The YA Genre, Its Not Just for Young Adults

Jennifer Connelly as Josie McClellan in Career Opportunities

Jennifer Connelly as Josie McClellan in Career Opportunities

Yesterday I went to see the movie Southpaw, after that movie was over I saw that Mission Impossible was starting in about 30 minutes and decided that I wanted to see the opening scene with Tom Cruise hanging off the jet in IMAX and then I would go home.

I had already seen the movie and thought it was OK. Basically if you love any of the Mission Impossible movies, you will probably love this one. I am not a fan of the franchise but I have seen them all and despite finding them silly there is always at least one very entertaining moment, usually Tom Cruise doing some crazy stunt and, well, there is always at least one sexy woman in the movies. I am a straight guy, I love me a sexy woman.

So, I had some time to burn so I went and saw the end of the movie Paper Towns. Another movie I had already seen but I welcomed the chance to look at the pretty young women in this movie again.

I must admit, I have a soft spot for what is now called the YA, young adult, genre and I grew up on the great 80’s teen comedies, yes, John Hughes (RIP) was a teen comedy god. Sure, part of it is that I will soon be eligible for my DOM, dirty old man, membership, and I like looking at beautiful young women but the more important reason is that I live vicariously through these movies as I did not experience any of what you see in these movies.

While other kids were partying, dating, losing their virginity, making friends that last forever, or at least friends you never forget, going to proms, experiencing graduation and just being a young adult during middle and high school, I was having to be an adult.

Basically I went straight from 10 years old to manhood and missed all that fun stuff. Sure, I went to school but my off hours, when not studying, was dealing with serious issues such as family members in hospitals and nursing homes, deaths and funerals, basically lots and lots of emotional devastation. I survived.

I now and have always loved watching movies about teens and young adults, Pretty in Pink, Superbad, Ghost World, Risky Business, The Spectacular Now, Pump Up the Volume, Napoleon Dynamite, Meatballs, River’s Edge, The Virgin Suicides, Welcome to the Dollhouse, Heathers, Clueless, My Bodyguard, 10 Things I Hate About You, Juno, Rebel Without a Cause, American Graffiti, Boyz n the Hood, Election, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Lucas, Peggy Sue Got Married, Rock ‘n’ Roll High School, Dead Poets Society, American Pie, Hoosiers, Back to the Future, Bring It On, Kids, Brick, Fame, Can’t Hardly Wait, Sixteen Candles, Porky’s, Lean on Me, Stand and Deliver, The Outsiders, Weird Science, Never Been Kissed, Dope, The Lost Boys, Footloose, Class, The Last American Virgin, All the Right Moves, Valley Girl, Better Off Dead, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Tomboy, School Ties, Angus, The Craft, Cruel Intentions, Splendor in the Grass, Grease, Carrie, Donnie Darko and many more I now forget, I watch them all and they all break my heart in some fashion.

My favorite is Say Anything…with Almost Famous a close second, and yes, both were written and directed by Cameron Crowe who will always be my bromance soul mate I probably never meet.

The character I most wanted to be, Ferris Bueller as played by Matthew Broderick, of course, but the character I most connect with is Lloyd Dobler as played by John Cusack in Say Anything… and, of course, I grew up to be Mike Damone as played by Robert Romanus in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. “Scalper? You call me a scalper? I perform a service, my friends. The service costs money. Now do you want the tickets or not?”

How about the girls? Jennifer Connelly as Josie McClellan in Career Opportunities is probably the sexiest character while I will give Cybill Shepherd as Jacy Farrow in The Last Picture Show second place.

As for the more romantic crushes, there are so many, Molly Ringwald as Samantha Baker in Sixteen Candles, Emma Watson as Sam in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Heather Graham as Mercedes Lane, great name, in License to Drive, Meredith Salenger as Lainie Diamond in Dream a Little Dream, Joyce Hyser as Terry Griffith in Just One of the Guys, Amanda Peterson (RIP) as Cindy Mancini in Can’t Buy Me Love, Elisabeth Shue as Chris in Adventures in Babysitting, Kate Hudson as Penny Lane in Almost Famous and though I really want to say Ally Sheedy as Allison Reynolds in The Breakfast Club is my favorite, I really do love the weird loner girls, I have to go with an upset choice, Mary Stuart Masterson as Watts in Some Kind of Wonderful. I also love the sensitive sexy little tomboys, they always break my heart.

So what about the ladies in Paper Towns? Yes, Cara Delevingne as Margo is a sexy girl and a former Victoria’s Secret model but the young lady that stole my heart in this movie was Halston Sage as Lacey. You have to love the popular girl who turns out to be so sweet and has more depth than you would have ever expected.

What more can I say? Well, I guess a Matthew McConaughey as David Wooderson quote from Dazed and Confused sums it all up very nicely, “That’s what I love about these high school girls, man. I get older, they stay the same age.”

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2014 Academy Awards : My Predictions in All 24 Categories

Oscars

2014 Academy Awards

All right, all right, all right, it is Super Bowl Sunday for people who really love movies. Because I am one of them and because I have too much time on my hands (actually not true but who needs a life) here are my predictions and my favorites for the 2014 Academy Awards, the 86th Academy Awards.

BEST PICTURE :

Will Win : 12 Years a Slave
Could Win : Gravity
Long-shot : American Hustle
My Favorite : Nebraska

I was convinced that Gravity would win best picture but have since decided that the Academy is going to pick the more important film over the more entertaining film. With that said, I loved Nebraska more than either of those films.

BEST DIRECTOR :

Will Win : Alfonso Cuarón
Could Win : Steve McQueen
Long-shot : Alexander Payne
My Favorite : Alfonso Cuarón

As much as I love Nebraska and as much as the story and writing bored me to tears in Gravity the groundbreaking movie making especially visually (this is a movie, not a book) of Gravity is stunning and amazing. How can you say that and not reward the director?

BEST ACTOR :

Will Win : Matthew McConaughey
Could Win : Leonardo DiCaprio
Long-shot : Chiwetel Ejiofor
My Favorite : Matthew McConaughey

If the Oscar does not go to Matthew McConaughey I am hurting somebody. I was blown away, in shock, in tears, when I saw this movie I thought McConaughey was so good. How can one man in one performance be a total sleazeball that makes you laugh, makes your cry and before its over has you cheering for him as a hero with tears streaming down your cheeks. I think it is one of the best performances in film history.

BEST ACTRESS :

Will Win : Cate Blanchett
Could Win : Amy Adams
Long-shot : Meryl Streep
My Favorite : Meryl Streep

Unlike the rest of the world I was not that excited about the performance of Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, good, yes, but it just felt contrived to me. My favorite is Meryl Streep but, to be honest, this category does not excite me, even the performance of Meryl felt a bit contrived. But Meryl made me feel more so that is why it is my favorite.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR :

Will Win : Jared Leto
Could Win : Barkhad Abdi
Long-shot : Jonah Hill
My Favorite : Jared Leto

Leto was simply sublime in his performance, like McConaughey I was shocked and surprised that he was just so damn good. Watch the movie and just focus in on Leto, can you find a moment that does not feel true? To be honest, after a few minutes I was thinking, is Jared a transsexual and I just do not know it, it felt that real.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS :

Will Win : Lupita Nyong’o
Could Win : Jennifer Lawrence
Long-shot : June Squibb
My Favorite : Lupita Nyong’o and June Squibb

Lupita’s performance simply breaks my heart, you just have to give the little gold man to her. With that said I loved June Squibb’s performance just as much for exactly the opposite reasons, she was hilarious.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY :

Will Win : Her
Could Win : American Hustle
Long-shot : Nebraska
My Favorite : Nebraska

People think the Her script was groundbreaking, I did not. I thought it just another take on the love triangle story but it seems to be what everyone wants to win. I semi-hated American Hustle as a finished film, I try and separate that from the script. Nebraska was great, subtle, but really good writing.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY :

Will Win : 12 Years a Slave
Could Win : Captain Phillips
Long-shot : Before Midnight
My Favorite : The Wolf of Wall Street

This goes to 12 Years a Slave simply because it is just so damn important. As a writer I am not that impressed with this category this year but I really, really want to believe that The Wolf of Wall Street was a great script that just got mangled by Scorsese.

BEST ANIMATED FILM :

Will Win : Frozen
Could Win : Frozen
Long-shot : Frozen
My Favorite : Who Cares

I do not go to see animated movies, other than the chance to maybe mack on some single moms in the theatre, as a single middle aged man I have no reason to be there, but everyone says Frozen is a lock.

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM :

Will Win : The Great Beauty
Could Win : The Broken Circle Breakdown
Long-shot : The Hunt
My Favorite : The Hunt

Everyone says The Great Beauty is looking like a lock. The Hunt is my favorite as it is the only film in this category I have seen.

BEST DOCUMENTARY :

Will Win : 20 Feet from Stardom
Could Win : The Act of Killing
Long-shot : The Square
My Favorite : Whichever one wins until I get the chance to see them.

I LOVE documentaries but have yet to see any of these. I do know 20 Feet from Stardom was a box office hit and a crowd pleaser so that means it will probably win.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY :

Will Win : Gravity
Could Win : Nebraska
Long-shot : Inside Llewyn Davis
My Favorite : Gravity

You thought you were watching people in space, need I say more.

BEST EDITING :

Will Win : Gravity
Could Win : Captain Phillips
Long-shot : American Hustle
My Favorite : Gravity

Most people do not understand that after the director, writer and actors, editing more than anything is what makes or breaks a film. But editors like writers will never be stars, oh well. With that said I think Gravity wins this one and deserves it.

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN :

Will Win : 12 Years a Slave
Could Win : The Great Gatsby
Long-shot : Gravity
My Favorite : 12 Years a Slave

Should Gravity win this? Maybe, you did feel like you were watching people in space but that seems to also make the design more one note. 12 Years should and totally deserves to win, you felt like you were in that time and everyone looked like they belonged in that time.

BEST COSTUME DESIGN :

Will Win : The Great Gatsby
Could Win : 12 Years a Slave
Long-shot : American Hustle
My Favorite : The Great Gatsby

Everyone looked fabulous in Gatsby but 12 Years was probably the toughest job and may deserve the Oscar. The costume design is totally overrated in American Hustle, I could have costumed that film with a day of searching Salvation Army’s. But man, did everyone look great in Gatsby.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE :

Will Win : Gravity
Could Win : Her
Long-shot : The Book Thief
My Favorite : Who Knows

I simply do not remember a film this year that makes me feel like the score was another character in the film which is my standard for a great score. So with that I guess Gravity takes it.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG :

Will Win : Let It Go
Could Win : Ordinary Love
Long-shot : Happy
My Favorite : Happy

They say Let It Go is a lock so who am I to argue. Of course, you can never underestimate U2 to win any award but if you are looking for a long-shot to place a bet on, go with Happy. I love this song and never underestimate the power of a positive pop song and hit to snag some votes.

BEST MAKEUP & HAIRSTYLING :

Will Win : Dallas Buyers Club
Could Win : Jackass Presents : Bad Grandpa
Long-shot : The Lone Ranger
My Favorite : Jackass Presents : Bad Grandpa

I truly believe that Jackass Presents : Bad Grandpa deserves this one but I also believe that at least half of the members of the Academy would be mortified to hear, “and the Academy Award goes to Jackass Presents : Bad Grandpa”.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS :

Will Win : Gravity
Could Win : Gravity
Long-shot : All The Other Ones
My Favorite : Gravity

As big a lock as locks get, back to that you felt you were watching people in space thing.

BEST SOUND EDITING :

Will Win : Gravity
Could Win : Captain Phillips
Long-shot : The Lone Survivor
My Favorite : The Lone Survivor

I really, really wish they would combine best sound editing and mixing in to one category and call it simply Best Sound but I guess the sound people have a strong union. OK, I have made my case. Gravity wins but I thought The Lone Survivor was amazing work, imagine recreating all those gun shots hitting all kinds of stuff with people sliding down mountains and so on and so on.

BEST SOUND MIXING :

Will Win : Gravity
Could Win : Captain Phillips
Long-shot : The Lone Survivor
My Favorite : The Lone Survivor

Read the last category and then replace the word recreating with the word mixing. And then go Google the definitions of sound mixing and sound editing.

BEST SHORT FILM (ANIMATED) :

Will Win : Get a Horse
Could Win : Room on the Broom
Long-shot : Possessions
My Favorite : Really?

I am writing what I have read elsewhere on the Internet. I call it stealing.

BEST SHORT FILM (LIVE ACTION) :

Will Win : The Voorman Problem
Could Win : Helium
Long-shot : Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
My Favorite : I Will Get Back To You

I actually enjoy this category and have fantasies of winning an Oscar one day after I make my first short film. Unfortunately I seem to never see the shorts until after the awards show so what you read above is stolen from the Internets.

BEST DOCUMENTARY (SHORT) :

Will Win : The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Could Win : Facing Fear
Long-shot : Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
My Favorite : The Winner Until I See Them

Again, more plagiarizing on my part but combine old lady who just died with music and the Holocaust and you pretty much have a lock. Did I say, I DO LOVE documentaries.

Enjoy the show and go watch some movies.

2014 Academy Awards : The Best Picture Oscar Goes To…


I am a big fan of movies so I love the Academy Awards no matter how boring the show often gets. I will probably have another post or two before the show on Sunday but for now I figured I would go on and give my take on the Best Picture category.

Oscars

2014 Academy Awards

Looks like it will be a big year for Gravity, it will probably win, and that sucks. I thought it was great movie making but not a great movie. Turn this story and script in to something on earth and no one is talking about it. The story was predictable and boring, if not for the effects and visuals I would have fallen asleep. (Update : I have since decided 12 Years a Slave takes this one and that is probably for the best.)

But for your entertainment here is my quick take on the nominees, feel free to discuss.

American Hustle : I thought it was a bad comedy, they will be showing this movie at midnight screenings some day with high school and college kids dressing up as their favorite characters and acting out the parts as badly as the actors.

Captain Phillips : solid storytelling, a really good movie, the nomination is their win.

Dallas Buyers Club : pedestrian storytelling with, of course, two of the best performances in movie history. Who knew McConaughey had the talent to be a sleazeball and a hero and make you laugh and cry and simply break your heart all in one performance. His and Leto’s performances are both simply sublime.

Gravity : wake me up after they collect the best picture statue.

Her : a sweet little movie that makes you think just a bit, that’s it, not a best picture nominee.

Nebraska : brilliant, sublime, movie making at its best, on my planet this wins best picture.

Philomena : have not seen it, will before Sunday night (and will update this post), but I am guessing the nomination is the win for them.

12 Years a Slave : a great and very important story makes for a good movie but not a best picture.

The Wolf of Wall Street : wow, I simply want to punch Scorsese in the face. This movie screams potential greatness at the top of its lungs but feels like Scorsese just gave up on it like a kid figuring out he can not put the puzzle together so he gives up and knocks the table over.

Enjoy the show, go see a movie.