Monday, August 24, 2009

My trip was fun, and I'm on a mission from God.

Well, as for the trip, it was good; except for the 2(!) speeding tickets that were garnered in upstate NY and the veritable monsoon that ran us out of the Phish show a tad early due to waterloggedness. Duck = delicious; caves = cold, and diverting but not the most impressive display ever; Gourmet dinner = outstanding; Phish show = hotel check in was a pain in my ass and everyone else's, but the show was pretty good despite the weather; Animal Park = awesome, even though we switched it to a different animal park that was more directly available on our route.
Then, after a few days at home, I headed up to NOVA to go to my friend's wedding party on Saturday, which was great because we've known each other forever and all our buddies from far and wide came to attend, and much reminiscence regarding who met who when and in what dorm, coupled with much beer and wine, took place.
Now, I'm in school again (alas...) and balancing that with work and the recent advent of my extremely cute boyfriend as a resident of my apartment has me exceptionally busy. But not so busy I can't tell you a little about a movie.*
As a result of a conversation with said boyfriend last week, I realized that I hadn't posted regarding my Favorite Movie of All Time. So, in an attempt to rectify my negligence, I will now say a little about the magnum opus of dear departed John Belushi and still-living Dan Aykroyd's careers, The Blues Brothers. This 1980 film, written by Aykroyd and John Landis, is the most universally defining movie of my life. I watched it one hundred thousand times with my brother growing up. Every line from this movie is permanently engraved on my cerebral cortex, and if an eight year old girl could have turned herself into either Jake or Elwood Blues, she would have done it in a snap. I idolized those guys like nobody's business. My brother named his two puppies after their characters 17 years ago. I can't even begin to explain how every nuance of this movie is exquisite to my personal sensibilities. For a white kid like me, there were no cooler people on the planet, real or fictional.

To summarize the plot, Jake gets out of the Joint (Joliet Prison, hence his nickname "Joliet Jake") and brother Elwood picks him up. They go visit the Catholic school they attended as children and find out that it needs money to stay in business. They decide to reunite their old band and have a benefit concert. The rest of the movie involves the two of them rounding up the old members and attempting to stage a huge show, all while falling afoul of the law in numerous ways that involve many car chases and crashes, one of which takes place inside a shopping mall. There are musical numbers by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Cab Calloway, James Brown, John Lee Hooker, and the brothers themselves, who had albums in their own right.

I love the blues, and I love sarcasm, and I have a fondness for outlaws, and my brother loves cars, and we both enjoyed the over-the-top car chases immensely. I will admit that my deep and abiding affection for this movie is probably entwined with my equal affection for my brother and our childhood together, but I will also attest to the fact that I have seen it plenty of times without him and it is still my top favorite movie ever. If I could be this movie, I would. I would be a black suit and sunglasses and a fedora, and I would be blues music as played and sung by the greatest purveyors of the sound, and I would be a Plymouth Bluesmobile, a performance of Rawhide in a honkey-tonk with chicken wire in front of the stage, Aretha singing "Think" in a soul-food dive, Elwood cooking toast in an apartment the size of my bathroom, and I'd be in that jail at the end when Jake and Elwood perform Jailhouse Rock for the inmates. And if I could live the scene in which this exchange takes place:

Jake: First you traded the Cadillac in for a microphone. Then you lied to me about the band. And now you're gonna put me right back in the joint!
Elwood: They're not gonna catch us. We're on a mission from God.

I would. I surely would.
And there you have it. Words cannot express properly, but if you get any of my meaning, get this: All movies I ever see are unable to hold much of a candle to this one. Watch and enjoy.

* I am trying to work up a Top 10 for the sidebar, just so's you know where I'm coming from. Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Plans for the Weekend!

Tomorrow, I am heading to New York City to eat a chinese duck (as you can see on your left) with my extry family, the Brownings of Venice. This will be but the first leg of my fabulous plans, which after duck will include a tour of some caves in Upstate NY (with only one Browning), as pictured on your right. Then I'm going to have a fabulous gourmet dinner at the restaurant attached to the caves, as pictured by my belly, and including roast beast in gorgonzola cream sauce or some such delicious nonsense.

After the dinner, there will be a luxurious Best Western, and then the next day I'll be seeing my favorite band, Phish, for the 111th time, at Saratoga Springs Performing Arts Center, which is rumored to be a lovely venue, as pictured over here on your left again, followed by a night of revelry at the Saratoga Springs Hilton wherein I will pay an enormous fee to enjoy a hotel 1.7 miles from the venue, which is key to the whole revelry aspect.

THEN, on the way home, I'll be shooting through the lovely town of Harrisburg, Pa, where I will enjoy the fantastic sights at Lake Tobias Wild Animal Park, where, godwilling, I will get to do what these people are doing, namely, stroke an elk. And all manner of other critters in their fabulous petting zoo, as well as view non-pettables, like a tiger, and maybe a napping one at that. Then I must return to RVA and face the true End of Summer, as defined by the fact that I have to go to SCHOOL again and this time for like four months. Poo. But, I will take the memories of Duck, Loved ones, Caves, Good Food, Phish, the Hilton, and Wild Pettable Animals home to bolster me in my time of drudgery.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

RIP John Hughes. I'll never forget you.

John Hughes died from a heart attack today, out on a walk in Manhattan. He was visiting friends, and then he was gone, at 59. I can't really put into words how much his movies meant to me. It will suffice to say that he was the single most influential director in my life. I'm going to let his credits speak for themselves, courtesy IMDB.

Drillbit Taylor (2008) (story) (as Edmond Dantes)
Beethoven's 5th (2003) (V) (characters) (as Edmond Dantes) ... aka Beethoven's 5th: Big Paw (USA)
Maid in Manhattan (2002) (story) (as Edmond Dantès) ... aka Made in New York (USA: poster title)
Home Alone 4 (2002) (TV) (characters) ... aka Home Alone: Taking Back the House (USA: DVD title)
Beethoven's 4th (2001) (V) (characters) (as Edmond Dantès)
Just Visiting (2001) (screenplay) ... aka Les visiteurs en Amérique (France)
Beethoven's 3rd (2000) (V) (characters) (as Edmond Dantès)
American Adventure (2000) (TV) (characters) ... aka National Lampoon's American Adventure (USA: complete title)
Reach the Rock (1998) (written by)
Home Alone 3 (1997) (written by)
Flubber (1997) (screenplay) ... aka Disney's Flubber: The Absent Minded Professor (promotional title)
101 Dalmatians (1996) (screenplay)
Miracle on 34th Street (1994) (screenplay)
Baby's Day Out (1994) (written by)
Beethoven's 2nd (1993) (characters) (as Edmond Dantès)
Dennis the Menace (1993) (written by) ... aka Dennis (UK)
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) (characters) (written by) ... aka Home Alone II (USA: short title)
Beethoven (1992) (written by) (as Edmond Dantès) ... aka Beethoven: Story of a Dog (Australia: cable TV title)
Curly Sue (1991) (written by)
Dutch (1991) (written by) ... aka Driving Me Crazy
Career Opportunities (1991) (written by) ... aka One Wild Night
Home Alone (1990) (written by)
Christmas Vacation (1989) (written by) ... aka National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (UK: complete title) (USA: complete title) ... aka National Lampoon's Winter Holiday (UK)
Uncle Buck (1989) (written by)
The Great Outdoors (1988) (written by)
She's Having a Baby (1988) (written by)
Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) (written by)
Some Kind of Wonderful (1987) (written by)
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) (written by)
Pretty in Pink (1986) (written by)
Weird Science (1985) (written by)
European Vacation (1985) (screenplay) (story) ... aka National Lampoon's European Vacation (UK: video box title)
The Breakfast Club (1985) (written by)
Sixteen Candles (1984) (written by)
Nate and Hayes (1983) (written by) ... aka Savage Islands (UK)
Vacation (1983) (screenplay) (short story "Vacation '58") ... aka National Lampoon's Vacation (UK) (USA: complete title) ... aka American Vacation (Europe: English title: video title)
Mr. Mom (1983) (written by) ... aka Mr. Mum ... aka Perfect Daddy (Philippines: English title)
Class Reunion (1982) (written by) ... aka National Lampoon's Class Reunion
"Delta House" (5 episodes, 1979) - The Matriculation of Kent Dorfman (1979) TV episode (written by) - Campus Fair (1979) TV episode (written by) - The Deformity (1979) TV episode (written by) - The Lady in Weighting (1979) TV episode (written by) - The Shortest Yard (1979) TV episode (written by)
New Port South (2001) (executive producer)
Reach the Rock (1998) (producer)
Home Alone 3 (1997) (producer)
Flubber (1997) (producer) ... aka Disney's Flubber: The Absent Minded Professor (promotional title)
101 Dalmatians (1996) (producer)
Miracle on 34th Street (1994) (producer)
Baby's Day Out (1994) (producer)
Dennis the Menace (1993) (producer) ... aka Dennis (UK)
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) (producer) ... aka Home Alone II (USA: short title)
Curly Sue (1991) (producer)
Dutch (1991) (producer) ... aka Driving Me Crazy
Only the Lonely (1991) (producer)
Career Opportunities (1991) (producer) ... aka One Wild Night
Home Alone (1990) (producer)
Christmas Vacation (1989) (producer) ... aka National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (UK: complete title) (USA: complete title) ... aka National Lampoon's Winter Holiday (UK)
Uncle Buck (1989) (producer)
The Great Outdoors (1988) (executive producer)
She's Having a Baby (1988) (producer)
Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) (producer)
Some Kind of Wonderful (1987) (producer)
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) (producer)
Pretty in Pink (1986) (executive producer)
The Breakfast Club (1985) (producer)
Curly Sue (1991)
Uncle Buck (1989)
She's Having a Baby (1988)
Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)
Weird Science (1985)
The Breakfast Club (1985)
Sixteen Candles (1984)
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) (uncredited) .... Guy Running Between Cabs
The Breakfast Club (1985) (uncredited) .... Brian's Father
Class Reunion (1982) (uncredited) .... 'Girl' in dress with paper bag over head ... aka National Lampoon's Class Reunion

John Hughes, 2/18/1950-8/6/2009
Thanks for Chet, and Bender, and Ferris, and Cameron, and Farmer Ted, and Duckie, and Uncle Buck, and Cousin Eddie, and Amanda Jones, and the Griswolds, and The Great Outdoors, which is one of the only movies my Dad and I ever bonded over. Thanks for everything.