Thursday, January 23, 2014

my life is the greatest.

i'm gonna be honest. life has been pretty bad this year. so far. that is to say i've been caught in the doldrums. 

you know. where everything gets you down because nothing feels right and it's so easy to think your whole life and all you feel about it can be contained in one depressingly breathless run-on sentence? just one of those months I suppose. I blame the cold. and the holiday hangovers. and the unemployment. and the draining bank account. and the student loans suddenly due. and...did I mention unemployment? 

but. the thing is, even with all that, i made a decision: life is beautiful. and I'm gonna be grateful. because let's be real, my life is...brilliant. 

one. i live in new york. i don't know if you know this, but this is the greatest city in the world. 

I was practically giddy the other day when I took a cab over the brooklyn bridge and just watched the sun melt through the buildings as the avenues chased right up to the waters. and i looked back over at the city and just smiled, because it's my city. 

and the skyline is gorgeous.

two. it may be freezing cold, and I may be permanently chilled. but I have the most amazing coat (thanks, ma and pops) and it really changes everything. who knew dressing for the weather actually works? no matter that I look part bear part sleeping bag in my coat; anyone who doesn't is a tourist, and tourists are the worst. 

three. I am obsessed with food and thus I am happy here. everything is better in New York. and I mean everything. 

well, except their Mexican food. that hasn't really translated. and nothing can ever beat the brilliance of a cafe rio enchilada-style burrito. mmm. 

four. I can have absolutely nothing to say and still post nonsense blogs that are a million times cooler than anything I could have dreamed of saying back in Utah. because, you know, the New York thing (New York > everything). but also the whole chasing-my-dream-and-bucking-logic-or-general-preparedness-because-I'm-young-and-wild-and-free. 

that's how we do. 

also, fun story time : I hailed a cab the other. effortlessly, i might add. only, some girl up the street was like "oh no! excuse me. no. that's mine." and she literally ran me down, wagging her manicured nails as she gripped her shopping bags on fifth avenue. she stole my cab. and I just rolled my eyes, backing off (only whispering some nasty sentiments under my breath) and let her have it. because I raised my hand again, and another cab came careening across traffic for me. 

this, I think, proves I'm a New Yorker. which is a pretty great thing to be. so I'll take the cold and the poverty and the unemployment--I'm livin the dream, baby! and I'm loving it. 

baddah buh buh bumm. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

a little late on the uptake

(spoilers will follow. just so you know.)

i really don't like animated movies. especially in recent years. the only ones that managed to impress me probably in the last decade were Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. this was because, hello, they were/are hilarious. and clever. and original. and fun. and i can just watch/quote them over and over. meanwhile, i hated Up, Brave, Cars, Tangled, Wall-E, The Princess and the Frog--pretty much anything animated and/or for children. it just felt more of the same (tangled) or just way too out there (up) and i just...yeah. so much vitriol. that i couldn't even explain.

so when i saw disney had plans to release another princess movie--called Frozen--i rolled my eyes and swore i would never see it. because disneyland is getting way too crowded with these uninspired and unoriginal princesses flouncing about. plus, let's be honest, the trailers for frozen sucked. seriously, the worst ever.

but then it was getting some talk on the feminist front. which i didn't really buy into at first because people thought tangled and the princess and the frog were feminist and, while i appreciate the effort, those didn't really hit home for me in any meaningful way. mostly because they were so cookie-cutter disney with the meet-cute's muddled with disdain, quirky/awkward leads who still needed a boyfriend to feel fulfilled, and the penultimate true love kiss right before...marriage. marriage after mere days.

ah, there's the rub.

but i did what any self-respecting movie aficionado without interest in actually seeing the movie does: i read the spoilers. and when i liked what i read, i youtube'd it. and i watched the clip of Idina Menzel's character belting out--quite beautifully, i might add--"Let It Go." and while my inner feminist purred, the inner child gasped at just how pretty the animation was.

so then i went. and...i loved it. so i saw it again. and i bought the soundtrack. and i tell everyone to watch it. and i gladly defend it to anyone who will listen. because i think it's so good.

regardless of structure, script, or characterization--which i think is all impressive--i just think it's so good that there's a story out there that's so utterly unromantic. where love is more charitable than starry-eyed; where the men are mere side characters [warning: some language] rendered relatively useless to the true heroes' transformations; where two women with completely different personalities and desires have to discover and decide who they'll be.

and where disney makes fun of itself in such a subtle, clever, self-aware way that finally sheds the archaic, traditional tropes.

honestly, in the beginning, it's everything you think a disney movie will be. parents die, girls blossom into beautiful princesses, and one of them prays to meet a perfect prince to sweep her off her feet. and when she does, it all happens in one sweet-as-cotton-candy ditty that is just everything disney (while still being clever).

but then the story shifts. because as anna tries to tie the bow on her happily ever after with the expected marriage to the charming and pleasantly perfect Hans, her sister says because contrary to disney tradition, love doesn't happen in one song over one night. and neither sister takes that well, so off elsa storms (literally. as she sends the entire country into an icy winter) and anna rushes after her. a part empowering in and of itself since most princesses simper for at least a while until being told what to do. but anna charges fearlessly forward, meets another guy, kristoff, whom she interacts with with easy determination. and when she explains what set elsa off, she gets an earful about how infatuation isn't love, and how love is much...more.

sure, throughout the movie, anna is a bit bumbling, easily excitable, and a very naive girl who thinks, you know, merely talking to her sister will fix things, and that it's her business to tell people (or snow monsters) that it's not nice to throw things. she's usually a little slow on the uptake. pretty the bitter end. but that's what is so great about her as a character: she's human. you know, flawed. this is a girl who doesn't quite know how to understand emotion, having been kept locked up in the palace with only her cold (literally) sister and her ever-fearful parents. who then...die. she has no idea what it is to be excited (or if it's merely gassy) and so she can't be expected to understand love or appreciate the layers of it. but the beautiful thing is, she learns. and she keeps trying to learn. so, eventually, she does. mostly thanks to her good ole snowman friend, olaf.

people discount olaf as the comedic relief. which he is, and adorably so. but i think he's also a representation of the girl's innocence, a literal reincarnation of their childhood joy. and he becomes the source on what love is exactly because he understands it from that childlike perspective. where it's not selfish or calculated, but just...pure. without ulterior motive. so when he says kristoff loved her enough to leave her forever, anna doesn't first understand because anna's never loved like that before--or at least she doesn't realize she has. love to her is loud, boisterous dance numbers at fancy balls where the champagne flows and the chocolate keeps on coming.

yeah, try again, anna.

but the thing is, even when olaf tells her kristoff loves her, it's still a very simple kind of love. so when olaf sees kristoff racing back and he ruefully declares "I guess he didn't love you enough to disappear forever" there's truth to that too. because even though anna goes racing after him, and him to her, i don't think had she chosen him on the ice that it would have worked.

true love's kiss? please, that's so 1937. 

in that moment, the only person anna loved--the only one she knew enough to love--was her sister, elsa. because she'd been swept up in mere infatuation with hans, and she'd categorized kristoff as only a friend. she hadn't had time to reexamine those feelings or that understanding. so, really, it was only elsa that she loved. and that's why she turned to save her on the ice. and that's what saved her. and that's why it saved elsa.

and that's why frozen is awesome.

also, it didn't end in a wedding. props to them for avoiding that one entirely. in fact, it only had a wonderfully, realistically, adorably awkward first kiss that was kind of an afterthought for these two friends tiptoeing shyly--and carefully--into new territory. one that has kristoff asking rather than just assuming he can kiss her. thank you. they're still figuring things out, and that's okay. in fact, it's completely irrelevant to the real story: which is about two women finding themselves and each other. so the last shot of the film focuses on the two sisters ice skating together, each celebrating their own version of freedom (from fear and oppression), as they're chased about by olaf, the representation of innocence and the memory of unadulterated love between two sisters.

too much? maybe. but i love it. and i think it's worth talking about and reading into because, yes, surface level it's a fun, funny, clever film that everyone can engage in. but there's also depth to it. and a conscious effort on the filmmakers' part, i think, to step out from the shadow of traditional disney romances. they do break new ground, but they do it in a subtle, natural, silly way so you're not left rolling your eyes at the obviousness of their ulterior motive.

(i'm looking at you, wall-e.)

so go see it. or don't. i probably will again. and i'll keep "let it go" on repeat. oh, and i'll watch this about a thousand more times because there's nothing more adorable than a bunch of girls singing a princess song that has nothing to do with wanting anything more than to be themselves. just saying.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

the ramblings of the self-aggrandizing

going into the new year, i figure i'll catalogue my current favorites. off the cuff. completely on a whim. with no prior thought put into it, i swear. this is legit.

favorite color,!!!

just kidding. right this second, i'm feeling a really perfect mint--right between tiffany blue and that robin's egg.

favorite actress
shailene woodley. i can't begin to describe how obsessed i am with her. the spectacular now, not my favorite movie. but she was gorgeous in it. in a totally real way. and the descendants? it killed me. and the fact that she was chosen to star in the fault in our stars--and that poster!--i'm just all sorts of sunshine about her.

favorite recent movie
frozen. which is weird considering my previous stance on animated flicks (which was...they all suck). but this was adorably, wonderfully, refreshingly feminist and altogether empowering. it didn't end in a wedding! it made fun of one-day/true love romances! it was about family and sisters! and there was no stupid potty humor--i mean, not that i'm a prude over jokes about dogs peeing on something/one they shouldn't, but...they're cheap jokes. and they're overdone. as if kids these days aren't smart enough to appreciate subtlety and, you know, actual wit. but frozen--i saw it twice. twice! and i'm singing it under my breath, talking about it, pontificating about it with anyone who has seen it and pushing it on pretty much everyone who hasn't. so. there's that.

honorable mention also goes to catching fire (hunger games 2) which absolutely, no questions asked, blew my my mind. and i just watched the way way back and i just want to watch it again and again.

favorite recent book
i haven't read a lot recently. mostly because life is hectic and i'm dirt poor. but i loved this short story by john green in the christmas book Let It Snow. his contribution was "A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle" and it quickly and wryly proved once again that john green is a master. and i'll buy into whatever he tells me.

favorite tv show
i watch a lot of tv ('s ridiculous), but a lot of it's been boring and i've cut a lot of it out. but the one show to pick up? scandal. that show is mind-blowing. it's not for the faint of heart, and it practically runs on melodrama. but it is so well written and insanely well acted. ...and it inspires the overzealous use of adjectives in describing it.

favorite actor
i'd usually say ryan gosling, cuz he's gorgeous. and talented., of course. but this year I'd be more likely to lean towards leonardo dicaprio who just rocked the world with his recent dedication to really good filmmaking (though the poor guy still doesn't have an oscar). but can i just say i've really been far more impressed with the women in the industry?

I mean, not to go all full-blown feminist, but let's go all full-blown feminist. 

i watched a series of full length interviews from The Hollywood Reporter, one with the oscar-nominated women, and one with comedy actresses. they're over an hour long each, but i was enthralled watching them in their entirety because...they're just awesome. and i love how vocal these women are about being women and being okay with it. i love that we're over this idea of always having to talk about the struggles of living in a man's world. now, when these women mention it, it's just to point out how baller they are. and they are pretty baller.  

except anne hathaway...who really is helplessly irritating. (just kidding. ...but seriously).

dream vacation spot
i want to go to amsterdam for some reason. maybe the fault in our stars. maybe i'll blame love taza. but maybe it's just this wanderlust itch that's drawn to those waffles and canals. but i really just want to go anywhere. turkey. vietnam. istanbul. rome. belgium. barcelona. greece. egypt.

i think i recognize i'm young and free, and if i were to ever do something it should be now. plus, i mean, i live in one of the busiest international travel hubs and going practically anywhere is fast and cheap, and it's enough of a temptation to send me checking for travel deals pretty regularly.

most anticipated film
godzilla. like, please, take my money now. and it comes out in may. aka the greatest month of the year. aka my birthday month. aka may couldn't get any better...but it just did.

number one goal
getting a job. please and thank you.

life's motto
something like "I hate to admit it, but those kids got it right even if it's the most annoying phrase in the human language: yolo." because i'm all about seizing the day, relishing in moments, being aware of any and every chance to live. i'm tired of coasting and just going through the motions. i want to feel and be and experience and do. life is already too short and too hard to trust anyone else to tell you how to live it. limitations are for the lazy. expectations are for the uninspired. live for yourself, but in the least selfish way possible.

that's how i'm feeling anyway. and i think it's a pretty good feeling. i also read my horoscope for the year (thank you very much, Yahoo), and i'm feeling good about things (only half serious). but, hey, with mars and venus or whatever on my side, i think it will be a good year. and attitude's half the fight, right?

i mean, in the immutable words of one hannah montana, life's what you make it so let's make it rock.