shorter reading assignment) is due next week, so I’m planning to be a bit better and not procrastinate all my reading to the day or two before the assignment is due.

My next reading assignment for my Shakespeare class is Much Ado About Nothing, which I (unintentionally) started and finished Friday afternoon. I saw the play at the Globe Theatre while visiting London in 2011, which definitely helped me understand the plot of the play. I’ll be watching Joss Whedon’s recent film adaptation of the play in class Tuesday, so I’m excited to see how it differs from the written play.

As long as I can keep afloat this week (amidst reading, a presentation, a conference, and meetings), life should go back to normal for a week or two. In fact, next week is my fall break, a very welcome opportunity to relax for a day or two. The best news is that by the time I’m on fall break, Gone Girl will be in theaters, and that just might be the highlight of the month of October (at least I hope so).

Now, back to work. Enjoy your Sunday, everyone!

Summer Entertainment Update

Since I’m in this weird in-between time of having graduated but not started the next phase of my life (a.k.a grad school), I’ve had a lot of free time on my hands. Since I have a degree in Pop Culture Studies, however, it’s not too difficult for me to find ways to occupy my time; there are plenty of books and movies and TV shows to keep me quite busy. I posted a similar entry like this recently, but enough has changed that I thought it would be fun to update again. Here we go!

TV — I have been on a roll of TV binge-watching. Since my last post, I’ve started and completed two separate series, and almost completed a full season of another show. My first TV project was Enlightened, the HBO dramedy that ran from 2011-2013 and starred Laura Dern. I enjoyed the show to an extent, but it really doesn’t surprise me that the show was canceled. Laura Dern gives a fantastic performance as the narcissistic do-gooder Amy, but the show in general felt a bit confused at times. The pacing is rather slow, and I often found the voice over narration to be  annoying and slightly incompatible with the reality of Amy’s character. The three episodes of the show’s eighteen that follow three of the supporting characters were also pretty annoying in my opinion, though I did enjoy getting Tyler’s (Mike White, who also co-created the show and wrote/directed most of the episodes) back story. I felt like the concept of the show was good, but it wasn’t entirely flushed out.

As of just a few minutes ago, I also finished Showtime’s Penny Dreadfulan show that takes an interesting approach to representing a combination of the supernatural and famous literary figures. Among the show’s primary characters are Oscar Wilde’s Dorian Gray, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and his Monster, and a version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, though this is more obvious in the characters of Mina and Van Helsing. I really enjoyed the first two episodes of the series, but it definitely had its ups and downs overall. Personally, I dislike Frankenstein’s character (I also kind of hate the novel), so I didn’t find his story very interesting. Like Enlightened, the plot moves rather slowly at times, and overall, the progress of the plot across the first season’s eight episodes is very minimal. I’m intrigued enough, though, that I imagine I’ll tune in for season two whenever it happens.

As for my other TV projects, I’m just a few episodes short of finishing season seven of Seinfeldso just two more seasons to go before I’ve completed it (hooray!). I’m a really big fan of crossing things off my list, so it feels important to make significant progress on a long project. My mom and I have also picked back up with Showtime’s Masters of SexI watched all but the final two episodes during season one, but I’m backtracking to get her caught up too. Once we’re caught up on that I’m sure we’ll return to The Sopranossince I’m rather embarrassed to say that we’ve still only watched the pilot episode.

Books — My reading projects haven’t been too eventful since my last post, but that’s probably because I’ve dedicated so much time to watching TV. After finishing The Marriage PlotI reread Gone Girlwhich was once again a thrilling experience. After that, I started reading Jane Austen’s Emmawhich I’m about one-third of the way through. I’m slowly realizing that I’m not a huge Jane Austen fan, and since I watched the film adaptation of this novel a few months ago, I’m having a hard time motivating myself to keep reading. I’m trying to meet a goal of reading 20 pages of it a day; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. To keep myself reading, I also started The Scorch Trialsthe second book in The Maze Runner trilogy. Of course, my problem now is that I’m getting more into this book and not spending as much time reading Emma. This week, though, I want to do my best to make good progress on them both, and I’m sure I’ll finish The Scorch Trial in the next day or two.

Movies — All my TV-watching kind of means that my movie-watching has been neglected. My goal of watching 125 movies this year is starting to be a bit more challenging; I need to watch 10 movies a month to stay on track, and I’m still 9 movies ahead, but I’m usually better off than that. Since my TV projects aren’t so numerous now, I’m going to try to get through some of my Netflix list to raise my movie quota. The last movie I watched was Happy Christmasanother of my Sundance favorites. Unfortunately, the fact that I saw it in January didn’t really help me keep my movie list growing. (Obviously these are really silly things to worry about since this is a self-inflicted kind of issue that has no real consequence, but I take this stuff seriously.)

Anyway, I’m setting myself a few pop culture goals for the week: finish one of my two books, finish season seven of Seinfeld, catch up on Masters of Sex, and watch two movies. Here’s to another productive week of entertainment!

Book #56: Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl

Though I’d previously read Gone Girl when it was first released in 2012, I thought it would be fun to revisit it before the David Fincher’s film adaptation is released this fall. I’m so very glad I reread this incredibly twisted and deeply entertaining novel. When I first read the book, I was the only person in my group of friends and family to have read it, and I was dying to have someone to discuss it with. Thankfully, my copy has made its way around, so I no longer feel like I’m bursting with information about it.

I don’t want to give much away about the story if you’ve not read it, but it’s fair the say that this book primarily follows the life of Nick Dunne, a man facing the disappearance of his wife, Amy, whose voice is also present in the alternating chapters through diary entries. (My description here only really touches on Part 1 of the book, but I can’t go further without spoiling something.) Suffice it to say that I was on the edge of my seat through this novel, both the first and second times reading it. Flynn does a fantastic job of making readers want more from her characters to the point that it’s very difficult to put this book down.

It was very interesting to read this novel for a second time and pick up on details that seem irrelevant until you know the outcome of the story. My only complaint was that it’s just not as fun to read it when you know how things end; if only I could return to the state of oblivion I was in when I first read it. Despite this fact, though, I’m still a huge fan of the book and can’t wait to see what David Fincher does to put this story on screen.

Book #55: The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Marriage Plot

 

Okay, first of all, I have to say that I was probably a bit biased when I started reading this book because I knew my friend Ryan had some pretty serious frustrations about it. Unfortunately, I felt pretty much the same, though I may have liked the book a bit more than he did.

Since the book begins the day of Madeleine’s college graduation from Brown University, I expected that I’d feel kind of connected to the story, having graduated from college myself just over a month ago. However, I quickly realized that the differences between me and Ivy League students are vast, at least according to Eugenides’s descriptions. Madeleine comes from a wealthy family and feels put out by the fact that she has to entertain her parents for a bit before graduation. She’s recovering from a break up with a boyfriend who unfortunately becomes a major player in the book (I couldn’t stand Leonard as a character, so I really didn’t enjoy his parts of the book). The Marriage Plot isn’t really about anything specific; it follows the lives of two or three primary characters as they try to find themselves post-graduation.

I think I would have enjoyed this novel far more if I didn’t feel like Eugenides took major detours from the actual story to provide totally unnecessary details about various topics, from religion to Brown faculty members to scientific topics I don’t understand. Though these were vaguely relevant to the story, I mostly found these sections boring, and they seemed to me to be Eugenides’s way to prove his intelligence to readers. Not my thing.

In the end, I did find myself caring about the fates of Madeleine and Mitchell, the two characters I was most interested in, and I was happy to see that the book’s conclusion revolved around these two. I’m very happy to be done with The Marriage Plot after having devoted a week of my summer to reading it, and I’m very excited to be moving on to my reread of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, a book I know I love. Oh well. You live and learn, I guess.

How to Enjoy Pop Culture in the Summertime: An Autobiography

Since I seem to be a perpetual student, the summers in my life have always carried the promise of relaxation and calm, the perfect antidote to the hectic school year. This summer is especially empty for two primary reasons: 1. most of my close friends are either moving to start their professional careers or internships, and 2. I, on the other hand, have just graduated from college and have plans to begin grad school and and a grad assistantship in the fall. Since my commitments don’t require anything of my until late-August, I’m basically just coasting through life right now. Having lots of free time is both a blessing and a burden, so I thought I might fill some of it up talking about my recent and/or current pop culture endeavors to say what’s been keeping me busy.

TV — Last summer I completed an embarrassing number of TV viewing projects, and since I was taking an online class and writing my honors thesis, I was plenty busy on my own. Since I’m a free agent this summer, I’m expecting even more from myself. I’m currently about 10 episodes into the fifth season of Gossip Girl, a project I started during my final week of classes. It certainly isn’t the greatest show ever, but it provides me entertainment. My mom and I also sped through the entirety of The Comeback last week, partially to prepare for the show’s return this fall after having been canceled in 2005. Since then, we started working on The Sopranos, but we’ve only watched the pilot, so no major progress there. And I’ve already decided that once I’m finished with Gossip Girl (of which I have fewer than thirty episodes left to watch), I’m going to continue my progress on Seinfeld and Cheers (in that order) so I can hopefully knock at least one of them out before I head back to school this fall.

Movies — Summer blockbusters aside, I love having the free time to attempt to clean out my list of movies on Netflix and HBOGO. Thanks to On Demand, the process of watching HBO is becoming much easier. Just yesterday I watched The East and The Purge, both of which I’d been interested it for a while. As far as my theater-going experiences, I’ve seen The Fault in Our Stars (twice), 22 Jump Street, and Jersey Boys. Since my goal for 2014 is to watch 125 new movies, I’m still 9 movies ahead of schedule, and I hope to continue to build my head start throughout the summer.

Books — Summer reading is something I look forward to year-round, and in the four weeks since I graduated, I’ve already completed eight books and I’m making good progress on the ninth. Some of my favorites so far have been The Maze Runner, Of Mice and Men, andFangirl. I just ordered my copy of The Silkworm, and I’m really looking forward to reading that soon. Right now I’m working on The Marriage Plotwhich I find fairly exhausting, but I’m trying to power through. Next on my reading agenda is Gone Girlwhich I read in 2012, but I want to refresh my memory before the film adaptation comes out this fall.

So, back to all this “work” I’ve been doing. On tonight’s agenda: enjoy some time to myself, hopefully crossing another movie off the list, and finishing another chapter of The Marriage Plot. Summer, you’re too good to me.