Thursday, November 27, 2014

Netflix Documentary Hits and Misses Vol 4 (November 2014 Edition)

It's Thanksgiving green bean casserole time [Tangent: I mean really...isn't that what the season is really about? Mushroom soup shrouded, French cut goodness?] , and I guess by now you are either looking for something to do with your family or looking for some way to avoid them...so I guess that means you need something to fill your time...a means to  avoid black Friday or even just permeate your eye holes as you fill your mouth hole with pie.

It's November Netflix recap time! I have tried to really offer a varied smorgasbord of documentaries this month, so I think there will be something to tickle your pickle, but please let me know if there is some non-fiction gold that I am overlooking.



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Time Zero:The Last Year of Polaroid Film- A
I didn't expect a movie about the closing of the Polaroid production factories to pack such heart. DAMN! I pulled it up around midnight one night in a fit of insomnia...and long story short, by 2 AM I was fighting back strange tears and putting "watches" on multiple Polaroid SX-70 land cameras [Tangent: I am mildly obsessed with that pretty camera even though the film it would require costs as much as a tank of gas, I'm sure. I strongly recommend against drunken or sleep-derpived online purchases.] Multiple photographers who specialize in the medium were spotlighted, including a special segment with a very sentimental John Waters. If John Waters can't get you to watch a movie...then get off my blog!

The Final Member- A
This is probably one of my picks of the month, judging solely on the fact that I have recommended it to several groups of people. Ok, once you get past the basis: It is about an actual penis museum in Iceland looking for the its crown jewel(s?), their first human specimen. Two men are in the running and they are both completely batshit and perfect. One wishes to donate while he is still alive, with some strange caveats. I feel like hesitant to reveal too much, because the element of surprise is important, but rest assured- you will forever think of the word "Elmo" differently.


TallHotBlond- B-/C+
 This movie is a true crime style account of a very creepy  love affair between a middle aged man and an 18 year old girl, who met in an online gambling room. It was chocked full of interviews and photos and of course, awkward scrolling text of their cyber sexing.  I have a slight confession that maybe disqualifies me to give this an unbiased review and may make you think less of me: I knew what was going to happen because I saw the Lifetime made for TV movie by the same name that is based on this case. [Tangent:...starring the dad from Raising Hope (with a creepy moustache) and directed randomly by Courteney Cox.] Anyway, things get dicey and as is the case when old dudes with porn staches decide to mess with young ladies, shit hits the fan and flies in unexpected directions. 

Bettie Page Reveals All- A
Why has it taken me so long to watch this? Since I started this monthly feature, it has been suggested over and over and I am pleased to say, you all didn’t steer me wrong. I now love Bettie Page. I mean I knew the idea of her, but had no idea she was so sassy and smart…and a NASHVILLIAN!??! I’m sold. What’s not to love? If I wasn’t a lazy human, this movie would have inspired me to become one of those rockabilly chicks because Bettie Page is gosh danged adorable, but unfortunately I am terribly flat chested, shudder at the idea of heels and feel that baby bangs are too much of a  commitment for a gal like me.

A Brony Tale: A Film About Men who Love My Little Pony- B
The title of this film does a pretty thorough synopsis on it's own, but really, in my opinion, this topic cannot be delved into and researched nearly enough, because no amount of analysis will explain why this is a thing that exists. [Tangent: This is at least one of two documentaries on Netflix on the topic...and yes, I have watched both. For the record the other one is called Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony and they are about equal as far as enjoyability!] The bronies they profile are varied and very unexpected [Tangent: read...they are not sterotypical: not all anime kids or young gay gents. There are bikers and frat boy types in the mix.] One of the main voice over artists from the show,  is the central storyteller in this doc as she is attending her first Brony-Con, and is kind of horrified at the prospect. The production value is pretty impressive given the subject, mabe because it is done by Morgan Spurlock, [Tangent: who has really mixed up his portfolio recently with things like the One Direction concert doc, which I have seen...and it is good. I'm not ashamed.] the only real criticim is that I could have done with a little less of the VO girl's band. It was distracting.
 
Dear Zachary- A+
Good sweet lord. I haven’t seen this movie in a couple years, and thank heavens the Netflix overlords have kept it on  streaming so that the maximum amount of people can be floored by it. This time, I decided to take my mother along on the emotionally unstable roller coaster of feeling feelings. I don’t want to tell you too much about it, but if you like heartfelt true crime stories and filling many a Kleenex with your snotty tears, then this is the film for you.  Maybe not the most uplifting holiday film, but I have yet to meet anyone that has seen it and that didn't recommend it.

Burt's Buzz- A
This one was a random late night decision, [Tangent: Do you see a reoccurring theme that the choice to watch documentaries usually hinges upon my shitty sleeping habits?] and one that I am very happy that I made. It had made me mildly obsessed with the Burt behind Burt's Bees....yeah, that bearded dude on the label a real person, and he is a delightful kook at that. Becoming a global brand was never really this hermit's intention and the politics behind the company's thriving is a little cut throat. There are so many good moments in this movie, but my favorites are anytime he is basically forced into doing public appearances. Cinema gold.

Out Late- A-
Truly, based on some of my previous viewing choices [Tangent: From this post, you may remember Ping Pong and Gotta Dance...] I am surprised that there is not a genre on my Netflix queue called: "adorable elderly people doing surprising things". [Tangent: Instead my Netflix thinks I am a gay male, and this movie is probably just helping along the algorythm. ] Out Late, which is about people who came out of the closet at 60+ and not just people staying out past curfew,  profiles a very feisty 80 year old lesbian [Dear god! I love her so much!], a transgendered individual and a gay couple. I really enjoyed this one, and to be honest, I could watch a whole series based on their stories. It needed to be longer. Please HBO, answer my prayers. 

Teenage- D
Boo. I wanted this to be better...I mean look how fun the cover looks! Well, I guess you can't always judge things by their covers, because this meandering movie made me doze off so many times that I stopped watching altogether.  The concept was interesting, I'll give it that. The film illustrated through archival footage how the whole idea of teenage and adolescence evolved through history, because"Teenage" is apparently a 20th century term. The movie just didn't grab me, and given the subject matter- it really should have.  

Stuck- B+
Since I was wee and watched specials on Romanian orphanages, I have wanted to adopt a baby from overseas, so this whole movie was disheartening and upsetting. The doc addresses all the red tape and terrible bureaucracy that surrounds international adopting. From friends who have undergone the process, I have heard first hand how exhausting, expensive and futile it can be and this movie only confirmed this. The profiles were really touching and sad, many of these families waited for years to meet their children. It upset me to see them, with the nurseries all set up but not being able to bring them home, all the while watching that child share a crib with several other children in a third world orphanage.

I Escaped a Cult- D
Yawn. Let me preface this by saying my boyfriend and I love cults…like not in a weird “I wanna be in one” kinda way…but more in a “I am fascinated by them kind of way.” [Tangent: Jamie spends a lot of his time listening to Last Podcast on The Left or hanging on their message boards, which revolves around crazy stuff like cults and weird phenomenae….and as a 16 year old, I was given the choice to write a research paper about anything and I chose Cults. Most girls in my class chose rabbits or Mariah Carey or something.] I think this makes us more discriminating when it comes to things like this…and this was like a Dateline expose, only with much crappier production value and terrible pacing. Jamie fell asleep multiple times, and it was only 44 minutes long. 

Reel Injun- B
Something you have probably gleaned from my viewing choices is that I go a little buckwild for anything that dissects race/gender/class/disability, and their depictions in the media...so it was inevitable that I would watch this movie about Native Americans on film. [Tangent: Just in time for Thanksgiving!] Parts of this I really loved and found terribly interesting, and other parts went nowhere fast. The filmmakers did a stellar job of archiving footage both old and recent. I loved learning more about that infamous Marlon Brando Oscar acceptance , how the Native American community really saw Dances with Wolves and a segment about Iron Eyes Cody, easily Hollywood's go to Indian performer...who was indeed Italian.

The World Before Her- B/B-
There are a ton of movies in my Netflix queue right now that all revolve around the same idea- basically what it means to be female in other cultures. They are seemingly interesting enough, but I have a heard time pulling the "watch" trigger for some reason. This was my baby step into that sub-sub-genre of socio-cultural documentaries. This particular one was about modern Indian pageants...one that is more western and much like American pageantry and one that focuses on traditional Indian values. Being that I am white as Bunny bread, I always find these things very eye-opening.
 
Being Elmo- A
This is a really good family pick, because it is a fun story about seeing a young man, Kevin Clash, seeing his  puppet dreams come true [Tangent:...that is if you try to totally ignore the molestation allegations that befell him a couple years ago. That news puts a whole uncomfortable spin on the picture of a man with his hand up a red monster. I watched it both both prior and after the diddling story hit the presses, and I will say that it was considerably more entertaining beforehand.] Who doesn't love Elmo? It also gave a lot of insight into how the whole Henson universe works, so if you are too distracted by that scandal, just focus on that.
 
Bound by Flesh - A
As someone with a disability, I have always been interested in freak shows and sideshow performers. [Tangent: I know within the community, that is a very scandalous stance to take, but at the time if the options were to be a circus performer or be institutionalized, I would be learning to juggle in no time. Also, it's a part of history- freak shows happened. There is no point in ignoring that they existed or dwelling on how unscrupulous they were now. Look forward not back, folks.] This interest has only been exacerbated lately by my love of AHS: Freak Shows, so naturally when I saw a new movie about conjoined twins hit my queue, I was into it. This one is about the Daisy and Violet Hilton, who rose to fame in the sideshow circuit in the early 1900s, going on to appear on various variety shows and in Tod Browning's cult classic Freaks. Their story is really interesting and terribly sad at points, they went from being unwanted by their mother to being in high demand to poverty again. The ass kicker is that they were only connected at the hip by a small band of flash; in today's medical world they would have been easily separated at birth. [Tangent: Also, even though I have never given birth, even the thought of naturally delivering two sizable babies side by side makes my vagina hurt.]

Ok, now that I have left you on a really unsavory note, what should I watch in December? Also, I am interested in those 30 for 30 docs. I don't like sports, but I think I will like those. Thoughts?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Opening Night at Book of Mormon

As I get older (I turned 32 last week!), I find birthdays less and less exciting. No one is more disappointed in this inevitable turn of events than I am, because I love an excuse for ridiculous celebration. Each year, I kinda wish I had the energy to throw a party, but they stress me out more than they should. I am way to worried about everyone else having fun  than I am about having fun...and that's no way to celebrate your life's anniversary. Honestly, if I didn't have a metric shit ton of Facebook notifications that day, it might have flown completely under my radar. This year instead of being my birthday, I decided November 18th was just going to be Book of Mormon Day!


To say this is long awaited is a gross misrepresentation; I have been waiting for this show to make a stop in Nashville back when it was still in development to debut on Broadway! If you don't know anything about it, it's a very hysterical musical written by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (the South Park creators) and the music is co-written by one of the writers behind the songs in Frozen... Except these songs are a lot about AIDS, religion and female circumcision in Uganda and less about a Norweigian sister with a unattainable fishtail braid.  [Tangent: Let me take this opportunity to say I know and am fond of many Mormons, and they are kind of the nicest people on the planet...so if you're reading this and worship at the church of the latter day saints, I'm not judging your viewpoints...I feel like this musical could have just as well been a ridiculous satire of Catholicism (my upbringing) and I would have still laughed my ass off. Then again, I laugh hardest when things are terribly inappropriate, so I am just a terrible person...but in a equal opportunities way.] I was very excited that Jamie got us tickets on opening night (which as deemed by the heavens fell on my birthday) and that several of our friends were also going that evening. Even more exciting was that all the gentlemen in our party decided to dress like missionaries to get in the spirit!

Yes, my boyfriend owned a short sleeved white button down shirt...and it was from a photoshoot where he was in a cult that appeared on a band poster. Don't ask.

Jamie is very cooperative with me forcing him into awkward photo ops.
This little boy was kinda star struck by these posers and wanted a picture. Cutest thing ever!

It was all in good fun, but Travis [Tangent: Some of you may know him from Say it Ain't So as Rae's hubby.] was so convincing in his getup that someone from The Tennessean pulled him aside to interview him about the missionaries who attended the opening night to market. [Tangent: You can read it's reprint in the USA Today here. National news, baby!] Oh yes, I left that part out- the Mormon church in Nashville are pretty marketing savvy and used the controversial play kind of to their benefit. There were sisters and elders staked out handing out flyers and books at every entrance, and they even took out a three page ad in the playbill. Kinda genius, really. This one made me chuckle.

Elder Wayne Brady, no?
  The play was awesome and immediately when it was over, I wanted to go see it again. Book of Mormon Pandora is now alive and kicking on my phone a good majority of my day now.  My favorite part was that given we were seated in the disabled seating area, we were probably a good 30 years younger than most of our neighbors, which meant I overheard a lot of this:

 
I worried a lot of these folks, given that they were significantly older than the South Park demo, would be scandalized by the salty language and guest appearances by a dancing Hitler (during a dream sequence, of course), but they laughed harder at the F bombs than I did. I love theater!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Internet is Weird: Go Phish*

* I realized since coming up with the title that it was somehow misleading and that you might just think this is a Trey Anastacio related post. Sorry. It's not. Go get your stoner jam band music elsewhere. To make it up to you, here is a picture of a jovial man in a Spam costume. [Tangent: The google image search gods were really smiling down on me.]



The other day, I was sifting through the SPAM in my email box looking for something crucial. [Tangent: I feel the need to be honest, it wasn't a work document or airline ticket, it was indeed my pizza delivery confirmation from Papa John's. It had been 45 minutes, and my hungry belly was riddled with nervousness that my order had not been processed. It was my free pizza I earned, becaue I have worked hard to consume 25 Papa John's points worth of pizza. See, I I told you: critical stuff.] I never delve into the Spam folder because it's nothing but an endless cavalcade of penis creams and male order wives and I'd rather not get pulled down that rabbit hole. However, something that looked rather personal caught my attention.
 
Dearest one,
My name is Mrs.Mariam Hana Dauda I am 63 years old, I am a dying woman who have decided to donate what I have to you/ motherless babies/less privileged/widows.I was diagnosed for cancer  for about 2 years ago. I have been touched by God to donate from what I have inherited from my late  husband to you for good work of God. I have asked God to forgive me and believe he has because he  is a merciful God. I will be going in for an operation on Monday.I decided to WILL/donate the sum of  7.7 million dollars to you for the good work of God, and also to help the motherless and less privilege and also for the assistance of the widows. At the moment I cannot take any telephone  calls right now due to the fact that my relatives (That have squandered the funds I gave them for  this purpose before) are around me and my health status also.
I have adjusted my WILL and my lawyer is aware. I wish you all the best and may the good God  bless you abundantly, and please use the Funds judiciously and always extend the good work to others. As soon you get back to me, I shall give you info on what I need from you then you will contact the bank and tell them I have willed those properties to you by quoting my personal  bank  account infos and I have also notified the bank  that I am willing that properties  to you for a good, effective and prudent work. I know I don't know you but I have been directed to do this by God.
Thanks and Almighty God bless.reply to me via my confidential email mariamdauda33@yahoo.com
Regards,
Mrs.Mariam  Dauda

So I guess I am left with the following follow up questions/reactions to this phishing scam:

  1. I guess I am under privileged because I am not a motherless child nor a widow. 
  2. Should I call the police? Because on the long shot that this woman is real, she is clearly in an abusive reverse Flowers in The Attic situation at the hands of her children! 
  3.  What exactly do I do that is god's work and how did she come up with the payout of 7.7 million? That's a lot of work that I have done that I am not aware of.
  4.  What do you want me to buy you with my new riches? Here is an artist's rendering of my new lifestyle:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

'Damn the Man, Save the Empire': The Halloween Costume of my Middle School Dreams



How is it possible that it is the second week of November, and I have not yet bludgeoned you guys over the head with tales of my Halloween costume? [Tangent: I can hear your eyes rolling on the other corner of cyberspace because maybe you thought I was done blathering on about my favorite holiday. NOPE! I got one more bonus post in me! No apologies.]  You all know that possibly the greatest thing about being in a relationship is the fact that you have a built- in prop to your Halloween costume and someone to drag down into the depths of your seasonal depravity, right?  I am really lucky that Jamie is equally if not more into dressing up than I am...it's just a matter on settling on a theme that we are both amenable to. [Tangent: I opted this year to not pick something to integrate my wheelchair, because I am saving that for next year.]

After shooting around a variety of ideas from Simon and Garfunkel to Rocket the raccoon and dancing baby Groot [Tangent: As much as my eyes lit up at the thought of dancing around like this all night, I just didn't have it in me to be covered in twigs! Drag, I know! Plus we a wedding to go to earlier the day of, so I needed something that we could easily throw on. Also,  building a pot around my wheelchair seemed slightly time consuming.], we decided to go with something we both know and respect wholeheartedly: 90's cinema...more specifically Empire Records.

It seemed on target that the two parties we were set to go to would appreciate it, even though my mom had no idea what the hell we were dressed as. [Tangent: I always hope people recognize a semi deep-cut costume, but I understand that is the risk you take. I'd rather delight 20% of a party than be ho-hum to everyone.]  I opted to go for Cory, Liv Tyler's speed-addicted overachiever, and it seemed obvious that Jamie needed to be my bronzed and satin- outfitted D-list crush, Rex Manning. [Tangent: Although I seriously contemplated Deb, post head shave...but a bald cap is a nightmare.]


photo credit: Chad McClarnon Photography

 I wish I had the wherewithal to say that I hunted thrift stores for the elements of my costume, but I got really lazy and bought everything on Poshmark. [Tangent: It's lazy thrifting from my cell phone.] I haggled on a few of the prices, but ended up getting combat boots, a blue sweater, a plaid mini and Jamie's purple satin shirt for about $40. [Tangent: That blouse he's wearing is a used ladies XXL Jaclyn Smith collection satin blouse, thank you very much! We also got all his turquoise jewelry at Joann's in the jewelry findings department. The most jarring thing was him shaving off his months worth of beard growth and coating his face in about 10 layers of my bronzer. The overall look was so creepy and has traumatized several of my friends. And no, we didn't shave his eyebrows, the heavy bronzer is just camoflaging his ginger eyebrows. ] After some googling, I realized I could download the name tag here then add a wig and a pill bottle and I was good to go!

I doubt I'll really wear any of it again, so I have relisted all the elements on Poshmark so that they don't just lurk in the back of my closet. Well, I guess I should say I relisted almost everything...I am hanging onto these combat boots, which I am pretty smitten with. [Tangent: I was never edgy in middle school/early high school when grunge was reaching it's pinnacle. (Evidenced here.)  I mean I wore flannel shirts, but they were from Limited Too...so decidedly not cutting hardcore. My mom would've never bought them for me during their hey day, so I sadly missed the boat on that trend. I guess what I am getting at is, "at 32, am I too old to wear combat boots?"]


Several people loved it, and on the other side of the coin, a lot of party-goers admitted that they had never seen Empire Records . BLASPHEMY! When they asked if they needed to see it...I couldn't decide if I could recommend it to someone today. What do you think?  Despite my love and commitment to memory of the film, I don't know if I saw it today, without the inherent nostalgic memories, if I would love it as much.

Overall Halloween this year was a great success, I love that I have know people that take the day as seriously as I do! I mean look at these urine specimen Kamikaze shooters my friend Kate made!!


Friday, November 7, 2014

First Aid Kit at the Ryman



The last couple weeks have been not only a whirlwind, but a tornado sharknado of activity, and I am so glad I am getting the chance to stop and breathe through my very clogged and extremely allergy afflicted face holes. One event that kind of snuck up on/delighted me was going to see First Aid Kit at the Ryman last week. [Tangent: If you are not familiar with the group...seriously go fall down a YouTube portal now. First Aid Kit centers around two Swedish gals who sing Americana folk music, which in theory should be akin to Abba covering Johnny Cash, but in reality sounds like the heavens opening and angels singing...if the angels in question looked like Elle Fanning and Emma Stone.] 


 Luckily, we had really amazing seats and unlike most shows, I wasn't stuck behind Yao Ming in a novelty Dr. Seuss hat who liked to violently dance and jump about (or something equally hard to see around.)! In fact the girl sitting next to us was just in town for business from LA and taking in a show at the Ryman solo. We talked about running into celebrities and she was all:
"I live in the valley so only really get to see people no one cares about. Like I've run into the entire cast of Saved By the Bell." 
Then she went on to show me cell phone photos of Maria Lopez pumping gas. This woman was speaking my love language.

After listening to the awesome opener Samantha Crain, who was engaging and mellow without being boring, the show began and I was up to my eyeballs in shining shimmering splendid gold lame and lovely folksy melodies.
 





They sang original material off new album Stay Gold and covers ranging from Jack White to the Carter Sisters. I wanted to believe these girls were too young to be authentic [Tangent: I am over 30, so kind of have adopted the reflex that anyone under 25 is an idiot.] but these dames know their stuff and are well versed in roots music and Americana culture...as much as two twenty-somethings from Sweden can be. Go see them!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Another Free Glasses Giveaway from Firmoo!

A couple weeks ago, on a whim,  I decided to order these obnoxiously large, yet somehow perfectly me glasses in the mail from Firmoo.  


 [Tangent:  Aren't they awesome?  I told my sister that they remind me of Kelly Lynch, the female lead in Roadhouse. She's a fun party gal who is getting down with the Swayze, but then you know she's not dumb as a box of rocks because you see her in her lab coat with her standard 80s intelligent female glasses on. These suckers scream "all business" and I love them!] You are probably kind of tired of me singing this company's praises because I have written a couple reviews [Here and Here] of their product, but I am really a fan. [Tangent: Anyway, I am a really bad liar, so if I thought they were just meh, I wouldn't be writing this post.] Here is me wearing two pairs simultaneously to prove my obsession: 




To celebrate my joy with my new frames and because I love having Firmoo as a blog affiliate [Ahem...if you are in the market for new frames, click the affiliate banner on the right or HERE so they know I am responsible for turning you onto them!] , I'm giving away a pair of frames to one lucky blog reader from this exclusive selection of glasses for bloggers!  The free frames will cover a pair from this collection including 1.50 single vision lenses. You will pay the minimal shipping, which for me was about $9, but getting RX glasses for under $10 is a STEAL!

I have already narrowed in down to my favorites from my always growing Firmoo wish list, because, let's face it- even though I already have 4 specs from them, there will be future adoptions:
as I uploaded this photo, I almost considering keeping this free pair for me because those green ones are awesome!



All you have to do is enter below. If you already like me on Facebook, that's an automatic entry! This giveaway will run through November 18th, because that is my birthday and frankly, it's just an easy day for me to remember! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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